Wednesday 16 December 2020

Secret of Happiness


Secret of Happiness


[N.V. Peale is an author with a positive message in life. He has written several books in an attempt to teach people the Art of Living. The present extract has been culled from his book The New Art of Living.]


I Dynamics of Self-Realization

The greatest day in any individual’s life is when he begins for the first time to realize himself. It happened to a college student friend of mine once with dramatic suddenness. He was as unsuccessful in his studies as he was efficient upon the athletic field. Destiny, however, has its own strange ways. One day in a class in Psychology, our student friend suddenly became enthralled as the professor described how the average man fails because he does not learn to control and consolidate his powers. He used the familiar illustration of the burning glass. The rays of the sun, falling upon a piece of paper, have little effect. Let them, however, be drawn by the burning glass to a focus and they create an intense heat which will quickly burn a hole in the paper.

The professor pointed out that the man who succeeds is the one who can draw his dissipated and therefore futile powers to a focus. Our student said that in a flashing illumination he saw the cause of his own failure and oblivious of all in the room and under the spell of a veritable new birth leaped to his feet, crying, “I see it; I see it” What had happened? He had met himself, a new self, his real self, which he never before had seen and the revelation changed him from a failure to a potential success, the possibilities of which were later abundantly realized. He was now a grand success in whatever he chose to do.


II You are Greater than you Think

In his famous address on “The Energies of Men” William James, a great psychologist, said, “Men habitually use only a small part of the powers which they possess and which they might use under appropriate circumstances.” A scientist is reported recently to have said that the average man uses but twenty per cent of his brain power. When you think of some people that sounds like optimism. Think of it–you are using, if you are an average person, only one fifth of your mental capacity. Consider what you could make of life if you increased that by only fifty per cent. In the personality of every individual there is a great reservoir of unused power. But in many of us just a miserable little trickle is getting through, and on that we live and do our work. The great secret of life is to put a key into the lock, turn back the sluice gates and let that power, like a terrific stream, flow into your mind and personality. It will transform you into a person of strength and effectiveness, well able to meet and master all circumstances. The important thing to emphasize is that it is a source of inward power by which weak personalities can become strong; divided personalities can become unified; hurt minds can be healed; and the secret of peace and poise attained.


III The Escape from Fear

A British publishing house issued, some years ago, a volume of sermons, under the title, If I Could Preach Only Once. One of these sermons was by Gilbert Chesterton. “If I had only one sermon to preach.” Chesterton declared, “It would be sermon against fear.” Why should this eminent man of letters single out so ordinary an adversary? First of all, because fear is one of man’s most common enemies. It touches every one of us in some way. Many people, for example, have financial fears. We have fears of ill health, anticipating the direful consequences of being overtaken by some bodily affliction. We allow ourselves to be made miserable by fear of what the future holds or fears of the consequences of past acts and decisions. Fears of one kind and another haunt us and cast a shadow over our happiness. No person is at his best or in full control of his powers if he is the victim of fear. In many ways fear lays its paralyzing hand upon an individual and becomes a chief obstacle to the full development of personality and to the achievement of success in life. The person who wishes to become adept in the art of living must learn to conquer and subdue his fears. This is a problem common to us all, and I want to state at the outset the encouraging fact that any and every individual can escape from fear. Remember this, however –only you can conquer your fears. Others may help you but ultimately you must do it yourself. The first step and, for that matter, a large part of the campaign against one’s fears is to get a complete and thoroughgoing knowledge of them. Bring them out into the light of day and watch them shrivel up. A fear is not unlike a ghost. It frightens you in the gloom, but there isn’t much to it when you get it into the light. Most of the things one fears never happen; at least they do not amount to anything. As one frog in a pond may sound like a hundred when one is trying to sleep, so one little fact may be enlarged by mental fear and distorted imaging out of all proportion to its real size. Once in a lonely cabin on a dark night, deep in the North Woods, I heard on the porch noises that sent a shiver up my spine. It sounded like the cautious approach of several intruders. I sat transfixed, rooted to my chair, with every hair seemingly standing on end. Newspaper accounts of a recent murder in that section flashed across my mind. This is the end, I thought, but I was far from being prepared to die. I didn’t want to die; I wanted to get out of there. Finally, unable to stand the suspense longer and desperation lending bravado, I leaped to the door and flung it open, expecting to see a whole array of gangsters with machine guns and pistols. Instead, a little chipmunk scurried off into the darkness, leaving me limp and mortified but yet the learner of a great lesson, namely, that it is very salutary to get a good look at your fears, and that when you do, they are much less impressive than you had imagined them to be.


