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Chapter 11 - WHAT is success?
WHAT is success? To one it means one thing and to another it may mean something quite different. Some desire happiness and love above all things and could they but gain these would count themselves successful in the highest degree, even though their circumstances remained humble and comparatively poor. Some desire fame and distinction in science, their ambition is to invent, to discover or investigate, to do something that has never been done before, the only reward that they seek being the joy of accomplishment. Some again desire to be great in music, painting, in sculpture, others seek to be leaders in their chosen profession of medicine, law, preaching or politics. Others have ambitions to serve their day and generation, to give and be spent in the service of humanity. Some seek mental, and others, spiritual attainments, some again would be perfectly satisfied if they could obtain perfect health. Success in its lowest form is the acquisition of wealth, the building up of large businesses, or the earning of a large income. Although this aim is not so lofty as its predecessors, yet it is not an unworthy ambition, and if kept within bounds, will result in benefit to the community, and not too great a burden to the individual.
Whatever your ambition may be, follow it. Whatever you have a taste for, whatever it is you have a burning desire to accomplish, follow it and strive after it. It is useless to try and be successful if you are a round peg in a square hole. Before you can make your life a full and abundant success, you must find your "niche" and fill it. There is, somewhere in the world, work for you to do; work, which no one else can do as well, and which no one else can do in quite the same way. Many are the illustrations one could bring forward in support of this. Men who were anything and everything and unsuccessful in all, until at last they hit upon something which they could do a little better than anybody else and which brought them the most amazing success.
If you have an ambition, follow it, seek it, concentrate all your energies upon it. Bend and focus all the faculties of your mind towards its accomplishment. Fortunes have never been made, neither have high ideals ever been attained by half-hearted or luke-warm effort. Hit the nail of ambition on the head with all your might and strength, don't tap it like you would a tin-tack. Strive manfully, relying upon the Power within you, and sooner or later great success will be yours.
If you have not yet found your niche, seek for it: "Seek and ye shall find" is true of the mental world as it is of the spiritual. Seek, and keep on seeking, and interior illumination will show you the path, and open up the way. While searching for your niche, do not neglect your business or profession or work. Some have been foolish enough to throw up their present calling before looking for a fresh one. Needless to say this is not the course that these lessons recommend. Be like Tom Barron the poultry breeder. At one time a poor shoemaker he kept a few chickens for hobby and profit. He developed a great liking and genius for rearing chickens, but he stuck to his last. However, there carne a day when his poultry rearing house became so lucrative, that after a long consultation with his wife Tom Barron decided to give up his shoe-mending and devote his whole time to poultry. Now all the world knows Tom Barron, the greatest expert in the business, the most successful rearer of egg laying strains and the richest man who ever made money out of poultry. Mix caution with your ambition, do not be headstrong, be a blend of tremendous energy, burning ambition and wholesome caution and restraint.
The way out of undesirable conditions, the path by which you will find your niche in life where your work will be an everlasting and surpassing joy, is by doing your duty in your present sphere and listening to, and obeying, THE INWARD VOICE OF WISDOM.
If you shirk duty and responsibility in order to "get on" you defeat yourself and curse your life. On the other hand, if you do your duty, however unpleasant, and shoulder, with cheerfulness, your responsibilities, no matter how heavy, affirming success, visualizing better conditions, listening to the inward voice of wisdom, you will find that sooner or later the way will be opened up before you in a wonderful manner, and you will enter into a life of great joy and usefulness. The outward life will and must conform to the inward life, sooner or later the change must come, but only if you are calm, untroubled and serene.
In your desire to find a way out of undesirable conditions, do not be tempted to take any short cut, be guided only by the inward voice of intuition. No matter how anxious you are to change your conditions, do not persuaded to do anything that will not bear the strictest examination in the light of your highest concept of Truth.
Therefore take these "Nevers" as sign-posts and beacons to warn you from short cuts, so-called, which lead only to disaster and failure.
Never wrong anyone. Never betray a trust. Never go back on your word. Never do anything selfish. Never repudiate an agreement. Never shirk your responsibilities. Never do anything that looks mean in the light of your Perfect World of Mind.
Finally, live your life to a principle, the principle of Truth, Justice and Love.
In choosing your ambition, but more often of course it is that ambition chooses you, but whichever it is, examine it carefully and see just where it is going to lead you. Even if ambition chooses you, you still have the power to exercise restraint and to modify it according to reason. Ask yourself the question, "Am I prepared to pay the price of success?" If it is money and business success that you are going to seek, are you prepared to pay the price?
Remember that men of this type live laborious days. They can never get away from their business. Many have telephones by their bedside, some have a bedroom and bathroom at their office, so that in times of stress they need not go home, but can work twenty and sometimes even twenty-two hours a day. Unless gifts with constitutions of iron such men become nervous wrecks and most of them have no enjoyment in life outside their business. Their wealth is of no use to them. In order to keep fit they have to live on the most simple fare and, as regards work and recreation, a navvy or a convict has an easy and congenial time in comparison. Their only joy is the joy of accomplishment, the glow of satisfaction at having achieved. Are you prepared to pay the price that such a success demands? If you are, go forward, and if you really believe you can succeed, and have built up your mental powers and character on the lines laid down in these lessons, you MUST succeed. Do not blame me however if you find wealth and success of this type rather a burden. The only satisfaction to be got out of it is the satisfaction of having built up a big business. I speak from experience. I went in for this type of success and in three years created, out of nothing, one of the largest businesses of its kind in the United States. But, whereas, when I had lived in a very small house and had to economize on a very tiny income, I had been very happy, when I became passing rich, the owner of a big business, and could keep one or two motor cars and other things to match, I certainly was not as happy. I would have been happier if I had modified my ambition, and had been satisfied with a smaller business, a less generous income, and had had in consequence more leisure and. opportunity for self improvement.
To all who are starting out on the road to success I offer this advice. Think well before you start, because once you have started you cannot turn back. Even if after a time you find that you have made a mistake you must keep on, because to chop and change your mental image about is to court disaster and to bring confusion into your life. When once you have put your hand to the plough you must never look back, therefore before starting make sure that you are starting on the right road. After all, the satisfying of a great ambition is not the best thing in life. If you will sacrifice part of your ambition and thus live a more normal and well-balanced life, your life will, in its broad sense, be more successful than if you sacrifice everything to the accomplishment of your desires. One can become a millionaire and be but a poor shrivelled soul in other respects. Far better is it, and I speak from experience, to aim for a broader ideal, to aspire to prosperity rather than great wealth; to desire health and happiness and peace of mind rather than to sacrifice these things at the altar of ambition.
Far better is it to build up character than a great business, to develop an insight into Nature's beauties than to own a million dollars; it is far better to enjoy good health, refreshing sleep, and a splendid appetite, than to own a kingdom and at the same time suffer from "nerves" and dyspepsia.
But whatever your ambition may be, once you have started, stick to it, do not change until your object is achieved. If you choose wealth, continue to pursue it; if greatness, concentrate all your powers on winning it, affirm its accomplishment; visualize yourself having achieved the object of your endeavors. If you will do this success will be yours.
To change about is fatal. Success is largely a matter of concentration, it is equally dependent upon staying power. Having settled upon your ambition, concentrate upon it. Let nothing turn you aside. Having mapped out your path, pursue it. No matter what opposition or difficulty you may encounter, go straight on. Remember that thought is the most powerful and wonderful power in the Universe, and that you can control your thought; therefore by controlling your thought you have perfect mastery over the most potent force of which we have any knowledge. Having perfect mastery over these most potent forces you therefore have control over your life and circumstances, and there is nothing that can prevent your ultimate success, save your own lack of faith and staying power.
Your mind actually has creative power, not in a figurative sense but in reality. All that you see with your bodily eyes is matter vibrating at different rates. The matter that you can see in this way is coarse matter. With your mind's eye you can see other matter of a finer nature. With your mind you can mold this finer matter into any pattern you please. What you create in your mind in this way, in other words, that which you visualize, if persistently held to, will form the matrix out of which will grow your outer life. The coarser particles of the outer life are shaped on the model of the pattern formed in the finer matter of the mind. This is why these lessons have persistently taught you to cast your mind in a certain attitude of thought and to visualize all that you wished to accomplish. By the use of affirmations which is thought control in its most practical form you have learned to make the most powerful use of the greatest of all powers, viz.: Thought; by visualization you put into operation a power known to the old occultists but withheld from the multitude until now. Visualization is a form of concentrated thought. It is only possible as a result of intense concentration. It is thought materialized in fine matter of mind-stuff. Therefore the more real and clear and sharply defined your mental image is, the greater your powers of concentration. The power to concentrate can be developed, and it is developed, as your power of visualizing grows. The value of concentration in business, in study, in fact, in any effort to accomplish and achieve is too well-known to need any comment. It enables you when confronted with a difficult task to get your teeth right into it and to go right to the very heart of the subject without fatigue or brain weariness. The greatest lawyers and counsel, the ablest scientists and investigators, the most successful men of affairs and business, Are those with the greatest powers of concentration. Some possess this power naturally, others can acquire it. As far as I know this course of lessons is the only serious attempt to teach this power. By the methods taught in this course you can, by the constant use of affirmations, and by persevering in the visualizing lessons, develop a degree of concentration power almost unknown in the West, approximating somewhat to the powers of certain Eastern adepts who have made concentration and mind control the study of centuries.
