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What You Think Upon Grows Day

What You Think Upon Grows Day is "a day to remind people of the power of positive thinking"—thinking based on the belief that a positive and optimistic attitude will bring more good. The day inspires people to use this power to lead fuller lives. Stephanie West Allen, the holiday's creator, said of it: "No matter what the situation—health, wealth, peace, happiness—thinking about the negative side will get you more of the negative; concentrating on the positive will get you more of the positive." What You Think Upon Grows Day also celebrates the life and legacy of Norman Vincent Peale—a founder and early proponent of modern positive thinking, as well as a preacher, public speaker, author, newspaper columnist, and broadcaster—and is observed on his birthday.

Norman Vincent Peale was born on today's date in 1898, in Bowersville, Ohio. He grew up in Ohio, where his father was a Methodist preacher. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1920 and became a journalist but within a few years, he decided to follow his father into the ministry. He was ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1922, and continued theological studies at Boston University, where he earned a bachelor of sacred theology and master of arts in social ethics degrees in 1924. He spent three years at a small congregation in Brooklyn before moving to University Methodist Church in Syracuse, New York. He got a radio program while there, one of the first ministers to do so. This became known as The Art of Living and was eventually broadcast to a national audience.

After five years at University Methodist Church, Peale changed his denominational affiliation to the Reformed Church in America and accepted a position at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, where he went on to preach for more than 50 years. He increased church membership and established a religious-based psychiatric clinic. In 1951, he turned the clinic into a nonprofit: the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry (it's now the Blanton-Peale Institute and Counseling Center). In the late 1940s, Peale edited Guideposts, a weekly spiritual leaflet for businessmen, which became a monthly magazine in the 1950s.

Peale published his first book, The Art of Living, in 1937. Some of his other early books are You Can Win (1938) and A Guide for Confident Living (1948). The Power of Positive Thinking was first published in 1952. It was on the New York Times bestseller list for 186 consecutive weeks, and millions of copies have been sold. Some of his later books are Six Attitudes for Winners (1989) and This Incredible Century (1991).

The concept of modern positive thinking emerged in the 1930s. Oliver Napoleon Hill's self-help book Think and Grow Rich said that positive thinking is needed for success. He followed that book with Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, co-written with W. Clement Stone, which directly used the phrase "positive thinking." Peale's most significant book, The Power of Positive Thinking, built on these works. He was a firm believer that religious faith could play a role in material wealth, steadfast in his belief in the importance of a positive mental attitude and believing in oneself, and a supporter of conservative politics. When he left this world on December 24, 1993, Norman Vincent Peale left a legacy rooted in the power of positive thinking and that good things will grow from thinking in such a way.

How to Observe What You Think Upon Grows Day

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