Wishful Thinking or Positive Thinking?

Updated: Nov 1, 2019


What is the difference between wishful thinking and positive thinking? And why is it important to understand the difference?


"Positive thinking remains wishful thinking unless you make some moves to get in alignment with your intentions or dreams." Christine Kane


They say that your thinking is influenced by your state of mind - emotions. Your thinking then determines your actions and behaviour. And finally, your actions will determine the final result. Seems logical. So then, why positive and not wishful thinking?

Let's start with understanding the difference between the two.

Wishful Thinking

Is envisioning a beautiful grown plant, blooming with flowers in front of you, but wishing that the plant sows its own seeds and takes care of itself.

In a work context it would be similar to knowing you have a poor working relationship with a colleague and knowing that it will probably impact your career but wishing that the person will be reassigned or suddenly change their behaviour on their own.

Positive Thinking

Is when you till the soil, carefully nurture the seed, water it and then hope that the plant will grow one day.

In a work context it would be similar to thinking of things that are holding you back or hampering the relationship and trying to overcome them. Trying to learn from each experience, and work on your shortcomings.

Why is it important to understand the difference?

Wishful thinking doesn't make things happen! Absolutely we must - Be positive (motivated), believe in yourself (you can learn or get the help you need), know what you want (have a vision and set goals), believe you can achieve it (have confidence, plan and prepare). But above all take action and work for it because that is what will propel you toward achieving your goals.


"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." ~ Joel A. Barker

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