- Say “I can,” instead of “I can’t.”
- Think positive and positive things will happen!
- Tell yourself: “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.”
- When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force which brings you the best.
Do these positive-thinking quotes strike you as a bunch of hooey? Me, too. They’re the sort of messages you can find on motivational posters (#1 and #2) or in the book The Power of Positive Thinking (#3 and #4). The issue I have with them might best be summed up in another quote, this one from the spiritual author Richard Rohr:
Life is not, nor ever has been, a straight line forward.
The fact is as we walk down the road that is our life, no one ever has the perfect trip. We hit pits in the road and stumble. We come upon roadblocks and find our desired path inaccessible. Or we discover, sometimes late in life, that we are on the wrong path altogether—forcing us to circle back and locate the path we were meant to be on.
So I suppose the problem I have with a lot of “positive thinking” quotes is that they don’t recognize that life can be messy. And there’s more to succeeding in life than simply having a positive mind set. Sure, it’s a great place to start. But we need to add characteristics like patience and perseverance and having the intuition to know when to take action and when to wait.
That may explain why it was with some hesitation I picked up a book with a handsome handmade cover titled The Language of Positive Thinking from Blue Mountain Press. While there are plenty of quotes on how enthusiasm and optimism can make life better, I like the ones that put life in its proper perspective. They offer sunshine with the acknowledgement that life often includes a cloud or two. Here are my favorites, lightly edited.
7 Quotes for the Semi-Positive Thinker
The roads any of us choose to follow are never free of bumps or curves,
But eventually the turns lead to a smoother path ahead.
We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success.
Trust that there’s a divine plan, that we don’t always know what’s best for us. A disappointment now could mean a victory later.
Hope is not the closing of your eyes to the difficult, the risk, or the failure.
It is a trust that if I fail now, I shall not fail forever; and if I am hurt, I shall be healed.
Positive thinking is not the destination; it is the journey. An optimistic person will constantly be challenged—by external circumstances as well as inner fear and doubts. Always remember that these tests are like a ladder you must climb. As you climb higher, your optimism and confidence grows.
Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
You are in charge of your attitude.
You have choice. You can select joy over despair. You can select action over apathy. You can select growth over stagnation. You can select you. And you can select life.