My dad gave me his copy of Dale Carnegie’s book “The Power of Positive Thinking” when I turned 16. Little did I know then that positive words do lead to positive thinking and living.

Dale’s book challenged me to change my thinking and thus my attitude about life and fairness.

I was thinking on New Year’s Eve that the political hacks in Washington need to be given a copy of Dale’s book and then forced to read it or forfeit their plush seats.

But back to those early years: I asked, what the heck is positive thinking? The simple answer: "Tis words, words, words doused in goodness." If the words we speak are positive, then we can shine a bright light into the dark shadows of life.

What a blessing it would be if people could just get along and not be so angry all the time. The very fact that we can think and say evil words at will speaks volumes about the devil being loose in the world. 

But we are given a choice. We can speak words that sparkle and shine, soar and spiral, or words that are dark and gloomy, sad and resentful. 

This is where Dale’s books comes in. Positive thinking comes from a good and fair mind. Negative thinking comes from an evil and unfair mind.

At the beginning of this new decade year of 2020, my pledge is to use words that smile, not frown, words that are happy, not sad. All words hostile in nature are to be swept away. And good riddance to them.

My big wish for all of us in the New Year is that we speak words that lift our hearts, lift our spirits. Words as bright and high as the sky, words as wide and pretty as an ocean, words as fresh and pure as country air.

Far too many of us chose words of hate and revenge. Life itself is sour. And the hand we play is loaded.

Each day we live with words, in fact an abundance of words. But far too many of the words are negative and ugly. We need to keep them positive. Negativity is part of our human nature, a very dark part.

So, let us resolve to speak or write words of goodness and kindness. We will be amazed at how speaking and thinking good words can make us feel, act and be better. Man, what we need is a whole lot of better. 

As Dale writes, the time is upon us to dump negative words, the word of thumbs down. Time to sweep them out of our minds and hearts.

In this New Year, I plan to say so long to the word “problem,” as in the problem with this, or the problem with that, or the problem with him, or the problem with her. No more mentally manufactured problems.

I know I can never escape problems. But I can substitute the word problem with the word solution. The solution for this, or the solution for that is …well, everything! Better to light a match than curse the darkness, as we’ve been told

I want my thinking and speaking to be upbeat, and I want to begin this new decade on a positive note. I am alive; I lived through 2019! I am thankful, I am humble, I am blessed.

I want “can do” and “will do” to replace won’t do. After all, I won’t know if I can or will until I do!

I want to make the word grateful my daily go-to word. As Paul the apostle says, “Be grateful in everything.” Everything means both good and bad. I’m going to try and follow Paul’s wise advice. But I want to go further. 

I want to be grateful for even the smallest thing someone does for me. For the people I admire and those I do not admire, I will meet them with a smile, an open ear and an open mind.

I plan to not let sour people use sour words to twist my mind or pollute my thoughts. 

I can hear a few frowny faces saying, “Knock it off, Ralph.” But, hey, I made my living with words. I owe a great debt to words. Sadly, though, a whole bunch of them were negative.

As 2020 kicks off, I want to fall in love with positive words, get drunk on them. Start talking to all people again. My big word at this new beginning is “appreciate.” Be thankful for every good deed anyone does and say, “I appreciate it. And I appreciate you for doing it for me.”

Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email address is r.morris@ctvea.net.

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