Mr. Peale’s Steps

Here is a little to-do list from The Power of Positive Thinking.

On changing a mental attitude from negative to positive: or in other words, “for shifting from error patterns to truth patterns.”

“1. For the next twenty-four hours, deliberately speak hopefully about everything, about your job, about your health, about your future.  Go out of your way to talk optimistically about everything. This will be difficult for possibly it is your habit to talk pessimistically. From this negative habit you must restrain yourself even if it requires an act of will.

2. After speaking hopefully for twenty-four hours, continue the practice for one week, then you can be permitted to be “realistic” for a day or two. You will discover that what you meant by “realistic” a week ago was actually pessimistic, but what you now mean by “realistic” is something entirely different; it is the dawning of the positive outlook. When most people say they are being “realistic” they delude themselves: they are simply being negative.

3. You must feed your mind even as you feed your body, and to make your mind healthy you must feed it nourishing, wholesome thoughts. Therefore, today start to shift your mind from negative to positive thinking. Start at the beginning of the New Testament and underscore every sentence about Faith. Continue doing this until you have marked every such passage in the four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Particularly note Mark 11, verses 22, 23, 24. They will serve as samples of the verses you are to underscore and fix deeply in your consciousness.

4. Then commit the underscored passages to memory. Commit one each day until you can recite the entire list from memory. This will take time, but remember you have consumed much more time becoming a negative thinker than this will requires. Effort and time will be needed to unlearn your negative pattern.

5. Make a list of your friends to determine who is the most positive thinker among them and deliberately cultivate his/her society. Do not abandon your negative friends, but get closer to those with a positive point of view for a while, until you have absorbed their spirit, then you can go back among your negative friends and give them your newly acquired thought pattern without taking on their negativism.

6. Avoid argument, but whenever a negative attitude is expressed, counter with a positive and optimistic opinion.

7. Pray a great deal and always let your prayer take the form of thanksgiving on the assumption that God is giving you great and wonderful things; for if you think He is, He surely is. God will not give you any greater blessing than you can believe in. He wants to give you great things, but even He cannot make you take anything greater than you are equipped by faith to receive…

The secret of a better and more successful life is to cast out those old dead, unhealthy thoughts. Substitute for them new vital, dynamic faith thoughts. You can depend upon it–an inflow of new thoughts will remake you and your life.”

Pretty powerful thoughts huh?

I think a few tips or clarification might be helpful too:

1. When you are working on memorization, like memorizing the scripture verses Peale suggests, add a kinesthetic component like walking or bouncing a ball or jumping on a trampoline etc. There is something magical about moving and memorizing. The movement seems to make our minds function better and the words seem to stick faster and longer!

2. When working on number six, (countering negativity with a positive), consider where validation comes into play too. If someone is upset and spouting off and just needs to be heard, countering with a positive seems counter-productive to me. Instead, validating by listening using validating phrases and questions may be better. Chances are, in a few minutes the listened-to person will drop the issue and move on to finding solutions to the problem….being heard was all that was needed. Positive mental attitude “comebacks” can be distressing to someone who needs to be heard, not feel judged or like someone is trying to shift their thinking. In other times, be the “angel’s advocate” and spout off PMA statements to your heart’s content.

3. Craft declarations that will assist you in making this shift! If you’re like me, the whole idea of changing the way you’ve always thought can be totally overwhelming and the temptation to quit before starting can be great!! Statements like, “I can learn new ways of thinking” or “I am making progress on my new thinking patterns everyday!” will be helpful and support taking baby steps until real change is underway and your momentum is showing in the way you think, speak and act.

I have felt and seen this shift happen for me and others and I know it’s possible! I hope this reminder is helpful for someone out there today!

I wish you every good thing!




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