Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation

Gabriele Oettingen

Why we love it: Gabriele Oettingen is a leader in the science of motivation and the foremost authority on how to turn fantasies about our future into concrete actions. This book applies the four-step technique (WOOP) she developed over two decades of scientific research to the challenges we all face: personal relationships, work, and physical health.

From pages 163-164:
I like to think of WOOP as similar to a guide dog leading the blind. You and I are the blind. We go about our daily lives not quite understanding who we really are, what we really want, or what stands in our way. When we don’t get what we think we want right away, we tend to make excuses, which only leads us farther astray. We get stuck, banging our heads against obstacles over and over again without making any progress. We also get caught up in our perception of our wishes, locking ourselves into obsessive thoughts—what in French are called idées fixes. We think, “I have to do X” or “I need to finish Y before I can tackle Z” or “It’s not proper for me to do W.”

Then along comes WOOP, our furry little friend. WOOP isn’t emotionally or ideologically invested in W, X, Y, or Z. WOOP isn’t invested in any particular solution or outcome. It’s a process for helping you find your path. If you take time to familiarize yourself with WOOP, if you “feed” it with ideas and give it your attention, you can consistently rely on it to show you the way and help you make decisions.