Reality Check: The Hard Work of Positive Thinking

When discouragement hits, it can be hard to imagine that you have any choice at all about how you feel. The total behaviour aspect of choice theory states that taking action of some sort is the most direct approach to changing a feeling. However, it’s not always easy to figure out what action to take.

Reading encouraging, positive books and articles can help you move your thoughts toward a more optimistic direction. I’ll suggest a few favourites from my own bookshelf; some are secular, others faith-based.

My first choice, of course, is Dr. Glasser’s recently released book, “Take Charge of Your Life,” a guide to the choice theory-based way to a satisfied life.

Now, some classics; in the 1950s, Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” was first published. It’s still an inspirational read today. Even before that, in the 1940s, Dale Carnegie published, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” While both those books make reference to a time long passed, the messages and suggestions are still helpful.

If you’d prefer something a little closer to the current decade, then you might try, “Happiness is a Serious Problem,” by Dennis Prager. It’s subtitled, “A Human Nature Repair Manual,” and Prager offers straightforward suggestions for activities and thoughts that can lead you toward a happy, satisfied life.  Another wonderfully short, direct “how-to” book is called “Make Today Count” by John Maxwell.

If your feelings of discouragement stem from a specific area of your life, then consider reading about how to actually solve the problem, rather than just trying to reduce your negative feeling about it. For example, if the issue is money, then one of Gail vaz Oxlade’s books might be in order. If it’s an issue of organizing your time or your life, try a book by Julie Morgenstern. If you have that confused feeling of not knowing who you are, then consider a personality type book, such as “Gifts Differing.” And if your concern is about choosing an occupation, try “What Color is Your Parachute?” or one of the many other career exploration books available.

If you’d like to get occasional inspirational email messages, here are two free newsletters that you might enjoy. You can get Dr. Joel Wade’s “Ideas for Living Well” at For a Choice Theory-oriented perspective, you can sign up for Bob Hoglund’s monthly articles at    And, of course, you can always reread any of my columns at

If money is one of your worries, remember that you don’t have to buy books to be able to read them. We have an outstanding local library service, where you can search the online catalog at If you can’t find what you want on the shelves, library staff are delighted to help find and bring books in for you.

What you choose to read, listen to, or watch on TV can really affect your outlook, your motivation, even how you interact with others. It’s worthwhile to choose carefully and with discrimination—feed your mind with thoughts that are helpful.

What are your favourite inspirational or motivational reading materials? Let me know

This entry was posted in Choosing Behaviour and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.