The Power of Positive Thinking
One of the most powerful books of all time is The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Peale, a minister at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, preached a message of hope to millions around the world through his writings. In every book, he taught others how to focus their thoughts on positive messages and self-talk. In this, Peale declared, a man (or woman) could remake his life.
While you may not agree with his religious background, Peale's argument that how we think influences or behavior and in turn our success in life is found in the teachings of almost every philosophy, religion and culture. Today, psychologists back up the notion that positive self-talk and affirmations can take root and grow in our subconscious into trees bearing the fruit of success.
Some people seem to be born with an optimistic streak while others are naturally inclined towards pessimism. But some people are also born with a seemingly miraculous gift to play the piano, while others must work diligently through years of lesson and practice to play at a moderately competent level. The fact remains that both people, while born with different amounts of talent, can change that talent and change the outcome. The gifted pianist could give up piano playing and choose to be a scientist instead. The mediocre pianist may love music so much he practices every day for two hours and surpasses all expectations.
What life handed them at birth was out of their control. What they did afterwards was their choice!
Abraham Lincoln once said, "Most people are as happy as they make their minds up to be." A man plagued by black moods his whole life, with literally the weight of the union upon his shoulders, Lincoln showed remarkable resilience. He had learned somewhere along the line that he was in control of his thoughts – a powerful secret.
Steps to Positive Thinking
If you'd like to generate a little more optimism in your life, there are several steps you can take. Try these today and see if you can nurture that spark of optimism in your soul.
• Affirmations: Most of your thoughts are conditioned responses that have built up over time. It's the accumulated words from parents, teachers, coaches, colleagues, friends, church leaders any all the others whose words influenced you for the good or bad. You can take charge of the words running through your head at any given moment by replacing them with affirmations. These simple, positive, present-tense statements repeated daily slowly and gradually replace any negative conditioning.
Louise Hay, author of many powerful books on affirmations, suggests that two simple affirmations offer the most power. Say these daily and as many times as you can. You may notice changes in your life. The affirmations are: "I love myself." The second is: "I approve of myself." Try it!
• Become a reverse paranoid: A paranoid person suffers from a sickness in which he views other people, events or circumstances as personal – "they're out to get me." A reverse paranoid, on the other hand, finds something good in everything. Even the worst situations can be believed to have a positive outcome. A rainy day that ruins a picnic? The typical person bemoans the loss of fun, while the optimist or reverse paranoid views it as the universe's sign that he needs a break and provide a much-welcome change to rest at home. Try taking anything that spurs you to complain and turn it on its head. The exercise alone may help you view the world through a different lens.
• Shut off the television news. Yes, knowing what's going on in the world around you is important. The problem is that with the plethora of news channels, cable news channels, talk shows, websites, blogs and magazines screaming headlines 24/7, they tend to focus on the bad news in the world. It's wars, famine, earthquakes, partisan bickering, natural disasters and heinous crimes. Try a news fast for a few days. Chances are no major news affecting your corner of the universe will happen during those few days. You'll get a much needed break from the negativity fest.
Can you truly become an optimist when you have spent most of your life as a pessimist? Yes, you can. The point of power is in the present moment. Choose your thoughts today and build a brighter future tomorrow.
Written by: Jeanne Grunert
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