RSA ANIMATE: Smile or Die

RSA ANIMATE: Smile or Die

David Anderson

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100 thoughts on “RSA ANIMATE: Smile or Die

  1. Tim Kiehl says:


    If the secret is out,
    and the public's still smitten.
    Why do author's now shout,
    "A new sequel is written."

    From the box comes the cat,
    Schrodinger's missed allusions.
    There's not science in that,
    Just mistakes and illusions.

    What else can they offer
    but gullibility's reign,
    While true knowledge does suffer,
    the smear of greed's stain

  2. Joe Hardcastle says:

    This seems like an incredibly shallow and nonsensical analysis.

  3. Emily Taylor says:


  4. Tom Sherrill says:

    Didn't like this video much. The topic is great, but the examples used to illustrate it were not. 

    In my experience, positive thinking or optimism couldn't be characterized as just believing "everything will be ok". I see it as a state of being with a proven rate of success, no doubt because I don't think that everything will just work itself out (still being optimistic here). I see the ways that I myself can play a role in the solution to any problem or scenario I'm exposed to. If my scenario were to win the lottery, pessimism might make me feel that it isn't worth it to try, so why buy a ticket? No chance for victory there. If I were optimistic though I would definitely get a ticket giving me a chance to win, no matter how small. Calling out to world with my mind for something, anything, will never result in that something being put square in the palm of my hand. What it will do, more often than not, is keep me vigilant for the passing opportunity to get it on my own. This, for me, is the intended message of those that preach optimism and the "physical power" of our perception, allowing that there are psuedo-scientist out there that make some extraordinary claims to the extent of how your perception of world can change it.

    Now to your claims that "positive thinking" caused the economic collapse… Not sure how to start this, because it seems truly ridiculous that the would be whistle blowers were fired for being pessimists and not because they were drawing attention to something that would be financially damaging to the companies they worked for. Optimism vs Pessimism was not, I believe, a key factor or major theme in the collapse. Greed+Dishonesty vs responsibility+accountability in my opinion (which is so humble it might not even be mentioned) was the real foundation for the collapse. In summary, the employees weren't fired for having a pessimistic outlook (by extension the employer didn't fire them for not being optimistic).

    In this video positive thinking is made out to be the exclusion of negative stimuli. This is false. Positive thinking is the inclusion of these factors combined with the belief that solutions are possible when we are proactive in attaining them. Pessimism is not the more "realist" side of perceived reality. It is the exclusion of hope; the frame of mind that says a positive solution is not possible, that the individual can in no way change their situation for the better.

    I changed my mind. I really did like this video. It provided me an opportunity to think critically about the merits of optimism, pessimism, and realism. Thanks =)

  5. Thomas Michael says:

    This ladies a schmuck….Period ! I'm shocked RSA did a piece on her ignorant talk!

  6. DonTheFurious says:

    To the people who argue that "positive thinking" is the key to greatness, thanks for the laugh! You're completely ignorant of history. Any man who accomplished anything great from a historical perspective was EXTREMELY DISSATIFISED with the current circumstances. Dissatisfaction is in fact the key to change that leads to success. The last time I checked, positive thinking is the complete opposite of dissatisfaction.

  7. Glade Swope says:

    Interestingly, I actually believe in some of this stuff, yet it is definiely being misused in a patronizing way.

  8. Matthew McLaughlin says:

    i think, therefore i am.  if you doubt the effect of pretending to be positive will make you positive then simply smile for 30 seconds if you actually do it you'll notice your mood will improve. so why wouldn't it work the same with gaining wealth? or getting a job? if you think of these things in a positive way then it will self motivate you to get out and do it! would you rather hire the guy who got laid off who comes in thinking he wont even get the job and is less enthusiastic or the guy who comes in and puts everything into that interview. the government isn't saying be happy so we can blindside you businesses simply want people there who enjoy there job.

  9. Kadi Princess says:


  10. ProjectEchoshadow says:

    Amusing but true.

  11. jampumper says:

    Amazing video and clever thoughts, it's a pity she misunderstood Adam Smith and the invisible hand though! 

