Study: Positive thinking really worksWhy do some people succeed while others fail? Positive thinking is indeed the answer, scientists insist. Motivation pushes us to succeed and influences our ability to accomplish goals.

Researchers from BBC Lab UK launched an online experiment to discover what motivation methods are the most effective for achieving desired results. Thinking “I can do better” came out as the top way of achieving better scores.

Why positive thinking really works

Professor Andrew Lane and his colleagues tested what psychological skills help people to attain their goals. They asked Internet users to participate in an online game. More than 40 thousand people enjoyed the experiment. The number of participants was surprising as usually their number does not exceed 3,000. The participants were divided into 12 experimental groups and 1 control group necessary to compare the results, Science Daily reports.

Participants were requested to use one of the motivational techniques:

  • Internal dialogue
  • Visualization of goals
  • If-then planning

Each of these techniques has been applied in one of the four parts of the contest task (game process, result, control activation, and instruction).

The participants who used the internal dialogue and repeated to themselves “I can do better next time” showed the best results at each stage of the task.

The great results were achieved by those who were repeating  “I can react faster this time” (during the game) and “I can beat my record next time” (after the game).

Goal visualization method was also effective. The players who were imagining themselves doing even better and quicker while playing scored high. Imagining themselves playing faster and better than the last time helped to improve the scores as well.

Why positive thinking really works

Think positively and you’ll reach any goals, scientists say.

The researchers also found that watching a short motivation video increases the chances of success. All the participants of the experiment watched a motivation video with four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson, who is known for helping athletes to prepare mentally for the competitions.

If-then planning turned out to be the least effective method in this type of research, although it works great in the fight against obesity and other life challenges.

Thus, the researchers proved that positive thinking really works. They say that if you think you can succeed, you will definitely will.

Professor Lane underlines that educating people to control their emotions could be extremely useful. It helps in a variety of life situations: while preparing for a speech or passing the exams, in boxing competitions, and getting people ready to go to dangerous places.


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Wera Wox
Wera Wox

As to me, finishing something I always say to myself: ‘Not good enough anyway’. That’s not by purpose, but thanks to that I push myself to think if I can do it better and what way I can do it.
The only problem is to make difference between real good quality that could be and good quality I want to achieve.


When I studied at the college I learned positive thinking. I read books about motivation. I belive I can change my life. I saw my life in dark colours before. I had an unhappy love, didn’t trust my friends, hated my studies. One day I understood I could no longer live as I lived. I am happy now. I have friends and a job I love. And I believe in a happy future.


Positive thinking always helps to overcome a bad mood, and even recover from depression. Therefore, many psychologists help to think only about the good things and forget about everything bad. It really works, if you want to have happy life.