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June 02, 2007

The power of positive thinking is so weird

Last night I tweeted about a bizarre experience I had. Here's the full story...

Actually Rick Johnston and I experienced this together at yesterday's VSAE monthly meeting. The lunch speaker was Jerry Teplitz, Ph.D. Jerry is a speaker, consultant and author about the power of the mind, and has spoken for ASAE & The Center on multiple occasions. During his speech, he did this demonstration where he asked volunteers to come up on stage and extend their arm to the side. He pressed down on their arms, asking them to resist the downward pushing. Then he asked them to think of a sad thought. He then asked them to extend their arms, he pressed down on their arms again using approximately the same amount of force, and the volunteers' arms went down rather easily. Then he asked them to think of a pleasant thought, and repeated the pressing routine, and their arms were more resistant to the pressure.

Then he asked everyone to pair up and try it on each other. Rick and I were sitting next to each other, so we paired up. We were both pretty shocked when we experienced exactly what we had just seen on stage. Part of me wonders if he had us in a mild state of hypnosis or something.

Now, I don't know if I can draw a straight line between being able to resist downward pressure on my arm my ability to be successful through the power of positive thinking, but it sure has me wondering. I actually tried some positive thinking during my workout this morning when my ankle started hurting and I was feeling tired and a little out of breath. It seemed to work.

Can any blog readers confirm or rebut this stuff?

UPDATE: Watch the presentation I saw yesterday.

Tagged: ; ; ;


Jamie Notter said...

I saw this same thing years ago. My boss demonstrated it during a conflict resolution training we were doing on the island of Cyprus. It even worked when I was holding someone's hand and THEY were thinking the positive or negative thought.

We create much more of reality than we think we do.

I've also had success using similar techniques when doing track workouts.

Ben Martin, CAE said...

Okay, it gets weirder. I thought that j-nott would be the first to comment on this post. And he did!!! More power of positive thinking!!! ;-)

Dave S. said...


Here is my $.02 worth on the topic. I have always been a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. My parents raised me to believe that anything is possible but you need to believe it first. Recently it seems that if I put my thoughts, goals or ideas into motion and stick with them they do seem to come to fruition. A case in point was when I completed my M.Ed. I committed to graduating with a 4.0 (which at my university is a perfect score), and unbelievably I did it despite taking some courses that really pushed me intellectually.

I have tons of examples in my life so I know it to be true...and while I can't attach science to it to prove it, it happens.

Here's to thinking positive thoughts and achieving / doing what was thought to be difficult.

Matt Baehr said...

HMM.....{thinking hard}

Nope, it is still Monday morning.

Ben Martin, CAE said...

@ Dave: Thanks for confirming it. You have to see try the demonstration sometime.

@ Matt: LOL