All strengths can be overdone and it’s no a surprise to hear that on one of my client’s properties, people are starting to get irked by overdone positive messages.  Of course, a dose of reality is important to temper the message but, before you throw out all your coaches and motivational influencers, take a look at the early research that propositions the notion that when you think and feel positively, positive things happen;

  • The Placebo Effect: people get better both physically and emotionally when they believe in the treatment. Studies show one-third to two-thirds respond positively to placebos. This is even stronger in experiments where the physician believes as strongly as the patient (1955 Beecher; 1983 Cousins; 1985 White, Tursky, Schwart;…)
  • Positive Affect:  Positive emotions increase the capacity for learning, creative problem solving, social helpfulness, and effective decision making (1975, Seligman; 1981 Isen; 1984 Bower;…)
  • Internal Dialogue: Successful people have internal dialogues that explain success as permanent, universal and internal while failure is temporary, specific, external. Unsuccessful people have the opposite dialogue (1890 James; 1949 Ryle; 1975 Seligman;…)
  • Interpersonal Dialogue: Successful interpersonal relationships are based on a ratio of at least two positive statements to one negative statement. The words and images we choose intentionally actually create the interpersonal situation; positive words and images lead to positive interactions (1987 Sloterdijk; 1997 Royal;…)
  • Pygmalion: The teachers image of the student affects the students results . When teachers are told that certain children (randomly selected) are gifted, those children perform better—because the teachers behave differently with students they expect more from. This is a better predictor than IQ, home environment, or past performance. Studies have also found that successful managers often had a strong mentor as their first boss. (1974, Brophy & Good; 1978 Rosenthal & Rubin; 1986, Jussim;…)
  • Culture Image: The rise of positive images of the future precedes or accompanies the rise of cultures. Almost all social advances are first described in Utopian writings. (1973, Polak; 1976, Markley; 1987, Morgan;…)
  • Affirmative Competence: Using positive imagery and then monitoring success rather than failure increases competence in golf, Olympic athletics and life (1974, Nicklaus; 1979, Ostander;…)

What have I missed here folks?