How do you get rich, beautiful and prosperous? Well, we aren’t short of books nowadays that give us advices on these topics. The number of Self-help books have increased dramatically lately and the authors are using the most creative of titles to draw attention to their books.
The content in the books are however often not as inventive and new as one would hope, based on the title and all the big promises on the cover. And honestly, how many ways are there to tell the same story? If we look back in history a century or so, we will find some of the best self-help books that have been written.
One of the best authors in history is probably Orison Swett Marden (1848–1924), who was an American inspirational author that wrote about achieving success in life and also founded Success magazine in 1897. His writings discuss common-sense principles and virtues that make for a well-rounded, successful life. His first book, Pushing to the Front from 1894, became an instant best-seller and he later published over fifty more books and booklets, averaging two titles per year.
Below you find an excerpt from the book The Victorious Attitude from year 1916 and chapter seven in the mentioned book. You may find some similarities with the ideas that can be found in many of the self-help books that have been written in the last decades.
MAKING YOURSELF A PROSPERITY MAGNET
We are so made that about all we get in life is the reflex of what first flows out from us. Whatever thought you send out will draw to you in the material world a corresponding reality.
Every human being is a magnet, the attractive power of which may be developed in any desired direction. Each one can so direct this power that he can draw to himself whatever he wills.
Before your life can be really effective you must make yourself a magnet for the things that will make it so. You must learn how to attract, how to draw to yourself all that will help you to succeed in your work, that will enable you to attain your ambitions.
If poverty is holding you down, you can conquer it by making yourself a prosperity magnet. We are living in the midst of a stream of inexhaustible supply. It is one’s own fault if he does not take from this stream whatever he needs.
What we get in life we get by the law of attraction. Like attracts like. Whatever you may have managed to get together in this world you have attracted by your mentality. You may say that you have earned these things, that you have bought them with your salary, the fruit of your endeavor. True, but your thought preceded your endeavor. Your mental plan went before your achievement.
The mere changing of your mental attitude will very soon begin to change conditions. Your decision to face toward prosperity hereafter, to cultivate it, to make yourself a prosperity magnet will tend to draw to you the things that will satisfy your ambition.
The text “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed” is the expression of a fundamental truth. The pictures you make in your mind’s eye, the thoughts you harbor are day by day building your outward conditions. They are real forces working ceaselessly in the unseen, and the more you think and visualize favorable conditions the more you increase your power to realize them. You make yourself a magnet for the thing you desire. This is a psychological law.
If you want to become a prosperity magnet you must not only think prosperity but you must also turn your back resolutely on poverty. Begin to-day. Don’t wait for to-morrow or next day. If you don’t look prosperous, assume a prosperous appearance. Dress as far as possible like a prosperous man or woman, walk like one, act like one, think in terms of prosperity. A mental healer could not cure a cancer by holding in his mind a picture of the hideous disease, with all its horrible appearances and symptoms. He must eliminate all this from his mind. He must see his patient whole, clean, healthy, just as God intended him to be, free from all disease. He must picture to himself the ideal man, and declare his divinity.
The same thing is true in curing yourself of poverty. You can not do this as long as you hold poverty-stricken conditions in your mind. If you want to be prosperous you must hold the prosperous thought, the prosperous picture in your mind. You must refuse to see or recognize poverty. You must not acknowledge it in your manner. You must erase all marks of it, not only from your mental attitude, but just as far as possible from your appearance. Even if you are not able to wear fine clothes at first, or to live in a fine house, you can radiate the hope and expectancy of the glorious inheritance which is your birthright, and everything about you will reflect this light.
Prosperity begins in the mind. You must lay its foundations in your thoughts, surround yourself with a prosperity atmosphere. In other words, you will build into your environment, into your life, whatever dwells in your mind.
We hear of some people that “they are always lucky”; “everything seems to come their way.” Things come their way because there are invisible thought forces radiating from their minds toward the goal they have set for themselves. Things fall in line and come our way just in proportion to the force and velocity of the thought forces we project.
Thinking better things might be called the first aid to the poor. To picture yourself as prosperous, living in a comfortable home, wearing good clothes, surrounded with the refinements of life, in a position to do your best work in the service of mankind, this is to put yourself into the current that runs successward.
It is a strange thing that most of us believe the Creator will help us in everything but our financial troubles. We seem to think that it is in some way almost sacrilegious to call upon Him for money to meet our needs. We may ask for comfort, for solace in our afflictions, for the assuaging of our griefs and the healing of our diseases, but to implore God to help us to pay the rent, to pay off the mortgage on the home or the farm, does not seem quite right.
