In this book, I have selected passages from nearly 3000 pages of success books by Napoleon Hill, Orison Swett Marden, Samuel Smiles, Herbert N. Casson, and Charles F. Haanel.
I bring you the parts of these works that are most interesting, useful, accurate, and relevant to today. I have put them in a highly accessible and useful format, while filtering out redundancies and uninteresting or clearly outdated material that a reader would have to otherwise laboriously search through.
The result of my searching through those books is a timeless treasure that efficiently and effectively presents much of these author’s supreme work, and will give you a bounty of material that is a joy to read and an invaluable and timeless source of life wisdom.
Legendary American writer and philosopher Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) is considered among the greatest authors in the history of success writing.
Napoleon diligently devoted much of his life to studying and analyzing hundreds of notable achievers such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. From the observation of these people—many of which he interviewed first hand—as well as from lessons he based on his own personal experiences, Napoleon produced volumes of success literature that has a tremendous influence on millions of readers.
Napoleon is considered among the most influential American writers of all time. The ideas presented in his works have been hugely influential on American business philosophy. This business philosophy is often accredited with being an important part in taking America from its severe economic depression beginning in the late 1920s, all the way to becoming by far and away the premiere economic power in the world.
Napoleon’s writings are based on gaining general and economic success, but also go beyond that and describe principles of mind control, psychology, philosophy, human nature, spirituality, and self-discovery.
The selections presented here are from Think & Grow Rich, and The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons.
Think and Grow Rich is Napoleon’s widely acclaimed and best selling book. It is one of the most widely read self-development books ever. The passages here are from the original 1937 edition.
The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons is a lesser-known yet equally impressive work. It was first published in 1928 as an eight volume 1200+ page course.
When riches begin to come, they come so quickly, in such great abundance, that one wonders where they have been hiding during all those lean years. This is an astounding statement, and all the more so, when we take into consideration the popular belief that riches come only to those who work hard and long.
[Guglielmo Marconi dreamt of a system for harnessing intangible forces]. Evidence that he did not dream in vain may be found in every wireless and radio in the world. Moreover, Marconi’s dream brought the humblest cabin and the most stately manor house side by side. It made the people of every nation on earth back-door neighbors. It gave the President of the United States a medium by which he may talk to all the people of America at one time, and on short notice.
It may interest you to know that Marconi’s “friends” had him taken into custody, and examined in a psychopathic hospital when he announced he had discovered a principle through which he could send messages through the air, without the aid of wires, or other direct physical means of communication. The dreamers of today fare better.
Remember, no more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty. A great poet has correctly stated this universal truth through these lines:
I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.
For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.
Several years ago, one of my business associates became ill. He became worse as time went on, and finally was taken to the hospital for an operation. Just before he was wheeled into the operating room, I took a look at him, and wondered how anyone as thin and emaciated as he, could possibly go through a major operation successfully. The doctor warned me that there was little if any chance of my ever seeing him alive again.
But that was the DOCTOR’S OPINION. It was not the opinion of the patient. Just before he was wheeled away, he whispered feebly, “Do not be disturbed, Chief, I will be out of here in a few days.” The attending nurse looked at me with pity. But the patient did come through safely.
After it was all over, his physician said, “Nothing but his own desire to live saved him. He never would have pulled through if he had not refused to accept the possibility of death.”
…[The way that] any person may rise to altitudes of achievement which stagger the imagination is well described in the following verse:
If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will-
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!
Success comes to those who become SUCCESS CONSCIOUS.
Failure comes to those who indifferently allow themselves to become FAILURE CONSCIOUS.
A publisher of books, which sell for a nickel, made a discovery that should be worth much to publishers generally. He learned that many people buy titles, and not contents of books.
By merely changing the name of one book that was not moving, his sales on that book jumped upward more than a million copies. The inside of the book was not changed in any way. He merely ripped off the cover bearing the title that did not sell, and put on a new cover with a title that had “box-office” value.
That, as simple as it may seem, was an IDEA! It was IMAGINATION
Broadly speaking, there are two types of people in the world. One type is known as LEADERS, and the other as FOLLOWERS. Decide at the outset whether you intend to become a leader in your chosen calling, or remain a follower. The difference in compensation is vast. The follower cannot reasonably expect the compensation to which a leader is entitled, although many followers make the mistake of expecting such pay.
It is no disgrace to be a follower. On the other hand, it is no credit to remain a follower. Most great leaders began in the capacity of followers. They became great leaders because they were INTELLIGENT FOLLOWERS. With few exceptions, the person who cannot follow a leader intelligently cannot become an efficient leader. The person who can follow a leader most efficiently is usually the person who develops into leadership most rapidly. An intelligent follower has many advantages, among them the OPPORTUNITY TO ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE FROM HIS LEADER.
The majority of people permit relatives, friends, and the public at large to so influence them that they cannot live their own lives, because they fear criticism.
Huge numbers of people make mistakes in marriage, stand by the bargain, and go through life miserable and unhappy because they fear criticism which may follow if they correct the mistake. (Anyone who has submitted to this form of fear knows the irreparable damage it does, by destroying ambition, self-reliance, and the desire to achieve).
Millions of people neglect to acquire belated educations, after having left school, because they fear criticism. Countless numbers of men and women, both young and old, permit relatives to wreck their lives in the name of DUTY, because they fear criticism. (Duty does not require any person to submit to the destruction of his personal ambitions and the right to live his own life in his own way).
People refuse to take chances in business, because they fear the criticism which may follow if they fail. The fear of criticism, in such cases is stronger than the DESIRE for success.
Too many people refuse to set high goals for themselves, or even neglect selecting a career, because they fear the criticism of relatives and “friends” who may say “Don’t aim so high, people will think you are crazy.”
The fear of criticism takes on many forms, the majority of which are petty and trivial.
No person can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like. The most essential step in the marketing of personal services is that of selecting an occupation into which you can throw yourself wholeheartedly.
…[Negative questioners] scoffed scornfully when Henry Ford tried out his first crudely built automobile on the streets of Detroit. Some said the thing never would become practical. Others said no one would pay money for such a contraption.
FORD SAID, “I’LL BELT THE EARTH WITH DEPENDABLE MOTOR CARS,” AND HE DID!
…Let it be remembered that practically the sole difference between Henry Ford and a majority of the more than one hundred thousand people who work for him, is this—FORD HAS A MIND AND CONTROLS IT, THE OTHERS HAVE MINDS WHICH THEY DO NOT TRY TO CONTROL…You either control your mind or it controls you…[Without mind control], success is not possible.
It is a well known fact that one comes, finally, to BELIEVE whatever one repeats to one’s self, whether the statement be true or false. If a person repeats a lie over and over, he will eventually accept the lie as truth. Moreover, he will BELIEVE it to be the truth.
Every person is what he is, because of the DOMINATING THOUGHTS which he permits to occupy his mind. Thoughts which a person deliberately places in his own mind, and encourages with sympathy, and with which he mixes any one or more of the emotions, constitute the motivating forces, which direct and control his every movement, act, and deed!
All thoughts which have been emotionalized (given feeling) and mixed with faith begin immediately to translate themselves into their physical equivalent or counterpart.
Repetition of affirmation of orders to your subconscious mind is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith.
Thoughts which are mixed with any of the feelings of emotions constitute a “magnetic” force which attracts… other similar or related thoughts. …
A thought thus “magnetized” with emotion may be compared to a seed which, when planted in fertile soil, germinates, grows, and multiplies itself over and over again, until that which was originally one small seed, becomes countless millions of seeds of the SAME BRAND!
… The human mind is constantly attracting vibrations which harmonize with that which DOMINATES the human mind. Any thought, idea, plan, or purpose which one holds in one’s mind attracts… a host of its relatives, adds these “relatives” to its own force, and grows until it becomes the dominating, MOTIVATING MASTER of the individual in whose mind it has been housed.
Let us consider the power of FAITH, as it is now being demonstrated, by a man who is well known to all of civilization, Mahatma Gandhi, of India. In this man the world has one of the most astounding examples known to civilization, of the possibilities of FAITH.
Gandhi wields more potential power than any man living at this time, and this, despite the fact that he has none of the orthodox tools of power, such as money, battle ships, soldiers, and materials of warfare. Gandhi has no money, he has no home, he does not own a suit of clothes, but HE DOES HAVE POWER. How does he come by that power?
He created it out of his understanding of the principle of faith, and through his ability to transplant that faith into the minds of two hundred million people.
Gandhi has accomplished, through the influence of FAITH, that which the strongest military power on earth could not, and never will accomplish through soldiers and military equipment. He has accomplished the astounding feat of INFLUENCING two hundred million minds to coalesce and move in unison, as a single mind.
Plain, unemotional words do not influence the subconscious mind. You will get no appreciable results until you learn to reach your subconscious mind with thoughts, or spoken words which have been well emotionalized with BELIEF.
… The subconscious mind takes any orders given it in a spirit of absolute FAITH, and acts upon those orders, although the orders often have to be presented over and over again, through repetition, before they are interpreted by the subconscious mind.
During the world war, a Chicago newspaper published certain editorials in which, among other statements, Henry Ford was called “an ignorant pacifist.” Mr. Ford objected to the statements, and brought suit against the paper for libeling him. When the suit was tried in the Courts, the attorneys for the paper pleaded justification, and placed Mr. Ford, himself, on the witness stand, for the purpose of proving to the jury that he was ignorant. The attorneys asked Mr. Ford a great variety of questions, all of them intended to prove, by his own evidence, that, while he might possess considerable specialized knowledge pertaining to the manufacture of automobiles, he was, in the main, ignorant.
Mr. Ford was plied with such questions as the following:
“Who was Benedict Arnold?” and “How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the Rebellion of 1776?” In answer to the last question, Mr. Ford replied, “I do not know the exact number of soldiers the British sent over, but I have heard that it was a considerably larger number than ever went back.”
Finally, Mr. Ford became tired of this line of questioning, and in reply to a particularly offensive question, he leaned over, pointed his finger at the lawyer who had asked the question, and said, “If I should really WANT to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer ANY question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”
There certainly was good logic to that reply. That answer floored the lawyer. Every person in the courtroom realized it was the answer, not of an ignorant man, but of a man of education. Any man is educated who knows where to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action.
Through the assistance of his “Master Mind” group, Henry Ford had at his command all the specialized knowledge he needed to enable him to become one of the wealthiest men in America. It was not essential that he have this knowledge in his own mind. …
Before you can be sure of your ability to transmute DESIRE into its monetary equivalent, you will require SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE of the service, merchandise, or profession which you intend to offer in return for fortune. Perhaps you may need much more specialized knowledge than you have the ability or the inclination to acquire, and if this should be true, you may bridge your weakness through the aid of your “Master Mind” group. …
The accumulation of great fortunes calls for POWER, and power is acquired through highly organized and intelligently directed specialized knowledge, but that knowledge does not, necessarily, have to be in the possession of the man who accumulates the fortune.
Some people are successful as long as someone else stands back of them and encourages them, and some are successful in spite of Hell! Take your choice.
To love praise, but not worship it, and fear condemnation, but not go down under it, is evidence of a well balanced personality.
You have not only the power to think but, what is a thousand times more important still, you have the power to control your thoughts and direct them to do your bidding!
Thought is the only thing over which you have absolute control, yet, unless you are the proverbial exception, which is about one out of every ten thousand, you permit other people to enter the sacred mansion of your mind and there deposit, through suggestion, their troubles and woes, adversities and falsehoods, just as though you did not have the power to close the door and keep them out.
You have within your control the power to select the material that constitutes the dominating thoughts of your mind, and just as surely as you are reading these lines, those thoughts which dominate your mind will bring you success or failure, according to their nature. …
When you deliberately choose the thoughts that dominate your mind and firmly refuse admittance tooutside suggestion, you are exercising self-control in its highest and most efficient form.
No person has a chance to enjoy permanent success until he begins to look in a mirror for the real cause of his mistakes.
Not all people are so constituted that they wish to know the truth about all matters vitally affecting life.
One of the great surprises the author of this course has met with, in connection with his research activities, is that so few people are willing to hear the truth when it shows up their own weaknesses.
…[One day], a woman came to my office for personal analysis. She was then a teacher in the Chicago public schools. I gave her an analysis chart and asked her to fill it out. She had been at work on the chart but a few minutes when she came back to my desk, handed back the chart and said, “I do not believe I will fill this out.”
I asked her why she had decided not to fill out the chart and she replied:
“To be perfectly frank with you, one of the questions in this chart put me to thinking and I now know what is wrong with me, therefore 1 feel it unnecessary to pay you a fee to analyze me.”
With that the woman went away and I did not hear from her for two years. She went to New York City, became a writer of advertising copy for one of the largest agencies in the country, and her income at the time she wrote me was $10,000.00 a year.
Time is a master worker… There is nothing “impossible” with time!
You can do it if you believe you can!
In the practice of law I have observed a very clever trick that trial lawyers use when they wish to get a statement of facts from a belligerent witness who answers questions with the proverbial “I do not remember” or “I do not know.” When everything else fails, they manage to make such a witness angry; and in this state of mind they cause him to lose his self control and make statements that he would not have made had he kept a “cool” head.
Once I was traveling from Albany to New York City. On the way down, the “Smoking Car Club” started a conversation about the late Richard Croker, who was then chief of Tammany Hall. The discussion became loud and bitter. Everyone became angry except one old gentleman who was agitating the argument and taking a lively interest in it. He remained calm and seemed to enjoy all the mean things the others said about the “Tiger” of Tammany Hall.
Of course, I supposed that he was an enemy of the Tammany Chief, but he wasn't! He was Richard Croker, himself! This was one of his clever tricks through which he found out what people thought of him and what his enemies’ plans were. Whatever else Richard Croker might have been, he was a man of self-control. Perhaps that is one reason why he remained undisputed boss of Tammany Hall as long as he did. People who control themselves usually boss the job, no matter what it may be.
Please read, again, the last sentence of the preceding paragraph, for it carries a subtle suggestion that might be of profit to you. This is a commonplace incident, but it is in just such incidents that the great truths of life are hidden-hidden because the settings are ordinary and commonplace.
Ask the next ten people whom you meet why they have not accomplished more in their respective lines of endeavor, and at least nine of them will tell you that opportunity does not seem to come around their way.
Go a step further and analyze each of these nine accurately by observing their actions for one single day, and the chances are that you will find that every one of them is turning away the finest sort of opportunities every hour of the day.
Somewhere between the miser who hoards every penny he gets his hands on, in an old sock, and the person who spends every cent he can earn or borrow, there is a “happy medium,” and if you enjoy life with reasonable assurance of average freedom and contentment, you must find this half-way point and adopt it as a part of your self-control program.
To be practical, the imaginative mind should be always on the alert for ways and means of diverting waste motion and power into useful channels.
Concentration, itself, is nothing but a matter of control of the attention! …
Learn to fix your attention on a given subject, at will, for whatever length of time you choose, and you will have learned the secret passage-way to power and plenty!
This is concentration!
… [Concentration] means the ability to throw off the effects of habits which you wish to discard, and the power to build new habits that are more to your liking. It means complete self-mastery.
Stating it another way, concentration is the ability to think as you wish to think; the ability to control your thoughts and direct them to a definite end; and the ability to organize your knowledge in a plan of action that is sound and workable.
Andrew Carnegie easily dominated the steel business during his active connection with that industry, for the reason that he took advantage of the principle of organized, cooperative effort by surrounding himself with highly specialized financial men, buyers of raw materials, transportation experts, and others whose services were essential to that industry. He organized this group of “co-operators” into what he called a “Master Mind.”
The art of successful negotiation grows out of patient and painstaking self-control. Notice how easily the successful salesman exercises self-control when he is handling a customer who is impatient. In his heart such a salesman may be boiling over, but you will see no evidence of it in his face or manner or words.
He has acquired the art of tactful negotiation. A single frown of disapproval or a single word denoting impatience will often spoil a sale, and no one knows this better than the successful salesman. He makes it his business to control his feelings, and as a reward he sets his own salary mark and chooses his own position.
Accurate thought involves two fundamentals which all who indulge in it must observe. First, to think accurately you must separate facts from mere information. There is much “information” available to you that is not based upon facts. Second, you must separate facts into two classes; namely, the important and the unimportant, or, relevant and the irrelevant.
Only by doing so can you think clearly.
There is no substitute for accurate knowledge!
[Search your acquaintances and you will probably find a person who] usually begins his conversation with some such term as this—“I see by the papers,” or “they say.”
The accurate thinker knows that the newspapers are not always accurate in their reports, and he also knows that what “they say” usually carries more falsehood than truth. If you have not risen above the “I see by the papers,” and the “they say” class, you have still far to go before you become an accurate thinker.
Of course, much truth and many facts travel in the guise of idle gossip and newspaper reports; but the accurate thinker will not accept as such all that he sees and hears.
[John D. Rockefeller] has one quality that stands out, like a shining star, above all of his other qualities; it is his habit of dealing only with the relevant facts pertaining to his life-work. As a very young man (and a very poor young man, at that) Mr. Rockefeller adopted, as his definite chief aim, the accumulation of great wealth. It is not my purpose, nor is it of any particular advantage, to enter into Mr. Rockefeller’s method of accumulating his fortune other than to observe that his most pronounced quality was that of insisting on facts as the basis of his business philosophy. ... He not only recognized facts that affected his business, wherever and whenever he found them, but he made it his business to search for them until he was sure he had found them.
It is generally conceded that James J. Hill was the most efficient railroad builder that America ever produced; but it is equally well known that he was not a civil engineer, nor a bridge builder, nor a locomotive engineer, nor a mechanical engineer, nor a chemist, although these highly specialized classes of talent are essential in railroad building.
Mr. Hill understood the principles of organized effort and cooperation; therefore, he surrounded himself with people who possessed all this necessary ability that he lacked.
In searching for facts it is often necessary to gather them through the sole source of knowledge and experience of others. It then becomes necessary to examine carefully both the evidence submitted and the person from whom the evidence comes; and when the evidence is of such nature that it affects the interest of the witness who is giving it, there will be reason to scrutinize it all the more carefully, as witnesses who have an interest in the evidence that they are submitting often yield to the temptation to color and pervert it to protect that interest.
