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The Bright Side of Negative Thinking Despite what we're often told, positive thinking may not be conducive to meeting one's goals. In fact, you're probably better off visualizing obstacles.

By Rob Reuteman

This story appears in the February 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Patrick Ohligschläger
Gabriele Oettingen

This post was originally published on Feb. 10, 2015

At least since 1952, when Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking was published, Americans have been inundated with the notion that the path to success can be smoothed by accentuating the positive. In this cult of optimism, one must keep one's eyes on the prize and not let negative waves interfere, and all forms of positive thinking are cast as inherently helpful.

Gabriele Oettingen wasn't buying it. The psychology professor at New York University and the University of Hamburg spent more than 20 years testing her contention that "starry-eyed dreaming isn't all it's cracked up to be."

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