IV Faith in Him

A great Japanese, Kagawa, a preacher and social worker, once visited our country. Everyone noted that he carried about himself a sense of peace and poise, an inner strength and confidence that was truly remarkable. Kagawa had discovered a priceless secret, and he gave us his secret by saying that if one will do as he did, “immerse himself over a long period in the grace of God,” he will enter into a profound calm that nothing can destroy. Kagawa said that encountering mobs, threatened by soldiers, hurt by opponents, the calm never left him. His eyesight was threatened; disease afflicted him: but he never lost his calm. He testified that he was often amazed by the depth of this peace. This he assured us he had found in God. In that relationship he lost his fears. There is the real escape from fear. Get a deep, unshakable faith in the fact that you are not alone, but that God watches over you and cares for you and will bring you through all difficulties. Then you will have total peace of mind. Confidence, not fear, will be yours forever. Norman Vincent Peale




Enthralled (adj): filled with wonder and delight I was simply enthralled at her dance performance.


Consolidate (v): joined together into a whole It is very necessary to consolidate your resources before embarking upon any ambitious project.


Illustration (n): example Give me an illustration to explain your point.


Familiar (adj): well-known the new boss is quite familiar with the state of affairs as he was here 3 years ago.


Focus (n): a central point, a rallying point you must bring the rays of light to a focus to produce the desired effect.


Dissipated (adj): weakened the sermon fired him to make use of his dissipated power to the full and he achieved success.


Futile (adj): useless All his effort to win the game proved futile. a flashing illumination : a sudden knowledge or realization In a moment of flashing illumination Lord Buddha became alive to the Truth of the mystery of   life.


revelation (n) : a new knowledge It was a revelation to me that she was the daughter of the big boss.


potential (n) : having power and energy for something I am sure of his potential ; he can do real wonders in this field.


abundantly (adv) : in a large measure She was abundantly praised at the conclusion of her successful trip to the historic conference.



optimism (n) : looking at the bright side of things, a positive attitude of hope It was his sheer optimism that won him success in the trial.


reservoir (n) : a store Every human brain is a big reservoir of energy and power.




eminent (adj) : famous He is an eminent personality in this part of the country. a man of letters : a scholarly person A man of letters like him should not commit such a minor error.


adversary (n) : enemy Fear is man’s greatest adversary. direful consequences : bad, dangerous results You must be prepared for the direful consequences if you insist on going against the stream.


obstacle (n) : obstruction, hindrance Her father’s objection became a great obstacle in the way of her marriage.


intruder (n) : one who comes unseen as an enemy, an unwelcome, uninvited person The intruders from across the border generally attack the border villages and commit several crimes.


desperation (n) : a state of hopelessness In a state of desperation, he decided to do or die and won the game.


bravado (n) : bravery Desperation produced in him a sense of bravado and he attacked the enemy with all his might.


chipmunk (n) : a type of rodent or rat It was nothing but a small chipmunk that scurried off.


mortified (adj) : ashamed I felt badly mortified when I learnt of my folly.




poise (n) : a state of balance, calmness You must not lose your poise, especially in this hour of difficulty.


profound (adj) : deep His profound thoughts impressed everyone.


afflicted (v) : caused pain and agony Cholera afflicted the city in a big way last year.




A. Comprehension Questions


Answer the following questions in your own words:


1. Which is the greatest day in any individual’s life?

Ans. The greatest day in any individual’s life is when he or she realizes for the first time the power that lies within him or her.


2.     What enthralled the student in the Psychology class?

Ans. The Professor’s lecture on the potential of an individual’s inward power enthralled the student in the Psychology class. The professor told that if all our inward powers are focused on what we want to achieve, success will knock at our gate.


