‘I Love Lucy’: How Lucille Ball Utilized ‘Positive Thinking’ to Navigate Divorce and Success

by Joe Rutland
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Lucille Ball had to learn a new way of living through her divorce from “I Love Lucy” co-star Desi Arnaz. It seems “positive thinking” helped.

Ball, in an interview with Houston, Texas reporter Warner Roberts, talks in great lengths about her interaction with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Peale was the author of the book “The Power of Positive Thinking” as well as pastor of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. Roberts interviews Ball in 1974 after Ball’s movie “Mame” is released.

“Well, Dr. Peale taught me a lot,” the “I Love Lucy” star said. “First of all, I must learn to accept the good things gracefully instead of just always look and accepting the bad things. That’s something we all have to learn. It’s much more difficult, too.”

Peale taught Ball, she said, that “it’s a sin” to blame yourself for everything that happens.

“It’s just as much of a sin as being, as thinking you’re the most wonderful thing in the world,” she said. “It’s just as wrong to go around thinking that you’re wrong and you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders when it isn’t true and that you must correct everything and everyone because it is not your business.”

‘I Love Lucy’ Star Learned To Focus Upon Her Own Life, Get It In Order

Ball said Peale told her to “get your own life in order.”

“‘Everything else will fall in place,'” according to Ball, who played Lucy Ricardo on “I Love Lucy.” “He said, ‘Learn to do the right thing for yourself first, and foremost, and always. Everything else will find its place.'”

Ball called it “the most wonderful thing.”

“When I finally understood it, it goes down to simple, fundamental, everyday living,” she said.

Peale’s work obviously had a powerful impact on Ball. She told Roberts that Peale married her and Gary Morton, her second husband, in New York City.

One Sentence From Peale Helped Ball See Everything Differently

What was Lucy’s biggest takeaway from her time with Peale? The “I Love Lucy” star said it was one sentence.

“He said, ‘Use this and use it until you learn the meaning of it. It’s very fundamental and it starts as a childish thing,'” Ball tells Roberts. What was the sentence? “Is this good for Lucy?”

Ball said Peale encouraged her to put it on a sign she could see first thing in the morning.

“And I did it and I had to learn that it meant tiny little things,” Ball tells Roberts. “A conversation, a walk, don’t drive too fast, don’t drink too much, don’t do this, don’t go and tell that person off. Don’t do anything that’s wrong for me.”

She added that the entire process is “a daily thing, it’s an hourly thing.” Apparently, Ball took Peale and his lessons to heart throughout the rest of her life. Peale’s influence upon Ball and millions of people came through his books, sermons, and appearances.

Ball, a titan of the television medium, died on April 26, 1989, at 77 years old. Peale died on Dec. 24, 1993, at 95 years old.

“I Love Lucy” has been a thrill for millions of people to watch. It continues to leave a positive imprint on the hearts of many people.

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