There are 2 layers of clear duality in the idea of “positive thoughts” and it’s basically about deluding your already deluded mind into believing shit that you have no idea about or no fundamental basis for. Deluded is never a good state to be in and can only lead to disappointment, depression and in extreme cases actual suicide, even “positive” thinking. Being delusional about the state of your plight cannot lead to a good quality of life.
However the problem that most people face in these things is that they view Schopenhauer style, radical pessimism, as the only other option, which is itself just another form of delusion and frankly is exactly the same thing as radical optimism. The fact of the matter is that you cannot know jack shit about what’s going to happen in 5 minutes, never mind further down the road, and most thoughts are centred on the past or future for the purpose of extrapolation and calculation of potential outcomes, completely out of your control. But our monkey brains can’t tell the difference between reality and thoughts.
All you can really do is weigh up likely outcomes and try to be as honest and rational about it as you can. This will give you a much clearer picture of what your life will look like, and as long as you keep trying and doing your best i mean… You reap what you sow ya know?
Among the ‘new agers’ you’ll hear things like “Not judging the world as good or bad and mentally labelling everything by silencing your mind can also drastically change your life” which i can tell you from experience IS a fantastic improvement over the conventional paradigm. But then launch into subjective nonsense like “Change all thoughts to positive and create a positive mind-set” where the determination of something as positive is exactly another form of judgement of experience.
This is an example of the failure of the new age movement in that they talk about things which are fundamentally accurate (i.e. that non-judgement is liberating from emotionally destructive cycles) but package that in with calling that non judgement itself “good”. Quite often people interpret it as just calling EVERYTHING “good”. I’ve had honest to god enlightened beings tell me that rape and murder are “perfect”.
Figure out what non judgement is before you talk about not judging stuff. In terms of what you DO think about the world and what may or may not happen, in terms of living your life, being an optimistic realist is better. Not in that it’s inherently better or a superior point of view. That would be fundamentally fictional stuff. It’s superior in that it’s not fundamentally delusional or based on beliefs. It’s the honest attempt to put together an accurate view of reality to interact with and filling in the blanks of what you can’t know with the middle case scenarios, not the best, not the worst, the middle. Because there is no way to objectively tell the future.
It’s foolish to think that how you think about things has no effect on your experience of reality. But likewise it’s foolish to think that your thoughts about reality create it. You are in no way separate from the reality you appear within and as such whether it’s fundamentally real or not doesn’t affect the fact that you are there as part of a flow of some form of existence. To think that your thoughts about it affect it beyond your own subjective experience of it is fundamentally delusional by definition.
On a kind of tangent this also alludes to the question of your own existence as a separate agent from reality that does anything to it as opposed to an integrated part of it moved by the forces experienced. And the former is the conventional view point and is itself fundamentally flawed and baseless. Spiritual guys have been saying it for millennia and neuroscientists are saying it now. There is actually no you of any kind.