David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
In 1952 Norman Vincent Peale published The Power of Positive Thinking. The book has been translated into 42 languages and has sold over 15 million copies. Peale was born in 1898 in southwestern Ohio and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in sacred theology from Boston University’s School of Theology and, to my surprise, attended Syracuse University, where he received a Doctor of Divinity degree. With his wife’s help, Peale published a small monthly magazine titled Guideposts. As a kid, I remember seeing this magazine at my grandmother’s house. In 1984 Peale received the Presidential Medal of Honor from President Reagan.
His relentless focus on positive thinking drew people to his teachings. Peale realized that for every negative thought, we would need three positive thoughts. He knew that how we view life is how we do life. When we change our thoughts, we change everything. As time has passed, medical science has discovered that positive thoughts result in less stress, better overall physical and emotional health, longer life, and better coping skills. I am also convinced that we are more likable when we have a positive thoughtlife. Who wants to be around miserable people?
Norman Vincent Peale wasn’t the first to come up with this; he capitalized on the teachings of St. Paul, who wrote to the early Christian Church in Philippi, what I like to refer to as the “Whatsoevers,” “Whatsoever things are true, Whatsoever things are honest, Whatsoever things are just, Whatsoever things are pure, Whatsoever things are lovely, Whatsoever things are of Good Report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Just think of the power of thinking about things that are True, Honest, Just, Pure, Lovely, or a Good Report. It just keeps your mind settled and moving in the right direction. Ancient writings revisited and repackaged in the 20th century are equally applicable today.
When you are faced with all the negativity that is so prevalent in life today, take a moment and stop. Ask yourself if there is any value in thinking about those things, and then make the conscious effort to spend time with the Whatsoevers. I promise you that your mindset will shift.
If you would like to hear more about making this shift in your life stance, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 251 or The Next Page Podcast.