Most of you have heard of the monumental work written by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale called, The Power of Positive Thinking. The book was first published in 1952. Since that time, it has been translated into over forty languages and has sold two million copies. I would say that the book was fairly successful! Wouldn’t you?
Prior to the writing of that book there had not been much of a PMA (positive mental attitude) market in the publishing industry. In fact, historically speaking, the whole motivational speaking, seminar business with its positive, upbeat outlook on life is a fairly new industry.
Though many have read Dr. Peale’s book on positive thinking, not many people know the story behind it. It came at a great price.
Dr. Peale had been working on the book for a long time and was very discouraged. He became so convinced that no one would be interested in reading such a book that one night he threw the entire manuscript in the garbage. He told his wife, Ruth, not to take the book out of the garbage can; he was finished with it, and he did not want anything else to do with it!
He had been reading the book to her at night and although she told him that it was very, very good, he believed her words of praise and encouragement were just coming from a loving wife who was devoted and committed to her husband.
Ruth decided she would abide by her husband’s wishes; she would not take the manuscript out of the trash can. However, the next day she did something very unusual. She picked up the trash can with the manuscript still in it (keeping her word not to take it out of the trash can) and took it to a publisher. Well, the rest is history. The publisher loved the book, and it has gone on to be a classic in literature.
The part of that story that speaks to me most is where he was so discouraged with his work that he did not think anyone would be interested in what he was writing. The reason it speaks to me so much is because that is reality. We all do things on a daily basis that we feel are mundane and unimportant and will not make a bit of difference to anyone. Yet, to someone else, it could be the very thing that changes the course of their life and destiny.
In more recent times, one of my own heroes, Zig Ziglar, has said, “Positive thinking will not make you do anything but, it will help you do everything better.” Zig used Dr. Peale’s concept and took it to a whole new level. I am sure you have been influenced sometime in your life by someone who believed in the power of positive thinking, positive talking, positive believing and positive living. It makes life so much better!
We live in a world that is full of negativity. I have often thought that the ratio of negative people to positive people must be about ten to one. But that’s okay. Just like you, I choose to be the positive one!
The next time you are discouraged that something is not going your way or is not working out like you want it to, remember this story. There is long-term power in believing in what you do even if you face discouragement in the short-term. I know how valuable positive thinking is in my own life and I am sure you do, too.
Thank you, Ruth Peale, for having the courage to be positive and believing in your husband and friend, even when he was not able to do so in himself. We have all benefited greatly from your decision to “take out the trash”!
Tip: Positive thinking sometimes starts with negative thoughts!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm