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Posted April 19, 2001
A Helpful Update and Application of Dr. Peale to Business
The Power of Positive Thinking is one of the best selling volumes of all time. In this book, Professor Ventrella has taken Norman Vincent Peale's work and applied it successfully to business. The principles are consistent wih Dr. Peale's original, the examples will be meaningful to most business people, and the book can readily be applied to diagnose the reader's key issues and improve. I found the book easy to read, even easier to use, and insightful. Anyone who wants to apply the principles of positive thinking to business should read and use the material in this book. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons the book is successful is because it had the support of the Peale Center. In fact, the foreword is an endorsement of the book from Ms. Ruth Stafford Peale. The book puts the concept of positive thinking very effectively in context. '[Over] 95 percent of the time, people list internal factors as . . . why people fail to reach their full [business] potential . . . .' These are 'attitude' issues like 'fear,' 'low self-esteem,' 'lack of confidence,' and having 'no clear goals.' Also external factors like 'lack,' 'loss,' and 'limitations' are also controlled by internal perceptions. The line that really hit me was that 'most people start their jobs with a positive, hopeful outlook.' This means the 'challenge for managers is to create an environment that constantly reinforces and nurtures positive attitudes.' The book provides a road map for applying its concepts to any situation. You start with (1) define the situation (both in terms of business issue and the emotional gravity), (2) then determine what you are telling yourself, (3) determine your desired outcome (goals, affirmation, and visualization), (4) access your positive traits, (5) rehearse the situation mentally, (6) take action, and (7) assess the results of your actions. This is nicely summarized in the end as a Professional Challenge Worksheet. The book has a very involved definition of what positive thinking is. I won't try to paraphrase or quote it. The main point is that positive thinking is much more than optimism, and is practially tied to a process for producing results. The book is well grounded in psychological studies of human behavior. In this section, I was particularly impressed with the list of self-limiting beliefs that almost everyone has. These are tied to self-denigration, intolerance, frustration, and blaming others. The ten traits are as follows: optimism, enthusiasm, belief, integrity, courage, confidence, determination, patience, calmness, and focus. There is a quiz to help you determine where you are strong and where you need work. Each trait then gets detailed treatment, along with suggestions for how to strengthen yourself appropriately in each area. I found the quiz to be helpful and perceptive. The book is also well grounded in sports metaphors and stories that will be meaningful to many. I should share that despite having read many books about affirmations and taken many courses in them, I fail to find them to be very useful when I practice them. Research shows that affirmations can be powerful motivators of the subconscious mind if said with emotional conviction. Maybe that's my problem, because I certainly find it hard to locate affirmations that excite me. I hope you find affirmations more helpful than I do. You can also take the lessons of this book and simplify them into the perspective of the fiction character, Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise. He believed that there was always a solution, and always found one. If you treat your business that way, it can be an adventure rather than an overwhelming burden. Difficulties and setbacks then just become the setting in which to allow you to be more heroic and achieve more. After you read this book, you should take five business problems that hold the full potential for helping you make breakthrough gains and use this process on them. YWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.