Proof for the Power of Positive Thinking

The correlation between positive thinking and positive results has been observed for centuries, but sociologist Robert K. Merton formalized the idea when he coined the term self-fulfilling prophecy. Merton wrote, “The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true.”

What Robert Merton identified is nothing more than the power of positive thinking. By choosing a positive attitude in every situation, you unleash a power in your life. You influence yourself and others in constructive ways. As a result, you shape your reality by the thoughts you think.

A Positive Attitude Creates a Positive Identity

When you choose a positive attitude, you create a positive identity for yourself. Are you a lackey or a trusted assistant? Are you a beleaguered single mom or a strong, empowered woman? Are you a defeated businessperson who can’t seem to get a break, or are you an energetic, innovative, entrepreneur closing in on success?

The answer is up to you. It lies completely within your power to define your identity. You are what you think you are. And you can become whatever your believe you can be. Choose to think positively about yourself.

A Positive Attitude Improves Your Health

A team of researchers who studied more than five thousand workers concluded that “people with a highly optimistic life orientation experience daily events in a more positive way and expect more positive outcomes than pessimists.” They noted that “highly optimistic individuals appear to attract supportive social relationships, use adaptive coping strategies, and have different health habits than pessimists.”

The research suggests that a positive outlook reduces the risk of health problems after experiencing a negative life event, and promotes faster recovery. You aren’t imagining it; when you think more positively, you actually do feel better.

Choose to think positively about your circumstances.

A Positive Attitude Creates Possibilities

The self-fulfilling prophecy has a counterpart called a self-defeating prophecy. When you believe you will be defeated, you almost certainly will be. But when you believe that anything is possible, something probably will be.
Opportunities come to the person who looks for them, who believes that no situation is hopeless, and who expects some good result is bound to occur. When you adopt a positive outlook, you create your own possibilities.

Choose to think positively about your future.

A Positive Attitude Wins Friends

As the researchers in the study noted above and point out, optimistic people attract supporting social networks. That’s scientific proof that happy people more easily win friends and influence people, as if we needed proof of that. Intuitively, you know this is true.

When you adopt a positive attitude, you will begin to gather like-minded people around you. You will find yourself surrounded by positive thinkers, doers, and high achievers; they will inspire, encourage, and help you, both with the problems you face in life and with the dreams you hope to fulfill. Adopting a positive attitude is the first step to building the momentum you need to move into the future you’d like to create for yourself.

All that said, a positive attitude without a positive faith will result in positive failure!

How has a positive attitude improved your life? I’d love to hear about it! Share your answer on Facebook or Twitter.



1Robert K. Merton, “The Self-fulfilling Prophecy,” The Antioch Review 8 (2), Summer 1948, 195. Antioch Review, Inc.: 193–210. doi:10.2307/4609267.

2Mika Kivimäki, et al, “Optimism and Pessimism as Predictors of Change in Health After Death or Onset of Severe Illness in Family,” Health Psychology, 2005, Vol. 24, No. 4, 413.


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For anyone feeling frazzled, stressed, confused, hurt, or angry, Stan Toler offers a winning combination of hilarious and poignant reminders that God is still at work—and that he’s 100% faithful.