The weakness on which I was working was pessimism. Pessimism is a state of mind in which one anticipates negative outcomes or believes that the evil, hardships, dangers, displeasures in life outweigh or dominate the good, luxuries, securities or pleasures in life. It affects ones thinking process adversely.
It leads to loneliness, doubts on one’s own capabilities and constant anxiety. I wanted to overcome this weakness, to develop self-confidence and redeem my self-esteem. This would fill my mind and eventually life with more optimism and happiness.
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WHY THIS BOOK? SYNOPSIS
In the first chapter the author deals with the cause of feelings of inferiority and insecurity and ways to overcome them and build self confidence. Believe in yourself! The author says one should have faith in his abilities. To be successful and happy one must have a humble and reasonable confidence in his powers or capabilities.
A sense of inferiority interferes in attainment of goals whereas self-confidence leads to self realization and thus further successful achievement. According to the author, the sources of inferiority complex are usually some emotional violence done to us in the past or the consequences of certain circumstances or something that we did to ourselves in the past. The author suggests that to build up feelings of self confidence in oneself the practice of suggesting confidence concepts to one’s mind is very effective.
A mind is obsessed by thoughts of insecurity and inadequacy because such ideas have dominated that person’s thinking over a long period of time. Hence, more positive pattern of ideas must be given to the mind and that is accomplished by repetitive suggestion of confidence ideas. Thus, disciplining the mind is required if one has to re-educate it and make it a power producing plant. We build up the feeling of security or insecurity by the way we think. In our thoughts we constantly fix attention upon sinister expectations of events that might happen, the result we constantly feel insecure.
And we have a tendency to create by thought, the very condition we fear. Instead one can create positive results by vital thoughts of courage and confidence. Attitudes are more important than facts. Any fact facing us, however difficult, even seemingly hopeless, is not as important as our attitude toward that fact. How you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. The author further suggests going about your business on the assumption that what you have affirmed and visualized is true. Affirm it, visualize it, believe it, and it will actualize itself.
Feelings of confidence depend on the type of thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Think defeat and you are bound to feel defeated. But practice thinking confident thoughts and you will develop such a strong sense of capacity that regardless of what difficulties arise you will be able to overcome them. Feelings of confidence actually induce strength. Emerson said: "They conquer who believe they can” and "Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain". Thus, practice confidence and faith and your fears and insecurities soon will have no power over you.
In the first chapter, the author suggests following ways to overcome inferiority and to build up self-confidence:
- Picture yourself as succeeding.
- Whenever a negative thought comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out.
- Do not build up obstacles in your imagination. Instead tear them down by tearing them apart.
- Do not compare yourself to others.
- Get a competent counselor to help you understand why you do what you do. Learn the origin of your inferiority and self-doubt feelings which often begin in childhood. Self- knowledge leads to a cure. Practice self-affirmations, for example, Yes, I can. Or I can do all things through belief in myself.
- Take an inventory of all the things you have going for you and begin to really appreciate your assets. Health, eyes, hearing, friends, family, son, house, shelter, food, income, transportation, intelligence etc. In the second chapter, the author talks about having a peaceful mind.
The essence of the secret lies in a change of mental attitude. For this, one must learn to live on a different thought basis, however thought change requires effort.
A life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress is the easiest type of existence. A primary method for gaining peace is to practice emptying the mind. Thus, practice emptying your mind of fears, hates, insecurities, regrets, and guilt feelings. After you have emptied your mind of all the old, unhappy thoughts immediately start refilling it with creative and healthy thoughts. The mere fact that you are consciously trying to empty your mind tends to give you relief. Also emptying your mind is not enough. Your mind cannot remain in a vacuum for long.
Fill it with creative end healthy thoughts so that thoughts of fear, hates and worries do not enter. At intervals, practice thinking a selected series of peaceful thoughts or utter a series of peaceful words. They have a healing effect on your mind. Another way of developing serene and quiet attitudes is to watch your manner of speech. It is important to eliminate from conversations all negative ideas, for they tend to produce tension and annoyance inwardly. Peale also says to spend some quiet time each day relaxing, and not thinking about anything much.
He says picture your mind as a pond and see if you can achieve the state of smoothness and no ripples. Fill your mind with all peaceful experiences possible, then make planned and deliberate excursions to them in memory. He continues, saturate your thoughts with peaceful experiences, peaceful words, and ideas, and ultimately you will have a storehouse of peace-producing experiences to which you may turn for refreshment and renewal of your spirit. It will be a vast source of power. On fear and guilt he says, the quantity of vital force required to give the ersonality relief from either guilt or fear or a combination of each is so great that often only a fraction of energy remains for living. The result is that he tires quickly. Not being able to meet the full requirements of his responsibility, he retreats into an apathetic, dull, listless condition and is indeed even ready to give up and fall back sleepily in a state of enervation. You must eradicate fear and guilt before you will ever be able to sleep and regain your strength. On happiness, he says, you can be unhappy if you want to. It is the easiest thing in the world to accomplish.
