Norman Vincent Peale-Power of Positive Thinking


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The summer sometimes lends itself to cleaning and getting organized when you work at a university. I went to clean out part of my desk drawer and came across a little pamphlet called Thought Conditioners by Norman Vincent Peale. I received this motivational gem from a coaching colleague and friend Billy Lee. He gave it to me in 1998 when I was making the transition from college coach to university athletic director.

I thought back to my childhood in Northern NJ and my dad listening to a New York City radio station WNBC 660 AM radio. On Saturday evenings the station aired Norman Vincent Peale doing his weekly show called the “Art of Living”. Rev. Peale was the pastor at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. I was raised Catholic and the presentations I heard from Peale where nothing like the sermons I had heard in church. This man was talking about motivation and the power of positive thinking.

I did some research on Norman Vincent Peale. The radio program, “The Art of Living,” began in 1935, and ran for 54 years. Under sponsorship of the National Council of Churches he moved into television when the new medium arrived. In the meantime he had begun to edit the magazine Guideposts and to write books.  Peale was born in 1898 and died in 1995 at the age of 95. From 1932 to 1988 he was the leader of the Marble Collegiate Church and took the congregation from 600 to 5000 during his leadership.

Peale suffered much criticism in his life from politicians, psychologists, and liturgy leaders. He took a stand against John F Kennedy being president in the late 1950’s and in 1960 that caused quite a stir. Despite that negative critique of his life he is still synonymous today for positive thinking. He was adamant that leadership traits included a positive attitude, optimism and service to others. He authored the best seller “The Power of Positive Thinking”.

I will leave you with Thought Conditioner #22 from the pamphlet my friend gave me.

“Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12.2

We often manufacture our own unhappiness by the negative way we think about things and events. Peale suggests twice a day pulling the plug on your brain and drain away all negative thoughts. Then START filling it with thoughts of GOD doing positive things in your life.

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