Skepticism and Positive Thinking

“Be realistic; you are not going to make any money with an online business”. Have you heard that one or anything like it? Have you said it to yourself? Starting your own business on the Internet is just a fantasy; You know that, right?

I’m not going to make any apologies for repeating, “be careful what you say to yourself; you are listening”. You will come across this in other posts.

The thing is, we live in a society where we favour evidence and concrete findings and sometimes, that is indeed helpful. Gone are the days (most of the time) when somebody could sell us something with a few amazing claims and expect us to play ball on their terms. Before we believe, we are inclined to doubt. Like I said, that can be a good thing but there is also an argument that it can derail potential success because the train never gets out of the station.

I’m sure we can all agree that adopting positive thinking is a good thing and expecting positive results in all that we do is good in theory. But sometimes we encounter obstacles, the spark fades, we lose motivation and fall into the pit of skepticism or, septicism as I like to call it because it’s highly infectious if not treated.

The inner-sceptic is great at asking tough questions:

  • Does this really work?
  • Can I do this?
  • Is this realistic?

It can also prevent us from embracing positive thinking and the benefits it provides. So, how can we find a balance and stop our inner-sceptic from shutting the door on what we want or deserve?


The inner-sceptic thrives on the sensible and rational. Applied to our thinking it could be argued that we need some sort of balance to keep us in check. Well, dwelling on negative thoughts doesn’t help either, there’s no balance to be had with that. Yet can we argue that there’s such a thing as ‘too positive’? What comes to mind here is someone who is a bit naïve or out-of-touch with reality. I’ve heard that one before. Hopefully then, our inner-sceptic will bring some grounding and balance out the blindly optimistic positives and the pessimistic negatives. That said, there are always exceptions that make us rethink the rule.

Can You Think of Anybody Who Has Defied the Odds or Done the Impossible?

Blowing my own trumpet; I have. A doctor told me I wouldn’t walk again. Do you fancy racing me down a mountain on skis or mountain bike? I smashed the odds.

Richard Branson got Virgin Atlantic off the ground despite massive odds and he bought and developed an island when he didn’t have money or the means to do it.

I’m sure you can think of a few of your own and, I ask; Can we claim to know what is realistic in every circumstance?

Positive Thinking Leads to Freedom

Our desires, ambitions and positive outlook do not need to be slaves to our inner-sceptic. I saw a comment yesterday arguing that the Wealthy Affiliate network is the fantasy world and the “job” the real deal. Clearly the inner-sceptic there doesn’t understand how it can fit into a different reality. Yet, the joy and benefit of positive thinking are far beyond the limitations that the inner-sceptic argues as it relies on objective senses and intellect to understand what is possible. Yet the intellect doesn’t know all, there is much to learn as science repeatedly shows us with proven research into the way things are done. Intellect is limited.

Positive thinking enables us to go beyond our intellect by allowing us to expand our limits to other ways of knowing and possibility.

Being Receptive

We can’t claim to have an absolute understanding of all that’s possible in this universe but if we let go of limited ideas about what is realistic by changing the way we look at things, like Wayne Dyer said, “the things we look at will change”. A challenge for the inner-sceptic.

But like with my own and the Richard Branson example, if we embrace positivism and place ourselves in a position of receptivity, impressive changes can become our reality. But this doesn’t mean we have to completely shut out intellect or rationality; allow their expression without absolute control. Just remember though that positivism can’t control everything; Can you make a pot of gold appear out of nowhere?

Thinking about things differently is one solution. Humans continue to evolve and discover amazing new things for our benefit. A computer software programmer doesn’t just rely on numbers to create their next great package. Does it take just one tool to build a house?

What’s Stopping You?

When it comes to skepticism:

  • What is really behind the challenges to your positive thinking?
  • Is it impatience that the process is taking a while to see success?
  • Fear of failure?
  • Doubt?

But Know This

Your so-called failures are not the end of the journey unless you decide that they are. Every failure contains learning and growth opportunities that can lead to stronger resilience and new-found positivism to go after what we truly desire. Do it and see what happens is the way to positivism but it does require real work and commitment for as long as it takes. We need to learn how to adapt to the setbacks as we go. But it doesn’t mean we can’t have off days or go for extended mountain bike rides as I do to clear my head.

Almost everything we do in life relates to securing happiness in one way or another. Jobs, our business, relationships, where we want to live . . . all based on what will make us happy and to attain happiness, a positive view of our world that harmonizes with our raison d’être (reason for being) can only work in our favour.


“Deal with the difficult while it is easy.

Begin great works while they are small.

Certainly the earth does difficult work with ease,

And accomplishes great affairs from small beginnings”.

(Lao Tzu – The Tao Te Ching)

Comments and Questions

Please leave yours below. Your thoughts or questions may well ignite a positive spark in another readers thinking. You will always receive a prompt response to your questions and there is no such thing as a bad question; only the one that was never asked.

Seasons Greetings

Steve Costello is a British Community & Youth Studies and Psychology honors graduate with over 30-years theoretical and practical experience in the Personal Development public and private sectors. He founded ExGro in 2018 with friend and clinical psychologist, Leo Faerberg.

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