Yet we know perfectly well that every mouthful of food we eat, the material for the clothing we wear and for the houses we live in, every breath we breathe must come from this Divine Source, of infinite supply. If the sun were to be blotted out, or to cease to send its magic rays to the earth, in a few days there would not be a single living thing on the globe. Not a human being, not an animal could exist without it. Not a tree, not a plant, not a flower, no fruits, no vegetables, no grass, nothing green, no vegetable life would be possible. Without the sun’s energizing power all life would cease on this planet. It would be as cold, barren and lifeless as on the moon. The Creator is the builder and provider of the universe. Everything we have comes from Him, and without the supply which flows from His abundance we could not live a single instant, and why should we not look to this great Source for our money supply?
The truth is we were all intended to live the life abundant. The Creator never meant His children to grovel in poverty, to spend their lives in drudgery and uncertainty. They have a right to their inheritance of all that is good and beautiful, all that is needful for their welfare. We were not intended to live the pinched, starved, stunted lives of paupers. It is our own fault if we do. The door to opulence is open to every human being born into this world, and no one but himself can close that door. No human being can shut out the lowliest child that is born from his divine inheritance. The only real poverty is in the mind, and no one can control one’s mind but himself.
Never for a moment harbor the thought that anything can come to you but prosperity, for this is your birthright; and because it is, you should demand it. Instead of admitting poverty say to yourself, “I am in the midst of abundance. I lack nothing that I need because my Father is the Infinite Source.”
Turn your back on poverty. Make up your mind that you will never again have anything to do with it, that you will not encourage it by dwelling on and visualizing poverty suggestions. Face toward prosperity. Think of, and plan for prosperous conditions; struggle toward prosperity with all your might and you will draw it to you.
Suppose you are poor and live in a humble home, just have a talk with your wife and children, and make up your minds that you will all focus on your objective—improved conditions,—that you will face the other way, toward prosperity instead of poverty. Say to yourself, “It is a shame for God’s children to exhibit such a pauperized appearance. It is a reflection on my Father-Mother-God to go about among my fellows looking as though everything had gone wrong with me, as though I were disappointed with life. This is ungrateful. I can at least show gratitude for health, for the privilege of living in God’s pure air and sunlight by holding up my head and walking erectly, joyously, as His child should. I am really insulting the Creator, to whom I pray, by reflecting such despair and degrading poverty in my mental attitude, thus erasing the divine image from my face. No matter how little I have, I can at least appear respectable. I can show that I respect myself by doing away as far as possible with the depressing appearance and influence of poverty.”
Tidy up your little home and make it as neat and cheerful as possible. Do the same with your dress and general appearance. Keep yourself better groomed; look up, brace up, brush up, struggle up. Surround yourself with an atmosphere of hopefulness and show everybody by the new light in your eyes, the light of hope and expectancy of better things, that there is a change in you. Your neighbors will notice it. They will see a change in your home, in your wife, in your children. The change in the mental attitude of yourself and family, through facing toward the light instead of darkness, toward hope instead of despair, will make a tremendous change in your whole outlook on life.
In this way you are making yourself a prosperity magnet; you are radiating thought waves of hope, of ambition, of determination. Your new mental attitude is expressed in an erect, manly carriage, in squared, thrown back shoulders, in a neat, clean appearance, even though the clothing be old and threadbare, in a winning, forceful, magnetic countenance. You are thus establishing the conditions of success. The positive prosperity thought flows out like a wireless current and connects itself with similar thought currents. Hold the prosperity conviction, work steadily toward your object; see opportunity and success[Pg 149] in your vista, determine to be somebody, hold firmly to the resolve, and your mentality will direct the invisible magnet of your personality to lift you higher and higher, to attract toward you others who will help you in the direction in which you are moving.
If you want a better position, more salary, money to pay off debts, or to get what you need, whatever it may be, cling with all the power of your mind to the thing you are trying to get, and never for a moment doubt you will get it. You do not inherit poverty, squalor. Lack and want have nothing whatever to do with God’s children. Your inheritance is divine, grand, sublime. Poverty is a mental disease, and you carry the antidote to its poison in your mind. You owe it to the One who has given you life, health, who has given you brains to make something of yourself, to improve your situation.
As long as you keep yourself saturated with the poverty conviction you cannot rise out of poverty. You must think yourself out of it. “The Lord is my Shepherd, and I cannot want.” Hold that thought firmly and steadfastly in your mind. Believe it. Live up to it.
Abundance will never flow through pinched, doubting, poverty thoughts, any more than clear, crystal water can flow freely through foul, grease-clogged pipes. A right viewpoint must be your mental plumber to keep the connection open and free. Things of a kind attract one another. The poverty thought attracts more poverty, the fear thought more fear, the worry thought more worry, the anxiety thought more anxiety. On the other hand, the faith thought, trust thought, and the confidence thought attract things like themselves.
Poverty is a disease that can only be cured by prosperity remedies. The prosperity thought is the natural antidote for the poverty germ. It kills it. The poverty thought cannot exist in the mind at the same moment with the prosperity thought. One will drive out the other. It rests with you which one you will harbor and encourage.
Cling to the consciousness of your oneness with the All-Supply. Keep the supply pipes between you and the Infinite Source of all good always open. Don’t pinch them. Don’t cut off the supply by the limiting poverty thought, the doubt thought, the fear thought, the worry thought. Keep your supply pipes open by great faith in your Father-Mother-God, who is more solicitous for your welfare than any human parent could be. Hold fast to the anchor of your union with the Infinite Life; keep in the current running Godward and your life will not dry up or become barren, will not be blighted and blasted by the poverty drought.
The trouble with us is that we have been in the habit of looking for a material supply when our first supply must be mental. We keep the supply avenues open or we close them with our thoughts, our convictions. We materialize poverty by our doubting thoughts, by our fears of it. We are just beginning to find that we get out of this world what we think into it and work out of it, that our thought plan precedes its material realization just as the architect’s plan precedes the building.
Remember that prosperity can not flow into your life while your mind is filled with poverty thoughts and convictions. We go in the direction of our thought and our convictions. By no law can you expect to get that which you do not believe you will get. Prosperity can not come to you if you are all the time driving it away from you by your poverty thought.
You must think in a positive determined way that you are going to succeed in whatever you desire to do or to be before you can expect success. That is the first condition by which you make yourself a magnet for the thing you are after. It doesn’t matter whether it is work or money, a better position or health, or whatever else it is, your thoughts about it must be positive, clean cut, decisive, persistent. No weak, wobbly “Perhaps I may get it,” or “Maybe it will come some time,” or “I wonder if I shall get this,” or “if I can do that” sort of thought will ever help you to get anything in this world or the next.
When young John Wanamaker started with a pushcart to deliver his first sale of clothing he turned on a positive current toward a merchant princeship. As he passed big clothing stores he pictured himself as a great merchant, owner of a much bigger establishment than any of those he saw, and he did not neutralize or weaken this thought current by all sorts of doubts or fears as to the possibility of reaching the goal of his ambition.
Most people think too much about blindly forcing themselves ahead. They do not realize that they can, by the power of thought, make themselves magnets to draw to them the things that will help them to get on. Wanamaker attracted to himself the forces that make a merchant prince. Every step he took was forward, to match the vision of his advance with its reality.
Marshall Field projected himself mentally out of a little country store into a clerkship in Chicago. Then he thought and worked himself out of this clerkship into a partnership. Still thinking and climbing upward, he next visualized himself at the head of the greatest merchandizing establishment in America, if not in the world. His mind always ran ahead. He was always picturing himself a little higher up, a little further on, always visualizing a larger business, and so making himself a magnet for the things he sought.
If John Wanamaker had been satisfied with himself at the start he would have remained in his first little store in Philadelphia, and thus cut off all possibility of becoming what he is—one of the greatest merchants the world has ever seen. If Marshall Field had stopped thinking himself higher up when the man he worked for in the little Pittsfield store predicted that he never would succeed as a merchant, he never would have been heard from. But Deacon Davis’s telling Marshall Field’s father that the boy would not make a salesman in a thousand years did not stop him thinking himself ahead. “On to Chicago, the City of Opportunity,” he said to himself, and on and up he went until the little country merchant who predicted his failure was a Lilliputian in comparison.
The story of each of these men is, so far as the success principle is concerned, the story of every man who has ever succeeded in his undertakings. They may not have been conscious of the law underlying their methods, but they worked in unison with it, and hence succeeded.
The same thing is true of Andrew Carnegie, and of all the millionaires and self-made men among us who have raised themselves from poor boys to the ownership of colossal fortunes, or to commanding positions in some phase of the world’s activities.
Any one who makes the accumulation of a fortune his chief goal, and who has grit, determination, will power and sufficient faith in himself to stick to his purpose will get there. But long before the youth who chooses such a goal has reached it, he will have dwarfed his manhood, and shriveled his soul.
To get away from poverty is one thing; to set one’s heart on money as the ultimate good is another, and quite a different, thing. There is a whole world of difference between so saturating one’s mind with the thought of money and its acquisition that there is no room for any other aspiration, and the constant dwelling on the black and hopeless poverty thought, the incessant picturing yourself as a pauper until you are so convinced of poverty’s hold on you that you destroy the very ability which should help you to get away from it.
People who are down and out financially are down and out mentally. They are suffering from a mental disease of discouragement and loss of hope. There ought to be institutions conducted by government experts for the treatment of these poverty sufferers, for they are just as much in need of it as are the inmates of our hospitals. They need advice from mental experts. They have lost their way on the life path, and need to be shown the way back. They need to be turned about mentally, so that they will face the light instead of the darkness. They should be shown that they are stopping up their prosperity pipes, cutting off their source of supply by their pinching, poverty-stricken, limiting thought. Their whole mental attitude points toward failure, toward poverty, and by a natural law their outward conditions conform with the pictures they hold in mind.
