The limits of positive thinking — and why action matters

Take the example above. When it comes to what your coworker is really thinking or doing, you don’t know. You probably never will. And it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you change your actions toward that person — how you respond to what they say and do.

In other words, it matters less what you think (or daydream) about their behavior and more about how you actively respond to it in the real world.

When you start to do this consistently, here’s what will happen, Goulston writes:

“The people who truly are negative may come around, at least a little. And the people who aren’t truly negative — the ones you’ve been undefined — will respond to your new behavior with relief, gratitude, and warmth. And occasionally, you may discover that the irrational person in the relationship was actually you.”

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