The Vacuum Cleaner Method

I know a man who is a tremendous asset to his organization, not because of any extraordinary ability, but because he invariably demonstrates a triumphant thought pattern. Perhaps his associates view a proposition pessimistically, so he employs what he calls the “vacuum cleaner method.” That is, by a series of questions he “sucks the dust” out of his associates’ minds; he draws out their negative attitudes. Then quietly he suggests positive ideas concerning the proposition until a new set of attitudes gives them a new concept of the facts.

They often comment upon how different facts appear when this man “goes to work on them.” It’s the confidence attitude that makes the difference. This doesn’t rule out objectively appraising of facts. The inferiority complex victim sees all facts through discolored attitudes. The secret of correction is simply to gain a normal view, and that is always slanted on the positive side.

Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking