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Mastering the principles of positive thinking

You can learn to think positively, and doing so can lead to greater self-confidence, more respect for others and achievement of your goals.

The late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's best-selling classic, The Power of Positive Thinking, has inspired millions of people in more than 130 countries. The principles it teaches are as timely today as they were when the book was first published in 1952. The book teaches a simple system of practical techniques for successful living.

Here are some of Mr. Peale's ideas on how to reach your potential:

Believe in yourself

A sense of inadequacy can prevent you from achieving your goals, but self-confidence can lead to self-realization and achievement. Make a list of all your good points if you have lost confidence in your ability to succeed. Reaffirming your assets will help you overcome your doubts.

Use your mind to restore your energy

How you think has a profound effect on how you feel physically. If your mind tells you you're tired, your body will accept it as fact and be fatigued. You can maintain your energy level indefinitely if your mind is intensely interested in what you are doing.

Create your own happiness

You have two choices when you get up in the morning—to be happy or unhappy. Choose to be happy by telling yourself that life is good, things are going well, you can handle all your problems, and you're grateful for all you have and will have.

Expect the best, not the worst

You release a force in your mind that promotes positive results when you expect the best.

Don't believe in defeat

Make your mind more positive by eliminating negative expressions in thought and speech. Statements such as "I can't do that" and "I'm afraid I'll fail" clutter your mind and condition it to expect negative results. Speak and think positively about every situation.

Break the worry habit

Several times a day, use your imagination to empty your mind of anxiety and fear. Picture all your worries flowing out of you, just as water empties from a sink when the stopper is removed. When all your worries are gone, fill your mind with faith, hope, courage, and positive expectations. In time, you'll find yourself worrying less.

Practicing silence also is effective

Sit in a quiet place for 15 minutes. Don't read, write or speak. Think peaceful thoughts, meditate or pray.

Replace irritation, anger and hate

Deal with hurtful situations or misunderstandings immediately. Seek out the person involved and strive to resolve your differences. To cool an angry response, reverse your body's natural reactions by unclenching your fists and lowering your voice.

Maintain a positive, optimistic attitude

Instead of letting life's difficulties get you down, keep your mind open and responsive to new ideas, exercise initiative and resourcefulness when dealing with challenges, and use your creativity and good judgment when solving problems. 

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