Donald Trump’s Power of Positive Thinking
We’ve talked about the “great divide” between the political parties. This year is greater than ever, because the candidates even think differently. And the fact that most people don’t “get it” is why a Trump win could come as a “yuge” surprise. Probably the only reason Trump is not way ahead in the polls is that he has been careless in his speech. He sees all the love at his rallies, and he thinks he can do no wrong. He can. And does.
People also don’t understand why Trump can’t simply acknowledge error. It’s because he is always moving forward. He has a general idea of the direction he wants to go, and he keeps moving in that general direction, like a shark, and grabs opportunities as they arise. That’s also why he doesn’t give you a detailed plan. He doesn’t have one. Because situations change every day, and he just makes the plan for making the most of today. And, when it comes down to it, there is no such thing as “tomorrow.” There’s only a series of “todays.”
It’s all about positive thinking. Don’t allow doubt to slow you down. Never, ever have a second thought. Chart direction, and never look back. Trump learned it directly from Norman Vincent Peale, according to Politico.
Is this guy for real? Or more to the point, could anyone really possess that much self-confidence? There has been no shortage of explanations—a huge inferiority complex, infantile narcissism, delusional thinking—for Trump’s undying self-assurance. But as I discovered when writing a book about Donald, his father, and his grandfather, if you want to understand what goes on underneath the blond comb-over, you’d do well to look back to two crucial events in the early 1950s.
Event No. 1 occurred in October 1952, when a book appeared called The Power Of Positive Thinking. Written by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. . . Donald was only 6 years old at the time and didn’t read the book until much later, but it quickly became important in the large Queens household in which he grew up, and it would play a critical role in his future. His parents, Fred and Mary, felt an immediate affinity for Peale’s teachings. On Sundays, they drove into Manhattan to worship at Marble Collegiate Church, where Peale was the head pastor. . .
Known as “God’s salesman,” Peale merged worldliness and godliness to produce an easy-to-follow theology that preached self-confidence as a life philosophy. . . “Believe in yourself!” Peale’s book begins. “Have faith in your abilities!” He then outlines 10 rules to overcome “inadequacy attitudes” and “build up confidence in your powers.” Rule one: “formulate and staple indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. . . Subsequent rules tell the reader to avoid “fear thoughts,” “never think of yourself as failing,” summon up a positive thought whenever “a negative thought concerning your personal powers comes to mind,” “depreciate every so-called obstacle,” and “make a true estimate of your own ability, then raise it 10 per cent.”
. . . in 1990, after splurging on a third casino, an airline, the world’s second-largest yacht and the Plaza Hotel, Trump found himself nearly a billion dollars in debt and the banks were threatening foreclosure. But after weeks of round-the-clock negotiations, he emerged relatively unscathed. . . Citing his father’s friendship with Peale and calling himself “a firm believer in the power of being positive,” he said, “what helped is I refused to give in to the negative circumstances and never lost faith in myself. I didn’t believe I was finished even when the newspapers were saying so.”
Event No. 2 in the early 1950s—and in the development of Donald’s personality and style—was the emergence of modern branding. . . From now on, marketers would not simply tout how well a product performed. Instead, they would study how consumers felt about the maker of the product—and they would bend every effort toward making everything associated with that name as positive and compelling as possible.
Trump has created the armor-plated branding juggernaut, impervious to criticism, self-doubt, or self-reflection, which continues to roll over much of the Republican Party. . .it is clear that, thanks to Norman Vincent Peale and the magic of branding, Donald Trump is one of the most self-confident and most successful-seeming candidate the nation has ever seen.
Put in other terms, it’s like Robert F. Kennedy’s famous quote, “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
I’m a big movies fan. There’s a movie from 1992 that clearly describes the Trump style. The movie is called, HouseSitter, starring Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin. In it, Goldie tells people how she thinks things should be, and people act as if they already are that way. Technically, she was lying—until the things became true, because of her. The very last line of the movie is hilarious, but I won’t tell it. The point is, by seeing what is possible, you may be able to bring it about.
