Tony Dungy on the Power of Positive Thinking

Tony DungyWe hear so much about the power of positive thinking that it’s easy to sometimes blow it off or roll our eyes at the concept. And it’s true, some well-meaning people get so excited about the benefits of positive thinking that they make it sound like the be-all, end-all solution for every problem—they forget that relentless positive ACTION and hard work is also required to make dreams happen.

But the fact is, positive thinking IS a crucial component of the “warrior mindset” required for success.

And positive thinking isn’t “easy.” It requires discipline and commitment to develop a positive, can-do mindset.

Tony Dungy is one of only three people ever to win a Super Bowl both as a player and as a head coach. Here’s his advice regarding the power of positive thinking…


Being disciplined in your approach to each day of your life and accomplishing the things you dream of starts by disciplining your thoughts. Focus on those things you WANT to occur, not those that you do NOT WANT to occur.

I’m not suggesting that life will be easy or blessings will be showered upon you if you simply start thinking positively; but what I am suggesting is that negative thinking can’t help but set you back.

Whatever we tend to think will often be the outcome of any given situation. I’m inclined to think there is an actual law of “self-fulfilling prophecies,” and if there isn’t there probably should be.

I have watched too many teams that have taken the field feeling as if it wasn’t their day, only to find out at the end of the game that it indeed wasn’t. I have also been a part of many more teams that have headed out of the locker room—at the beginning of the game or after halftime adjustments—expecting to make every tackle and block, execute every play, and come out victorious at the end of the game. And they did.

Sure, preparation and talent go a long way toward creating that positive belief—but more often than not, it’s the expectation of success that defines championship teams.


– Tony Dungy, from his book Uncommon

It’s easy to slip into a mindset of fear and worry—where you’re thinking about all the things you DON’T want to happen. But this is such a dangerous path to go down.

Like Coach Dungy points out in the above statement, positive thinking doesn’t guarantee you positive results, but negative thinking almost surely guarantees you negative results.

Develop the discipline to focus on positive expectations. You have to remind yourself to see the positive again and again, until it becomes a habit.

Sure, you still need to work hard, prepare for the task, and have a plan for what to do if things don’t go your way—but always keep your main focus on the POSITIVE outcome you want to eventually see.