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.[1] 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.[2][3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Positive mental attitude (PMA) is the philosophy of finding greater joy in small joys, to live without hesitation or holding back our most cherished, held in high esteem, and highest personal virtues and values.


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.[6]


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.[7]


Cancer specifically has received a lot of attention since Lance Armstrong, along with other survivors, have given their stories. Many studies have been done regarding PMA and its effects on health, specifically with people of serious illnesses such as cancer and kidney disease. People with PMA have a significantly higher chance of survival and recovery.[8] 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.[9] 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).[10]


Critics of PMA argue that it is not the secret to success but a by-product of success.[11] 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".[12]

Society and healthy living[edit]

"Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it." is the feeling and belief which Eckhart Tolle presents in The Power of Now.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hill, Napoleon (1960). Think and grow rich (Rev. ed.). Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Crest. ISBN 0449214923.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Kotekar, Vivek (2017). "Positive Mental Attitude: A Need of Time" (PDF). The International Journal of Indian Psychology. 4: 97–102. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2018.
  4. ^ Eagleson, Claire; Hayes, Sarra; Mathews, Andrew; Perman, Gemma; Hirsch, Colette R. (March 2016). "The power of positive thinking: Pathological worry is reduced by thought replacement in Generalized Anxiety Disorder". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 78: 13–18. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2015.12.017.
  5. ^ Chang, edited by Edward C. (2001). Optimism & pessimism implications for theory, research, and practice (1st ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. pp. 101–125. ISBN 1-55798-691-6.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Ellis, Ross; Ryan, J. A. (2005). "Emotional Intelligence and Positive Psychology: Therapist Tools for Training/Coaching Clients to Move Beyond Emotional Relief". Annals of the American Psychotherapy Assn. 8 (3): 42–43.
  7. ^ Wagner, Kimberly (2011). "The mental skills and characteristics related to a major league baseball player's performance: A qualitative study". Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering. 71 (8-B): 5150.
  8. ^ Rom, S. A.; Miller, L.; Peluso, J. (2009). "Playing the game: Psychological factors in surviving cancer". International Journal of Emergency Mental Health. 11 (1): 25–36.
  9. ^ Subha, T. G.; Mukherjee, Tilottama (September 2010). "Optimism, superstitious beliefs and spirituality in chronic kidney disease". Indian Journal of Community Psychology. 6 (2): 262–274.
  10. ^ Larry, R. S. (2010). "Exploring the relationships between perceived health self-efficacy, coping and health-promoting behaviors among non-substance abusing vs. substance abusing patients with HIV disease". Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering. 71 (1-B): 661.
  11. ^ Turner, G. (March 1980). "Positive mental bulldust". Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy. 1 (1): 40–44.
  12. ^ Halliday, G. (1991). "Psychological self-help books--How dangerous are they?". Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training. 28 (4): 678–680. doi:10.1037/0033-3204.28.4.678.
  13. ^ Tolle, Eckhart (2004). The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Vancouver, BC: United States: Namaste Publishing. ISBN 978-1577314806. Retrieved 24 May 2019.