In my early 20s I became fascinated with what I regarded as turn-of-the-century, the 19th century, personal development books. I found it remarkable that human conditions that they were addressing, stress, overwork, anxiety, and general concerns caused by the fast pace of life, were alarmingly similar to what I was experiencing. Not sure whether I found it laughable or unsettling that these people were relating and trying to fix issues that most people today would regard as a by product of ‘modern times.
I was probably also caught up in the heady days of Rhonda Burns “The Secret”. In hindsight it’s really easy to see that this book is a fairly basic mishmash of the much older material that I was already reading. But what were these books really all about? It was only recently that I became aware that this ‘ground breaking material’ was associated with what is often referred to as “the New Thought Movement”. Studying the evolution of this movement from its very early days in the mid-18th century through to current manifestations is an interesting exercise in and of itself. New Thought churches, changed the way people thought about the Bible, their place in the world, and the agency they had over their lives. The New Thought also supported women, the poorly educated, and the less well off to participate actively and visibly in a social movement.
New Thought, in extremely general terms about. “the power of the mind”. Possibly the most mainstream classic work that many people would be familiar with is Norman Vincent Peel’s The Power of Positive Thinking. This is a particular interpretation and implementation of the new thought approach that still resonates strongly with core principles of the movement. This book is literally just one of hundreds that was written before the 1950s with a view to helping individuals to improve their lot in life and be the best that they could be.
But does new thought work? Should I ask Tony Robbins? I think I know what the answer would be if I did. In my personal experience I would like to say yes. One of my first, and possibly my favourite works, was written by Florence Shovel Schinn. I’ve used the guidance which you provided to “create” a job, a house, and numerous other opportunities for myself. But I am aware of my very imperfect implementation of her principles and have always wondered with a more could be achieved, or it could be achieved more easily, if I were to go about using her guidance in a more systematic manner. Or maybe there is another New Thought author whose perspective resonates more with my own.
I hope to use this website to review some of my New Thought favourites as well as new gems. This is very organic, formative, making it up as I go along, just a bit of fun. Let’s see where it takes us!