  12. rehanbbbl says:

    was on board till she showed 0 understanding of even basic economics

  13. Dave Philpott says:

    Any positive thinking I've ever seen is always coupled with a realistic action plan. If thinking positively doesn't have a realistic action plan, then it's not positive thinking – it's fantasy

  14. Todd Gobbett says:

    well thanks for giving me a business degree.

  15. Robert Galletta says:

    Delusional Propaganda is a tool for bilking people

  16. Robert Galletta says:

    Positivism the realist philosophy of science based on the analysis of positive data. Pragmatism follows social utility in making moral choices. De-Ontological Mysticism is for FLAKES and swindlers of flakes. 

  17. Kartik Waghmare says:

    Realism is a more rational approach, and hence more likely to be fruitful.

  18. Ike Evans says:

    I can buy into the overarching premise of Ehrenreich's talk, however, this speech of hers is so riddled with biased political talking points that the thesis gets lost.  For example, equating George Bush to Rhonda Byrne is frankly stupid on multiple levels, while blaming the financial meltdown on greed only is a dramatic oversimplification of the reality of what really happened.

  19. Typhoon792 says:

    Some unnecessary conflations done here but I otherwise strongly agree with the premise for this video.  Some more relevant and personally applicable examples from psychological and sociological perspectives should've been used imo.

  20. Jamie Hume says:

    Some very good points.

  21. Sean Michael Wilson says:

    On a related note: Ehrenreich is featured in our book about radical history and alternatives, PARECOMIC and wrote the back cover quote for it:

  22. bigdaddybill1 says:

    love how he ends on a recant

  23. Oluwashola Adesanya says:

    Please Mr Government
    The candle of hope is lit
    Legalise the monetary system
    To make all money LER-JIT

  24. 437 says:

    This is so true it hurts, my worldview just got partially shattered. I have never heard of Barbara Ehrenreich before my goodness I will look her up.

  25. Hans Mateboer says:

    Some people have terible problems, that's true…and some have nothing to complain about…i think it will not help you to be only negative…but that works both ways…only positive thinking will clowd your view on the world. 

  26. Harry Strong says:

    An example of Positive (Delusional) Thinking: 

    "Capitalism is fine. It's the best that we've got."

  27. Twinruler334 says:

    The world exists, in and of itself, despite what we may or may not think.  "Positive Thinking" is, in truth, solipsism!

  28. LookerStenographer says:

    *Callousness, 5:30
    She says "powerlessness" at 9:50, not perilousness

  29. Martin Hallén says:

    I think this is very misleading.
    She shows the psudoscience of optimism, but not any real science.

    There is actually a very strong support for optimisms positive affect on physical health. In a review article of 83 studies they looked at cordivascular outcomes, survival, cancer outcomes, immune function, outcomes ralated to pregnancy. physical symptoms, pain and more. In all these cases optimism was a significant predictor of health outcomes.

    There are ofcourse times when you shold not be overly optimistic, But i think one problem with the banks is that if they fail the government will bail them out and the bankers still get big bonuses when things go bad. So from their perspective it makes sence to gamble. But ofcouse you should be careful when investing large amounts of money in anything.

    I dont think optimism is about accepting everything. It's about making the best of the situation you are in. I think Martin Luther King was an optimist, because he had a vision and he believed it could be reached and thats the reason why he attracted so much support. When you have an pessimistic outlook thats when people feel its not worth the trouble. you wont succed anyway.

    I would say im an optimst but ofcourse I can still be against the Iraq war, becase it was not justified. To me optimism is more like we have enough resourses for everyones needs therefore wars are obsolete. And today trade is cheaper and more economical than attacking a nation.

  30. Lame Bot says:

    I think a lot of people either miss the point of the video or haven't seen first hand how in a company you can never EVER say something isn't working or else you are "being negative".
    Once you are "being negative", nothing you ever say or do will ever matter because you are a "negative person".

