This is the third post in a series reflecting on the book The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. This summary and reflection cover chapter 3. If you are just joining, please take a moment to read You are less defeated than you think you are and Prescription for a peaceful mind which cover chapters 1 & 2. Please leave a comment and share how the concepts from chapter 3 connect to your personal life.
Is maintaining constant energy even possible?
In chapter 3 of The Power of Positive Thinking, Peale explores the concept of moving through life with boundless energy and power. Why does it seem like life is so incredibly effortless for some people and others life is a huge challenge?
The Big Idea: We can consciously tap into a reservoir of boundless power and not suffer from a depletion of energy.
Peale uses an alarm clock as a great visual example to describe the big idea of chapter 3. If an alarm clock is plugged into the wall, it is getting the energy and power it needs to run and do its job. The alarm clock functions. However, if you unplug the clock from the wall, it no longer has an energy source to power it. The clock will still be sitting there, but it loses all functionality.
Where does constant energy and power come from?
In chapter 3, Peale gives several suggestions of how to tap into your inner power source.
You will have pain, suffering, and difficulties in life, but leaning into a spiritual power will allow you to be able to live with power and energy. Having some sort of spiritual connection will automatically renew you.
How you think you feel has a definite effect on how you feel physically.
Energy will automatically leak if you have hereditary or self-imposed emotional reactions. Thus, it is important to have a well-balanced emotional life to conserve energy.
Body, mind, and spirit need to work harmoniously which serves as a continuous replacement of necessary energy.
In our society, everything moves fast and life is full speed ahead which in turn makes you tired. It is important to find a way to get in sync with this momentum. Think of a marathon runner. How do they get to the finish line?
Do something you absolutely love and get enthralled in something. Peale says, “The surest way to not become tired is to lose yourself in something in which you have profound conviction.” in addition, Leonardo da Vinci says, “Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”
Get your emotional faults correct. Peale says that hate blocks energy so it is important to develop friendly feelings. Also, it is important to forgive yourself and release guilt. People lose sleep because of fear on one side and guilt on the other.
If needed, give yourself time to rest. Take a break to renew your spirit.
Sharpen the Saw®- Work Smarter, not Harder
The strategies Peale talks about in Chapter 3 reminds me of Stephen R. Covey’s 7th habit, Sharpen the Saw®. Sharpen the Saw® is the habit of daily self-renewal, continuous improvement and balance. Humans are made up of four dimensions (body, mind, heart, spirit) and each of these requires continuous renewal to remain in balance. If one is neglected, it will negatively impact the other three. If all four dimensions are nourished and given energy, all four will flourish and we will be more effective in our life’s work.
To illustrate this habit, Stephen Covey uses an old parable of two lumberjacks competing to see who could cut down a large tree faster. The first lumberjack is young and eager so he immediately gets to work using his old saw. He notices the second lumberjack is nowhere to be seen so he is confident he will win and keeps working away at the tree. By the time the second lumberjack appears the young man who has been working so hard is sweating and exhausted. He notices the second lumberjack is a frail old man so he is confident that he will for sure cut his tree down in the least amount of time. The old man begins sawing his tree. After a short 15 minutes of working, he disappears. The young man wipes the sweat from his brow, chuckles, and again he is confident he will win. This process of the old man cutting his tree for 15 minutes and then disappearing repeats many times. In the end, both trees fall at the same time. The young man is baffled as he stands there sweating and wondering how the old mans tree might have been able to fall in the same amount of time when he took so many breaks. The old man told the young man that he took time to sharpen his saw before he started and each time he stepped away from his tree he was resting and sharpening his blade. Each time he returned to the tree it took much less effort and energy to complete the task.
By taking the time to stop, rest, and sharpen his saw the old man was more effective than the young man. The fact that both lumberjacks completed the task in the same amount of time, but for one it was much easier, is enough proof that is essential to schedule this time into your daily life.
Balancing the four dimensions
The diagram below shows each of the dimensions and lists ways you can focus on renewing energy in that particular dimension. Remember, if one dimension gets out of balance it throws off the balance of the other three! People who have constant energy tend to have harmony among body, mind, heart, and spirit.
“The spirit dimension is your core, your center, your commitment to your value system. It’s a very private area of life and supremely important one.” Stephen R. Covey
Which of the four dimensions may you be falling short on and need to focus on?
What is one thing you can add to your daily or weekly schedule to bring balanced renewal?
How will you schedule mind, body, heart, and spirit into your week so you will have renewed energy?