Trans4mind Home Page
~ A Journey of Self-Discovery ~

Learned Pessimism or Intentional Optimism

By Philip Humbert

I suspect I've written about the importance of taking conscious, intentional, systematic and effective control of our thoughts and moods at least 100 times over the years. Whatever the number, I'm writing about it more frequently in the past couple of years.

The 19th century philosopher and psychologist, William James, wrote that, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." Hundreds, if not thousands of leaders, teachers, gurus and philosophers have pointed to the same truth.

It runs through Napoleon Hill's famous book, "Think and Grow Rich" from the 1930's. In the 1950's, Earl Nightingale made his famous recording (on old, 78 rpm records!) called, "The Greatest Secret." In 1962, Normal Vincent Peale wrote, "The Power of Positive Thinking." In the 70's and 80's, my mentor, Jim Rohn, and his colleagues and competitors, Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar built entire careers on this same "discovery." A long list of folks have discovered this "secret" goes back to Aristotle and continues to the modern discovery of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

But, and this is important, there are at least two major groups who are getting rich with an alternative point of view. Specifically, I'm thinking of the billions of dollars spent (and made) with "hip-hop" and "rap" music on the one hand, and the modern news media on the other.

One group glorifies a wide variety of dead-end activities, from drug use to brutal misogyny, criminal behavior and narcissism. Some of their lyrics and message are truly awful, evil and destructive. Fortunately, however, I suspect they are not a major source of entertainment for most readers.

I consider the other group to be even more destructive. We are bombarded with 24-hour news and what passes as entertainment. Most American households receive multiple 24-hour cable news channels. We receive news and opinion via Twitter, newsletter, websites and on our phones.

All day long, our minds are flooded with ads to buy gold and silver because our world is about to end. We hear about wars and epidemics, the danger of a thousand daily dangers, bad medicines ("Call now!"), and of course, there's the issue of climate change that will kill us all, if radiation from our cell phones doesn't get us first.

In the midst of this, we try to "climb the ladder" and "get ahead" through hard work, dedication, innovation and personal discipline.

We try to have "hope for the future" while a thousand voices tell us to "be afraid, be very afraid." We try to focus on our values and our priorities, while alarm bells and buzzers scream in our ears and good-looking, authoritative news anchors tell us the sky is falling and we're all about to die.

And yet, in the midst of all this noise, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." What's a person to do?

I've been a "news junkie" all my life. I started reading the daily paper in grade school (my Dad quizzed us at the dinner table). I take exaggerated pride in knowing about Putin and Ukraine, about the mudslide in Washington, the missing jet in Malaysia and the tragedy at Fort Hood. Some people follow sports; I follow politics and economics. And everyone follows the Kardashians!

Well. Here's a news-flash: Turn it off!

No, I'm not suddenly in favor of ignorance, but I am in favor of controlling the "stuff" that goes into your mind. I believe in the old saying "GIGO"--"Garbage In, Garbage Out."

If we let our thinking be dominated by the latest "breaking news" or "bright, shiny object," we can't help being distracted, confused, anxious or even immobilized. Instead, I suggest reviewing your goals, every day. Read something inspiring or listen to motivational audio programs. Every day. Hang out with positive, creative, loving people. Every day. Consider and re-write your top values and most important priorities--every single day!

We inevitably become, and our lives reflect, what we think about all day long.

A while back, the Apostle Paul put it this way: "Finally... whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (Phil. 4:8) Seems like pretty good advice!

Dr Humbert is a Success Strategist, author and popular speaker. Imagine what's possible! To inquire about having him speak to your group or organization, or to schedule an initial coaching consultation, contact him or visit his site at Philip

More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

Good info on many topics:

Want to renew your life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of holistic personal development...
Start off with a Free Life Assessment and a Free Consultation...

Have a question about Trans4mind Training?

Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Our Fees?
Email Peter Shepherd

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Hypnosis is the key to unlocking your creativity, focusing your energy and understanding yourself

Hypnosis has a long history of helping human beings be the very best they can be. It can be used to control anything controlled by the unconscious mind - pain, blood pressure, fear, confidence levels, mood, sex drive... the list goes on:

  1. You'll become highly productive without getting stressed
  2. Tap into your creative energies instantly
  3. Really understand yourself and others
  4. You'll learn how to stay calm in high pressure or uncomfortable situations
  5. Develop laser-like levels of focus and concentration

Lean more... Uncommon Hypnosis Course

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
And here's a fantastic resource for self-education...

The World of Inspiration eLibrary

World of Inspiration
A treasure trove of personal development wisdom

Step inside. Just like a real library, there are thousands of quality eBooks presented on three "floors" and in different "rooms." To purchase your $15 Lifetime Membership to the World of Inspiration eLibrary, click the following button:

Payment is made through our secure transaction agent, PayPal.
The transaction is in the language and currency of your choice.
"I want to just say 'WOW!' This collection is probably the best money I ever spent! I've already received many times over in personal enrichment after just 9 days. I've had a past metaphysical background, but even newcomers to this material will really benefit. Thanks again." ~ J.S. (Pennsylvania, USA)
"The collection is everything which you promised. And more! A superb contribution to the good of the world. Many thanks indeed." ~ R.P. (Georgia, USA)
"Just a short note of thanks for the library. I've only had membership for several days now but I already feel this is perhaps the most interesting compilation I have yet seen. Worth far more than the price of admission. The browser linked structure works well and makes it easy to manage such a large storehouse of information. It is rarely that I find something I like as much as this or that I feel strongly enough to write a note like this." ~ P.W. (Minnesota, USA)
Copyright © 1997-2017 Trans4mind Ltd