Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities — always see them, for they’re always there.
Norman Vincent Peale
Author Normal Vincent Peale is best known for advocating optimism in his book, The Power of Positive Thinking, considered one of the most widely read self-help motivational books. First published in 1952, it stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 186 consecutive weeks. The book has sold around millions of copies and has been translated into several languages.
Here, Peale is telling us to see opportunity in adversity. He says that no matter what the circumstances of our lives, we always have an option to change them. According to Peale, possibilities always exist, even if we can’t see them because of the “dark” shadows that have temporarily hindered our vision.
Peale’s quote is of an eternal optimist who strongly believes that we have within us the power to change our lives for the better, if only we shift our thoughts to what is possible, rather than dwell on what is wrong with our lives. By focusing on the negative, we end up investing our energies in what we don’t want. Instead, Peale tells us to become one who makes things possible. Peale has coined an interesting word to describe such a person – possibilitarian. The word says it all. A possibilitarian always looks for possibilities, never at what is not possible.
To become a possibilitarian, all we need to do is raise our sights and see the possibilities. What he means by raising our sights is to look beyond our current life situation. By doing so, we will find that the world is indeed full of possibilities. When Peale says, “Always see them, for they’re always there,” he means that possibilities are always there but they need to be sought. They can be spotted only if we look for them and are open to them. His core message seems to be that it’s important for us to keep our hopes alive, however hopeless our situation seems – because possibilities exist.