Positive mental attitude
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Positive mental attitude (PMA) is a concept first introduced in 1937 by Napoleon Hill in the book Think and Grow Rich. The book never actually uses the term, but discusses about the importance of positive thinking as a contributing factor of success. Napoleon, along with W. Clement Stone, founder of Combined Insurance, later wrote Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, defines positive mental attitude as comprising the 'plus' characteristics represented by words as faith, integrity, hope, optimism, courage, initiative, generosity, tolerance, tact, kindliness and good common sense.
Positive mental attitude is that philosophy which asserts that having an optimistic disposition in every situation in one's life attracts positive changes and increases achievement. Adherents employ a state of mind that continues to seek, find and execute ways to win, or find a desirable outcome, regardless of the circumstances. This concept is the opposite of negativity, defeatism and hopelessness. Optimism and hope are vital to the development of PMA.
PMA is under the umbrella of positive psychology. In positive psychology, high self-efficacy can help in gaining learned optimism which ultimately leads to PMA. PMA is considered an internal focus of control that influences external factors. Research has shown that through emotional intelligence training and positive psychology therapy, a person's attitudes and perceptions can be modified to improve one's personal and professional life.
A study of Major League Baseball players indicated that a key component that separates major league players from the minor leagues and all other levels is their ability to develop mental characteristics and mental skills. Among them were mental toughness, confidence, maintaining a positive attitude, dealing with failure, expectations, and positive self-talk.
Many studies have been done regarding PMA and its effects on health, specifically with people of serious illnesses such as cancer and kidney disease. Cancer specifically has received a lot of attention since Lance Armstrong, along with other survivors, have given their stories. People with PMA have a significantly higher chance of survival and recovery. A study comparing people with chronic kidney disease with people kidney disease free showed that there was a significant difference between the groups. The kidney disease free group rated much higher in PMA. There was no difference found in spirituality and females with chronic kidney disease were found to be significantly more superstitious. A study done with HIV-positive individuals found that a high health self-efficacy, a task-oriented coping style, and a positive mental attitude were strong predictors for a health-promoting lifestyle which has a significant effect on overall health (coping and surviving).
Critics of PMA argue that it is not the secret to success but a by-product of success. The "self-help" industry has been criticized as a scam for authors to make money due to its simplistic writing and principles. There is little evidence, however, that self-help books, life coaching, and motivational speaking are harmful; a study of 100 psychotherapy patients found that of the 43 patients reading books (e.g. PMA, religious texts, Alcoholics Anonymous texts, etc.) 4 reported "mild harm or distress" while 34 reported "benefit without harm".
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- Hill, Napoleon; Stone, W. Clement Stone; preface by Og Mandino; with a new introduction by W. Clement (1987). Success through a positive mental attitude. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0671743228.
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