Wilferd A. Peterson

Wilferd is definitely one of our favorites--he had such a healthy, celebratory outlook on life that
he had to share it and try to teach others how to look at the beauty and wonder of this life we live.
His major focus was on the art of living, and several of his books were on that very topic.
He received the George Washington Medal from Freedom's Foundation at Valley Forge, "for
outstanding achievement in bringing about a better understanding of the American way of life."
His enthusiasm is contagious, as you'll see in his words here.

 thinkers home

The key to unlocking the treasures in the art of living, the secret of adding new dimensions to your life, is simply this:  Hold an adventurous mental attitude.  When you look at even the humdrum with an adventurous attitude, you infuse things with the brilliant light of newness.  The dull becomes bright.  The darkness is lighted up.  You cannot become bored when you approach everything as an adventure!

And then there is the thrill of creatively sowing ideas and inspiration into the minds of others.  Often our contributions will actually change lives by sharing appreciation, courage, love, and joy.  Carry the ideal of being a creative sower, that you are on the side of growth, plenty, peace, and progress.  Make it a point to scatter creative seeds every day of your life!
Walking exercises the whole person.  It exercises the body--it gives the arms and legs a workout.  It stimulates the flow of blood; expands the lungs.  It is gentle and relaxing.  It exercises the mind--it shakes up the brain cells.  It fills them with oxygen; drives out the cobwebs.  A famous scientist says he does his best thinking on the two miles of sidewalk between his home and office.
  Walking exercises the emotions.  It gives you a chance to observe and enjoy the world.  Open your eyes to beauty.  See the homes, the trees, the gardens.  See the shining faces of little children.  Listen for the church chimes, singing birds and the laughter of happy people.

You are a bundle of mysteries.  Finding and conquering yourself is a lifetime task.  There are unplumbed depths in you full of the rich ore of personal discovery.  Explore yourself!  There is power in you--the power to change yourself and to change the world; the power to create plans, projects, movements for the common good; the power to inspire and serve.


Your greatest power is the power to be.  To be more loving.
To be more courageous.  To be more joyous.  To be more friendly.
To be more sensitive.  To be more aware.  To be more forgiving.
To be more tolerant.  To be more humble.  To be more patient.
To be more helpful. . . . To be a greater human being.


The world knows the perfect tune for harmony and peace among people.
There is no secret about it.  It is as old as the ages.
Seers, prophets and sages have extolled it.  The perfect tune
is the expression of love and good will.  All that is needed
is that people transcend their differences so that the perfect tune
may be played on the heartstrings of all people everywhere.

We, the decent people of the world. . . . believe that this is a beautiful universe
and that it is made for love and not for hate; for peace and not war;
for freedom and not slavery; for order and not riot;
for compassion and not violence; for happiness and not misery.


As artist Nature splashes color across the vast canvas of the sky with
the radiance and splendor of sunrise and sunset.
She arches rainbows against the passing storm, creates flowers and foliage,
sets autumn woods on fire with the beauty of turning leaves
and touches mountaintops with snow crystals.

Good will is not a single quality.  It is a composite
of all the qualities of the spirit, applied to daily living.


The well-known maxim, "While there is life there is hope,"
has a deeper meaning in reverse: "While there is hope there is life."
   Hope comes first, life follows. Hope gives power to life.
Hope rouses life to continue, to expand, to grow, to reach out, to go on.
   Hope sees a light where there isn't any.
   Hope lights candles in millions of despairing hearts.
   Hope is the miracle medicine of the mind. It inspires the will to live.
Hope is the physician's strongest ally.
   Hope is man's shield and buckler against defeat.
   "Hope," wrote Alexander Pope, "springs eternal in the human breast."
And as long as it does man will triumph and move forward.
   Hope never sounds retreat. Hope keeps the banners flying.
   Hope revives ideals, renews dreams, revitalizes visions.
   Hope scales the peak, wrestles with the impossible, achieves the highest aim.
   "The word which God has written on the brow of every man,"
wrote Victor Hugo, "is Hope." As long as man has hope no situation is hopeless.

Work miracles by giving courage.  Many ideas have failed to be realized
because people lacked the courage to see them through.  Promising careers
have been abandoned because people were afraid.  Cheer people on.  Instill courage in their hearts.

Life is constantly pounding you from the outside with millions of hammer blows,
but you have the last word as to how those blows will change you.
Humans alone, of all the creatures of earth, can change their own pattern.
Humans alone are the architects of their destiny.  William James declared
that the greatest revolution in his generation was the discovery that human beings,
by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.


Stay home to find beauty.  Open your eyes to a new appreciation of your surroundings:
the furniture, the wallpaper, the pictures on the walls, the woodwork,
the view from a window, the flowers in the garden. . . 
Open yourself to a new awareness of the love in the faces of those with whom your home is shared.


Those who would practice the art of tolerance must guard well
against an attitude of superiority, smugness, indifference, and coldness.
These qualities are tolerance turned wrong side out!


Success is ninety-nine percent mental attitude.  It calls for love,
joy, optimism, confidence, serenity, poise, faith, courage, cheerfulness,
imagination, initiative, tolerance, honesty, humility, patience and enthusiasm.



By the grace of God you are what you are;
glory in your selfhood, accept yourself and go on from there.

Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself,
to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude
toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.

I like the old proverb:  "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."
We need to create a moral and spiritual equivalent to the supernova
here on our earth, a super-creativity which will abolish war,
which will conquer hunger, poverty, disease, and crime.
Light illuminates, penetrates the darkness, shows the way ahead.
Light is synonymous with creativity.  It is explosive mental power.
It is the mind aflame, the heart aglow, the spirit aware.
It is God at work through you.

Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful,
the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds
and their feet on the ground.  Walk with those who have ideals,
with zest to help and lift, to create and contribute.
Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better
than when you found it. . . . Associate with the creative people
wherever you find them.  Make friends with them, go where they are,
talk with them, listen to them, be open and receptive to them,
let them inspire you.  Catch their attitudes, their way of thinking and living.

I've found that inspiration is the spark which starts the engine of creativity.
Be aware, sensitive, and alert to inspiration, and when it comes put it to work.
Keep your spiritual antenna reaching for inspiration,
for nothing great was ever accomplished without it.


You take a firm grip on positive attitudes of thought.
You hold right thoughts in your mind just as your hand grips a golf club.
You keep both feet on the ground.  You stand for the highest and the best
and strive to fill your life with the goodness of God. 


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