3.     Did the boy change as a result of the realization?

Ans. Yes, the boy changed as a result of the realization. He became a very successful person.


4.     What is there in the personality of every man?

Ans. There is a great reservoir of power which can work miracles in the personality of every man.


5.     How can weak personalities become strong?

Ans. The proper use of a weak person’s inward power can turn him into a strong personality and help him to achieve great success.


6.     What would Chesterton preach if he had just one sermon to deliver?

Ans. If Chesterton had only one sermon to deliver, he would preach it against fear. This sermon would tell people how they can get rid of their fear.


7.     What are the different types of fear experienced by the people?

Ans. Some people have financial fears. Fears of ill-health or the attack of some disease haunt many people. The fear of a bleak future is a source of worry to others. Some are trouble by the fear of the consequences of their past acts. Thus, people experience different types of fear.


8.     What did the author of 'Secret of Happiness' find when he flung open the door?

Ans. The author found only a little chipmunk when he flung open the door. It ran off into the darkness.


9.     How can one have a real escape from fear?

Ans. By getting a good look at fears and understanding their true nature, one can make them harmless and also get rid of them.


10. What was the priceless secret discovered by Mr. Kagawa?


Ans. The priceless secret about God’s grace discovered by Mr. kagawa was that if a person immerses himself over a long period in the grace of God, he can attain peace that nothing can destroy.


(i)                            Answer the following questions in 50 words each:


1.     Describe, in your own words, how the professor changed the total attitude of the student.

Ans. The professor talked about the rays of the sun focused on a piece of paper through a burning glass. These rays had developed the power of burning a hole in the paper. He said that every individual has inward power. If this power is used properly, he will surely succeed and reap the fruit of his efforts. This talk made the student realize the causes of his own failure and changed his total attitude.


2.     Write a small paragraph on ‘The Proper use of Human Energy.’

Ans. Human energy is no less powerful than atomic energy. It can work miracles if it is used in a proper way. This energy should be entirely focused on the object that person wants to achieve. For example, if one wants to be an Olympic player, one should devote one’s energy to the acquiring of those physical skills which Olympic players need to bag medals. Whatever one’s goal of life may be, it is always achievable if all physical and mental energies are properly focused on it.


3.     Relate the incident of North Woods in your own words.

Ans.  Once the author was staying in a lonely cabin in the North Woods. It was a dark night. He heard noises on the porch. They sent a shiver up his spine, and he was rooted to his chair. He had read an account of a murder in a newspaper. He was now beginning to think that some gangsters were secretly entering his cabin to put an end to his life. In a fit of desperation he flung open the gate. Instead of gangsters he discovered a little chipmunk. This experience taught him a lesson. Never magnify a fear.


4.     Write, in brief, the message given by Mr. Kagawa.

Ans. Mr. Kagawa had great faith in the goodness of God. He believed that God cares for man. One can always live a peaceful and happy life if one seeks the grace of God. According to Kagawa, this peace, given by the grace of God, is never destroyed. Mr. Kagawa always carried such peace about him.


B. Vocabulary Exercises

(i) Give the synonyms of:

a.                      eminent

b.                      adversary

c.                      profound

d.                      poise

e.                      obstacle

f.                      illustration

g.                     futile

h.                     abundant

i.                      conquer

j.                      total


Ans. (a) famous                                                   (b) enemy, opponent

          © Deep                                                        (d) balance

          hurdle                                                     (f) example

          (g) Useless                                                    (h) plentiful

          (i) Subdue                                                  (j) complete



 (ii) Give the antonyms of:

a.                 destroy

b.                opponent

c.                 shakable

d.                optimism

e.                 strength

f.                 ordinary

g.                ignorance

h.                 real

i.                  fact

j.                 cautious

Ans. (a) create                                            (b) ally

          © unshakable                                   (d) pessimism

          (e) weakness                                     (f) special

          (g) awareness                                    (h) unreal

          ( i) fiction                                          (j) careless


(ii)                         Give one word for each of the following expressions:


a.     a science that studies the working of the human mind


b. a speech from the pulpit in a church


c. one who believes in the bright side of things


d. a daily or periodic paper that gives news and views


e. one who does not believe in God.



