Positive Thinking Isn’t Always The Answer

“Stay positive…” you hear it all of the time. Coaches are drilling it into your head and there are hundreds of quotes out there aimed at helping you reframe your thoughts to be more positive.

Of course I believe in the power of optimism and using hopeful language, that’s one of my core values. But, trying to convince yourself that something uncomfortable is “fun” or “good” isn’t always the best thing. Trying to pretend that you “love” something that you really don’t like, normally isn’t the answer.

Example: You see that ‘100 wall balls for time’ is programmed for you. You really don’t fucking like or enjoy wall balls. You don’t need to walk around smiling and saying “I love this WOD,” just because you were told to be positive. That doesn’t work for everyone and it might actually bother you or take away from your drive.

  • Instead, you can recognize that it’s your not your favorite movement, and also that you don’t “need” to do it. But, you CHOOSE that you are going to and that you actually WANT to because you recognize that it’s part of what will make you a better athlete.

You can appreciate things without loving them (<— major life lesson right there ya’ll).

  • You can decide that you’re still going to work your ass off and push to the end, regardless of how much you LIKE it or not.
  • You can appreciate that you don’t “need” to “love” every workout, but you still want to grind to see what you’re capable of.

See, everyone is different. Some people can talk positively about whatever it is, putting this shiny glitter on everything. Others, not so much, it just don’t work. It’s a bit more like, “fuck this is going to be shitty, but, I’m still gonna attack the hell out of it.” This does not mean that you’ll want to walk around bitching about everything, or being negative…. that’s never a great idea.

So, it doesn’t have to be all rainbows, all the time. It’s okay people. You are allowed to dislike things. You don’t have to be positive and optimistic about everything! But, you can still learn to use thought patterns that are going to help you perform your best. That’s the key.

Bottom Line: If it feels better to put a positive spin on it, do it. If it feels better to keep it real, do that. If you can get yourself to push hard, know your purpose, maintain high confidence, and be encouraging to those around you, then you’re winning.


I’m Dawn Fletcher, the owner of Driven Mind. I help driven-individuals perform better and achieve greatness in all that they do.

Reader Interactions


  1. Brucach says

    Agreed Sometimes talking out the anger can work best for you, Staying positive doesn’t work always.
    So if the situation demands you can do whatever you wish to do.

  2. dianafitts24 says

    I love this post, as I think it’s so easy to give up when the going gets tough. Exercise, while often gratifying, is hard. Anything that is worth pursuing and achieving is going to be hard at times, which means it won’t always be fun. As a marathon runner, I’ve never wanted to quit more than at mile 18 of a race. However, I love to run. Part of what I love is the challenge of it and I bet I wouldn’t be as interested in running if it came easily to me. While positive thinking has its place, this article does a great job of emphasizing how it’s not the whole meat of the matter.


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