Sunday, June 25, 2017

All Good Can Be Used for Bad – Mindset Cautions

All Good Can Be Used for Bad - Mindset Cautions(Click here to download audio.)

All Good Can Be Used for Bad – Mindset Cautions

As a key point worth repeating: Anything good can be used for bad.

This deserves special mention.

Eventually, those using anything for bad will die off. Those who are open-handedly helping others around them tend to live longer, more peaceful lives.

In the meanwhile, we get to choose what we will be supporting in our lives.

If you live and work around critical people, you can almost guarantee their attitudes will rub off on you, unless you take precautions.

If you live and work around positive people, you can expect to find more good, profitable ideas that you can put into use.

The punchline is simple: as you believe, you succeed.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Courses – The Final Frontier of Book Publishing

Courses - The Final Frontier of Book PublishingCourses – The Final Frontier of Book Publishing

To boldly publish where few authors have gone before…

Most people have heard and swallowed the hype that ebooks are all there is to self-publishing, that making 6-figures with a few Kindle ebooks is the trophy every player wants to walk away with.

Unfortunately, that’s all but impossible. Statistically, those bestsellers on Amazon are less than 1 percent. (This is from Amazon’s own sales rank.) On top of that, the 6-figure authors I’ve chased down sell all possible other versions of those books everywhere else they can, not just ebooks only.

In short, you can’t get there from wherever you are right now.

Sorry.

The bottom line to succeeding with ebook publishing is being covered over with a bunch of misdirections and strategies which are over 99% wrong.

Let’s back this up then.

First: You don’t succeed only with ebooks – they are only the start.

Second: Books are containers for ideas. They can take many formats. You’re probably familiar with paperbacks, hardbacks, audiobooks.

Third: Successful authors publish in all possible formats.

Fourth: There’s a scale of formats.

  • Your “books” start out with an idea, and usually in text format.

  • Your text is usually started or converted to digital.

  • Polished, this becomes an ebook.

  • Take that digital data and flow it into a Word (or LibreOffice) document and then you can upload it to create print versions, paperback on CreateSpace and Lulu, hardback on Lulu.

  • Record that text and you can have an audiobook, which can be published through ACX to Audible. Or uploaded to CDBaby. (Or – see Author’s Republic.)

  • If you make a presentation and match it to the audio, you wind up with a video and posted to YouTube or others to promote your various book versions.

What remarkably few writers talk about (but most non-fiction authors are doing) are leveraging all these different book-versions in order to create a course.

Courses are the top of the heap, as they make use of all these re-purposed materials you’re able to create. They can also bring you in the most income of all the other formats. (Except where someone makes your book into a feature-length movie, like the Martian, or Fifty Shades of Grey.)

Up to this point, I also haven’t talked about courses. These finally hit my radar after I took a few. When you look at these, you can quickly say – “hey, these aren’t anything I couldn’t do.” If you’ve followed my steps, you’ll know that I’ve personally done everything I’ve talked about. This is to test everything for you and then give you the rundown of the simplest way to do it for yourself.

I’ve not gotten into videos as these are far more time-intensive than writing, editing, and recording audio. They are also harder to monetize, which takes even more time. Courses, though, make video’s possible to be utilized, and monetized.

Western courses tend to be linear and top-down, with the provider as authority. That aligns to our linear books, so an author creating courses is not that far from their work in creating books.

The great scene is that this also allows us to have more distributors bring us more passive income.

How do distributors make you income? Promotion is getting your offer in front of other audiences so they can choose it for themselves. Each distributor has a marketplace with an existing audience. (This is what separates the wannabe’s and vanity/subsidy publishers from the rest – they expect you to bring your own audience for a price you pay up front.) Bonafide distributors usually take a split of your price for themselves in order to finance that platform. The one’s I recommend here let you start for free, they don’t charge you on a annual, per month, or per book basis.

Let’s look these over. We have multiple distributors at nearly every echelon…

Text:

  • ebooks: Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, B&N, Lulu, Smashwords, Scribd, HummingbirdDM, own hosting

  • printed books: CreateSpace, Lulu

Audio:

  • audiobooks: ACX/Audible, CDBaby, HummingbirdDM. own hosting

PDF’s:

  • presentations (mostly for free): Slideshare, HummingbirdDM, Scribd, own hosting.

video: (free and paid) YouTube, Vimeo, MetaCafe, etc. (and inside presentations on Slideshare), own hosting

courses: Udemy, eLearningMarketplace.com, OpenSesame, own hosting.

The criteria I hold here is that you have to be able to submit for free, just as Amazon or others. The others not mentioned in each category require you to pay up front. And most of these have paid upgrade options. What I want to tell you about is how you can start from scratch without any out-of-pocket costs.

All of these levels of formatting have increasing amounts of work and organization, but are all able to be created by an individual or solopreneur. You can have a content business located anywhere you can get an Internet connection. No boss, plenty of income if you organize it right. The idea here is that you can get started for nothing more than just sweat equity.

Each formatting level has varying numbers of free-to-publish market places. It’s interesting to find that the bottom and the top have the greatest number of marketplaces who want your book-content.

Factors in choosing marketplaces

If you’ve followed my articles and podcast episodes, you’ll know the answer I recommend: all of them.

Simply because once you have the book-container in the format you want, then you have a digital product you can host anywhere. So you might as well – you won’t know what money you are missing otherwise.

The worst aspect to deal with is the “race to the bottom.” Amazon is infamous at this. They are the only ebook distributor that penalizes you for setting a price higher than $9.99 – they want to commoditize ebooks and so, commoditize authors. Most of the “how to” books on dealing with Amazon work only within these limits. Few tell you to simply take your book to other distributors as well. Or to sell it directly and pocket even higher percentages.

One example was a guy who wrote a very authoritative PDF on Evernote. And he makes a few thousand every month from that single book selling on his own site. Yes, there are a lot of wannabe ebooks on Amazon for 2.99 or 3.99 – his is around $25 and isn’t available except on his site. So is he losing money? Not as much as if he tried to “compete” on Amazon.

This is a research work in progress. I won’t have all the details in for some months from now, due to the complexity of the subject.

In all of the above, the additional choice is to self-host. I’m torn between all of these, actually, since they each have different advantages.

My current approach will be to build my courses on my own site, list them on eLearning Marketplace, and then create additional versions on Udemy and OpenSesame. (But I’m using the Rainmaker Platform.)

If you don’t have an option already for creating a course via your web host, then I’d recommend starting with Teachable or Thinkific to build your course, and then port it as above.

Do watch their preferences. Udemy is a stickler on pricing, but arguably does the most work in pitching their courses to potential students. Note that you won’t put any high-end courses here. Intro courses, with links to your main site where they can find your upper-end sequels would be a logical choice.

Teachable has probably the best backend for enabling you to get started. Thinkific is close behind.

As in books, I’d recommend you create the course once and port it to every marketplace you can.

There are also other options for courses (and for any bundle of digital products) such as pitching them through affiliate sales platforms, which are nothing but marketplaces for affiliate sales people. That is completely a different subject area, and a research project still incomplete. Several of these course platforms have built-in affiliate programs you can take advantage of.

Check them out for yourself as part of your due diligence.

The point of this is to get started building courses and leverage what you have to the next level.

