​​​​Intelligent Thinking vs. Positive Thinking: The 3 Skydivers Example & More

Hopefully, you have already learned the 6 simple steps for rewiring your mind with Intelligent Thinking to be happier and more successful achieving your goals.

If you haven’t done this already, I highly recommend that you try the Always Greater Happiness & Success Tool and see how you can easily do this in less than 2 minutes.

In any case, right now I won’t be focusing on the steps for Intelligent Thinking. Instead, I’ll focus on what makes Intelligent Thinking different from positive thinking, and why Intelligent Thinking is an easier, smarter, and more powerful choice for you moving forward.


Update: I have now covered this topic in much greater detail in an article that teaches you how Intelligent Thinking solves the 6 problems of positive thinking, as well as how it overlaps with positive thinking with what I call Intelligent Positive Thinking.

However, the information in this article is still helpful for understanding the difference between Intelligent Thinking and positive thinking.


But I love positive thinking!

That’s fine. Positive Thinking and Intelligent Thinking are not mutually exclusive. Meaning, you can still think positively and still use Intelligent Thinking to benefit you.

In fact, if you already love and understand all the benefits of more positive thinking, you’re absolutely going to love the power and benefits of Intelligent Thinking.

Indeed, if anything, learning the basics of Intelligent Thinking will simply help you become a better, more effective, more powerful positive thinker, if positive thinking is something important to you that you want to keep doing.

Basically, you’ll just want to focus on Intelligent Positive Thinking moving forward.

Man, I hate positive thinking!

That’s fine, too.

You’ll learn why Intelligent Thinking is different than positive thinking, and how Intelligent Thinking is a smart way to be happier and more successful achieving your goals.

In fact, you’ll learn why Intelligent Thinking is for anyone who wants to improve their well-being in a smart, sensible way that everyone can support and get behind.

Positive Thinking vs Intelligent Thinking (the 3 Skydivers Story)

The easiest way for me to help you grasp the difference between different ways of thinking — and what sets Intelligent Thinking apart — is by telling you a quick story about 3 skydivers. So here we go.

One day, 3 guys decide to go skydiving to try something new and different. The instructor puts parachutes on their backs, and then they fly off together in a plane.

Then, the crazy instructor says that the best way to learn skydiving is to just do it. And before they realize what’s happening, the instructor pushes all 3 guys off the plane, and they start hurtling towards the ground.

Skydiver #1 gets himself killed

As Skydiver #1 falls, he stares at the ground zooming towards him and thinks “I’m going to die, I’m going to die. I don’t want to die!”

It’s a completely valid, understandable way of thinking. Unfortunately, this way of thinking paralyzes him with fear, preventing him from doing anything to save himself, and it ultimately gets him killed.

Some people might think of this kind of thinking as negative (or sabotaging) thinking. Regardless, it is clearly not Intelligent Thinking that helps him feel better and simultaneously helps him do something to save his life.

Skydiver #2 gets himself killed

As Skydiver #2 falls, he holds out his hands, making no move to save himself, and thinks “So far so good! This is great!”

This kind of thinking falls under the umbrella of positive thinking, especially because it might help this skydiver feel better, happier, and enjoy his last moments on earth more. However, it doesn’t help him successfully save his life.

For people who dislike positive thinking, it is this kind of thinking they really dislike. It comes across as a little phony, delusional, forced, or out of touch, especially considering this guy’s life-threatening circumstances.

For our purposes, we’ll just say that it might qualify as positive thinking, but not Intelligent Thinking.

Skydiver #3 has a different experience

As Skydiver #3 falls, he searches for his rip cord and thinks “I want to live. If I can just figure out how to pull my rip cord and open the parachute, I can make it.”

His thoughts are goal oriented. They help him feel better and more relaxed, even if he’s still scared. They also compel him to take action and try to pull his rip cord.

Also: his thoughts are completely true and valid. This is Intelligent Thinking for all these reasons.

Does Skydiver #3 make it?

We don’t know that. That’s not the point.

Indeed, if you use Intelligent Thinking it doesn’t mean you are absolutely guaranteed to be successful achieving your goal, no matter what.

