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Aligned Signs Blog - Astrology, Dating, Horoscope, Love

Norman Peale And Positive Thinking

Norman Peale And Positive Thinking

By Aligned Signs (691 words)
Posted in Positive Thinking on August 11, 2012

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After World War I, a change took place in the movement referred to as New Thought, a version of the Mind-Body connection. In the United States, Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), a pastor at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, advanced a version. Working with a Freudian psychiatrist, Dr. Smiley Blanton, who he had invited to set up a clinic in the basement of his church, he arrived at what was to be termed “positive thinking.”

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Origins of the Term “Positive Thinking”

In fact, the term “positive thinking” was not originalPeale had not created it. Charles Fillmore (1854-1948) first mentioned it in a New Thought text. Fillmore had been one of the founders of the Unity Church within the New Thought Movement. He, together with his wife, had published several magazines applying the New Thought concepts within a very Christian framework.{#/pub/images/cs_healthy_living_get_happy_real_power_of_positive_thinking_article.jpg}

Popularity of Positive Thinking

Yet, it was Peale, who was to break with the New Thought movement and take the concept of positive thinking to greater heights. He utilized a combination of New Thought doctrine, Christianity, Freudian psychology and even psychosomatic medicine. His firm belief that any individual who turned to positive thinking could use its power to accomplish anything, is clearly stated and elaborated in his 1952 seminal work The Power of Positive Thinking. The work quickly rose into the top 10 of the best sellers’ list. In fact, it remained in the number two position for two years straight. Holding the number one position was the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Norman Peale had a hit on his hands. Clearly, he had touched a nerve in American society. He did not stop there, however. He spread the message of the power of positive thinking on the airwaves. His show “The Art of Living” ran on NBC for 54 years. He mailed newsletters to an audience of approximately 750,000 individuals a month. He stared a magazineThe Guidepost. It reached a circulation of more than 4.5 million people. As well, twice on Sunday for 52 years, he preached sermons for around 4,000 people at the Marble Collegiate Church, a movement that became known as “Pealism.”{#/pub/images/2164_620x290.jpg}

What Did Peale Believe?

Peale believed in the ultimate power of positive thinking. For him, however, all was placed within a Christian concept. Yet, it was all based on a firm belief in a connection between the body and the mind. He quoted William James (1842-1910), an American psychologist and author to validate his premise, stating: “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings an alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind.” According to Peale, negative thoughts resulted in obstacles being raised. An individual, therefore, would be unable to reach his or her goals. If you expected, and visualized a mental picture of your achieving your goals/aims, you would do so. In fact, according to Peale, if you programmed your mind towards obtaining the goals you want, nothing could be denied you.

The work cites several examples. Peale considered the power of positive thinking germane to any and all situations. He thought you could apply it to recovering your health, getting employment and even improving your marriage/relationship. There were no limits on what you could do. The body-mind connection was apt in all situations.

While Norman Vincent Peale did not originate the buzzwords “The Power of Positive Thinking,” he did create it a gospel. He brought the catchphrase and all it meant into mainstream American society. He incorporated it into American’s religious culture, from which it expanded to include secular approaches.


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