Critical Thinking vs. Positive Thinking for entrepreneurs

Originally posted on June 30, 2017, by John Tucker

I often tell people that I’m not a positive thinker nor a negative thinker, but that I’m a critical thinker. Having been a business professional for nearly 11 years, I can confidently say that my success has been founded on my ability to conduct critical analysis and efficient strategic planning.

I believe the concepts of positive or negative thinking are subjective, with different connotations depending upon the eye of the beholder and the agenda of the individual. But to be a critical thinker is to have the ability to provide objective analysis in order to form a precise judgment of a situation. You would list out the pluses and minuses, risks and rewards, and potential gains and losses. In other words, you define the potential positives and negatives of a situation, with all of the facts laid out on the table. It’s from those facts, data, research, and objective analysis that you formulate a logical path of pursuit.

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In my opinion you cannot succeed in business being either a negative or positive thinker, you must be a critical thinker.


The Law Of Attraction

Between the 19th and 21st centuries, the “New Thought Movement” gained popularity, and from this the concept known as The Law of Attraction was born, which states that our mental state manifests our surroundings. It’s the belief that we have the individual creation power to bring forth whatever it is that our mind can imagine (no matter if it’s positive or negative).

The theory believes that by just thinking about something, you can manifest whatever it is into your life through universal laws of quantum physics, as the thoughts supposedly contain energy forces that go out into the environment and match up with similar energy forces, bringing you both together in some form or fashion. Thus:

  1. If you think about failure, what can go wrong, the energy forces from your thoughts go out into the universe and match to the energy forces in relation to these circumstances, bringing the supposed negative events into your life.

  2. If you think about success, health, and love, the energy forces from your thoughts go out into the universe and match to the energy forces in relation to these circumstances, bringing the supposed positive events into your life.

The momentum behind the Law of Attraction in business settings fueled the “self-help” industry. The self-help industry is very lucrative, with over $3 billion worth of annual production related to the sale of books, seminars, speeches, church donations, and other material in relation to the concept of your thoughts creating your success.

Success in Business Requires Grit

I’ve been a business professional for nearly 11 years and there’s not one deal, sale, or client acquisition that was completed due to thinking incredibly positively about it. The vast majority of my time is usually spent brainstorming, pounding through telephone calls, sending emails, aggressively networking, rounding up capital, or stressing about a project not closing on time (or at all).

Sometimes it’s miserable, and the concept of happy feelings producing success, from my experience, is wishful thinking. Success in business requires grit, sweat, and hours of hard work.

Success in Business Requires Grit

I believe the $3 billion dollar self-help industry is just designed to pay off the speakers, teachers, and authors who profit from telling people what they want to hear, which is “You have ultimate control of your destiny,” when the honest truth is that we do not have 100% control of our destiny.

There’s a part we can play to contribute to our success which can put us in the position for opportunities to arise. This includes things like remaining educated, always developing ourselves, keeping our credit scores up to attract the best capital sources, remaining organized, and building a great team around us. But all of this requires hard work, attention, and critical thought, not just positive affirmations. And even if you do all of these procedures, there’s still no guarantee of success.

Effects of Operating Without Critical Thinking

The New Thought Movement and the Law of Attraction have the potential to do far more harm than good, with an over-reliance on positive thinking and often a complete disregard for critical analysis. This is how individuals easily fall prey to scams and end up mismanaging their finances. It’s how individuals can chase after some dream that they were inspired to chase from watching a late-night infomercial, when in terms of practicality their dream has no real path to manifestation (no matter how positive they feel about it).

Critical Thinking > Positive Thinking

When it comes to entrepreneurship, critical thinking will always be better than positive thinking, because critical thinking operates based on reality (using data, facts, and research).

How about let’s leave the Law of Attraction out of our business war-rooms and strategy sessions, and instead let’s turn on our critical thinking caps to figure out how we can uniquely address market problems, bring forth unique solutions to service our customers in ways that increase loyalty.


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About the Author — John Tucker has over ten years of professional experience in Commercial Finance and Business Development. Tucker is also an M.B.A. graduate and holder of three bachelor's degrees in Accounting, Business Management, and Journalism. To connect with John Tucker, feel free to send him a connection invite via LinkedIn.


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