Rethinking Positive Thinking

Inside the New Science of Motivation
by Gabriele Oettingen | 240 pages

Gabriel Oettingen is one of the world’s leading researchers in “The New Science of Motivation.” The basic idea of the book is captured in a clever image on the cover: Rose colored glasses with one lens cracked. Oettingen walks us thru the compelling research that demonstrates the power of seeing both the positive AND the challenges. When we contrast our wishes with the obstacles to their attainment we, almost magically, catalyze an extraordinarily higher level of performance.


“What is your dearest wish? What dreams do you have for the future? What do you want to be or do? Imagine your dream coming true. How wonderful would it be. How fulfilling.

What holds you back from realizing your wish? What is it in you that stops you from really going for it?

Rethinking Positive Thinking is a book about wishes and how to fulfill them. It draws on twenty years of research in the science of motivation. And it presents a single, surprising idea: the obstacles that we think most impede us from realizing our deepest wishes can actually hasten their fulfillment.”

~ Gabriele Oettingen from Rethinking Positive Thinking

Gabriel Oettingen is one of the world’s leading researchers in (as per the sub-title), “The New Science of Motivation.”

A ton of positive psychologists reference her work—from Heidi Grant Halvorson in Succeed to Piers Steel in The Procrastination Equation.

The basic idea of the book is captured in a clever image on the cover: Rose colored glasses with one lens cracked.

Oettingen walks us thru the compelling research that demonstrates the power of seeing both the positive AND the challenges. When we contrast our wishes with the obstacles to their attainment we, almost magically, catalyze an extraordinarily higher level of performance.

Oettingen has been investigating this for 20 years and the book is packed with an array of research studies that she and her team have conducted to shine light on the various facets of the process. We also learn some practical tips on how to apply these ideas to our lives—learning about mental contrasting, implementation intentions and how to get our WOOP on (more on that in a moment!). (Get the book here.)

For now, I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas we can apply today so let’s jump straight in!

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About the author

Authors

Gabriele Oettingen

Author and Professor of Psychology at NYU and the University of Hamburg.