This poverty disease could be cured in the case of the majority of down and outs, the failures, by proper mental treatments. If the people in the great failure army to-day could be shown that as long as they hold the poverty thought and go about with a sad, dejected expression on their faces, as though there were no hope in life for them, they will continue to be poor; but that if they will only turn about and face the sun, so that their shadows will fall behind them, their conditions will begin to improve, they would quickly take a new lease of life and courage. These mental prosperity treatments would generate in them a new hope that would cause them to brace up all along the line.
What a revelation would come to the poor people of the world if they would only eliminate from their minds for a single year the poverty thought; if they would erase from their minds poverty pictures and all the suggestions of grinding want that sadden and discourage; if, instead of expecting poverty, and all that the idea implies, they could go through one year expecting just the opposite,—prosperity,—visualizing, talking prosperity, thinking prosperity, acting as though they expected to be, as though they were, prosperous! Just this radical change of thought, this transposition of mental attitude, the persistent holding of the prosperous viewpoint for a year would not only change their whole outlook on life, but would revolutionize their material conditions.
They would brush up and clean up the things they have; their ambition would grow; their new way of looking at life would give an upward tendency to their surroundings. No matter how poor, their squalid aspect would go. Everything would take on a different appearance. There would be a new light in the people’s faces. There would be hope there instead of despair,—expectancy of better things would give a glow of cheerfulness to their countenances. There would be a light in their eyes which never was there before. Working in the spirit of hope and expectancy of better things instead of that of discouragement and the fears of even greater poverty, they would forge ahead in a way that would astonish themselves.
The time is not far away when we shall have prosperity practitioners who will make a specialty of teaching people how to free their minds from thoughts that produce poverty by replacing them with their opposites, thus constantly enlarging the mental power of attraction until the mind becomes a powerful magnet, ever attracting prosperity.
These specialists will teach people the creative power of right thinking, and will show them how to attract their desires instead of killing them, as so many do, by wrong thinking. Clergymen of the future will do much toward eliminating poverty from among their people by instructing them to turn their backs on it and to face toward prosperity. They will teach them how to draw to themselves the sunlight of prosperity.
The cure of physical disease is effected by arousing the curative, restorative forces within the individual. These are brought into operation largely through faith in the physician, in the remedy, in the healer. The healthful mental attitude thus created overcomes the disease.
The cure of poverty,—poverty is usually a mental disease,—is effected in a similar way. The sufferer must first of all have faith in the great Physician of the universe. When that is fully and firmly established there will be no difficulty in flooding his mind with the prosperity thought, the thought that our Father-Mother-God is the Author of abundance, the Author of all the wealth of the earth, and that He is infinitely kinder and more solicitous for our welfare than the fondest mother could be for her child.
We have not yet tapped the possibilities of any part of the world’s resources. Every inhabitant of the earth to-day is treading on secrets which would emancipate man from drudgery and allow him to live happily instead of merely to eke out a wretched subsistence as he has done up to the present. Hitherto, in the great majority of cases, we have barely been existing on the husks of things. Now we are beginning to taste the kernel, because we are coming into a knowledge of the powers locked up within ourselves, and also of the illimitable supply of God’s abundance. Here and there, people are mastering the law of opulence. They are demonstrating that they can conquer poverty by making themselves prosperity magnets; that is, by thinking and working in conformity with the law of opulence, of abundance.
It is monstrous that so many of God’s children are starving right on the shores past which the stream of inexhaustible plenty flows, a stream laden with all the rich things of the universe. There is no excuse for the horrible misery and suffering that exist in our midst. There is no reason why the children of the King of kings should be harassed and tortured, driven into premature graves by poverty, for the Creator has produced enough to make every one of His children rich, to give them an abundance of all they need. There is no necessity for those who have inherited all the good things of the earth to remain poor.
The very structure of the human machine indicates that it was intended for the best, that it was planned for comforts, for luxuries, and not for poverty-stricken conditions. If we could only realize the far-reaching influence of always expecting the best to come to us, always expecting opulence, success, we would never allow ourselves to be dominated by the black pictures of poverty and failure. If every one who is suffering from the limitations and humiliations imposed by a grinding poverty would proceed to establish the prosperity habit along the lines suggested; if they would, by continually holding the prosperous thought, convince the sub-conscious self that we were made to be successful, that prosperity belongs to us we should soon sight the millennium.
When we affirm our divinity, and claim our heritage; when we realize that our birthright keeps us in touch with the very Source of all supply, when we know that it was never intended that God’s children should be poor or go hungry, that it was never intended they should live in poverty-stricken conditions, then we shall have struck the very basic principle of prosperity.
Hold the victorious attitude toward life and you will overcome all unfavorable conditions.