In the last post we looked at the idea of how positive thinking can be a negative. It seems counter-intuitive to think of positive thinking being something that could hinder our success, but in this article we’ll look at the trap people can get into if they believe positive thinking alone will change their world, and the nature of sowing and reaping.
Sowing and reaping is a Biblical term from the book of Galatians. Whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap. Now, there are many preachers of various levels of integrity who have used this to fund new private jets for the “ministry” or to have big houses. However, what is often neglected is that the verse says “whatever”, not “just money”. So how is this related to positive thinking?
Because there is a tendency, one that has been growing steadily with social media, to believe that “everything happens for a reason”, or “what goes around, comes around”. To a degree this is true. As a student of behavioral psychology I will strongly advocate that if something has happened there is a good chance there was a cause for it. However, in the world of social media the “cause” is often thought of as being some kind of cosmic fairy godmother who is going to balance out the universe just to suit out desires. And yes, very often “what goes around” does “come around”, but again, not because it’s some mystical force bringing harmony to the universe. It’s much more simple than that, and much further away from spaceology than many would like to think.
So what is the reason? Simple – What we sow, we also reap. If we spend our lives being jerks to people, guess what, people will be jerks back to us. It’s not a mystical formula, it’s a natural consequence. If we spend our lives being friendly, we will have friends. If we spend our time helping people in need, there will come a time people will help us. If we spend our time bringing joy to others, we will see joy in the world. If we spend out time teaching, we will spend our time around people who challenge us to grow.
The reality is that often when people say “what goes around, comes around”, what they mean is “that person’s a jerk, and someone will be a jerk back to them.” They aren’t sowing anything good, they are sowing revenge and anger, so what will they be reaping?
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – Positive thinking isn’t about just wishing really hard. To reap, you must sow. The things we want to have happen won’t happen without purposeful activity taking place first.
2 – You will sow what you reap, but it’s not a magical formula, it’s a consequence. Sowing money as an investment will see a return, but if it is truly being sown out of love and generosity it is more likely you will see a return of love and generosity. If it is sown out of greed, guess what you’ll reap.
3 – Positive thinking doesn’t cause anything. It doesn’t change the universe. It changes us. When we think positively, we behave positively, and we see favorable outcomes.
We really do reap what we sow. When we think positively we believe our world is going to change because we have the ability to change it. But what about divine intervention? Sure, I’m a Christian, and I won’t rule it out. However, it is important to note that we are also told by James, the brother of Jesus that faith without works is dead. If we have faith (positive thinking), it has no value or purpose unless we also act on it.