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August 22nd, 2018

All the motivational speakers are right: positive mental attitude helps. You will do virtually everything better if you have a positive outlook.


The positive mental attitude is just the start. Given a big enough, complex-enough task, and the positive mental attitude can lose it’s steam, sputter, and often require some recharge. Many go so far to say that motivation needs to be cultivated daily, and this is a good habit to figure out for one’s self.

But what else?

The analogy of someone banging at a wall in hopes of getting through it, versus the one who stands back to survey the whole wall and notice the door at the far end is a good one because it seems so accurate. So many people seem to be banging against walls in their lives. Many of them do it with healthy doses of positive mental attitude also. But if the wall is made of stone, or titanium, it’s going to take a cosmic amount of positive mental attitude to keep up the ridiculous act for any length of time. Too much positive mental attitude can even create blindness, as though it were the only answer. If I stay positive, I’ll get through this wall!

What’s better?

The experimental attitude.

Take an action. Receive feedback. Analyze the feedback and reassess the strategy. PERSEVERE OR PIVOT. Take new action. Repeat.

Step away from the wall. Look at the wall. The whole wall. Analyze the feedback.

Perhaps you didn’t notice that it’s only an arm’s length taller than you and all that’s required is one good pull-up? Or maybe there’s that door down the end. Would anyone really go back to banging on the wall? Even the most positive person would abandon their previous efforts.

Sadly, many of the walls in our lives, we have built ourselves, limiting ourselves, holding ourselves back.

Positive mental attitude certainly helps when the time comes to earnestly confront the walls that hold us back, self-made or not. But even better is to shift gears and LEVEL-UP.

Build an experimental attitude. All that’s required is curiosity.

What walls are you mindlessly banging against?


This episode references Episode 42: Level-Up, and Episode 72: Persevere vs. Pivot, if you’d like to fully explore the reference, please check out that episode next.

Check out the Tinkered Thinking   Reading List

Dive in to the Archives

Podcast Ep. 129: Positive Mental Attitude is Just First Gear

Tinkered Thinking

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