Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 6, 2014

Community needs 'balanced thinkers'

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Dear Editor,

Feb. 28, 2014, appearing in Daily Iowegian, captioned “Chamber unveils program,” featuring an article in which the incoming president of the Chamber of Commerce, Dennis Peters revealed his proclivity for positivity, and intimates that the people who make up the life’s blood of this community should follow suit.

Six decades ago, Norman Vincent Peale, author of “The Power of Positive Thinking” was dispensing this same advice. Thinking positive is a deliberate effort to speak hopefully about everything.

Dec. 8-9, 2012, appearing in The Wall Street Journal, in the Saturday/Sunday edition was an article captioned “The Power of Negative Thinking,” sub-captioned “Both ancient philosophy and modern psychology suggest that darker thoughts can make us happier.”

This article was adapted from Mr. Burkeman’s book entitled “The Antidote - happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking,” published in November 2012 by Faber and Faber.

In part, he addresses the “positive thinking” proclivity. Variations of Peales philosophy runs deep in American culture, how we handle social situations, business, politics and beyond, yet studies suggest that peppy affirmations designed to lift moods, spirits and visualizing success often achieve the opposite of their intended effect, thus posing a psychological conundrum.

The ultimate value of the negative approach may not be it’s role in facilitating upbeat emotions or even success - it is simply realism!!

Research by Saras Sarasvathy, an associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia suggests that learning to accommodate feelings of uncertainty is the key to a more “balanced life.”

Regardless of your personal beliefs, realistically, it is the people that are the “balanced thinkers” that are the life’s blood of this community, not necessarily the “positive thinkers.”

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Cooprider