Positive thinking and visualising success can be counterproductive – happily, other strategies for fulfilment are available
Like many teenagers, I was once plagued with angst and dissatisfaction – feelings that my parents often met with bemusement rather than sympathy. They were already in their 50s, and, having grown up in postwar Britain, they struggled to understand the sources of my discontentment at the turn of the 21st century.
“The problem with your generation is that you always expect to be happy,” my mother once said. I was baffled. Surely happiness was the purpose of living, and we should strive to achieve it at every opportunity? I simply wasn’t prepared to accept my melancholy as something that was beyond my control.
Positive fantasies – and the positive moods that they create – can lead to a sense of complacency
David Robson is a science writer and the author of The Intelligence Trap: Revolutionise Your Thinking and Make Wiser Decisions (Hodder & Stoughton, £9.99). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply