Excerpts from

  "How To Get What You Want"
Orison Swett Marden

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Book Contents
1917. Something touched him; How to get what you want; Playing the glad game; Discouragement a disease, how to cure it; Force that moves mountains; Faith and drugs; How to find oneself; How to attract prosperity;

Chapter 1


The most valuable  thing which ever  comes  into  a  life  is  that experience,  that book,  that  sermon,  that  person,  that  incident,  that  emergency,  that  accident,  that catastrophe—that something  which  touches  the  springs of  a person’s  inner  nature and flings open the doors of their great within, revealing its hidden resources.

A  cub  lion,  as  the  fable  runs, was  one  day  playing  alone  in  the  forest while his mother slept. As the different objects attracted his attention, the cub thought he would explore a bit and see what the great world beyond his home was  like. Before he  realized  it, he had wandered so  far  that he could not  find  his way back. He was lost.

Very much  frightened,  the  cub  ran  frantically  in  every  direction  calling piteously for his mother, but no mother responded. Weary with his wanderings, he did not know what  to  do, when  a  sheep, whose  offspring had  been  taken  from her, hearing his pitiful cries, made friends with the lost cub, and adopted him.

The sheep became very fond of her foundling, which in a short while grew so much  larger  than  herself  that  at  times  she was  almost  afraid  of  it. Often,  too,  she  would  detect  a  strange,  far-off  look  in  its  eyes which  she  could  not understand.

The foster mother and her adopted lived very happily together, until one day a magnificent lion appeared, sharply outlined against the sky, on the top of an  opposite  hill. He shook  his  tawny mane and  uttered a  terrific  roar, which  echoed  through  the  hills.  The  sheep  mother  stood  trembling,  paralyzed with fear. But the moment this strange sound reached his ears, the lion cub listened as  though  spellbound,  and  a  strange  feeling  which  he  had  never  before experienced surged through his being until he was all a-quiver.

The lion’s roar had touched a chord in his nature that had never before been  touched.  It  aroused  a  new  force  within  him  which  he  had  never  felt before. New desires, a  strange new  consciousness  of power possessed him. A  new nature stirred in him, and instinctively, without a thought of what he was doing, he answered the lion’s call with a corresponding roar.

Trembling  with  mingled  fear,  surprise  and  bewilderment  at  the  new powers  aroused  within  him,  the  awakened  animal  gave  his  foster mother  a  pathetic glance, and then, with a tremendous leap, started toward the lion on the hill.

The lost lion had found himself. Up to this he had gamboled around his sheep  mother  just  as  though  he  were  a  lamb  developing  into  a  sheep,  never  dreaming he could do anything that his companions could not do, or that he had any more strength than the ordinary sheep. He never imagined that there was within him a power which would strike  terror  to  the beasts of  the  jungle. He  simply  thought he was a  sheep, and would  run at  the  sight of a dog and tremble at the howl of a wolf. Now he was amazed to see the dogs, the wolves, and other animals which formerly had so terrified him flee from him.

As long as this lion thought he was a sheep, he was as timid and retiring as a sheep; he had only a sheep’s strength and a sheep’s courage, and by no possibility  could  he  have  exerted  the  strength  of  a  lion.  If  such  a  thing  had been suggested to him he would have said, “How could I exert the strength of a lion?  I  am  only  a  sheep,  and  just  like  other  sheep.  I  cannot  do  what  they cannot do.” But when the lion was aroused in him, instantly he became a new creature, king of the forest, with no rivals save the tiger and the panther. This discovery doubled, trebled and quadrupled his conscious power, a power which it would not have been possible for him to exert a minute before he had heard the lion’s roar.

But  for  the  roar  of  the  lion  on  the  distant hill, which had  aroused  the sleeping lion within him, he would have continued living the life of a sheep and perhaps would never have known that there was a lion in him. The roar of the lion had not added anything to his strength, had not put new power into him; it had merely aroused  in him what was already  there, simply  revealed  to him the power he already possessed. Never again, after such a startling discovery, could  this young animal be satisfied to live a sheep’s  life. A  lion’s  life, a  lion’s  liberty, a lion’s power, the jungle thereafter for him.

There  is  in  every  normal  human  being  a  sleeping  lion.  It  is  just  a  question  of  arousing  it,  just  a  question  of  something  happening  that  will awaken us, stir the depths of our being, and arouse the sleeping power within us.

Just  as  the  young  lion,  after  it  had  once  discovered  that  it was  a  lion would never again be satisfied to live the life of a sheep, when we discover that we  are  more  than  mere  clay, when we  at  last  become  conscious  that we  are more  than human,  that we  are  gods  in  the making, we  shall never  again  be  satisfied to live the life of common clods of earth. We shall feel a new sense of power welling up within us, a power which we never  before dreamed we possessed, and  never be  quite  the same  again,  never  again be  content with  low-flying  ideals, with a cheap success. Ever after we  will aspire. We  will  look up; struggle up and on to higher and ever higher planes.

Phillips Brooks used to say that after a man has once discovered that he has been living but a half life the other half will haunt him until he releases it, and he never again will be content to live a half life. When  one  becomes  conscious  that  the  reality  of  them,  that the  truth  of their being is God, that they are indissolubly connected with omnipotent power, they feel the  thrill of divine force surging through every atom of their being, and can  never doubt their divinity or possibilities again. They can never again be timid, weak,  hesitating  or  fearful.  They  rest  serenely  conscious  that they are  in  close touch,  in  vital  union, with  the  Infinite.  They  feel  omnipotent  power  pulsating through their very being, they feel the omnipotent arm sustaining, upholding them, and  they  know  that  their mission  on  earth  is  divinely  planned  and  divinely protected.

Many a poor child has grown up in the slums believing that they were like all the other children in their neighborhood, that there was no special future for them,  nothing  distinctive,  nothing  out  of  the  dead  level  of  their  monotonous environment;  but  something  unexpectedly  happens,  some emergency,  some catastrophe, something which makes a tremendous call upon the great within of themselves,  and  they are  suddenly  surprised  to  discover  that  they are different altogether  from those  about  them.  Something  has  touched  them,  something  in  them have been aroused, something which shows them that they have a tremendous latent power which they did not before know they possessed, and they unhesitatingly answer the call. They go out into the great world, and are never again satisfied with a cheap success, never again satisfied with their old nature or content with their old environment.

There are men and women who have won distinction  in every  field who would  not  believe  that  there  was  such  a  possibility  for  them  until  they  had actually  proved  it.  Twenty-five  years  ago,  for  instance,  you  could  not  have  persuaded Charles  M.  Schwab  that  he was  the man  later years  have  proved him to be. If twenty-five years ago anyone had given a picture of himself as he is  today, had declared  that he would be such a man, he would have  ridiculed the  idea. He would have said, “Such a  thing is absurd,  I am not such a man. This is the picture of a giant. I am no giant, nor genius. I am just an ordinary,  hard-working man.” But Mr. Schwab has not even yet  fully  found himself. He has not discovered all the man that it is possible to develop, or anything like it. He has only brought out part of  the giant  in him. Emergency may some  time call out the rest, the bigger giant.

There are plenty of young men and young women in our great industrial institutions  today who  could not be made  to believe  that perhaps in a single year they will be filling positions of great responsibility and power, and yet the possibility  is  there.  The  future  great  general,  the  successful  executive, is slumbering in the soldier in  the  ranks, in  the clerk  today.  Many a future superintendent, many a manager  is today filling  the humble position  of  office boy, errand boy, or waiter in a restaurant or hotel.

Every  discovery  of  new  powers,  new  assets  in  yourself,  stimulates  you tremendously  to  new  efforts,  to  new  endeavor.  We  have  all  seen  instances where  an  ordinary  clerk, with  seemingly  ordinary  ability,  has  suddenly  been promoted, and the stimulus, the tonic of advancement, the new hope of further success that has prodded them, has often added twenty-five or  fifty per cent to their ability by uncovering new resources, new and before undreamed of powers.

They were not conscious of what was in them until the opportunity came, until the motive uncovered, unlocked and liberated their before undreamed of resources. In the last world war thousands of young men who did not think they had  much  courage,  perhaps  even  believed  they  would  be  cowards  in  battle, were whirled into the armies by the excitement, the hypnotism, the daring of their associates, and found that the bigger man in them responded to the  call,  and  that  when  it  came  they  did  not  hesitate  bravely  to  face  the enemy’s shells, the enemy’s guns. Many youths have joined the army who were not thought much of at home, who were called stupid and dull and ne’er-do-wells,  blockheads, by their parents and teachers, but when  they  got  into  the army  they  found  themselves,  found  they  had  courage,  grit,  determination, daring, stick-to-it-iveness.

The  experience  of  a  multitude  of  men  who  have  realized  an  infinitely bigger man in themselves than they ever imagined was there, ought to teach us that in every human being, no matter how successful they may be, there are still enormous undiscovered possibilities.

It is the person you are capable of making, not the one you have become, that is most important to you. You cannot afford to carry this enormous asset to your grave unused. As a business man or woman you would not think of having a lot of idle  capital  in  the  bank, drawing  no  interest,  uninvested,  unused. Do  you realize  that  this  is exactly what you are doing with yourself? You have assets within  you infinitely more valuable than  money capital. Why do you not  use your capital? This is what you would ask a businessman who was pinching along,  worried  all  the  time  because  he  thought  he  could  not  meet  his obligations, pay his notes, when he had a  large amount of  idle  capital  in  the bank. You would  declare  the man was  foolish. You  are more foolish  because you have immortal capital  lying  idle. Why don’t you use  it? Why do you hitch along in this little one-horse way all your life on a little capital when you have so much unused capital, so much reserve assets? Why not use them?

Try to bring out that possible man or woman. You know that you never have done it to  anything  like  its possibility  as  yet.  Now,  why  not  plan  to  bring  out  this enormous residue, these great unused resources, this locked-up ability which has never come out of you? You know it is there. You instinctively feel it. Your intuition, your instinct, your ambition tell you that there is a much bigger person in you than you have ever found or used. Why don’t you use them, why don’t you get at them, why don’t you call them out, why don’t you stir them up? Why don’t you get the spark to this giant powder within you and explode it?

The finding of  the  larger possibilities of man, the unused part, and the undiscovered  part  is  the function of the New Philosophy. It may be covered under all sorts of debris—doubt,  lack of self-confidence, timidity, fear, worry, uncertainty, anxiety, hatred, jealousy, revenge, envy, selfishness. These may all be neutralized by right thinking.

How often it happens that people who have long been “down-and-out,” who have been considered “nobodies,” “good-for-nothings,” not well balanced, have changed  suddenly, as though touched by a magic wand, and  have quickly become men or women of power, inspirers, and  helpers  of  others! Something  happened that  quickened  their  spirit, and  from  miserable  liabilities  they  have  suddenly been converted into valuable assets to their community.

John B. Gough was an  intemperate nobody. All  at  once,  apparently  by accident, he was converted. Something touched Gough and from being a slave of  the  bottle  he  became  its  master.  From  a miserable example he was transformed into a tremendous uplifting and inspiring force in the community. Before he  came  to himself  he was dragging men down; after he  responded  to the call of the divinity within, he was leading hundreds and thousands of men to take the pledge, to lead cleaner and nobler lives.

When a poor youth working  as scullion  in a kitchen  in  Italy  first  got a glimpse of a great painting, the sight aroused something within him which he had never before felt. It revealed a new artistic impulse, and he exclaimed,  “I, too, am a painter!” Following this inward call, he got a chance to work in the studio of a famous artist, and finally became a greater artist than the painter of the picture which had inspired him.

How many men who had been a positive menace to society, all at once have turned about and become  inspired leaders!  Something touched them, awakened the God within, and they turned their faces from darkness to light, from the lower to the higher, and accomplished grand things. It may have been an inspiring book, a lecture, or a flash of divine illumination that gave them a glimpse  of themselves, but whatever it was it started them on the right road, turned them from ugliness to beauty,  from wrong to  right, from enemies of society to great benefactors.

The transformation of Saul the persecutor into Paul the great apostle of the Gentiles is one of the grandest  instances of self revelation through a flash of divine illumination.

What a revolution would be effected in the whole race  if this something which  touched  Saul  on  his way to Damascus,  when  “suddenly  there  shined round about him a  light  from heaven,” could touch all the human beings who are going wrong, the “nobodies,” the “down-and-outs,” the discouraged, the despondent,  those  who  have  fallen  by  the  wayside!  What  a  leap  toward  the millennium the race would take if all these dead souls could be awakened and made anew by this mysterious something which made the vengeful persecutor of Christians  the  greatest of  the  teachers of Christianity!  If  this divine spark, which en-kindles a new fire in human hearts, makes men out of beasts, and good citizens out of hoboes, drunkards and criminals, could be ignited in the breasts of all, despair and misery would vanish from the earth.

When one has once discovered or uncovered a bit of their divine pattern, when enough light is thrown upon it to enable them to see the divine, immortal plan foreshadowed in their nature, they will never be content until they uncover the rest of the pattern; and no one can do this by living a coarse, low, sensual life. Such a life puts a film on the ideals, and dims the spiritual vision.

The world has a right to expect those who have even partly discovered themselves, who have become conscious of their divine origin, to hold up their heads, to do their work a little better, to be a little more dead-in-earnest, to live on a higher plane, to set a little better example in general than those who have not yet tasted of their hidden power. The world needs great inspirers more than it needs great lawyers,  physicians, clergymen or statesmen. It needs the Lincolns more than it needs railroad magnates, steel magnates, great financiers or great merchants.

When  the consciousness of his heredity  touched  the  lion cub, when his inheritance  of  strength,  of  terrific  power, was  revealed  to  him,  he  turned  his back forever on the old life. Never again could he return to the sheepfold, never again could he be satisfied with his sheep nature, with the half life he had been living. From the moment he realized he was a lion, there was no more sheepfold for him. Freedom,  the  great open world,  the jungle,  the  forest  for him,  for he felt his kingship, his power over all the things that had so terrified him  in the past.

When an individual has once proved beyond question that they have great latent power, vast  possibilities which had never before been called  out,  it would  be impossible that they should ever again be satisfied with the half life they had been living. Their whole newly discovered nature would revolt against a return  to  the lower plane on which their weaker, lesser self had lived.

You perhaps were reared under conditions which have kept you ignorant of  your  own  possibilities until  something  has  happened  to  throw  a  new  light upon your real nature. Then you discovered that you were not the tame, timid sheep  that you had always  thought you were, until  that something happened which has revealed the lion in you.

Perhaps you have been wandering all your past life, living in the shepherd’s folds in the churches, perhaps never dreaming that you were not a sheep, that you did not belong to that particular shepherd’s fold. Yet you may have had an instinctive feeling that there was something in you which did not respond to the sheep call, that there was a something within you which did not fit your environment,  which did not belong to the conditions in which you found yourself. You may have been conscious that there was something in you which never responded to the call which appealed to those about you.

You may have heard the voice that answered your yearning while reading an  inspiring book,  or while listening to a new philosophy conversation which seemed to open up a new compartment in your nature.

No matter where you hear this call, when yo  do hear it  something within you will answer the call and you will know that you have been touched to a higher, a finer purpose.

The  new  philosophy,  however,  especially  appeals  to  the  undiscovered part of us, to those hidden, latent forces within us, which we have not hitherto been  able  to  get  hold  of.  In  other  words,  it  appeals  to  our  hitherto  unused assets, our plus or surplus  life capital. You will  find something  in people who have  embraced  it,  in  people  who  understand  it,  which  you  do  not  find  in others.

The new philosophy acts like a leaven in the nature, giving new life, new force, new meaning  to the individual. In  short,  it discovers a new human being  in the old one.  It neutralizes, destroys,  that which would degrade them,  those  things which were working  against  their welfare,  and  it  develops  new  forces, unlocks new resources which enlarge the individual.

During the past hundred years not a single new quality or new principle has been added to the laws of chemistry, not an iota of change has been made in  the  laws  of  physics,  and  yet what  miracles  of discovery,  of  invention,  the great scientists and inventors have called out of these very same qualities and laws during the last hundred years!

Sir  Isaac  Newton  had  the  same  identical  material,  the  same  identical laws of chemistry, physics which Edison is using today, but Edison has called out hundreds of inventions to Newton’s one discovery.

Human nature,  like natural  law,  is  the  same  today  as  it was  centuries ago,  but  what  a  marvelous  development  of  man’s  power  we  are  witnessing today!  How  amazing  has  been  the  advancement  of  human  ability!  What marvelous  strides  in  intelligence,  in  efficiency, and  in  the  development  of his natural resources man has made!

We marvel at all this, but the new philosophy is disclosing to man a new and more potent law back of the flesh but not of it, an intelligence back of the crystal, back of the atom, back of the electron which directs, molds, fashions, conditions the future of every particle of matter in the universe. Previously this was ascribed to an unknown law. A hundred  years  ago  people  did not  know that when a crystal was dissolved it would always assume the exact form of the same kind of crystal when its particles were free to re-arrange themselves. We did not then know that the ambition which appears in man is really an aggregate of the ambition in the separate  electrons. We did not then know that a man’s history was largely determined in the electrons themselves. But science is  now  beginning  to recognize  that  the  great  cosmic  intelligence  is  back  of everything in the universe, of every expression of nature, of every step in man’s upward journey through the ages.

The new philosophy especially appeals to that unknown part of us which is  still waiting to be discovered, that part which  is  still locked up  tight in the great within of us. It plays the part of a Columbus, and discovers vast territory within us of which we had been unconscious.

An  honest  dissatisfaction  with  our  achievement  means  we  have  more resources inside, and that until we find at least a measure of satisfaction there is still more to discover. We have an instinctive feeling, that there is something sublimely beautiful in life we have never yet found, because we have never yet been satisfied. We have an intuition that this something will satisfy our inmost yearnings, that it will quench the soul’s thirst, satisfy the soul’s hunger.

The orthodox churches undertook to  find this satisfying something, and while they have done much, yet many church members feel that there is still a tremendous,  unfilled vacuum  in  their  hearts, unsatisfied  longings and  yearnings in their souls. After centuries of hunting for the divine balm of Gilead, the elixir  which  would  heal  the  soul’s  hurts,  the  great  majority  of  churches  are being less and less frequented. Pastors are finding it more and more difficult to induce people to attend their church services, because they are not fed; they do not get that satisfaction which they instinctively feel belongs to the children of the King of Kings.

On  every  hand we  find  people who  have  been  groping  all  their  lives  in vain,  trying  to  find something which would answer  the  inner call  for a  larger life, something which would satisfy their longings,  feed their soul hunger, and help them to find fulfillment of their life dreams.

If  you  are  groping  to  find  that  something  which  will  give  enduring satisfaction,  which  will satisfy  your  soul;  if  you  have  not  yet  found  that something which answers the persistent inward call of your being; if you have not  yet  found  that  living  water  which  quenches  the  soul’s  thirst, come  and drink at the fountain of the new philosophy.

Man  has  glimpsed  only  a  little  bit  of  the  divine  plan,  but  this  glimpse promises so much that he feels he must see the whole. The part of ourselves we have discovered  reveals  only  a part  of  the divine pattern,  and we  shall never rest until we trace the whole.

The larger, grander, superb thing we know and instinctively feel we ought to be beats so mightily so persistently beneath  the  little dwarfed  thing we are that we must uncover  it, we must develop  it, and we must use  it. No human being  can  be  satisfied  while  they are  haunted  by  that  other  part  of  the divine pattern, the part which was shown to them in the mount of their highest moment. The part of ourselves we have discovered  is a prophecy of an  infinitely  larger and more magnificent whole, and we must find it. This is the great object of our existence. We are here to find the rest of the pattern of the divine man.

Individually we have gotten a glimpse of the larger possible man, and we must bring them out. We have been shown a part which prophesies the possible whole,  and  every  now  and  then  lest we  become discouraged  and  give up  the pursuit, nature gives us a Lincoln, a Gladstone, a Phillips Brooks, in order apparently to show us the possibilities of man and to stimulate us  in our efforts to evolve the God man.

The new life philosophy is the Christ motive which has been working in man all up through the ages in its efforts to produce the master man, not the selfish, grasping, greedy man, but the masterful, selfless, impersonal man, the Christ like man or woman with the God consciousness, the man or woman who realizes that they are part of all mankind; that they have come out from God and that they are going back to God.


Chapter 2


You are victory organized; you were born to conquer, to play a magnificent part in life’s great game.   But you can never do anything great or grand until you have such a conviction of yourself and your ability.

We establish relations with our desires, with whatever is dominant in our minds, with  the  things we long  for with all our hearts, and we  tend  to  realize  these  things  in proportion to the persistency and intensity of our longings and our intelligent efforts to realize them.

Stop thinking trouble if you want to attract its opposite; stop thinking poverty if you wish to attract plenty.  Refuse to have anything to do with the things you fear, the things you do not want.

A piece of magnetized  steel will attract only  the products of  iron  ore.  It has no affinity  for wood, copper, rubber, or any other substance  that has not iron  in  it. When you were a boy you  found that your  little steel magnet would pick up a needle but not a match or a  toothpick.  It would draw to  itself only that like itself.

Men  and  women  are  human  magnets.  Just  as  a  steel  magnet  drawn through a pile of rubbish will pull out only the things which have an affinity for it, so we  are  constantly drawing  to us,  establishing  relations with,  the  things and the people that respond to our thoughts and ideals. Our environment, our associates, our general condition are the result of our  mental  attraction.  These  things  have  come  to  us  on  the  physical  plane because  we  have  concentrated  upon  them,  have  related  ourselves  to  them mentally; they are our affinities, and will remain with us as long as the affinity for them continues to exist in our minds.

Your thoughts, your viewpoints, your conception of what your status and position in  life will be, your ideal of your future, will draw you exactly to that plane like a lodestone. Focus your mind, your predictions, your expectations on poverty, failure and wretchedness; banish ambition, hope, expectation of good things, and give full sway in your mentality to fear, worry, doubt, anticipation of  evil, and the ego magnet will draw you unerringly to squalid surroundings, to an inferior position, to association with persons of a lower order of mind on a meaner social plane.

The  great  trouble  with  all  of  us  who  are  struggling  with  unhappy  or unfortunate conditions is, that we have separated ourselves in some way from the great magnetic center of creation. We are not thinking right, and so we are not attracting the right things. “Think the things you want.” The profoundest philosophy is locked up in these few words. Think of them clearly, persistently, concentrating upon them with all  the  force and might of your mind, and struggle  toward  them  with all your  energy.    This  is  the way  to make  yourself  a magnet  for  the  things  you want. But  the moment you begin  to doubt,  to worry,  to  fear, you demagnetize yourself, and the things you desire flee from you. You drive them away by your mental  attitude.  They  cannot  come  near  you  while  you  are  deliberately separating yourself from them. You are going  in one direction, and  the  things you want are going in the opposite direction.

“A desire  in the heart  for anything,” says H. Emilie Cady, “is God’s sure promise  sent  beforehand  to  indicate  that  it  is  yours  already  in  the  limitless realm of supply.”

No  matter  how  discouraging  your  present  outlook,  how  apparently unpromising your future, cling to your desire and you will realize it. Picture the ideal  conditions,  visualize  the  success,  which  you  long  to  attain;  imagine yourself  already  in  the  position  you  are  ambitious  to  reach.  Do  not acknowledge  limitations,  do  not  allow  any  other  suggestion  to  lodge  in  your mind than the success you long for, the conditions you aspire to. Picture your desires as actually  realized, and hold  fast  to your  vision with all  the  tenacity you can muster. This is the way out of your difficulties; this is the way to open the door ahead of you to the place higher up, to better and brighter conditions.

When Clifton Crawford,  the  actor,  started on his  career  in America,  he played  in one-week performances  in small towns and cities. One night he was told by a prominent member of the company that his work wasn’t much good, that he would never be successful, and had better go back home  to Scotland. Notwithstanding this discouraging but well-meant criticism and advice, young Crawford  remained  in  America,  continued  in  his  profession  and  in  a comparatively  short  time  reached  the  coveted  position  of  a  Broadway  “star.” After his first success in New York he had the satisfaction of meeting the friend who had advised him  to return  to his own country, and reminded him  of the incident.

Clifton  Crawford  won  out  because  he  related  himself  mentally  to  the thing he wanted, because he listened to the voice in his own soul rather than to the pessimistic predictions of outside voices.

Why has the heart restless yearnings
For heights and steps untrod?
Some call it the voice of longing
And others the voice of God.

That  something  within  you  which  longs  to  be  brought  out,  to  be expressed, is the voice of God calling to you. Don’t disregard it. Don’t be afraid of your longings;  there is divinity  in  them. Don’t try to strangle  them because you  think  they  are much  too  extravagant,  too Utopian.  The  Creator  has  not given you a longing to do that which you have no ability to do.

One reason why the lives of many of us are so narrow and pinched, small and  common-place,  is  because  we  are  afraid  to  fling  out  our  desires,  our longings,  afraid  to  visualize  them.  We  become  so  accustomed  to  putting  our confidence only in things that we see on the physical plane, in the material that is  real  to  the  senses,  that  it  is  very  difficult  for us  to  realize  that  the  capital  power, the  force that does things, resides  in the mind. Instead  of believing  in our  possession  of  the  things  we  desire,  we  believe  in  our  limitations,  in  our restrictions. We demagnetize ourselves by wrong thinking and lack of faith. We see only  the obstacles  in our path, and  forget  that man, working with God,  is greater than any obstacle that can oppose itself to his will.

Benjamin  Disraeli knew  this when he  said, “Man  is  not  the  creature  of circumstances. Circumstances are the creatures of man.” He demonstrated its truth  in  his  own  life.  Alien  in  race  and  creed,  with  other  circumstances apparently dead against him at the start, the resolute young Jew overcame all obstacles,  and  reached  the  goal  of  his  ideal.  He  became  Prime  Minister  of England, and was made Earl of Beaconsfield by his sovereign, Queen Victoria. Lowell did not utter a mere airy, poetic idea when he said, The thing we long for, that we are For one transcendent moment.

He spoke a simple truth. The poet is always the prophet. He goes ahead of the scientist, and points the way that leads upward to the ideal. Like faith, the poet knows and sees  far  in advance of the senses. He knows that the vision of our exalted moments is the model given us to make real on the material plane.

The  men  who  have  climbed  up  in  the  world  have  seen  themselves climbing, have  pictured  themselves  actually  in  the  position  they  longed  to be in. They have climbed up mentally first. They have kept a vision of themselves as  ever  climbing  to  higher and  higher  things.  They  have  continually  affirmed their  ability  to  climb,  to  grow up  to  their  ideal.  If we  ever hope  to make  our dreams  come  true,  we  must  do  as  they  did;  we  must  actually  live  in  the conscious  realization  of  our  ideal. This  is  the  entering wedge which will  split the difficulties ahead of us, which will open the doors which shut us from our own.

If  you  are  discouraged  by  repeated  failures  and  disappointments, suffering  the  pangs  of  thwarted ambition;  if  you  are not  doing  the  thing  you long to do;  if  life is not yielding the satisfaction, the success and joy of happy service;  if  your  plans  do  not  prosper;  if  you  are  hampered  by  poverty  and  a narrow, crude, uncongenial environment,  there  is something wrong—not with the world, or the Creator’s beneficent plans for His children, but with yourself. You are not thinking right. You are not visualizing yourself as you long to be.

We  are,  every  one  of  us,  both  ourselves  and  our  environment,  true pictures  of  what  we  have  thought,  believed,  and  done  in  the  past.  Every moment  of  our  lives  we  are  experiencing  the  result  of  thought.  The  outward things  that have been  acting on  us,  shaping  the  conditions  in which we  live, are chiefly  the  fruits of our own motives,  thoughts and acts. What we believe, what  we  think,  what  we  expect,  shapes  our  lives.  Through  the  control  and direction of our thoughts, backed up with corresponding efforts on the physical plane, we can attract to us all our heart’s desires.

How  often  do we  hear  it  said  of some  man,  “Everything  he  undertakes succeeds,” or “Everything he touches turns to gold?” Why? Because the man is constantly  picturing  to  himself  the  success  of  his  undertakings  and  he  is backing  up  his  vision  by  his  efforts.  By  clinging  to  his  vision,  by  vigorous resolution  and  persistent,  determined  endeavor  he  is  continually  making himself  a  powerful  magnet  to  draw  his  own  to  him.  Consciously  or unconsciously, he  is using the divine  intelligence or  force by the use of which every  human  being may mold  himself  and  his  environment  according  to  the pattern in his mind.

