As We Think So Shall We Be

In one of his research papers Dr. John Gottman wrote, “Excess negativity leads to a distorted perception that can affect the past, present and future of a relationship.”

He was referring to the relationship of marriage but it’s a strong statement that can also be applied to the writing life. Negativity drags us down, smothers creativity with a wet blanket of futility and convinces us that we’re never going to get anywhere.

That there is power in positive thinking may seem like a simplistic message but so is the story of The Little Engine That Could.  Only if we make the effort will we discover if there is merit in trying.

What do you think? Can you take control of a negative mood and talk your way out of a slump?

12 thoughts on “As We Think So Shall We Be

  1. catwoods says:

    I am very seldom in a slumpy mood. My world-view is one of glasses half full and sunshine and roses.

    However, three members of my six person family are of the opposite frame of mind. My DH and I jokingly call them Eeyores.

    I love the power of positive thinking and actually get physcially drained from being around others who are so negative. Yet I realize that we are all made differently and that we all filter our experiences with a unique sieve.

    Great reminder about how our life is what we make it.

    • Cat, I love your observation that we all filter our experiences “with a unique sieve.” When people say, “Oh, pull up your sox and get on with it,” to someone who is feeling discouraged and depressed, they think the person should be able to do so, but that’s not always the case. We definitely do handle stresses differently.

  2. joylene says:

    Most definitely. Not sure where I learned to do this, or from who, but positive thinking has been with me since my earliest memories. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Carol. I don’t think I realized how I strive on doing this until this very moment. I too love the power of positive thinking.

    The Little Engine That Could was a favourite in our house when my boys were little.

    • I’ve read of medical situations where a positive attitude has helped cure physical disease… something about the affect of endocrinology and hormones… so it makes sense one’s mental capabilities can be affected, too. Gives us something to think about!

  3. christicorbett says:

    I love that book!

    I’m rarely in a slump, but sometimes it happens. When I’m feeling down I take a while to moon about, watch too much tv, and be grumpy…but then after a day of that I get back in the swing of things. Sometimes a little down time is just what I need to get the creative juices flowing again.


  4. Dave Ebright says:

    “Can you take control of a negative mood and talk your way out of a slump?”

    I dunno – not usually negative or moody, & slumps don’t last (comma needed here?) but I CAN talk my way outta trouble. Ask Deb. (She hates when I make her laugh when she’s really ticked off @ me. What can I say – It’s a gift. Hah!)

  5. I get in slumps with my fiction writing, and it’s hard to keep from getting discouraged with it. I haven’t been successful at convincing myself my stories are any good, so, no, I guess I can’t talk myself out of those slumps. I just have to work on other things until I get a fresh attitude. And no one wants to hear whining, regardless of the reason, so I try to keep any negativity from affecting the people around me.

    Nonfiction, though, just spills out of my brain nonstop, so I don’t get negative feelings about that aspect of my writing.

    • I’m convinced I’m better at writing non-fiction than fiction but I still love the make-believe aspect of writing my novels. I wonder if the negativity is related to being able to get non-fiction published easier than fiction?

  6. Jenn Hubbard says:

    I can’t control negativity. But I can usually let go of it by acknowledging it, talking it out, and keeping on.

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