Personal growth is more than simply conditioning yourself to feel better about your life. While some people obviously require an attitudinal adjustment to make progress, the most favorable attitude for personal growth does not arise from self-delusional positive thinking. You do not need positive thinking for personal growth. You merely need intelligence.
If you find that your personal growth efforts are in conflict with what your intelligence is telling you, trust your own intelligence, despite of what anyone else says. There are 3 main components of intelligence as it relates to personal growth: self-trust, awareness, and fearlessness. Note that positive thinking is not one of them.
In the long run, it is more vital to learn to trust your own intelligence than it is to be right. At first, your self-trust may be misplaced. You may find that you make a lot of dumb decisions by trusting yourself ahead of people who seem to know more. But through the process of failure, you will eventually develop your intellectual capacity and increase your awareness, and soon your self-trust will be justified, and you will begin making some really empowering decisions that really generate results. The reason for self-trust becomes clear when you consider the alternative, which is never to fully trust yourself. You cannot really behave intelligently if you cannot trust your own decisions and act on them.
Trust your own intelligence, even when it does not seem warranted to do so. You won’t always be right, but you will learn from your mistakes, and soon your self-trust will be warranted. And that is when you will begin to shine – when you can trust yourself fully and be justified in doing so.
It a crucial component of intelligence. To make intelligent decisions, you need an accurate data. If you ignore valid data, you lower your awareness and thus your intelligence.
Positive thinking can decrease intelligence by lowering awareness. Instead of facing your real problems and challenges, you would try to write them off with confirmations. That is not the way to grow. It is better to face and accept the whole truth, even if you do not want what you see. A little pain now and then is not going to kill you.
Part of awareness involves acknowledging your weaknesses. There is only so much time to devote to personal growth, so we are humans cannot fix all our problems overnight. But we can make progress on the ones that matter most, that is if we acknowledge their existence.
This means living without fear or hesitation. There might be times when you have good reason to decline a situation, but this is the kind of decision that should be made intelligently based on opportunity and risk. Fear should not be part of the equation.
Fear has become such an integral part of our society that we’re expected to be afraid.
Moreover, fearlessness is not the same as courage. With courage you face fears, and that is a potent skill in its own right. But with fearlessness you never experience the emotional reaction of fear in the first place
Being afraid or nervous in situations where there is no real danger simply isn’t intelligent. Yet most people go through their whole lives avoiding situations because of irrational fear. We are socially conditioned to believe that it is normal and natural to be afraid in such situations. However there is nothing natural and normal about it at all. It’s common, but it is not our natural state to be afraid.
The solution to irrational fear is not to adopt positive thinking and try to overwrite the fear with affirmations. The real solution is to turn on our magnificent brains and dive more deeply into our fears in order to really understand them. If we could perceive reality accurately, we would be much less afraid.