by Charles F Haanel
Some men seem to attract success, power, wealth, attainment, with very little conscious effort; others conquer with great difficulty; still others fail altogether to reach their ambitions, desires and ideals.
Why is this so? Why should some men realize their ambitions easily, others with difficulty, and still others not at all? The cause cannot be physical, else the most perfect men, physically, would be the most successful. The difference, therefore, must be mental must be in the mind; hence mind must be the creative force, must constitute the sole difference between men. [My emphasis. Ed.]. It is mind, therefore, which overcomes environment and every other obstacle in the path of men.
It is the actualizing of interior quality through the creative power of thought which has given us great leaders like Alexander, Napoleon, Cromwell, Marlborough, and Washington; captains of industry like Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller, and Leverhulme; inventors like Stephenson, Morse, Marconi, Edison, Tesla, and hosts of others. If, then, the only difference between men lies in their ability to think, to use and control their thought, to develop it if the secret of all success, all power, all attainment is the creative power of mind, the force of thought surely the ability to think correctly should become the paramount object of every man.
When the creative power of thought is fully understood, its effect will be seen to be marvellous. But such results cannot be secured without proper application, diligence, and concentration. The student will find that the laws governing in the mental and spiritual world are as fixed and infallible as in the material world. To secure the desired results, then, it is necessary to know the law and to comply with it. A proper compliance with the law will be found to produce the desired result with invariable exactitude.
The student must learn that power comes from within and that he is weak only because he has become too dependent on help from outside. [My emphasis. Ed.] When he realises that if he unhesitatingly throws himself on his own thought, he instantly rights himself, stands erect, assumes a dominant attitude, and works miracles.
Scientists tell us that we live in the universal ether [the "old" name for space. Ed.]. This is formless, of itself, but it is pliable, and forms about us, in us, and around us, according to our thought and word. We set it into activity by that which we think. Then that which manifests to us objectively is whatever we have thought or said.
Thought is governed by law. The reason we have not manifested more faith is because of lack of understanding. We have not understood that everything works in exact accordance with definite law. The law of thought is as definite as the law of mathematics, or the law of chemistry, or the law of electricity, or the law of gravitation. When we begin to understand that happiness, health, success, prosperity, and every other condition or environment are results, and that these results are created by right thinking, whether consciously or unconsciously, we shall realize the importance of a working knowledge of the laws governing thought.
Those coming into a conscious realization of the power of thought find themselves in possession of the best that life can give; substantial things of a higher order become theirs, and these sublime realities are so constituted that they can be made tangible parts of daily personal life. They realize a world of higher power, and keep that power constantly working. This power is inexhaustible, limitless, and they are therefore carried forward from victory to victory. Obstacles that seem insurmountable are overcome. Enemies are changed into friends, conditions are transformed, fate is conquered. The supply of good is inexhaustible, and the demand can be made along whatever lines we may desire. This is the mental law of demand and supply.
Our circumstances and environment are formed by our thoughts. We have, perhaps, been creating these conditions unconsciously. If they are unsatisfactory, the remedy is consciously to alter our mental attitude and see our circumstances adjust themselves to the new mental condition. There is nothing strange or supernatural about this; it is simply the Law of Being. The thoughts which take root in the mind will certainly produce fruit after their kind. The greatest schemer cannot "gather grapes off thorns, or figs off thistles". To improve our conditions we must first improve ourselves. [My emphasis. Ed.] Our thoughts and desires will be the first to show improvement.
To be in ignorance of the laws governing in the mental world is to be like a child playing with fire or a man manipulating powerful chemicals without a knowledge of their nature and relations. This is universally true, because Mind is the one great cause which produces all conditions in the lives of men and women.
Admitting that you agree with everything that has been stated thus far and most persons will take no exception to anything that has been said it still remains to make a practical application of the law.
In order to take advantage of this law, and put ourselves into harmonious relationship with it so that the benefits may be made manifest in our lives, it is necessary to see that the conditions are all met for its proper operation. We may know the laws governing electricity; we may have all the proper mechanism, the lamps, the wires, the switches; we may even know how to generate the power; but if the connections are not properly made, we can work the switch till doomsday and no light will appear. So it is with the law of attraction it is in operation all the time and everywhere. Something is constantly being created, something is appearing, everything is continually changing; but to take advantage of this process, it is just as necessary to comply with the law as it is in the case of electricity or gravitation.
Mind is creative and operates through the law of attraction. We are not to try to influence any to do what we think they should do. Each individual has a right to choose for himself. Aside from this, we would be operating under the law of force which is destructive in its nature and just the opposite of the law of attraction. A little reflection will convince you that all of the great laws of Nature operate in silence and that the underlying principle is the law of attraction. Only destructive processes, such as earthquakes, wars, and similar catastrophes, employ force. Nothing good is ever accomplished in that way.
