"One ship drives east, and another drives west,
With the self-same winds that blow.
'Tis the set of the sails, and not the gales
Which tells us the way they go.
"Like the waves of the sea are the ways of fate
As we voyage along thru life.
'Tis the set of the soul which decides its goal
And not the calm or the strife."
--ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.
WHAT is the eternal question which stands up and looks you and
sincere man squarely in the eye every morning?
"How can I better my condition?" That is the real life question
which confronts you, and will haunt you every day till you solve
Read this chapter carefully and I think you will find the answer
to this important life question which you and every man must solve
if he expects ever to have more each Monday morning, after pay day,
than he had the week before.
To begin with, all wealth depends upon a clear understanding of
the fact that mind--thought--is the only creator. The great business
of life is thinking. Control your thoughts and you control
Just as the first law of gain is desire, so the formula of
success is BELIEF. Believe that you have it--see it as an existent
fact--and anything you can rightly wish for is yours. Belief is "the
substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
You have seen men, inwardly no more capable than yourself,
accomplish the seemingly impossible. You. have seen others, after years of
hopeless struggle, suddenly win their most cherished dreams. And
you've often wondered, "What is the power that gives new life to
their dying ambitions, that supplies new impetus to their jaded
desires, that gives them a new Start on the road to success?"
That power is belief--faith. Someone, something, gave them a new
belief in themselves and a new faith in their power to win--and they
leaped ahead and wrested success from seemingly certain defeat.
Do you remember the picture Harold Lloyd was in two or three
years ago, showing a country boy who was afraid of his shadow? Every
boy in the countryside bedeviled him. Until one day his grandmother
gave him a talisman that she assured him his grandfather had carried through the
Civil War and which, so she said, had the property of making its
owner invincible. Nothing could hurt him, she told him, while he
wore this talisman. Nothing could stand up against him. He believed
her. And the next time the bully of the town started to cuff him
around, he wiped up the earth with him. And that was only the start.
Before the year was out he had made a reputation as the most daring
soul in the community.
Then, when his grandmother felt that he was thoroughly cured, she
told him the truth--that the "talisman" was merely a piece of old
junk she'd picked up by the roadside--that she knew all he needed
was faith in himself, belief that he could do these things.
The Talisman of Napoleon
Stories like that are common. It is such a well-established truth
that you can do only what you think you can, that the theme is a
favorite one with authors. I remember reading a story years ago of
an artist--a mediocre sort of artist--who was visiting the field of
Waterloo and happened upon a curious lump of metal half buried in
the dirt, which so attracted him that he picked it up and put it in
his pocket. Soon thereafter he noticed a sudden increase in
confidence, an absolute faith in himself, not only as to his own
Chosen line of work, but in his ability to handle any situation that
might present itself. He painted a great picture--just to show that
he could do it. Not content with that, he visioned an empire with
Mexico as its basis, actually led a revolt that carried all before it--until one day he lost
his talisman. And immediately his bubble burst.
I instance this just to illustrate the point that it is your own
belief in yourself that counts. It is the consciousness of dominant
power within you that makes all things attainable. You can do
anything you think you can. This knowledge is literally the gift of
the gods, for through it you can solve every human problem. It
should make of you an incurable optimist. It is the open door to
welfare. Keep it open--by expecting to gain everything that is
You are entitled to every good thing. Therefore expect nothing
but good. Defeat does not need to follow victory. You don't have to
"knock wood" every time you congratulate yourself that things have
been going well with you. Victory should follow victory--and it will
if you "let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." It
is the mind that means health and life and boundless opportunity and
recompense. No limitation rests upon you. So don't let any enter
your life. Remember that Mind will do every good thing for you. It
will remove mountains for you.
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, and prove me now
herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the
windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not
be room enough to receive it."
Bring all your thoughts, your desires, your aims, your talents,
into the Storehouse--the Consciousness of Good, the Law of Infinite
supply--and prove these blessings. There is every reason to know
that you are entitled to adequate provision. Everything that is involved in supply is a
thing of thought. Now reach out, stretch your mind, try to
comprehend unlimited thought, unlimited supply.
Do not think that supply must come through one or two channels.
It is not for you to dictate to Universal Mind the means through
which It shall send Its gifts to you. There are millions of channels
through which It can reach you. Your part is to impress upon Mind
your need, your earnest desire, your boundless belief in the
resources and the willingness of Universal Mind to help you. Plant
the seed of desire. Nourish it with a clear visualization of the
ripened fruit. Water it with sincere faith. But leave the means to
Open up your mind. Clear out the channels of thought. Keep
yourself in a state of receptivity. Gain a mental attitude in which you are
constantly expecting good. You have the fundamental right to all
good, you know. "According to your faith, be it unto you."
