TED Conversations

Budimir Zdravkovic

PhD student in biochemistry/cancer biology,


This conversation is closed.

The Problem of Positive Thinking


Books like The Secret hold more credibility in our culture than books on philosophy, history or literature. Mainstream theatre shows are musicals like Mama Mia. Do we all have the princess syndrome?

And I define the princess syndrome as a intense desire to live happily ever after, ignorant of topics that provoke us to think and raise our awareness.

Most of all our culture emphasizes dreaming and provides us with success stories along the lines of "he was just a Slum Dog, out of luck, stealing shoes from tourists and bringing a slight discomfort into their lives, until he discovered he had the talent to win trivia shows."

When I watched the movie it provoked an emotional response, I felt warn and fuzzy. But it also made me ask myself how many trivia show millionaires are truly out there? Did I get suckered into paying for education when I could've been a Slum Dog?

When you ask yourself these questions you are distancing yourself from the emotional impact of the movie and you stop and say to yourself, wait a minute, what about all the other slum dogs? Well there a two competing views on this topic the author of the Secret would tell you: they didn't "dream" hard enough. Common sense might tell you: you don't win social justice on game shows.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 12 2011: I believe that instead of always seeking a fairy-tale ending, instead people should adapt the mindset that "Everything that happens is the best possible thing". I think instead of expecting "Good" things to happen, people should learn to be aware of their emotions and instead, look at all things as "good". I know it is hard to say when so many awful things are happening in the world, but I think by changing our perceptions and how we view "Bad" things, it will empower people to make positive changes and be proactive in the face of all situations.

    It IS possible to be happy and still be aware of topics that provoke us to think and increase awareness.
    • thumb
      May 12 2011: I like where you are going with this idea. I think we can be happy and enjoy life, and also be aware of these things that go on around us. We don't need to be ignorant to know bliss.

      We can always work towards a more decent society and our history is full of political progress, but that's only because people didn't give up on education, creativity, ideas and solidarity. If we want a better world, we can't let consumerism guide our wisdom or purpose.

      People get discouraged because they don't see results right away and that's where we have to be realistic and know that life is not a fairy tale. Change is slow and you might not see it during your lifetime, but working towards it is the only option we have if we want to see better days.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.