Why don’t you use your divine power to make yourself what you long to be? Why don’t you cling to the vision of yourself which you see in your highest moment, and resolve to make the vision a reality? By persistent right thinking, backed  by  the  steady  exercise  of  your  will,  you  can,  if  you  desire,  remake yourself and your environment. Since we can  “for one  transcendent moment” be  the  thing  we  long  for,  you  and  I  and  every  human  being  can  make  that transcendent  or  highest  moment  permanent.  It  is  purely  a  matter  of  right thinking.  Every  time  we  visualize  the  thing  we  long  for,  every  time  we  see ourselves  in  imagination  in the position we  long to  fill, we are  forming a habit which will tend to make our highest moments permanent, to bring our vision out of the ideal into the actual.

If  people  only  knew  the  possibilities  which  center  in  the  highest development of their visualizing powers it would revolutionize their lives. Until  comparatively  recent  times  most  of  the  country  between  Omaha and the Rocky Mountains was a vast barren desert, and it looked as though it would always be absolutely worthless. Many intelligent men wondered why the Creator  ever made  such  a  dreary waste  as  these  millions  of  acres  presented, and when it was suggested in Congress that the Government assist in building a railroad across this desert from the Missouri River to the Pacific Slope, even men  like Webster  laughed at the  idea. Webster said that such an undertaking would be a wicked waste of public money, and he suggested the importation of camels  for  the purpose  of carrying  the United States mail across  the Western desert. He  believed  this was  the  only  use  that  could  be made  of  those waste lands.

But the vision seen by the men who conceived the Union Pacific Railroad was no idle dream; it was a foreshadowing of the reality. Before a rail had been laid, these men saw great thriving cities, vast populations and millions of fertile farms  springing  up  like  magic  where  the  men  without  a  vision  of  its  possibilities saw nothing but alkali plains, sage brush and coyotes.  It was the men who  were  not  limited  by  appearances,  by  what  the  senses  told  them,  who transformed the desert into a thing of beauty and untold wealth.

Human  beings  are  like  this  arid  desert,  packed  with  marvelous possibilities which are just waiting for that which will arouse their latent forces and make  the germs of  those wonderful possibilities blossom  into beauty and power. What we need is a firm belief in the vision of ourselves which we see in the  moment  of  our  highest  inspiration.  As  soon  as  we  feel  the  touch  of  the awakening,  arousing,  energizing  power  of  an  unalterable  faith  in  our  own divinity, in our ability to be “the thing we long for,” our lives will blossom into beauty and grandeur.

The  realization  of  our  power  to  create  ideals  and  to make  these  live  in reality is destined to revolutionize the world, because we build life through our ideals.  This  power  to  build mentally  is  the  pathway  of  achievement,  the way which  will  lead  to  the  millennium.  ‘We  cannot  accomplish  anything,  do anything, create anything except through an ideal, a vision.

“The  vision  that you  glorify  in your mind,” says James  Allen,  “the  ideal that you enthrone  in your heart—this you will build your  life by, this you will become.

“The  thoughtless,  the  ignorant,  and  the  indolent,  seeing  only  the apparent  effects  of  things  and  not  the  things  themselves,  talk  of  luck,  of fortune and chance. Seeing a man grow  rich,  they say  ‘How  lucky he  is!’ Observing  another  become  intellectual,  they  exclaim  ‘How  highly  favored  he  is!’ And noting  the  saintly  character and wide  influence  of another,  they remark, ‘How chance aids him at every turn!’ They do not see the trials and failures and struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered  in order to gain their experience;  have  no  knowledge  of  the  sacrifice  they  have  made,  of  the undaunted  efforts  they  have  put  forth,  of  the  faith  they  have  exercised,  that they might overcome  the apparently  insurmountable, and realize  the vision of their heart.”

The reason why so many people fail to realize their ideals is that they are not willing  to  do  their  part  to  make  it  real.  Remember  that  the  longing,  the desire to do a certain thing, is merely sowing the seed of your ambition. If you stop at  this you  will get about as much harvest as  the farmer would get  if he put his seed in the ground without preparing the soil, without fertilizing it and keeping the weeds down.

You must back up that which your heart longs to realize with an honest purpose to do your best, a dead-in-earnest effort to make your vision real. The mere holding of the desire to do so, no matter how persistently or strongly you hold  it, will not help you  to  realize your dreams. You must not only  sow  the seed  of  desire  and  longing,  but  you  must  do  all  the  nourishing,  cultivating, caring  for,  or  you  will  only  reap  a  thistle  harvest. We  see men  and  women everywhere reaping a very thistly, a very weedy harvest from the sowing of mere longings.  These  people  can  scarcely  get  enough  out  of  their  harvest  to  keep them alive, simply because they took no care of their seed after the planting.

The  constant nursing,  cultivating  the desire,  the ambition, keeping  our heart’s  longings  and  soul  yearnings  alive,  wholesome  and  healthy  by  active endeavor,  is  the  only  way  in  which  we  can  match  our  dreams  with  their realities.

Watch an  immigrant boy who  lands  in America practically with nothing but the clothes he wears, without knowing our language or customs, and with no  friends,  no  “pull”  to  advance  him,  and  see  how  quickly  he  outdistances many  American  youths  who  were  born  and  brought  up  in  the  very  lap  of opportunities. Why? Because this boy constantly thinks and dreams of making his way in the world. He sees himself a successful man, and is forever planning and pushing toward his object.

He  begins,  perhaps,  by  selling  newspapers  in  the  streets.  Then  his ambition  grows  and he dreams  of  some day having  a newsstand. He  attends night school  in order  to  get an education. He  toils and economizes,  flings  his enthusiasm and his whole being into his work, is constantly enlarging his mind and  also  making  himself  a  magnet  to  attract  the  thing  he  longs  for.  He  is obeying the law of attraction, of opulence, and in a little while we see him with a news stand of his own. But he does not stop here. He keeps dreaming, planning,  working  for  something  a  little  larger,  and  soon  he  adds  books  and stationery to his stock in trade. Before long we find him with a large stand in a railway station or in some public place, always saving, and dreaming, planning, thinking success. In a few years more he owns a handsome shop and becomes a  real  factor  in  the business world. His whole mental  life  is poured  into  that one channel, and of course he is perpetually increasing his magnetic power to attract to himself money and all the other things he desires.

The ambition  to become  rich  is  not a  lofty  one, but  the  success  of  this typical immigrant boy illustrates the law of success in every field. For the law is neither moral nor unmoral,  the nature of  the object concentrated on does not affect its action. It may be the noble vision of a Jeanne d’Arc, of a Savonarola, or  of  a  Lincoln,  or  it  may  be  a  wholly  selfish,  or  an  unworthy  object,  the
attractive, constructive forces will build just the same toward the realization of the  vision.  If a man’s ambition  is  to own saloons and  sell  liquor  or  to be  the proprietor of a gambling resort, and he keeps working away on the material as well as the mental plan, he will succeed, just as a man who works in a similar way to become a teacher, or a missionary, succeeds. The same concentration, the same absorption, the same dreaming and thinking and pushing along any other  line,  law,  medicine,  engineering,  science,  farming, whatever  it  may  be, will  produce  like  results.  The  idea  is  that  the  everlasting  dreaming  and pushing,  the  alertness  to  take  advantage  of  opportunity,  the  constant visualizing  of  the  thing  one  yearns  for  most,  inevitably  bring  the  desired results.  These  are  the  constructive  processes,  based  on  the  mental  vision, which bring us the things we desire.
What we  think most about is constantly weaving  itself into the fabric of our  career, becoming a  part  of  ourselves,  increasing  the power  of our mental magnet to attract those things we most ardently desire.