Leveraging All Your Book Platforms

Let’s review a bit. You have these levels of platforms:

  • ebooks

  • paperbacks / hardbacks

  • PDF’s

  • audiobooks (podcasts)

  • presentations

  • videos

  • courses

Those are in order of logical production, but not necessarily in the order of most leveraged marketing:

  1. While you create your book in LibreOffice (or Word), you’ll port to ebooks first in order to get quick sales.

  2. Creating the PDF will give you paperbacks on CreateSpace and Lulu, hardbacks on Lulu.

  3. Then port your PDF to Scribd if it’s an original work. Lulu will also sell it for you on their marketplace. (And there are other places to sell PDFs, beyond the scope of this article, and the radar of most book sellers.)

  4. Part of your editing is reading it out loud, so it makes sense to create at least a podcast at the same time. Then get the final version professionally recorded, or DIY.

  5. From that audio, you can create a matching presentation. Save this as a PDF or a series of individual images (GIMP will generate images out of those PDF pages.)

  6. Combine the audio and images into MovieMaker (on Windows, or iMovie on MAC, or OpenShot on Linux – there are many other non-linear editors available on all platforms.) Now you have a video.

  7. Create a course outline, probably according to your book chapters, and you can build your course with all these materials. Note that the best experience is where you post all versions of the material available for the student to download according to their own learning preferences.

What is interesting is that you can work this all backwards from the course you want to create.

You begin with the audience, and for that you need to write a sales page, write an ad, and do a course outline. Create the course on whatever platform you’ll be using. Start running the ad and getting opt-ins with emails. Give them access with their purchase, and survey them for just what they want. Then start producing it, modifying your outline and adding lessons as you go.

As you produce your text, audio, slides, and video, you can be producing short-read ebooks which are available for purchase as part of the course materials. Combine these books so that they result in 32 print pages and you have a slim paperback. Combine all these slim volumes and you’ll have a thicker paperback to offer. That paperback can become a deluxe hardback as well.

Meanwhile, your students can give your books reviews and start moving them up the Amazon rankings.

This then gives us an unsuspected way to write and publish books – by teaching. And I don’t know that this couldn’t be adapted for non-fiction. Certainly, all the “cutting room floor” leftovers from creating a book could be used for a fan course. It would be much as the bonus material found on DVD’s, I expect.

Other than some small details, this is the capstone of my research into book publishing. It was as surprising to me as it probably was to you.

Next for me is to actually take these four years of blog posts/podcasts and turn them into a full-fledged course.

Of course, you’ll be invited to pilot it.

Luck to us all.

Until next time…

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Money: What It Is, and How to Have Plenty Of It – 02

CTF Money, what it is

(An excerpt from If You Can Count to Four available on Amazon)

Money: What It Is, and How to Have Plenty Of It

I am wondering if you would be happy if someone were to come to you and tell you that you could have all of the money that you desire to have. I am wondering if you would be interested in learning what money is and how you can have plenty of it. I would like to tell you what money is and how you can appropriate the laws, which will make it possible for you to have all the money you desire.

First of all, the majority of the people in the world do not have all of the money they need and desire, because they do not know what money is. Most everyone thinks that money is security, money is happiness and money is real. They do not realize that money is a symbol of something that is real and that money is not real within itself.

We have all heard that money is a medium of exchange. Exchange of what? There is something that is real and tangible and basic that money is the symbol of. Money is the medium of exchange of this thing which is real. So, first of all, I would like to tell you what money is, then I will tell you what money is not, then we will talk about how to have plenty of it.

We have said that money is a symbol and is not the real thing. We have said that money is the medium of exchange of something real.

  • Money also is an expression of the real thing.
  • Money makes it possible for us to express ourselves in life.
  • Money makes it possible for us to do the things that bring happiness.
  • Money makes it possible for us to have the things which are desirable.
  • Money also is a container.
  • Money is a warehouse, or a storage unit, which makes it possible for us to render the real thing, that which money is the symbol of, in abundance.
  • It makes it possible for us to render a service and money is a container into which we store units of service.

Many, many years ago, we did not have money. People, with their various abilities to serve, in the various capacities in life, for which they were especially designed, would render a service, then they would accumulate the results of that service in the form of barter.

Then, in their own crude way, they would exchange the values as best they could. That was not very convenient, so as men and women learn better how to exchange their services, they designed a symbol of the real value, which is service. They could store it up in the form of a medium of exchange.

Actually, money could be likened to a warehouse, thinking of each unit of service as so much value. Let’s take an example of a man who earns $300 per month. This thing called money, which is represented by the term $300, is merely a method of evaluating the amount of service that man rendered in a given period of time. Now, if he consumes only $200 worth of service during the month, then he has $100 worth of service as a surplus, which he can store up in this thing called money.

In other words, he has $100 in a savings account. That is 100 little boxes into which he can store extra units of his service, which he rendered during the current month.

Now, let us assume that this man wants to purchase something which costs 1200 units of service. He lives on his 200 units of service, and he earns 300 units of service during the month, so he stores 100 units of service each month until he has his 1200 units in reserve. He has 1200 little boxes, each of them representing a certain amount of energy expended in the form of his skill. He can trade these 1200 little boxes for automobile or a down payment on a house or a refrigerator or whatever he desires.

That which he received, in the form of a house, automobile, vacation or whatever he desires, was so many units of service rendered by the people in other channels. He exchanged his accumulated service units for the results of the services of others.

You can see how money is not the real thing, but a medium or a symbol of the real thing, which is service. In other words, money is in effect, not a cause.

People who think that having plenty of money would solve all of their problems are dealing with effect and not cause. The reason why the majority of people in this world do not have all of the money they need, is that they are dealing with effect only. They are constantly trying to harvest, which is effect, without planting, which is cause. If we harvest all the time without replanting, soon we will not have anything to harvest.

We have been talking about what money is. Now let’s talk about what money isn’t.

Money isn’t service, money is the symbol of service.

The real thing is service. Every person was designed with the ability to serve, with a potential capacity to serve in an unlimited fashion. So, the real challenge is to get acquainted with the real thing, which is service, then learn how to render a quality and a quantity of service. The effect is automatic. Once we increase the quality and the quantity of cause, which is service, the quality and quantity of effect is automatic.

The way to have plenty of money is not to give our attention to money, which is the symbol, and not the real thing, but to switch our attention to cause, the real thing, and become an expert in the realm of cause, which is rendering a quality and quantity of service to humanity. So, the challenge is for us to switch our focal point of values and to change our habit patterns so that we become proficient and effective in the realm of cause, which is service.

As I said before, the majority of the people in the world do not enjoy an abundance of this thing called money because their premise of values has been false. Because they think that money is the real thing, they are seeking after the symbol instead of seeking after the real thing, which is service. So, the challenge for us is to find an opportunity to serve in an unlimited way.

We must be able to render a quality and quantity of service. Otherwise, we are not entitled to an abundance of the results of service. Of course, someone is going to say it is very easy to say, but what are you going to do if you had been thinking, all of your life, about the symbol, which is money, until the habit pattern is so deeply engraved, that you find yourself constantly thinking about money and are not particularly interested in service.

The answer to that problem is to approach it scientifically, according to the laws of the mind. We have a conscious mind and a subconscious mind.

The conscious mind is that part of our mental processes, which is aware. The conscious mind is personal, and it is that part of us that makes it possible for us to imagine a brand-new idea.

The subconscious is that part of our mental processes, which is not aware. The subconscious mind is impersonal, and it is a storage house where we have stored all of our previous thought experiences in the form of habit patterns. The sum total of all of our thoughts in the subconscious mind is what determines how we feel and how we react to every situation at the present time.

Now, the technique of changing our focal point of attention, or our premise of values, is to decide with the conscious mind, where the will power is, and where the capacity to design a new idea exists. Let us appropriate this capacity, which we have, and let us design a new pattern, according to our desires.

Now that we are aware of the real thing, now that we are aware of our opportunities to find an opportunity to serve, it is our privilege to use our intelligence to find a particular channel of service which we enjoy so much we would be willing to serve in it without financial remuneration.

How many of you know of a certain thing that you would like to do regardless of whether you were paid for it or not? Do you suppose that if Ben Hogan never received another dollar for playing golf, he would quit playing golf? Do you believe that all of the great athletes, in the many phases of athletics, would quit playing their various games, if they found themselves, suddenly, in a position, where they were not going to be paid for their activities?

We all know that they enjoyed these games in the beginning and that is why they ultimately became professionals. In the beginning, they were attuned to the very nature of the activity. Every one of us is especially designed to serve in some particular capacity or channel of service to humanity. When we find it, we will enjoy it so much that we would do it without compensation if we could afford to.

When we realize this, we began to look for that particular channel. Of course, we will find it because of the very nature of our intelligence. The subconscious mind is connected with infinite intelligence, and through the proper direction of our attention in the conscious mind, we can direct the activities of the subconscious mind to find the answer to any problem to which we desire to find the answer.

The thing to do is to get a definitized concept of this basic premise. That the real thing in life is not money, but rendering a quality and a quantity of service to humanity, then habituate this concept by clamping it into place with our will power. Remember the will power story for it is basic and true.

The will power works just like clamps on some boards that have been glued together. While the glue is going through the process of drying, it does not have the power to hold the boards together, but the clamps hold the boards together until the glue dries, then the power of the glue comes in and holds it in place and the clamps can be taken off.

The will power, like the clamps, is especially designed to hold our attention to something new and desirable until the habit pattern is well established. We can then relax the will power and the habit pattern will take it over automatically. So, after the habit pattern is established on the new premise of values, we automatically give our attention to rendering a real service to humanity in abundance. This causes us to appropriate the law of sowing and reaping in the field of life, and money, which is the symbol of the real thing, begins to come into our storehouse in abundance.

Every person of historical importance became the type of person who would be written up in the history books, because they discovered this wonderful secret. They found an opportunity to render the type of service which they enjoyed. They learned to lose themselves in that service, until they forgot all about the financial remuneration. Because they were planting seed, in abundance, in the field of life, life began to pay off bountifully.

With your permission, I will refer to Henry Ford. You know that until the time he was nearly 40 years of age he had never amounted to anything from a financial point of view. However, something down deep inside of him caused him to spend all of his spare time developing the gasoline engine. In those days, only the rich people could buy automobiles. He believed that the common man should have a unit of transportation. He had an obsessional desire to design and manufacture that inexpensive unit transportation.

The story is a familiar one to every person in the world today. Henry Ford’s objective was not to make a million dollars, but to render a great service to humanity, and because he found ways and means to render a quality and quantity of service to humanity, he became one of the richest men who ever lived.

Henry Kaiser is a modern-day example of a man who has looked for opportunities to serve humanity all of his life. Today, he is head of so many different industries, that I doubt if he is aware of all of them himself. By his very nature, he is constantly looking for opportunities to serve. We are all familiar with the record he made in ship building.

He also played a very important part in building Hoover Dam. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Hoover Dam, take advantage of that opportunity, and while you are enjoying being shown through that vast construction, think of the size and the color of the thinking of the people who first looked at this great chasm and saw the mighty Colorado roaring down into the valleys beyond. Think of the faith of the men who designed it and believed it was possible to build a dam across that mighty river.

Through the thinking of men like Henry Kaiser, this great structure was built and they were paid handsomely because they were dealing with the real thing. His attention was on rendering a quality and a quantity of service to humanity and, because of this, thousands and thousands of families today, in the valleys below, have plenty of water under control. Rich crops are being grown every season, and they have four or five growing season per year. They have no floods because the water is under control. Millions of kilowatt hours of electric power are generated as a byproduct of this great dam. There is an abundance of electric power and thousands of families every year enjoy sport fishing and recreational facilities in the largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Mead, because men dedicated themselves to rendering a quality and a quantity of service to humanity.

Of course, incidentally, they were compensated with millions of dollars for their services. I am sure that many of you are asking the question, “Well, how does this apply to poor little old me? I am just an ordinary housewife; I am just an ordinary insurance salesman; I am just an ordinary food supplement salesman; I am just a waitress or a service station attendant or a mechanic or a machinist. How does this principle apply to me?”

It applies to you as definitely as it does to Henry Kaiser or Henry Ford, because you have the privilege of switching your focal point of attention from your paycheck and to figure out ways and means as to how you can render a greater service to your employer and customers.

The challenge to each one of us is to realize that we have the capacity to serve effectively in some particular channel. And that we can become so effective in rendering a quality and quantity of service in that channel that we will reap a bountiful harvest, not only in the joy of service but also in the coin of the realm.

Now that we have discovered the law of sowing and reaping, which is appropriated by rendering a quality and a quantity of service to humanity, we have discovered the secret of life. Now, we can be anything that we want to be and we can have anything we want to have.

So may I suggest that you get a notebook and write down everything you want to be. You may think you want to be something that is going to take you years to accomplish. That is perfectly all right, write it down. You may want something that only takes a few days to accomplish, write it down.

Then, after you have written down everything that you want to be, on the other side, write down everything you want to have. List every category, your living quarters, your furnishings, your clothing, your transportation, the recreational facilities, like clubs, etc. several times each day, give some attention to this list, especially just before you turn out the light and go to sleep at night.

Then, you will find that you will begin to have a deep feeling regarding all of these things. Every day, on awakening, you will find ideas coming to you, from the subconscious, that will tell you what to do to make it possible for you to realize your objectives. Yes, it is possible for each one of us to design the type of life we want to live, and to design the type of things that we want to possess which will make it possible for us to express life abundantly. We have the ability to render the quality and the quantity of service to humanity which will make it possible for us to have the things that we want to have. Every desire has, within it, all of the intelligence and all of the wisdom and all of the ingredients necessary for its fulfillment.

