Saturday, October 31, 2015

Scam Psychology: Misconstruing quote from Zig Ziglar about Positive Thinking

Every once in a while, you'll see some MLMer pull out this quote as a reaction to criticism:
Positive thinking will let you do everything better better than negative thinking will. 
Remember, this is in reaction to criticism, not "general application", that the quoter basically threw the quote out, meaning "why are you so negative? think positive!"

Live video feed of Zig Ziglar speaking at the ...
Live video feed of Zig Ziglar speaking at the Get Motivated Seminar at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some of the folks may have even gotten the source, Zig Ziglar, correct. Zig Ziglar is a almost legendary salesman and motivational speaker. He has left a lot of positive legacy when he died in 2012 after decades in the field.

I have a lot of respect for Zig Ziglar, which is why I need to point out that this is a total mangling of the original Zig Ziglar quote, and is taken out of context.

In other words, Zig Ziglar NEVER meant for this quote to be used in deflection of criticism. And to understand this, you need to read the ENTIRE quote by Zig Ziglar, which will prove it was taken out of context.

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The quote originated from Zig Ziglar's book "Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World" (2002) (listed under religion and spirituality) . Here's a screenshot of the relevant page as shown on Google Books:

What positive thinking and negative thinking do. No, positive thinking won't let you do anything; but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Positive thinking enables you to more effectively use the ability, training, education, and experience you have. 

Do you see the complete meaning from the full quote? Positive thinking ONLY WORKS when you already have ability, training, education, and experience.  If you don't have the ability, training, education, or experience to succeed, then no amount of positive thinking will be able to help you succeed.

Positive thinking helps you make the most of what you already have. It does not give you anything extra. Given all other factors are equal, then it's better to have positive thinking than negative thinking.

If people are telling you that you don't have the necessary ability, training, education, and experience to succeed, that is NOT negative thinking. That's reality. And your refusal to accept it is denial. And that is dangerous. 

Positive thinking is not an additional factor that can compensate for lack of ability, training, education, and experience. Positive thinking will not allow you to overcome the lack of such. Thinking positive will not let you run a marathon without sufficient conditioning, or get a Ph.D without studying, and so on.

If your upline is teach you such attitude, that people telling you the truth are "negative thinking" to be ignored, that you should go "all in" no matter your ability, training, education, and experience, you may want to reconsider working under him or her, because s/he is teaching recklessness... and your neck is on the line, not his/hers.

Beware of people who teach positivity without telling you the nuances.


  1. This is one of my favorite posts by you. This is such an important discussion when so many people are being taken advantage of by the Mind Set Training scammers that are out there.

    1. The sad part is this is like the fifth or sixth "explainer" I did about the positive thinking crap. They just come up with more all the time.

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