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Continuing with the Optimist Creed . . .

‘To make all your friends feel there is something in them.’

The pioneer of positive thinking, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, was a minister in New York City for more than 50 years. He came into his position through a fluke. One of the pastors at Marble Collegiate Church was ill and couldn’t preach the Sunday sermon, so a newcomer – Peale – was appointed at the last minute.

He stayed for 52 years, and under his leadership, the church grew from 300 to 3,000 at the weekly services.

What was his secret? Peale once said in an interview that he collected ‘people, not things.’ He believed that every person had the spark of the Divine inside, and in his dealings with others he communicated with that inner part.

I’ve read most of his books, some over and over, beginning with The Power of Positive Thinking, and have never failed to find inspiration and a refreshing dose of optimism within the pages. Peale wasn’t afraid to sound Pollyannaish; he knew that there were plenty of folks out there willing to criticize, and few who would look for the good in others and encourage it. I never met Peale, but he is a role model to me!

Exercise: The only way to have a friend is to be a friend, it’s said. Find a quiet time and a blank page and write about one of your friends. What is in them that you most appreciate and value? Often, our closest friends mirror the good qualities we possess.

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