Now let us briefly review:

  • Money is a symbol, not the real thing.
  • Money is a medium of exchange, which is the great convenience in our modern society. By the way, we never should feel negatively toward money, money is good.
  • Money is an expression, or, money is that which makes it possible for us to express the type of life which we want to express.
  • Money makes it possible for us to enjoy life by providing a means of exchanging our services for the services of others. When we are in and accumulate enough money, which is the symbol of service rendered, we can enjoy all of the finer things we desire.
  • Money is a container, a warehouse, a storage unit, through which we can render more service in any given space of time than we need for our own expression. We can accumulate this service in the form of money, which is a container into which we can pour this additional service and use it later date.
  • Money is an effect, not a cause, and so we do not put real value in money. We rather trust in our happiness and our security based upon our awareness of the real thing, which is cause, our ability to render a genuine, honest service to humanity.
  • The great challenge is for us to learn how to render a real service to humanity. There are many unlimited opportunities to serve for every individual. Let us realize that we have been given, not only the privilege, but the capacity, to discover a great opportunity to serve humanity.
  • Then let us burn all of our bridges and get into that particular channel for which we have been especially designed and let us become experts in that field so we can dedicate ourselves to rendering a quality and a quantity of service.
  • We will be compensated in peace of mind and livingness, which is a continuous joy. That will be our first and most valuable compensation, but we will also be compensated in the form of financial remuneration in proportion to the quality and the quantity of the service we have rendered.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chapter 11 – Twelve Disciplines – Wake Up and Live – 02

WUAL Chapter 11 - Twelve Disciplines

(An excerpt from The Strangest Secret Library available on Amazon)

Chapter 11 Twelve Disciplines

ONE

THERE are dozens of small ways by which we can make our minds both keener and more flexible – two qualities peculiarly necessary for those who intend to live successfully. We all succumb too easily to the temptation to find a routine which works out so that we get our day’s tasks done with a minimum of effort and conscious attention; a fact which might have no unfortunate effects on us at all if we used the time we save by our routines to good purpose. But the cold truth is that we do nothing of the sort. We apply the routine-observing tendency to our whole lives, growing mentally and spiritually more flaccid, more timorous, less experimental with every day we spend supported by the rigidity of habit.

Habit takes care of most of our ordinary activities; we get through our work by using only that part of our intellect which has been trained to consider the work’s specific problems (often trained painfully and protesting); when we meet a novel thought or situation, we fall back on an analogy and act according to the prejudice or emotion which that arouses in us. Even those of us who rather solemnly undertake programs of self-improvement seldom use more than one set of mental muscles, gathering a number of facts about this subject or that, and considering ourselves “improved” if we learn something about the religions of India, or the work of Charles Dickens, or the birds of Southern California.

This would be harmless enough if it were not for the complacency which attends it.

Fact gathering is one activity of the intellect; and where a little training in independent judgment has accompanied or preceded it, so that correct conclusions concerning the facts are independently reached, it is a valuable one. But such programs alone do not exercise the mind to its fullest extent, to make an instantaneously useful tool of it, or give one the power to call on all its resources at will.

Even those who think of themselves as extraordinarily hard workers are not in the state of mental training, usually, which allows them to get the most from their lives.

One great reason is pointed out over and over by Dr. Alexis Carrel in his book Man, the Unknown: the benefits of civilization are not unmixed blessings. We are no longer called on to meet the extremes of heat and cold, for instance, to go through alternate periods of plenty and scarcity of food; universal lighting turns night into day everywhere, and the newspapers and radio entertain us so that we seldom look to ourselves for our own resources. Healthy man has a great capacity for adaption, and, says Dr. Carrel, “the exercise of the adaptive functions appears to be indispensable to the optimum development of man.” We have allowed ourselves to soften, to abandon our ingenuity, to escape responsibility whenever possible, till we grow to fear and abhor the very word “discipline.”

Yet discipline is undergoing restraint in order to develop the qualities necessary for a full life. Mental discipline should connote the equivalent in the sphere of the mind which the athlete undertakes for perfecting his body. We should first take stock of our minds; and then set to work on them to strengthen them here, make them more flexible there, stretch them somewhat, teach them to be more exact – in short, put them through their paces so that we get the maximum use and advantage from them.

In order to do so, we must learn to be arbitrary with ourselves – by no means an easy matter for a generation which has not only been softened by material conveniences, but has been given the dubious benefit of being allowed to “psychologize” about itself day in and day out. Some of us dread and dislike restraint, even when self imposed for a sound purpose, to such an extent that we live our lives between habit and impulse under the impression that only so can we be wholly free. But “Freedom,” says Aristotle, “is obedience to self-formulated rules,” and the definition holds as good today as two thousand years ago.

We must work to get back tone and muscle into our lives until it is possible to stop one activity and turn to another, varying the approach, stroke, strength behind the effort, and so on, with as much agility and deftness as a skillful tennis player uses to meet the shifting play of a good opponent. If we could know each day just the necessities we should be called on to meet, we could prepare ourselves in advance, and flexibility and ingenuity would be uncalled for. Since that does not happen, we must get ourselves into training to meet the infinite calls on us, instead of, as we usually do, discharging easily only one or two matters which are natively congenial to us, and getting through the others awkwardly, blindly.

The disciplines suggested here are drawn from all over the world. Readers of philosophy and religion will find procedures they have met before, recommended by the wise men of many countries: there are disciplines from India and Spain, from Greece and China – and from any girl’s finishing school! Some of them are common to every country which teaches any kind of mental or spiritual discipline, such as that of observing set periods of silence. None of them is “arbitrary” in the sense of “pointless”; each develops or strengthens a faculty of the mind which should be kept in good condition if a life is to be led purposefully and under one’s own control.

Not all of them will be equally valuable to all cases; but before rejecting any one of them examine yourself to discover if you are not possibly throwing it aside simply because it does ask you to put a little more restraint on yourself than you find pleasurable. Most of them will be difficult at some stage, attended by something in the mental realm like the stiffness and soreness which follow using a new muscle in athletic training. But you can exercise muscle only by submitting it to some sort of resistance; you must feel at least slightly uncomfortable to have the assurance that your exercise is doing the work you are asking of it. So, in following these mental exercises, unless there is some discomfort from observing each one fully, unless there is some protest arising from interrupted habits and novel ways of action, it may be that the discipline in question is not one that you really need. Replace it, in that case, with another which calls on you for some endurance and effort.

TWO

The Twelve Disciplines
1. The first exercise is to spend an hour every day without saying anything except in answer to direct questions. This should be done in the midst of your usual group, and without giving anyone the impression that you are sulking or suffering from a bad headache. Present as ordinary an appearance as possible; simply do not speak.

Answer questions just to their limit, aid no further; give a full and adequate answer, but do not continue with volunteered remarks which are suggested by the answer or question, and do not attempt in any way to draw another question from your interlocutor. Oddly enough, this is a difficult discipline for even a normally taciturn person. We are all so used to breaking into speech wherever we meet one another, merely in order to give evidence of our friendliness and accessibility, that we talk almost constantly whenever there is an opportunity.

This discipline is found in almost every country which is the home of a genuinely old religion. It is of immense value, and productive of many different results. Probably no two experimenters ever have identical reactions to this practice; they will vary according to temperaments. One thing which soon becomes apparent to many, for instance, is that we seldom say exactly what we mean at our first attempt. We rush into speech, see by the expression on another’s face that we have not made ourselves entirely clear, or have misspoken in some way, and try again. This likewise may not make our intention understood; we try again. We pause a moment, think the matter over, issue a clearer statement. But in the meanwhile there are those three earlier attempts to express ourselves still remaining in our hearers’ minds, beclouding the issue.

One man, reporting on this experiment, said that he seemed at first not to be there at all. Then there was a period when he felt that he, in his silence, filled the whole room and had the experience of seeing it all impersonally. As long as he talked, wherever he stood was, naturally, the center of his scene; silent, the group “composed” with a different emphasis. When his hour was over he saw himself sometimes in the center, sometimes on the circumference, occasionally entirely outside the interests around him.

Another man recorded that when his silence began to make itself felt the friends he was with acted most illuminatingly. Not quite aware what made the occasion unusual, two of them were definitely ill at ease. One thereupon became extremely ingratiating, a second truculent and then downright hostile, arriving at the point of charging his silent friend with feeling “superior” just as the hour was up and speech could be resumed. A third man, heretofore the quietest of the group of friends, turned extremely talkative, as though to retrieve a balance he felt endangered, relapsing into silence when the observer began to talk naturally again.

