As I was currently reading the book The Power of Positive Thinking for the third time, I came across something interesting. The first two times I read that book I found it a little difficult to digest. Perhaps it was the writing style or just where and who I was at the time I was reading it. That is the great thing about reading the same book at different periods of your life, because you are literally a different person than the one who read it last, it is if you are reading it again for the first time.
My third attempt at this wonderful tome was no exception to the situation mentioned above. I was now a fellow author with over two decades in the field of self-improvement. I had faced many more challenges to my ability to maintain positive thinking. Another very important difference was that I had heard the voice of the author, Norman Vincent Peale. The first two times I read the book there had been no audible exposure to the author. Mr. Peale was a preacher and wrote a book on positive thinking. Going on those two facts, I guess I assumed him to have a soft and encouraging tone. I could have not been more incorrect.
Doing the dishes one evening for Margie, as she was not feeling up to it, my whole experience with this gentleman changed. I popped on some headphones so as not to disturb my sleeping angel. Instead of listening to some feel good music, as I am want to do, I decided on something more motivational. Sadly, the piece I was listening to ended before the dishes did. This was sad for many reasons, least of which was not the fact there were a lot of dishes. The video that was suggested next was called Positive thinkers always get a positive result by one Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Facing the amount of dishes I had yet to do I figured that was as good of video as any. I pushed play and was blown away. The voice that greeted me sounded like a mix between the cartoon character Yosemite Sam and a politician involved in a fierce debate.
Oddly enough, his unique delivery accompanied with his even more unique humor caught my attention. The more I listened, the more I found myself agreeing with and relating to, a lot of what he said. By the time that video was over, the dishes were almost over as well. When you have a woman who makes amazing, mouth-watering cakes the dishes can add up in a hurry. Looking for some relaxation after my bout of domestic toil, I figured now would be as good of time as any to give Dr Peale’s book another look. Armed with my new knowledge as to how he sounded and not just how he wrote, the book seemed to have a life of its own. It was as if I could hear the author reading it. (if you are interested in the same experience with my book A Happy Life for Busy People just check out my YouTube channel Neil Panosian)
A great thing about this new appreciation for the book is that it allowed me to absorb the material that much better. I want to share with you just one little experiment I have begun to use myself and found it has brought a lot of happiness to my life. It was not one of Dr. Peale’s own ideas but one that was related to him. A gentleman told him of the process of sending strangers ‘random prayers’. For example, if you are stopped at a red light and happen to notice the sour face of the driver next to you, send them wishes that an unexpected amount of joy may come into their lives. If you can, maybe try picturing what they would look like smiling. If you are walking through the store and see a mother who seems to be facing a great deal of stress with her children, send her thoughts of moments of peace. See her with a smile on her face and her children minding her.
Be prepared for two interesting side-effects when you start using this experiment. The first thing that you may notice is that the other person may glance in your direction. Offer them a smile. The reason for this can be explained on a quantum physics level. I will not get to deep or bore you with the science behind all of that. In a nutshell, thoughts are actually things. They have an electrical signature and, given the right equipment, can be measured. That means you are sending a positive electrical current between you and this stranger. Dr. Peale tells of one such encounter in his book. As he was aboard a train he saw a young boy on the platform and began to picture him growing up to be a success. Suddenly, the young boy looked up with the biggest smile. You may never know the result of your efforts, but it is a wonderful way to improve on the pastime of people watching.
The second side-effect you will notice touches home a lot more. As you continue to go around offering strangers silent prayers, sunny vibes, good mojo or whatever you care to call it, you will begin to see your own feelings of inner peace and happiness improve. After all, sending and thinking the best for people you don’t even know cannot help but to make you feel good on the inside. I have noticed people are also more likely to approach you and offer some sort of compliment or kind word. The universe will begin to become a far kinder place. At a time when many of us are fighting feelings of anxiety and depression, sending good thoughts for others may be the cheapest prescription to help heal our own soul.