When it comes to financial problems, a lot of people tell you to, “Think positive.” Heck, if you read and believe, “The Secret,” all you have to do to be rich is to think positively. There’s some validity in this advice (although simply thinking about how much money you want will probably never make you rich). If you think positively you’re able to see the good in bad situations. Even when your finances are a mess, thinking positively may mean that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Positive thoughts can keep you working toward your goals even when it seems hopeless.
On the other side of the coin are the people who tell you that it doesn’t matter how you think inside your own head. What matters is what you say to those around you. The theory goes that you can privately think things are a mess, but you never let others see how bad it is. You talk up your successes and keep your failures private. By talking a good game, you make good things happen (that’s the theory, anyway). If you’re outright lying, though, in your effort to be so positive, you’re going to create more problems.
I think the best advice lies in combining the two. You want to both think and talk positively. Whether you’re trying to dig yourself out of deep hole or save for a great vacation, you never want to get mired in defeatism and negativity. You can’t afford to be giving yourself or others conflicting messages, either. If you’re telling yourself positive things but speaking only in negative terms, you’re going to create a problem for yourself. The same is true if you’re speaking positively but thinking negatively. The best you can hope for in either case is a neutral attitude. To succeed financially you need to be completely positive.
Here are some potential problems that can crop up if you allow yourself to become negative or beat yourself up either verbally or non-verbally.
You get sick more often: People who are negative get sick more often than optimistic people. Prolonged negativity can even lead to depression. When you’re sick you can’t work or do much of anything else. You have no energy or ability to do anything to get your finances in order. When you’re well it’s much easier to do what needs to be done.
People like you more: No, you’re not looking to be the popular kid in school. Positive people are just easier to be around. If you’re looking for a job or promotion, the person who talks positively is an easier hire than the person who hates everything and everyone. A positive person likely gets out more and goes to more networking events where they might meet people who can help them start that business or find a job. Furthermore, their positive energy makes people want to help them. Most people just want to get away from a chronically negative person.
What you say in your head often becomes what happens: If you’re trying to keep your negativity all in your head while talking a good game, be aware that thoughts tend to be more powerful than speech. If you think it you’re likely to believe it. Simply saying something doesn’t make it true. You want to think positively so that your positive thoughts generate positive speech. Then your whole attitude is one of optimism and positivity.
Honesty is important: You may tell your family that you’re financially fine, that things are great, and you’re a big success. That’s a great attitude but if it’s not true and you’re the only one worrying about how bad things really are, you’re creating problems for yourself. How does your spouse know to stop spending so much unless you tell the truth? How do your kids know that they can’t ask for everything under the sun? You can talk a great game but at some point you have to be honest. Optimistic, but honest.
You may spend more, not less: This one is a corollary to number 4, above. The problem with talking positively when things aren’t really great is that it can lead to extra spending as you try to maintain the image that your mouth is creating. If everything is so great, you don’t want people to see you can’t really afford lunch out so you go out, knowing in your head that you can’t afford it.
You probably won’t get rich just by talking and thinking positively; there’s usually actual work involved. However, you do make it easier to get your finances together when you stay positive. You make it easier for others to want to help you. You make it easier to help yourself because you retain the energy necessary to do what needs to be done. You make it easier for your family to get on board because they know the truth of the situation and can stop undermining you. When you’re trying to get your finances in order, create a completely positive outlook that combines both positive (honest, but positive) speech and positive thoughts.