Go around telling yourself that nothing is going well, that nothing is satisfactory, and you can be quite sure of being unhappy. But say to yourself, "Things are going nicely. Life is good. I choose happiness," and you can be certain of having your choice. Peale says, "The happiness habit is developed by simply practicing happy thinking. Make a mental list of happy thoughts and pass them through your mind several times each day. If an unhappiness thought should cross your mind, immediately stop, consciously eject it, and substitute a happiness thought. The way to happiness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, and give much. Fill your life with love. Scatter sunshine. Forget self, think of others. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be surprised. ” Peale recommends we think about what we want to do if we could do anything. And to think about what we are good at. He says that if you talk to your subconscious, you can convince it to change its mind about things. But that it is naturally very reluctant to do this. So you must be firm and persistent.
He says to remember that "mighty oaks from little acorns grow". He says that as a clean engine delivers power, so too a clean mind (free from negative thoughts, guilt, hate, bitterness, fear, etc. ). He believed the secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in mind. Peale gave few problem solving tips which could be summarized as:
- Believe that for every problem there is a solution.
- Keep calm. Tension blocks the flow of thought power. Your brain cannot operate efficiently under stress. Go at your problem easy-like.
- Don't try to force an answer. Keep your mind relaxed so that the solution will open up and become clear.
- Assemble all the facts, impartially, impersonally, and judicially.
- List these facts on paper. This clarifies your thinking, bringing the various into orderly system. You see as well as think.
- Trust in the faculty of insight and intuition --- believe in your own ability to come up with a satisfactory solution. Don't get paralyzed by focusing on the idea that you must have the "perfect" or the "best" solution.
Probably several solutions would somehow work out. Irritation, anger, hate, and resentment have such a powerful effect in producing ill-health.
It is to fill the mind with attitudes of good will, forgiveness, faith, love, and the spirit of imperturbability. Some suggestions include Deliberately, by an act of will, keep your hands from clenching. Hold your fingers out straight. Deliberately reduce your tone; bring it down to a whisper. Remember that it is hard to argue in a whisper. Slump in a chair, or even lie down if possible. It is very difficult to get mad lying down. • Say aloud to yourself, "Don't be a fool. This won't get me anywhere, so skip it "Everything is okay. It is not that big a deal. Everything is all right.
It is ok. " Make a list of all the minor irritations. And find a reason for them not to irritate you anymore. Then cross them off. Do not leave any irritations uncrossed off. In this way you will weaken your anger to the point where you can control it. " When a hurt-feeling situation arises, get it straightened out as quickly as possible. Don't brood over it for a minute longer than you can help. Do something about it. Do not allow yourself to sulk or indulge in self-pity. Immediately apply the cure Unless you do so the situation can become distorted out of all proportion.
So put some spiritual iodine on the hurt at once, by using a healing thought. Apply grievance drainage to your mind. He gives the example of pouring out your feelings to someone you trust, or to yourself on paper, until "not a vestige of it remains within you. Then forget it. " For those who believe in power of prayer he offers this technique: Pray for the person who you feel caused the hurt. Over and over and over until "... you feel the malice fading away. " He also talks about the importance of relaxing in order to be able to cope and deal with things better.
To summarize his tips on relaxation:
- Don't get the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. Don't strain so hard.
- Determine to like your work. Then it will become a pleasure not drudgery.
- Plan your work--work your plan.
- Don't try to do everything at once. Try to do one thing well.
- Get a correct mental attitude, remembering that ease or difficulty in your work depends upon on you think about it. Think it's hard and you make it hard. Think it's easy and it tends to become easy.
- Be efficient.
- Practice being relaxed. Take things in stride.
Discipline yourself not to put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Accumulation of undone jobs makes your work harder. Keep your work up to schedule. On how to have constant energy, Peale reveals the secret source of energy of every great person he has known: attunement with the Infinite. The knowledge that what one is doing is supported outside oneself and is serving a divine end, provides a constantly renewable source of energy. Working only by oneself and for oneself leads to burnout. Peale asks the readers to try prayer power. According to him, prayer is different to what you thought it was.
It is a space to say whatever is on your mind, in whatever language you choose. Instead of asking for things, give thanks in advance for what you desire, leave it in God's hands, and visualize the good outcome. The Peale formula is 'Prayerize, Picturize, and Actualize’. Be surprised at its effectiveness. He asks us to expect the best and get it. Fearful creatures that we are, we tend to expect the worst. But an expectation of the best has a way of organizing forces in your favor. You are less likely to keep anything in reserve. The subconscious, which regulates much of our actions, merely reflects your beliefs.
Alter the belief about an outcome, and your actions will seem to be shaped in order to achieve it. Peale's phrase is: 'Doubt closes the power flow. Faith opens it. ' New thoughts can remake us. Use only positive and hopeful language for a 24-hour period. Then go back to being 'realistic' the next day. Repeat this over a week and you find that what you considered realistic a week ago now seems pessimistic. In golfing terms, discover that 'the rough is only mental'. Your new understanding of what is realistic moves up to a higher, permanently positive level. --
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