Norman Vincent Peale's powerful sermon of drawing upon God to be your best self.
--long ago, I made a speech to a company called the Ralston Purina company in St. Louis-- 5,000 of their salesmen for a national sales convention of this great company. And this company was established by a man whom I knew at one time. His name was William H. Danforth. He was the founder, president, chairman of the board, and a great industrialist. He lived to be very old.
When he was a young boy, he was very sickly. Later on, he wrote a book called "I Dare You." It's a very small book. I read it once every year. I have read it ever since he gave it to me 40 years ago, which means I've read it 40 times.
This sickly boy, in school, told a teacher one time that life was too tough, that he understood that he wouldn't live very long. And the teacher said, remain after school! You've all been told to remain after school. And he was scared.
And the teacher sat in a chair. And he said, now, Bill, stand up there in front of me. Draw yourself up to your full height. I know you think you are weak and skinny and sickly and you're going to die.
But I want you to say after me, I am a child of God. God has given me a good body which I haven't developed. God has given me a good mind. God has put fresh air and pure water and wholesome food into the world for me.
And I hereby dare you to become the healthiest boy in this school, the toughest, physically. I dare you to live longer than any one of them! Now, it's a strange thing to say to a little boy. But years later, when he was about 84--
--I had lunch with him in the old Jefferson Hotel in St. Louis. There were a half dozen men. And I made the mistake of saying to him, Mr. Danforth, how are you all this vigorous and vital at 84? He said to me, son--
--remember, this was a long while ago-- would you like to be the same when you're 84? I said, yes, sir, I sure would. Well, he says, I dare you. And he took me out in the lobby. He took the other men out there. He said, the first thing you've got to learn is to have the proper form of exercise for your body.
Now, he said, you fellas take off your coats. We were in the middle of the lobby. And he said, we'll go through some exercises. I said, you don't mean right here, do you? Right here, he said, and no time like the present. And he had us lying on the floor with our feet in the air, doing all kinds of push-ups.
And finally, when we were all struggling back into our coats, puffing-- he wasn't puffing a puff-- he said, return unto the Almighty and He will build you up, meaning to cooperate with life. Don't fight it. Learn the rules.
Here's the rule book. You practice all the rules, and you're in forever. If you don't practice these rules, you're going to have hard going all the way. Life is adjusted according to proper scientific formula and procedure. And you live with it. And you come out OK-- not without difficulty.