A Lesson Or Two For Now - From Norman Vincent Peale

A Lesson Or Two For Now - From Norman Vincent Peale

What lessons can Mr. Norman Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” offer us during these unprecedented times?

Anjali Krishnan

Wherever you may fall on the faith spectrum, there are grains of wisdom to be found among the pages of one of Mr. Peale’s most popular books – The Power of Positive Thinking. Depending on where you are or what you are facing, different nuggets stand out. For the younger me, the golden lessons were ‘How to have constant energy’ and ‘I don’t believe in defeat.’

This time ‘round, facing what we have all been facing for the past year and more, what caught my eye was this - Stop Fuming and Fretting. While that sounds like a brilliant plan, the fact remains that ‘fuming and fretting’ is most of our default setting. Long before self-help books became all the rage, our ancestors told stories to impart life lessons. One such fable makes it easy to remember and follow Mr. Peale’s words.

Once upon a time, there was a poor Chinese farmer who owned a small piece of land and a very beautiful and strong white horse. Rich people who passed by his village saw his horse offered to buy it for large sums of money. He always refused to sell because he was very attached to his horse and could not bear to part with it.

One day, the emperor with his huge army happened to camp near the village. When the emperor saw the horse, he instantly fell in love with it and immediately sent his people to offer the farmer whatever he wanted for that horse.

All his neighbors started saying: “How lucky you are! The emperor wants to buy your horse!” but the farmer replied: “Who knows….”

When the farmer refused to sell his beloved horse, all his neighbors said: “What have you done? Now the emperor will take the horse by force and punish you!” but the farmer replied: “Who knows….”

The very next day, the horse went missing, so the neighbors assumed that the emperor’s men had stolen it. “What bad luck,” they said to the farmer, “you did not want to sell the horse to the emperor. Now he took it, and you are left with nothing!” Once again, the farmer stoically replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no. Who knows?”

The following day, the horse came back and brought seven strong, wild horses along with it. The neighbors gathered around the farmer and expressed their delight, “This is wonderful! How fortunate! You were right not to sell the horse! Now you have eight beautiful, strong horses instead of just one!” The farmer, relaxed and calm, shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Fortunate or unfortunate. Who knows?”

The farmer’s son, who worked on the family farm, started taming the wild horses. One day, a mare threw him over. He fell hard onto the ground and broke his right leg. He had to remain bedridden for months and would be unable to help his father with the farm. The neighbors were quick to say to the farmer, “Oh, this is awful! Such bad luck!” The farmer, who was helping his son recover, replied softly, “Good luck or bad luck. Who can say?”

A few weeks later, war broke out, and the army came to the village and forced all able-bodied men to join the military and fight the invaders. The farmer’s son, due to his broken leg, was left at home with his father.

The neighbors devastated that their sons were sent off to the front and, not knowing whether they would see them again, said to the farmer, “How lucky! Your son is safe.”Again, the farmer replied, “Good luck or bad luck. How do we know?”

Indeed... who knows?

We anticipate trouble. Prepare for dreadful scenarios. Think through all possible outcomes. While all this is well and good, organism Coronavirus has taught us that all our well-laid plans can be upset by a minuscule, invisible being.

Mr. Peale goes on to say - Inflow Of New Thoughts Can Remake You.

There’s no better illustration of this than how many of us chose to describe our restricted lives. We were “stuck at home,” we said, until those really “stuck” in the hospital pointed out that we “were home” while they were “stuck.”

So, let’s not allow the virus to corrode our attitude and sour our perspectives. Let’s cut back on the fretting and fuming. Let’s think thoughts that can make us better selves. Let’s unleash the power lurking within us all.

TIPP Takes

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G7 Leaders At Cornwall
  • G7 leaders seeking to rival China have adopted a plan to support lower- and middle-income countries in building better infrastructure.
  • President Joe Biden said he wanted the U.S-backed Build Back Better World (B3W) plan to be a higher-quality alternative to a similar Chinese program.
  • China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has helped finance rail, roads, and ports in many countries. But it has been criticized for saddling some with debt.
  • The G7 leaders at their summit in the English county of Cornwall said they would offer a "values-driven, high-standard and transparent" partnership.
  • The G7, the world's seven wealthiest democracies, is also expected to commit to a new plan to stop future pandemics.
  • The measures include cutting the time needed to develop vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 to under 100 days.

North Korea Preaches Self-Reliance To Struggling Citizens

Kim Jong Un Leader Of North Korea Addressing Crowd
  • Angry residents say self-reliance is ‘fiction’ and not a real solution to economic problems.
  • North Korea is forcing citizens to attend ideological education sessions promoting self-reliance to solve their economic woes. Still, the people say the sessions are an unhelpful waste of time, sources in the country told RFA.
  • Instead of finding ways to support the vulnerable populace with food or income subsidies, sources said the government requires that the people attend one more ideological learning session per week to emphasize self-reliance.
  • According to the source, the study guide used in the educational sessions emphasizes the completion of the self-reliant structure of the national economy, reduction of the dependence on imports, and stabilization of people’s livelihoods through realistic possibilities.
  • Because of the increase from two to three educational sessions per week, the residents complain even during the learning sessions.
  • Some of the residents are even taking the bold step of using the sessions to refute each of the party’s policies on self-reliance.

Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow Freed After Serving Time For Anti-Government Protests

Hong Kong Activist Agnes Chow
Activist Agnes Chow
  • Ms. Chow had been convicted along with prominent activist Joshua Wong
  • Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow has been released from jail after serving more than six months for taking part in unauthorized assemblies during massive 2019 anti-government protests that triggered a crackdown on dissent in the former British colony.
  • Ms. Chow came to prominence while still a student during the 2014 "umbrella movement" calling for universal suffrage, alongside Mr. Wong and Nathan Law, who was granted political asylum in Britain in April.
  • The 2019 protests began as peaceful marches against proposed legislation that could have seen criminal suspects sent to China to face possible mistreatment and unfair trials.
  • Only a small group of supporters were on the scene, an apparent reflection of the government's threats to jail those it deems in violation of a sweeping national security law that Beijing imposed on the territory a year ago.

Nigeria: Police Fire Tear Gas In ‘Democracy Day’ Protests

Democracy Day Protest In Nigeria
Democracy Day Protest In Nigeria
  • Nationwide protests were called over bad governance, insecurity, and the recent Twitter ban, among other issues.
  • A detachment of police and army broke up the crowd using tear gas, reporters at the scene said, adding that the security forces harassed some journalists.
  • Police had said the protests were unauthorized, and AFP reporters said they saw several people being detained.
  • Officers were also seen smashing mobile phones confiscated from protesters, some of whom criticized the government’s decision to suspend access to Twitter after the social media platform removed a post by Buhari.
  • President Buhari, a former General, first elected as president in 2015, has been under pressure over growing insecurity in Africa’s most populous nation, home to more than 200 million people.
  • The protests were the first to occur simultaneously in several cities since the #EndSARS movement against police brutality in October grew into the largest anti-government rallies in Nigeria’s modern history.


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