Tap the power of negative thinking

Yes, you read that right. We are discussing the power of negative thinking, not positive thinking. 

Every time a fire is prevented by an accessibly-placed fire extinguisher, the power of negative thinking is at work. Someone had the power to imagine the negative possibility of a fire occurring; that’s why they placed the fire extinguisher there for emergency use. 

Negative thinking, in the sense of envisioning negative possibilities, equips us to prevent those occurrences or to at least minimize their fallout. The capacity to envision any counterfactual situation is a gift. Just as someone who can vividly imagine a grand skyscraper replacing a dirt pile is gifted, so too is the person who imagines emergencies that may occur in the skyscraper. Both gifts are needed for the project’s success and safety. 

Is negative thinking always a gift? No, it becomes a liability when it controls us: when we think negatively all the time and dwell only on problems, never on solutions. 

If we automatically look at negatives in any given situation, how can we tap that power? By three resources.

  • Right position: We need positions centered on checking for negatives. Though all positions require some such checking, certain positions place a premium on it  —  positions such as a safety manager, quality regulator or book editor.  
  • Right association: We need association where our gift is valued and is simultaneously complemented by someone with the gift of positive thinking. 
  • Right conception: We need a worldview that provides a meaningful purpose for our power of thinking, including negative thinking. Addressing that need, the Bhagavad-gita (08.15) urges us to use our negative thinking to acknowledge the world’s distressful nature and use our power of thinking to spiritualize our consciousness, thereby transcending material distresses. 

One-sentence summary: 

Negative thinking can be a power if it helps us envision negative situations that we need to prepare for. 

Think it over:

  • How can negative thinking be a gift?
  • How can we tap the power of negative thinking?
  • Do you tend to think negatively? How can you tap such thinking?


08.15: After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.

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1 Comment

  1. Negative thinking is beneficial to Humans.

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