Management Tips

The Dark Side of the Mood

Happy New Year from everybody at!

Yeah! A brand new year has started and all of us feel invigorated indeed with the prospects of the days to come, in which we’ll try our very best to achive all our personal and professional aims with the most positive attitude in the world!

At this site we encouraged you many times to be positive above all: we talked about the power of positive reinforcement in business, suggested ways of working, living and eating better, and even reinforced entrepeneurs with courage and some lessons.

We’re positive people indeed but one may wonder about the nature and limits of positive attitude in our personal and professional affairs, if one takes into account that New Year’s positive plans last for just two weeks!

There must be some reason indeed for such a mismatch between positive attitude and reluctant reality!

One interesting contemporary suggestion is that natural positive attitude has becomed lately in something like an imposed inflated ideology, anything but neutral, and prone to be delusional.

I’m quite sympathetic with the critical spirit at video above, as unveils the crucial difference between being positive as a natural attitude and being positive as an imposed ideology.

The one is an integral part of human nature and nurture that has been at the core of human life since its origins, helping us to cope with inclemencies in our very own lives.

The other is a dated ideological product promoted by the technologies of human life, stressing us to cope with inclemencies that by no means are a proper part of our very own lives.

The one preserves self-integration, the other preserves self-alienation.

Nobody has contributed so much lately to enlight and criticize the modern imposition of positive ideology than Barbara Ehrenreich in her best-seller last book ‘Smile or die’ (Granta, 2010), now translated into Spanish (Turner, 2011) –U.S.A title: ‘Bright-sided’ (Picador, 2010).

Even if she’s a first-line journalist and writer nonetheless one remarkable and interesting fact about Barbara’s Ehrenreich’s views about positive thinking is that they spring from her experience as a cancer patient –of course she adds all professional wisdom to extract and expand her experience to a wide range of aspects of modern life, especially working life.

If Barbara Ehrenreich is right at all, positive ideology is utterly trivial and eventually delusional: you may be the most positive person in the world but ‘your thoughts can’t change the world’ by clicking your fingers.

The only way in which ‘your thoughts can change the world’ is if you track the world so accurately as possible, knowing that at every decision in your life, it’s up to you to know when optimism lets you see the right side of things and when optimism doesn’t let you see things right.

Barbara Ehrenreich’s proposal is then perennial realism, a much more slippery artistry that can’t be packed and sold in bulk. I stick to it as far as I can and, when I hear about positive ideology, I whistle this post’s opening melody with some disturbing images in mind!



  1. rasputin: January 13, 2012 04:26 pm

    Curious way of starting year!
    (Just jocking!)

    I quite agree with you but there’s no contradiction with the spirit of your other posts mentioned?
    (Just curious!)

    HNY by the way!

    1. lino san juan: January 16, 2012 09:43 pm

      Yes, curious but much needed, especially these days!

      I see your point about the contradicition and even if I didn’t write them for myself, I guess I’ll jump to the occasion and I’ll flesh out my somewhat abstract ideas into these cases… Just let me think twice about them!

      Nice point indeed! Thanks!

      (By the way, authors’ reply welcomed!)

  2. María José: January 15, 2012 04:12 pm
  3. lino san juan: January 16, 2012 09:38 pm

    @ maría josé

    I didn’t remember that scene!… of course it’s lovely and shows that reactions against over-inflated optimism are not some new media thing!