Woman sitting at her desk and thinkingCan too much positive thinking be bad for you?

Vicki Amorose shares some ideas and poses the question of whether positive thinking can leave you in a position to be blindsided in your voice over career and beyond.
Read Vicki’s article and then add your own voice to the conversation in today’s VOX Daily.

Can Positive Thinking Have a Negative Side?

By Vicki Amorose
About a year ago, I contributed an article called Let’s Hear It for Working Class Voiceover Talent! The primary message encouraged individualism and creativity, and I also gave a shout-out to all the voice talents who hold a second job in order to pay the bills.
I was in that category until a month ago when I quit my part-time job as a copywriter. Now I’m a full-time voice talent after 11 years in the biz.

Who in their right mind would quit a good job in this economy?
I did not take this step without a back-up plan. My job exit was preceded by saving up two months of copywriting salary in my VO business account. I have a consultant job lined up and my resume is updated. In other words, although I will work hard to make enough money from voiceover alone, I’m not locking myself into one possibility. And I have my husband to lean on if need be, since we are raising two teens and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.

I am thinking positively, but with my full critical facilities turned ON.
Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a terrific book called Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America. I know some of you are recoiling right now, thinking – oh I reject such negativity! But please don’t judge a book because you disagree with the title; at least disagree with the book itself!

Because she so eloquently examines the downside to positive thinking as it has affected the business community, I encourage all entrepreneurs to read her book.

The author came to examine the subject because she survived breast cancer and was confronted with a culture that requires “the denial of understandable feelings of anger and fear, all which must be buried under a cosmetic layer of cheer”. She sites the subprime mortgage meltdown as another example of positive thinking run amuck. Everyone might ‘deserve’ a nice big house, but not everyone can afford it, not even the lenders pushing the rainbows.

As Ehrenreich concludes, “A vigilant realism does not foreclose the pursuit of happiness; in fact, it makes it possible.”
My voiceover community is a warm and generous bunch whose encouragement has meant a great deal to me. Yet I’m also grateful for the critics in the forums, the bad boys and girls, the issuers of warnings. If a trail guide tells you that bears have attacked people in the area you are now hiking, you wouldn’t accuse him of ‘negative thinking’.

But I must admit, I’m an optimist at heart. Maybe none of us in voiceover would have chosen this career without some blindness in our optimism.
Optimism moves us forward. And as we make that choice, it is ‘vigilant realism’ that reminds us we are moving forward in an economy that has not yet recovered.
Keep going. Keep your mind and your possibilities open, and keep going.
Any comments?
Vicki Amorose
©iStockphoto.com/Justin Horrocks

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. As Tony Robbins once pointed out: just thinking that there are no weeds in your garden, doesn’t make them go away.
    The problem with “vigilant realism” is that it depends on our personal and highly subjective assessment of what we perceive to be real.
    For some people, a mouse is just a sweet little critter. Others are terrified. In both cases, the mouse is real but the individual response couldn’t be more different.
    If we interpret our situation as being hopeless, that will influence our actions or lack thereof. If we feel that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, we are more likely to take the steps to us out of the darkness.
    As we have seen in the case of the Chilean miners, things that -realistically- seem almost impossible, can happen after all. But as we’ve all witnessed, positive thinking helped these miners survive their ordeal, but it was positive doing that got them out!

  2. Yes, Vicky, I agree. Simply thinking positively isn’t going to get you where you want to go. Being realistic, setting goals, and working toward them, keeping in mind the possible obstacles (like being eaten by bears), while also staying positive that you will accomplish your goals, helps to get you there. I see thinking positively as part of a plan, but not the plan itself. And addressing the problems and fears and negative feelings that you might have also serves to help conquer them, ultimately leading to a more positive outlook. So, I think you need to be able be honest with yourself, see clearly, and take action on whatever you encounter, perhaps with an underlying positive attitude.
    That book sounds interesting, too. I might have to check it out. Thanks for your article today!
    Jill Goldman

  3. Great article, thanks Vicki!
    Now into my 4th year of solid voice over work, it’s been a GREAT year for me and my business. Am I struggling to get by? YES. But are things looking up? BIG YES.
    …If I’m doing well in a lousy economy…I can’t W A I T until it picks up!

  4. Great article Vicki! Congratulations! You’re an inspiration to me! I’ve got dates on my calendar when I hope to “exit” my day job and do VO full time. My hope to leave a perfectly decent full time job when so many people have been laid off and are searching for one, makes me feel slightly guilty. But I have a passion for VO, a positive attitude and realistic, attainable goals. I know I have the determination and persistence to make the leap to full time….but I’ll be sure to have my updated resume in hand just in case I need to apply for a part-time job at Trader Joe’s. Cheers for sticking with it 11 years and following your passion!

  5. The very source of the idea of positive thinking which is God has been abandoned and a new wave of self worship is the cause for the utter failure that positive thinking has become.
    Committing ourselves and work to God and believing that all is well because he said so and not because we feel so at the moment is the key not mere positive thinking.
    The sooner the world realizes the utter failure the mind is without true attachment to God through Jesus, the better for the individual.


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