When the architect looks at the plan of his building he does not see the plan  merely.  That  only  suggests  the  building.  It  is  the  invisible  building,  the creation of his mind he sees. What he takes in from the plan with his eyes  is not the reality at all. He sees in all its details the building of his mental vision. If he did not see it in this way, it would never become a reality. If he could see only the mechanical plans he would not be an architect at all.

The  framework  of  your  life  structure  is  invisible.  It  is  on  the  mental plane.  You  are  laying  the  foundation  for  your  future,  fixing  its  limits  by  the expectations you are visualizing. You cannot do anything bigger than you plan to do. The mental plans always come first. Your future building will merely be carrying out  in detail what you are visualizing  today. The  future  is simply an extension  of  the  present.  You  are  right  now  by  your  thought  habit,  by  your prevailing mental attitude, making your place in life. You are locating yourself, settling what  you  are  to  be.  In  other words,  you  are  right  now making  your future, deciding what your position in the world shall be. And it will be broad, ever  growing,  ever  expanding,  or  it  will  become  narrower,  more  pinched  and rutty, according to your mental plan, according to the vision you see.

The only world you will ever know anything about, the only world that is true for you at this moment, is the one you create mentally -- the world you are conscious of. The environment you fashion out of your  thoughts, your beliefs, your ideals, your philosophy is the only one you will ever live in.

Whatever  you  long  for  you  are  headed  toward,  and  whatever  thought dominates you, or motive is uppermost in your mind, is attracting its affinities. How quickly, for example, a youth who goes from his country home to the city to  seek  his  fortune  gravitates  toward  the  things which  are  uppermost  in  his mind. He may not know a soul in the city he enters, but in a very short time we find  him  with  his  own  people,  those  whose  tastes,  whose  desires  and propensities are like his own. He has attracted his affinities.

One boy’s mind  is  fixed on pleasure, and he gravitates  to  the saloon,  to the dance hall, to the vicious dives, to the gambling table. Another boy’s great desire  is  self-improvement,  and  he  gravitates  to  the  Y.  M.  C.  A.,  to  some church. We find him in the night schools, in the libraries, or attending lectures, trying  ‘to  improve  his  education,  to make  as  broad  visioned,  as  cultured and successful a man as it is possible to make of himself.

The same thing is true of girls. They gravitate toward their desires, their ideals,  toward  the  things  on  which  they  have  set  their  hearts.  Led  by  their weaknesses  or  their  strength,  they  are  pulled  in  the  direction on which  their thoughts are fixed, whether good or bad.

If  ten  thousand  strangers  from  other  cities  were  landed  in  New  York today and left to their own devices, they would very quickly be attracted to their affinities. The gambler would find other gamblers, the musician would gravitate to other musicians, the artist would be drawn to art circles; the pure minded, those  of  high  ideals,  would  soon  find  others  on  the  same  plane,  while  the impure  minded,  those  with  vulgar,  low  flying  ideals,  would  as  quickly  find companions like themselves.

A mental magnet  cannot  attract  opposite  qualities.  It  can  only  attract things  like  itself, and  it  is our privilege  to give  the magnet  its quality. We can inject  hate  into  it,  jealousy,  envy,  revenge;  we  can  in  a  very  short  time demagnetize  the magnet which was  pulling good  things  so  that  it will  attract bad things. It is for us to decide the quality of the magnetic current that shall flow out from us, but the mind is always a magnet sending out and attracting something, and  this something which  flows back  to us  always corresponds  to the mental outflow.

If  we  charge  it  with  love,  sincerity,  genuineness,  helpfulness,  great spiritual hunger for the good, the beautiful and the true, a longing for a larger and a fuller  life, we shall make the mind a powerful magnet to attract the affinities  of  these  qualities.  But  in  an  inconceivably  short  time  we  can  so completely  change  our  mental  magnet  with  thoughts  of  hatred,  spite  and bitterness  that  it  will  drive  away  all  the  good  and  attract  the  opposite, strengthening the hatred and bitterness in our souls.

In  short, whatever  is  in  the mind  at  the moment  is  the  thing  you  are inviting to come and live with you. Your suspicion attracts suspicion. Jealousy brings more  jealousy,  hate more  hate,  just  as  love  brings  love  to meet  it,  as friendliness  brings  more  friendliness,  as  sympathy  and  good  will  toward  all draw the same to you  from others and  increase your popularity and magnetic power.

We build as we think. Our lives follow our thoughts. As we think so we are. Your personality and your world are  limited by the extension of your own thought.  You  cannot  project  yourself  beyond  these  self-limitations.  Many people  limit  themselves  to  such  an  extent  by  their  gloomy  doubts  and  fears that they utterly dwarf their divine powers and possibilities. They do not believe that  their  own  is  coming  to  them.  They  are  always  complaining,  visualizing their poverty-stricken conditions,  their  lack of  friends,  their  lack of sympathy, their lack of love, of opportunity, of social life, of everything desirable. They do not realize  that  they are  their own  jailers,  that  they are holding  themselves  in the  very  conditions  they  despise.  They  have  not  learned  how  to  make themselves magnets for the things they desire. They do not know that our own is  seeking  us  and  will  come  to  us,  whether  it  is  property,  friends,  love, happiness,  or  any  other  legitimate  desire,  unless  we  drive  it  away  by  our antagonistic thought.

If  you  did  not  believe  you  had  the  power  to  walk  you  couldn’t  walk, because you wouldn’t try to. If you don’t believe in your power to get what you want you won’t  get  it. Until you encourage your  longings and  believe  in your power to realize them they will never be satisfied. You cannot rise out of your present condition  until you  believe you can. The  limit  of your thought will be the  limit  of  your  possibilities.  Your  limited  ideal  of  yourself  will  limit  your execution. You will never get any higher than your vision and your faith in that vision.

No  one  gets  very  far  in  this  world,  or  expresses  great  power,  until  he catches  a  glimpse  of  his  higher  self—until  he  feels  that  the  divinity which  is stirring within him, and which impels him on the way  of his ambition, in the line  of his  aspiration,  is  an  indication,  a  prophecy  of his  ability  to  reach  the ideal which haunts him. The Creator has not put desires in our hearts without giving  us  the  ability  and  the  opportunity  for  realizing  them.  There  are  a thousand  proofs  in  the  very  formation  of  our  body  and  brain  that  we  were planned  and  adapted  in  every  detail  of  our  marvelous  structure  to  achieve grand, glorious things, that we were created and  fitted for success and happiness.

No matter how unfortunate your environment, or how unpromising your present  condition,  if  you  cling  to  your  vision  and  keep  struggling  toward  its realization,  you  are  mentally  building,  enlarging  your  ideal,  increasing  the power of your mental magnet to attract your own.

Never  mind  opposition,  never  mind  criticism,  never  mind  if  others  call you  a  fool  or  a  crank—they  called  the  Christ  the  same—be  true  to  the mysterious  message  within,  the  divine  voice  which  bids  you  up  and  on.  No matter what  other  things you  have  to  give up, no matter what  sacrifices you have  to make,  let everything else go  if necessary, but cling  to  the  ideal which haunts your dreams, for it points to the star of your destiny, and if you follow it you will  come  out  of  the  darkness  into  beauty  and  brightness.  Your  highest ideal,  the  vision  of  your  life work which  you  long  to make  real,  is  your  best friend. Keep as  close  to  it as you can,  stick  to  it, and  it  will  lead you  to your goal. You may  not understand why  the  star has been  put  so  high  above you and why so many mountains of obstacles and difficulties  intervene, but  if you keep your eye on  the star and  listen  to  the voice of your soul which bids you climb on, you will reach it.

