Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Self Help Guru and your Critical Thinking Skills!


I finally finished the audio book (I had to drive around the neighborhood for about three hours in my car to finish it) titled “Bright-Sided How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America” written by Barbara Ehrenreich. She really doesn’t mean to be funny but the book is funny in a depressing sarcastic way! Well, to me it was funny because it really showed how the “positive thinking” is messing up the good old United States of America. So that fits perfectly into my new brand of Self Help Guru Motivational leadership I want to do.

Before we go off and talk about my favorite subject (me), let’s talk about the book “Bright Sided”. The book is a serious statement against the Self-Help movement and Positive Thinking followers. You might be wondering what the difference between positive thinking and positive thoughts are.

Positive thinking is a blind belief that you must think positive all the time. Positive thinkers believe that all negative thoughts are bad and should be cast aside. But is that really the best thing to do? Aren’t you throwing the baby out with the bath water when you do that? Aren’t you just sacrificing your critical thinking skills for simpler, easier thinking? Could positive thinking cause you great harm?

What is Kevin talking about? Let’s take the example of walking through a bad part of town. Should you use “positive thinking” and the “law of attraction” to safely guide you through the dangerous streets of Compton, California? Or should you use your realistic thinking of the potential dangers that exist in this negative environment and use your critical thinking skills to get the heck out of there?

Positive thinking is all a big scam according to Barbara Ehrenreich. She writes about mega preachers and self help gurus. One would think that her negative view of self help gurus, motivational speakers, and mega church leaders would deter me from becoming a Self-Help Guru. Ha! If anything, this book has given me the push I need to become that Self-Help guru I so yearn to be!

Think about it for a moment. Positive thinking and the Law of Attraction is just a scam in which people are lied to and told that anything is possible if they “visualize” it. It is a scam in which they want you to falsely believe that if you think it will happen, it will actually happen. I’m pretty positive that I picked the latest PowerBall numbers, yet I haven’t won the Powerball jackpot yet.

Am I saying you should use negative thinking instead of positive thinking? No, not in the least bit, however, instead of positive thinking could we be realistic thinkers? Could we be realistic with the fact that you need to work hard to be successful? You need to study hard to get good grades? You need to develop your critical thinking skills to become successful. What are critical thinking skills? Critical thinking is your ability to identify the problem, analyze & evaluate the problem, think of multiple solutions, and hopefully solve the problem by implementing one or more of your solutions. For a more detailed definition of critical thinking, here’s a link http://www.criticalthinking.org/aboutCT/define_critical_thinking.cfm

Now, there is nothing wrong with having a positive attitude while thinking of solutions to a problem as long as those solutions are realistic in natural. In the brainstorming phase, you can throw out crazy ideas (that is why it is called “brainstorming”). However, once you move past the brainstorming phase, you narrow down your objectives to realistic, doable, and obtainable solutions.

An example: You need to increase sale for your “drug lord business.”
How would you do this? I’d suggest you set some goals for yourself.
Goal: I want to increase my drug lord business by 100% next quarter.
Is that realistic? If you live in a small town and all the local druggies are purchasing from you already, a growth rate of 100% isn’t going to happen unless they build a new low income housing project overnight.
What if you live in a large city? It is possible, however, will the established gangs and drug dealers take too kindly to your encroachment onto their turf? Is your expansion plans going to piss off the neighboring gangs? Is a turf war worth it? How much will it cost you in death of your “employees” and lost productivity? Remember a dead employee doesn’t make you any money!

This is critical thinking at work. You have to ask all the good, the bad, and the ugly questions. You have to think of multiple scenarios in which your plan will have to survive in. These scenarios need to be worst case and best case because you need to be prepared to do your best whatever the outcome may be!

Now the positive thinking group and the Law of Attraction flakes would have you believe that you can just “think” about growing your drug lord business by 100% and it will happen. I argue that you can use realistic thinking instead. Yes, you can grow that business by 100% but use your critical thinking skills to do it. Your realistic thinking will then guide you into how you’ll actually go about achieving that lofty goal.

There is nothing wrong about thinking “big” and setting big goals for your self. You just have to know that it is going take hard work and dedication to reach those goals. Is your heart ready to live your dreams? I’m positive it is as long as you take it seriously. I’m not holding you back; I’m here to push you forward by making you think! Enjoy what you do and do it!

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback!

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One response to “Self Help Guru and your Critical Thinking Skills!

  1. The Editor December 17, 2010 at 4:47 am

    To help yourself, you must first realize that you’d actually like some…

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