We have found that any idea or thought that is held in the mind, through repetition, has a tendency to direct the physical body to transform such thought or idea into its material equivalent.
We have found that any order that is properly given to the subconscious section of the mind…will be carried out unless it is sidetracked or countermanded by another and stronger order.
The mind feeds upon that which we supply it, or that which is forced upon it, through our environment; therefore, let us select our environment, as far as possible, with the object of supplying the mind with suitable materials out of which to carry on its work of attaining out definite chief aim in life.
We do not have to wait for future discoveries in connection with the powers of the human mind for evidence that the mind is the greatest force known to mankind.
We know, now, that any idea, aim or purpose that is fixed in the mind and held there with a will to achieve or attain its physical or material equivalent, puts into motion powers that cannot be conquered.
One of the unanswerable mysteries of God’s work is the fact that this great discovery is always self-discovery.
The truth for which man is eternally searching is wrapped up in his own being; therefore, it is fruitless to search far afield in the wilderness of life or in the hearts of other people to find it. To do so brings you no nearer that which you are seeking, but takes you further away from it.
Soldiers followed Napoleon to certain death without flinching, because of the impelling or attracting nature of his personality, and that personality was nothing more nor less than the chemistry of his mind.
It is the personalities back of a business that determine the measure of success the business will enjoy. Modify those personalities so they are more pleasing and more attractive to the patrons of the business, and the business will thrive.
In any of the great cities of the United States one may purchase merchandise of similar nature and price in scores of stores, yet you will find there is always one outstanding store which does more business than any of the others, and the reason for this is that back of that store is a person, or people, who has attended to the personalities of those who come in contact with the public. People buy personalities as much as merchandise, and it is a question if they are not influenced more by the personalities with which they come in contact than they are by the merchandise.
Life insurance has been reduced to such a scientific basis that the cost of insurance does not vary to any great extent, regardless of the company from which one purchases it; yet out of the hundreds of life insurance companies doing business, less than a dozen companies do the bulk of the business of the United States. Why? Personalities!
Ninety-nine people out of every hundred who purchase life insurance policies do not know what is in their policies, and, what seems more startling, do not seem to care. What they really purchase is the pleasing personality of some man or woman who knows the value of cultivating such a personality.
An interesting experiment was conducted by this author, in collaboration with the students of a well known college. Each student was requested to write an essay on “How and Why Henry Ford Became Wealthy.”
Each student was required to describe, as a part of his or her essay, what was believed to be the nature of Ford’s real assets, of what these assets consisted in detail. The majority of the students gathered financial statements and inventories of the Ford assets and used these as the basis of their estimates of Ford’s wealth.
Included in these “sources of Ford’s wealth” were such as cash in banks, raw and finished materials in stock, real estate and buildings, and goodwill, estimated at from ten to twenty-five per cent of the value of the material assets. One student out of the entire group of several hundred answered as follows:
“Henry Ford’s assets consist, in the main, of two items, viz.:`
(1) Working capital and raw and finished materials;
(2) The knowledge, gained from experience, of Henry Ford, himself, and the co-operation of a well trained organization which understands how to apply this knowledge to best advantage from the Ford viewpoint.
It is impossible to estimate, with anything approximating correctness, the actual dollars and cents value of either of these two groups of assets, but it is my opinion that their relative values are:
The organized knowledge of the Ford Organization 75%
The value of cash and physical assets of every nature, including raw arid finished materials 25%”
[Back to Napoleon Hill’s commentary]
Unquestionably the biggest asset that Henry Ford has is his own brain. Next to this would come the brains of his immediate circle of associates, for it has been through coordination of these that the physical assets that he controls were accumulated.
Destroy every plant the Ford Motor Company owns: every piece of machinery; every atom of raw or finished material, every finished automobile, and every dollar on deposit in any bank, and Ford would still be the most powerful person, economically, on earth. The brains that have built the Ford business could duplicate it again in short order. Capital is always available, in unlimited quantities, to such brains as Ford’s.
Ford is the most powerful person on earth (economically) because he had the keenest and most practical conception of the principle of ORGANIZED KNOWLEDGE of any person on earth, as far as this author has the means of knowing.
The successful lawyer is not necessarily the one who memorizes the greatest number of principles of law. On the contrary, the successful lawyer is the one who knows where to find a principle of law, plus a variety of opinions supporting that principle which fit the immediate needs of a given case. In other words, the successful lawyer is he who knows where to find the law he wants when he needs it.
This principle applies, with equal force, to the affairs of industry and business.
Henry Ford had but little elementary schooling, yet he is one of the best “educated” people in the world because he has acquired the ability so to combine natural and economic laws, to say nothing of the minds of people, that he has the power to get anything of a material nature he wants.
Success in life, no matter what one mat call success, is very largely a matter of adaptation to environment in such a manner that there is harmony between the individual and his environment.
The successful leader must possess the ability to change the color of his mind, chameleon-like, to fit every circumstance that arises in connection with the object of his leadership.
Moreover, he must possess the ability to change from one mood to another without showing the slightest signs of anger or lack of self-control.
If you have self-confidence, those around you will discover the fact.
Initiative is as essential to success as a hub is essential to a wagon wheel.
Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.
The president of a well-known college inherited a large tract of very poor land. This land had no timber of commercial value, no minerals or other valuable appurtenances; therefore it was nothing but a source of expense to him, for he had to pay taxes on it. The State built a highway through the land. An “uneducated” man who was driving his automobile over this road observed that this poor land was on top of a mountain that commanded a wonderful view for many miles in all directions.
He (the ignorant one) also observed that the land was covered with a growth of small pines and other saplings. He bought fifty acres of the land for $10.00 an acre. [Editor’s Note: Keep in mind that this passage was written in the late 1920s]. Near the public highway he built a unique log house to which he attached a large dining room. Near the house he put in a gasoline filling station. He built a dozen single room log houses along the road, these he rented out to tourists at $3.00 a night, each.
The dining room, gasoline filling station and log houses brought him a net income of $15,000.00 the first year. The next year he extended his plan by adding fifty more log houses, of three rooms each, which he now rents out as summer country homes to people in a nearby city, at a rental of $150.00 each for the season. The building material cost him nothing, for it grew on his land in abundance (that same land which the college president believed to be worthless).
Moreover, the unique and unusual appearance of the Jog bungalows served as an advertisement of the plan, whereas many would have considered it a real calamity had they been compelled to build out of such crude materials.
Less than five miles from the location of these log houses this same man purchased an old worked-out farm of 150 acres, for $25.00 an acre, a price which the seller believed to be extremely high. By building a dam, one hundred feet in length, the purchaser of this old farm turned a stream of water into a lake that covered fifteen acres of the land, stocked the lake with fish, then sold the farm off in building lots to people who wanted summering places around the lake.
The total profit realized from this simple transaction was more than $25,000.00, and the time required for its consummation was one summer. Yet this man of vision and imagination was not “educated” in the orthodox meaning of that term. Let us keep in mind the fact that it is through these simple illustrations of the use of organized knowledge that one may become educated and powerful.
In speaking of the transaction here related, the college president who sold the fifty acres of worthless land for $500.00 said: “Just think of it! That man, whom most of us might call ignorant, mixed his ignorance with fifty acres of worthless land and made the combination yield more yearly than I earn from five years of application of so-called education.”
Everyone needs a change of mental environment at regular periods, the same as a change and variety of food are essential.
The mind becomes more alert, more elastic and more ready to work with speed and accuracy after it has been bathed in new ideas, outside of one’s own field of daily labor.
The person who receives no pay for his services except that which comes in the pay envelope is underpaid, no mater how much money that envelope may contain.
Nearly twenty years ago I interviewed Mr. [Andrew] Carnegie for the purpose of writing a story about him. During the interview I asked him to what he attributed his success. With a merry little twinkle in his eyes he said:
“Young man, before I answer your question will you please define your term ‘success’?”
After waiting until he saw that I was somewhat embarrassed by his request he continued: “By success you have reference to my money, have you not?” I assured him that money was the term by which most people measured success, and he then said:
“Oh, well—if you wish to know how I got my money—if that is what you call success—Iwill answer your question by saying that we have a master mind here in our business, and that mind is made up of more than a score of people who constitute my personal staff of superintendents and managers and accountants and chemists and other necessary types. No one person in this group is the master mind of which I speak, but the sum total of the minds in the group, coordinated, organized and directed to a definite end in a spirit of harmonious cooperation is the power that got my money for me.
No two minds in the group are exactly alike, but each person in the group does the thing that he is supposed to do and he does it better than any other person in the world could do it.”
Perhaps no person was ever associated with Mr. [Andrew] Carnegie who knew him better than did Mr. C. M. Schwab. In the following words Mr. Schwab has very accurately described that “subtle something” in Mr. Carnegie’s personality which enabled him to rise to such stupendous heights.
“I never knew a man with so much imagination, lively intelligence and instinctive comprehension. You sensed that he probed your thoughts and took stock of everything that you had ever done or might do. He seemed to catch at your next word before it was spoken. The play of his mind was dazzling and his habit of close observation gave him a store of knowledge about innumerable matters.
“But his outstanding quality, from so rich an endowment, was the power of inspiring other people. Confidence radiated from him. You might be doubtful about something and discuss the matter with Mr. Carnegie. In a flash he would make you see that it was right and then absolutely believe it; or he might settle your doubts by pointing out its weakness. This quality of attracting others, then spurring them on, arose from his own strength.
“The results of his leadership were remarkable. Never before in history of industry, I imagine, was there a person who, without understanding his business in its working details, making no pretense of technical knowledge concerning steel or engineering, was yet able to build up such an enterprise.
“Mr. Carnegie’s ability to inspire people rested on, something deeper than any faculty of judgment.”
[Back to Napoleon Hill’s commentary]
It is obvious that his [Carnegie’s] success was due to his understanding of his own mind and the minds of other people, and not to mere knowledge of the steel business itself.
The principle of psychology through which you can impress your definite chief aim upon your subconscious mind is called Auto-suggestion, or suggestion which you repeatedly make to yourself.
It is a degree of self-hypnotism, but do not be afraid of it on that account, for it was this same principle through the aid of which Napoleon lifted himself from the lowly station of poverty-stricken Corsican to the dictatorship of France. It was through the aid of this same principle that Thomas A. Edison has risen from the lowly beginning of a news butcher to where he is accepted as the leading inventor of the world. It was through the aid of this same principle that Lincoln bridged the mighty chasm between his lowly birth, in a log cabin in the mountains of Kentucky, and the presidency of the greatest nation on earth. It was through the aid of this same principle that Theodore Roosevelt became one of the most aggressive leaders that ever reached the presidency of the United States.
You need have no fear of the principle of Auto-suggestion as long as you are sure that the objective for which you are striving is one that will bring you happiness of an enduring nature. Be sure that your definite purpose is constructive; that its attainment will bring hardship and misery to no one; that it will bring you peace and prosperity, then apply, to the limit of your understanding, the principle of self-suggestion for the speedy attainment of this purpose.
On the street comer, just opposite the room in which I am writing, I see a man who stands there all day long and sells peanuts. He is busy every minute. When not actually engaged in making a sale he is roasting and packing the peanuts in little bags.
He is one of that great army constituting the ninety-five per cent who have no definite purpose in life. He is selling peanuts, not because he likes that work better than anything else he might do, but because he never sat down and thought out a definite purpose that would bring him greater returns for his labor. He is selling peanuts because he is a drifter on the sea of life, and one of the tragedies of his work is the fact that the same amount of effort that he puts into it, if directed along other lines, would bring him much greater returns.
In your struggle for success you should keep constantly in mind the necessity of knowing what it is that you want-of knowing precisely what is your definite purpose—and the value of the principle of organized effort in the attainment of that which constitutes your definite purpose.
In answering the question, “What Is Your Definite Purpose In Life,” that appears in the questionnaire which I have used for the analysis of more than 16,000 people, many answered about as follows: “My definite purpose in life is to be of as much service to the world as possible and earn a good living.”
That answer is about as definite as a frog’s conception of the size of the universe is accurate.
Remember that your real wealth can be measured, not by what you have, but by what you are.
Whatever you want you may get if you want it with sufficient intensity, and keep on wanting it, providing ACTUALLY BELIEVE YOU WILL GET IT! There is a difference, however, between merely “wishing” for something and ACTUALLY BELIEVING you will get it.
Those who BELIEVE they can achieve the object of their definite chief aim…[do not] acknowledge temporary defeat. They KNOW they are going to succeed, and if one plan fails they quickly replace it with another plan.
Remember that your only limitation is the one that you set up in your own mind.
People, generally, do not complain of high prices, providing that the “service” or embellishment of the merchandise is such as to pave the way for high prices. What people do complain of, and rightly so, is high prices and “sloppy” service.
One of the greatest salesmen this country has ever seen was once a clerk in a newspaper office. It will be worth your while to analyze the method through which he gained his title as “the world’s leading salesman.”
He was a timid young man with a more or less retiring sort of nature. He was one of those who believe itbest to slip in by the back door and take a seat at the rear of the stage of life. One evening he heard a lecture on…self-confidence, and that lecture so impressed him that he left the lecture hall with a firm determination to pull himself out of the rut into which he had drifted.
He went to the Business Manager of the paper and asked for a position as solicitor of advertising and was put to work on a commission basis. Everyone in the office expected to see him fail, as this sort of salesmanship calls for the most positive type of sales ability. He went to his room and made out a list of a certain type of merchants on whom he intended to call. One would think that he would naturally have made up his list of the names of those whom he believed he could sell with the least effort, but he did nothing of the sort.
He placed on his list only the names of the merchants on whom other advertising solicitors had called without making a sale. His list consisted of only twelve names. Before he made a single call he went out to the city park, took out his list of twelve names, read it over a hundred times, saying to himself as he did so, “You will purchase advertising space from me before the end of the month.”
Then he began to make his calls. The first day he closed sales with three of the twelve “impossibilities.” During the remainder of the week he made sales to two others. By the end of the month he had opened advertising accounts with all but one of the merchants that he had on the list. For the ensuing month he made no sales, for the reason that he made no calls except on this one obstinate merchant.
Every morning when the store opened he was on hand to interview this merchant and every morning the merchant said “No.” The merchant knew he was not going to buy advertising space, but this young man didn’t know it. When the merchant said No the young man did not hear it, but kept right on coming.
On the last day of the month, after having told this persistent young man No for thirty consecutive times, the merchant said:
“Look here, young man, you have wasted a whole month trying to sell me; now, what I would like to know is this-why have you wasted your time?”
“Wasted my time nothing,” he retorted; “I have been going to school and you have been my teacher. Now I know all the arguments that a merchant can bring up for not buying, and besides that I have been drilling myself in self-confidence.”
Then the merchant said: “I will make a little confession of my own. I, too, have been going to school, and you have been my teacher. You have taught me a lesson in persistence that is worth money to me, and to show you my appreciation I am going to pay my tuition fee by giving you an order for advertising space.”
And that was the way in which the Philadelphia North American’s best advertising account was brought in. Likewise, it marked the beginning of a reputation that has made that same young man a millionaire.
He succeeded because he deliberately charged his own mind with sufficient Self-confidence to make that mind an irresistible force. When he sat down to make up that list of twelve names he did something that ninety-nine people out of a hundred would not have done—he selected the names of those whom he believed it would be hard to sell, because he understood that out of the resistance he would meet with in trying to sell them would come strength and self-confidence.
In the field of salesmanship it is a well known fact that no salesman is successful in selling others until he has first made a good job of selling himself. Stated conversely, no salesman can do his best to sell others without sooner or later selling himself that which he is trying to sell to others.
Any statement that a person repeats over and over again for the purpose of inducing others to believe it, he, also, will come to believe, and this holds good whether the statement is false or true.
Unfortunate, indeed, is the person who becomes so used to evil that it no longer appears to be horrible.
Cooperation is said to be the most important word in the English language. It plays an important part in the affairs of the home, in the relationship of man and wife, parents and children. It plays an important part in the affairs of state. So important is this principle of cooperation that no leader can become powerful or last long who does not understand and apply it in his leadership.
Lack of cooperation has destroyed more business enterprises than have all other causes combined. In my twenty-five years of active business experience and observation, I have witnessed the destruction of all manner of business enterprises because of dissension and lack of application of this principle of cooperation.
In the practice of law I have observed the destruction of homes and divorce cases without end as a result of the lack of cooperation between man and wife. In the study of the histories of nations it becomes alarmingly obvious that lack of cooperative effort has been a curse to the human race all back down the ages. Turn back the pages of these histories and study them and you will learn a lesson in cooperation that will impress itself indelibly upon your mind
An officer can be a power for good or a power for evil. Don’t preach to them—that will be worse than useless. Live the kind of life you would have them lead, and you will be surprised to see the number that will imitate you.
A loud-mouthed, profane captain who is careless of his personal appearance will have a loud-mouthed, profane, dirty company. Remember what I tell you. Your company will be the reflection of yourself! If you have a rotten company it will be because you are a rotten captain.
When you do not know what to do or which way to turn, smile. This will relax your mind and let the sunshine of happiness into your soul.
One of the most valuable things any person can learn is the art of using the knowledge and experience of others.
In the city of Chicago the level of a certain boulevard was raised, which spoiled a row of beautiful residences because the sidewalk was raised to the level of the second story windows. While the property owners were bemoaning their ill-fortune, a man of imagination came along, purchased the property for a “song,” converted the second stories into business property, and now enjoys a handsome income from his rentals.
A few years ago I was invited to speak before the inmates of the Ohio penitentiary. When I stepped upon the platform I saw in the audience before me a man whom I had known as a successful businessman, more than ten years previously. That man was [Mr.] B, whose pardon I later secured, and the story of whose release has been spread upon the front page of practically every newspaper in the United States. Perhaps you will recall it.
After I had completed my address I interviewed Mr. B and found out that he had been sentenced for forgery, for a period of twenty years. After he had told me his story I said:
“I will have you out of here in less than sixty days!”
With a forced smile he replied: “I admire your spirit but question your judgment. Why, do you know that at least twenty influential men have tried every means at their command to get me released, without success? It can't be done!”
I suppose it was that last remark—It can't be done—that challenged me to show him that it could be done. I returned to New York City and requested my wife to pack her trunks and get ready for an indefinite stay in the city of Columbus, where the Ohio penitentiary is located.
