The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale teaches how positive thinking, mixed with faith, will change your life for the better.
- Avoid negative thoughts
- Replace negative thoughts with positives ones -and believe in them!-
- When stressed, take a break. Prey, meditate, walk in the woods..
Think Positive for Positive Outcomes
Norman Vince Peale says that negative thinking works like a fulfilling prophecy that will make your own fears a reality.
Similarly, when you think positive, you make your positive thoughts a reality.
For example the author’s magazine was going through a very difficult time. How did they solve the issue? They all had a meeting visualizing more subscribers and guess what happened… ?
Of course, that doesn’t prove anything because correlation is not causation, but I’m the usual nitpicker :).
To be liked: Like Others
The Power of Positive Thinking is applied in social settings as well. If you naturally like people and show an interest in them, they will likely like you as well.
And conversely, if you are self centered and too much in love with yourself, people will find it hard to like you.
Many Are In Your Same Situation
Albeit at times we might feel like our issues are unique to us, the author says that millions of people have the same or have had the same.
And, here’s the great news: there are countless of people who have overcome exactly what you’re going through.
Pick Your Battles
Don’t make all the problems your own. We have limited time on this earth, so don’t try to solve everything.
Break Free of Worries
In The Power of Positive Thinking Vincent Peale says that worrying is the source of both physical and psychological diseases.
However, to stop worrying, you simply have to believe that it’s possible to get rid of it.
Then you can different techniques which have one thing in common: they get rid of your negative thoughts.
But that’s not enough: you need to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.
Also read How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
Real Life Applications
- Walk in The Woods
If you are feeling stressed out and tense, the author recommends walks in the woods to decompress. Anything reconnecting you to nature and far away from the hustle and bustle can be effective.
- Bit Repetitive
The concepts of The Power of Positive Thinking are quite simple and the book could have been shorter. However, if you read my book reviews, you’ll notice that’s a gripe I often have: I often think books could be shorter.
- Mistakes Correlation for Causation
The author should have read Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb to understand how humans see trends, patterns and correlations when, often, there are none.
Norman Vincent Peale is particularly to believe that correlation means causation, such as that because A and B happened one after the other, then A must have caused B. But of course we can’t be sure of that in the slightest.
- Very Religious
People who criticize the book for being religious might forget that the author, Vincent Peale, was a minister.
I mean, what else do you expect? 🙂
You read Mein Kampf from Hitler, and would you be surprised the book is racist?
That being said, religiosity doesn’t necessarily have to be a con in my opinion.
As a matter of fact, religion can help provide faith, hope and a strong psychological foundation for many people.
But if you’re looking for a more secular resource, and a resource which is more science-backed, then “The Power of Positive Thinking” might not be the book for you.
If you don’t mind too much the lack of scientifical backing and if you can manage to fully embrace the message, then “The Power of Positive Thinking” is a book with a strong uplifting spirit.
- Positive Thinking IS Important
Don’t let all the critics and imperfection sway you: thinking positive IS important.
Similarly, books such as You Are the Placebo claim scientific backing while actually presenting little or no proofs.
It’s probably because The Power of Positive Thinking is based on religion instead of woo-woo “science”.
And while I didn’t particularly enjoy all the Biblical references of I otherwise find it quite good overall.
The idea of thinking positively and always looking for the positive angle of the events in your life is a huge game changer. And shouldn’t be underestimated.
By the way, this book is also one of the favorite of Tony Robbins.
Robbins doesn’t need any intro, but he is the author of one of the best self help products out there: Personal Power II.