The trouble with most of us is that we are mentally lazy. It is
so much easier to go along with the crowd than to break trail for
ourselves. But the great discoverers, the great inventors, the great
geniuses in all lines have been men who dared to break with
tradition, who defied precedent, who believed that there is no limit
to what Mind can do--and who stuck to that belief until their goal
was won, in spite. of all the sneers and ridicule of the wiseacres
and the "It-can't-be-done'rs."
Not only that, but they were never satisfied with achieving just
one success. They knew that the first success is like the first olive out of the bottle. All the others come out the
more easily for it. They realized that they were a part of the
Creative Intelligence of the Universe, and that the part shares all
the properties of the whole. And that realization gave them the
faith to strive for any right thing, the knowledge that the only
limit upon their capabilities was the limit of their desires.
Knowing that, they couldn't be satisfied with any ordinary success.
They had to keep on and on and on.
Edison didn't sit down and fold his hands when he gave us the
talking machine. Or the electric light. These great achievements
merely opened the way to new fields of accomplishment.
Open up the channels between your mind and Universal Mind, and
there is no limit to the riches that will come pouring in. Concentrate your thoughts on the particular thing you
are most interested in, and ideas in abundance will come flooding
down, opening up a dozen ways of winning the goal you are striving
But don't let one success--no matter how great--satisfy you. The
Law of Creation, you know, is the Law of Growth. You can't stand
still. You must go forward--or be passed by.
Complacency--self-satisfaction--is the greatest enemy of
achievement. You must keep looking forward. Like Alexander, you must
be constantly seeking new worlds to conquer. Depend upon it, the
power will come to meet the need. There is no such thing as failing
powers, if we look to Mind for our source of supply. The only
failure of mind comes from worry and fear--or from disuse.
William James, the famous psychologist, taught that "The more
mind does, the more it can do." For ideas release energy. You can do
more and better work than you have ever done. You can know more than
you know now. You know from your own experience that under proper
mental conditions of joy or enthusiasm, you can do three or four
times the work without fatigue that you can ordinarily. Tiredness is
more boredom than actual physical fatigue. You can work almost
indefinitely when the work is a pleasure.
You've seen sickly persons, frail persons, who couldn't do an
hour's light work without exhaustion, suddenly buckle down when
heavy responsibilities were thrown upon them, and grow strong and
rugged under the load. Crises not only draw upon the reserve power you have, but they help to create new power:
"It Couldn't Be Done"
It may be that you have been deluded by the thought of
incompetence. It may be that you have been told so often that you
cannot do certain things that you've come to believe you can't.
Remember that success or failure is merely a state of mind. Believe
you cannot do a thing--and you can't. Know that you can do it--and
you will. You must see yourself doing it.
"If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't;
If you'd like to win, but you think you can't,
It's almost a cinch you won't;
If you think you'll lose, you've lost,
For out in the world you'll find
Success begins with a fellow's will--
It's all in the state of mind.
"Full many a race is lost
Ere even a race is run,
And many a coward fails
Ere even his work's begun.
Think big, and your deeds will grow,
Think small and you fall behind,
Think that you can, and you will;
It's all in the state of mind.
"If you think you are outclassed, you are;
You've got to think high to rise;
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battle doesn't always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he can."
There's a vast difference between a proper understanding of one's
own ability and a determination to make the best of it--and
offensive egotism. It is absolutely necessary for every man to
believe in himself, before he can make the most of himself. All of
us have something to sell. It may be our goods, it may be our abilities, it may be
our services. You've got to believe in yourself to make your buyer
take stock in you at par and accrued interest. You've got to feel
the same personal solicitude over a customer lost, as a revivalist
over a backslider, and hold special services to bring him back into
the fold. You've got to get up every morning with determination, if
you're going to go to bed that night with satisfaction.
There's mighty sound sense in the saying that all the world loves
a booster. The one and only thing you have to win success with is
MIND. For your mind to function at its highest capacity, you've got
to be charged with good cheer and optimism. No one ever did a good
piece of work while in a negative frame of mind. Your best work is
always done when you are feeling happy and optimistic.
And a happy disposition is the result--not the cause--of happy,
cheery thinking. Health and prosperity are the results primarily of
optimistic thoughts. You make the pattern. If the impress you have
left on the world about you seems faint and weak, don't blame
fate--blame your pattern! You will never cultivate a brave,
courageous demeanor by thinking cowardly thoughts. You cannot gather
figs from thistles. You will never make your dreams come true by
choking them with doubts and fears. You've got to put foundations
under your air castles, foundations of UNDERSTANDING and BELIEF.
Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by
your BELIEF in yourself.
Are your surroundings discouraging? Do you feel that if you were
in place success would be easier? Just bear in mind that your real
environment is within you. All the factors of success or failure are
in your inner world. You make that own inner world--and through it
your outer world. You can choose the material from which to build
it. If you've not Chosen wisely in the past, you can choose again
now the material you want to rebuild it. The richness of life is
within you. No one has failed so long as he can begin again.
Start right in and do all those things you feel you have it in
you to do. Ask permission of no man. Concentrating your thought upon
any proper undertaking will make its achievement possible. Your
belief that you can do the thing gives your thought forces their power. Fortune waits upon you. Seize her boldly, hold her--and
she is yours. She belongs rightfully to you. But if you cringe to
her, if you go up to her doubtfully, timidly, she will pass you by
in scorn. For she is a fickle jade who must be mastered, who loves
boldness, who admires confidence.
A Roman boasted that it was sufficient for him to strike the
ground with his foot and legions would spring up. And his very
boldness cowed his opponents. It is the same with your mind. Take
the first step, and your mind will mobilize all its forces to your
aid. But the first essential is that you begin. Once the battle is
started, all that is within and without you will come to your
assistance, if you attack in earnest and meet each obstacle with
resolution. But you have got to start things.
"The Lord helps them that help themselves" is a truth as old as
man. It is, in fact, plain common sense. Your subconscious mind has
all power, but your conscious mind is the watchman at the gate. It
has got to open the door. It has got to press the spring that
releases the infinite energy. No failure is possible in the
accomplishment of any right object you may have in life, if you but
understand your power and will perseveringly try to use it in the
The men who have made their mark in this world all had one trait
in common--they believed in themselves! "But," you may say, "how can
I believe in myself when I have never yet done anything worth while,
when everything I put my hand to seems to fail?" You can't, of
course. That is, you couldn't if you had to depend upon your conscious mind alone. But just
remember what one far greater than you said--"I can of mine own self
do nothing. The Father that is within me--He doeth the works."
That same "Father" is within you. And it is by knowing that He is
in you, and that through Him you can do anything that is right, that
you can acquire that belief in yourself which is so necessary.
Certainly the Mind that imaged the heavens and the earth and all
that they contain has all wisdom, all power, all abundance. With
this Mind to call upon, you know there is no problem too difficult
for you to undertake. The knowing of this is the first step. Faith.
But St. James tells us--"Faith without works is dead." So go on to
the next step. Decide on the one thing you want most from life. No matter what it may be. There is no limit, you
know, to Mind. Visualize this thing that you want. See it, feel it,
BELIEVE in it. Make your mental blue-print, and begin to build!
Suppose some people DO laugh at your idea. Suppose Reason does
say--"It can't be done!" People laughed at Galileo. They laughed at
Henry Ford. Reason contended for countless ages that the earth was
flat. Reason said--or so numerous automotive engineers argued--that
the Ford motor wouldn't run. But the earth is round--and the twelfth
or fifteenth million Ford is on the road.
Let us start right now putting into practice some of these truths
that you have learned. What do you want most of life right now? Take
that one desire, concentrate on it, impress it upon your subconscious mind.
Psychologists have discovered that the best time to make
suggestions to your subconscious mind is just before going to sleep,
when the senses are quiet and the attention is lax. So let us take
your desire and suggest it to your subconscious mind tonight. The
two prerequisites are the earnest DESIRE, and an intelligent,
understanding BELIEF. Someone has said, you know, that education is
three-fourths encouragement, and the encouragement is the suggestion
that the thing can be done.
You know that you can have what you want, if you want it badly
enough and can believe in it earnestly enough. So tonight, just
before you drop off to sleep, concentrate your thought on this thing
that you most desire from life. BELIEVE that you have it. SEE YOURSELF
possessing it. FEEL yourself using it.
Do that every night until you ACTUALLY DO BELIEVE that you have
the thing you want. When you reach that point, YOU WILL HAVE IT!
Suggested Further Reading
The Secret of the Ages, by Robert Collier, .
This text has been reformatted for the web at
Hinduwebsite.com by Jayaram V. This text is not an
exact reproduction of the original edition which was
published in 1925 in seven small volumes. The title
pages, page numbers, contents and index pages of seven
volumes are not included in this electronic version.
Those who are interested in the entire version of the
text may refer the original copy. This text is in the
public domain in the US, but may not be so in some