Persistence and “The Power of the Positive” by Dr Clarence Floyd Nelson. -Ray Kroc (The Founder).
Last night I had the pleasure of watching “The Founder” - a film about the early days and subsequent evolution of the MacDonald's fast-food chain - and I must say I enjoyed it immensely. I particularly connected to a scene early in the movie when Ray Kroc (played by Michael Keaton) listened to The Power of the Positive by Clarence Floyd Nelson on a record player he had in his hotel room. This brought up a couple of thoughts for me…
…Firstly, when I think of the 1950s and vinyl records, I think of Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll, NOT early self-help recordings! As I sit here online promoting my modern day visualizations it was most fascinating then to see a self-help LP circa 1957. No Inner Power MP3 downloads available back then of course! Upon further investigation, it turns out that The Power of the Positive and Clarence Floyd Nelson are both fictional and this scene was concocted for dramatic purposes. In fact the album Kroc plays is based on an actual recording called The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale which was released in 1953. Peale was a popular but controversial figure in the mid 1950s. Back then the self-improvement industry was virtually non-existent and few people understood that kind of thinking anyway. Peale’s methods and teachings came in for a great deal of criticism, but none-the-less he still sold over 5 million copies of his book The Power of Positive Thinking which was released a year before the album in 1952.
…And secondly, when I think of MacDonald's, I think of a mega conglomerate serving a type of food which is not at the top of many healthy eating lists, NOT of its inspirational “founder” Ray Kroc. Transforming MacDonald's from one restaurant in San Bernardino to a billion dollar multi-national, Kroc is seen by many as not only a pioneer, but also the epitome of the American Dream. One particularly interesting thing of note about Kroc, is that he was 52 when he discovered MacDonald's. In this day and age, when many middle aged or older people have 'given up' or even label themselves as 'over the hill', Kroc was still moving forward and showing himself to be a maverick in more ways then one. He essentially invented MacDonald's as we know it today at 52 years of age! Think about that for a moment... But, as great a salesman / thought leader / entrepreneur (take your pick) as he was, he was also not without his faults and critics. The film shows us that for all his positivity his business dealings were at times… a little suspect. I think it was Lou Reed who once said: “there’s a little bit of magic in everything and then some loss to even things out”. Yet seeing this film reminded me that it’s not the messenger, but the message which is of paramount importance.
So I’m thinking again now of that scene early in the film: a depressed middle aged man alone in his hotel room puts The Power of the Positive on the turntable. Kroc is maybe at his lowest ebb, but he’s still forging ahead, believing, seeking growth, seeking betterment…
“Persistence. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent won’t; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius won’t; unrewarded genius is practically a cliché. Education won’t; the world is full of educated fools. Persistence and determination alone are all powerful. Show that you don’t have to be defeated by anything, and that you can have peace of mind, improved health and a never ceasing flow of energy; if you attempt each and every day to achieve these things the results will make themselves obvious to you. While it may sound like a magical notion, it is in you to create your own future. The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind, or as Ralph Waldo Emerson declared: ‘a man is what he thinks about all day long.’” (Clarence Floyd Nelson, The Power of the Positive, The Founder).
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