A woman reported, with much amusement, that she had never had such a personal success in her life as during the hour she sat silent and smiling at a party. Her silence seemed to act as a magnet and a challenge in a way her gaiety had never done.

All experimenters, however, agreed on one matter: while the silence lasted a sense of mastery grew in them. When they resumed speech it was with the sense of using speech definitely and purposefully, and always with the knowledge that the resort of silence could be found at Meredith which she said she had never fully understood.

One concluded her report with a sentence from before: “It is the silence of the god we fear, not his wrath; Silence is the unbearable repartee.”

2. Learn to think for half-an-hour a day exclusively on one subject. Simple as this sounds, it is at first ludicrously hard to do. The novice should begin by thinking on his solitary subject for five minutes a day at first, increasing the period daily till the half hour has been attained. To begin with, a concrete object should be chosen: a flower, a bottle of ink, a scarf. Do not have it before you; build it up in your mind. With a flower, for instance, describe it to yourself as each of the senses would report it.

When that is done, go on to how it grows and where; what it symbolizes, if anything; what uses are made of it. From this simple beginning, work up to considering a concrete problem, and, finally, to an abstraction. Start with subjects which really interest you, but when you have taught your mind not to wander even for a moment, begin choosing a subject by pointing your finger at random on a newspaper or the page of a book, and think on the first idea suggested by the lines you have touched.

You will find it very revealing to start this exercise with a pencil and pad, and to make a slight check on the paper whenever you find your attention slipping. If you are really quick to realize when your mind has begun to wander, you will find your paper very full for the first few days. Fortunately, improvement in this is fairly rapid.

At the end of a week in some cases, at the end of a month even in refractory ones, the pad will be found nearly blank at the end of your half-hour. The value of this exercise must be obvious to anyone who hopes to engage in original work, or to introduce new procedures of any sort. At first it is wise to practice this when alone; but eventually you should be able to do it even in the midst of distractions, such as when traveling to and from work.

(Note carefully that the recommendation is not to hold one’s mind immobile on one object, as in some Indian disciplines or in the Christian process called “recollection.” You are to think about one subject only; no more than that. The other practice induces a slightly hypnoidal state, and is not suitable to our purposes here.) This, of course, is simply the “application” and “concentration” which was preached to every one of us in our school days, it is very revealing, none the less, to see how imperfectly we learned that lesson then or at any subsequent time! Once it is learned, it is of immense benefit. Anyone who is capable of it, for instance, can pick up a foreign language in very short order. The accent may be barbarous, unless one has learned phonetics early, but books and newspapers can be easily read, and enough of a vocabulary to get around in the strange land can be acquired in less than a month.

Moreover, in any competitive performance, the one who has trained himself to think steadily, without deflection, will arrive at his conclusion first. But the advantages of this are too obvious to need emphasizing further.

3. Write a letter without once using the following words: I, me, my, mine. Make it smooth and keep it interesting. If the recipient of the letter notices that there is something odd about it, the exercise has failed.

This practice, and others like it, again allows us to see ourselves in perspective. In order to write a good letter of the sort, it is necessary to turn the mind outward, to give up for a while the preoccupations and obsessions with our own affairs. We come back to our own lives refreshed.

4. Talk for fifteen minutes a day without using I, me, my, mine.

5. Write a letter in a “successful” or placid tone. No actual misstatements are allowed.

No posing as successful, no lying. Simply look for aspects or activities which can be honestly reported in this way and confine you letter to them. Indicate by the letter’s tone that you are, at the moment of writing, not discouraged in any way.

There is a double purpose here. First, it is a simple way of turning from a negative and discouraging attitude towards a positive and healthy one. However unpromising the prospect for finding enough good items for a letter may appear at first, one soon discovers that a number of matters are going smoothly and well, but that they have been ignored while one centers on disappointment and frustration. Second, and more important, such a letter as this, sent to almost every correspondent you have, will remove one great stumbling-block to the successful conduct of your affairs.

Letter writing is a task we usually tuck into an odd corner of our day. When we have nothing to do and feel listless, bored, tired or depressed, we take pen in hand and write to our dear ones! We send low-spirited, unhappy notes about, and reap the natural consequences: consolatory or sympathetic letters come in answer. Sometimes they come when we are feeling fairly well, or in really high spirits; but it is a heroic character who can resist the chance to feel sorry for himself. We have the choice, reading these answers which we have invited, of slipping back into the mood of martyrdom and self-pity, or of feeling distinctly silly. It is far more dramatic to feel sad again than to feel silly; so we go on in our vicious circle, and send the latest bad news when we write again. A complete holiday from self-pity and depressions is necessary to success.

6. And this exercise comes directly from all the finishing schools for young ladies that ever existed: pause on the threshold of any crowded room you are to enter, and consider for a moment your relation to those who are in it Many a retiring and quiet woman can thank this small item of her school training for her ability to handle competently situations which seem, as though they would be embarrassing and exacting for anyone so sheltered. It was for years (and may be still, for all I know) the custom to teach young girls to stop just a moment at the door of the room they were entering until they had found their hostess, and then the guest of honor. (Failing such guest, the oldest person in the room was to be singled out.) Then the room was entered, the young guest going, as soon as her hostess was free, straight to her to be welcomed and to “make her manners.” She then watched for the first opportunity to speak for a few minutes to the guest of honor; and not until she had discharged these obligations was she free to follow any other plans or inclinations of her own. The girl who thoroughly learned this lesson learned something which is invaluable to everyone: to size up a roomful of people at a glance, discover what it holds, first in the way of obligation and then in the way of companionship or one’s own interests.

There is a kind of nonsensical notion abroad today that to take such conscious forethought about any occasion is to be a hypocrite or a snob, that there is some virtue in rushing pell-mell into any situation, snatching what offers itself without difficulty, and foregoing the rest. There is no danger that you will really be acting “artificially” if you give yourself a moment to foresee the various possibilities and relationships in the occasion you are about to live through. You will simply have taken care not to be stampeded into doing something uncongenial to you, of getting caught in a backwater of conversation which touches none of your real interests, or of running the risk of missing a chance to talk to a real friend, or someone whose conversation will bring you something of value. However consciously we plan our lives, there is still enough margin of the unforeseen and the unexpected to keep us from any danger of losing spontaneity, but the ideal is to have as much of our lives within our voluntary control as possible. Sometimes, with the best of intentions, we are not able to bring about what we want in that moment of anticipation; if we have taken the trouble to see all the possibilities before us, we can turn to a secondary interest easily, not missing every opportunity because we were disappointed in one.

7. When the above exercise is learned or recaptured, go on to an old piece of advice from seventeenth century France: keep a new acquaintance talking about himself or herself without allowing him to become conscious of what you are doing. Turn back, at first, any courteous reciprocal questions in such a way that your auditor does not feel rebuffed. You will find a genuine interest rising in you for your companion; soon, if you are at all kindly or imaginative, you will find yourself engrossed. The last, lingering trace of self-consciousness will drop from you. It may be that you will not be asked about yourself. That makes no difference; at the very least you have learned a little more about how the world looks to another, and have extended your horizon.

