Negative thinking, in Burkeman’s sense, is not exactly the opposite of positive thinking. It involves turning toward our insecurities, flaws, sorrows and pessimism and finding ways of enduring those episodes by embracing them. We should acknowledge that because we are human, we sometimes fail. By admitting that we sometimes screw up and that some things really are impossible for us or are as inevitable as is death, we will feel more content. This is the basic premise of the book.
As someone who has a generally positive outlook on life, I think I could use a good dose of negative thinking every now and then. It’s so easy sometimes to say, “things are going to work out,” when it might be better to think, “why isn’t this working out right now,” and to work through those thoughts. Why aren’t we getting those jobs we want? Positive thinking is good (I truly believe that, which is probably me thinking positively), but it’s also nice to get a reality check.