I had a definite purpose in mind! That purpose was to get B out of the Ohio penitentiary. Not only did I have in mind securing his release, but I intended to do it in such a way that his release would erase from his breast the scarlet letter of “convict,” and at the same time reflect credit upon all who helped to bring about his release.
Not once did I doubt that I would bring about his release, for no salesman can make a sale if he doubts that he can do it. My wife and I returned to Columbus and took up permanent headquarters. The next day I called on the governor of Ohio and stated the object of my visit in about these words:
“Governor, I have come to ask you to release B from the Ohio penitentiary. I have sound reason for asking his release and I hope you will give him his freedom at once, but I have come prepared to stay until he is released, no matter how long that may be.
“During his imprisonment, B has inaugurated a system of correspondence instruction in the Ohio penitentiary, as you of course know. He has influenced 1729 of the 2518 prisoners of the Ohio penitentiary to take up courses of instruction. He has managed to beg sufficient textbooks and lesson materials with which to keep these men at work on their lessons, and has done this without a penny of expense to the state of Ohio.
“The warden and the chaplain of the penitentiary tell me that he has carefully observed the prison rules. Surely a man who can influence 1729 men to turn their efforts toward self-betterment cannot be a very bad sort of fellow.
“I have come to ask you to release B because I wish to place him at the head of a prison school that will give the 160,000 inmates of the other penitentiaries of the United States a chance to profit by his influence. I am prepared to assume full responsibility for his conduct after his release.
“That is my case, but, before you give me your answer, I want you to know that I am not unmindful of the fact that your enemies will probably criticize you if you release him; in fact if you release him it may cost you many votes if you run for office again”
With his fist clinched and his broad jaw set firmly, Governor Vic Donahey of Ohio said:
“If that is what you want with B, I will release him if it costs me five thousand votes. However, before I sign the pardon I want you to see the Clemency Board and secure its favorable recommendation. I want you also to secure the favorable recommendation of the warden and the chaplain of the Ohio penitentiary. You know a governor is amenable to the Court of Public Opinion, and these gentlemen are the representatives of that Court.”
The sale had been made and the whole transaction had required less than five minutes!
The next day I returned to the governor’s office, accompanied by the chaplain of the Ohio penitentiary, and notified the governor that the Clemency Board, the Warden and the Chaplain all joined in recommending the release. Three days later the pardon was signed and B walked through the big iron gates, a free man.
I have cited the details to show you that there was nothing difficult about the transaction. The groundwork for the release had all been prepared before I came upon the scene. B had done that by his good conduct and the service he had rendered those 1729 prisoners. When he created the world’s first prison correspondence school system, he created the key that unlocked the prison doors for himself.
Why, then, had the others who asked for his release failed to secure it?
They failed because they used no imagination!
Perhaps they asked the governor for B’s release on the ground that his parents were prominent people, or on the ground that he was a college graduate and not a bad sort of fellow. They failed to supply the governor of Ohio with a sufficient motive to justify him in granting a pardon, for had this not been so he would undoubtedly have released B long before I came upon the scene and asked for his release.
Before I went to see the governor I went over all the facts and in my own imagination. I saw myself in the governor's place and made up my mind what sort of a presentation would appeal most strongly to me if I were in reality in his place.
When I asked for B’s release, I did so in the name of the 160,000 unfortunate men and women inmates of the prisons of the United States who would enjoy the benefits of the correspondence school system that he had created. I said nothing about his prominent parents. I said nothing about my friendship with him during former years. I said nothing about his being a deserving fellow.
All these matters might have been used as sound reasons for his release, but they seemed insignificant when compared with the bigger and sounder reason that his release would be of help to 160,000 other people who would feel the influence of his correspondence school system after his release.
When the governor of Ohio came to a decision I doubt not that B was of secondary importance as far as his decision was concerned. The governor no doubt saw a possible benefit, not to B alone, but to 160,000 other men and women who needed the influence that B could supply, if released.
And that was imagination!
It was also salesmanship! In speaking of the incident after it was over, one of the men who had worked diligently for more than a year in trying to secure B’s freedom, asked:
“How did you do it?”
And I replied: “It was the easiest task I ever performed, because most of the work had been done before I took hold of it. In fact I didn’t do it—B did it himself.”
This man looked at me in bewilderment. He did not see that which I am here trying to make clear; namely, that practically all difficult tasks are easily performed if one approaches them from the right angle.
There were two important factors entering B’s release. The first was the fact that he had supplied the material for a good case before I took it in charge; and the second was the fact that before I called on the governor of Ohio I so completely convinced myself that I had a right to ask for B’s release that I had no difficulty in presenting my case effectively.
…I did nothing except use my imagination as an assembly room in which to piece together the factors out of which the sale was made. I did nothing except that which any salesman of imagination could have done.
People will grant favors that you request for the benefit of a third person when they would not grant them if requested for your benefit.
Compare this statement with the fact that I asked the governor of Ohio to release B, not as a favor to me, and not as a favor to B, but for the benefit of 160,000 unfortunate inmates of the prisons of America.
Salesmen of imagination always offer their wares in such terminology that the advantages of those wares to the prospective purchaser are obvious. It is seldom that any person makes a purchase of merchandise or renders another a favor just to accommodate the salesman.
It is a prominent trait of human nature that prompts us all to do that which advances our own interests. This is a cold, indisputable fact, claims of the idealist to the contrary notwithstanding.
To be perfectly plain, people are selfish!
To understand the truth is to understand how to present your case, whether you are asking for the release of a man from prison or offering for sale some commodity. Inyour own imagination so plan your presentation of your case that the strongest and most impelling advantages to the buyer are made plain.
This is imagination!
A farmer moved to the city, taking with him his well-trained shepherd dog. He soon found that the dog was out of place in the city, so he decided to “get rid of him.” (Note the words in quotation.)
Taking the dog with him, he went out into the country and rapped on the door of a farmhouse. A man came hobbling to the door, on crutches. The man with the dog greeted the man in the house in these words:
“You wouldn’t care to buy a fine shepherd dog, that I wish to get rid of, would you?”
The man on crutches replied, “No/” and closed the door.
The man with the dog called at half a dozen other farmhouses, asking the same question, and received the same answer. He made up his mind that no one wanted the dog, and returned to the city. That evening, he was telling of his misfortune to a man of imagination. The man heard how the owner of the dog had tried in vain to “get rid of him.”
“Let me dispose of the dog for you,” said the man of imagination. The owner was willing. The next morning the man of imagination took the dog out into the country and stopped at the first farmhouse at which the owner of the dog had called the day before.
The same old man hobbled out on crutches and answered the knock at the door.
The man of imagination greeted him in this fashion:
“I see you are all crippled with rheumatism. What you need is a fine dog to run errands for you. I have dog here that has been trained to bring home the crows, drive away wild animals, herd the sheep and perform other useful services. You may have this dog for a hundred dollars.”
“All right,” said the crippled man, “I’ll take him!”
That, too, was imagination!
No one wants a dog that someone else wants to “get rid of,” but most anyone would like to own a dog that would herd sheep and bring home the cows and perform other useful services.
The dog was the same one that the crippled buyer had refused the day before, but the man who sold the dog was not the man who had tried to “get rid of him.” If you use your imagination you will know that no one wants anything that someone else is trying to “get rid of.”
Neglecting to broaden their view has kept some people doing one thing all their lives.
A man who had lost a horse posted a reward of five dollars for its return. Several days later a boy who was supposed to have been “weak-minded” came leading the horse home and claimed the reward. The owner was curious to know how the boy found the horse.
“How did you ever think where to look for the horse?” he asked, and the boy replied, “Well, I just thought where I would have gone if I had been a horse and went there, and he had.”
Not so bad for a “weak-minded” fellow. Some who are not accused of being weak-minded go all the way through life without displaying as much evidence of imagination as did this boy.
If you want to know what the other fellow will do, use your imagination, put yourself in his place and find out what you would have done. That’s imagination.
Imagination may be used effectively in the sale of even the smallest articles of merchandise, such as ties, shirts, hosiery, etc. Let us proceed to examine just how this may be done.
I walked into one of the best-known haberdasheries [men’s clothing stores] in the city of Philadelphia, for the purpose of purchasing some shirts and ties. As I approached the tie counter a young man stepped forward and inquired:
“Is there something you want?”
Now if I had been the man behind the counter I would not have asked that question. He ought to have known, by the fact that I had approached the tie counter, that I wanted to look at ties.
I picked up two or three ties from the counter, examined them briefly, then laid down all but one light blue which somewhat appealed to me. Finally I laid his one down, also, and began to look through the remainder of the assortment.
The young man behind the counter then had a happy idea. Picking up a gaudy-looking yellow tie he wound it around his fingers to show how it would look when tied, and asked:
“Isn’t this a beauty?”
Now I hate yellow ties, and the salesman made no particular hit with me by suggesting that a gaudy yellow tie is pretty. If I had been in that salesman’s place I would have picked up the blue tie for which I had shown a decided preference, and I would have wound it around my fingers so as to bring out its appearance after being tied. I would have known what my customer wanted by watching the kinds of ties that he picked up and examined.
Moreover, I would have known the particular tie that he liked best by the time he held it in his hands. A person will not stand by a counter and fondle a piece of merchandise which he does not like. If given the opportunity, any customer will give the alert salesman a clue as to the particular merchandise that should be stressed in an effort to make a sale.
I then moved over to the shirt counter. Here I was met by an elderly gentleman who asked:
“Is there something I can do for you today?”
Well, I thought to myself that if he ever did anything for me it would have to be today, as I might never come back to that particular store again. I told him I wanted to look at shirts, and described the style and color of shirt that I wanted.
The old gentleman made quite a bit with me when he replied by saying:
“I am sorry, sir, but they are not wearing that style this season, so we are not showing it.”
I said I knew “they” were not wearing the style for which I had asked, and for that very reason, among others, I was going to wear it providing I could find it in stock. If there is anything that nettles a person, especially that type of person who knows exactly what he wants and describes it the moment he walks into the store, it is to be told that “they are not wearing it this season.”
Such a statement is an insult to a person’s intelligence, or to what he thinks is his intelligence, and in most cases it is fatal to a sale. If I were selling goods, I might think what I pleased about a customer’s taste, but I surely would not be so lacking in tact and diplomacy as to tell the customer that I thought he didn’t know his business. Rather, I would prefer to manage tactfully to show him what I believed to be more appropriate merchandise than that for which he had called, if what he wanted was not in stock. …
The old gentleman finally pulled down some shirt boxes and began laying out shirts that were not even similar to the shirt for which I had asked. I told him that none of these suited, and as I started to walk out he asked if I would like to look at some nice suspenders.
Imagine it! To begin with I do not wear suspenders, and, furthermore, there was nothing about my manner or bearing to indicate that I might like to look at suspenders.
It is proper for a salesman to try to interest a customer in wares for which he makes no inquiry, but judgment should be used and care taken to offer something which the salesman has reason to believe the customer may want.
I walked out of the store without having bought either shirts or ties, and feeling somewhat resentful because I had been so grossly misjudged as to my tastes for colors and styles.
A little further down the street I went into a small, one-man shop which had shirts and ties on display in the window. Here I was handled differently!
The man behind the counter asked no unnecessary or stereotyped questions. He took one glance at me as I entered the door, sized me up quite accurately, and greeted me with a very pleasant “Good morning, sir!”
He then inquired, “Which shall I show you first, shirts or ties?”
I said I would look at the shirts first. He then glanced at the style of shirt I was wearing, asked my size, and began laying out shirts of the very type and color for which I was searching, without my saying another word. He laid out six different styles and watched to see which I would pick up first. I looked at each shirt, in turn, and laid them all back on the counter, but the salesman observed that I examined one of the shirts a little more closely than the others, and that I held it a little longer
No sooner had I laid this shirt down than the salesman picked it up and began to explain how it was made. He then went to the tie counter and came back with three very beautiful blue ties, of the very type for which I had been looking, tied each and held it in front of the shirt, calling attention to the perfect harmony between the colors of the ties and the shirt.
Before I had been in the store five minutes I had purchased three shirts and three ties, and was on my way with the package under my arm, feeling that here was a store to which I would return when I needed more shirts and ties.
I learned, afterwards, that the merchant who owns the little shop where I made these purchases pays a monthly rental of $500.00 for the small store, and makes a handsome income from the sale of nothing but shirts, ties and collars. [Editor’s note: $500 a month rent was a lot of money back then.]
He would have to go out of business, with a fixed charge of $500.00 a month for rent, if it were not for his knowledge of human nature that enables him to make a very high percentage of sales to all who come into his store.
Salesmanship consists very largely in KNOWING and in SHOWING the prospective buyer the real merits of the goods or services you are trying to sell.
It is no overstatement of fact to say that a master of sales psychology could go into the average merchant’s store, where the stock of goods was worth, let us say, $50,000.00, and at very slight additional expense make the stock bring $60,000.00 to $75,000.00.
He would do nothing except coach the salespeople on the proper showing of the merchandise, after having purchased a small amount of more suitable fixtures, perhaps, and repacked the merchandise in more suitable coverings and boxes.
If a salesman of Ford automobiles drives up to his prospective purchaser in a Buick or some other make of car, all the arguments he can present on behalf of the Ford will be without effect. Once I went into one of the offices of the Dictaphone Company to look at a Dictaphone (dictating machine). The salesman in charge presented a logical argument as to the machine’s merits, while the stenographer at his side wastranscribing letters from a shorthand notebook.
His arguments in favor of a dictating machine, as compared with the old method of dictating to a stenographer, did not impress me, because his actions were not in harmony with his words.
[Everyone should] find his or her particular niche in the world’s work, where both material prosperity and happiness in abundance may be found. ... There is some one thing that you can do better than anyone else in the world could do it. Search until you find out what this particular line of endeavor is, make it the object of your definite chief aim and then organize all of your forces and attack it with the belief that you are going to win. In your search for the work for which you are best fitted, it will be well if you bear in mind the fact that you will most likely attain the greatest success by finding out what work you like best, for it is a well known fact that a person generally best succeeds in the particular line of endeavor into which he can throw his whole heart and soul. ... There are no lazy people. What may appear to be a lazy person is only an unfortunate person who has not found the work for which he is best suited.
Cooperation is the beginning of all organized effort… Andrew Carnegie accumulated a gigantic fortune through the cooperative efforts of a small group of people numbering not more than a score.
You will resemble, tomorrow, the DOMINATING THOUGHTS that you keep alive in your mind today!
Success in life is largely predicated upon our knowing people! The best place to study the man-animal is in your own mind, by taking as accurate an inventory as possible of YOURSELF. When you know yourself thoroughly (if you ever do) you will also know much about others.
To know others, not as they seem to be, but as they really are, study them through:
1: The posture of the body, and the way they walk.
2: The tone of the voice, its quality, pitch, volume.
3: The eyes, whether shifty or direct.
4: The use of words, their trend, nature and quality.
Through these open windows you may literally “walk right into a person’s soul” and take a look at the REAL PERSON!
Going a step further, if you would know people, study them:
When in love
When money is involved
When eating (alone, and unobserved, as they believe)
When in trouble
When joyful and triumphant
When downcast and defeated
When facing catastrophe of a hazardous nature
When trying to make a “good impression” on others
When informed of another’s misfortune
When informed of another’s good fortune
When losing in any sort of a game of sport
When winning at sport
When alone, in a meditative mood
Before you can know any person, as he really is, you must observe him in all the foregoing moods, and perhaps more, which is practically the equivalent of saying that you have no right to judge others at sight.
Appearances count, there can be no doubt of that, but appearances are often deceiving.
...If you aspire to leadership, I would urge you to study people.
Get under their skins and find out what is inside. Some people are quite different from what they appear to be on the surface. Determine the workings of their mind.
Much of General Robert E. Lee’s success as a leader may be ascribed to his ability as a psychologist. He knew most of his opponents from West Point days; knew the working of their minds; and he believed that they would do certain things under certain circumstances. In nearly every case he was able anticipate their movements and block the execution.
You cannot treat all people alike! …Study your people as carefully as a surgeon studies a difficult case. And when you are sure of your diagnosis apply the remedy. And remember that you apply the remedy to affect a cure, not merely to see the victim squirm. It may be necessary to cut deep, but when you are satisfied as to your diagnosis don’t be diverted from your purpose by any false sympathy for the patient.
Hand in hand with fairness in awarding punishment walks fairness in giving credit. Everybody hates a human hog. When one of your people has accomplished an especially creditable piece of work see that he gets the proper reward. Turn heaven and earth upside down to get it for him. Don’t try to take it away from him and hog it for yourself. You may do this and get away with it, but you have lost the respect and loyalty of your people. Sooner or later your brother officers will hear of it and shun you like a leper.
In war there is glory enough for all. Give the person under you his due. The person who always takes and never gives is not a leader. He is a parasite.
At the east end of the great Brooklyn Bridge, in New York City, an old man conducts a cobbler shop. When the engineers began driving stakes and marking the foundation place for that great steel structure, this man shook his head and said “It can’t be done!”
Now he looks out from his dingy little shoe-repair shop, shakes his head and asks himself: “How did they do it?”
He saw the bridge grow before his very eyes, and he still lacks the imagination to analyze that which he saw. The engineer who planned the bridge saw it a reality long before a single shovel of dirt had been removed for the foundation stones. The bridge became a reality in his imagination because he had trained that imagination to weave new combinations out of old ideas.
Every person should be somewhat of a dreamer. Every business needs the dreamer. Every industry and every profession needs him. But, the dreamer must be, also, a doer; or else he must form an alliance with someone who can and does translate his dreams into reality.
The battle for achievement of success is half won when one knows definitely what is wanted. …
The man who actually knows just what he wants in life has already gone a long way toward attaining it.
There is one way in which you can so express the composite of your personality that it will always attract… and this is by— Taking a keen heart-interest in the other fellow’s “game” in life.
Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924) wrote dozens of books on success, and also founded and ran Success Magazine.
Born and raised in the countryside, he later attended colleges such as Boston University and Harvard. While attending college, he amassed a great deal of money working in hotel management and catering, and later in real estate investment and development.
