From pop music to political speeches to commercials, the general message is the same: look on the bright side, be optimistic in the face of adversity, and focus on your dreams. And whether we're trying to motivate ourselves to lose weight, snag a promotion at work, or run a marathon, we're told time and time again that focusing on fulfilling our wishes will make them come true. Gabriele Oettingen draws on more than 20 years of research in the science of human motivation to reveal why the conventional wisdom falls short. The obstacles that we think prevent us from realizing our deepest wishes can actually lead to their fulfillment.
Based on her groundbreaking research and large-scale scientific studies, Oettingen introduces a new way to visualize the future, called mental contrasting. It combines focusing on our dreams with visualizing the obstacles that stand in our way. In Rethinking Positive Thinking, Oettingen applies mental contrasting to three key areas of personal change - becoming healthier, nurturing personal and professional relationships, and performing better at work. She introduces readers to the key phases of mental contrasting using a proven four-step process called WOOP - Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan - and offers advice and exercises on how to best apply this method to daily life. Through mental contrasting, people in Oettingen's studies have become significantly more motivated to quit smoking, lose weight, get better grades, sustain fulfilling relationships, and negotiate more effectively in business situations. Whether you are unhappy and struggling with serious problems or you just want to improve, discover, and explore new opportunities, this book will deepen your ideas about human motivation and help you boldly chart a new path ahead.
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"How do you get from dreaming to doing? This exciting and important book shows you how to turn your dreams into reality. You'll be surprised at how thoroughly it overturns conventional wisdom." (Carol S. Dweck, Lewis & Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, Stanford University, and author of Mindset.)
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This is a case of an author starting with a conclusion and produce "research" that supports the conclusion. At least she admitted early in the book that she was having a difficult time getting her research published because the scientific community would not take it seriously.It might be easier to take it seriously if there were more diversity in the research groups that she chose. Considering that most of her subjects seem to have been college age females it is easier for me to conclude that this model might work for them rather than to make the leap to saying that this model would work for the public at large.That said, I bought this title because I agree with the premise: Positive thinking alone without a plan of action is not likely to get you very far. However, this concept has been widely developed by the serious thought leaders in the self help arena for many years. One of my favorite examples of this is Tony Robbins telling an audience "I am not going to tell you to go into the garden and chant 'there's no weeds'. I want you to recognize the weeds and pull them out". In contrast, this entire book seems aimed at one self help film called The Secret, wherein Jack Canfield and others appear to be telling people that all they have to do is hold an image in their heads and they will get the object of their desires.Aside from all of this, there was a useful concept that I was able to share with my 9th grade son in regards to meeting his goals. It is useful as part of the goal planning process to identify obstacles that stand between you and your goals and develop an action plan for dealing with them.
It is not likely that I would listen to this author again.
Inappropriately enthusiastic, self-serving
- Jeff Fiske
Very good information, but should be shorter
- Mark R