Some recent events got me to thinking about things like positive thinking versus negative thinking, optimism versus pessimism and similar "versus" subjects.

The other day I read an amusing rebuttal to Robert Anton Wilson's contention that "only optimists get things done." As the writer was reading this, he was being besieged by mosquitoes after having tried a "natural" mosquito repellent. His optimism about the repellent was proven unfounded, so he went back to using a repellent that worked. The moral? It isn't "only" optimists that get things done. Pessimism ultimately led the writer to find a solution that worked.

I live in Cambodia. There has been an influx of "sexpats" from Thailand in recent years and, in my opinion, they are the lowest form of life. When one of them tried to mess with a female member of my family and I got furious, I, with the help of my family, friends and the local police, was able to do something about it. My anger was an essential component of the solution because it compelled me to step out of my safety zone and act, but my ability to switch the anger off enabled me to participate in positive action to resolve the issue.

I'm pretty negative about the direction my home country, the United States, is going. Like a drunk on a barstool, muttering into his beer mug, for a time I did nothing about it. My excuse was that I don't have authority or a following, so taking the time to write about my stance on important issues would be a waste of time. Then I read a technically not very well written but passionate article on Hub Pages. I commented that I thought it was very courageous of the writer to speak out and although he may have only a handful of readers, if others like him also expressed their views and backed them up with convincing facts as he had, collectively they could make a difference.

It came as a surprise to me that I had just given advice I should listen to. At the same time, it occurred to me that I was a positive thinker. This, too, came as a surprise. Whenever I hear that expression, I have a negative reaction based on previous experience and observations, because a shallow interpretation of "positive thinking" can lead to disastrous results. I've seen people come out of self help seminars all psyched up,determined to make their dreams come true, only to fail miserably because they refused to let pessimism give them a reality check. This kind of optimist would just spray more of that "natural" mosquito repellent on himself rather than look for a more effective solution.

Why do I think I'm a positive thinker? Because positive solutions come to me, in spite of my proclivities towards negativity. This wasn't always so. I used to try to employ self help techniques in order to try to keep myself in what I perceived to be a positive frame of mind, but they only worked occasionally and sometimes had negative results. Then, about ten years ago, I learned a little secret about the brain. In retrospect, I realise that by learning to "switch on" the more evolved parts of my brain, I've been finding appropriate solutions to problems and responding more appropriately to unexpected situations than I ever did in the past.

I've published the "secret" on my website, so if you're interested, take a look. Everything you need to know is there and it's all free. It takes about 10 minutes to read the article and less than 10 seconds to start using the technique. It works for me. Maybe it will work for you, too. Click here and you're there.

Author's Bio: 

Rob Schneider is a writer who uses his website, A Cookbook of Consciousness to explore consciousness.