Sometimes it really is a choice between “positive thinking,” and “realistic thinking.” I don’t know about you, but I would want my doctor to be really good at realistic thinking. Atul Gawande goes a step further, and affirms the validity of and the power of “negative thinking.”
Excerpted from his New York Times article, The Power of Negative Thinking by Atul Gawande:
Whether one is fighting a cancer, an insurgency or just an unyielding problem at work, the prevailing wisdom is that thinking positive is the key – the Secret, even – to success. But the key, it seems to me, is actually negative thinking: looking for, and sometimes expecting, failure.
…you don’t want to constantly seek out the inadequacies of your children, your looks, your abilities as you age. But in running schools or businesses, in planning war, in caring for the sick and injured? Negative thinking may be exactly what we need.