Jack Uldrich
Show navigation Hide navigation

Should Some People Unlearn Optimism?

Posted in Depression, Mental Health, Psychology

Stuart smalley It is likely that Al Franken will be soon be the next U.S. Senator from my home state of Minnesota. Personally, I'm not a fan of Mr. Franken but I did like one of the skits he used to perfom on Saturday Night Live. It was called "Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley" and the character's signature tagline was "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

There is much to be said for the power of positive thinking and, all things being equal, I believe people should think optimistically.

Unfortunately, all things are not equal. This article from the most recent edition of The Economist suggests that for some people positive self-statements can be counter-productive. Here's the operative paragraph:

"Dr Wood suggests that positive self-statements cause negative moods in people with low self-esteem because they conflict with those people’s views of themselves. When positive self-statements strongly conflict with self-perception, she argues, there is not mere resistance but a reinforcing of self-perception. People who view themselves as unlovable find saying that they are so unbelievable that it strengthens their own negative view rather than reversing it. Given that many readers of self-help books that encourage positive self-statements are likely to suffer from low self-esteem, they may be worse than useless."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Interested in having Jack speak at your next event?
Invite Jack to Speak


Subscribe to the Exponential Executive Newsletter now!