Positive mental attitude (PMA)

Positive mental attitude (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.

When people emphasize having a PMA above all, it minimizes the importance of self-discipline, hard work, setting and implementing goals, establishing and observing priorities, and recognizing limitations and obstacles. Rather, people treat optimism as if it’s an IOU for actual results, then look to their results for confirmation bias as “proof” that it was indeed the PMA that led them to the desired outcome.

4 thoughts on “Positive mental attitude (PMA)

  1. shinichi Post author

    Positive mental attitude


    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, who 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 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.


    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.


    Well-meaning friends in the US and similar cultures routinely encourage people with cancer to maintain a positive attitude. However, although a positive attitude confers some immediate advantages and is more comfortable for other people, it does not result in a greater chance of cure or longer survival times.

    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”.

    “Positively misguided: The myths and mistakes of the positive thinking movement” (Salerno, 2009) speaks of the dangers of relying too heavily on a positive mental attitude (PMA). Steve Salerno writes that when people emphasize having a PMA above all, it minimizes the importance of self-discipline, hard work, setting and implementing goals, establishing and observing priorities, and recognizing limitations and obstacles. Rather, people treat optimism as if it’s an IOU for actual results, then look to their results for confirmation bias as “proof” that it was indeed the PMA that led them to the desired outcome. Rather than having blind optimism and believing that you can do anything in life just because you believe it, Salerno suggests that a more realistic and fruitful motto would be something like “expect failure but keep trying” such as Dr. James Hill uses in his Center of Human Nutrition.

    One example Salerno (2009) gives of the harms of placing total emphasis on having a PMA is the deficits in the public school system when “self-esteem based education” was promoted. Its intent was to foster academic success and greatness through increasing students’ self-worth. Students were protected from failure so that even those who did poorly would succeed, and honour rolls were abandoned so as not to hurt the egos of the children who did not make the cut. This promotion of positivity was supposed to lead each child to success, however, it was found that this grade inflation was only a temporary feat. Students were ill-equipped in post-secondary education and rated themselves as having a higher level of competence than their cross-cultural peers despite demonstrating lower performance. The PMA mindset of self-esteem based education was not only unhelpful, but was counterproductive in that it undermined excellence.

  2. shinichi Post author



    積極思考(せっきょくしこう、英: positive thinking ポジティブ・シンキング)は、なんでも前向きに物事を考えればそれは実現し、人生はうまくいく、という考え方、物事の良い面を見ようと努め、ポジティブな姿勢を保ち、「思考そのもの」を変えることで現実を変えることを目指す思考法である。ポジティブな思考はポジティブな現実を、ネガティブな思考はネガティブな現実をもたらすとされる。引き寄せの法則(英: law of attraction)、精神科学(英: mental science)、実践的キリスト教(英: pragmatic Christianity)、心の科学(英: science of mind)、実用的形而上学(英: practical metaphysics)、神の科学(英: divine science)とも。19世紀半ばにアメリカで起こったキリスト教の異端的潮流ニューソートに始まると言われる、比較的新しい考え方である。






    19世紀にアメリカ合衆国で生まれたキリスト教の異端思想で、メスメリスト(催眠治療家)・心理療法家フィニアス・クインビー(1802年 – 1866年)に始まるニューソートに由来すると考えられている。ニューソートは、個人主義、自己責任主義、反宗教(反伝統的キリスト教)、汎神論、健康第一主義、思考の現実化、精神の物質化、精神療法重視などを特徴とする。

    積極思考のアイデアは、近代神智学を作ったオカルティストのヘレナ・P・ブラヴァツキーによる1877年『ヴェールを剥がれたイシス』で触れられていると言われ、近代神智学はヒンドゥー教を取り入れたため、ヒンドゥー教にあったアイデアだとされることもある。またニューソートの著作家・自己啓発作家ジェームズ・アレン (作家)の1902年『As a Man Thinketh』にもあり、アレンはユダヤ教の箴言第23章第7節に由来するとしている。神智学協会のウィリアム・クアン・ジャッジ(英語版)の1915年の本、神智学協会のアニー・ベサントの1919年の本にも見られるという。



