Uselessness Bounces Back! Beware?

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I’ve had some time to think on this one; it offers me some risks, but I can live with that happily …


My Useless word of the week is “POSITIVE”.


The idea behind this word offers us much benefit: mature optimism clearly offers better results over time than does pessimism. Yet…

Expectations, as I often point out, offer great power, for good or bad. Great power.

Yet, this word gets used so often, so loosely, so sloppily, as if it offers a magical shortcut to success…

“Be positive.”

“Think positive.”

“What you think you attract.”

Etc. Ad Nauseum…

Childish fantasies are so often – FAR too often – presented in the guise of wisdom. And people seem to eat them up!

Such is life. You can follow the herd as most obviously do, or you can rise above it, lead and prosper.

Completely up to you!


I see so much magical thinking about “being positive,” as if forcing yourself to smile and say happy words and think happy thoughts somehow promises a grand future. Magically!

That’s the sort of reasoning you find in a child’s fairy tale. Not among rational, responsible adults.

As adults, we can do better. FAR better. If we don’t, we produce poor results, and deserve what we get. As it turns out, growing up is not optional. Reality doesn’t compromise or forgives foolishness. Why would we expect it to?

Any rational human being with eyes open knows without being told: thinking happy thoughts and pretending all is wonderful does very little to make it so in reality. If you rely on such fuzzy enticing ‘thoughts’ to create your future, instead of assessing, planning, acting, learning, and adapting based on results as you go, you’re living a pathetic fantasy. You will lose, badly, and you will have earned the sad results you will suffer. In real life, buying ‘magic beans’ from a stranger offers you starvation, not success. Entertaining as it is, fantasy fills no bellies and gets nothing useful done. There are no magic short cuts in life. Thinking like a child certainly won’t give them.

To build motivation and confidence in your ability to learn, adapt, grow, and build a future: that’s the reality behind positive psychology. Fuel for progress, inspiration. I wholeheartedly advocate it!

But to imagine that you happy day dreams will magically carry you forward? That’s delusion that offers nothing but wasted time and a hard fall, sooner than most people realize. Pain and woe. Earned!

Short cuts have been popular, always. Since the beginning of time it has been. They’ve also always been the bad paths; they offer failure, pain and woe. Evil at their worst.

Don’t fall for such pretty lies, if your value your life.

Do you? Value your life? If so, build it on a solid foundation, not on lottery tickets.

Build yourself: build your character and knowledge and skills. Build your life. Build it!

Don’t cheat yourself trying to cheat life.

Please, don’t. It offers failure and pain.

You deserve better than that.

So does everyone around you.



  1. Awesome! I’ve been saying the same thing with, “faking it until you make it,” is actually lying. Set goals instead.

    Being positive is the best way to be — when you are positive, but you can’t let “positive” do the work for you.

    It’s a tricky line to walk, but I see what you are saying.


  2. One great piece of advice I received when doing my project management certification was to locate the most negative person on the team, sit him/her down and find out why he/she is convinced the project will fail. Because those points they bring up will ultimately form the stepping stones to finishing the project without surprises. Critical thinking, when harnessed well, can beat plastered can-do attitudes for usefulness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post!!!! and I sooo agree.

    All those insubstantial quotes about thinking positive are teaching us all to be delusional! I have felt this way for a long time, and seeing it in words is like a EUREKA moment. Great job Greg. and thanks for writing my thoughts! Cheers!


  4. OMG…you’ve said it so well…I’ve wanted to say this so many times but I get so sick of being
    the lightening rod for the wrath of the pod people who gather to shriek me into silence.

    (usually with positively abusive email)

    So much of what I see is so irresponsible and classist in its assumptions.

    How can children in homeless shelters think their way out of the misery
    we impose on them?

    How can a deadly ill schizophrenic think his way out of squalor.

    Thank you so much for opening this door.


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