The writer can concentrate his whole mind and thought upon the point of a pencil for minutes at a time. Try it, and see how soon your attention wavers, how your mind wanders about the point of the pencil, but never on it. You think of other things such as concentration, of being determined to think of nothing but the point; the mind wanders off into a hundred and one things and has to be brought back again and again by an effort of the will, finally you give it up and acknowledge that is a very difficult thing to do.
When you can concentrate your whole mind and thought on the point of a needle for one minute, you will be able to accomplish anything to which you give your attention. You will have the power to take up a subject, examine it, decide upon it and then to dismiss the matter entirely from your mind. Can you estimate this power at its proper value? Instead of lying awake all night worrying over a business problem, you dismiss it from your mind and have a good night's rest, and arise in the morning with fresh energy and strength AND WITH YOUR PROBLEM SOLVED.
All your powers of concentration must be focused on the achievement of your ambition. A clear and well defined image of what you intend to accomplish must be constantly held in the mind, AND NEVER CHANGED UNTIL THE OBJECT AIMED AT is achieved.
Visualize and affirm success, denying evil and failure, constantly and perseveringly, this is the path to success.
Remember that success is not only a matter of concentration -- it is also a question of staying power. How many a promising career has been ruined by lack of perseverance and "stickability." In business and in other competitive walks of life, it is frequently the one with the longest wind who wins. The brilliant, the clever, the ones with every advantage, drop out by the way, and leave the field clear for the plodder and sticker. Therefore hold the thought "I am Success" constantly in your mind let it color all your actions, inspire all your deeds. Hold the perfect image of your success as a clear picture in your mind, persevere and hang on, and grow not weary in well doing; then whatever it is that you are aiming for will be accomplished. Be assured of this, and, again, I speak from experience, not only will your vision of success be accomplished, but it will be exceeded beyond your wildest dreams. March on, your ultimate success is as certain as the rising and setting of the sun, as sure as the tides of the eternal sea.
Make your own denials and affirmations now and henceforth, and use them as difficulties arise. Do not try to do anything without consulting your inner self and thus bringing your inward powers to action. If you feel gloomy, affirm that you are bright and cheerful; then will your gloom be chased away like mist before the morning sun. If you feel tired, affirm that you are fresh and vigorous and free from fatigue; then act accordingly, and you will find that your lethargy has flown away. If you feel care-worn, raise yourself mentally above the petty things of life, and you will find yourself dwelling on a plane, where worry and care cannot exist.
If you need guidance in the face of difficulty, when the finite mind of the senses is perplexed and at the limit of its resources, then retire into yourself and receive wisdom and guidance from the Great Within. Put the matter that is perplexing you out of your mind and dismiss every thought as it comes, until at last the mind is entirely free from thought -- until it is a complete blank. When you have done this you have separated yourself entirely from the world and the life of the senses and your are in touch with the Infinite Mind of the Universe. Then will the answer come, in the still, small voice which is in every man, if he would but know it and listen for it. Whatever the answer is, act upon it, for it is the divinest wisdom.
Another method is to raise oneself mentally above the fret and fever of life, and deny evil and affirm the Infinite Good until you get a clear concept of your Perfect World of Mind. The worry or perplexity will follow you even there, but when it does, deny its existence and affirm perfect peace, perfect wisdom, perfect knowledge, perfect understanding. Affirm that man is a perfect mental creature, one with the Infinite Mind, and, therefore, in his higher self, can never be perplexed or troubled by the trivial things of the material life. Again and again the worry will come, but if you will each time deny it and affirm your perfect higher self, the possessor of all wisdom and knowledge and understanding, the thought will get weaker and weaker until it is killed altogether. Now contemplate the wonders and delights of the perfect World of Mind for a time and, after that turn immediately to, and occupy the mind with some other matter. The answer will come, the problem will be solved, and the way will be opened before you in a wonderful manner.
Another way is as follows: Just as you are going to sleep, after conquering the worry thought and rising superior to it, in your Perfect World of Mind, simply hold the problem in your mind in an expectant way, believing and affirming that in the morning the problem will be solved. When the morning arrives you will find on awaking, the solution of your perplexity, or it will come to you as you are getting up.
No matter which method you use, be sure and act upon this voice of intuition, for it is the divinest wisdom. When you get back to the hurly-burly of life, the answer will seem silly and foolish and impracticable, do not be deceived, act only upon the message which came from the Silence, do this and you will find that you have listened to the voice of the highest Wisdom.
For a visualizing exercise, imagine that you have received a momentous letter from over-seas. Trace its journey back to the beginning. First the postman, the local sorting office, the mail-train, the general post-office of the large city, the mail-train from the coast, the mail-carrying steam-ship, the journey across the seas, the journey from the foreign port, by rail to your friend's home. Then see your friend sealing the letter, then see him writing it. Now look into your friend's mind and see the thought that inspired the letter.
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