Since Dale Carnegie’s time, psychological manuals have been very popular, but, alas, they bring far less practical benefit than they promise. Some of the theses that modern gurus treat their readers about from pop psychology enter into a direct contradiction not only with the data of scientific research, but also with the laws of Murphy, and not so much contribute, as they hinder self-improvement and achievement of life success. Consider several myths of modern pop psychology, which many are uncritically taken for granted.


In order to succeed in achieving the goal, it must be visualized, that is, as vividly as possible imagined visually.

Visualization – the creation in the imagination of images of the desired reality – one of the most fashionable themes in the pop psychology of recent years. The first data on the effectiveness of visualization of the anticipated result were obtained in the field of the psychology of sports and later hastily extended to achievements in any fields. At the same time, it is overlooked that, in the case of sports competitions, we are talking about athletes who, with the whole course of long training, achieved absolute automatism in performing the entire sequence of movements necessary to achieve the result; The intensity or accuracy of these movements becomes decisive for them. In these cases, visual anticipation of the achievement of the goal does sometimes lead to improved sports results. In all other areas, especially for career planning, building a common life path strategy – visualization not only does not bring the desired result, but can lead to the opposite. It’s also obvious: when it’s not about throwing a ball into a basketball basket, but about some more complicated tasks in life, a detailed anticipation of the result is always an illusion. Nothing in life happens exactly as we anticipate. Therefore, even having achieved its goal, a person still runs the risk of remaining dissatisfied, something will certainly happen not quite as dreamed.


The goal is necessary before you, but to admire it until it is achieved is clearly premature. Focus should be primarily on the means to achieve it. Success does not provide a dream, but planning. As the plan is and there is a dream, in details and scrupulously close to the validity.

To restrain one’s feelings is wrong and harmful.

Hidden in the depths of the soul, they lead to emotional overstrain, fraught with a breakdown. Therefore, any feelings, both positive and negative, must be expressed openly. If you express your annoyance or anger is unacceptable for moral reasons, they must be poured on an inanimate object, for example, to beat the pillow. Several years ago, the exotic experience of Japanese managers became widely known. In the working locker rooms of some industrial enterprises, rubber dolls of superiors like punching pears were installed, which the workers were allowed to beat with bamboo sticks, supposedly to relieve the emotional tension and release the accumulated dislike of the bosses. Since then, a lot of time has passed, but nothing has been reported about the psychological effectiveness of this innovation. It seems that it has remained a curious episode without serious consequences. Nonetheless, numerous guidelines on emotional self-regulation refer to him today, urging readers not so much to “keep oneself in hand” as, on the contrary, not to restrain their emotions. However, the removal of anger on an inanimate object does not lead to a reduction in stress, but just the opposite. Any reasonable person, splashing out his anger in this way, realizes that the real source of irritation remains invulnerable, and this irritates even more. In addition, if a person expects a calming procedure, and it does not come, this only intensifies annoyance.


Any physical activity helps relieve emotional stress, but only if it is not associated with aggressive actions, even gaming. In a state of psychological stress, it is useful to switch to athletic exercises, running, walking, etc. In addition, it is useful to distract from the source of stress and focus on something that is not related to it – listen to music, read a book, etc. In addition, there is nothing wrong with restraining one’s emotions. On the contrary, the ability to behave in the hands and express their feelings in accordance with the situation and should consciously cultivate in oneself. The result is both emotional balance and full communication, more successful than with spontaneous expression of any feelings.

If you are in a bad mood, you will feel better by switching your thoughts to something pleasant.

The results of psychological research indicate that when we are in a depressed mood, that is, when we need a change of mood, our minds are completely unable to do it intentionally. When we are concerned about our problems, it means that they have mastered us completely, so much that we lack the mental strength to suppress negative experiences. And trying to deceive ourselves, causing some new feelings, we only strengthen those that we already own.


