In fact, the tale of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series is a great example of thinking positively. I fell in love with the series when it debuted years ago -- but I love the story of how it came into existence even more. I cite it often in speeches as a great example of perseverance. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were convinced their little collection of inspirational stories had the power to make a meaningful difference in the lives of readers. Trouble was -- they couldn't find a publisher who agreed with them. They took their book to publishing conferences and literally hundreds of publishers ignored them. Finally they found a small publisher who would print a few thousand books for them and they started selling Chicken Soup for the Soul from the backs of their cars as they drove around making speeches and doing book signings. Eventually the book, that wonderful "little engine that could," turned into a worldwide bestseller and Chicken Soup for the Soul became a publishing phenomenon, one of the most successful lines of books in history.
You just gotta believe. Like JB, the foster kid in the movie Angels in the Outfield. Every night the little boy went to bed with the hope that tomorrow would be the day he found a family. "It could happen," JB would say as he snuggled under the covers. In true Hollywood form, the movie ends with JB being adopted by the baseball coach George Knox, played by Danny Glover.
JB never gave up hoping that "it could happen." The founders of Chicken Soup for the Soul never gave up on their dream of changing lives through inspiring stories. George Patton said "Courage is fear hanging on one second longer." I like to paraphrase General Patton by saying "Success is failure trying one more time." Most of us don't succeed because we give up too soon. Did you know the average customer has to be pitched five to seven times before he will make a purchase? The average salesman gives up after two or three attempts. Want to read the ultimate tale of persistence? Pull out your kid's copy of Green Eggs and Ham. Count up how many times Sam I Am offers up that plate of green eggs and ham. Sixteen tries! As we all know, when he finally gave it a taste, he liked it after all! It could happen for you too. You just gotta believe. The stories that follow will help you summon up that extra bit of energy and positive attitude that you need to help you reach your potential. They already have for me.
Change your thoughts and you change your world. I didn't know until I did a computer search that those were the words of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Did you know he too suffered from self-doubt? After his manuscript for The Power of Positive Thinking was rejected for the umpteenth time, he tossed it in a wastebasket, where it was retrieved by his wife Ruth. It went on to publish 20 million copies in 42 languages. Ruth Peale, who died in 2008, was quoted as saying of her husband, "I don't have as much self-doubt as he did." You'll love James Scott Bell's story of how the now-bestselling author first met the "father" of positive thinking. Bell tells how meeting Norman Vincent Peale influenced his life and helped him get through the anxiety of being a lawyer turned author.