The Optimist Creed

The following version, without the title "The Optimist Creed," is quoted from Science of Mind 71 (June 1998): 50.

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

A somewhat different and shortened version of this was adopted by Optimist International, which publishes it on the Web, with the following statement:

Many have found inspiration in The Optimist Creed. In hospitals, the creed has been used to help patients recover from illness. In locker rooms, coaches have used it to motivate their players.

Optimist International adopted this creed in 1922. It was originally published in 1912 in a book titled: "Your Forces and How to Use Them." The author was Christian D. Larson, a prolific writer and lecturer who believed that people have tremendous latent powers, which could be harnessed for success with the proper attitude.

Charles S. Braden, in his definitive history of New Thought, Spirits in Rebellion: The Rise and Development of New Thought (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963) lists Larson as an honorary president of the International New Thought Alliance (p. 192), says that Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes, and his brother Fenwicke, "took a correspondence course with Christian D. Larson, another of the influential New Thought leaders" (p. 288). Braden notes that when Ernest Holmes's two-year-old magazine changed its name to Science of Mind in 1929,

Ned L. Chapin became editor, and the distinguished New Thought leader Christian D. Larson, himself former editor and publisher of a widely circulated magazine of New Thought, and one who exercised considerable influence over Ernest Holmes in his early career was associate editor and a frequent contributor. (p. 342)
Braden's bibliography includes six books by Larson.

Horatio W. Dresser, in his A History of the New Thought Movement (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1919, p. 250), states:

The New-Thought movement in Cincinnati, Ohio, owes its origin to Christian D. Larson, who in January, 1901, organized the New Thought Temple, at his residence, 947 West Seventeenth St. In September of that year Mr. Larson began to publish Eternal Progress, for several years one of the leading New-Thought periodicals. . . .

In Science of Mind 71 (July 1998) 31, in introducing the first of a series of articles from past issues of the magazine, "Rise Higher" by Christian D. Larson, from the November 1934 issue:

We all know him as the author of Pathway of Roses, but he was once associate editor of this magazine and contributed much to its editorial direction.

Neal Vahle, in Open at the Top: The Life of Ernest Holmes (Mill Valley, CA: Open View Press 1993, p. 69), writes that after Ernest Holmes became acquainted with the writings of Emerson and Mary Baker Eddy,

He soon was exploring the writings of Christian D. Larson, Ralph Waldo Trine, Horatio Dresser and Phineas Quimby. Holmes was particularly impressed with the New Thought writings of Larson. According to Fenwicke he abandoned the Christian Science textbook for Larson's works.

In his biography of his brother, Ernest Holmes: His Life and Times (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1970, pp. 116-19) Fenwicke L. Holmes elaborates on the influence of Larson's thought on that of Holmes. Here he ranks Trine's In Tune with the Infinite with Larson's The Ideal Made Real as influential on Holmes, and it seems that the early Dresser influence on Holmes was not that of Horatio Dresser but that of writing by his parents.

In short, Christian D. Larson was an important New Thought leader in his own right and in influencing the founder of one of the major branches of New Thought, Science of Mind or Religious Science. New Thought has influenced many, such as Norman Vincent Peale and numerous other inspirational, self-help writers far beyond the bounds of New Thought in its organizational forms.

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Created June 22, 1998, by Alan Anderson
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