Emotional depression is easier to overcome if you turn to others for help and support. Share your concerns with a friend or relative, a priest or a psychologist – anyone who can help you switch to other thoughts. ” It is useful simply to go to a place where people enjoy – to a concert, to a park, to visit. And finally, if you foresee a situation that will cause you grief, try to conjure up in advance the thoughts of a pleasant – joyful events of the past or dreams about the future. Obviously, it will not be easy to oust the good mood that has been achieved in this way.

By addressing ourselves with encouragement and encouragement, praising ourselves, we can increase our self-esteem.

Many popular self-help manuals contain similar tips: do not get tired of encouraging yourself with praise, even more – fill your house, car, workplace with mini-placards with the approving slogans “Good”, “Clever!” etc. When the look constantly stops on such stimuli, it supposedly raises the mood and strengthens the motivation. Self-approval is really capable of slightly increasing self-esteem, but only for those who have it already high enough. In addition, the benefits of this are very doubtful. People with low self-esteem have different pseudo-positive slogans, addressed to themselves, not taken seriously, because in principle they are not used to trusting their own positive judgments. Worse, in an undeserved, from their point of view, praise they hear a mocking tone, and this does not improve the mood, rather the opposite.


Self-evaluation of a person is formed not overnight, but throughout his life, and naively try to quickly rebuild it, hanging around the house encouraging stickers. Moreover, it is extremely difficult to do it yourself. This requires the support of other people. Cherish the communication with those to whom you are pleasant and sympathetic, who are ready to stimulate the growth of your self-esteem. Their approval is much more important than any self-compliments. And try to minimize communication with those who, with their hostility, threaten to sway your self-esteem. It is impossible to please everyone, like everyone, but in most cases it is in our power to choose whom we should deal with and whose opinions to listen to.

Low self-esteem is a serious obstacle to success in life. Therefore, it must be strengthened in every way, by means of self-confidence, and with the help of all sorts of training procedures.

Many years ago, the eminent American psychologist William James produced a formula according to which the individual’s self-esteem can be represented in the form of a fraction, the numerator of which is his real achievements, and the denominator is his ambitions and claims. In other words, the most reliable way to increase self-esteem (better than that for the last century no one is invited), on the one hand, not to overstate their claims, on the other – to achieve real, tangible success. If, figuratively speaking, to put the cart before the horse, that is, to cultivate a high self-esteem in the absence of actual successes and against the backdrop of inflated ambitions, this is not the way to prosperity, but in the opposite direction – to depression and neurosis. James, who entered the history of psychology as a thinker rather than an explorer, only outlined many directions for subsequent psychological research with his judgments. Drawing on his ideas, psychologists of the 20th century conducted many interesting experiments and observations concerning self-awareness and self-esteem. And they established: self-esteem of a person begins to form at an early age, and mainly – under the influence of external assessments, that is, those that people give people around (first parents and educators, then comrades and colleagues). When these assessments are not based on real merit and merit, a high self-esteem can of course be formed, but in this case it has a neurotic character and often takes the form of arrogant self-admiration and contempt (sometimes very aggressive) towards others. It is clear that this position does not contribute to establishing relations with people. Sooner or later a person becomes an outcast. And can this be called a life success? People with high self-esteem are much more likely to adhere to racist attitudes, and are also more aggressive, often leading to unlawful acts of violence. Those who consider themselves worthy of all sorts of blessings are often ready to achieve them at the expense of others, by any means, including unscrupulous and even unlawful. And this way leads not to the heights of life success, but to social isolation, sometimes in the most literal sense, behind the prison grid.


