Is Positive Thinking Sabotaging Your Career?


Laura Simms


We’ve been inculcated to think happy thoughts and be positive.

And I think this is mostly a good thing. I ascribe to the belief that while you can’t always choose what happens to you, you can choose your experience of what happens. I don’t do gratitude lists, but I do believe in noticing the small, exquisite moments that happen every day.

So what’s the problem then?

The problem is this: you can get so used to sustaining yourself on the little stuff that you ignore the big stuff.

The surprising way that positive thinking can damage your career

Yes, you can “gratitude” yourself into staying in a bad situation because you’re so committed to the moments of lightness. 

Let me give you an example. I once had a girlfriend who was in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend. We asked what good she was getting out of the relationship, her response was, “He always offers me a Kleenex after he makes me cry.”

Well, why not ditch the guys that’s making you cry all the time?!? She was clinging to little crumbs like Kleenex offerings and missing the big picture and the changes she needed to make to live a happy, healthy life.

Think she sounds like a dodo? We do it all the time. And we do it a lot with our work.

If the best part of your day is that you hit all the green lights on the way home from work, or your daily latte, or the walk around the block you take during lunch…heads up. Some a**hole is handing you Kleenex and hoping that’s enough to keep you around.

Is it? Are you getting the total package, or are you living on dregs?

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