If, on the other hand, you do talk of yourself in response to later questions, you will know just how much to say, what interests you have in common, whether you could ever find the friendship of that person desirable.

(Perhaps it needs to be said plainly that acting consciously need not mean acting coldly. Not a grain of real humanity is sacrificed by having the reins of action in one’s own hands; rather the contrary. An outgoing effort is voluntarily undertaken and carried on; instead of being so totally engrossed in ourselves that we know nothing of the moods or interests of others except as they affect us, we escape by the pleasantest road from our restricting egotism. The other party to the experiment, far from being a victim of coldblooded planning, is for once assured of not being victimized by our blind selfishness.)

8. The exact opposite of the above exercises, and infinitely harder to do with intention: Talk exclusively about yourself and your interests without complaining, boasting or (if possible) boring your companion. Make yourself and your activities as interesting as you can to the person to whom you are talking.

This is an excellent discipline for those who ordinarily talk too much about themselves. This reductio ad absurdum of their weakness brings them face to face with the ordeal which they are putting their friends through at every opportunity.

When concentrated talking about one’s own interests is undertaken consciously, every sign of indifference, of boredom, of restiveness or impatience, of desire to introduce another topic of conversation which may escape us while we are neurotically self-absorbed, is only too plainly seen. Both the exercise and the weakness will be abandoned gratefully after one or two occasions.

However, there are other things to be gained from this. It soon becomes apparent that talking about the trivial, the commonplace, the recurring incidents of one’s life leads to certain ennui in our hearers. If, on the other hand, we have had genuinely interesting experiences, have been more imaginative in a situation than usual, are undertaking something new, we are likely to hold our audience. The conclusion that in that case perhaps we might profit by extending our interests, undertaking new adventures, or bringing more imagination to our everyday lives can hardly be escaped. We soon learn to discard a report of our latest attack of illness, the most recent exploit of our offspring, the remarkable intelligence of our pets, today’s example of our bad luck, as opening gambits in adult conversation. If you are with someone who is still a slave to that kind of word-wasting, consciously introduce a subject of more depth or wider interest when it is your turn to speak. If you discover that he or she stubbornly resists all such invitations to better talk, you have a decision to make.

There may be, in spite of all limitations, such warmth, sweetness, genuine feeling in even a limited friend that one can under no circumstances think of abandoning the relationship. On the other hand, we sometimes discover, to our surprised dismay, that we have attached someone to ourselves for no better reason than that in his presence we can babble on about the trivialities of our lives, though there is no deep bond between us. To withdraw from that association as soon as is consistent without hurting the other party, to refuse to continue to waste your own energy and time, or connive in the wasting of his, is a plain obligation. If you have been guilty (as most of us have) of forming such an association-in-weakness, the first effort at correction should be to see whether you can not transform it into a genuine friendship, stimulating and strengthening; only when you must give up all hope of that should the relationship be dropped.

9. The correction of the “I-mean,” the “As-a-matter-of-fact” habit, takes cooperation. If you realize that you have picked up a verbal mannerism, call on the friend to whom you talk most fluently and emotionally. It is fairly easy to control such a mannerism in the presence of someone we hardly know, but in the heat of discourse the offending phrase will crop up in every other sentence. Tell the friend that you are saying “and so on,” for instance, to the point of absurdity. Ask him to watch for it, and to hold up his hand without interrupting the conversation whenever he hears you use it. The talk which follows will be choppy, and there is likely for a while to be more laughter than conversation, but you will begin to get the habit in hand. Two or three sessions will entirely eradicate the phrase – except when you actually want to use it.

10. Plan two hours of a day and live according to the plan.

If you are working by yourself as a free lance, any day will do. If not, choose a Sunday or holiday to experiment on. Make the schedule partly according to your usual habit, partly unlike it. As for instance:

7:30-8        Breakfast and newspaper

8-8:20        Mail

8:20-9:25   Arrange books according to subject matter

9:25-9:30   Telephone (if on weekday) for some appointment you have been putting off.

If Sunday or holiday, go out for a walk.

The complexity or diversity of the items has very little to do with this practice. The point is to turn from one activity to the next, not at the approximate minute of your schedule, but on the exact moment. If you are only halfway through the newspaper, that’s very sad. But down it must go, and you open your mail – hitherto disregarded. If this is a day without an incoming mail, the twenty minutes go to letter writing. If you have time to spare, send a card or two, or make notes for another letter on another day. Wherever you are at 8:20 with your correspondence, you stop and turn to the arranging of books. One of your planned activities, at least, should promise a fair amount of interest to you. If it is not arranging books, then clipping articles from a magazine can replace it, or even straightening a room thoroughly.

The twin purposes of this discipline are, first, to give ourselves the experience of being under orders again, and, second, to demonstrate how badly we lose our sense of the time necessary to accomplish any stipulated activity. Every printer that ever lived, probably, has grumbled at an editor or make up man who wants to crowd too many letters on a line, complaining that “he must think we’ve got rubber type.” Well, most of us think our days have rubber hours. Even those suburbanites who have learned by long experience that it is just seventeen minutes to a second from the shower-bath to the railroad station will nonchalantly plan to cram the work of half a day into a couple of hours after lunch. We expect time to be infinitely accommodating, we refuse to admit that it cannot be. But it is possible to learn – by planning, first, two hours of a day, then three, then four, and so on till we have planned and lived an effective, eight hour day (at the least) – to use time to the best advantage. Rigid scheduling of a whole day is not always possible or even desirable, but a few days lived by time-table now and again will refresh our sense of the value of time and teach us what we can expect of ourselves when we do not waste it.

For those who need really stern warning about this: one psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Bousfeld, holds that the sure sign of the incurable egotist is that he never allows for the actual amount of time any given activity will take. Firmly, though unconsciously, believing that the world revolves around him, certain of his magical power to arrest the progress of the sun and the moon, he goes through life astonished at the refractoriness of Time in not meeting him halfway. He is always late to appointments, behind in his obligations, constantly assuming more work or accepting more invitations than he could keep if he were twins. He either learns the error of his ways or comes to a bad end.

11. This is the most difficult of all. It will seem so arbitrary to many readers that they will not even try to apply it. It is arbitrary; that is its very essence. It is less necessary for those living in the midst of large families than for persons living alone, or those who are alone most of the time. Remembering the quotation given before from Dr. Cairel, arrange to put yourself into situations where you must act non-habitually, where you must adapt yourself. Members of the Army, the Navy, the priesthood, some societies, are constantly in a state of living under orders; and we recognize in them a resiliency that is absent from the characters of most men and women who live according to their own convenience. It is not easy to get this resiliency back into our lives, but it is a quality too valuable to be lost. If the following recommendation seems somewhat too dramatic, almost too ridiculous, be assured that the results will show the worth of the discipline.

On a number of slips of paper – twelve will do to start with – write instructions like these: “Go twenty miles from home, using ordinary conveyance.” (In other words, don’t just get out a car or hire a taxi, if you can afford it, and drive somewhere. Take streetcars, buses, ferries, subways.) “Go twelve hours without food.”

“Go eat a meal in the unlikeliest place you can find.” A restaurant in a totally foreign quarter of a city is good here. Asking for food at a farm-house is better, if you are hardy enough to be so unconventional.

“Say nothing all day except in answer to questions.” “Stay up all night and work.”

