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If Positive Thinking does not work, why is it so many successful people swear by it?

Updated: Feb 18


Woman thinking while twisting her hair with a pencil with blog title added.

Positive thinking is far from a new Idea, it was here long before you or I came into being. It is simple in its idea, yet it is life changing when executed well. It will transform your life if you would just let it.


There are people that will claim they have tried it, and that it simply doesn’t work, but after how ever many years you have spent thinking negative thoughts about yourself and the world around you, it takes time to transform your thoughts to positive ones. Thinking positive thoughts for one day, is not going to change your whole life around. It is crucial that you allow the time it takes time for you to really believe the new thoughts because it is not until you really believe the positive thoughts and that they become part of you, part of who you are, that the magic will happen. And believe me… the magic will happen.


Positive thinking has been promoted over the years by lots of influential people, writers, politicians, lecturers, novelists, sports coaches, psychologists, actors, athletes, artists, businessmen, pioneers etc. Many of the names I am about to share with you have been a big part of my journey, helping to guide me out of the hopeless place I found myself in, showing me the way to build myself up again, to find my path and proving to me there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Some have taught me through their books, their essays or articles I have discovered on my quest. Others just a quote that I happened to stumble upon at the right time in my journey, just one line… that resonated with me, gave me clarity or an understanding that wasn’t there before. Which is why I have included 3 of my favourite quotes from each of these influential people.


This list is far from definitive, I will add to it as others who have influenced my journey come to light.



Mahatma Gandhi: 1869 – 1948


Mahatma Gandhi - Indian Lawyer, politician, social activist and writer, who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India.


· Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.

· The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

· A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.


Woman dancing and laughing in a meadow


William Morris: 1834 – 1896


William Morris - Artist, designer, craftsman, write and socialist who was a revolutionary force in Victorian Britain, dramatically changing the fashions and ideologies of the era.


· Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

· The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the detail of daily life.

· I do not want art for a few anymore then I education for a few, or freedom for a few.



Hampton style room with lots of natural light

Dale Carnegie: 1888 – 1955


Dale Carnegie - American lecturer, author and pioneer in the field of public speaking and the psychology of the successful personality.


· Remember – today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

· Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get.

· Inaction breeds doubt and fear, action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it, go out and get busy.



Woman sky diving


Ralph Waldo Emerson: 1803 - 1882


Ralph Waldo Emerson - American lecturer, poet and essayist. A philosopher who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.


· To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

· A man is what he thinks about all day long.

· Beware what you set your heart upon. For it surely shall be yours.



Flowers on a table with note paper containing quote


Louise L Hay: 1926 – 2017


Louise Hay - Author, speaker, soulful teacher, healer and artist. Lousie’s healing techniques and positive philosophy has helped people around the world to create a better life.


· You have been criticising yourself for years. And it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.

· Every thought we think is creating our future.

· The point of power is always in the present moment.



Woman jumping and playing on the beach


Sir Winston Churchill: 1874 – 1965


Sir Winston Churchill - Inspirational statesman, write, orator and leader who led Britain to victory in the second world war. He served as Prime Minister twice; 1940-1945 & 1951-1955.


· We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow worm.

· A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

· Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.



Woman looking through binoculars


Noman Vincent Peale: 1898 – 1993


Norman Vincent Peale - American minister and author known for his work in popularising the concept of positive thinking, through his bestselling book ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’.


· Change your thoughts – change your world.

· It is always too early to quit.

· Become a posibilitarian, no matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities – always see them, for they are always there.



Woman in wheat field at sun rise

Mark Twain: 1835 – 1910


Mark Twain - American humourist, journalist, lecturer and novelist. He transcended the apparent limitations of his origins to become a popular public figure and one of America’s best and most beloved writes.


· Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.

· Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.

· Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.



Woman Climbing mountain


Vince Lombardi: 1913 – 1970


Vince Lombardi - American football player, coach and executive in the NFL (Notional Football League). Won 5 NFL championships, including Superbowl’s I & II during his tenure with the Green Bay Packers.


· Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.

· Winner never quit and quitters never win.

· People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.



Woman kicking up the sand while running  at sunset

Abraham Maslow: 1908 – 1970


Abraham Maslow - American psychologist and philosopher best known for his self-actualisation theory of psychology and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He was a major contributor in the US humanistic psychology.


· In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.

· If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

· If you plan on being anything less that you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.



Woman with backpack navigating rocky terrain.

Napoleon Hill: 1883 – 1970


Napoleon Hill - American self-help author. His book ‘Think and Grow Rich” – 1937 – is among the ten best-selling self-help books of all time.


· The starting point of all achievement is desire.

· Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

· Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.




Woman looking out over the city


Carl R. Rogers: 1902 – 1987


Carl R. Rogers - A Humanistic psychologist who believed that every person could achieve their goals, wishes and desires in life.


· The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.

· The only person that is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.

· What I am is good enough if only I would be it openly.



Woman looking thoughtful with a cup in her hand


Albert Einstein: 1879 – 1955


Albert Einstein - German American physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity and won the Nobel prize for physics in 1921.


· Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

· No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

· Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.



Woman with giant white jigsaw pieces


Sir Richard Branson: 1950 –


Sir Richard Branson - British business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. In 1970’s he founded the Virgin group which controls over 400 companies in various fields.


· You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and by falling over.

· My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you're moving forward.

· Respect is how you treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.



Woman falling over in office


W. Clement Stone: 1902 – 2002


W. Clement Stone - American businessman and philanthropist. He espoused, what he called P.M.A (positive mental attitude) as the key to achievement and wealth.


· Aim for the moon. If you miss you may hit a star.

· Be careful of the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful of the friends you choose for you will become like them.

· Success is achieved and maintained by those who try and keep trying.



Woman in fitness wear looking focused on goal


Walt Disney: 1901 – 1966


Wal Disney - American motion picture, television producer and showman. Pioneer of animated cartoon films and creator of cartoon characters such as Micky Mouse and Donald Duck. Creator of the Disneyland Amusement Park.


· It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

· If you can dream it, you can do it.

· Why worry? If you have done the best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.



Woman sitting on top on a mountain looking at the view


Plato: 428/427-348/347BCE


Plato - Ancient Greek philosopher, student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle. Founders of the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the western world.


· Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.

· Courage is knowing what not to fear.

· The beginning is the most important part of the work.



3 ducks swimming across lake

Nick Ornter: 1978-


Nick Ortner - New York Times bestselling author and creator of ‘The Tapping Solution’.


· Too often we are ruled by everything that's wrong with us as opposed to everything that is right with us.

· Once your negative emotions, beliefs and expectations have been processed and released, you're free to feel positive again.

· All too often the opinions of others cloud our instincts an intuition. You know what's right for you. It's just a matter of getting quiet enough to hear your inner truth. Shhh… can you hear it?



person sitting on the grass, thinking. (red filter)

Eleanor Roosevelt: 1884– 1962


Eleanor Roosevelt - American First Lady, wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt. As a United Nations diplomat and humanitarian, she was a widely respected and powerful woman.


· I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.

· No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.

· You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.



Woman sitting on the sandy beach watching small boats

Benjamin Franklin: 1706 – 1790


Benjamin Franklin - born in 1706 and was one of the foremost founding fathers and helped draft the declaration of independence. He was a writer, scientist, inventor, statesman and diplomat and is remembered for the wit. Wisdom and elegance of his writing.


· A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well and the body.

· Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

· Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.



Woman sitting on the wall by the beach writing on her laptop.


Brendon Burchard: 1977 –


Brendon Burchard - World no 1 high performance coach and New York Times best-selling author.


· Take your M.E.D.S - Meditate, Exercise, Diet, Sleep.

· Doubt increases with inaction. Clarity revels itself in momentum. Growth comes from progress. For all these reasons, BEGIN.

· That dream in your heart is not a frilly distraction, a ridiculous idea, a muted hope. It is a solid purpose; it is a righteous plan; it is a trumpet.



Woman looking out of window, thinking and smiling.

I hope you enjoyed these positive thinking quotes as much as I do, don't forget to pin them to your Pinterest boards for later :)


Drop in to my Etsy store Positive Life by Design for great printables to help you on your journey.



Lisa Edwards, mediating overlooking the ocean with signature




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