In the 1890s, he turned to writing books based on success, motivation, and optimism. Releasing books at a rate of about two per year, dozens of various titles of his were published throughout his life. He also founded and ran Success Magazine from 1897 to 1912. Many of his books became top-sellers, and his magazine was also a leading publication for many years.
The selections here are from Be Good to Yourself and Every Man a King.
Some one has said that the man who depreciates himself blasphemes God, who created him in His own image and pronounced him perfect. Very few people think well enough of themselves, have half enough esteem for their divine origin or respect for their ability, their character, or the sublimity of their possibilities; hence the weakness and ineffectiveness of their careers.
If we would make the most of our lives, if we would be and do all that it is possible for us to be and to do, we must not only think well of ourselves, but we must also be just to ourselves physically, be good to our bodies. In order to be the highest, the most efficient type of man or woman, it is just as necessary to cultivate the body, to develop its greatest possible strength and beauty, as it is to cultivate the mind, to raise it to its highest power.
There are plenty of people who are good to others, but are not good to themselves. They do not take care of their own health, their own bodies, do not conserve their own energies, husband their own resources. They are slaves to others, tyrants to themselves.
Faithfulness to others is a most desirable trait, yet faithfulness to yourself is just as much of a requisite. It is as great a sin not to be good to yourself as not to be good to others. It is every one’s sacred duty to keep himself up to the highest possible standard, physically and mentally, other wise he cannot deliver his divine message, in its entirety, to the world. It is every one’s sacred duty to keep himself in a condition to do the biggest thing possible to him. It is a positive sin to keep oneself in a depleted, rundown, exhausted state, so that he cannot answer his life call or any big demand that an emergency may make upon him.
Most of us are at war with ourselves, are our own worst enemies. We expect a great deal of ourselves, yet we do not put ourselves in a condition to achieve great things. We are either too indulgent to our bodies, or we are not indulgent enough. We pamper them, or weneglect them, and it would be hard to tell which mode of treatment produces the worst results. Few people treat their bodies with the same wise care and consideration that they bestow upon a valuable piece of machinery or property of any kind from which they expect large returns.
Men are constantly violating the laws of health, eating all sorts of incompatible, indigestible foods, often when the stomach is exhausted and unable to rake care of simple food. They fill it with a great variety of rich indigestible stuffs, retard the digestive processes with harmful drinks, then wonder why they are unfit for work, and resort to all sorts of stimulants and drugs to overcome the bad effects of their greediness and foolishness.
Many go to the other extreme and do not take enough food or get enough variety in what they do eat, so that some of their tissues are in a chronic condition of semi-starvation.
The result is that while there is a great overplus of certain elements in some parts of the system, there is a famine of different kinds of elements in other parts of the system. This inequality, disproportion, tends to unbalance and produce a lack of symmetry in the body, and induces abnormal appetites that often lead to drinking or other dissipation. Many people resort to dangerous drugs in their effort to satisfy the craving of the starved cells in the various tissues when what they really need is nourishing food.
If we used common sense in our diet, lived a plain, sane, simple life, we would never need to take medicine. But the way many of us live is a crime against nature, against manhood, against our possibilities.
The most precious investment a man can make is to be just as good to himself as he possibly can, and never, under any circumstances, pinch or economize in things which can help him to do the greatest thing possible to him. There is no doubt that the efficiency of numerous people is kept down many percent by improper diet, inferior foods. Many a man who thinks he is economizing because he spends only fifteen or twenty cents for his lunch may lose dollars in possible efficiency because of this short-sighted economy.
No one can make the most of himself who does not consider his personal needs. When we are best to ourselves, we radiate a healthy mental attitude of optimism, joy, gladness, and hope. It is a great thing to be a good animal, to maintain mental poise; then we radiate exuberance of life, enthusiasm, buoyancy.
He who would get the most out of life must be good to himself. Everywhere we see people who have been trying to pinch and save, paying for it in premonitory indications of discomfort. Does this pay? Does it pay to take so much out of oneself for the sake of putting a little more in the bank; to rob one’s life in order to add a little more to one’s savings? We must look at life from a higher plane, a longer range, and ask ourselves at the very outset, “What must I do, how conduct myself, how treat myself in order to make the largest success, the completest life possible?”
Do not take a little, narrow, pinched, cheese-paring view of life. It is unworthy of you, and belittling to your possibilities…
Everywhere we see people with little starved experi ences, because they are too small to spend money to enlarge themselves by seeing the world and getting a broader educa tion and larger outlook. They have a little money in the bank, but their mental capital is very weak, so that others who took a larger view of life have completely overtopped them in their fuller manhood and in greater wealth, too.
Nobody admires a narrow-souled, dried-up man who will not invest in books or travel who will invest in the grosser material property but not in himself, and whose highest ambition is to save so many dollars.
The great thing in life is efficiency. If you amount to anything in the world, your time is valuable, your energy precious. They are your success capital and you cannot afford to heedlessly throw them away or trifle with them.
Whatever else you do, husband your strength, save your vitality, hang on to it with the determination with which a drowning man seizes and clings to a log or spar at sea. Store up every bit of your physical force, for it is your achievement material, your manhood timber. Having this, the man who has no money is rich compared with the man of wealth who has squandered his vitality, thrown away his precious life energy. Gold is but dross compared with this, diamonds but rubbish; houses and lands are contemptible beside it.
Dissipaters of precious vitality are the wickedest kind of spendthrifts they are worse than money spendthrifts; they are suicides, for they are killing their every chance in life.
If you would make the most of yourself, cut away all of your vitality sappers, get rid of everything which hampers you and holds you back, everything which wastes your energy, cuts down your working capital. Get freedom at any cost. Do not drag about with you a body that is half dead through vicious habits, which sap your vitality and drain off your life forces. Do not do anything or touch anything which will lower your vitality or lessen your chances of advancement. Always ask yourself, “What is there in this thing I am going to do which will add to my life-work, increase my power keep me in superb condition to do the best thing possible to me?”
Much precious energy is wasted in fretting, worrying, grumbling, fault-finding, in the little frictions and annoy ances that accomplish nothing, but merely make you irritable, cripple and exhaust you. Just look back over yesterday and see where your energy went to. See how much of it leaked away in trifles and in vicious practices. You may have lost more brain and nerve force in a burst of passion, a fit of hot temper than in doing your normal work in an entire day.
The great aim of your life should be to keep your powers up to the highest possible standard, to so conserve your energies, guard your health, that you can make every occasion a great occasion.
The trouble with most of us is that we do not half appreciate the marvellousness of the human mechanism, nor the divinity of the man that dwells in it.
Just look back over the day and see where your energy has gone. See how much of it has leaked away from you in trifles.
Some of us waste our energies and make our lives ineffective by trying to do too many things. Ability to do one thing superbly almost precludes the possibility of doing other things in a way to attract attention. If we focus powerfully upon one thing, energy is withdrawn from everything else. The mind is like a searchlight,—everything is in semidark ness except the object upon which the light is thrown at the moment. It cannot illumine a very large area at one time. We cannot concentrate powerfully enough upon more than one thing to reach excellence.
Get rid of all vitality-sappers. If you have taken an unfortunate step, retrace it if you can; remedy it as far as it is in your power to so; but, when you have done your best, let the thing drop forever. Do not drag its skeleton along with you. Never allow what is dead, and should be buried, to keep bobbing up and draining off your life-capital in worry or vain regrets.
Do not do anything or touch anything which will lower your vitality. Always ask yourself, “What is there in this thing I am going to do which will add to my life-work, which will increase my power, keep me in a more superb condition, and make me more efficient in the service of humanity?” If you would make your mark in the world, and do your part in advancing civilization, you must cut off everything which is an energy-waster or success-killer.
What are you doing with your energy? Are you using it to produce light, or are you losing it in useless ways? Be honest with yourself and find out where it is going. You may be very honest in your dealings with others, but very dishonest in your dealings with yourself. You may be igno rantly or carelessly squandering your life-power.
The best tonic in the world is the exhilaration which comes from the consciousness of personal power, of being masterful in what we undertake, of being able to grapple vigorously with the great life-problems and to seize with the grip of a master precious opportunities when they come; to feel equal to any emergency, however great, and to be larger than any demand upon us. Whoever possesses this tonic will be sure to transmute into achievement not one per cent, merely, but one hundred per cent, of his energy.
So much, indeed, of the real joy of life comes from keeping the soul—all, one’s faculties and senses—responsive to Nature, that it is nothing short of criminal to allow a child to grow up without learning to use his eyes and ears properly and to see and hear things as they are.
There are a great many kinds of liars and a great many ways of lying. Mrs. Opie once undertook to classify lies, as: lies of vanity; lies of flattery; lies of convenience; lies of interest; lies of fear; lies of malignity; lies of malevolence, and lies of wantonness. Mark Twain, in taking account of stock, counts eight hundred and sixty-nine varieties of lies.
There is no one thing more fatal to that dignity of bearing, that refinement, that personal grace which commands respect, than this habit of dropping all standards of ordinary good behavior and conduct in the home. It fosters a vulgarity which is very demoralizing to all the laws of character-building and right living. This easy-going, slip shod manner of living, as practiced in many homes, tends to the loss of self-respect and respect for one another.
How can you expect the respect of the members of your family, or of those who work for you, when you do not show any sort of respect or deference or kindness, or consideration for them, and when you act as though anything at all was good enough for them?
It often occurs that a man marries a beautiful, bright, cheerful girl who is always bubbling over with animal spirits, and in a short time everybody notices a complete change in her character, brought about by the perpetual suppression of her husband, who is severe in his criticisms and unreasonable in his demands.
The wife is surrounded with this atmosphere of sharp criticism or severity until she entirely loses her naturalness and spontaneity, and self-expression becomes impossible. The result is an artificial, flavorless character.
I have sat down at table in a hotel or restaurant with a cold, repellent personality, when it has been positively depressing to sit there, even without speaking to the man; for his whole manner forbade one to look at him.
On the other hand, I have sat at table with foreigners who could not speak a word of our language, and yet their cordial, gracious salute as I sat down warmed me for the rest of the day. Their manner spoke a language all nationalities understood. It was the language of brotherhood, of good will.
Wrapped up in every human being there are energies which, if unfolded, concentrated, and given proper direc tion, will develop the ideal.
Our energies must not be allowed to run to waste in longing without action. Our latent strength must be devel oped steadily and persistently. All our reserves must be utilized, all our powers concentrated and wisely directed toward the accomplishment of the work we have marked out for ourselves.
With eyes ever fixed on the ideal, we must work with heart and hand and brain; with a faith that never grows dim, with a resolution that never wavers, with a patience that is a kin to genius, we must persevere unto the end; for, as we advance, our ideal as steadily moves upward.
Everywhere we see people starving for love, famishing for affection, for some one to appreciate them.
On every hand we see men and women possessing material comfort, luxury, all that can contribute to their physical well-being—who are able to gratify almost any wish—and yet they are hungry for love. They seem to have plenty of everything but affection. They have lands and houses, automobiles, yachts, horses, money—everything but love.
I know a man whose courage is very much overdevel oped and his faculty of caution is very deficient. He does not know what fear means, and he plunges into all sorts of foolish operations which do not turn out well, and he is always trying to get out of things which he has gone into hastily. If his prudence had been equally developed with his courage, with his boldness, he would have made a very strong man. …
I know another man who is the perfection of kindness, who would do anything to help any one in trouble; but he entirely lacks the restraining, regulating quality of prudence, good judg ment, and he gives away everything he has, and even robs his family of the comforts of life. He does not mean to, but he is not well-balanced.
Whatever you believe or do not believe, do not get morbid or cranky upon any subject, for it is inevitably fatal to advancement.
Every man should have good sense, good judgment, to steady his conduct in any emergency, so that he will not lose his head and topple over under provocation, but keep cool and carry a steady hand, no matter what happens.
The compass of one’s judgment must point as true in a storm as in the sunshine.
Do not be afraid to praise heartily. Do not give a little pinched, stinted appreciation, as though you are afraid you will spoil your employee. Be whole-hearted and generous in your praise. You will be surprised to see how he will respond.
Many a successful man and woman have found the turning points of the careers in a little praise, a little hopeful encouragement!
The efficiency of employees depends almost wholly upon their courage, because, without courage, enthusiasm and zest are impossible. No one can be original, creative, and prolific in his work under fear and suppression. Spontaneity is absolutely necessary to the best results. If employees are hemmed in, watched, suspected, criticized, their work must be restricted and of an inferior quality. Courage and hope are great elements in production. They are powerful assets in employees, which many proprietors entirely cut off. Things which create antagonism and put the employee constantly on the defensive suppress individuality, and make him a mere machine. There must be freedom or a loss in the ideal service.
How many completely exhaust themselves in needless worrying and bickering over things which are not worth while! How many burn up their life force in giving way to a hot temper, in quibbling over trifles, in bargain hunting, in systemless work, in a hundred ways, when a little thought and attention to the delicate human instrument on which they are playing would prevent all this attrition and keep the instrument in splendid tune!
… We cannot do two things with our energy at the same time. If we use it up in friction, we cannot expend it in effective work.
The passion for conquest, for power, the love of achievement, is one of the most dominant and persistent characteristics of human nature. With most men the bread and butter and housing problem, the question of getting a living, a competence, is only one, and often one of the least, of the motives for an active career.
We have an instinctive feeling that we have been set in motion by a Higher Power; that there is an invisible spring within us—the imperious must—which impels us to weave the pattern given us in the Mount of Transfiguration of our highest moment, to make our life-vision real. A divine impulse constantly urges us to reach our highest ideal. There is something back of our supreme ambition deeper than a mere personal gratification. There is a vital connection between it and the great plan of creation, the progress, the final goal, of the race. …
These promptings of humanity and the yearning of every normal man and woman for a fuller, completer life the craving for expansion, for growth; the desire to objectify our life-visions, to give birth to the children of our brain, to exercise our inventiveness, our ingenuity, to express our artistic temperament, our talents, whatever they maybe; the inherent, instinctive longing to become that which we were intended to be; to weave the life-pattern given us at birth—these are the impelling motives for a creative career.
One man expresses himself, or delivers his message to humanity, through his inventive ability to give his fellow men that which will emancipate them from drudgery another delivers his message through his artistic ability another through science; another through oratory, through business, or his pen, and so on through all the modes of human expression, each delivers himself according to his talent. In every case the highest motive is beyond the question of mere living-getting.
The great artist does not paint simply for a living, but because he must to express that divine thing in him that is struggling for expression. He has an unconquerable desire to put upon canvas the picture that haunts his brain. We all long to bring out the ideal, whatever it may be, that lives within us. We want to see it; we want the world to see it.
It is not so much what men get out of their struggles, as the inherent passion in every normal man for self-expression—to do the biggest thing possible to him—that urges them on. This is what keeps men going, always struggling to achieve.
Some savage tribes believe that the spirit of every conquered enemy enters into the conqueror and makes him so much stronger. It is certain that every business or profes sional conquest, or financial victory, every triumph over obstacles, makes the achiever so much larger, so much stronger a man.
We hear a great deal of criticism of the greed of rich men, which keeps them pushing ahead after they have more money than they can ever use to advantage, but the fact is, many of these men find their reward in the exercise of their powers, not in amassing money, and greed plays a compara tively small part in their struggle for conquest. Yet this is not true of all rich men. Many of them are playing the game, and keep on playing it, for the love of accumulating. Their selfishness and greed have been indulged so long that they amount to a passion, and the accumulators oftentimes become money-mad.
But the higher type of man plays the game, from start to finish, for the love of achievement; because it satisfies his sense of duty, of justice; plays it because it will make him a larger, completer man; because it satisfies his passion for expansion, for growth. He plays the game for the training it gives, for the opportunity of self-expression. He feels that he has a message to deliver to mankind, and that he must deliver it like a man.
The struggle for supremacy—the conquest of ob stacles, the mastery of nature, the triumph of ideals—has been the developer of man, the builder of what we call progress. It has brought out and broadened and strength ened the finest and noblest traits in human nature.
The idea that a man, whatever his work in the world, should retire just because he has made enough money to live upon for the rest of his life is unworthy of a real man, who was made to create, to achieve, to go on conquering.
Every normal human being is happiest as well as strongest when active, especially when doing that which he was intended to do, that which he is best fitted to do; when he is trying to make real the vision of his highest moment. He is weakest and most miserable when idle, or doing that which he is least fitted for by nature.
The American people as a rule take life too seriously. They do not have half enough fun…
Life has become so strenuous in this country that even Edward Everett Hale, late chaplain of the United States Senate, was allowed only one minute for prayer, excepting on extraordinary occasions.
With us the hurry habit has become almost a disease. We get so accustomed to the American pace that we cannot slow down, even when we are not in a hurry. Our move ments, habits, and manners give us the appearance of always being in a rush, and we hurry even when on a vacation.
Many people do not seem to know how to let them selves out unreservedly in their play. The ghost of worry or anxiety is nearly always present to mar their enjoyment, or they fear that it would not be dignified for a man to act like a boy. This keeps many men from getting the best out of their recreation. When in the country, they could derive a good lesson in healthful abandon from the young cattle or colts when they first leave the barn in the spring and are turned out to pasture. How they kick up their heels, as though they delighted in mere existence!
Notwithstanding the fact that the country has so many natural advantages of pure air, stimulating scenery, fresher and more healthful food, and freedom from the racking noises of the city, city dwellers, as a rule, do not age so rapidly and are much more cheerful than farm dwellers.
The reason for this is found in the fact that there are so many more facilities for amusement in the city than in the country. People who live in congested districts feel the need of amusement; they are hungry for fun; they live under strong pressure and they take every opportunity for easing the strenuousness of their lives. This is why humorous plays, comic operas, and vaudeville performances generally, no matter how foolish, silly, or superficial are always well patronized. City people laugh a great deal more than country people, and everybody knows that laughter is a refresher, a rejuvenator, a success factor. They must unbend, and this fun-seeking has a great deal to do with keeping city people young and fresh after youth has passed.
What is needed is more play every day, play mixed with work. Don’t take your vocation so seriously. Do not let a spurious culture keep you from laughing out loud, or from giving yourself up with abandon to the fun-loving instinct.
Half the misery in the world would be avoided if people would make a business of having plenty of fun at home…
“Now for Rest and Fun.” “No Business Troubles Allowed Here.” These are good home-building mottoes.