  31. Mumuke87 says:

    I enjoyed very much this video and I agree with the whole.
    I know someone who lives by 'positive thinking', posting crap like 'think positive and positive things will happen to you', or 'you can do it' / 'hang on' etc. and she has the most annoying personality now, giggling controllable even if she's buying a bus ticket and all this because of the 'positive thinking'. And let me tell you, she is the most depressed when she fails at something.  

  32. Earthium says:

    There are so many people that don't understand why positive thinking is bad. Don't think positive, think rationally. The mind of someone who commits suicide is thinking positively, it will very easily solve all your problems, why think about all the negative things, how your wife is cheating on you, you lost your job and are going to lose your house. This one act will solve all my problems, while a relaxing thought about things that may or may not be solvable it is short sighted.

  33. Noordeman says:

    Uitstekend! So waar!

  34. brenda Nirv says:

    This was an amazing illustration new devoted subscriber!

  35. Haez says:

    I suppose it depends on you definition of positive thinking. I believe positive thinking is not synonymous with delusional thinking at all. I think it is terrible to discourage people from genuine positive thinking by explicitly linking it with "delusional thinking". Whether this was what was the intention of this speaker or not, that how it came across to me.

    I personally do not regard "The Secret" as a positive thinking publication. A law of attraction book? Sure. A get rich quick book? Yeah. A scam? If you like. Incredibly lucrative for Rhonda Byrne? Definitely.

    On the other hand there's ACTUAL POSITIVE THINKING, i.e expressing gratitude for things you enjoy in your life, learning from mistakes but not letting them disable you, believing in yourself, not limiting yourself in what you try because of fear, not crying over spilled milk (not dwelling on past events that you cannot change), following your passions and dreams and focusing on the positives of any situation.

    These examples plus many more of real positive thinking, are incredibly powerful and beneficial. And ironically, despite the misdescription of books like "The Secret" as "positive thinking". The above are all traits that really will lead someone toward success, financially or otherwise. Not to mention the feel-good factor of things like gratitude and generosity.

    + Unfortunately I find that realism is most commonly used to justify the fear of failure, or the fear of trying something new. And not, to describe looking at a situation as it is, no better/no worse.

    I will forever attempt to see a "negative" event in a positive light (or as an opportunity). Not because I've been told to, because I want to. What's the point in reminding myself that losing my job is a shit thing (its not hard to work that one out). I want to be empowered and inspired to move on with life and to do that I have to find the positive within the negative.

    I do dislike certain books similar to and including "The Secret" because in my opinion they promote laziness more than anything else, but also of course "delusional thinking". However with that being said, how many amazing human beings throughout history have, at some point, by someone, been regarded as at least somewhat delusional? Certainly a lot of them.
    Thanks for reading 🙂

  36. J.L.W says:

    I was taken in by positive thinking when I was younger and because of my inability to handle a bad situation healthily, I feel my life was a little derailed. I believe 'the secret' to be an aggressive nasty cult like the old Soviet Union.

    Perhaps a lot of the people that have shown 'studies' etc. On how positive thinking effects xyz confuse correlation with causality. If you find something that's good in your life and are positive because of that your health improves. Such as = Play music, oh I feel happier.

    Whereas if you take the RESULTS of healthy behaviours and artificially recreate them, it is like putting a plaster on what the real problems are. Like giving someone drugs to 'plaster over' a medical problem they may have.

  37. lightersiege worlder says:

    how do we look at realism?do we look at it at one point in time?Is realism just a way so that we can fathom the world around us?

  38. TooMighty says:

    Ozymoron video on positivism… next please

  39. Lahiri Lakshman Peter Kommer says:

    I honestly think this lady is more deluded than the ideas that are being shunned and mocked in this video. It's 10min long, and the whole thing is about putting crap on positive thinking? Not really my preference; but awesome animation.

  40. Whiteboard Animation says:


  41. broaushay3825 says:

    8:11 "Your fired"

  42. Amanda Fairchild says:

    Positive thinking as social control. Wow. Brilliant and true.

  43. Complaining Qoheleth says:

    I tried being optimistic a few times and it failed every single time.

  44. Frances Lockhart says:

    Amazingly prevalent in some work cultures, trickle down from the top, you dare not voice an observation if it doesn't reinforce the positive spin because it's seen as subversive even though you're totally loyal and want the best for your organization. Critical thought is impeded.

  45. jakemf1 says:

    Did any one else think Wayne Dier? Not spelled right but he is all about if you think it the world will deliver I am amazed people think such an easy solution is an option for such complex problems personality and socially

  46. Parris MacMullan says:

    In my opinion I'm discovering that it's all about appropriate emotional attention. Giving and indulging into positive or negative thinking for no longer than will serve to give me a new idea or view point about what I want to accomplish and then let go and move on.

  47. redcash123 says:


  48. Evi1M4chine says:

    The American obsession with positivism is ironically just as harmful as the negativism it is supposedly the reaction to.
    It is literally a delusion. As in: A mental illness. The precursor to schizophrenia. Like the “American dream” (as opposed to the American reality).

  49. Steve Chisnall says:

    Positivity, in moderation, is cool, but suppressing negative emotions is one of the most psychologically POISONOUS things there is.

  50. Steve M says:

    Wow, this is naive. You think the banking meltdown was from positive thinking? Um, I will let the people at the top weigh in for themselves, but this was orchestrated. There was a positive intention to serve oneself. You can not. I repeat, you can not build in the negative.

  51. Belbecat says:

    I recently had a bad break up, and needed the help of my best friend at the time. She became an optimist after her own break up last year which I tried to help her through. Now that it was my turn, she started seeing me as a pessimist and actually argued with the way I felt, now she doesn't bother talking to me at all any more or following through with any plans we make.

  52. Eric C says:

    Quantum physics is a mockery to science? This old lady probably needs to do some research before she lets those dry lips run on and on.

  53. I R says:

    Is there a better version of this? Higher than 240p

  54. Aleksey Ponomarev says:

    The whole idea of the Secret is that positive thinking opens doors in your life, not that you just sit there and think about a million dollars, thats not gonna get you anywhere. You have to move and make decisions. The law of attraction worked for me in explainable ways, like everything was already there waiting for me. Anyways I think the author of this video didnt get the idea, positive thinking creates happiness and progress.

  55. Katja Thesaurus says:

    Ow my, arent i optimistic on the colLective power being used to end great suffering. Spec after last clip on fear as social control. :'),:

  56. WarrenH says:

    Positive thinking without Empathy is where her arguments/perspective stem from….and in that frame are totally understandable.

    When we isolate positive thinking as a singular tool/understanding and talk about it in the context of some people use it – example corporate world its easy to see where it becomes unwise.

    I would appreciate to hear her acknowledge the validity of positive thinking, then address how it can be, like any tool, used in ways that are not helpful, supportive, healing in certain circumstances. … Input empathy ^_^

  57. john doe says:

    There's quite a difference between Stoicism, positive thinking, and Positive Psychology.

  58. Nathan Thompson says:

    This is why atheists are hated in the world. We say that there is no heaven after death, you just die and that's it and people hate you for trying to shake their belief in their pleasant fantasy.

  59. DMalenfant1 says:

    Hmmm sounds just political correctness…………

  60. Francis Lai says:

    It's like not brushing your teeth, why are you inflicting your bad breath on me? I mean, it's no fun being around grumpy people, and besides, if you think you're happy, you'll be happy(until you realize why you were sad in the first place.)

  61. Kai Bobodzhanov says:

    Haha is no one else gonna address the fact that she claimed cheerleaders aren't athletes? That's definitely not true.

  62. Anne-Lies De Reu says:

    Did anyone else notice that the atom model drawn is actually not consistent with the quantum theory?

  63. Taco Meeuwsen says:

    Excellent, excellent, excellent.

  64. Bo Long says:

    Underlying fallacy here is that positive thinking somehow undermines or dilutes one's engagement with the "real" world. Untrue for many people. Some of the most relentlessly positive people I know are quite militant social activists. There is a forced dichotomy in her arguments.

