This is the sixth post in a series reflecting on the book The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. This summary and reflection cover chapter 7. Please leave a comment and share how the concepts from these chapters connect to your personal life.
“I just knew I could do it.”
My talented and athletic daughter, Hannah, is a member of a competitive cheer leading team and for the past 2 years, she has put her heart and soul into every practice and performance. Each competitive season I am in awe of her athletic ability and her dedication to the sport. During competitions, I stand in the performance arenas cheering her on loudly while also holding my breath every time her little body flys in the air during stunts or tumbling passes. Hannah’s is a “flyer” which means she puts 100% faith in her “bases” as they lift her high in the air for stunts or toss her completely in the air and then catch her. The “flyer” role is a natural fit for her due to her small frame, long legs, and flexibility; but more importantly, being the flyer is the right role for her because she has undeniable faith that she will succeed with every stunt and that her bases will protect her and catch her.
During practices, Hannah is challenged to try new stunts and new tumbling skills and she rarely hesitates. She knows it may not go perfectly at first, but she believes that practicing will help her get better. I watch all of the girls on her cheer team do backhand springs, flips and tucks and they make them seem so easy and effortless. The monumental day Hannah did her first backhand spring, I asked her how she was able to do it, and her answer was, “I just knew I could.” Seriously, I can’t imagine just throwing my hands up behind my head and hoping my body will follow without crashing down and breaking my neck.
It was during that moment that I recognized the my young daughter has more belief and faith than I do as a 43-year-old adult. It is a very simple formula for her; she believes she can do the stunts, she expects she can do the stunts, and as a result she naturally achieves the stunts.
“Throw your faith over your difficulty, throw your affirmation over every barrier, throw your visualization over your obstacles”
The first time Hannah was asked to do a stunt she was frozen and fearful. She didn’t trust that the bases would protect her. The first time she was asked to throw a back handspring she struggled with the idea of throwing her heart over her head and hoping her body would follow at first. The most important thing is that her coach knew she was physically ready and could handle the challenge. Her coaches knew that she was capable of flying and tumbling. Therefore, Hannah had to change her thought pattern from doubt to expectation. She had to get it deep in her unconscious that she will not take no for an answer. She had to visualize herself doing each step properly and visualizing completing the stunt or tumble. Hannah ultimately had to have powerful faith that she could overcome any obstacle. I am not sure if she asks God for power, but I am convinced she naturally gets it from God even if she can’t recognize it at her young age.
I tell this story about Hannah because it was the first thing that came to my mind when I was reading chapter 7 of The Power of Positive Thinking. The title of the chapter is “Expect The Best and Get It.” Norman Vincent Peale, breaks down the concept of what the mind profoundly expects it tends to receive. The following are some of his thoughts and strategies in how to BELIEVE, EXPECT, and ACHIEVE.
In order to expect the best you first have to take a good look at yourself and determine if you are your own barrier to your own success. If not, you need to change yourself so your dreams can be realized.
Peale tells a story about a young woman who wants to fall in love and get married but can’t seem to find a husband. The woman asks him for his honest opinion of why she can’t fall in love and asks him to fix her. He tells her to get rid of the too-firm lines on her face, find a dress that hangs better, fix her floaty hair, add some sweet-smelling perfume, and change her attitude to find spiritual joy. The woman did not expect this type of advice coming from a minister, but she reflected and found truth in his words. She was angry, she didn’t have faith in God, she did not present herself well visually, and she recognized she was the most frustrated unhappy individual imaginable. She ended up taking his advice and changed herself. She visited “God’s beauty parlor” and because of her efforts, her inner spirit softened and mellowed and she fell in love, married and had a child.
Peale suggests picturing any barrier or obstacle in your life as a bar you want to jump over. He recommends that you close your eyes and visualize everything that is above the bar or barrier and nothing below it. Then imaginatively throw “your heart” over the bar and see yourself as being given the lifting power to rise above it.
No objective leads to no end.
You need to have a clearly defined objective. If you do not have a clear-cut, precisely defined purpose you cannot expect the best. You cannot get anywhere if you only have a hazy idea of where you want to go or what you want to do. But it is very important that you make sure it is the RIGHT objective. Knowing waht you want is important, but test it to see if it is the right thing first and then change yourself in such a way that it will naturally come to you. Try starting with self-reflection and prayer. Ask yourself, “should I want it and should I have it?” If the answer is yes, then ask God for it.
Faith Power Works Wonders.
Peale says those four words are packed with dynamic and creative force and that you CAN overcome any obstacle. How do get faith power? Peale recommends that you saturate yourself with the Bible because “everything in the Bible works if you believe in it”.
For example, Peale suggests that Mark 11:23 holds the secret! The verse says “whoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” If the mountain represents an obstacle, then the verse is encouraging you to take that obstacle, stand aside, and throw it out of sight. Since your heart is the inner essence of you, you shouldn’t have any doubt in casting the obstacle aside.
That is not say you should tackle every obstacle at once. Peale recommends that you choose one thing that may be defeating you at the moment. Be specific and take them one by one.
Hannah is only 11 years old, but I believe she is a living, breathing, walking, thinking example of Peale’s strategies in chapter 7. To achieve her stunt or tumbling goal she adjusted her attitude, cast fears and doubts aside, changed her inner monologue to eliminate any barriers she had constructed in her mind, evaluated her physical strength and capabilities, set a clear objective of the skill she wanted to accomplish, mapped out the physical steps in her mind that it would take to execute, put her whole heart into what she wanted to accomplish, and leaned into some serious faith power to achieve.
I am proud to learn from daughter’s example.