And this, by the way, is the most valuable order of them all. You must plan to work steadily and quietly, resisting every temptation to lie down for a few moments, but relaxing very slightly against the chair-back every hour or so, bracing yourself to your work again the moment lassitude threatens to overcome you. Only those who have actually done this realize that there are depths to our minds which we seldom plumb, accustomed as we are to succumb to the first attack of fatigue, or staying awake only so long as we have outer stimulation.

Seal these slips of paper in twelve envelopes, shuffle them thoroughly and put them in a drawer. Whenever you think of it, shuffle them again. Every other week, or on a given day of each month, pick one of the envelopes, open it, and perform your own command. It may be raining pitchforks on the day you command yourself to travel twenty miles by common carrier; nevertheless, unless your state of health absolutely forbids it, you go. If you are doing an intensive piece of work, one monthly exercise of this sort is enough. If not, the oftener you can be arbitrary with yourself – without turning into a restless jumping jack, it goes without saying – the better for your character eventually.

There need not be twelve different orders on your slips. If you can think of activities which are genuinely difficult for you to do, which go against the grain but which you yet know would be valuable training for you, include them. One young man of my acquaintance who was abnormally shy insisted to himself that he should get into conversation with at least three strangers daily. Any activity you choose should be both corrective and unusual, cutting abruptly across your usual routine.

12. An alternative method is this: from time to time give yourself a day on which you say “Yes” to every request made of you which is at all reasonable. The more you tend to retire from society in your leisure, the more valuable this will be. You may find yourself invited to go sleigh riding in your twenty-four hours; you may be invited to change your job. The sleigh-ride should certainly be accepted, however much you may hate straw, thick blankets and cold weather. The job-changing, fortunately, can be submitted to examination, since it is only “reasonable” activities which you are to undertake without second thought. Don’t be afraid nothing will occur on that day; it is astonishing how many small requests we can turn aside daily rather than interrupt our even course. The consequences may be wide-reaching, often educative, sometimes extremely advantageous. Nevertheless do not jump to the conclusion that because one day of the sort has brought so many interesting possibilities to light, every day should be led in that manner. On the contrary; to deny oneself an opportunity now and again is fully as illuminating, particularly for those who waste too much time in party-going, theaters, and so on. Such persons should plan to refuse many invitations, and spend the time in intensive self-cultivation.

On this system, work out other disciplines which are good for your individual case.

There are two ways of making them. First, become aware of some weakness or inadequate performance on your part; then decide, perhaps after experiment, whether the way to correct it is to set yourself to doing the exact opposite, or whether – as in curing the habit of talking too much about one’s own interests – acting a ludicrous and over – emphasized parody of the failing will be more effective.

Once you get the idea, you will find these disciplines not only helpful but genuinely amusing. In many cases they replace the rather haphazard puzzle-solving activities which call on somewhat the same capacities. In matching your wits against yourself you take on the shrewdest and wiliest antagonist you can have, and consequently a victorious outcome in this duel of wits brings a great feeling of triumph. At last, when one is in training, one can call at will on any of the mental traits which have been strengthened or exercised in these ways and find that it performs exactly and quickly.

But, as yon begin to take pleasure in these exercises, remind yourself that they are means, not ends. In getting control of your mind you are not yet using it officially, so to speak. You are still in your probationary period. Have you ever met one of those health-seekers who eat just so many ounces of food per day, walk just so many miles or play just so many games of handball, sit in the sun or under a sun lamp just so many minutes – and then lead the dullest of personal lives? He has made himself into a magnificently healthy creature – for no purpose whatsoever. You are training your mind in order to engage it in definite activity, so do not put off too long the matter of getting at your original plans.

THREE

Still considering what aids we can find to successful living, but now in the way of direct support for ourselves, there are various ways in which we can make the process smoother. One of the best is to follow the suggestion of Franklin, in his Autobiography, and to check daily on our progress by means of a small, specially prepared notebook. Franklin himself drew up a list of thirteen Virtues, and under each wrote a maxim embodying the sense of that virtue to his mind. For instance, under Temperance he wrote “Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation”; under Silence: “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation”; and so went on, through Order, Resolution, Frugality and the rest. It is hardly possible to draw up a better set, but – and perhaps it is one more sign of the softening of the race – for most purposes the six matters which we find most troublesome will seem quite enough for our present. Each will have his own set of faults to be corrected.

But let us say, for instance, that you decide you could do more work if you would; that you are shy, that you take too long to make up your mind; that you talk too much (and timidity and talkativeness are by no means mutually exclusive vices); that you eat at odd hours or the wrong things; that you sleep too long (or not enough). Your notebook page should look like this:

The checks represent your estimate of the number of times you successfully resisted the temptation to act in the unsatisfactory way. As you find yourself able to fill any of the squares of your notebook each day – in other words, when you have eradicated the trouble-making fault – you can retire that classification and replace it with another which you may have noticed. If you soon outgrow the need of the notebook, splendid. It can be kept in a convenient drawer, though, as a reminder.

Table - Twelve Disciplines - WUAL

Then there is the matter of getting into the day. Those who wake fully each morning would find it hard to believe how many of their fellows suffer from not being fully in command of their faculties in the morning. If you belong to the latter crew, don’t hesitate to imitate the Katherine Mansfield hero who woke, opened his eyes, and saw the sign he had put up for himself: “Get out of bed at once.”

What is more, if you know – as so many of us do – that at midnight you have a genuine inspiration which your morning’s prosaic mood leads you to disregard, write yourself a note about it. Be pretty firm about the matter; put it sharply. Say to yourself, in writing, “You’re an idiot if you don’t at least see whether Macy’s would like that idea. Make an appointment today!” Often nothing more is needed to make the prosy, unimaginative daylight mood break up and allow the intenser one to return.

One of the most famous men in America constantly sends himself post-cards, and occasionally notes. He explained the card-sending as being his way of relieving his memory of unnecessary details. In his pocket he carries a few postals addressed to his office. I was with him one threatening day when he looked out the restaurant window, drew a card from his pocket and wrote on it. Then he threw it across the table to me with a grin. It was addressed to himself at his office, and said “Put your raincoat with your hat.” At the office he had other cards addressed to himself at home.

Rewarding oneself for successful work – even in addition to the success – is another way of promoting proper action. If you get yourself some small luxury when, and only when, your notebook shows a week of satisfactory marks, you may go to slightly more trouble to turn away from your faults.

Get into the habit of being both strict and friendly toward yourself: demand a certain standard of performance; approve of yourself, even reward yourself, if you attain it.

Far too often we pursue just the wrong tactics. When we should be acting we indulge or excuse ourselves for inactivity we then upbraid and punish ourselves ruthlessly and futilely. The scolding is futile because we somehow feel that, if we have been severe and cutting to ourselves, we have in some way atoned for the fault of non-performance. We have not, of course. We have not done what we planned, and we have discouraged and hurt ourselves into the bargain.


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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Power of the Master Mind – The Driving Force – 02

Power of the Master Mind - The Driving Force

(An excerpt from The Strangest Secret Library available on Amazon)

Power of the Master Mind The Driving Force

The Ninth Step toward Riches

POWER is essential for success in the accumulation of money.

PLANS are inert and useless, without sufficient POWER to translate them into ACTION. This chapter will describe the method by which an individual may attain and apply POWER.

POWER may be defined as organized and intelligently directed KNOWLEDGE. Power, as the term is here used, refers to ORGANIZED effort, sufficient to enable an individual to transmute DESIRE into its monetary equivalent. ORGANIZED effort is produced through the coordination of effort of two or more people, who work toward a DEFINITE end, in a spirit of harmony.

