I consider myself an optimist so when someone say’s to “think positively” I’m usually agreeable to the idea. But then today I read an article, Dear Oprah, please stop promoting The Secret written by John Gravois for Slate Magazine. In it he puts forth a rather convincing argument that people are so busy thinking about the best-case scenario, that they forget to plan for problems.
His only two examples of professions that are trained to think negatively are doctors and computer workers. While I’ve never thought about myself as a negative thinker, “Murphy’s law” is invoked regularly at work, so negative thinking might have slipped in unawares. When I write programs I do have to plan for everything that might go wrong and come up with solutions to handle the events gracefully.
So what is the power of negative thinking, and how could it help improve our lives?