Ans.            a. Psychology                                                     b. Sermon

                    c. Optimist                                                          d. Journal

                    e. Atheist


(iv)                       Frame sentences to show distinction between the following pairs of words:


a Birth-                  berth

b. Familiar-            familial

c. Gate-                  gait

d. Adept       -        adapt

e. Mental-             mantle

f. Root-                 route

g. Peace-                piece




a. The boy has been delicate from his birth.

Have you booked a berth in this train?


b.. His face is familiar to every cinema fan.

Both these children seem to be of the same familial background.


c.The gate was kept open.  

Some children were laughing at his awkward gait.


d. I’m not an adept in photography.

This book is adapted to the needs of winners.  


e.He has lost his mental balance.

The devil has put on the mantle of a holy man.


f. Money is the root of evil.

The climbers tried to find a new route to the top of the mountain.



C. Grammar Exercises

(i) Fill in the blanks with suitable articles:

1. The dog is a faithful animal.

2. Tanuja is an honest girl.

3. I saw an American and a European at the market.

4. We visited the Golden Temple at Amritsar.

5.  The Himalayas have many ranges.

6. I use an umbrella in the rainy season.

7. Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab.


(ii) Change the following sentences into passive voice:

1.     I know him very well.

Ans. He is known to me very well.


2.     They sought my help.

Ans. My help was sought by them.


3.     It is time to say goodbye.

Ans.  It is time for goodbye to be said.


4.     This jug contains milk.

Ans. Milk is contained in this jug.


5.     Don’t use foul language.

Ans. Let foul language not be used.


6.     My father will receive me.

Ans. I will be received by my father.


Foul language should not be used.


7.     I annoyed her.

Ans. She was annoyed by me.


(iii) Fill in the blanks with the appropriate comparatives or superlatives of the adjectives given in the brackets:


1. Milk is thicker than water. (thick)


2. Pen is mightier than the sword. (mighty)


3. Ludhiana is the largest city of Punjab. (large)


4. It is easier said than done. (easy)


5. The condition of the patient is much better now. (good)


6. Better late than never. (good)


(iv) Fill in the blanks with a non-finite (to-infinitive, gerund or participle) :

1.     He used the illustration of the burning glass (burn).


2.     The great success of life lies in putting (put) a key into the lock and releasing that terrific power.


3. If I had only one sermon to preach (preach), I would preach people to shun (shun) fear.


4. We allow ourselves to be made (make) miserable by fear.


5. The person who wishes to become (become) adept in the art of living (live) must learn to subdue (subdue) his fears.


6. I sat rooted (root) to my chair.


7. I wanted to get (get) out of there.


8. I found the door broken (break).


9. He did not learn the art of controlling (control) his powers.


10. To have (have) faith in God gives a lot of strength.


D. Pronunciation Practice

Speakers of English should learn to distinguish between the sounds /v/ and /w/

/v/ is produced with the help of upper teeth and lower lips.

/w/ is produced by rounding the lips as in the vowel sound in shoe and then immediately spreading the lips

as in the vowel in the initial position of the word above.


Now say the following words aloud:


Vest                        –west    


Vile                        -while


Vale                        –whale


Vine                        –wine


Vie                          –why


Vend                       – wend


Vent                        -went


Vim                       - whim



Verse                      -worse


Vain                        – wane




E. Creative Writing and Extended Reading


1. List out some pieces of advice for a man who wants to succeed in life.


2. Write a paragraph on: I. Fear, Man’s Worst Enemy


ii. Faith – Man’s Saviour


iii. Self Realization as a Key to Success


3. Read any one of the books written by Norman Vincent Peale:


i. The Power of Positive Thinking



ii. Stay Alive All Your Life


iii. A Guide to Confident Living




Just a little fun

For years a secret shame

 destroyed my peace I’d not read Eliot

, Auden or MacNeice.

But now I think a thought

that brings me hope:

Neither had Chaucer,

Shakespeare, Milton, Pope.