Dr. Gabriele Oettingen | Rethinking Positive Thinking (Bonus)

Positive thinking can hold you back.

“You have to visualize the hardships and obstacles, too.” -Dr. Gabriele Oettingen

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Why positive fantasies can stop us from realizing our goals.
  • How to visualize in a way that increases your rate of real-life success.
  • When, if ever, is it okay to engage in happy daydreams?
  • The difference between mental contrasting and the law of attraction.
  • What is the one question to ask yourself during your daydream?
  • And so much more…

Visualization and the law of attraction have been touted as the way to make your dreams come true. But does it actually work? Can you just positively think your way to success? Not exactly according to our guest for today’s show, Dr. Gabriele Oettingen.

Dr. Oettingen explains how we should be rethinking positive thinking in a way that actually helps us and she explains a simple system to do so. All of that and more on this bonus episode of The Art of Charm.

(Direct Download)

More About This Show:

Dr. Gabriele Oettingen teaches at NYU and the University of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany. She worked with the founder of positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman, and has been fascinated by this work. She has long been a researcher and experimenter in the field of positive thinking and positive psychology.

In fact, she’s published a book about it called Rethinking Positive Thinking, and on today’s episode she explains why we need to take a critical look at our own positive thinking habits and implement her WOOP system to help us achieve better results.

Before we get into what WOOP, is it’s important to understand why we need her system. Research, including her own, has shown that when people positively visualize having achieved their outcome they are less likely to actually achieve it in real life. Now why would that be? Dr. Oettingen says it’s because they aren’t taking into account the challenges and hardships that must be endured to achieve that end goal.

So if you’re going to daydream and positively think about losing 20 pounds or being in the relationship of your dreams, you need to also think about the challenges you may face along the way.

And her four-part WOOP system spells out exactly how to do this:

1. W – Wish
Determine your wish. Decide what you want to go after and make it personal; make it a wish that is very dear to your heart and is a wish all of your own (not someone else’s).

2. O – Outcome
Think about your outcome. Ask yourself what’s the best possible outcome you can see when your wish comes true and how would you feel if you achieved this?

3. O – Obstacle
Identify the obstacle within you that gets in your way; there will be something or even multiple somethings so come up with them and be aware of them. Doing so will give you the energy and the impetus to persevere when the going gets tough.

4. P – Plan
And finally create a plan based on your dream and the obstacles that may get in your way to achieving that dream. It looks like this: If (fill in obstacle) then I will (action to overcome obstacle).

Dr. Oettingen also explains what mental contrasting is and why it’s so important to reaching our desired outcomes, and how we can catch ourselves if we find we’re only daydreaming. Special thanks to Dr. Oettingen for being with us, and thanks to all of you for listening in. We’ll see you next time on The Art of Charm.

THANKS, DR. GABRIELE OETTINGEN!

If you enjoyed this session of The Art of Charm Podcast, let Dr. Oettingen know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout out on Facebook:

Click here to thank Dr. Gabriele on Facebook!

Resources from this episode:

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AJ Harbinger - author of 1048 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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