When you have had a perplexing day, when things have gone wrong with you and you go home at night exhausted, discouraged, blue, instead of making your home miserable by going over your troubles and trials, just bury them; instead of dragging them home and making yourself and your family unhappy with them and spoiling the whole evening, just lock everything that is disagreeable in your office.
I know a man who casts such a gloom over his whole family, and so spoils the peace of his home by insisting upon talking over all his business troubles that his wife and children fairly dread to see him come home, because, when they see the thunder-cloud on his face, they know that their fun for the evening will be spoiled.
Just resolve that your home shall be a place for bright pictures and pleasant memories, kindly feelings toward everybody and, as Mr. Roosevelt says, “a corking good time” generally. If you do this, you will be surprised to see how your vocation or business wrinkles will be ironed out in the morning and how the crooked things will be straightened.
Make a business of trying to establish a model home, where every member of your family will be happy, bright, and cheerful. Fill it with bright, cheerful music. Physicians are employing music more and more because of its wonder ful healing properties. If there are no musicians in your family, get a graphophone, a piano-player, or some other kind of automatic musical instrument. There is nothing like music to cheer up and enliven the home and to drive dull care, the blues and melancholy away.
Music tends to restore and preserve the mental har mony. Nervous diseases are wonderfully helped by good music. It keeps one’s mind off his troubles, and gives nature a chance to heal all sorts of mental discords.
You will find that a little fun in the evening, romping and playing with the children, will make you sleep better. It will clear the physical cobwebs and brain-ash from your mind. You will be fresher and brighter for it the next day. You will be surprised to see how much more work you can do, and how much more readily you can do it if you try to have all the innocent fun you can.
We have all felt the wonderful balm, the great uplift, the refreshment, the rejuvenation which have come from a jolly good time at home or with friends, when we have come home after a hard, exacting day’s work, when our bodies were jaded and we were brain-weary and exhausted. What magic a single hour’s fun will often work in a tired soul! We feel as though we have had a refreshing nap. How a little fun releases us from weariness, and sends a thrill of joy and uplift through the whole being!
Laughter is as natural a form of expression as music, art, or work of any kind. We cannot be really healthy without a lot of fun.
There is something abnormal, something wrong in the parent who is annoyed by the romping, the playing, the laughter of children. The probabilities are that his own childlife was suppressed. The man who would not grow old must keep in touch with young life.
Do not be afraid of playing in the home. Get down on the floor and romp with the children. Never mind the clothes, the carpets, or the furniture. Just determine that you will put a good lot of fun into your life every day, let come what will.
Have all the fun you can at the table. It is a place for laughter and joking. It is a place for bright repartee. Swallow a lot of fun with your meals. The practice is splendid…
The meal time ought to be looked forward to every member of the family as an occasion for a good time, for hearty laughter, and for bright, entertaining conversation. The children should be trained to bring their best moods and say their brightest and best things at the table. If this practice were put in force it would revolutionize American homes and drive the doctors to despair.
I know a family in which joking and funny story telling at meals has become such and established feature that it is a real joy to dine with them. The dinner hour is sure to afford a jolly good time. There is a rivalry among the members of the family to see who can say the brightest, wittiest thing, or tell the best story. There is no dyspepsia, no nagging in this family.
A few hours of sunshine will do for plants what months of cloudy weather could never do. It is the sunshine that gives the delicate, inimitable tint of beauty to fruit and flower. We all require mental sunshine.
I have been in homes that were so somber and sad and gloomy that they made me feel depressed the moment I entered them. Nobody dared to say his soul was his own, and to laugh out loud was regarded almost as a misdemeanor. If the children made any noise they were told to stop, sit down, hush up, or be quiet. Everybody who attempted to have a little fun was promptly squelched. One felt, even though it was not seen, that this sign was everywhere about the house: “No joking allowed here Laughter forbidden No romping or playing here Life is too short and too serious a matter for such frivolity. Besides, the furniture might be scratched, bric-a-brac might be broken, or the children’s clothes soiled or rumpled.”
A little while ago I was a guest in the home of a large family where the mother was of the nervous, fretful, trouble-borrowing kind of women, who neither enjoys herself nor will let others enjoy themselves. There was scarcely five minutes during my stay that she was not correcting, repress ing, scolding, or nagging one of the children. It did not seem to make any difference what they were doing, she would tell them not to do it. If a child stood in an open doorway or near an open window, she was sure he would “get his death of cold.” He must not eat this, he must not make a noise, he must not play; he must not do this, and he must not do that.
She kept on repressing her children in this manner throughout the evening, until they were very nervous and fretful. The result of this constant repression is that there is not a really normal child in the family. There is a sort of hungry, unsatisfied look in the faces of every one of them. They give one the impression that they long to get away from their mother and to let themselves out in laughter and play to their heart’s content.
It is worse than cruel, it is a crime to crush the childhood out of any life, to suppress the fun-loving instinct, which is as natural as breathing, for no wealth or luxuries in later life can compensate for the loss of one’s childhood.
We have all seen children who have had no childhood. The fun-loving element has been crushed out of them. They have been repressed and forbidden to do this and that so long that they have lost the faculty of having a good time. We see these little old men and women everywhere.
Children should be kept children just as long as possible. What has responsibility, seriousness, or sadness to do with childhood? We always feel indignant, as well as sad, when we see evidences of maturity, overseriousness, care or anxiety in a child’s face, for we know some one has sinned somewhere.
The little ones should be kept strangers to anxious care, reflective thoughts, and subjective moods. Their lives should be kept light, bright, buoyant, cheerful, full of sunshine, joy, and gladness. They should be encouraged to laugh and to play and to romp to their heart’s content. The serious side of life will come only too quickly, do what we may to prolong childhood.
One of the most unfortunate things I know of is the home that is not illuminated by at least one cheerful, bright, sunny young face, that does not ring with the persistent laughter and merry voice of a child.
No man or woman is perfectly normal who is dis tressed or vexed by the playing of children. There was something wrong in your bringing up if it annoys you to see children romping, playing, and having a good time.
If there is a pitiable sight in the world, it is that of parents always suppressing their children, telling them not to laugh, or not to do this or that, until the little things actually lose the power of natural expression. Joy will go out of the life when continually suppressed.
The first duty we owe a child is to teach it to express itself, to fling out its inborn gladness and joy with as much freedom as the bobolink when it makes the whole meadow glad with its song. Laughter, absolute abandon, freedom, and happiness are essential to its health and success. These are a part of its nature. It cannot be normal without them.
Suppression of the fun-loving nature of a child means the suppression of its mental faculties. The mind will not develop normally under abnormal conditions. There is every evidence in a child’s nature that play is as necessary to its normal, complete development as food, and if the fun-loving faculties are suppressed, the whole nature will be strangled. Play is as necessary to the perfect development of a child as sunshine is to the perfect development of a plant. The childhood that has no budding and flowering, or only a partial unfolding of its petals, will have nothing but gnarled and pinched fruitage. The necessity for play in the very beginning of a child’s development is shown by the fact that the instinct to play is so strong in all young life, including the entire animal kingdom.
Most homes are far too serious. Why not let the children dance and play to their heart’s content? They will get rubs enough, knocks enough in the world; they will get enough of the hard side of life later. Resolve that they shall at least be just as happy as you can make them while at home, so that if they should have unfortunate experiences later, they can look back upon their home as a sweet, beautiful, charming oasis in their life; the happiest spot on earth.
Let them give vent to all that is joyous and happy in their natures, and they will blossom out into helpful men and women instead of sedate, suppressed, sad, melancholy natures. Spontaneity, buoyancy, the bubbling over of ani mal spirits are worth everything in one’s education. Chil dren who are encouraged in self-expression of their play instinct will make better business men, better professional men, better men and better women in any walk of life. They will succeed better and have a better influence in the world than those who are repressed.
Only the happiest children can make the happiest and most useful citizens. You cannot give children too much heart sunshine, too much love. They thrive on fun. It is their normal food and the home is the place above all others where they should get an abundance of it. Some one has said that if you want to ruin your children let them think that all mirth and enjoyment must be left on the threshold when they come home at night. When once the home is regarded only as a place in which to eat, drink, and sleep, the work is begun which often ends in degradation.
Children who have no childhood often develop hard, cold, unsocial dispositions which are a great handicap to their success later in life.
A happy childhood is an imperative preparation for a happy maturity. The disposition, the cast of mind, the whole life tendencies are fixed in childhood. An early habit of cheerfulness—the fun-loving habit-has a powerful influ ence over the mature man and his career.
A happy childhood is the best possible protection against ill-health, unhappiness and failure; the best possible protection against development of handicapping peculiari ties, idiosyncrasies, and even insanity. A large percentage of the people in the insane asylums did not have a happy childhood.
It is of immense importance to teach children to avoid unpleasant, disagreeable, soul-harrowing books. Keep them from reading morbid stories, morbid descriptions of crime and misery in the newspapers. Do not let these black pictures etch their hideous forms into their tender, sensitive minds.
Children should be taught the art of getting enjoy ment out of the common things of life. This will prevent the development of a restless tendency, a disposition always to think that they would be happier if they were only some where else, under other conditions.
If you want your children to be well, strong, and happy, try to cultivate the sense of humor, the fun instinct, in them just as much as possible. Teach children to laugh at their misfortunes and to see the ludicrous side of unpleasant things which cannot be avoided or ignored.
“Mirth is God’s medicine; give the children a lot of it.”
Blessed indeed are the Joy Makers.
I once knew a little girl who was so happy that she asked her mother if she could say Good-morning to God. She used to say Good-morning to the sun, and she naturally thought, and rightly, that she ought to say Good-morning to her Creator.
All the members of the mental family, all our faculties, are dependent upon their harmony for their helpfulness and efficiency. If they are unhappy their efficiency is seriously impaired. …
On the other hand, whatever tends to encourage ment, to cheerfulness and good humor, whatever brightens hope and brings good cheer, multiplies their efficiency.
There is no other one thing which so buoys up the faculties and refreshes the whole man as good, innocent fun. The enormous success of the theatrical business is based largely upon the instinctive demand in human nature for amusement.
When this demand in us is gratified, the whole man is improved, enlarged; is more healthy, more efficient, more normal; but when it is denied, as it was among many of the Puritans in our early history, there is a famine in the nature, the faculties shrivel, and the whole character deteriorates.
It is a great thing to encourage fun in the home. There is nothing like a fun-loving home. It keeps children off the street, it discourages vice and all that is morbid. The fun-loving faculties in many children are never half developed; hence the melancholy traits, the tendency to sadness, mo roseness, morbidness, which we see in men and women everywhere. These are not normal. They are indications of stifled, suppressed, dwarfed natures.
Many parents have a great idea of being stern, not realizing that suppression means strangling growth, stifling aspiration, dwarfing ideals. There can be no real growth, enlargement of faculties, where there is no freedom of expression.
The child that has been trained to be happy, that has been allowed free expression to his fun-loving nature, will not have a sad or gloomy disposition. Much of the morbid mentality which we see everywhere is due to stifled child hood.
Soul sunshine keeps everything within us sweet, pure, like the material sun which destroys the miasma. It antidotes the poisons caused from worry, jealousy, and the explosive passions. It preserves us from becoming soured on life.
A pessimistic, crotchety disposition, a fault-finding, finical disagreeable mind sours everything in life. Pessimism is darkness. Things do not thrive or ripen, become sweet or beautiful, in the dark. It requires the sun of optimism to bring out soul-beauty and to ripen and sweeten the juices of life. The tendency of pessimism is to sour, to distort one’s way of looking at things.
What makes us happiest makes us most efficient. Happiness is the great lubricator of life which keeps the wheels from creaking, which prevents the grinding, wearing effect caused by discord.
How much stronger, clearer brained, and more effi cient we feel after we have had a real jolly good time! How it refreshes, renews, and restores our flagging energies
If you carry about a gloomy face, you advertise the fact that hope has died out of you; that life has been a disappoint ment to you.
The habit of frequent and hearty laughter will not only save you many a doctor’s bill, but will also save you years of life.
Laughter is a foe to pain and disease, a sure cure for the blues and melancholy. Be cheerful and you will make everybody around you happier and healthier.
Laughter and good cheer make love of life, and love of life is half of health.
Laughter keeps the heart and face young and enhances physical beauty.
It is a most unfortunate thing for a boy to look upon his father as a taskmaster instead of a companion; to dread meeting him because he always expects criticism or scolding from him.
Some fathers constantly nag, find fault, and never think of praising their sons or expressing any appreciation of their work, even when they do it well. Yet there is nothing so encouraging to a boy, especially if he finds it hard to do what is right, as real appreciation of his effort. This is a tonic to youth. Boys thrive on praise. This is why most of them think more of their mothers than their fathers—because their mothers are more considerate, more appreciative, more affectionate, and do not hesitate to praise them when they do well. They are naturally more generous with them; less exacting than their fathers.
Every man should lay out a clean, straight, level track to his goal. All obstructions should be removed, all dangers and risks reduced to a minimum, making his road straight, firm, solid and safe.
The possibilities of thought training are infinite, its consequences eternal, and yet few take the pains to direct their thinking into channels that will do them good, but instead leave all to chance, or rather to the myriad of circumstances that buffet and compel our mental action if counter-effort be not made.
There can be no more important study, no higher duty owed to ourselves and those about us, than this of thought-control, of self-control, which results in self-development. Perhaps because thought in itself is intangible, and most of us really have so little control over it, there is an impression that direction of mind action is a difficult and abstruse affair, something that requires hard study, leisure, and book knowledge to accomplish. Nothing is further from the truth.
Every person, however ignorant, however uncultured, and however busy, has within himself all that is needful, and has all the time needful, to remake his intellectual nature, his character, and practically his body and his life. Every person will have a different task, different problems to solve, and different results to aim at; but the process is practically the same, and the transformation is no more impossible for one than for another.
A sculptor’s chisel in the hands of a bungler may mar the loveliest statue; in the, hands of a criminal it may become a burglar’s tool or a murderer’s bludgeon. With the power in our hands to make or mar our natures, what reckless fools we are not to try to know how to produce beauty and harmony, happiness and success…
We must know what we want, know we can get it, and set ourselves directly at the task, never relenting or relaxing in its performance.
The difference between our thought and an ordinary tool is that we must do something with it. We cannot lay it down and say we shall strike no blow. We must think, and every thought is a blow that forges a part of our lives. Let us, therefore, resolutely determine to turn thought to good use, to the best use, and then stiffen our will to carry out that determination.
Before one can do much toward controlling thought, there must be realization of its power and importance, not mere acceptance of a statement. You must feel, you must be convinced, that a bad thought harms you, that a good thought helps you. There must be no playing with fire and a careless feeling that it matters little if you are off your guard part of the time. You must know in your inmost consciousness that thought alone is eternal, that it is the mas ter of your fate, and that the thought of every moment has its part in deciding that fate. You must feel that proper control of your own thoughts will cause all good things to come naturally to you, just as all bad things will be your portion if you misuse your God-given powers. Such realization must come through consideration of proved facts.
Whence comes the power which enables a frail, delicate woman, invalid for years, unable to wait upon herself, with hardly strength enough to walk across the floor, to rush up stairs and to drag out sleeping children from a burning home? Whence comes the strength which enables such a delicate creature to draw out furniture and bedding from a house on fire?
Certainly no new strength has been added to the muscle, no new strength to the blood, but still she does what, under ordinary con ditions, would have been impossible for her. In the emergency she forgets her weakness, she sees only the emergency. The danger of her darling child, the loss of her home, stares her in the face. She believes firmly, for the time, that she can do what she attempts to do, and she does it. It is changed condition of the mind, not changed blood or muscle, that gives the needed energy. The muscle has fur nished the power, but the conviction of the ability to do the thing was first necessary. The fire, the danger, the excitement, the necessity of saving life and property, the temporary forgetfulness of her supposed weakness—these were necessary to work the mind to the proper state.
Evidence of this power of mind over the body is thrust upon us in many ways.
[Dr. Smith Ely Jellife wrote:] “The human mind is credulous—it believes what it wants or wills to believe—and the use of suggestion in therapeutics is one of great power for good and for evil.”
Most unhappy people have gradually be come so by forming the habit of unhappiness, complaining about the weather, finding fault with their food, with crowded cars, and with disagreeable companions or work. The habit of complaining, of criticizing, of fault finding or grumbling over trifles, the habit of looking for shadows, is one most unfortunate to contract, especially in early life, for after a while the victim becomes a slave. All of the impulses become perverted, until the ten dency to pessimism, to cynicism, is chronic.
People do not like to work for a pessimist. They thrive in a cheerful, optimistic atmosphere, and will do more and better work there than in one of discouragement and depression. The man who talks his business down cannot possibly do so well as the man who talks his business up. The habit of talking everything down sets tile mind toward the negative side, the destructive side, instead of toward the positive and creative, and is fatal to achievement. It creates a discordant en vironment. No man can live upward when he is talking downward.
A most injurious and unpleasant way of looking for trouble is fault-finding, continual criticism of other persons. Some people are never generous, never magnanimous toward others. They are stingy of their praise, show ing always an unhealthy parsimony in their recognition of merit in others, and critical of their every act.
“It matters not what may be the cause of the trouble in the anxious mind,” says Dr. A.J. Sanderson, “the results upon the body are the same. Every function is weakened, and under the continual influence of a depressed state of mind, they degenerate. Especially is this true if any organ of the body is handi capped by weakness from any other cause. The combination of the two influences will soon lead to actual disease.
“The greatest barrier in the way of the healing process, especially if the malady be one that is accompanied by severe pain, is the mental depression that is associated with it and often becomes a factor of the disease. It stands in the way of recovery sometimes more than do the physical causes, and obliterates from the consciousness of the individual the won derful healing power of nature, so essential to recovery.”
“In the maintenance of health and the cure of disease cheerfulness is a most important factor,” says Dr. A. J. Sanderson. “Its power to do good like a medicine is not an artificial stimulation of the tissues, to be followed by reaction and greater waste, as is the case with many drugs; but the effect of cheerfulness is an actual life-giving influence through a normal channel, the results of which reach every part of the system. It brightens the eye, makes ruddy the countenance, brings elasticity to the step, and promotes all the inner forces by which life is sustained. The blood circulates more freely, the oxygen conies to its home in the tissues, health is promoted, and disease is banished.”