    素朴だったアメリカの積極思考は、estによって極限まで推し進められた。estは自己責任を強調し、「すべての人間は自分の人生を全く自分で作るものであり、どんなことが起こっても自分に責任がある」という綱領を掲げて活動した。ここからは、estを身につければその人自身がその人の宇宙を創造する万能の力を手に入れるというメッセージを読み取ることができた。estは自己啓発セミナーの草分け的存在になり、アメリカで大流行し、莫大な利益を稼ぎ出した。ヒューマンポテンシャル運動の中心エスリン研究所のメンバーは、estの綱領の社会意識と共感の欠如、歴史認識の欠如、しつこい勧誘、秘密めかしたエアハードの性格、estの脱税の噂などの問題に悩むようになった。エアハードの友人でエスリン研究所設立者マイケル・マーフィー (著作家)(英語版)とエスリン研究所所長のジョージ・レンナード(英語版)は、個人的にはestが倫理や良識に反していると考えており、マーフィーとエアハードの間では激しい議論が交わされることもあったが、マーフィーもレンナードも公式にはestを擁護し、estに大きな改革が起こることはなかった。






    引き寄せの法則は、必ずしもバーンのように即物的な富を求めるものではなく、ニューソート系のユニティ (新宗教)(英語版)の歴史・神学研究者のトーマス・シェパードは、神に近づくための精神的成長のためにあると述べている。










    W・T・アンダーソンは、全てを個人的な責任とする積極思考、ウィリアム・シュルツの「私たちはどんな法則にも従う必要はない。自分で法則を作るのだ」という発言に見られるような考えは、自分の意思・思考以外を現実の要因と考えることをタブーにするもので、現実の環境への興味を失わせ、悪や災厄への注意を向けさせないようにする論理であり、全宇宙を人間の意思に従わせることができるという気違いじみた信仰であると評している。この論理に沿うなら、極論になるが、飢えた子供は食料がないことに自分に責任があり、広島の原爆の犠牲者は原子爆弾を落とされたことに自ら責任を負わなければならないという結論が導かれると述べている。宗教学者のダグラス・E・コーワン(英語版)は、悪い考えを持っているからひどい目に合うという論理で被害者を非難することを批判し、「この理屈に従うなら、誘拐された人やレイプされた人が、なにを言われることになるか想像してください」と語っており、一部の宗教者は引き寄せの法則の倫理的な問題を批判している。Brian Dunningは、被害者非難という「犠牲者を責める」アイデアが、利己的な我々の自我には魅力的で、醜く恥ずかしいことだが、この暗い喜びが心理的な魅力になっていると指摘している。



    積極思考は、現実を全て自分の思考次第と考えるため、ポジティブであろうとしているにもかかわらず自己嫌悪に陥りやすく、世界に存在する悪や他人の不幸を自業自得とする考えにもつながる。ポジティブであらねばならないと思い、ネガティブな気持ちを持つことを心配し、常に気持ちを修正し続けることは、強い義務感であり、バーバラ・エーレンライク(英語版)は『ポジティブ病の国、アメリカ』(Bright-sided 、2009)で、積極思考は、ある意味ではカルヴァン主義のような前時代的な厳しい精神修養になっていると指摘している。エーレンライクは、過度な積極思考は、世界中の抗うつ剤の3分の2を消費するほどのアメリカ人の不安の表れであり、自己を欺いて幸せなふりをしていると評している。また、ポジティブな態度を持たないことで公に非難されたり解雇される、がん患者がネガティブな思考のせいで病気になったのだと責められるなどの事例をあげている。






  3. shinichi Post author

    Positive psychology


    Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living, focusing on both individual and societal well-being. It studies “positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions…it aims to improve quality of life.” It is a field of study that has been growing steadily throughout the years as individuals and researchers look for common ground on better well-being.

    Positive psychology began as a new domain of psychology in 1998 when Martin Seligman chose it as the theme for his term as president of the American Psychological Association. It is a reaction against past practices, which have tended to focus on mental illness and emphasized maladaptive behavior and negative thinking. It builds on the humanistic movement by Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, James Bugental, and Carl Rogers, which encourages an emphasis on happiness, well-being, and positivity, thus creating the foundation for what is now known as positive psychology.

    Positive psychology focuses on eudaimonia, an Ancient Greek term for “the good life” and the concept for reflection on the factors that contribute the most to a well-lived and fulfilling life. Positive psychologists often use the terms subjective well-being and happiness interchangeably.

