Power of positive images | Sunday Observer

Power of positive images

As a young lad I had some pretty negative self-images. My father and mother were both unusually strong-minded, outspoken individuals. And I felt I’d never measure up to them, or to their ambitions for me. I had the feeling that people expected me to be a goody-goody person, that adults would condemn me if I wasn’t and my friends would despise me if I was.

This self-image of inadequacy might have gone on indefinitely had it not been for something my Vice-Principal said to me during my Grade-8 in school. One day, after I had made a miserable showing, he told me to wait after school. “How long are you going to be bashful like this,” he demanded when I saw him later, “a scared rabbit afraid of the sound of his own voice? You’d better change the way you think about yourself, son, before it’s too late.”

That day, I left school angry, resentful, hurt, but most of all frightened because I knew that what the Vice-Principal had said was true.

I sat down on a bench in the empty school pavilion and murmured to myself: “Hereafter I will see myself not as a scared rabbit but as someone who can do great things in my life because I have enough strength and confidence to do it.” I closed my eyes and kept on saying it over and over again.

When I finally got up, something had changed. The inferiority feelings were not all gone, but the image I was having of myself was changed - and with it the course of my life.


As the years went by, I began using imaging techniques whenever I wanted to achieve a certain goal. Now and then my old feelings of inadequacy would come back to haunt me, but usually, I was lucky enough to discover an image of success that was stronger than my image of failure.

When I was doing my second job as a sales executive, my immediate boss presented to me a book which made a big change on how I look at life. Titled, “Power of Positive Thinking,” it was written by Norman Vincent Peale, an inspirational clergyman who tried to instil a spiritual renewal in the U.S. with his sermons and writings. His book is ranked as one of the highest-selling spiritual books in history.

He says in the book, “I remember a mass meeting one Memorial Day sponsored by the American Legion. Fifty thousand people crowded into Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, where the guest of honour was Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. I had been invited, I thought, merely to open the meeting with a prayer. But when I got there, I found that I was listed on the program as the main speaker.”

“A wave of panic swept over me. I had no speech prepared. The thought of standing before 50,000 people and disappointing them terrified me. I went to the sponsors of the gathering and told them to find somebody else”.

Roosevelt overheard my lamentations. “Son,” he said, “stop focusing on failure. You’re a minister, aren’t you? Here you have a chance to minister to all these grieving mothers. You can tell them how much we love them for the sacrifice they’ve made. You can tell them how proud this country is of the sons and husbands, they lost.

So, get up there and talk, and I’m going to sit right behind you and visualize you loving these people and helping them and holding them spellbound for the next 20 minutes. I have a picture of this in my mind, and it’s so strong that I know it’s going to happen!”

“So, shamed into it, I tried to do as he said. And his image of my succeeding must have been stronger than mine of failure, because the talk went pretty well. Afterward, Roosevelt said to me, “Now, you see, if you firmly believe you can, or somebody who believes in you thinks you can, why, then you can!”

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Perhaps, the idea of the power of positive thinking was conveyed to me right then and there. But behind that idea, in it and beyond it was the concept of imaging - holding the image of yourself succeeding, visualizing it so vividly that when the desired success comes, it seems to be merely echoing a reality that has already existed in your mind.

In years gone by, a few people had grasped the concept of positive imaging, although no one called it by that name. Emile Coue, well-known French psychologist advised people to say to themselves constantly, “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” It was a method of psychotherapy based on optimistic auto suggestion.

To illustrate the power of imagination, Coue would ask you to visualize a plank one foot wide and 20 feet long laid across the living-room floor. “Can you walk over it,” he would ask.

“Definitely, yes, with ease,” you would say. Then he would ask you to imagine the same plank stretched between two buildings 100 feet in the air. Imagination - in this case the image of falling - would make walking it seem almost impossible.


Over the years, Coue had studied the principle of imaging and worked with it, testing it in many demonstrations of actual experience under varied circumstances. He had concluded that this technique is effective in just about all the important areas of living. It is one of the great principles of creative living.

Keep in mind, however, that imaging is not a magic formula that, simply, by some kind of mental trick, brings results. In an amazing way, it does open doors to problem solving and to goal achievement.

But, once those doors are open there must be discipline, determination and persistence if problems are to be solved or if dreams are to become a reality. In this way, you will find, as Roosevelt said, “if you firmly believe you can, why, then you can!”


Feelings motivation intelligence also play a role. Plan with purpose.focus on the project dedicate time energy on it for success