To be successful, attention must invariably be directed to the creative plane; it must never seek to deprive. You do not wish to take anything away from anyone else; you want to create something for yourself, and what you want for yourself you are perfectly willing that everyone else should have.
You know that it is not necessary to take from one to give to another, but that the supply for all is abundant. Nature's storehouse of wealth is inexhaustible: if there seems to be a lack of supply anywhere, it is only because the channels of distribution are as yet imperfect.
Abundance is a natural law of the Universe. The evidence of this law is conclusive; we see it on every hand. Everywhere Nature is lavish, wasteful, extravagant. Nowhere is economy observed in any created thing. Profusion is manifested in everything. The millions and millions of trees and flowers and plants and animals and the vast scheme of reproduction where the process of creating and recreating is for ever going on, all indicate the lavishness with which Nature has made provision for man. That there is an abundance for everyone is evident, but that many seem to have been separated from this supply is also evident; they have not yet come into a realization of the Universality of all substance, and that mind is the active principle which starts causes in motion whereby we are related to the things we desire.
It is evident, therefore, that he who fails to fully investigate and take advantage of the wonderful progress which is being made in this last and greatest science will soon be as far behind as the man who would refuse to acknowledge and accept the benefits which have accrued to mankind through an understanding of the laws of electricity.
Of course, mind creates negative conditions just as readily as favourable conditions. When we consciously or unconsciously visualize every kind of lack, limitation, or discord, we create these conditions; this is what many are unconsciously doing all the time.
This law, as well as every other law, is no respecter of persons, but is in constant operation and is relentlessly bringing to each individual exactly what he or she has created. In other words, "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap".
Abundance, therefore, depends upon a recognition of the laws of Abundance and of the fact that Mind is not only the creator, but the only creator, of all there is. Certainly nothing can be created before we know that it can be created and then make the proper effort. There is no more Electricity in the world today than there was fifty years ago, but until someone recognized the law by which it could be made of service, we received no benefit; now that the law is understood, practically the whole world is lit by it. So with the law of Abundance; only those who recognize the law and place themselves in harmony with it can share in its benefits.
A recognition of the law of abundance develops certain mental and moral qualities, among which are Courage, Loyalty, Tact, Sagacity, Individuality and Constructiveness. These are all modes of thought: and as all thought is creative, they manifest in objective conditions corresponding with the mental condition. This is necessarily true because the ability of the individual to think is his ability to act upon the Universal Mind and bring it into manifestation; it is the process whereby the individual becomes a channel for the differentiation of the Universal. Every thought is a cause and every condition an effect.
This principle endows the individual with seemingly transcendental possibilities, among which is the mastery of conditions through the creation and recognition of opportunities. This creation of opportunity implies the existence or creation of the necessary qualities or talents which are thought forces and which result in a consciousness of power which future events cannot disturb. It is this organization for victory or success within the mind, this consciousness of power within, which constitutes the responsive harmonious action whereby we are related to the objects and purposes which we seek. This is the law of attraction in action. This law, being the common property of all, can be exercised by anyone having sufficient knowledge of its operation.
Courage is that power of the mind which manifests in the love of mental conflict. It is a noble and lofty sentiment, equally fitted to command or to obey. Both require courage. It often has a tendency to conceal itself. There are men and women who apparently exist only to do what is pleasing to others, but when the time comes and the latent will is revealed, we find under the velvet glove an iron hand and no mistake about it. True courage is cool, calm, and collected; it is never foolhardy, quarrelsome, ill-natured, or contentious.
Accumulation is the power to reserve and preserve a part of the supply which we are constantly receiving, so as to be in position to take advantage of the larger opportunities which will come as soon as we are ready for them. Has it not been said, "To him that hath shall be given"? All successful business men have this quality well developed. James J. Hill, who died leaving an estate of over Ł12,000,000, said: "If you want to know whether you are destined to be a success or a failure in life, you can easily find out. The test is simple and it is infallible: Are you able to save money? If not, drop out. You will lose. You may think not, but you will lose as sure as you live. The seed of success is not in you."
This is very good so far as it goes; but anyone who knows the biography of James J. Hill, knows that he acquired his Ł12,000,000 by following the exact methods we have given. In the first place, he started with nothing; he had to use his imagination to idealize the vast railroad which he projected across the American prairies. He then had to come into a recognition of the law of abundance in order to provide the ways and means for materializing it. Had he not followed out this programme, he would never have had anything to save.
Accumulation acquires momentum: the more you accumulate the more you desire and the more you desire the more you accumulate, so that it is but a short time until the action and reaction acquire a momentum that cannot be stopped. It must, however, never be confounded with selfishness, miserliness, or penuriousness; they are perversions and will make any true progress impossible.
Constructiveness is the creative instinct of the mind. It will be readily seen that every successful business man must be able to plan, develop, or construct. In the business world, it is usually referred to as initiative. It is not enough to follow the beaten path. New ideas and new ways of doing things must be developed. It manifests in building, designing, planning, inventing, discovering, improving. It is a most valuable quality and must be constantly encouraged and developed. Every individual possesses it in some degree because he is a centre of consciousness in that Infinite and Eternal Energy from which all things proceed.
Water manifests on three planes as ice, as water, and as steam but it is all the same compound. The only difference is the temperature: no one would try to drive an engine with ice. Convert it into steam and it easily takes up the load. So it is with your energy; if you want it to act on the creative plane, you will have to begin by melting the ice with the fire of imagination, and you will find that the stronger the fire and the more ice you melt, the more powerful your thought will become and the easier it will be for you to materialize your desire.
Sagacity is the ability to perceive and co-operate with Natural Law. True Sagacity avoids trickery and deceit as it would the leprosy; it is the product of that deep insight which enables one to penetrate into the heart of things and understand how to set causes in motion which will inevitably create successful conditions.
Tact is a very subtle and at the same time a very important factor in business success. It is very similar to intuition. To possess tact one must have a fine feeling, must instinctively know what to say or what to do. In order to be tactful, one must possess Sympathy and that Understanding which is all too rare: for all men see and hear and feel, but how desperately few "understand". Tact enables one to foresee what is about to happen and calculate the result of actions. Tact enables us to feel when we are in the presence of physical, mental and moral cleanliness, for these are to-day invariably demanded as the price of success.
Loyalty is one of the strongest links which bind men of strength and character. It is one which can never be broken with impunity. The man who would lose his right hand rather than betray a friend will never lack friends. The man who will stand in silent guard until death, if need be beside the shrine of confidence or friendship of those who have allowed him to enter, will find himself linked with a current of cosmic power which will attract desirable conditions only. It is inconceivable that such a one should ever meet with lack of any kind.
Individuality is the power to unfold our own latent possibilities, to be a law unto ourselves, to be interested in the race rather than in the goal. Strong men care nothing for the flock of imitators who trot complacently behind them. They derive no satisfaction from the mere leading of large numbers or the plaudits of the mob. This pleases only petty natures and inferior minds. Individuality glories more in the unfolding of the power within than in the servility of the weakling.
Individuality is a real power inherent in all; and the development and consequent expression of this power enable one to assume the responsibility of directing his own footsteps rather than stampeding after some self-assertive bell-wether.
Truth is the imperative condition of all well-being. To be sure, to know the truth and to stand confidently on it, is a satisfaction beside which no other is comparable. Truth is the underlying verity, the condition preceding every business or social relation. Truth is the only solid ground in a world of conflict, doubt, and danger.
Every act not in harmony with Truth, whether through ignorance or design, cuts the ground from under our feet and leads to discord, inevitable loss, and confusion; for while the humblest mind can accurately foretell the result of every correct action, the greatest, most profound, and most penetrating mind loses its way hopelessly and can form no conception of the results due to a departure from correct principles.
Those who establish within themselves the requisite elements of true success have established confidence and organized victory: it only remains for them to take such steps as the newly-awakened thought force will from time to time direct. Herein rests the magical secret of all power. [My emphasis. Ed.]
Less than 10 per cent of our mental processes are conscious; the other 90 per cent are subconscious or unconscious: so that he who would depend for results upon his conscious thought alone is less than 10 per cent efficient. Those who are accomplishing anything worth while are those who are enabled to take advantage of this greater storehouse of mental wealth. It is in the vast domain of the subconscious mind that great truths are hidden, and it is here that thought finds its creative power its power to correlate with its object, to bring the seen out of the unseen.
Those familiar with the laws of Electricity understand the principle that electricity must always pass from a higher to a lower potentiality and can therefore make whatever application of the power they desire. Those not familiar with this law can effect nothing. So also with the law governing in the Mental World. Those who understand that Mind penetrates all things, is Omnipresent, and is responsive to every demand, can make use of the law and can control conditions, circumstances, and environment. The uninformed cannot use it because they do not know it.
The fruit of this knowledge is, as it were, a gift of the gods. It is the "truth" that makes men free; free not only from every lack and limitation, but free also from sorrow, worry, and care. Is it not wonderful to realize that this law is no respecter of persons and that whatever your habit of thought may be, the way has been prepared?
With the realization that this mental power controls and directs every other power which exists, that it can be cultivated and developed, and that no limitation can be placed upon its activity, it will become apparent that it is the greatest fact in the world. It is the remedy for every ill, the solution for every difficulty, the gratification of every desire. It is, in fact, the Creator's magnificent provision for human emancipation.