    Positive psychologists have suggested a number of factors may contribute to happiness and subjective well-being. For example, social ties with a spouse, family, friends, colleagues, and wider networks; membership in clubs or social organizations; physical exercise; and the practice of meditation. Spirituality can also be considered a factor that leads to increased individual happiness and well-being. Spiritual practice and religious commitment is a topic researchers have been studying as another possible source for increased well-being and an added part of positive psychology. Happiness may rise with increasing financial income, though it may plateau or even fall when no further gains are made or after a certain cut-off amount.

    Definition and basic assumptions


    Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi define positive psychology as “the scientific study of positive human functioning and flourishing on multiple levels that include the biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global dimensions of life.”

    Basic concepts

    Positive psychology is concerned with eudaimonia, a Greek word meaning “good spirit”. It is considered an essential element for the pursuit of happiness and a good life. It emphasizes cherishing that which holds the greatest value in life and other such factors that contribute the most to having a good life. While not attempting a strict definition of what makes up a good life, positive psychologists agree that one must be happy, engaged, and meaningful with their experiences. Martin Seligman referred to “the good life” as using your signature strengths every day to produce authentic happiness and abundant gratification.

    Positive psychology complements, without intending to replace the traditional fields of psychology. Emphasizing the study of positive human development, could enhance our application and understanding in other fields. More specifically, those which are more clinical and scientific-based. Since they may produce a limited perspective and understanding. Positive psychology has also placed a significant emphasis on fostering positive self-esteem and self-image. Although positive psychologists, with a less humanist direction, focus less on such topics.

    The basic premise of positive psychology is that human beings are often driven by the future more than the past. It also suggests that any combination of positive experiences/emotions, past or present, lead to a pleasant, happy life. Another aspect of this may come from our views outside of our own lives. Author of Grit, Angela Duckworth, might view this as having a prosocial purpose, which could have a positive psychological effect on our lives. Seligman identified other possible goals: families and schools that allow children to grow, workplaces that aim for satisfaction and high productivity, and teaching others about positive psychology. Psychologist Daniel Gilbert has also written extensively on the effects of time perception and happiness.

    Those who practice positive psychology attempt psychological interventions that foster positive attitudes toward one’s subjective experiences, individual traits, and life events. The goal is to minimize pathological thoughts that may arise in a hopeless mindset and to develop a sense of optimism toward life. Positive psychologists seek to encourage acceptance of one’s past, excitement and optimism about one’s future experiences, and a sense of contentment and well-being in the present.

    Related concepts are happiness, well-being, quality of life, contentment, and meaningful life.

    • Happiness: Has been sought after and discussed throughout time. Research has concluded that happiness can be thought of in the way we act and how we think in relative terms to it.
    • Well-Being: Has often been referred to what is inherently good for an individual both physically and mentally, though other aspects could be added in to define well-being.
    • Quality of life: Quality of life encompasses more than just physical and mental well-being; it can also include socioeconomic factors. However, there is a cultural difference with this term, as it can be perceived differently in different cultures and regions around the world. In the simplest of terms, this is how well you are living and functioning in life.

    Research topics

    According to Seligman and Peterson, positive psychology addresses three issues: positive emotions, positive individual traits, and positive institutions. Positive emotions are concerned with being content with one’s past, being happy in the present and having hope for the future. Positive individual traits focus on one’s strengths and virtues. Finally, positive institutions are based on strengths to better a community of people.

    According to Peterson, positive psychologists are concerned with four topics: positive experiences, enduring psychological traits, positive relationships, and positive institutions. He also states that topics of interest to researchers in the field are states of pleasure or flow, values, strengths, virtues, talents, as well as the ways that these can be promoted by social systems and institutions.

  4. shinichi Post author



    ポジティブ心理学(ポジティブしんりがく、英語: positive psychology)とは個人や社会を繁栄させるような強みや長所を研究する心理学の一分野である。精神疾患を治すことよりも、通常の人生をより充実したものにするための研究がなされている。











    近年では幸福を科学的に調べるために、「well-being(ウェルビーイング、良好状態)」という概念を使うことが多い。セリグマンは計測のために「ポジティブな感情(positive emotion)」「没入・没頭(engagement)」「ポジティブな人間関係(positive relationship)」、 「意味(meaning)」(人生や仕事に意味を感じること、何か自分よりも大きなことのために貢献しているという感覚)、仕事や活動の「達成感(achievement)」という5つの指標を提案している。


    国連はポジティブ心理学者のイローナ・ボニウェル(Ilona Boniwell)らに依頼し、国民総幸福量(GNH)で知られるブータン王国の政策を他の先進国に応用することを目指すプロジェクトを行った。











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