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Chapter 5. Travel Thinking or Redesignin... > Is There Power in Positive Thinking?

Is There Power in Positive Thinking?

In the 1950s a view toward more effective living was written about and read by many persons. This viewpoint, which can be called positive thinking, was introduced by the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale. Several books were published, including the well-known bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking.[2] Dr. Peale subsequently reported numerous cases in which persons overcame challenges and obstacles with the aid of positive thinking, in support of his ideas.[3] Peale's work, however, was never subjected to what authorities in the area of psychology and human behavior would describe as scientific research. In fact, until recently, most academics in these areas would likely have considered his work with some amusement. Nevertheless, the effects of his work gained widespread public notoriety and attention such as few authors ever receive. And, more recently, evidence has begun to accumulate in support of the many benefits to be gained from positive thinking.[4]

The idea of positive thinking is a useful reference point from which to consider improvement of our psychological worlds. Several different elements that offer potential to help explain how our thinking can have an impact on our behavior and experience of life will be considered. These include our beliefs, our imagined experiences, our self-instruction (self-talk), and our thought patterns. The underlying logic is that if we make systematic efforts to change our thinking in beneficial ways, then we can improve our self-leadership. Beneficial thinking (or positive thinking, if you prefer) offers the potential to help us to improve our personal effectiveness just as beneficial behaving does. In fact, as mentioned earlier, our behavior and our unique ways of thinking (mental behavior) are two primary, interrelated features in the total influence picture.


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