Positive thinking is a conscious, deliberate action.
For example, positive thinking might look like this: Max decides that every morning he will say to himself, "Every day in every way, I am getting better and better."
In contrast, paradigms are unconscious, automatic thought structures.
For example, Max might have a paradigm that covertly informs him that everything is getting worse and worse, literally falling apart due to the law of entropy that tells us things are getting increasingly chaotic all on their own.
As you can see from the examples above, Max's positive thinking ("getting better and better") is in direct contrast with his paradigm ("getting worse and worse").
What I'm hoping Max understands is that his positive thinking won't achieve its conscious, deliberate goal as long as there's a deeper, unconscious paradigm that stands in opposition.
Let's look at a more detailed example:
Max has always gotten by financially, but he's also always wanted more. Finally growing tired of not having as much cash as he'd like, he deliberately and consciously decides to think the following positive thought: "I am rich."
But Max grew up hearing that rich people are snobs, and that information turned itself into an unconscious paradigm. As a result, whenever Max thinks "I am rich," his unconscious paradigm says, "I hear you, Max, but I also know you don't want to be a snob. So, let's not get rich." And he doesn't. This "hidden" paradigm also explains why he's never gotten rich before this point either -- being rich just doesn't mesh with his money paradigm.
Then positive thinking doesn't work? No. Positive thinking does work.
But when it appears as though positive thinking isn't working, that's the time for Max to see if there isn't an opposing paradigm lurking about in his unconscious. And if he doesn't find any unconscious paradigms right away, no worries, because the positive thinking will help him flush them out, and here's how.
As long as Max chooses positive thoughts that oppose one of his paradigms, he'll feel discomfort. This is understandable, seeing as he has two mutually exclusive messages inside him at the same time. Now, the positive thinking might not appear to be working the magic Max is looking for, but that's because it's first job is to expose and/or weaken any opposing paradigms in its way.
As long as Max keeps up the positive thinking ("I am rich"), his paradigm will resist ("You don't want to be a snob, Max"). As long as his paradigm resists, he'll feel discomfort. It isn't an easy thing to keep doing, but if Max plugs away, and pays attention, he'll eventually see the underlying paradigm that's standing in his way.
He'll remember something his parents told him about rich people being snobs, or a movie he saw where the rich people were snobs. He'll remember promising himself he'd never be like that. Something will leak up from deep down inside, and suddenly his unconscious, automatic paradigm will become exposed -- and vulnerable.
For once we're aware of our paradigms (once we're conscious of them), they can be replaced by -- you guessed it, Max -- the positive thinking.
Sometimes the paradigms instantly and permanently dissolve the moment they move from the unconscious to the conscious. Sometimes it takes years of positive thinking to replace the old thoughts with the new.
Either way, once Max's unconscious, automatic paradigms are exposed by the light of conscious awareness, it's a whole new ball game. And that's when the power of positive thinking really becomes visible.
The things for Max to remember, then, are these:
** If positive thinking doesn't seem to be doing anything, he probably has an unconscious, automatic paradigm that's opposing his positive thoughts.
** If Max has an opposing paradigm, he should keep up the positive thinking while paying attention, knowing it will weaken and/or expose the opposing paradigm, bringing it up from the unconscious.
** Once the paradigm is exposed, it will be far easier (if not effortless) to replace the old paradigm with a new paradigm that is in harmony with the positive thinking.
** And then, well, look out Max!