When I launched Selling Power magazine, I wasn't too confident that the publication would make it through the first year. Then I learned about the humble beginnings of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and requested an interview. What impressed me most was that for one summer he sold aluminumware kitchen utensils by going from house to house. He learned early how to deal with rejection. As a preacher, he sold people on the power of positive thinking in a negative world. His book,The Power of Positive Thinking is a classic and an international bestseller, with more than 7 million copies sold and available in more than fifteen languages.
We Are the Managers of Our Thoughts
When I interviewed Dr. Peale about the power of positive thinking, he explained that our thoughts and images are mainly responsible for how we feel. He suggested, "You can make yourself sick with your thoughts, and you can make yourself well with them. A positive emotion is created by positive thoughts and images. You can say, 'This is a great day. I am fortunate to sell a wonderful product. I look forward to meeting many interesting people today. I'll be able to help some of these people, and I look forward to learning a great deal today.' You see, thinking and talking that way adds to your enthusiasm and vitality. Your mind is expanding, and all this contributes to your well-being."
He explained that many people take a dim view of enthusiasm, and some of them show real pride when their negative views begin to irritate other people. In his view, we all have a choice as to how we interpret a particular situation. We can react with automatic, negative thoughts, or we can interpret the same situation with positive thoughts.
Negative Thoughts Are Self-Defeating
I also asked Dr. Peale about those people who confuse negative thinking with realistic thinking. He answered, "When most people say that they are being realistic, they actually delude themselves, for they are simply being negative. These people don't realize that if you put yourself down mentally, you are reducing the vitality of your system."
Problems Are Opportunities in Disguise
Dr. Peale suggested that salespeople can be more successful in dealing with problems:
"A problem is a concentrated opportunity. The only people that I ever have known to have no problems are in the cemetery. The more problems you have, the more alive you are. Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. I often say, when the Lord wants to give you the greatest value in this world, He doesn't wrap it into a sophisticated package and hand it to you on a silver platter. He is too subtle, too adroit, for that. He takes this big value and buries it at the heart of a big, tough problem. How He must watch you with delight when you've got what it takes to break that problem apart and find at its heart what the Bible calls 'the pearl of great price.' Everybody I've ever known who succeeded in a big way in life has done so by breaking problems apart and finding the value that was there."
Positive Thinking Creates Positive Energy
Many people often wondered how Dr. Peale developed all this energy for a healthy, creative, purposeful, and meaningful life -- a life that included lectures and worldwide travels, even past his 90th birthday! An Australian sales trainer told me about seeing Dr. Peale speak in Melbourne: "He went on stage, took his jacket off, did 10 push-ups, got up, and started his speech. He is 90 years old, and he has more energy than a 50-year old!"
Dr. Peale once said, "Successful old age is built on earlier years lived right. In old age, you will be just about the kind of person you are now, only more so. If you are positive and enthusiastic at thirty, you will be that way when you are eighty. If you are a grouch and negative at thirty, imagine what you will be when you grow old."
Get Your Daily Boost of Positivity
Recently the Selling Power team launched a new, free resource for sales professionals who want to stay positive. The Daily Boost of Positivity is a daily email that delivers one practice or thought to help you stay positive & climb toward future success. I invite you to click on the button below to see a sample and subscribe.