A farmer in Alabama eight or ten years ago, subject to lung trouble, had a hemorrhage while ploughing one day, and lost so much blood that he was told by his physician that he would die. He merely said that he was not ready to die yet, and lingered for a long time, unable to get up. He gained strength, and finally could sit up, and then he began to laugh at anything and everything. He persisted in his hilarity, even when well people could see nothing to laugh at, and gained constantly. He became robust and strong. He says he is sure that if he had not laughed continually he would have died.
A great many people have brought sick, discordant bodies back into harmony by “the laugh cure”…
Nothing makes for one’s own health and happiness so much as a serene mind. When the mind is self-poised and serene, every faculty and function fails into line and works nor mally. There is equilibrium and health every where in the body. The serene mind can ac complish infinitely more than the disturbed and discordant.
No man can pass his self-imposed bounds or limitations.
As long as you contemplate any personal defect—mental, moral, or physical—you will fall below your possible attainment; you can not approach your ideal, your standard.
As long as you allow negative, destructive, tearing-down processes to exist in your mind, you cannot create anything, and you will be a weakling.
Most people go through life crippled and handicapped by thinking weak thoughts, diseased thoughts, failure thoughts.
Discipline yourself never to acknowl edge weakness or think of mental, physical, or moral defects… Cut out of your life all thought that limits, hampers, dwarfs, and darkens it. …
Shun poisoned thoughts, ideas which depress and make you unhappy, as instinctively as you avoid physical danger of any kind. Do not entertain a discordant or an un happy thought, or a thought of weakness and misery, but replace all these with cheerful, hopeful, optimistic thoughts.
Confidence is the father of achievement. It reinforces ability, doubles energy, buttresses mental faculties, increases power.
Your thought will carry only the force of your conviction, the weight of your decision, the power of your confidence. If these are weak, your thought will be weak and your work futile. Some people are incapable of strong, deep conviction; they are all surface, and liable to be changed by the opinions of everybody else. If they resolve upon a certain course, their resolution is so superficial thatthe first obstacle they strike deflects them. They are always at the mercy of the opposition, or of people who do not agree with them. Sun people are shifty and unreliable; they lack strength of decision, positiveness of resolution.
What is a man good for if he hasn’t strength of resolution? If his convictions are on the sur face, he stands for nothing; nobody has con fidence in him. He may be a good man, personally, but he does not inspire confidence. No one would think of calling upon him when anything of importance was at stake. Unless conviction takes hold of one’s very being, there will be very little achievement in life.
It is the man whose conviction is rooted deep and takes hold of his very life-blood, the man who is strong and persistent in his determination, that can be depended upon. He is the man of’ influence, who carries weight; he is above the influence of any man who happens to have a different opinion.
If young people only knew the power of affirmation, of the habit of holding in the mind persistently and affirming that they are what they wish to be, that they can do what they have attempted, it would revo lutionize their whole lives, it would exempt them from most of their ills and troubles, and carry them to heights of which they scarcely dream.
…No one ever accomplishes any thing in this world until he affirms in one way or another that he can do what he undertakes. It is almost impossible to keep a man back who has a firm faith in his mission, who be lieves that he can do the thing before him, that he is equal to the obstacles which confront him, that he is more than a match for his environment. The constant affirmation of abil ity to succeed, and of our determination to do so, carries us past difficulties, defies obstacles, laughs at misfortunes, and strengthens the power to achieve. It reinforces and buttresses the natural faculties and powers, and holds them to their tasks.
Constant affirmation increases courage, and courage is the backbone of confidence. Furthermore, when a person gets in a tight place and says “I must,” “I can,” “ I will,” he not only reinforces his courage and strengthens his confidence, but also weakens the opposite qualities. Whatever strengthens a positive will weaken the corresponding negative.
You can do a difficult thing only with a positive state of mind, never with a negative.
All that you dream of, all that you yearn for and long to be, will be within your reach if you have the power to affirm sufficiently strong, if you can focus your faculties with sufficient intentness on a single purpose. It is concentration upon the thing you wish that brings it to you, whether it is health, money, or position. Constantly affirm that which you wish, hold it persistently in the thought, con centrate all the power of your mind upon it, and when the mind is sufficiently positive and creative the desired thing will come to you as certainly as a stone will come to the earth, when left free in the air, through the attract ing influence of gravitation. You make your self a magnet to draw the condition you wish.
We cannot help admiring a man who be lieves in himself. He cannot be laughed down, talked down, or written down. Poverty cannot dishearten him; misfortune deter him; hard ship turn him a hair’s breadth from his course. Whatever comes, he keeps his eye to the goal and pushes on. A determined face and an iron will win half the battles before a blow is struck.
Change of environment will often won drously develop a backward boy whose parents were completely discouraged with him under the home conditions. As soon as the boy got into a store, or into a school, or was thrown upon his own resources, his whole character was changed.
Few people are well-balanced, well-rounded. A great many have splendid ability in certain lines, good education, fine training, and yet have some deficiency in their make-up which cripples the dwarfs the results of their whole life and utmost industry. Many of us have some little, contemptible weakness which offsets our strong qualities and ruins their effectiveness.
How humiliating it is to be conscious that one has dragged up to maturity some such weakness or deficiency without realizing it, or at least without having it remedied. The deficiency is slight, perhaps, and yet, if it crip ples life, if it mars achievement, if it is a perpetual humiliation, if it submits us to a thousand embarrassments and keeps us from rising in the world, what a terrible misfortune it is! …
Why should we drag our weaknesses through life when a little com mon-sense, a little right thinking in fixing new habits of thought, would soon remedy them?
If you are conscious of a mental weakness, a deficient faculty, using a little concentration, thinking in the opposite direction, and dwelling upon the perfect faculties or quali ties you desire would soon put you in a nor mal condition. It is normal thinking that makes the normal life.
But if you leave your weak faculties alone—do not exercise them, do not try to enlarge them—how can you expect them ever to become strong? You cannot develop a sym metrical body by simply exercising tile arms. The same is true of the mental faculties. Those which are not used deteriorate. If you long for a thing and strive for it with all your might persistently enough and long enough, you cannot help approximating it; you must get what you wish in some degree.
Because a burglar gets into your room, is that any reason why you should let him stay there? Fling open the shutters and let in tile light, and the gloom will disappear.
It is not difficult to do this; but every time you nurse the weakness or harbor the thought that depresses you, you make friends with it and invite it to stay. When you dwell upon the dark side of things, then you are encour aging everything which is darkening your life and hampering your career.
If you hold persistently in the mind the picture of the normal faculty which corresponds to the one you think is deficient, you will soon bring about the desired results.
I wish it were possible to show young peo ple what a tremendous power for good there is in forming the habit of stoutly affirming and claiming desired qualities as one’s birthright, with all the determination to possess them that can be mustered. The mere assump tion of a thing with all our will power, and the determination to possess it which knows no retreat, are wonderful helps in achieving the things that we long for.
Do not be afraid of claiming and repeating over and over again the qualities you long to attain or the object of your ambition. Keep your desire in the forefront of your thought. Resolve that von will possess these things and will accept noth ing else, and you will be surprised to see how rapidly you will make yourself a magnet to draw the things you yearn for.
The average person thinks the imaginative person amounts to nothing. He is called a crank. Dreamers are looked upon as imprac tical people, mere theorists; but oftentimes our dreamers have proved infinitely more practical than those who have laughed at them, for the world’s dreamers have given us the most practical things we have. The dream ers have ameliorated the hard conditions of the race, hare lifted us above commonness and emancipated us from drudgery.
Oh, what does the world not owe to its dreamers, to its cranks, to its theorists?
Great characters have been made possible because men and women saw greater men and women in themselves than actually existed.
We are beginning to see that imagination is not mere fantasy of the brain, but that in it lives the ideal in it are generated the great models and the potencies which make their realization possible.
If the imagination of a child can be rightly directed, its future happiness and success can be assured; but a perverted imagination may bring misery and gloom untold.
The training of the imagination of a child so as to form the habit of producing beautiful pictures instead of hideous ones, perpetually inspiring images instead of demoralizing ones, and thus harmony instead of discord, would be of more value to him than to give him a fortune.
The imagination, wrongly used, is one of our worst foes.
Herbert N. Casson (1859-1951) was born and raised in Canada. After a brief stint as a minister, he moved to Boston in his early twenties and began working as a journalist for various publications. In 1907, his first book was published: The Romance of Steel: The Story of a Thousand Millionaires.
In 1910, he wrote History of the Telephone. By 1914 he moved to England, and soon began giving lectures on factory management. He also wrote and released many other works, including a journal called Efficiency.
The selections presented here are from Tips on Leadership and The Life Stories of Twenty Five Leaders, which were published in 1929.
Tips on Leadership offers a concise but tremendously informative insights on effective leadership, including his main premise that a leader must be independent, yet must also associate with and utilize others. The book also offers views on other subjects such as emphasizing loyalty, effectively running a staff, and creating news in order to shape public opinion.
The Life Stories of Twenty Five Leaders is a series of short biographies of twenty five notable leaders of industry, with an emphasis on what made them successful. The material included here are from the chapters on Andrew Carnegie, Cyrus H.K. Curtis, Henry Ford, George Westinghouse, and Frederick Winslow Taylor.
Samuel Smiles (1812-1904) was a British writer and philosopher. He lived in Scotland and London. After practicing medicine for several years, in the 1830s he decided to enter the field of journalism. Throughout his life, he wrote a variety of works and was also involved in railway administration.
Samuel is most known for his self-help book that is aptly titles Self-Help. Released in 1859, it has become a classic in world literature, and has been translated into many languages.
“Heaven helps those who help themselves” is a well-tried maxim, embodying in a small compass the results of vast human experience. The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual. ...
National progress is the sum of individual industry, energy, and uprightness.
Although much may be accomplished by means of individual industry and energy… it must at the same time be acknowledged that the help which we derive from others in the journey of life is of very great importance.
The poet Wordsworth has well said that “these two things, contradictory though they may seem, must go together—manly dependence and manly independence, manly reliance and manly self-reliance.” From infancy to old age, all are more or less indebted to others for nurture and culture; and the best and strongest are usually found the readiest to acknowledge such help …
In fine, human character is molded by a thousand subtle influences; by example and precept; by life and literature; by friends and neighbors; by the world we live in as well as by the spirits of our forefathers, whose legacy of good words and deeds we inherit. But great, unquestionably, though these influences are acknowledged to be, it is nevertheless equally clear that men must necessarily be the active agents of their own well-being and well-doing; and that, however much the wise and the good may owe to others, they themselves must in the very nature of things be their own best helpers.
Daily experience shows that it is energetic individualism which produces the most powerful effects upon the life and action of others, and really constitutes the best practical education.
Schools, academies, and colleges, give but the merest beginnings of culture in comparison with it. Far more influential is the life-education daily given in our homes, in the streets, behind counters, in workshops, at the loom and the plough, in counting-houses and manufactories, and in the busy haunts of men. This is that finishing instruction as members of society, which Schiller designated “the education of the human race,” consisting in action, conduct, self-culture, self-control—all that tends to discipline a man truly, and fit him for the proper performance of the duties and business of life—a kind of education not to be learnt from books, or acquired by any amount of mere literary training…
For all experience serves to illustrate and enforce the lesson, that a man perfects himself by work more than by reading—that it is life rather than literature, action rather than study, and character rather than biography, which tend perpetually to renovate mankind.
Biographies of great, but especially of good men, are nevertheless most instructive and useful, as helps, guides, and incentives to others.
“The best part of every man’s education,” said Sir Walter Scott, “is that which he gives to himself.” The late Sir Benjamin Brodie delighted to remember this saying, and he used to congratulate himself on the fact that professionally he was self-taught. But this is necessarily the case with all men who have acquired distinction in letters, science, or art... Our own active effort is the essential thing; and no facilities, no books, no teachers, no amount of lessons learnt by rote will enable us to dispense with it.
It is not then how much a man may know, that is of importance, but the end and purpose for which he knows it.
… It is not the man of the greatest natural vigor and capacity who achieves the highest results, but he who employs his powers with the greatest industry and the most carefully disciplined skill—the skill that comes by labor, application, and experience.
…The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means, and the exercise of ordinary qualities. The common life of every day, with its cares, necessities, and duties, affords ample opportunity for acquiring experience of the best kind; and its most beaten paths provide the true worker with abundant scope for effort and room for self-improvement. The road of human welfare lies along the old highway of steadfast well-doing; and they who are the most persistent, and work in the truest spirit, will usually be the most successful. …
[Legendary scientist Isaac] Newton’s was unquestionably a mind of the very highest order, and yet, when asked by what means he had worked out his extraordinary discoveries, he modestly answered, “By always thinking unto them.” At another time he thus expressed his method of study: “I keep the subject continually before me, and wait till the first dawnings open slowly by little and little into a full and clear light.”
It was in Newton’s case, as in every other, only by diligent application and perseverance that his great reputation was achieved. Even his recreation consisted in change of study, laying down one subject to take up another. To Dr. Bentley he said: “If I have done the public any service, it is due to nothing but industry and patient thought.”
… We must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step...
… [The] art of seizing opportunities and turning even accidents to account, bending them to some purpose is a great secret of success. …
The most ordinary occasions will furnish a man with opportunities or suggestions for improvement, if he be but prompt to take advantage of them.
An eminent foreign savant once called upon Dr. Wollaston, and requested to be shown over his laboratories in which science had been enriched by so many important discoveries, when the doctor took him into a little study, and, pointing to an old tea-tray on the table, containing a few watch-glasses, test papers, a small balance, and a blowpipe, said, “There is all the laboratory that I have!”
Method is essential, and enables a larger amount of work to be got through with satisfaction. “Method,” said the Reverend Richard Cecil, “is like packing things in a box; a good packer will get in half as much again as a bad one.” Cecil’s despatch of business was extraordinary, his maxim being, “The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once;” and he never left a thing undone with a view of recurring to it at a period of more leisure. When business pressed, he rather chose to encroach on his hours of meals and rest than omit any part of his work.
De Witt’s maxim was like Cecil’s: “One thing at a time.” “If,” said he, “I have any necessary despatches to make, I think of nothing else till they are finished; if any domestic affairs require my attention, I give myself wholly up to them till they are set in order.”
A French minister, who was alike remarkable for his despatch of business and his constant attendance at places of amusement, being asked how he contrived to combine both objects, replied, “Simply by never postponing till to-morrow what should be done to-day.”
Lord Brougham has said that a certain English statesman reversed the process, and that his maxim was, never to transact to-day what could be postponed till to-morrow. Unhappily, such is the practice of many besides that minister, already almost forgotten; the practice is that of the indolent and the unsuccessful. Such men, too, are apt to rely upon agents, who are not always to be relied upon. Important affairs must be attended to in person. “If you want your business done,” says the proverb, “go and do it; if you don’t want it done, send some one else.”
… [Napoleon Bonaparte had] a vivid power of imagination, which enabled him to look along extended lines of action, and deal with those details on a large scale, with judgment and rapidity. He possessed such knowledge of character as enabled him to select, almost unerringly, the best agents for the execution of his designs. But he trusted as little as possible to agents in matters of great moment, on which important results depended.
Self-respect is the noblest garment with which a man may clothe himself—the most elevating feeling with which the mind can be inspired. One of Pythagoras’s wisest maxims, in his ‘Golden Verses,’ is that with which he enjoins the pupil to “reverence himself.”
Example is one of the most potent of instructors, though it teaches without a tongue. It is the practical school of mankind, working by action, which is always more forcible than words. Precept may point to us the way, but it is silent continuous example, conveyed to us by habits, and living with us in fact, that carries us along. Good advice has its weight: but without the accompaniment of a good example it is of comparatively small influence; and it will be found that the common saying of “Do as I say, not as I do,” is usually reversed in the actual experience of life.
All persons are more or less apt to learn through the eye rather than the ear; and, whatever is seen in fact, makes a far deeper impression than anything that is merely read or heard. This is especially the case in early youth…
Good rules may do much, but good models far more; for in the latter we have instruction in action—wisdom at work… Hence the vast importance of exercising great care in the selection of companions, especially in youth.
The crown and glory of life is Character. It is the noblest possession of a man, constituting a rank in itself, and an estate in the general goodwill; dignifying every station, and exalting every position in society. It exercises a greater power than wealth, and secures all the honor without the jealousies of fame. It carries with it an influence which always tells; for it is the result of proved honor, rectitude, and consistency—qualities which, perhaps more than any other, command the general confidence and respect of mankind.
Character is human nature in its best form. It is moral order embodied in the individual. Men of character are not only the conscience of society, but in every well-governed State they are its best motive power; for it is moral qualities in the main which rule the world. Even in war, Napoleon said the moral is to the physical as ten to one.
The strength, the industry, and the civilization of nations—all depend upon individual character; and the very foundations of civil security rest upon it. Laws and institutions are but its outgrowth. In the just balance of nature, individuals, nations, and races, will obtain just so much as they deserve, and no more. And as effect finds its cause, so surely does quality of character amongst a people produce its befitting results.
And here it may be observed how greatly the character may be strengthened and supported by the cultivation of good habits. Man, it has been said, is a bundle of habits; and habit is second nature.
Metastasio entertained so strong an opinion as to the power of repetition in act and thought, that he said, “All is habit in mankind, even virtue itself.”
Butler, in his ‘Analogy,’ impresses the importance of careful self-discipline and firm resistance to temptation, as tending to make virtue habitual, so that at length it may become more easy to be good than to give way to sin. “As habits belonging to the body,” he says, “are produced by external acts, so habits of the mind are produced by the execution of inward practical purposes, i.e., carrying them into act, or acting upon them—the principles of obedience, veracity, justice, and charity.”
And again, Lord Brougham says, when enforcing the immense importance of training and example in youth, “I trust everything under God to habit, on which, in all ages, the lawgiver, as well as the schoolmaster, has mainly placed his reliance; habit, which makes everything easy, and casts the difficulties upon the deviation from a wonted course.”
