Oliver Burkeman

Decent Essays
In his article, The Power of Negative Thinking, Oliver Burkeman discusses the realities behind excessive optimism and the benefits to negative thinking. Specifically, Burkeman argues that positive thinking hinders the preparation and motivation necessary to tackle actual real world problems whereas negative thinking allows for such preparation. His argument’s strengths come from his constant use of logic in regards to his evidence whether it be the “fire walkers” in the first paragraph or the opinions of Barbara Ehrenreich in the paragraph nine. In short, Burkeman does a superb job of championing the benefits of pessimism through his criticism on positive thinking.
At a first glance, the holistic impression that one gets from Burkeman’s article could easily deal with the one-sidedness of his argument. It certainly is true that he did little to express the merits of positive thinking, but I argue that his acknowledgement of the mindset of positive thinkers adds to his overall effective refutation of the counter argument. In paragraph two, Burkeman (2012) mentions the
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In paragraph eight, he defines positive thinking as not a not an act of cheerful optimism but as a “stressful effort to stomp out any trace of negativity.” (Burkeman 2012) In paragraph three this idea is expressed through the study with the dehydrated subjects. The test group asked to visualize water were under more stress compared to those who did not visualize anything. (Burkeman, 2012) In this way, optimism created a false sense of reality and thereby created more anxiety for the test group. In a situation like this Burkeman insinuated that the opposite would be true for negative thinkers. A person who pictured the worst would be more driven to take the appropriate action to rehydrate as opposed to a person who took no action based on the assumption that things would work out
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