Several years ago, Norman Vincent Peale, author of the book, The Power Of Positive Thinking, was scheduled to speak for an association convention in Nashville. He was 93 years old at the time.
I knew someone who worked for that association and asked if I could attend and hear Dr. Peale. They said yes.
I was excited. I had long admired Dr. Peale. I first read his book when I was in high school. I suffered from an inferiority complex and thought that maybe he could help me feel better about myself.
If I remember correctly, Peale wrote something like; “Everybody is better than you are,” and I thought, “I wonder how that man knows me so well.” Then I read on. He wrote something like; “But you are also better than everybody else.”
I was confused, so I read on. Peale made the point that everybody is better than me at something and I that I am better than everybody else at something. In other words, the concept of superiority and inferiority all depends on the chosen area of comparison. If I regularly compare my weakness to someone else’s strength, I will feel inferior. If I regularly compare my strength to someone else’s weakness I will feel superior. From Peale I learned that the secret to overcoming an inferiority complex is not to compare myself to anyone at all — to just enjoy being the original, one-of-a-kind me.
Over the years I read everything I can find by Dr. Peale. So I couldn’t wait to hear him in person in Nashville.
When he came to the podium he looked weak and frail. But as he began to talk about optimism, a strength and boldness came over him. He looked 20 years younger as he spoke with sincerity and conviction and told stories about how he had seen positive thinking change people’s lives.
Every now-and-then, Dr. Peale would stop speaking. There would be a long pause, and I would think, “Oh no, he has forgotten the rest of his speech.” But after several seconds he would continue from exactly where he had left off.
Peale Power, the power of positive thinking, even worked when Dr. Peale came to Nashville at age 93. It still works for me. And positive thinking will work for you, if you will make a continued effort to learn its principles and to apply them daily in your life.
A few quotations from Norman Vincent Peale:
“The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.”
“How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself – so always think positively.”
“Anybody can do just about anything with himself that he really wants to and makes up his mind to do. We are all capable of greater things than we realize.”