Many a man has never been able to explain his success, or how he was able  to  wring  it  out  of  such  a  black  background,  such  iron  conditions  and seemingly impossible surroundings, as those in which he found himself at the start. But he kept pegging away, never  losing sight of his  ideal, which became his guiding star, his success angel, which ultimately led him through the dark valleys  of  difficulty  and  opposition,  up  out  of  the  miasma  of  the  stagnant swamps of discouragement  to  the heights, where  the atmosphere  is pure,  the outlook clear, where excellence dwells.  It  led him out of  the darkness  into  the light, into freedom, into success.

Just  because  you  are  struggling  on  a  farm  or  in  a  factory,  doing something against which your whole nature rebels, because there is no one to help  you  support  your  aged  parents  or  an  invalid  brother  or  sister,  do  not conclude that your vision must perish. Keep pushing on as best you can, and affirming your divine power to attain your desire. Hundreds and thousands of poor boys and girls with poorer opportunities  than yours have done immortal deeds because they had faith in their ideal and in their power to attain it.

It  is  by  the  perpetual  focusing  of  his  thought  upon  the  solving  of scientific  problems,  added  to  his  faith  in  his  ability  to  solve  these  problems, that  Edison  has  attracted  to  himself  the  forces  which  have  made  him  the greatest living inventor. His mind has always run ahead of him, visualizing the invention  he  was  trying  to  bring  out  into  objective  reality.  He  was  always picturing  himself  a  little  higher  up,  a  little  further  on,  and  his  success  has followed his vision and his faith.

Suppose  Edison  had  lost  faith  in  his  vision;  suppose  he  had  allowed obstacles to discourage him and had said to himself, “Thousands of men have been thinking along these lines, trying to solve these problems for a long time, and have failed, and how can I expect to succeed? Why should I waste my time and  energies  in  trying  to  do what  they  found  impossible?”—do  you  think  he would  have  become  the  power  he  is?  Of  course,  he would  not,—he  couldn’t, any more  than Marshal Field  could have become  a  great merchant  if he had listened  to  those  who  tried  to  discourage  him.  Doors  always  open, opportunities  always come,  to  the man  or woman who  trusts and works, but nothing comes to the weak, doubting heart, the faint endeavor, nothing comes to those who do not believe in their divinity, their power to overcome.
No matter how black and forbidding the way, just imagine that you are carrying a lantern which always advances with you and gives you light enough for  the  next  step,  and  although  it  looks  very  dark  and  discouraging  a  little distance ahead, when you arrive there the light will arrive also. All the light you need is for the next step, to know that you are going in the right direction. In other words, you must have  faith,  trust. The divine plan  that has created us, given us a  part  in  the  plan  of  the  great  universe, will  bring  things  out  better than we could if we will only do our part.

Look back upon your past lives, you self-made men and women, and see how miraculously the doors have opened out of the blackness ahead of you, so that  you were  able  to  enter  into  the  Eden  of  your  dream,  to  accomplish  the thing you so long dreamed of!

Goodyear was a dreamer and a seer of visions long before he was able to vulcanize  rubber.  Morse  was  a  “visionary”  or  we  might  not  have  had  the telegraph. Cyrus W. Field had a wonderful vision of an ocean cable, and had he not gone on dreaming of his cable  in spite of his disappointments the nations of the world might still be dependent on ships to transmit their messages from one to the other. Had Eli Whitney not been a seer of visions the colored people of the South might still be picking the seeds from cotton by hand. But for the dreams of Marconi’s youth, wireless telegraphy might have been postponed for a century. Had  it not been  for  the dreams and  longings of Alexander Graham Bell  we  might  not  even  yet  be  talking  over  the  wire.  Had  Elias  Howe  not dreamed of a sewing machine women might still be slaves of the needle. Had it not been for Phillips’ and Garrison’s and Lincoln’s dream of freedom, millions of our countrymen might still be in slavery.

All of these people—every inventor, every discoverer, every uplifter of the race,  all  those  who  have  lifted  civilization  up  from  the  Hottentots  to  the Lincolns  and  the  Gladstones, have  clung  to  their  vision  in  spite  of  incredible sufferings and obstacles. Nothing could turn them from their purpose or shake their faith in their power to make their vision a reality. This was why they won out.

Men succeed in proportion to the fixity of their vision and the invincibility of their purpose. If you can find out a man’s quitting point, the place where he gives up, turns back, you can measure him pretty easily.

The  man  who  conquers  is  the  one  who  moves,  steadily,  persistently, everlastingly towards his goal, unmindful whether the goal is always in sight or not,  unmindful  of  obstacles,  of  difficulties,  of  discouraging  conditions.  He moves ever  forward,  just as Columbus did when he wrote day after day  in his log boat, undaunted even when his sailors mutinied, threatening to put him in chains and  to  throw him  overboard:  “This day we  sailed west because  it was our course.” This was his daily record, because there was nothing else for him to  do  but  to  sail  west.  A  man  with  such  a  mighty  purpose  as  Columbus’s wouldn’t have  turned about  if his crew  threatened murder every day, because he was invincible. Nothing but death could have stopped his onward course.

What could have stopped Farragut from going  into Mobile Bay past the enemy’s  torpedoes?  What  could  have  stayed  a  man  with  such  a  mighty purpose, such invincible determination that he lashed himself to the mast, lest if  he  was  shot  or  wounded  he  might  fall  overboard  or  be  captured  in  his perilous run past the torpedoes!

Washington  showed  his  invincibility  of  purpose  and  fixity  of  vision  at Valley Forge as few men have ever shown it. In fact, this grim courage in face of difficulties,  this  fixity  of  vision  and  inflexibility  of  purpose  have  been characteristic  of  all  the  great  men  of  history,  to  whom  the  world  has  built monuments.

Science  tells  us  the  eagle’s  wings  developed  in  response  to  the  eagle’s desire to fly, to soar into the ether. Your longings, your yearnings for something higher and grander, your aspirations, backed by an invincible purpose, will call out your wings, will develop your latent power, so that you will rise above your mediocre environment to the full measure of your possibilities.

If  all our youth were  taught  to keep  the  soul  vision  inviolable, never  to tamper with  that sacred something within which always points heavenward  if left alone, that something which, no matter how poor or iron our environment, bids us look up and not down, aspire and not grovel, civilization would advance with marvelous strides towards the millennium.
The  limit of your  faith  in your vision and  in yourself  is  the  limit of your achievement. Faith is the greatest magnetic power we know of for the attraction of the things that belong to us.

A great faith, a sublime self-confidence was the magnet which attracted to  John  Wanamaker  that  which  made  him  a  merchant  prince.  When  young Wanamaker  was  delivering  his  first  order  of  clothing  in  a  pushcart  in  the streets of Philadelphia, he did not keep his mind  fastened on his poverty and limitations,  and  fear  he  would  never  get  past  them.  On  the  contrary,  he thought  of a  great  future, and when he went past  the big  rich  stores he pictured himself as a great merchant, and felt confident that the time would come when he would have a bigger and richer store than any of them.

