Aug 31, 2018

Inside the Mind of President Trump

To get inside the mind of our president, I read The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale and will be reading Trump: The Art of the Deal. As I read, I am adding quotes here that are relevant to my intent, so check back if the page isn't yet complete.

To any anti-Trumpers who may arrive here: If you find yourself interested but conflicted, remember the words of expert negotiator and Harvard professor Robert Mnookin: "Empathy does not require sympathy. Empathizing with someone does not mean agreeing with, or even necessarily liking, the other side."

The Power of Positive Thinking

President Trump was heavily influenced by the thinking of Pastor Norman Vincent Peale. As a child, he attended the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, where Peale was the senior minister. Pastor Peale also officiated at Trump's first marriage to Ivana in 1977. When asked about his religious background during the 2016 campaign, Trump frequently mentioned Peale.

Pastor Peale originally published the The Power of Positive Thinking in 1952. It was updated several times and has sold more than five million copies worldwide. Below is a selection of quotes from the book.

  • "This book is written with the sole objective of helping the reader achieve a happy, satisfying and worthwhile life." (from the back cover)
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  • "If in our thoughts we constantly fix attention upon sinister expectations of dire events that might happen, the result will be constantly to feel insecure. And what is even more serious is the tendency to create, by the power of thought, the very condition we fear."
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  • "[Dr. Karl Menninger] said, 'Attitudes are more important than facts.' That is worth repeating until it grips you … a confident and optimistic thought pattern can modify or overcome the fact altogether."
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  • "Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously … Never think of yourself as failing; never doubt the reality of the mental image … Always picture ‘success’ no matter how badly things seem to be going."

Many have wondered how President Trump has so much energy at his advanced age. Pastor Peale's philosophy may help explain it:

  • "By supplying attitudes of faith to the mind it can increase energy. It helps you to accomplish prodigious activity by suggesting that you have ample support and resources of power."
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  • "[I]n our consciousness we can tap a reservoir of boundless power as a result of which it is not necessary to suffer depletion of energy."
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  • "Every great personality I have ever known … has been a person in tune with the Infinite … They have not necessarily been pious people, but invariably they have been extraordinarily well organized from an emotional and psychological point of view."
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  • "The longer I live, the more I am convinced that neither age nor circumstance needs to deprive us of energy and vitality … Our physical condition is determined very largely by our emotional condition, and our emotional life is profoundly regulated by our thought life."

President Trump is famous for declaring things are "the best" and expecting that to be true. Pastor Peale had some things to say about that:

  • "When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force in your mind which by a law of traction tends to bring the best to you. But if you expect the worst, you release from your mind the power of repulsion which tends to force the best from you."
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  • "It is amazing how a sustained expectation of the best sets in motion forces which cause the best to materialize."

How has President Trump stayed so confident even when success seemed unlikely? Pastor Peale's advice may be the reason:

  • "Please say the following line aloud: 'I don’t believe in defeat.' Continue to affirm that until the idea dominates your subconscious attitudes."

Of course, Pastor Peale had a lot more to say about positive thinking:

  • "Think positively … and you set in motion positive forces which bring positive results to pass."
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  • "[F]orm a picture in your mind of circumstances as they should be. Hold that picture, developing it firmly in all details, believe in it, pray about it, work at it, and you can actualize it according to that mental image emphasized in your positive thinking."
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  • "If you think in negative terms you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms you will achieve positive results. This is the simple fact which is the basis of an astonishing law of prosperity and success. In three words: believe and succeed."
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  • "Keep the idea of prosperity, of achievement, and of attainment firmly fixed in your mind. Never entertain a failure thought. Should a negative thought of defeat come into your mind, expel it by increasing the positive affirmation."
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  • "You can make just about anything of your life — anything you will believe or will visualize, anything you will pray for and work for. Look deeply into your mind. Amazing wonders are there."

That was the last quote from the book that struck me as relevant to understanding President Trump. There is much more to the book and many things I appreciated personally and from a Christian perspective — but that's a post for another time.

Visit Amazon to get your copy of The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale.

The Art of the Deal

I only just started reading this book, which Trump published in 1987. The very first thing I noticed was the cover quote: "Trump makes one believe for a moment in the American dream again." Its source? The (Failing) New York Times! How things have changed ...

As I did above, I'll post all the relevant quotes here when I'm finished reading the book. Can't wait? Follow me on Twitter where I'll be posting them as I go along.

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