Positive thinking has many benefits, but it cannot fix everything. Nor is it always the best response to obstacles in life. Here are some of the things that positive thinking will not be able to help you with:

  • Physical limitations: If you are 6 feet 5, you will never be a professional jockey, no matter how much you want to be one. Same goes if you are four feet tall and want to play professional basketball. No matter how much you want something, or how positive your thinking is, you will not be able to conquer these physical limitations.
  • Some medical issues: If you have cancer, positive thinking may help you feel better, and get through treatment like chemotherapy. But the positive thinking alone will not by itself cure cancer. The same goes with other diseases and disorders. Sure, use positive thinking to make you want to overcome whatever medical issue you have, and it may actually help with depression and stress-related health issues. Studies have also shown that positive thinkers are less likely to get heart disease. But expecting that positive thinking by itself will treat things like cancer is unrealistic.
  • Relationships: A life coach may say that it doesn’t matter how positively you think about another person – if he or she does not want to start or continue a relationship with you, your chances of a relationship are futile. You can only control yourself; you cannot control another person, or keep another person in the relationship, no matter how much positive thinking you do about it.
  • Problems that need physical action: If your sink is broken, you can think positive all you want, but the sink won’t fix on its own. You will need to call a plumber and take real action, or fix it yourself if you know how to.
  • Bad ideas and ventures:  Too often in businesses, people are afraid to look negative in pointing out the flaws of a business idea. But it is important to be realistic about bad business plans. You cannot expect that positive thinking alone will get people to buy your product, if it’s a bad one. So if you see a business idea at the office that you know will not work, it may be time for you to speak up, instead of hoping for the best.
  • Acquiring physical things: You may want a Mercedes-Benz really badly, but you are not going to get one just by visualizing it and thinking positively about it. You actually have to buy it. Positive thinking won’t buy you a home, either. You can have goals that you want to achieve, and positive thinking can help you stay on track. But no, just wanting a fancy car will not get you one.

Positive thinking is still a valuable mindset. But you still have to put in the work to whatever goals you have, and be realistic. Good luck.