THINK ON THESE: The power of positive thinking

“The greatest discovery of my generation,” said William James, a psychologist, “is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind.”

Who never heard the name Thomas Alva Edison? In his lifetime, he had invented about 1,093 things – making him the person with more patents than any other person in the world. While most people credit his ability to be a creative genius, he credited it to hard work.

“Genius,” Edison once said, “is ninety-nine percent perspiration and one percent inspiration.”

That’s true but there’s a third factor: his positive attitude. At one time, he exclaimed to an assistant marveling at the bewildering total of his failures – 50,000 experiments before he succeeded with a new storage battery: “Results? Why man, I have gotten lots of results. I now know 50,000 things that won’t work.”

Edison was an optimist who saw the best in everything. “If we did all the things we were capable of doing,” he pointed out, “we would literally astound ourselves.”

We are what we think. Our mind has complete power over us. “If you have the will to win, you have achieved half your success; if you don’t, you have achieved half your failure,” David Ambrose said.

A lot of people succeed in life because of their positive outlook on life. Our attitude of looking at the brighter side can really make a difference. “The winner’s edge is not in a gifted birth, a high IQ, or in talent,” family life expert Dennis Waitley once explained. “The winner’s edge is all in the attitude, not aptitude. Attitude is the criterion for success.”

Psychologist Victor Frankl believed so, too. “The last of our human freedoms is to choose our attitude in any given circumstances,” he said. He knew the truth of that statement. He survived imprisonment in a Nazi death camp, and throughout his ordeal, he wouldn’t allow his attitude to deteriorate.

Never give up. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up,” Edison commented.

If you think life is unbearable, think positively. A positive attitude is every bit as important to success as anything else. It’s important, too, to remember that optimism – like actions – speaks louder than words. Many enormously successful people have bent over backwards to appear prudent – belittling even themselves or their own achievements – without ever slowing down in their pursuit of excellence.

In 1946, a prominent man said, “Video won’t hold any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at the plywood box every night.” The speaker was Darryl F. Zanuck, then head of 20th Century Fox.

Describing the telephone, the president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, exclaimed: “That’s an amazing invention. But who would ever want to use one of them?”

Buddha reminded, “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

“When it is dark enough,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “men see stars.” This statement reminded me of a piece written by Ron Mehl. It was a story of a strong man facing an enemy beyond his strength.

His young wife had become gravely ill, then suddenly passed away, leaving the big man alone with a wide-eyed, flaxen-haired girl, not quite five years old.

After the burial, one of the neighbors told him, “Please bring your little girl and stay with us for several days. You shouldn’t go back home just yet.”

The man replied, “Thank you for the kind offer. But we needed to go back home – where she was. My baby and I must face this.”

So, the father and child returned to what now seemed an empty, lifeless home. The father brought his daughter’s little bed into his room, so they could face the first dark night together.

As the minutes slipped by that night, the young girl was having a dreadful time trying to sleep – and so was her father. What could pierce a man’s heart deeper than a child sobbing for a mother who would never come back?

Long into the night, the little one continued to weep. The father reached down into her bed and tried to comfort her as best he could. After a while, the little girl managed to stop crying – but only out of sorrow for her father. Thinking his daughter was asleep, the father looked up and said brokenly, “I trust You, Father, but… it’s as dark as midnight!”

Hearing her father’s prayer, the little girl started to cry again. “I thought you were asleep,” he said. The daughter answered, “Papa, I did try. I was sorry for you. I did try. But – I couldn’t go to sleep. Papa, did you ever know it could be so dark? Why Papa? I can’t even see you, it’s so dark.”

Then, through her tears, the little girl whispered, “But you love me even if it’s dark – don’t you, Papa? You love me even if I don’t see you, don’t you, Papa?”

For an answer, the father reached across with his massive hands, lifted his little girl out of her bed, brought her over onto his chest, and held her, until at least she fell asleep.

When she was finally quiet, he began to pray. He took his little daughter’s cry to him and passed it up to God. “Father, it’s dark as midnight and I can’t see You at all. But You love me, even when it’s dark and I can’t see, don’t You?”

Art Linkletter summed it up: “Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”

Leave a Reply

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments