The Power of Positive Thinking- part 2


Here is an excerpt from the book The Power of Positive Thinking (1952) by Norman Vincente Peale.  It is from chapter 5:  How t o Create Your Own Happiness.

Who decides whether you shall be happy or unhappy?  Then answer- you do!   A television celebrity had a guest on his program an aged man.  And he was a very rare old man indeed.  His remarks were entirely unpremeditated and of course absolutely unrehearsed.  They simply bubbled up out of a personality that was radiant and happy.  And whenever he said anything, it was so naive, so apt, that the audience roared with laughter.  They loved him.  The celebrity was impressed, and enjoyed it with the others.

Finally he asked the old man why he was so happy.  “You must have a wonderful secret of happiness”, he suggested.  “No”, replied the old man, “I haven’t any great secret.  It’s just as plain as the nose on your face.  When I get up in the morning,” he explained, “I have two choices- either to be happy or to be unhappy, and that’s all there is to it.”

That may seem an oversimplification, and it may appear that the old man was superficial, but I recall that Abraham Lincoln, whom  nobody could accuse of being superficial, said that people were just about has happy as they made their minds to be.   You can be unhappy if you want to be.  It is the easiest thing in the world to accomplish.  Just choose unhappiness.  Go around telling yourself that things aren’t going well, that nothing is satisfactory, and you can be quite sure of being unhappy.  But say to yourself, “Things are going nicely.  Life is good.  I choose happiness,” and you can be quite certain of having your choice.

Children are more expert in happiness than adults.  The adult who can carry the spirit of a child into middle and old age is a genius, for he will preserve the truly happy spirit with which God endowed the young.  The subtlety of Jesus Christ is remarkable, for He tells us that the way to live in this world is to have the childlike heart and mind.  In other words, never get old or dull or jaded in spirit.  Don’t become super-sophisticated. —end of excerpt

As a child, I had a number of difficult situations I was exposed to, and I certainly developed a way of thinking that was more negative than positive.  I learned that life wasn’t a secure and positive place- very few people understand the full depth of the situation.  The pattern of thinking of seeing “my glass as 1/2 full” has stayed with me for years.  I am on a journey now to think more positively.  I know it is better for me in every way, but it is difficult to retrain the brain.  I want to be as this old person was from the book- I want to just “choose” to be happy.  I’m working on it and I hope you will work on it with me.

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