[Column] Train Your Positive Thinking

Train Your Positive Thinking

Written By Rev.Dr. Joshua Hong

Senior Pastor of Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

To a leader, it is important to deal with the present. We have to take the present as special and precious. We have to internalize affirmative and positive thinking in our life. There is a principle known as the law of substitution. It states that whether positive or negative human mind only hold one thought at a time. Thus, when human mind holds a negative thought, a positive thought does not arise. Also, when a positive thought prevails, a negative thought cannot enter into mind. Therefore, which decision we make is very important. Commander William Mayer once chose 1,000 U.S. prisoners of war during the Korean War for a survey. Back then, the U.S. prisoners of war suffered no excruciating torture, were fed regularly, and were even given “leisure” time. Despite their rather comfortable life, many died before their release. Upon careful research, the cause of death was revealed. It was mirasmus, energy deficiency. It can also be described as the disease of desolation and resignation.

Because of negative thoughts, many felt short of resistance and patience. As negative thoughts spread among the U.S. prisoners of war, they gradually died of this disease. Interestingly enough, there was a tactic used by the North Korea army to disseminate desolation. That was whistle blowing. If a fellow prisoner were to engage in any suspicious activity, he was to be reported. In return, the informant was given cigarette and more leisure time. The POWs grew anxious as they thought, “If I do something wrong as small as it may be, someone’s going to turn me in.” How fearful and restless they must have been. Another tactic the North Korean army employed was self-criticism. The prisoners were forced to stand in public and say, “I’m useless. I’m despicable. I caused many offenses and remained disloyal to my country.”

As this ritual sets in, positive thinking and hope slowly faded in the minds of the prisoners. Moreover, the greeting letters from families and lovers were intercepted and never delivered to block even the thinnest thread of hope. Instead, only those correspondences about home foreclosure and tragedy in a family were delivered. Wouldn’t their hearts break if they receive such devastating news in captivity? For these reasons, the POWs further sank into deeper desolation and ultimately contracted mirasmus. That was what the research found. This shows the importance of positive and affirmative thinking.

While negative thoughts lead to death as we have seen, positive thoughts battle against cancer cells.  Scientific research indicates that cancer cells grow weekly in our bodies just as “natural killer (healing) cells” are created to counterattack the cancer cells. The reason why we remain cancer free now is that we have natural killer (healing) cells in our bodies. Natural healing cells, however, decrease in number when we are held captive by restlessness and fear. On the other hand, as we think positively, nurture joy, and cultivate hope, these cells increase in number. It is said that some cancer patients who endure courageously pass very shortly after they are told, “You have cancer. You only have 6 months to live” at the hospital. The “death sentence” sinks them into more negative thoughts and binds them to hopeless resignation of “I am fated to die.” In contrast, positive thinking increases lifespan.  It has been found that those who think positively visit the hospital once a year on average while those who think negatively visit 3.5 times a year on average. These findings demonstrate the correlations between thinking and health and attitude and longevity.

Positive thinking is training. We must consciously choose positive and affirmative thinking.  There is a book entitled “Miracle Lies Within You” by the physiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins University hospital named Robert Seung Bok (S.B.) Lee. He was an aspiring gymnast who won a gold medal in a major competition in 1983 when he was 18. One day at a practice, he fell and landed on his chin, which dislocated his seventh vertebra. He became quadriplegic. Soon he had to give up gymnastics becoming bound to a wheelchair. In spite of his disability that shattered his dream and his chance of normal life, he didn’t despair and chose positive thinking. Eventually, he became a chief resident of the physiatry department at Johns Hopkins University hospital. In his book, he writes, “everything depends on what choice one makes. Through our choice, we change many things. Our choice may not be able to alter external circumstances. Nevertheless, if we change the outlook on life through our choice, everything can gradually change.” As Dr. Lee writes, we may not be able to change our external environments but our conscious decision to embrace positive outlook on life can cause everything to work toward good.

What is the main reason why we cannot think positively? It is that we often forget that there are two sides to everything.  There was an old lady who had two sons. One was a straw shoe merchant and the other an umbrella merchant. She was always troubled for when it rained her straw shoe merchant son struggled while her umbrella-selling son fared well. On sunny days, she was worried that her umbrella merchant son would not sell any umbrellas. The couple living next door heard the story from the old lady and told her, “Ma’am. Let’s look at it the other way round. If it’s sunny today, your straw shoe-selling son will do very well and if it rains today, your umbrella-selling son will do very well. Think of it that way.” That was absolutely right. Consequently, the old lady decided, “From this moment on, I should think positively” and shifted her pattern of thinking from negative to positive. When we realize there are two sides to everything, we can be thankful always. We are transformed into positive individuals only if we consciously choose positive and affirmative thinking, acknowledge duality of all things, and remain grateful for the present conditions. Choose and Train your positive and affirmative thinking.


  1. Roseanna Lunch

    Really nice writing.

  2. Thanks! God uses and blesses the leaders with positive

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