Thus, make sobriety a habit, and intemperance will be hateful; make prudence a habit, and reckless profligacy will become revolting to every principle of conduct which regulates the life of the individual. Hence the necessity for the greatest care and watchfulness against the inroad of any evil habit; for the character is always weakest at that point at which it has once given way; and it is long before a principle restored can become so firm as one that has never been moved. It is a fine remark of a Russian writer, that “Habits are a necklace of pearls: untie the knot, and the whole unthreads.”
Wherever formed, habit acts involuntarily, and without effort; and, it is only when you oppose it, that you find how powerful it has become. What is done once and again, soon gives facility and proneness. The habit at first may seem to have no more strength than a spider’s web; but, once formed, it binds as with a chain of iron. The small events of life, taken singly, may seem exceedingly unimportant, like snow that falls silently, flake by flake; yet accumulated, these snow-flakes form the avalanche.
Self-respect, self-help, application, industry, integrity—all are of the nature of habits, not beliefs. Principles, in fact, are but the names which we assign to habits; for the principles are words, but the habits are the things themselves: benefactors or tyrants, according as they are good or evil.
Charles F. Haanel (1866-1949) was a writer and businessman. He was born in Michigan, and began his business in St. Louis, where he built a powerful conglomerate.
He wrote several books, with the most notable by far being The Master Key System. Released in the 1910s, the book became a top seller for many years. In it, he devises a system for mental power and attainment of goals through thought and visualization techniques.
…The attitude of mind necessarily depends upon what we think. Therefore, the secret of all power, all achievement and all possession depends upon our method of thinking.
…The only way by which we may secure possession of power is to become conscious of power, and we can never become conscious of power until we learn that all power is from within.
There is a world within—a world of thought and feeling and power; of light and life and beauty and, although invisible, its forces are mighty. The world within is governed by mind.
When we discover this world, we shall find the solution for every problem, the cause for every effect; and since the world within is subject to our control, all laws of power and possession are also within our control. The world without is a reflection of the world within… If we recognize these potentialities in the world within they will take form in the world without.
Harmony in the world within will be reflected in the world without. … Harmony in the world within means the ability to control our thoughts, and to determine for ourselves how any experience is to affect us. The world without reflects the circumstances and the conditions of the consciousness within…
It is the coordination of these two centers of our being, and the understanding of their functions, which is the great secret of life. With this knowledge, we can bring the objective and subjective minds into conscious cooperation and thus coordinate the finite and the infinite. Our future is entirely within our own control. It is not at the mercy of any capricious or uncertain external power.
The operations of the mind are produced by two parallel modes of activity, the one conscious, and the other subconscious. …
The subconscious soul, like a benevolent stranger, works and makes provision for our benefit, pouring only the mature fruit into our lap. Thus, ultimate analysis of thought processes shows that the subconscious is the theatre of the most important mental phenomena.
Ease and perfection depend entirely upon the degree in which we cease to depend upon the consciousness; playing the piano, skating, operating the typewriter, the skilled trades, depend for their perfect execution on the process of the subconscious mind. The marvel of playing a brilliant piece on the piano, while at the same time conducting a vigorous conversation, shows the greatness of our subconscious powers. …
The value of the subconscious is enormous; it inspires us; it warns us; it furnishes us with names, facts and scenes from the storehouse of memory. It directs our thoughts, tastes, and accomplishes tasks so intricate that no conscious mind, even if it had the power, has the capacity for.
…The normal functions of the subconscious on the physical side have to do with the regular and vital processes, with the preservation of life and the restoration of health; with the care of offspring, which includes an instinctive desire to preserve all life and improve conditions generally.
On the mental side, it is the storehouse of memory; it harbors the wonderful thought messengers, who work, unhampered by time or space; it is the fountain of the practical initiative and constructive forces of life: It is the seat of habit.
On the spiritual side, it is the source of ideals, of aspiration, of the imagination, and is the channel through which we recognize our Divine Source, and in proportion as we recognize this divinity do we come into an understanding of the source of power.
The Solar Plexus is the point at which the part meets with the whole. … It is the point at which life appears and there is no limit to the amount of life an individual may generate from this Solar center.
… [It can] accomplish whatever it is directed to accomplish, and herein lies the power of the conscious mind; the subconscious can and will carry out such plans and ideas as may be suggested to it by the conscious mind.
Conscious thought, then, is master of this sun center from which the life and energy of the entire body flows and the quality of the thought which we entertain determines the quality of the thought which this sun will radiate, and the character of the thought which our conscious mind entertains will determine the character of the thought which this sun will radiate, and the nature of the thought which our conscious mind entertains will determine the nature of thought which this sun will radiate, and consequently will determine the nature of the experience which will result.
…The subconscious mind is responsive to our conscious will.
…[For this exercise session, be] still, and inhibit all thought as far as possible. … Relax, let go, let the muscles take their normal condition; this will remove all pressure from the nerves, and eliminate that tension which so frequently produces physical exhaustion.
Physical relaxation is a voluntary exercise of the will and the exercise will be found to be of great value, as it enables the blood to circulate freely to and from the brain and body.
Tensions leads to mental unrest and abnormal mental activity of the mind; it produces worry, care, fear and anxiety. Relaxation is therefore an absolute necessity in order to allow the mental faculties to exercise the greatest freedom.
Make this exercise as thorough and complete as possible, mentally determine that you will relax every muscle and nerve, until you feel quiet and restful and at peace with yourself and the world. The Solar Plexus will then be ready to function and you will be surprised at the result.
…When you have learned to control yourself you will have found the “World Within” which controls the world without; you will have become irresistible; men and things will respond to your every wish without any apparent effort on your part.
The Universal cannot express through you as long as you are busy with your plans, your own purposes; quiet the senses, seek inspiration, focus the mental activity on the within, dwell in the consciousness of your unity with Omnipotence…
Over-work or over-play or over-bodily activity of any kind produces conditions of mental apathy and stagnation which makes it impossible to do the more important work which results in a realization of conscious power. We should, therefore, seek the Silence frequently. Power comes through repose; it is in the Silence that we can be still, and when we are still, we can think, and thought is the secret of all attainment.
…In order to express power, abundance or any other constructive purpose, the emotions must be called upon to give feeling to the thought so that it will take form. How may this purpose be accomplished? … The reply is, by exercise. Mental strength is secured in exactly the same way that physical strength is secured, by exercise.
We think something, perhaps with difficulty the first time; we think the same thing again, and it becomes easier this time; we think it again and again; it then becomes a mental habit. We continue to think the same thing; finally it becomes automatic; we can no longer help thinking this thing; we are now positive of what we think; there is no longer any doubt about it. We are sure; we know.
… [In the last session,] I asked you to relax, to let go physically… [In this session,] I am going to ask you to let go mentally. If you practiced the exercise given you… [in the last session, for] fifteen or twenty minutes a day [for a week]… you can no doubt relax physically; and anyone who cannot consciously do this quickly and completely is not a master of himself. He has not obtained freedom; he is still a slave to conditions. But I shall assume that you have mastered the exercise and are ready to take the next step, which is mental freedom.
This week, after taking your usual position, remove all tension by completely relaxing, then mentally let go of all adverse conditions… You may say that you cannot “let go” of these things, but you can; you can do so by mentally determining to do so, by voluntary intention and persistence…
Practice makes perfect, in this as in everything else, and you must succeed in dismissing, eliminating and completely destroying these negative and destructive thoughts; because they are the seed which is constantly germinating into discordant conditions of every conceivable kind and description.
At least ninety per cent of our mental life is subconscious, so that those who fail to make use of this mental power live within very narrow limits. The subconscious can and will solve any problem for us if we know how to direct it.
The subconscious processes are always at work; the only question is, are we to be simply passive recipients of this activity, or are we to consciously direct the work? Shall we have a vision of the destination to be reached, the dangers to be avoided, or shall we simply drift?
This, then, is the way we are consistently creating and recreating ourselves; we are today the result of our past thinking, and we shall be what we are thinking today, the Law of Attraction is bringing to us, not the things we should like, or the things we wish for, or the things some one else has, but it brings us “our own,” the things which we have created by our thought processes, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Unfortunately, many of us are creating these things unconsciously.
Now, go to your room, take the same seat, the same position as heretofore [in the earlier exercises], and mentally select a place which has pleasant associations. Make a complete mental picture of it, see the buildings, the grounds, the trees, friends, associations, everything complete. At first, you will find yourself thinking of everything under the sun, except the ideal upon which you desire to concentrate. But do not let that discourage you. Persistence will win, but persistence requires that you practice these exercises every day without fail.
Attention or concentration is probably; the most important essential in the development of mind culture. The possibilities of attention when properly directed are so startling that they would hardly appear credible to the uninitiated. The cultivation of attention is the distinguishing characteristic of every successful man or woman, and is the very highest personal accomplishment which can be acquired.
The power of attention can be more readily understood by comparing it with a magnifying glass in which the rays of sunlight are focused; they possess no particular strength as long as the glass is moved about and the rays directed from one place to another; but let the glass be held perfectly still and let the rays be focused on one spot for any length of time, the effect will become immediately apparent.
So with the power of thought; let power be dissipated by scattering the thought from one object to another, and no result is apparent; but focus this power through attention or concentration on any single purpose for any length of time and nothing becomes impossible.
A very simple remedy for a very complex situation, some will say. All right, try it. … Choose any single object and concentrate your attention on it for a definite purpose for even ten minutes; you cannot do it; the mind will wander a dozen times and it will be necessary to bring it back to the original purpose, and each time the effect will have been lost and at the end of the ten minutes nothing will have been gained, because you have not been able to hold your thought steadily to the purpose.
It is, however, through attention that you will finally be able to overcome obstacles of any kind that appear in your path onward and upward, and the only way to acquire this wonderful power is by practice—practice makes perfect, in this as in anything else.
In order to cultivate the power of attention, bring a photograph with you to the same seat in the same room in the same position as heretofore. Examine it closely at least ten minutes, note the expression of the eyes, the form of the features, the clothing, the way the hair is arranged; in fact, note every detail shown on the photograph carefully.
Now cover it and close your eyes and try to see it mentally; if you can see every detail perfectly and can form a good mental image of the photograph, you are to be congratulated; if not, repeat the process until you can.
This step is simply for the purpose of preparing the soil… [In the next session], we shall be ready to sow the seed.
Visualization is the process of making mental images, and the image is the mold or model which will serve as a pattern from which your future will emerge. Make the pattern clear and make it beautiful; do not be afraid; make it grand; remember that no limitation can be placed upon you by any one but yourself; you are not limited as to cost or material; draw on the Infinite for your supply, construct it in your imagination; it will have to be there before it will ever appear anywhere else.
Make the image clear and clean-cut, hold it firmly in the mind and you will gradually and constantly bring the thing nearer to you. You can be what “you will to be.”… [Just] reading about it will not bring about any result which you may have in mind; it will not even help you to form the mental image, much less bring it into manifestation. Work is necessary—labor, hard mental labor, the kind of effort which so few are willing to put forth.
The first step is idealization. It is likewise the most important step, because it is the plan on which you are going to build. It must be solid; it must be permanent. …
…If you are not sure, return to the chair [where you do your exercises] daily until the picture becomes plain; it will gradually unfold; first the general plan will be dim, but it will take shape, the outline will take form, then the details, and you will gradually develop the power by which you will be enabled to formulate plans which will eventually materialize in the objective world. You will come to know what the future holds for you.
Then comes the process of visualization. You must see the picture more and more complete, see the detail, and, as the details begin to unfold the ways and means for bringing it into manifestation will develop. One thing will lead to another. Thought will lead to action, action will develop methods, methods will develop friends, and friends will bring about circumstances, and, finally, the third step, or Materialization, will have been accomplished…
The law is that thought will manifest in form, and only one who knows how to be the divine thinker of his own thoughts can ever take a Master’s place and speak with authority.
Clearness and accuracy are obtained only by repeatedly having the image in mind. Each repeated action renders the image more clear and accurate than the preceding, and in proportion to the clearness and accuracy of the image will the outward manifestation be.
You must build it firmly and securely in your mental world, the world within, before it can take form in the world without, and you can build nothing of value, even in the mental world unless you have the proper material. When you have the material, you can build anything you wish, but make sure of your material. You cannot make broadcloth from shoddy.
You may freely choose what you think, but the result of your thought is governed by an immutable law. Any line of thought persisted in cannot fail to produce its result in the character, health and circumstances of the individual. Methods whereby we can substitute habits of constructive thinking for those which we have found produce only undesirable effects are therefore of primary importance.
We all know that this is by no means easy. Mental habits are difficult to control, but it can be done and the way to do it is to begin at once to substitute constructive thought for destructive thought.
… [Analyze your thoughts, and] if it is necessary, if its manifestation in the objective will be a benefit, not only to yourself, but to all whom it may affect in any way, [then] keep it; treasure it; it is of value… [and] it will grow and develop and produce fruit an hundred fold.
On the other hand, it will be well for you to keep this quotation from George Matthews Adams, in mind: “Learn to keep the door shut, keep out of your mind, out of your office, and out of your world, every element that seeks admittance with no definite helpful end in view.”
If your thought has been critical or destructive, and has resulted in any condition of discord or inharmony in your environment, it may be necessary for you to cultivate a mental attitude which will be conducive to constructive thought. The imagination will be found to be a great assistance in this direction; the cultivation of the imagination leads to the development of the ideal out of which your future will emerge… Imagination is the light by which we can penetrate new worlds of thought and experience…
Constructive imagination means mental labor, by some considered to be the hardest kind of labor, but, if so, it yields the greatest returns, for all the great things in life have come to men and women who had the capacity to think, to imagine, and to make their dreams come true. When you have become thoroughly conscious of the fact that Mind is the only creative principle, that it is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent, and that you can consciously come into harmony with this Omnipotence through your power of thought, you will have taken a long step in the right direction.
The next step is to place yourself in position to receive this power. As it is Omnipresent, it must be within you. We know that this is so because we know that all power is from within, but it must be developed, unfolded, cultivated; in order to do this we must be receptive, and this receptivity is acquired just as physical strength is gained, by exercise.
The law of attraction will certainly and unerringly bring to you the conditions, environment, and experiences in life, corresponding with your habitual, characteristic, predominant mental attitude. Not what you think once in a while when you are in church, or have just read a good book, BUT your predominant mental attitude is what counts.
You can not entertain weak, harmful, negative thoughts ten hours a day and expect to bring about beautiful, strong and harmonious conditions by ten minutes of strong, positive, creative thought.
Real power comes from within. All power that anybody can possibly use is within man, only waiting to be brought into visibility by his first recognizing it, and then affirming it as his, working it into his consciousness until he becomes one with it.
…The recognition and demonstration of knowledge is what constitutes power, and this power is spiritual power, and this spiritual power is the power which lies at the heart of all things; it is the soul of the universe.
Successful men make it their business to hold ideals of the conditions which they wish to realize. They constantly hold in mind the next step necessary to the ideal for which they are striving.
Thoughts are the materials with which they build, and the imagination is their mental workshop. Mind is the ever-moving force with which they secure the persons and circumstance necessary to build their success structure, and imagination is the matrix in which all great things are fashioned.
If you have been faithful to your ideal, you will hear the call when circumstances are ready to materialize your plans and results will correspond in the exact ratio of your fidelity to your ideal. The ideal steadily held is what predetermines and attracts the necessary conditions for its fulfillment.
Visualization is the mechanism of the attachment which you require. Visualization is a very different process from seeing; seeing is physical, and is therefore related to the objective world, the “world without,” but Visualization is a product of the imagination, and is therefore a product of the subjective mind, the “world within.”
It, therefore, possesses vitality; it will grow. The thing visualized will manifest itself in form. The mechanism is perfect… but unfortunately, sometimes the operator is inexperienced or inefficient; but practice and determination will overcome this defect.
Man is the sum total of his own thoughts; so the question is, how are we going to entertain only the good thoughts and reject the evil ones? At first we can’t keep the evil thoughts from coming, but we can keep from entertaining them. The only way to do this is to forget them—which means, get something for them. This is where the ready-made affirmation comes into play.
[For this session], visualize a plant; take a flower, the one you most admire, bring it from the unseen into the seen, plant the tiny seed, water it, care for it, place it where it will get the direct rays of the morning sun, see the seed burst; it is now a living thing, something which is alive and beginning to search for the means of subsistence. See the roots penetrating the earth, watch them shoot out in all directions and remember that they are living cells dividing and subdividing, and that they will soon number millions, that each cell is intelligent, that it knows what is wants and knows how to get it.
See the stem shoot forward and upward, watch it burst through the surface of the earth, see it divide and form branches, see how perfect and symmetrical each branch is formed, see the leaves begin to form, and then the tiny stems, each one holding aloft a bud, and as you watch you see the bud begin to unfold and your favorite flower comes to view; and now if you will concentrate intently you will become conscious of a fragrance; it is the fragrance of the flower as the breeze gently sways the beautiful creation which you have visualized.
When you are enabled to make your vision clear and complete, you will be enabled to enter into the spirit of a thing; it will become very real to you; you will be learning to concentrate and the process is the same, whether you are concentrating on health, a favorite flower, an ideal, a complicated business proposition or any other problem of life.
Every success has been accomplished by persistent concentration upon the object in view.
Knowledge will not apply itself. You must make the application. Abundance will not come to you out of the sky, neither will it drop into your lap, but a conscious realization of the law of attraction and the intention to bring it into operation for a certain, definite and specific purpose, and the will to carry out this purpose will bring about the materialization of your desire by a natural law of transference…
…[In this session,] select a blank space on the wall, or any other convenient spot, from where you usually sit. Mentally draw a black horizontal line about six inches long, try to see the line as plainly as though it were painted on the wall. Now mentally draw two vertical lines connecting with this horizontal line at either end. Now draw another horizontal line connecting with the two vertical lines; now you have a square.
Try to see the square perfectly; when you can do so draw a circle within the square. Now place a point in the center of the circle. Now draw the point toward you about 10 inches. Now you have a cone on a square base; you will remember that your work was all in black; change it to white, to red, to yellow.
If you can do this, you are making excellent progress and will soon be enabled to concentrate on any problem you may have in mind.
We are first to believe that our desire has already been fulfilled, its accomplishment will then follow. This is a concise direction for making use of the creative power of thought by impressing on the Universal subjective mind, the particular thing which we desire as an already existing fact.
