I recently wrote an article on How to Live a Good Life by Doing Your True Will, and you might have noticed that nothing in that post refers to thoughts, beliefs, or the power of mind. This is because these concepts are hugely overrated and commonly misused.
What makes thoughts useful is that they can be structured by reason to make plans and solve problems. Likewise, beliefs are useful if they map on to reality. And the power of mind? Well, there are psychological mechanisms like placebo effects and self-fulfilling prophecies, but they are not what most people mean when they give their advice to “think positively,” “follow the law of attraction,” and “change your beliefs to change your reality.”
Your reality does not exist; only reality exists, and the rest is delusion. If you tell yourself, “I’m strong and beautiful,” this doesn’t change the reality of who you are.1 But having such a thought is odd anyways. In fact, all self-help beliefs are odd: “I am confident,” “I will be rich,” “I can do this.” They are all centered on the ego.
While I would rather think positively about myself than negatively, I find thinking about myself useless altogether. To repeat, what makes thoughts useful is that they can be structured by reason to make plans and solve problems. Therefore, useful thoughts are not self-centered, but focused on ideas, plans, problems, and solutions.
The solution to the negative thought “I’m such a loser” or “I’m not good enough” is not to think positively about how you are actually a good enough winner. Rather, the solution is either to stop thinking, or to think about how to become a winner, that is, to set a goal and make a plan. Instead of changing your beliefs to feel better about yourself, why not exert willpower to work on yourself so that your accurate belief about reality naturally becomes more positive without you having to talk yourself into positivity?
The path of mindcoolness is not to transform negative self-talk into positive self-talk, but to empty your mind of all self-talk, using your thoughts only for other-talk (conversations), truth seeking, decision making, and problem solving. The rest be silence, stillness of mind.
See, the world is so full of experiences to take in without negative or positive judgment, so full of intelligent ideas to think through, and so full of meaningful purposes to pursue. Why fill your mind with beliefs about yourself if you can fill it with beliefs about the world around you? Why use your mind to think about how to change your mental states if you can think about how to do your True Will? So get your head out of your ass and get after what you want, directly, unmediated by positive thinking, and with full force of will.
- This is not necessarily true; see here.