Cons of low self-esteem are obvious and indisputable, and it would be wrong to call people to self-abasement. It is rightly said: “If you yourself do not value yourself, the world will not offer you a penny any more.” A person who does not love himself, thereby involuntarily provokes a similar attitude of others. But, it turns out, an unrealistic overestimation of self-esteem is fraught with troubles. Ideal, as in most similar cases, is the “golden mean” – a moderate, adequate self-esteem, commensurate with the real merits and achievements. Instead of baselessly pyzhitsya of complacency, you need to soberly aware of their strengths and weaknesses, in order to reasonably cultivate the first and compensate for the second. We must remember: self-esteem, not backed by the respect of others, like a soap bubble, bright outside, but empty inside, which also bursts sooner or later. And care should not be about inflating this bubble, but about deserving approval from those whose opinion we cherish. It is clear that for this it is necessary in practice to demonstrate their dignity. And then adequate, healthy self-esteem will develop not from emotions, but from facts.

It is necessary to cultivate an optimistic attitude towards life, because pessimism impedes the achievement of success and plunges a person into the abyss of misfortune.

The so-called positive thinking has reigned in Western society thanks to the combined efforts of Hollywood, television, popular songs and books telling how to help oneself: “Everything will be fine! All problems are solvable! Be optimistic, and success is assured!”. Optimism is the key to success, prosperity, indestructible health.The leitmotif of most modern guides is to hope for the best and do not succumb to despondency. Modern psychologists come to the conclusion that the insanity of positivity and optimism has gone too far. Of course, optimism has its advantages, but there are also many disadvantages. A one-sided view of the world and of self does not give a person a real picture of what is happening. Confessing him, man willy-nilly lives only for today, without thinking about the consequences of his and others’ actions. Carelessness and selfishness are the first fruits of thoughtless optimism. Unforeseen collapse of hopes, cruel disappointment is also the fruit of optimism. Every person in life needs a share of pessimism, so as not to be too flattered and sober to look at things. Let’s not forget that “a glass can be not only half full, but half empty.” Protective pessimism turns out to be no worse than strategic optimism, which forces a person to carefully avoid thinking about a bad, and in some respects pessimistic mood has even the best influence. Reflections on interference will allow us to cover the subject more fully, see all its sides and thus awaken the imagination. In one of the specially prepared psychological experiments, those who could be classed as strategic optimists or those who were prone to defensive pessimism participated. All participants were divided into three groups without preliminary selection. Everyone had to throw darts at the target. One proposed to imagine a lot of hindrances and invent ways to overcome them. The other was supposed to think that everything would go smoothly and the members of this group would demonstrate the top of perfection. The third group was told – not to think about anything, but to mentally bathe and sunbathe on the beach. Having fallen into their habitual elements, that is, imagining different troubles, pessimists showed brilliant results. They got worse when they tried to imagine themselves as undefeated champions, and it’s bad when, like strategic optimists, they tried not to think about anything at all. Optimists, on the contrary, achieved better results after a thoughtless “rest on the beach” and the worst – after they tried to present themselves as pessimists and began to think about possible obstacles and difficulties in carrying out the assignment. Optimism and pessimism become each second nature, rooted in both upbringing, and, apparently, in an innate disposition. But the main thing is that when solving certain problems, the structure of which is similar to the one that was done in the experiment, protective pessimism, if it is natural for a person, turned out to be no worse than strategic optimism. The fact that optimism and pessimism are associated with the type of temperament was known to Aristotle, although, as it turned out, these connections are not as simple as they seem, and to argue that melancholy can not be an optimist and a sanguine pessimist would be naive. Pessimism and optimism can be, to a certain extent, peculiar to a particular culture. In this field, studies of psychologists are just beginning, but it is already proved, for example, that Asian immigrants living in America are more pessimistic than those from the Caucasus. It is widely believed that a pessimistic view of things should adversely affect health and that it is more useful to smile than frown. However, in actual fact it turned out that this is not always true. Volunteers, randomly chosen, were invited to recall the most tragic events of their lives, to reflect on them for several days, and then to describe them in detail in the form of small essays. Surprisingly, it was not that painful memories did not affect negatively the health indicators of the subjects, but that they all felt better after that, and this feeling lasted for about four months after the experiment was completed. Here it is appropriate to compare these results with the well-known phenomenon of liberation from what oppresses the soul, with the help of creativity.Goethe and Hemingway talked about creativity as a release. And Freud, in fact, meant this in his reasoning about sublimation. But, on the other hand, is it possible to call the creator of every subject, if he transfers his memories to paper? Will he free himself from them, how is the writer freed, embodying what oppresses him, into images and subjects? In addition, one should not fall into a certain error and identify the writer with his heroes, because the motives of his works may not have anything to do with the events of his life, but originate only in the imagination of the writer. Nevertheless, many psychologists believe that freeing from painful memories by returning to them, comprehending and recording is also a kind of creativity, at least – mental work and an experience that requires effort. Psychologists have also established that even people who are nervous, burdened with various worries and misfortunes, inclined to always complain about fate, constantly complaining of pain in all parts of the body, visit the doctor no more often than their cheerful peers, and they never leave the life of optimists. In other words, even deep pessimism – not behavioral, not protective, not constructive, namely deep and all-embracing pessimism does not harm health in the least. A pessimist was the German philosopher Schopenhauer, who, with good reason, believed that suffering is the source of great deeds, because he multiplies forces and makes them inventive. Everyone knows the phrase of Napoleon, which he said when asked what the main secret of his strategy is: “We must not hesitate to get involved in the fight, but we’ll see.” This principle is shared by most strategic optimists. But remember: this principle was good at Marengo, under Austerlitz, but turned out to be unfit for Moscow, Leipzig and Waterloo.


You should not mindlessly drive away from yourself any fears and worries, because they often serve us not so much as obstacles and restrictions, but as warnings. And constant cheerfulness is an unachievable utopia. Learn to appreciate any of your mental state (especially since the predominance of one or another depends only on your individual psychophysical constitution) and to derive maximum benefit from it.

The higher the motivation for success, the more likely the success.

Speaking worldly, the stronger the desire to get something, the better it is possible. In 1908, the famous American psychologist R. Yorks, together with J. Dodson, put a relatively simple experience, which demonstrated the dependence of the productivity of the performed activity on the level of motivation. The revealed regularity was called the Yerkes-Dodson law, it was repeatedly confirmed experimentally and recognized as one of the few objective, indisputable psychological phenomena. There are actually two laws. The essence of the first is as follows. As the intensity of motivation increases, the quality of activity changes along a bell-shaped curve: first it rises, then, after passing through the point of the highest success rates, gradually decreases. The level of motivation, in which the activity is carried out as successfully as possible, is called the optimum of motivation. According to the second law of Yerkes-Dodson, the more difficult for a subject to perform the activity, the lower the level of motivation is optimal for it. Yerkes himself always gravitated toward anthropomorphism, did not make any fundamental distinctions between the behavior of animals and humans, easily saw analogies far from indisputable. Sometimes it sounded naive, but in relation to the law that was discovered to them it was absolutely just. An experiment repeated in humans showed similar results. As an experimental material, puzzling tasks were performed, as a motivating incentive – a monetary reward (the amount of reward for the correct decision, initially insignificant, gradually increased to a very significant one). And that’s what happened.For a purely symbolic win, people worked “through the sleeves,” and the results were not high. As the reward increased, the enthusiasm grew; accordingly, the results also improved. However, at a certain point, when the possibility of winning reached a considerable size, the enthusiasm turned into a rush, and the results of activity declined. Thus it was found out that weak motivation is not enough for success, but excessive is harmful, as it generates unnecessary excitement and fussiness.


It seems that the authors of popular self-learners of life success are new to psychology. The slogan “To concentrate oneself on the desired goal” is not entirely accurate. The goal, of course, you need to have in front of you, you need to strive for it. But it should not be forgotten that obsession with purpose can also be a bad service. According to the Yerkes-Dodson law, to achieve success, an optimal (or, more simply, a moderate, average) level of motivation is needed, the excess is as bad as the defect.

Add a Comment