We are thus thinking on the plane of the absolute and eliminating all consideration of conditions or limitation and are planting a seed which, if left undisturbed, will finally germinate into external fruition.
The fruit of this thought is, as it were, a gift… but a gift which few as yet realize, appreciate, or understand. The recognition of the marvelous power which is possessed by the mind under proper conditions and the fact that this power can be utilized, directed, and made available for the solution of every human problem is of transcendental importance.
We all know many who have achieved the seemingly impossible, who have realized life-long dreams, who have changed everything including themselves. We have sometimes marveled at the demonstration of an apparently irresistible power, which seemed to be ever available just when it was most needed, but it is all clear now. All that is required is an understanding of certain definite fundamental principles and their proper application.
There is no purpose in life that cannot be best accomplished through a scientific understanding of the creative power of thought. This power to think is common to all. Man is, because he thinks. Man’s power to think is infinite, consequently his creative power is unlimited.
Thought is a spiritual activity and is therefore creative; but make no mistake, thought will create nothing unless it is consciously, systematically, and constructively directed; and herein is the difference between idle thinking, which is simply a dissipation of effort, and constructive thinking, which means practically unlimited achievement.
All things have their origin in mind, and appearances are the result of thought. So that we see that things in themselves have no origin, permanency, or reality. Since they are produced by thought, they can be erased by thought…
Back of every effect there is a cause, and if we follow the trail to its starting point, we shall find the creative principle out of which it grew.
…As the thought changes, all outward or material conditions must change in order to be in harmony with their creator, which is thought. But the thought must be clear cut, steady, fixed, definite, unchangeable; you cannot take one step forward and two steps backward, neither can you spend twenty or thirty years of your life building up negative conditions as the result of negative thoughts, and then expect to see them all melt away as the result of fifteen or twenty minutes of right thinking.
If you enter into the discipline necessary to bring about a radical change in your life, you must do so deliberately, after giving the matter careful thought and full consideration, and then you must allow nothing to interfere with your decision. This discipline, this change of thought, this mental attitude will not only bring you the material things which are necessary for your highest and best welfare, but will bring health and harmonious conditions generally.
If you wish harmonious conditions in your life, you must develop a harmonious mental attitude. Your world without will be a reflection of your world within.
…[For this session,] concentrate on Harmony, and when I say concentrate, I mean all that the word implies; concentrate so deeply, so earnestly, that you will be conscious of nothing but harmony. Remember, we learn by doing. Reading these lessons will get you nowhere. It is in the practical application that the value consists.
Difficulties, inharmonies, and obstacles, indicate that we are either refusing to give out what we no longer need, or refusing to accept what we require. Growth is attained through an exchange of the old for the new, of the good for the better; it is a conditional or reciprocal action, for each of us is a complete thought entity and this completeness makes it possible for us to receive only as we give.
We cannot obtain what we lack if we tenaciously cling to what we have. We are able to consciously control our conditions as we come to sense the purpose of what we attract, and are able to extract from each experience only what we require for our further growth. Our ability to do this determines the degree of harmony or happiness we attain.
The ability to appropriate what we require for our growth, continually increases as we reach higher planes and broader visions, and the greater our abilities to know what we require, the more certain we shall be to discern its presence, to attract it and to absorb it. Nothing may reach us except what is necessary for our growth.
Thought may lead to action of any kind, but whatever the action, it is simply the thought attempting to express itself in visible form. It is evident, therefore, that if we wish desirable conditions, we can afford to entertain only desirable thoughts.
Words may become mental places that will live forever, or they may become shacks which the first breeze will carry away. They may delight the eye as well as the ear; they may contain all knowledge; in them we find the history of the past as well as the hope of the future; they are living messengers from which every human and superhuman activity is born.
…The creative power of thought places an invincible weapon in… [someone’s] hands, and makes him a master of destiny.
The power to create depends entirely upon spiritual power; there are three steps, idealization, visualization and materialization. Every captain of industry depends upon this power exclusively.
In an article in Everybody’s Magazine, Henry M. Flagler, the Standard Oil multi-millionaire, admitted that the secret of his success was his power to see a thing in its completeness. The following conversation with the reporter shows his power of idealization, concentration and visualization, all spiritual powers:
“Did you actually vision to yourself the whole thing? I mean, did you, or could you, really close your eyes and see the tracks? And the trains running? And hear the whistles blowing? Did you go as far as that?”
Whatever enters the mind through the senses or the objective mind will impress the mind and result in a mental image which will become a pattern for the creative energies. These experiences are largely the result of environment, chance, past thinking, and other forms of negative thought, and must be subjected to careful analysis before being entertained.
On the other hand, we can form our own mental images, through our own interior processes of thought regardless of the thoughts of others, regardless of exterior conditions, regardless of environment of every kind, and it is by the exercise of this power that we can control our own destiny, body, mind and soul.
It is by the exercise of this power that we take our fate out of the hands of chance, and consciously make for ourselves the experiences which we desire, because when we consciously realize a condition, that condition will eventually manifest in our lives; it is therefore evident that in the last analysis thinking is the one great cause in life.
Therefore, to control thought is to control circumstances, conditions, environment, and destiny. How then are we to control thought; what is the process? To think is to create a thought, but the result of the thought will depend upon its form, its quality and its vitality.
The form will depend upon the mental images from which it emanates; this will depend upon the depth of the impression, the predominance of the idea, the clarity of the vision, the boldness of the image. The quality depends upon its substance, and this depends upon the material of which the mind is composed; if this material has been woven from thoughts of vigor, strength, courage, determination, the thought will possess these qualities.
And finally, the vitality depends upon the feeling with which the thought is impregnated. If the thought is constructive, it will possess vitality; it will have life, it will grow, develop, expand, it will be creative; it will attract to itself everything necessary for its complete development. If the thought is destructive, it will have within itself the germ of its own dissolution; it will die, but in the process of dying, it will bring sickness, disease, and every other form of discord… If our thought is constructive and harmonious we manifest good; if it is destructive and discordant we manifest evil.
If you wish to bring about the realization of any desire, form a mental picture of success in your mind, by consciously visualizing your desire; in this way you will be compelling success, you will be externalizing it in your life by scientific methods.
We can only see what already exists in the objective world, but what we visualize, already exists in the spiritual world, and this visualization is a substantial token of what will one day appear in the objective world, if we are faithful to our ideal. The reason for this is not difficult; visualization is a form of imagination; this process of thinking forms impressions on the mind, and these impressions in turn form concepts and ideals, and they in turn are the plans from which the Master architect will weave the future.
The psychologists have come to the conclusion that there is but one sense, the sense of feeling, and that all other senses are but modifications of this one sense; this being true, we know why feeling is the very fountain head of power, why the emotions so easily overcome the intellect, and why we must put feeling into our thought, if we wish results. Thought and feeling is the irresistible combination.
Visualization must, of course, be directed by the will; we are to visualize exactly what we want; we must be careful not to let the imagination run riot. Imagination is a good servant but a poor master, and unless it is controlled it may easily lead us into all kinds of speculations and conclusions which have no basis or foundation of fact whatever. Every kind of plausible opinion is liable to be accepted without any analytical examination and the inevitable result is mental chaos.
Continuous concentration means an even, unbroken flow of thought and is the result of patient, persistent, persevering and well-regulated system. Great discoveries are the result of long-continued investigation. The science of mathematics requires years of concentrated effort to master it, and the greatest science—that of the Mind—is revealed only through concentrated effort.
Concentration is much misunderstood; there seems to be an idea of effort or activity associated with it, when just the contrary is necessary. The greatness of an actor lies in the fact that he forgets himself in the portrayal of his character, becoming so identified with it, that the audience is swayed by the realism of the performance. This will give you a good idea of true concentration; you should be so interested in your thought, so engrossed in your subject, as to be conscious of nothing else. Such concentration leads to intuitive perception and immediate insight into the nature of the object concentrated upon.
All knowledge is the result of concentration of this kind; it is thus that the secrets of Heaven and Earth have been wrested; it is thus that the mind becomes a magnet and the desire to know draws the knowledge, irresistibly attracts it, makes it your own…
The subconscious mind may be aroused and brought into action in any direction and made to serve us for any purpose, by concentration. The practice of concentration requires the control of the physical, mental, and physical being; all modes of consciousness whether physical, mental, or physical, must be under control…
Concentration does not mean mere thinking of thoughts, but the transmutation of these thoughts into practical values...
In realizing great thoughts, in experiencing great emotions that correspond with great thoughts, the mind is in a state where it appreciates the value of higher things. The intensity of one moment’s earnest concentration and the intense longing to become and to attain may take you further than years of slow normal and forced effort; it will unfasten the prison bars of unbelief, weakness, impotence and self-belittlement, and you will come into a realization of the joy of overcoming.
Many of the sturdy and substantial virtues are developed in commercial employment; the mind is steadied and directed; it becomes efficient. The principal necessity is the strengthening of the mind so that it rises superior to the distractions and wayward impulses of instinctive life and thus successfully overcomes in the conflict between the higher and lower self.
All of us are dynamos, but the dynamo of itself is nothing; the mind must work the dynamo; then it is useful and its energy can be definitely concentrated. The mind is an engine whose power is undreamed; thought is an omni-working power. It is the ruler and creator of all form and all events occurring in form. Physical energy is nothing in comparison with the omnipotence of thought, because thought enables man to harness all other natural power.
…There is nothing mysterious concerning the power of thought; concentration simply implies that consciousness can be focalized to the point where it becomes identified with the object of its attention. As food absorbed is the essence of the body, so the mind absorbs the object of its attention, gives it life and being.
If you concentrate on some matter of importance, the intuitive power will be set in operation, and help will come in the nature of information which will lead to success.
Intuition arrives at conclusions without the aid of experience or memory. Intuition often solves problems that are beyond the grasp of the reasoning power. Intuition often comes with a suddenness that is startling; it reveals the truth for which we are searching, so directly that it seems to come from a higher power. Intuition can be cultivated and developed; in order to do this it must be recognized and appreciated; if the intuitive visitor is given a royal welcome when he comes, he will come again; the more cordial the welcome the more frequent his visits will become, but if he is ignored or neglected he will make his visits few and far apart.
Intuition usually comes in the Silence; great minds seek solitude frequently; it is here that all the larger problems of life are worked out…
You may be pursuing the symbols of power, instead of power itself. You may be pursuing fame instead of honor, riches instead of wealth, position instead of servitude; in either event you will find that they turn to ashes just as you overtake them…
The race has usually been for money and other mere symbols of power, but with an understanding of the true source of power, we can afford to ignore the symbols. The man with a large bank account finds it unnecessary to load his pockets down with gold; so with the man who has found the true source of power; he is no longer interested in its shams or pretensions.
…[For your exercise this session,] concentrate as nearly as possible in accordance with the method outlined in this lesson; let there be no conscious effort or activity associated with your purpose. Relax completely; avoid any thought of anxiety as to results. Remember that power comes through repose. Let the thought dwell upon your object, until it is completely identified with it, until you are conscious of nothing else.
If you wish to eliminate fear, concentrate on courage.
If you wish to eliminate lack, concentrate on abundance.
If you wish to eliminate disease, concentrate on health.
Always concentrate on the ideal as an already existing fact; this is the germ cell, the life principle which goes forth and sets in motion those causes which guide, direct and bring about the necessary relation, which eventually manifest in form.
Thought is the energy which the law of attraction is brought into operation, which eventually manifests in abundance… The use of this power depends upon attention; the degree of attention determines our capacity for the acquirement of knowledge which is another name for power.
Attention has been held to be the distinguishing mark of genius. The cultivation of attention depends upon practice. The incentive of attention is interest; the greater the interest, the greater the attention; the greater the attention, the greater the interest, action and reaction; begin by paying attention; before long you will have aroused interest; this interest will attract more attention, and this attention will produce more interest, and so on. This practice will enable you to cultivate the power of attention.
…[For this exercise session,] concentrate, and when I use the word concentrate, I mean all that the word implies; become so absorbed in the object of your thought that you are conscious of nothing else, and do this a few minutes every day…
Let the thought rest on the fact that appearances are deceptive. The earth is not flat, neither is it stationary; the sky is not a dome, the sun does not move, the stars are not small specks of light, and matter which was once supposed to be fixed has been found to be in a state of perpetual flux.
Try to realize that the day is fast approaching—its dawn is now at hand—when modes of thought and action must be adjusted to rapidly increasing knowledge of the operation of eternal principles.
When you begin to perceive that the essence of the Universal is within yourself—is you—you begin to do things; you begin to feel your power; it is the fuel which fires the imagination; which lights the torch of inspiration; which gives vitality to thought; which enables you to connect with all the invisible forces of the Universe. It is this power which will enable you to plan fearlessly, to execute masterfully.
The real secret of power is consciousness of power. …
Large ideas have a tendency to eliminate all smaller ideas so that it is well to hold ideas large enough to counteract and destroy all small or undesirable tendencies. This will remove innumerable petty and annoying obstacles from your path. You also become conscious of a larger world of thought, thereby increasing your mental capacity as well as placing yourself in position to accomplish something of value.
This is one of the secrets of success, one of the methods of organizing victory, one of the accomplishments of the Master-Mind. He thinks big thoughts. The creative energies of mind find no more difficulty in handling large situations, than small ones. Mind is just as much present in the Infinitely large as in the Infinitely small.
It is, however, no easy matter to change the mental attitude, but by persistent effort it may be accomplished; the mental attitude is patterned after the mental pictures which have been photographed on the brain; if you do not like the pictures, destroy the negatives and create new pictures; this is the art of visualization. As soon as you have done this you will begin to attract new things, and the new things will correspond to the new pictures. To do this: impress on the mind a perfect picture of the desire which you wish to have objectified and continue to hold the picture in mind until results are obtained.
If the desire is one which requires determination, ability, talent, courage, power or any other spiritual power, these are necessary essentials for your picture; build them in; they are the vital part of the picture; they are the feeling which combines with thought and creates the irresistible magnetic power which draws the things you require to you. They give your picture life, and life means growth, and as soon as it beings to grow, the result is practically assured.
Do not hesitate to aspire to the highest possible attainments in anything you may undertake, for the mind forces are ever ready to lend themselves to a purposeful will in the effort to crystallize its highest aspirations into acts, accomplishments, and events.
An illustration of how these mind forces operate is suggested by the method in which all our habits are formed. We do a thing, then do it again, and again, and again, until it becomes easy and perhaps almost automatic; and the same rule applies in breaking any and all bad habits; we stop doing a thing, and then avoid it again, and again until we are entirely free from it; and if we do fail now and then, we should by no means lose hope, for the law is absolute and invincible and gives us credit for every effort and every success, even though our efforts and successes are perhaps intermittent.
There is no limit to what this law can do for you; dare to believe in your own idea; remember that Nature is plastic to the ideal; think of the ideal as an already accomplished fact.
The real battle of life is one of ideas; it is being fought out by the few against the many; on the one side is the constructive and creative thought, on the other side the destructive and negative thought; the creative thought is dominated by an ideal, the passive thought is dominated by appearances. On both sides are men of science, men of letters, and men of affairs.
If there is any physical condition which it is necessary to change, the law governing visualization will be found effective. Make a mental image of physical perfection, hold it in the mind until it is absorbed by the consciousness. Many have eliminated chronic ailments in a few weeks by this method, and thousands have overcome and destroyed all manner of ordinary physical disturbances by this method in a few days, sometimes in a few minutes.
Let us see how the action of the subconscious mind over the body differs. You receive a wound; thousands of cells being the work of healing at once; in a few days or a few weeks the work is complete. You may even break a bone. No surgeon on earth can weld the parts together (I am not referring to the insertion of rods or other devices to strengthen or replace bones). He may set the bone for you, and the subjective mind will immediately begin the process of welding the parts together, and in a short time the bone is as solid as it ever was.
You may swallow poison; the subjective mind will immediately discover the danger and make violent efforts to eliminate it. You may become infected with a dangerous germ; the subjective will at once commence to build a wall around the infected area and destroy the infection by absorbing it in the white blood corpuscles which it supplies for the purpose.
These processes of the subconscious mind usually proceed without our personal knowledge or direction, and so long as we do not interfere the result is perfect, but, as these millions of repair cells are all intelligent and respond to our thought, they are often paralyzed and rendered impotent by our thoughts of fear, doubt, and anxiety. They are like an army of workmen, ready to start an important piece of work, but every time they get started on the undertaking a strike is called, or plans changed, until they finally get discouraged and give up…
Every cell in your body is intelligent and will respond to your direction. The cells are all creators and will create the exact pattern which you give them. Therefore, when perfect images are placed before the subjective, the creative energies will build a perfect body.
A few very minor changes on the original text in order to make it more suitable for the modern reader. Most of these are changes in comma placement, capitalization, paragraph breakup, punctuation, elimination of obscure spellings, etc. Additionally, the words “people” or “person” have been substituted for “man” or “men” in many cases.
… is used to denote breaks in text.
 marks are used to enclose words and notes added to improve the clarity and flow of passages, and to provide background information where suitable.Faith Healing
FINDING NEW LEADERSHIP FROM PAST WISDOM
(Los Angeles, CA; July 6, 2005) Effective leadership has always been a necessity for any human endeavor, be it military, political, or commercial in nature. This being the case, one can look to the great minds of the past for documentation that provides a framework for such leadership. Rodney Ohebsion’s new book, The New Art of War, Tactics, and Power, does just that by bringing excerpts from the following four literary works: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, Baltasar Gracian’s The Art of World Wisdom, and writings of Han Fei Tzu.
Each literary work came from a different time and place and served a different purpose, and yet they cover the issues that all leaders face—strategy, power, and organization, to name a few. Consequently, The New Art of War, Tactics, and Power appeals to individuals from all backgrounds and experiences.
The following excerpt quotes The Art of Worldly Wisdom on the subject of social interactions: “Have relationships with people who can teach you, and let this social interaction be a school of knowledge. This will make your companions your teachers, and combine the pleasures of social interaction with the advantages of instruction.”
By selecting appropriate excerpts and labeling in an organized fashion, Ohebsion has formatted The New Art of War, Tactics, and Power to be clear and easy to understand.
The New Art of War, Tactics, and Power is currently available for purchase at www.amazon.com. More information about the book can also be found at the Immediex Publishing website www.immediex.com