A Zen Master Explains Why “Positive Thinking” Is Terrible Advice

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Have you ever tried to force yourself to be positive all the time?

Thoughts and intentions really DO create your reality, and there’s one scientific experiment proving that. But do you really think that positive thinking is just doing magic all by itself?

Positive thinking is a new philosophy. It was written in Think and Grow Rich and How to win Friends and Influence People with good intentions, but positive thinking is bulls*it theory to a well-known zen master, Osho.

Why positive thinking won’t always help you out

When Osho was asked what does he think of the “positive thinking” movement, he said that it’s doing more harm than good. Why? Because it means we’re denying reality and being dishonest to ourselves:

“The philosophy of positive thinking means being untruthful; it means being dishonest. It means seeing a certain thing and yet denying what you have seen; it means deceiving yourself and others.”

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“Positive thinking is the only bullshit philosophy that America has contributed to human thought – nothing else. Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and the Christian priest, Vincent Peale – all these people have filled the whole American mind with this absolutely absurd idea of a positive philosophy.

And it appeals particularly to mediocre minds…

Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, has been sold in numbers just next to the Christian Bible. No other book has been able to reach that popularity.

The Christian Bible should not be a competitor in fact, because it is more or less given free, forced on people. But Dale Carnegie’s book people have been purchasing; it has not been given to you free. And it has created a certain kind of ideology which has given birth to many books of a similar kind. But to me it is nauseating.

… Dale Carnegie started this whole school of positive philosophy, positive thinking: Don’t see the negative part, don’t see the darker side. But by your not seeing it, do you think it disappears? You are just befooling yourself. You cannot change reality. The night will still be there; you can think that it is daytime for twenty-four hours, but by your thinking it, it is not going to be light twenty-four hours a day.

The negative is as much part of life as the positive. They balance each other.”

He also used this opportunity to throw shade at the enormously popular book Think and Grow Rich:

“About Napoleon Hill I remember… he himself was a poor man. That would have been enough proof to disprove his whole philosophy. He became rich by selling the book, Think and Grow Rich.

But it was not positive thinking that was making him rich – it was fools around the world who were purchasing the book, it was his work, his labor, his effort. But in the very beginning days, when his book came out, he used to stand in bookstores to persuade people to purchase the book.

And it happened that Henry Ford came in his latest model car and went into the bookshop to find something light to read. And Napoleon Hill did not want to miss this chance. He went forwards with his book and he said, “A great book has just been published – you will be happy with it. And it is not only a book, it is a sure method of success.”

Henry Ford looked at the man and said, “Are you the writer of the book?”

Napoleon Hill said proudly, “Yes, I am the writer of the book.” And he can be proud: that book he has written is a piece of art. And to create a piece of art out of crap is real mastery.

Henry Ford, without touching the book, just asked one question, “Have you come in your own car or on the bus?”

Napoleon Hill could not understand what he meant. He said, “Of course, I came on the bus.”

Henry Ford said, ”Look outside. That is my private car, and I am Henry Ford. You are befooling others; you don’t have even a private car and you write a book called Think and Grow Rich! And I have grown rich without thinking, so I don’t want to bother with it. You think and grow rich! – and when you grow rich then you come to me. That will be the proof. The book is not the proof.”

And it is said that Napoleon Hill never could gather up the courage to meet this old man, Henry Ford, again, even though he became a little richer. But compared to Henry Ford he was always a poor man and was bound to remain a poor man, always. But Henry Ford’s logic was clear.

No. I do not believe in any philosophy of positive thinking.”

Watch Also: Ancient Mystic Explains The COMPLETE Truth About The Pineal Gland (The Third Eye)

The half-truth is dangerous

Osho says that forcing yourself to think positive all the time is simply denying the reality of our lives, and it will eventually come around and bite us:

“You ask me: Am I against positive philosophy? Yes, because I am also against negative philosophy.

I have to be against both because both choose only half the fact, and both try to ignore the other half.

And remember: a half-truth is far more dangerous than a whole lie, because the whole lie will be discovered by you sooner or later. How long can it remain undiscovered by you? A lie, of course, is a lie; it is just a palace made of playing cards – a little breeze and the whole palace disappears.

But the half-truth is dangerous. You may never discover it, you may continue to think it is the whole truth. So the real problem is not the whole lie, the real problem is the half-truth pretending to be the whole truth; and that is what these people are doing.”

The negative ideas of your mind have to be released, not repressed

Osho goes onto say that it’s harmful to repress negative emotions:

“The negative ideas of your mind have to be released, not repressed by positive ideas. You have to create a consciousness which is neither positive nor negative. That will be the pure consciousness.

In that pure consciousness you will live the most natural and blissful life…

You don’t like a person, you don’t like many things; you don’t like yourself, you don’t like the situation you are in. All this garbage goes on collecting in the unconscious, and on the surface a hypocrite is born, who says, “I love everybody, love is the key to blissfulness.” But you don’t see any bliss in that person’s life. He is holding the whole of hell within himself.

