Thursday 16 February 2012

Positive thinking stinks! Guest post by Paul McGee

I am very grateful to my colleague from the UK Paul McGee for this post.

Positive thinking stinks!

A harsh statement to make, but one I genuinely believe is true, if people delude themselves into believing that positive thinking alone is all that's required to meet life's challenges. It's not a bad starting point, but if it doesn't lead to you taking action then I believe we're actually deceiving ourselves. Let's be clear, it's not the thought that counts - it's the action taken that makes the difference.

In my experience there are several reasons why people don't take action. Here are three of them. Which can you relate to?

Avoiding discomfort

Some people have convinced themselves that doing something uncomfortable must be avoided at all costs. Here's the deal: Comfort never produced greatness. It's when we move out of our comfort zone that real growth and learning can take place.

Action illusion

This happens when we appear to be busy but actually confuse activity with effectiveness. It's like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Frankly I'm not impressed by people who wear their busyness like a badge of honour. But I am impressed by the people who get the right things done.

Fear of failure

My book proposal for SUMO (Shut Up, Move On) was rejected by 12 publishers. It's now sold over 50,000 copies in the UK alone (and no they weren't all bought by my Mum). I think I'd rather look back on life and sigh "Oh well" if things didn't go as well as planned than look back with regret and ask "What if?" It's really difficult to know the joy of success if you're not willing to encounter the pain of failure. And trust me, the pain doesn't last - but the lessons do.

So with one month of 2012 already consigned to history let's make sure that we're not just relying on positive thinking to achieve our goals, but positive action. Perhaps it's time to Shut Up the excuses and Move On to the action. Agree?

Paul McGee is The SUMO Guy.

Paul has not only written great books, more he is a great human being and a wonderful speaker, so much so that I have had him speak to my clients!

Paul is based in the United Kingdom and can be contacted at
Telephone: +44 (0) 1925 268708

1 comment:

Liz Blake said...

Thanks for the great points from McKinsey, Ian.

As you say, change is foremost and primarily about people. The fact that leadership largely takes low ownership of this, points directly at why there is so much stalling in change.

Compare change in business to a far more radical scenario - a family splits up. This is profound change from every angle.

Do the parents turn to managing the artifacts around the change, or focus on walking their children through it and supporting them in the conundrum? I think we all know what is going to make the difference! Business is no different.