Did you know that there is a difference between positive thinking and affirmative thinking? For years now we have learned from personal development gurus that our success is determined by what we think and say about ourselves. We have learned over time that positive thinking should develop more successful individuals. Many of today’s personal development books point to the success of others who are able to have a positive outlook about what they can achieve. (1)
After all, as “The Secret” taught us – if we can believe it then we can achieve it. So hundreds, if not thousands, of people begin their day by chanting positive statements about themselves. For instance, “I am a good person”, “I am successful” or “I am the best salesperson”. The gurus teach us that these positive statements must be taped to our bathroom mirrors and repeated many, many times during the day.
Individuals who were with people using positive thinking have found that these individuals go further in life than those who don’t. However it is also a slow process in which individuals must repeat these things daily, for days at a time in order to effect a change in their subconscious mind. You see, the act of using positive thinking is the way in which you can make a change in the things you believe about yourself. You are attempting to effect a change in your subconscious mind so that you will take action on things you may not otherwise have attempted.
But there is a better way, a faster way and a more efficient way to make these changes and to affect success in your life. This is to use affirmative thinking. Now, you may believe that positive thinking and affirmative thinking are one and the same. After all, they sound the same. They both address things in a positive manner and they both have the same intent. But they are different. The definition of positive thinking is optimism or the inclination to collect the most favorable spin on actions and events and to anticipate the best possible outcome.
The use of affirmative thinking is slightly different. But, that difference is very important in the way that our subconscious mind interprets the information. Affirmative thinking goes one step past positive thinking. It gives the subconscious mind the ability to grasp information, believe it is true today and give you the courage of your convictions to move forward and to take action, therefore ensuring success. (2)
Let’s take a look at two different statements. If you are a positive thinker you may say to yourself, “I can lose 10 pounds this year”. This is a positive statement. It is stated in the positive. In it you believe that you can achieve a 10 pound weight loss than one year. However, an affirmative thinker would state it slightly differently. “I am slender and healthy at my ideal weight of 140 pounds.” This is the statement an affirmative thinker might use.
The difference between the two statements is the focus of the individual. In the first statement the individual is focusing on “lose 10 pounds”. This subconscious mind is focused on losing 10 pounds and no matter how positive you may state it the subconscious mind continues to do well on lose 10 pounds. You may think that that is a positive way of achieving your goals, but in fact it gives your subconscious mind the wrong direction.
The affirmative thinker believes that she is slender and healthy and already at her ideal body weight of 140 pounds. This is not a matter of “fake it till you make it” philosophy that is so popular among network marketers, but rather a way of providing your subconscious mind with the ability to believe that it is thoroughly possible for you to achieve this goal. And when you believe you can, you will.
Now, of course the weight is not going to fall directly off your bones and into the ground below. Instead, this idea in your conscious mind, that you all ready are at your ideal body weight of 140 pounds, will make a difference in the decisions you make each and every day. It will make a difference in the decisions you make about going to the gym, going for a walk with your friend or grabbing that extra muffin.
The difference between positive thinking and affirmative thinking is that individuals who practices positive thinking do not give their subconscious mind the tools it needs in order to achieve success. The individual who uses affirmative thinking helps to change their own behavior and actions by changing the way in which their subconscious mind believes what is possible.
Affirmative thinking can be used in any walk of life. They can be used to find a spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend, improve your financial status, lose weight or gain different friends. The idea is to state your goals in a way that are both positive and self affirming.
For instance, if your goal was to be able to pay your bills each week you would not use this statement “I will be debt-free”. This is because your subconscious mind will focus on debt. It is much better, albeit a small change, to say “I will be financially free”. In this instance your subconscious mind is focused on becoming financially free and not on being debt-free. It may seem, and feel, like a very small change were slight shift in thinking but sometimes that is all that is needed in order for people to become successful. It is all that is needed for your subconscious mind to understand that you desire financial freedom and all that goes with it as opposed to just becoming debt-free.
So now it’s time for you to identify what you truly want, what is your burning desire. It is time for you to figure out where you’re headed and what your goals are so that you can’t phrase them in such a way that your subconscious mind allows you the freedom to achieve it. You take away the fear and doubt that comes before anyone who desires to achieve a goal or success and in its place you put this confidence in the knowledge that you have the ability to either do it yourself or find the resources to accomplish it.
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(1) MayoClinic.com: Stress Management
(2) Success Consciousness: The Power of Affirmations