Instead, it means you are using valid or true Intelligent Thinking that helps you feel better and gives you the biggest chance of success at achieving your goals… Which is exactly what Skydiver #3 does. (Hopefully he made it.)

Learning from the 3 Skydivers…

This is how Intelligent Thinking is different and better than positive thinking:

  • It’s inherently more helpful for achieving your goals (because it’s deliberately goal oriented)
  • It’s always valid or true (to identify Intelligent Thoughts you consider the validity of the thought, something typical positive thinking does not do)
  • It’s easier to naturally think Intelligent Thoughts (in part, because you fully understand why the thought is valid or true, as well as how it benefits you; this validity step makes it much easier to think this way)
  • It helps keep you more grounded, sensible, and sane (you’re never forcing yourself to try to think “positive” thoughts you don’t believe or that seem phony or out of touch)
  • It’s more powerful all around (more helpful for achieving goals, more sensible, easier to think this way; it’s a win every way you look at it)

Going beyond the 3 Skydivers to analyze thoughts

In addition to all these benefits, it’s also far easier and more effective to analyze thoughts in terms of whether they’re Intelligent Thoughts or not, rather than whether they’re positive thoughts or not.

To give you an example, consider the following thought: “Ice cream is delicious”

Is this a positive thought? And is it an Intelligent Thought?

How you approach this kind of thought makes all the difference in the world.

How positive thinking analysis can work against you

If you’re like many people, you might naturally conclude that “Ice cream is delicious” is a clearly positive thought. And if you consider yourself a positive thinker, you might naturally consider it great to think that way, simply due to this positivity.

The problem with this is you haven’t once asked yourself whether you’d like to eat more ice cream or not!

And if you want to stop eating ice cream, this thought will make it so much harder for you. You’ll be more tempted to eat it, feel like you’re missing out when you don’t eat it, and so on.

So you could find yourself automatically thinking a “positive thought” that makes your life worse without ever questioning it.

How an Intelligent Thinking analysis always helps you

On the other hand, if you’re a fan of Intelligent Thinking, you’ll naturally ask yourself whether the thought “Ice cream is delicious” will help you achieve your goal of not eating ice cream.

And right away, it becomes very clear that it will not. So, instantly, you know that “Ice cream is delicious” is not an Intelligent Thought for you to think, no matter how many other people in the world think that way, and no matter how “positive” it might be.

Instead, a thought like “Even if ice cream is delicious, it’s still not worth it to me to eat it” would be an example of an Intelligent Thought if it made you feel better about not eating ice cream, and if you could comfortably and honestly accept this way of thinking as true or valid.

How Intelligent Thinking frees you and empowers you

Once you start considering whether a thought is an Intelligent Thought for you to think, regardless of how the rest of the world thinks, you free yourself and empower yourself in an extraordinary way.

You are no longer shackled by how other people think. You are free and empowered to go your own way, and it’s not a big deal to you at all to go your own way.

This is a huge amount of power that Intelligent Thinking will give you, via the way you consider thoughts, that traditional positive thinking will not.

But I just want to think positively

Like I said at the beginning, it’s completely fine if you still want to focus on positive thinking, even after reading all this.

Hopefully, though, you can take what you learned here about Intelligent Thinking to naturally develop smarter, more powerful, more effective positive thoughts.

The way I think about it is that some positive thoughts are sometimes Intelligent Thoughts for you to think, but, as you’ve seen here, positive thoughts are not necessarily Intelligent Thoughts for you to think.

So moving forward, get the best of both worlds by focusing on Intelligent Positive Thoughts.

So what do I do now?

Now that you know the tremendous advantages of Intelligent Thinking, use the Always Greater Happiness and Success Tool to naturally start thinking an Intelligent Thought that will help you be happier and more successful. This takes less than 2 minutes.

And the next time you encounter a “positive thought”, ask yourself whether’s it’s also an Intelligent Thought for you to think to be happier and more successful with whatever you want to do.

About the author

Hi, I'm Dave Fonvielle, the founder of Always Greater. On this website I teach you step by step how to be happier and more successful achieving your goals, whether it's completing a small personal to do task, like doing the dishes, or a large business goal, like launching a new product. Get my free 3 Tiny Habits for Being Happier & More Successful training for all of this right here. 


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