  65. Veronica Deevers says:

    George Orwell's "1984". You will all think as you are told. You will all comply. You will all accept your current reality as 'good'. If you do not, we will strap a cage full of rats to your face so your attitude will change. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  66. Bill Nye says:

    The Tsunami was #haarp created. Those stupid new agers need to be culled from the earth

  67. Video Game Massacre says:

    Positive thinking is ignorant, arrogant, and delusional. It like being a happy slave who doesn't want to realize what is wrong and do something about it.

  68. Rene Frederiksen says:

    I like the idea of "WHAT IF"….
    WHAT IF positiv thinking AFFECT the outcome in a positiv way?
    WHAT IF we find ways to communicate with other differently….?
    WHAT IF it works….

    Is that a delusional idea? Is that loosing it or being ignorant?
    If NOBODY had an WHAT IF idea…NOTHING will happen – NOTHING will be invented.
    SO you can use WHAT IF in (At least) two ways…
    I lean towards the positive idea….But like ANYTHING- There is ALSO the "Too much" attitude…
    Too much trust in…Too much afraid of….Too much dislike etc….OR Too much faith in it will work…

    In my world – I would LOVE to TRUST more – LAUGH more – BUT ALSO ACT ON THINKS INSTEAD of just pounding down on others belief's…..
    How else can we move forward….??

  69. Rene Frederiksen says:

    All I can say is – The tail of indian…and the story of the two wolf….Who won? 🙂

  70. MGTOW Psyche says:

    The only problem with her argument is the invisible hand she demonizes…..for she talks of the market today as if we have capitalism when in reality we are living under corporatism….The invisible hand does straighten the market out when government does not intervene in the markets as it does today with the FED and various other institutions and policies

  71. Finding Doiyen says:

    I truly think this is true, many assume because I speak of being positive that I would love the book The Secret. I don't. I never have since I first smelled the book. This explains why. First time I have seen it spoken of so well.
    I do believe we can create things by writing them down, dreaming them, walking the walk to make it happen and knowing when to let go and move on and excepting the fact we may not recognize the right moment to move on or hold tight but do recognize the value in walking the walk no matter how it turns out.

  72. ptanyuh says:

    8:11 — Your fired

    Sad face 🙁

    Interesting though, thanks for the upload.

  73. ptanyuh says:

    This is the exact method of control my mother has used on me since the day I was born.

  74. AK 565 says:

    IMO, the author's point was not that there was a problem with Positive Thinking, Attitude, & a Smile (PTAS). I don't think she was saying that these things are not required. I took her issue to be with the mindset that PTAS is always either sufficient unto itself or the single most important factor to overcome every problem and every obstacle.

    If I had a dollar for every time somebody insinuated that all my problems and obstacles would magically solve themselves and go away if I just had PTAS, I wouldn't need to work.

  75. Ai Fan says:

    Agree! It's like in the movie Coraline. The OTHER mother make the puppet doll Whybie smile all the time by sewing his mouth into a smiling shape. CRUELTY!

  76. garyha says:

    Can't get over what a genius talent the artist is.

  77. Gabriel Bourgeois says:

    I don't understand the point the speaker is trying to argue against. It seems to be about people thinking you don't need anything else than positive mental attitude to do anything ever, but I don't think anyone would think that. It doesn't even make sense, as of course it's not the only thing required. Don't get me wrong, the points raised by the speaker are very valid, but I don't think the attack against a book like The Secret or its author make the point any more relevant. It's a frustration against a belief that doesn't exist.

  78. Ceefax says:

    I think the problem is really that the ideology of positivity is valued but genuine happiness isn't. People want to talk about such but when the choice is between emotions and agendas (e.g: cultural ideas of worth and deserving), agendas come on top.
    Atomisation and muh bootstraps force a sanctimonious stoicism and alienation which prevent our id from being free to do its thing. People feel more alienated and less loved, do the next step is finding something else to hate.

  79. James Barlow says:

    The world matures significantly when it refuses to take Americans seriously……

  80. Gary Lafferty says:

    That what GOP fake Christian believe

  81. Audio Pervert says:

    the illustrator is superb ….