Where self-faith is weak, the will is weak. Most people do not exert their will  in  overcoming  the  obstacles  in  their  way,  because  their  resolutions  are weak, wishy washy. They are not possessed by their vision, and so they cannot bring to  their aid  the vigorous determination,  the resolute will, the compelling affirmation, that wins out in spite of all opposition. They are not backed by the intense desire to realize their vision that forces one to work and to sacrifice for it.

Desire  is at  the bottom of every achievement.  It has ever been  the great molding,  shaping  force  in  civilization. Desire  is  prayer. Our  prayer  is  behind and at the bottom of all our achievements.

Desire is behind all progress. Civilization rests upon it. Our cities are the representations of the desires of those who built them. Every railroad train is a bundle  of desires,  of  inventors’ discoveries,  of mechanics’ desires. Our homes are manifested desires. Our  libraries  are made up  of multitudes  of desires  of the  authors who wrote  the  books. Our  schools,  our  colleges,  our  universities are  nothing  but  desires  fulfilled,  objectified  dreams  of  those  who  have  built them. Every institution rests upon desires. Our  lives, our homes, our friends, are all manifested desires.

All  great  achievements,  great  discoveries  and  inventions  began  in longings and desires. The success of every poor boy and girl who have pushed to the front began in longing, in indefinite yearnings, which they had the faith and the courage to nurse and back up until they realized their dreams. There  is  a  great  difference  between  the  yearnings  of  the  body,  the workings of bodily desires and passions, and the yearnings and longings of the soul. The soul  longings  are  really  the God urge  in us,  the  expressions  of  the divinity within, of the cosmic  intelligence. They open the windows of the mind and  give  us  a  glimpse  of  the  realities  that  were  prepared  for  us  at  the foundation of  the world. They are not empty  imaginings, but  the substance of hoped-for  things,  the  realities  of  unseen  things,  the  precursors  of  the  things themselves.

We are apt to think that what we do in the world, our life work, is purely  a  personal  choice. But  there  is  something  inside  of  us,  if we  are  honest  and earnest, that is leading us toward our own, the thing we were made to do. The youth answers an advertisement, “Boy Wanted,” and gets a place which does not  at  all  fit  him,  but  the  divine  urge  within  haunts  him  until  he  changes. Again and again he may be a round peg in a square hole, but this inner urge—call it ambition, aspiration, a divine leading, what you will—keeps at him until he find his own, the place that fits him.

We  cannot  believe  that  Abraham  Lincoln  found  the  White  House  by accident  or  by  following  a  selfish  personal  ambition.  No,  he  was  led  by  the Spirit to the great work for which he was born, and for which all his previous experience had been molding him.

And  this  same  divine  urge  which  led  Lincoln  out  of  the  forest  to  the White  House  is  active  in  every  human  being.  There  is  a  divine  messenger detailed  at  every  birth  to  follow  the  individual  through  life.  This  divine messenger acts as guide, is always pointing out the right road and cautioning against  the wrong.  If we  follow  the  divine  promptings, we  shall  come  to  our own. The poor boys who have shaped American history never dreamed when they  left  the  farm  in  the  backwoods,  or  the  little  village  in  which  they  were born, that they were destined to do great things. They simply followed their instinctive  leadings  without  thinking  much  about,  or  really  recognizing,  their divine origin.

The mysterious unrest in the great within of us, which is ever urging us on,  is  an  expression  of  the  divine  principle  inherent  in  every  atom,  in  every electron in the universe;  it  is the God urge which  is  lifting everything up to a higher and  ever  higher  plane. Everything  in  the  universe  is on  the way  to  its highest possible expression, on the way to perfection, on the way to its God.
We are here to do our part in raising mankind to a higher plane by giving expression to our highest ideal, by doing the best we are capable of doing. In St. John we read:  “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” Most people do not seem  to  think  that  they  came  into  the world  for  any  special  purpose  or  that they are under any obligation to bear witness to the truth. They do not seem to realize  that  they are bound  to deliver  the message entrusted  to  them at birth, to realize the vision shown them in their highest moment. Many act as  if they were  sent  here  to  catch  and  grab  everything  they  can  get  hold  of  for themselves; that they are under no special obligation to anybody but their own families. In other words, few people realize that they came into the world with any  particular  purpose  other  than  to  gratify  their  own  desires,  to  reap  the harvest that others have sown without rendering anything in return.

They  regard  the world  upon which  the  open  their  eyes  as  a  legitimate field, a sort of hunting ground for their own personal gratification, where they are welcome to whatever they can bag without cost to themselves. They have no appreciation whatever  of  the  fact  that billions  of people who have  lived  in  all the past have really been preparing the world for them; that they are the heirs of all who have gone before them, and that they are in honor bound to do their share in contributing to the inheritance of those who shall come after them. We of today have inherited the results of other people’s efforts. We are enjoying all the  inventions,  all  the  discoveries,  all  the  luxuries  that  are  the  fruits  of  the struggles and trials, the sufferings, poverty and hardship of the  inventors, the discoverers,  the achievers who  labored  to  improve  the conditions of mankind. We were sent here to carry their work a step farther by bringing into the actual the vision of our divinest inspiration.
The way to do this is to follow our inspiration, what our soul longs to do. You are always gravitating toward the vision you hold  in mind. You will never make  headway  in  any  other  direction  than  toward  your  dominant  thought, your dominant desire, and your dominant motive. Visualization will sometime be found to be one of the great secrets of character building and achievement. Effort follows visualization as achievement follows effort. Jesus achieved His Christ-hood.  It was not  thrust upon Him. He achieved  it  just as we must achieve our  ideal  if we ever attain  it. The Savior was not born a Christ. This was a result of His efforts and His work to realize His vision.

Nor did Christ hold up any  inexplicable  ideal  for His  followers when he said, “Ye too are sons of God.” This had never been said before. But again and again  the  Savior  assured His  followers  that  the  things which He  had  done, and even greater things, those who came after Him would do.

All  through His  teaching Christ assured men of  their divinity. When He said,  “I  and  my  father  are  one,”  He  did  not  refer  to  the  fact  of  His  own superiority,  to  the  fact  that He was more  divine  than  others. He was  always trying to convince His disciples that they could do what He did, that they were as divine as He was, and that the reason they did not perform what seemed to them miracles was their lack of faith in their divinity.

We  rise  with  our  vision. All  elevation,  all  progress,  is  first mental.  It  is based  on  faith  in  a  visualized  ideal. Everything  starts  with  a  vision,  and  the result always corresponds to the nature of the vision and our faithfulness to it. Buddha  became what he  did  because he  gravitated  towards his  vision. George  Washington  concentrated  upon  a  vision  of  liberty  and  a  grand democracy which would be a model for the whole world, and he never ceased to struggle until  the  vision became a  reality. Andrew Carnegie became  the  great iron master because he gravitated towards his vision; because of his struggles to  realize  that  dominant  vision.  John  Wanamaker  is  what  he  is  because  he concentrated upon his vision, by always reaching out toward it, always striving to match with reality his dream of a mammoth business.

Every man  becomes  like  his  ideal,  realizes  the  vision which  dominates his life, and towards which he constantly struggles.

"How To Get What You Want"
Orison Swett Marden

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