When Trump says he’ll bring back manufacturing, destroy ISIS, and make Mexico pay for a wall, he truly believes these things are possible, and he will take every action, on a day-by-day basis to make them come true. The only thing he needs is to have other people believe in it, too.
Of course, not everything Trump has done has worked, according to Psychology Today.
Donald Trump’s comeback is one of the most dramatic of all time—as well as one of the most visible. According to a well-known anecdote, one day when he was $1 billion in debt, Trump pointed out a homeless man to his daughter and said, “See that bum? He has a billion dollars more than me.” The Guinness Book of Records lists him as having the biggest financial turnaround in history. “In the early 1990s, I owed billions of dollars and many people thought I was finished,” says Trump. “I refused to give in to the negative circumstances and I never lost faith in myself. I didn’t believe I was finished even when the newspapers were saying so. I refused to give up. Defeat is not in my vocabulary.”
And, positive thinking has its detractors. “Life coach” Tony Robbins (don’t call him a “motivational speaker”) says thoughts are not enough, according to Business Insider.
“It’s not about positive thinking, because I don’t believe in that,” he said. “I don’t believe you should go to your garden and chant, ‘There’s no weeds, there’s no weeds, there’s no weeds,’ and think that that’s going to solve something. I’m a believer in find the weed and rip it out.”
Trump also talks about weeds.
“Practice positive thinking — this will keep you focused while weeding out anything that is unnecessary, negative or detrimental.”
In his book, “Trump: 101,” he wrote this:
When I started writing this, I realized that positive thinking isn’t always enough. In addition to being positive, you must also be persistent. Being positive and persistent are inseparable—like success and me. Persistence is essential, because you can’t just start out being positive and then throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble.”
ReligionNews says Norman Vincent Peale also admired Donald.
It must be conceded that the minister was most at home among business elites and corporate climbers. The Rev. Arthur Caliandro, who succeeded Peale after his 52 years at New York’s Marble Collegiate Church, recalled to me Peale’s attraction to Trump upon first seeing the real-estate magnate on television. Peale was always “very impressed with successful people” and self-promoters, Caliandro recalled. “That was a weakness.”
However, The American Spectator notes a major difference between Peale and Trump.
Peale himself did not have positive thoughts about everyone. When Adlai Stevenson made his first run for the White House in 1952, Peale objected to Stevenson because he had divorced several years earlier. To which Stevenson replied, “I find the Apostle Paul appealing and the Apostle Peale appalling.”. . .
Peale’s popularity began to decline during the 1960 presidential election when he strongly opposed the election of John F. Kennedy because of his Catholic faith. . . It was Peale’s intervention that would prompt Kennedy to deliver a famous speech to a group of Protestant ministers in Houston in which he declared it was “apparently necessary for me to state once again not what kind of church I believe in — for that should be important only to me — but what kind of America I believe in.”
In a 1982 profile of Peale in People, he regretted the campaign against Kennedy. “I made a mistake,” said Peale, “You couldn’t get me near a politician now. Government isn’t moral or immoral. It’s just plain amoral.”
Herein lies the difference between Norman Vincent Peale and Donald Trump. Peale saw the error of his way and was willing to admit he was wrong. Can anyone honestly imagine Donald Trump will ever admit he was wrong to question John McCain’s bravery? Can anyone conceive that Trump will ever say he was wrong to broadly characterize Mexicans as criminals and rapists? Can anyone conceive that Trump will ever say he made a mistake to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo?
People who write off Donald Trump are making a big mistake. Like a shark, he keeps moving forward. He’s not going to doubt, and he’s not going to apologize. And many Americans see that and cheer. They feel that America has been a chained tiger, which has let other countries take advantage of us. Or, they believe that President Obama’s soft-spoken ways means that he is “apologizing” for American actions.
Trump has a strong phalanx of supporters. Nothing he says or does will discourage them. And that makes him overconfident. He’ll keep his rock-solid base. But his job now is to find a way to appeal to more independents—and have the self-discipline to avoid alienating them. This year.
There is no such thing as “failure” to Donald Trump, only “setback.” If the presidency is something he wants, he’ll be back in four years. And if he can’t get the nomination, he’ll run as an independent.