I feel that if habitual thinking of a person is positive, he/she feel more confident and get better result as most of us may know that majority of communication between humans happens in form of body language/non-verbal communication and if we think positive and constructive it gives us sense of confidence and well being, which help us to get support from others. But I am not sure if positive thinking alone is enough for a person to be successful. Could there be a need for negative thinking in some situations?

For example, at performance appraisal meeting with our project manager, if we are asked:

  • Tell me your concerns regarding this project
  • According to you what is going wrong in this project
  • What is the biggest mistake you have done in this project
  • Team mates are complaining about you. What is your problems with team mates?

Surely a more negative attitude is required for these? Should we try to guess in advance what we might be asked?

But there is no limit on negative type of questions. If I go on analyzing what negative questions a project manager can ask, it will create a negative pattern of thoughts and perhaps it will be difficult for us to answer. Maybe while thinking about all these negative questions and their solutions we lose our confidence and we feel worried and it will lead to anxiety. I don't know what approach to follow to answer the questions of project manager but full of faith and confidence.

If I am a programmer/senior software engineer/Team lead and developing some application, will only a positive approach be sufficient for me to get best results? If I think the user will only give correct input to my application, will my application do well, or be secure? In this scenario we should have negative style of thinking; does it apply to other parts of my life?

  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about personal productivity/attitude rather than the Workplace (see here for a more appropriate StackExchange).
    – enderland
    Nov 29, 2013 at 18:15
  • Emotions with positive/negative thinking are also part of our daily life as well as workplace. Working on how to think and which approach to use in various real life situations is very important for a professional growth and hence I feel it is a very important topic Nov 29, 2013 at 18:26
  • 1
    I don't understand the question at all.
    – MrFox
    Nov 29, 2013 at 18:27
  • I want to know how normally a person think in my same situation as that of. As a person whether you think that what a negative type of question project manager can ask to you and if you think than how you control this negative patterns Nov 29, 2013 at 18:49
  • It is a big problem for me as I am not finding solution for this issue even thinking so many times. Please tell me how your thinking patterns in different conditions I have mentioned Nov 29, 2013 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


If someone thought, "Everything will magically fix itself," which is a positive thought and didn't actually do any work would that be acceptable? While it is one thing to be hopeful about the future, there is something to be said for accepting one's reality which may be less than grand. I can understand the idea of having constructive responses though someone has to identify the problem and call out the elephant in the room.

If one cares to follow Marcus Buckingham's then there is something to be said for focusing on the good that was done so people could focus on their strengths and offer those more often to the team. There is something to be said for this being somewhat counter-intuitive though could be useful if one believes in the strengths movement.

To be the best in the workplace, it is worth understanding what does one's role cover and what adjacent areas may also be worth covering.

To try to bring cognitive behavior therapy, which is the idea of changing one's thought patterns, into the workplace would be at least dangerous if not opening a company up to possible lawsuits. For example, consider a person that has a great imagination and can often imagine various disastrous scenarios. Now, this could be useful for making sure something has captured a, "What could go wrong?" yet if this is seen as a negative thought pattern that has to be removed, it could endanger the company as various scenarios may be missed in the future. Thus, while someone may have a negative thought pattern, it may be useful in some cases. There is no simple answer to this question, in my opinion.

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