Self-Help Advice Books Power of Positive Thinking
About the self-help book the Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, history and advice from the book.
HELP YOURSELF TO THE BEST SELF-HELP
THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING (1952)
The Head Man: The son of a minister, Norman Vincent Peale was a child rebel who suffered from feelings of inferiority because he was skinny. He associated fatness with toughness--which he needed in order to fight the labels hung on him because of his father's job--and he stuffed himself with food, milk shakes, and cod liver oil, but to no avail. Not until the age of 30 did he get his wish--40 lb. too much of it--and then he had to go on a diet. His positive thinking had perhaps gone too far, but he no longer felt inferior.
His rebellion died fairly early. After an unsatisfying year as a journalist following graduation from college, Peale entered the ministry. Every church he was assigned to had a dramatic increase in attendance, partly because of his dynamic sermons. In 1932, at the age of 34, he became pastor of the venerable Marble Collegiate Church on New York's Fifth Avenue, which then had a congregation of 500 people. During Peale's ministry, nearly 4,000 new members were added. He preached to them over closed-circuit television.
Peale was one of the first religious leaders to recognize the potential of using the mass media to bring the "message" to the people--in his case, the power of God and positive thinking. His magazine Guideposts reached 2 million, his radio program 5 million, his books many millions more.
He was also one of the first to realize the connection between religion and psychiatry. With psychiatrist Dr. Smiley Blanton, he began a pastoral counseling service in the church basement. That service has become the interfaith American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry, with one of the largest outpatient clinics in New York.
Overview: In his book, Peale offers a how-to manual on "creative living based on spiritual techniques." Sometimes accused of over-simplifying religion, he sees it as a "system of thought discipline" which provides "a workable and useful mechanism for preventing energy leaks." His advice: to plug into the power of God by reading the Bible and following its advice, by thinking of God as a partner, and by being positive rather than negative in thought, word, and deed. By doing these things, people will, he says, become healthier, happier, more popular, more useful, and better able to cope with life.
1. Read and memorize verses from the Bible, and say them before bed, when you get up, and at odd moments during the day.
2. Put yourself in the hands of God and think of Him as your unseen partner.
3. Pray out loud in your own words. Try thanking God instead of always asking him for something. Pray for others (e.g., the doctor when someone in your family is sick).
4. Be willing to take what God gives.
5. Replace negative thoughts, statements, and actions with positive ones.
6. Create positive mental images to help you get what you want.
7. Practice emptying the mind, then filling it with good thoughts, peaceful scenes from nature, and words like serenity.
8. Every day for at least 15 minutes, go alone to a quiet place, lie down, and put your mind in neutral. Don't talk, write, or read.
9. Throw yourself into what you do; give it all you've got. Stand up to obstacles and do something about them.
10. Draw on Higher Power by yielding to it, saturating your mind with the Bible. Reach out, and it will be given to you.
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