I’ve always admired the work of positive psychologist Martin Seligman. His effective techniques are widely used by individuals and organizations, and I particularly like his work on optimism.
I was therefore intrigued to discover a new take on positive thinking by Gabriele Oettingen, one of Seligman’s former colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania.
Now a psychology professor at New York University and the University of Hamburg, Oettingen’s research has shown that dreaming just about the fulfillment of your wishes is more likely to hold you back than help you to achieve your wish.
According to Oettingen, we need more than just the dream; we need “mental contrasting,” by which she means visualizing the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving it. Naming the hurdles, she says, helps us to find a way over them.
In her new book, “Rethinking Positive Thinking,” she offers a four-step process called WOOP, which stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan. In this clip from our Expert Interview with Oettingen, she explains how it works.
Question: How do you set about realizing your dreams, and how far does positive thinking take you on that journey? Let us know below!