He can deceive others, and if he goes on deceiving long enough, he can deceive himself too. But it won’t be a change. It is simply wasting life – which is immensely valuable because you cannot get it back.

Positive thinking is simply the philosophy of hypocrisy – to give it the right name. When you are feeling like crying, it teaches you to sing. You can manage if you try, but those repressed tears will come out at some point, in some situation. There is a limitation to repression. And the song that you were singing was absolutely meaningless; you were not feeling it, it was not born out of your heart.”

Original source: The Power of Ideas


  1. Abe Heuer

    May 14, 2017 at 3:56 PM

    I’m totally with you on this Osho.

  2. Jayvon

    May 14, 2017 at 5:01 PM

    I have not read this book that the article pertains to. I do not think Henry Ford is a great example, using his idea of owning a private car as a success story. This is a big problem for everyone to believe we must own a private car in order to be happy with our lives. Positive ideas can be utilized to transform relationships whether it be coworker, friend, relative, or spouse. My experience with positive work does not ignore the reality of the negative. It teaches not to focus on what we do not want but to focus on what we do want and follow through by taking the necessary steps to achieve these ideas. Henry Ford and the idea of every person having a private car is the worst example to use when we have pipe line crisis in our country. Positively the idea that we all need material to be successful is going to be the end of humanity.

  3. Luckygirl

    May 16, 2017 at 4:36 AM

    I’ve noticed myself how some people show their positivity to others and therefore people actually think they’re the greatest example of a nice person. But the thing is that everyone cannot stay “up” all the time. Everyone has negativity in them too. No one is totally positive all the time. Still, some people portray themselves as continuously positive in front of others while hiding their own negativity. They want to be thought of as positive maybe so people will think well of them. I used to hide all negative from everyone too so I relate to what is being said in this article. I still hide some but not all. I know the importance of expressing anger and negativity and how much of a release it is. Knowing that revealed to me that negativity does need its release and showing it is not a bad thing. Its part of us and we’d do well to learn to live with both of those opposites in our lives…rather than hide one and show the other….which is in large part meaning that one is living in pretense. I’ve known this for a long time and I’m still myself unlearning this conditioning I’ve grown up with. My intention is living as authentically as possible. I don’t think anyone can really be totally authentic every second of their life. Everybody doesn’t like everybody else and there are things we don’t like, things we disagree with and I’ve known this too. I mention it now and again in my journal and how prevalent it is that most people live in pretense. I could see it because I’m still partially living this way myself yet. I’ve had an attitude of honesty for the most part from a young age and moved away from that for a long time and now returning to more of it again. I believe Osho. There’s a lot that can be said about this topic. For myself I want to live my truth and it includes negative with the positive. I feel better this way knowing I’m living as honestly and as truthfully as possible.

  4. anna

    May 16, 2017 at 11:11 AM

    I am with Osho
    I thought that book how to win friends and influence people is untrue, however it might work on a tangible world

  5. Richard Wizzle

    May 16, 2017 at 5:51 PM

    Guess this is taking Positive Thinking out of context! I have read quite many books on positive thinking and the philosophy they propagate is not ignoring the negatives but rather looking at the positives that many times drive along with the negatives. Of course there are plenty extreme approaches to this subject, but discounting it on the basis that Henry Ford could not buy into it, is another cowardly and somewhat lack of sense of self drive.

  6. No nonsense

    May 16, 2017 at 6:22 PM

    My thoughts exactly. I get nauseous every time I hear the “positive thinking” movement. Thinking will not help you, taking action will. I know people who are living in poverty simply because they just wish for things and never move a finger to help themselves. Wish away, folks. Wish your life away.

  7. 5OfNovmeber

    May 16, 2017 at 7:16 PM

    With Osho totally

  8. Theo

    May 17, 2017 at 1:40 PM

    Bad things happen all the time, positive thinking has a broad meaning. For me it entails recognizing that bad things happen (negativity) and realizing that there are some things which can’t be fixed, I don’t let such negativity weigh me down, instead after feeling the hurt and settling my emotions, venting anger, shedding tears, apologizing to whomsoever, I pick myself up and do something meaningful with my life (positive thinking!). I have not read said book, but yes, one can remain positive despite all odds, afterall it is a beautiful world.

  9. shane goudreau

    May 18, 2017 at 4:59 PM

    Be yourself is all that you can do .

  10. Mario

    September 2, 2017 at 1:16 AM

    The two main forces we can experience in life are the opposites of everything. To stress on one side such as the positive more so than the negative is not a good idea. The end result is that people eventually try ignoring the negative. A daily situation of contracting influenza during the cold winter season, is a clear case of having a negative force that makes us sick with an infection. But this negative health condition also creates antibodies and eventually immunity against a virus, thus creating a positive outcome. Feeling healthy is an ideal state but is not a realistic expectation in life. This is an example of how one condition namely negative health condition is a normal way to build up antibodies that eventually will provide us not only with good health but also will teach us how to avoid being sick too often.

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