Dr. Hank Kelly, OCU Provost
Thinking positively will greatly enhance your life and how God can use you. Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking had a significant impact on my life while I was in high school.
As I read this influential book, I resolved to think positively about everything to which I put myself. I aimed to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy. Therefore, I applied, was accepted, and graduated four years later. My positive thinking helped me succeed!
I learned you become what you constantly think about: “Think positively,” Peale says, “and you set in motion positive forces that bring positive results to pass.” The Bible states this as the maxim: “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).
Consider how you think about yourself. You cannot be positive if you think and express negative thoughts. You can and should continually think positive thoughts. However, you may have to act the part of the person you want to become. You may have to “fake it until you make it.”
Identify your strengths and remind yourself of them often. Do not take criticism hard. Make it a positive by using it to improve yourself. Remember: You cannot think positively if you hang around with negative people. Generally, you become like the people with whom you spend a lot of time.
Here are practical tips Peale offers to help you think positively:
- Stamp in your memory a picture of yourself succeeding. Your mind always tries to complete what it pictures. Thinking, talking, and worrying about what we do not want can never bring about what we do want.
- Stop negative thoughts by deliberately voicing positive thoughts to cancel out the negative.
- Minimize every so-called obstacle.
- Frequently repeat: “If God be for me, who can be against me?” (Romans 8:31).
- Learn the origins of feeling of inferiority and self-doubt. Self knowledge leads to a cure.
- Frequently repeat: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
- Put yourself in God’s hands. Affirm that: “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
- Stamp in your memory a picture of what you want to accomplish, holding the picture firmly in your consciousness and commit it to God.
According to John Maxwell, simply thinking positively will not enable us to succeed at everything:
- Your attitude cannot substitute for competence. If you think you can do something, that is confidence. If you can do it, that is competence. Both are needed for success.
- Your attitude cannot substitute for personal growth. You need to feed your mind and soul to become the person you desire to be.
- Your attitude cannot substitute for experience.
- Your attitude cannot substitute for action.
Maxwell asserts that failure can actually be a good thing. If you are not failing, you probably are not moving forward. You are just doing what is familiar, comfortable, and safe.
Think positively and keep your thoughts fixed on the things of God. You will live a joy-filled life, one that fulfills God’s purpose for you.
Suggested further readings:
Allen, James. As a Man Thinketh, 1903.
Collins, Jim. Beyond Positive Thinking: Success & Motivation in the Scriptures. Lake Mary, FL: Excel Books, 2010.
Hensley, Dennis E. How to Fulfill Your Potential. Anderson, IN: Warner Press, 1989.
Hill, Napoleon and Stone, Clement. Success through a Positive Mental Attitude. New York: Pocket Books, 1960.
Maxwell, John C. The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.
Vincent Peale, Norman. The Power of Positive Thinking. New York: Random House, 1952.
Toler, Stan. Rethink Your Life: A Unique Diet to Renew Your Mind. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2008.
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