“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.” - Donald Trump
In the 1950s, the famous pastor Norman Vincent Peale would speak to thousands of people every Sunday at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, about the wonders of positive thinking and believing in oneself.
His book “The Power of Positive Thinking” was immensely successful and became an instant bestseller when it came out in 1952.
One person that was present among the audience during his weekly Sunday services was a young Donald Trump who would attend along with his family. Both his book and his Sunday sermons had a big impression on him growing up as he later recalled in an interview:
"It was unbelievable. And what he would do is he'd bring real-life situations - modern-day situations - into the sermon. And you could listen to him all day long.
He would speak the power of positive thinking. He would speak so much—and he'd bring it into modern-day life. He talked about success stories and people that were successful and became alcoholics, and then they conquered it…and I grew up watching that,"
While Trump’s morals and values may not be worth emulating there is however one exceptional quality he possesses that is worth its weight in gold. And that’s what this blog post is going to be all about so keep reading.
Trump took charge of his family's real-estate business in 1971, renamed it The Trump Organization, and expanded its operations from Queens and Brooklyn into Manhattan. The company built and renovated skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses.
He enjoyed a great run in the real estate business till the mid 80s, however, it was in the early 90s that he would face his real test.
Following the U.S. stock market crash of 1987, the global recession hit the New York real estate. New construction stalled, and several big developers declared bankruptcy. As the real estate market slumped, Trump ran out of cash.
At the beginning of 1990 he owed a combined $4 billion to more than 70 banks, with $800 million personally guaranteed by his own assets. In the 1990s, his business empire crumbled when casinos proved to be a bad bet.
In 1995, Donald Trump was close to being finished. He had spent the previous five years barely avoiding financial ruin. In that time, his marriage had collapsed, he himself had incurred debts of almost a billion dollars, all three of his casinos in Atlantic City had filed for bankruptcy, and the best of the three, Trump Plaza, was losing almost $9 million a year.
It was as he admits, the darkest period of his professional life. Everybody had written him off and said he was finished.
However, by 1996 he managed to turn things around (along with some help from his father), and to everyone’s amazement, he was back at Forbes 400 rich list that same year.
Looking back this is what he had to say about that period in his life:
"I never believed I was finished. I simply saw that situation as a problem I had to solve and went about doing that. I’m not saying it was easy, because it wasn’t. It was a big problem. But I refused to give in to fear or to believe what was being said about my so-called demise.
I’m a cautious optimist but also a firm believer in the power of being positive. I think that helped."
“I refused to give in to the negative circumstances and I never lost faith in myself. … Being tenacious is part of my personality. … Defeat is not in my vocabulary.”
In his book, Think Like A Winner, he writes
"You have to be positive every single day. You have to put a daily effort into it, because believe me, no one else is going to help you with this."
Almost two decades later, when he was running for president, this attitude was instrumental in staging a stunning upset in an election where he was a laughing stock and one where almost nobody had given him a chance.
Of the many things you may hear from Donald Trump’s mouth, one thing that you never hear is him speaking negatively about himself or his abilities.
"Someone asked me if I thought I was a genius. I decided to say yes. Why not? Try it out. Tell yourself that you are a genius. Right away you will probably wonder why and in what way you are a genius. And right away you will have opened your mind up to wonder—and to asking questions. That’s a big first step to thinking like a genius, and it might unlock some of your hidden talents."
What I’ve observed in my own life as well as of those around me is that we often tend to severely downplay ourselves by our thinking and speech and in the process, underestimate what we are actually capable of doing.
I’m not encouraging you to be arrogant and make grandiose statements or develop an inflated sense of ego. However, one of the big lessons that can be drawn from Trump’s life is to have tremendous confidence in your own abilities and the belief within you that you can come out on top of any obstacle that you are facing in your life. And most of all to stay positive when things are looking bleak, even if nobody else believes in you.
I encourage you to become more conscious of your thoughts and examine the areas in your life where you are limiting yourself by your thinking and speech and begin reframing them with more positive thoughts.
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