  82. Nan Zingrone says:

    Such a great talk! Can't believe I missed this.

  83. MrMatipid says:

    Yeah, but, if you are surrounded by negative people including, friends, doesn't that drain you and waste your energies? Whatever your situation, you will have to deal with any and all problems and feeling sorry for yourself like a lot of people do will not solve it! You have to take action because just because you may be sad for your situation, will not solve your problems. That said, being positive allows you to focus your energies on the problems and solve it to give you the best outcome possible. I would rather be positive as I find negative people only add to may problems and not help it! Negative people will never deal with their problems because they have to blame someone else instead, of themselves. And some problems are self-inflicted wounds. I know because I talk to friends who tell me their problems and I point out that they came to me for advise which I gave them but, they did what they wanted anyway despite, being told of the possible consequences of their actions!

  84. Jürgen Noll says:

    she has not the slightest grasp of the difference between positive thinking à la self-help gurus and positive psychology as a field of research….

  85. beesland says:

    Do you know how much of my childhood you just exposed to me? No wonder my mom always loved the adage "dont worry, be happy" while I was failing existence; it's exactly like soviet mind control!

  86. SelphieFairy says:

    Wow, I was actually thinking about that dumb book, "The Secret," during this video. Lo and behold, she actually brings up the book and talks about what a dick the author is lmao. The author and her book is a huge con.

  87. Iafiv Iv says:

    To be honest any totalitarian system is based on being happy.Positive thinking taken to the extreme is just another variation of 1984.One thing that people in the West rarely realise is that totalitarian systems almost never actually portray themselves as being 'bad' in the sense that things are not great.They always strive to portray things as being great or awesome or whatever you want to call it.Here there might be a problem since westerners only ever knew totalitarian systems upfront in wartime more exactly the nazis.Even with propaganda you couldn't really hide the fact that there was a massive war taking place.They have very little knowledge of what a peacetime totalitarian system means.Basically its you're either happy or an enemy of the state no in between.In a totalitarian society people have to be happy because the system is perfect any unhappiness means you're an enemy of the system.So yes positive thinking applied and mandated to a society is basically North Korea.

  88. Serenaif says:

    Impressive work! 🙂

  89. Tim Dodge says:

    I hope you're not being demonetized. If you are or your viewers are tired of the PC police join the free union.

  90. Tevo77777 says:

    The happiness industrial complex is everywhere.

  91. Celia Betty says:

    Manifestation Miracle has lifted my spirits and calmed my "fears" Great material! [ Check Details here === ].

  92. Max Wealth says:

    The whole positive thinking movement has been outed as a system of social control.

  93. y l says:

    "The words contained in The Manifesting Manual are the most powerful and profound ones you will ever read[ Check Details ]. The understanding of the human psyche is beautifully captured throughout, enabling one to fully explore and understand one's own personal mindset.

  94. Dj Hastings says:

    The examples she was citing were the extreme. There is a definite personal benefit to focusing one's thoughts towards things that are good, that is, in a general sense. So in other words, if everything else in life is fine, and you're just having a normal day, it usually does you more benefit to think about positive things than it does to think about negative ones. With that as your baseline, you can build a space upon that to process the thoughts and feelings that come with real life negative events. The process is most beneficial as a process, though, and can become destructive if it becomes rumination.

  95. Handyman Reality says:

    To sum up Quantum physics as "positive thinking" does all involved a HUGE disservice.

    Enjoy your "realistic" miseries together as I understand miserable energy attracts miserable energy or a some say, "misery loves company."

  96. James Bromfield says:

    Exactly so

  97. Springem Springsbee says:

    4:50 you're*

  98. James Hoy says:

    What an absolute car crash of incoherent half thoughts.

  99. wagon crusher says:

    this vid: circling (not addressing) around an issue (weak title) by "describing" it with the help of generalized buzz words that misleading meanings are attached to while ending on a weak note as well, please close your eyes when playing this vid a second time,ty.

  100. Revolutionary Thinking says:

    It's pure "let them eat cake" bullshit.

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