POWER IS REQUIRED FOR THE ACCUMULATION OF MONEY! POWER IS NECESSARY FOR THE RETENTION OF MONEY AFTER IT HAS BEEN ACCUMULATED!

Let us ascertain how power may be acquired. If power is organized knowledge, let us examine the sources of knowledge:

a. INFINITE INTELLIGENCE. This source of knowledge may be contacted through the procedure described in another chapter, with the aid of Creative Imagination.

b. ACCUMULATED EXPERIENCE. The accumulated experience of man, (or that portion of it which has been organized and recorded), may be found in any well-equipped public library. An important part of this accumulated experience is taught in public schools and colleges, where it has been classified and organized.

c. EXPERIMENT AND RESEARCH. In the field of science, and in practically every other walk of life, men are gathering, classifying, and organizing new facts daily. This is the source to which one must turn when knowledge is not available through accumulated experience. Here, too, the Creative Imagination must often be used. Knowledge may be acquired from any of the foregoing sources. It may be converted into POWER by organizing it into definite PLANS and by expressing those plans in terms of ACTION.

Examination of the three major sources of knowledge will readily disclose the difficulty an individual would have, if he depended upon his efforts alone, in assembling knowledge and expressing it through definite plans in terms of ACTION. If his plans are comprehensive, and if they contemplate large proportions, he must, generally, induce others to cooperate with him, before he can inject into them the necessary element of POWER.

GAINING POWER THROUGH THE MASTER MIND

The Master Mind may be defined as: Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose. No individual may have great power without availing himself of the Master Mind. In a preceding chapter, instructions were given for the creation of PLANS for the purpose of translating DESIRE into its monetary equivalent. If you carry out these instructions with PERSISTENCE and intelligence, and use discrimination in the selection of your Master Mind group, your objective will have been half-way reached, even before you begin to recognize it.

So you may better understand the intangible potentialities of power available to you, through a properly chosen Master Mind group, we will here explain the two characteristics of the Master Mind principle, one of which is economic in nature, and the other psychic. The economic feature is obvious. Economic advantages may be created by any person who surrounds himself with the advice, counsel, and personal cooperation of a group of men who are willing to lend him wholehearted aid, in a spirit of PERFECT HARMONY. This form of cooperative alliance has been the basis of nearly every great fortune. Your understanding of this great truth may definitely determine your financial status.

The psychic phase of the Master Mind principle is much more abstract, much more difficult to comprehend, because it has reference to the spiritual forces with which the human race, as a whole, is not well acquainted. You may catch a significant suggestion from this statement: No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.

Keep in mind the fact that there are only two known elements in the whole universe, energy and matter. It is a well known fact that matter may be broken down into units of molecules, atoms, and electrons. There are units of matter which may be isolated, separated, and analyzed.

Likewise, there are units of energy.

The human mind is a form of energy, a part of it being spiritual in nature. When the minds of two people are coordinated in a SPIRIT OF HARMONY, the spiritual units of energy of each mind form an affinity, which constitutes the psychic phase of the Master Mind.

The Master Mind principle, or rather the economic feature of it, was first called to my attention by Andrew Carnegie, over twenty-five years ago. Discovery of this principle was responsible for the choice of my life s work.

Mr. Carnegie s Master Mind group consisted of a staff of approximately fifty men, with whom he surrounded himself, for the DEFINITE PURPOSE of manufacturing and marketing steel. He attributed his entire fortune to the POWER he accumulated through this Master Mind.

Analyze the record of any man who has accumulated a great fortune, and many of those who have accumulated modest fortunes, and you will find that they have either consciously, or unconsciously employed the Master Mind principle.

GREAT POWER CAN BE ACCUMULATED THROUGH NO OTHER PRINCIPLE! ENERGY is Nature s universal set of building blocks, out of which she constructs every material thing in the universe, including man, and every form of animal and vegetable life. Through a process which only Nature completely understands, she translates energy into matter.

Nature s building blocks are available to man, in the energy involved in THINKING! Man s brain may be compared to an electric battery. It absorbs energy from the ether, which permeates every atom of matter, and fills the entire universe.

It is a well known fact that a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery. It is also a well known fact that an individual battery will provide energy in proportion to the number and capacity of the cells it contains.

The brain functions in a similar fashion. This accounts for the fact that some brains are more efficient than others, and leads to this significant statement – a group of brains coordinated (or connected) in a spirit of harmony, will provide more thought-energy than a single brain, just as a group of electric batteries will provide more energy than a single battery.

Through this metaphor it becomes immediately obvious that the Master Mind principle holds the secret of the POWER wielded by men who surround themselves with other men of brains.

There follows, now, another statement which will lead still nearer to an understanding of the psychic phase of the Master Mind principle: When a group of individual brains are coordinated and function in Harmony, the increased energy created through that alliance, becomes available to every individual brain in the group.

It is a well known fact that Henry Ford began his business career under the handicap of poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance. It is an equally well known fact that, within the inconceivably short period of ten years, Mr. Ford mastered these three handicaps, and that within twenty-five years he made himself one of the richest men in America. Connect with this fact, the additional knowledge that Mr. Ford s most rapid strides became noticeable, from the time he became a personal friend of Thomas A. Edison, and you will begin to understand what the influence of one mind upon another can accomplish. Go a step farther, and consider the fact that Mr. Ford s most outstanding achievements began from the time that he formed the acquaintances of Harvey Firestone, John Burroughs, and Luther Burbank, (each a man of great brain capacity), and you will have further evidence that POWER may be produced through friendly alliance of minds.

There is little if any doubt that Henry Ford is one of the best informed men in the business and industrial world. The question of his wealth needs no discussion. Analyze Mr. Ford s intimate personal friends, some of whom have already been mentioned, and you will be prepared to understand the following statement: Men take on the nature and the habits and the POWER OF THOUGHT of those with whom they associate in a spirit of sympathy and harmony.

Henry Ford whipped poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance by allying himself with great minds, whose vibrations of thought he absorbed into his own mind. Through his association with Edison, Burbank, Burroughs, and Firestone, Mr. Ford added to his own brain power, the sum and substance of the intelligence, experience, knowledge, and spiritual forces of these four men. Moreover, he appropriated, and made use of the Master Mind principle through the methods of procedure described in this book.

This principle is available to you!

We have already mentioned Mahatma Gandhi. Perhaps the majority of those who have heard of Gandhi, look upon him as merely an eccentric little man, who goes around without formal wearing apparel, and makes trouble for the British Government.

In reality, Gandhi is not eccentric, but HE IS THE MOST POWERFUL MAN NOW LIVING.

(Estimated by the number of his followers and their faith in their leader.) Moreover, he is probably the most powerful man who has ever lived. His power is passive, but it is real.

Let us study the method by which he attained his stupendous POWER. It may be explained in a few words. He came by POWER through inducing over two hundred million people to coordinate, with mind and body, in a spirit of HARMONY, for a DEFINITE PURPOSE.

In brief, Gandhi has accomplished a MIRACLE, for it is a miracle when two hundred million people can be induced – not forced – to cooperate in a spirit of HARMONY, for a limitless time. If you doubt that this is a miracle, try to induce ANY TWO PEOPLE to cooperate in a spirit of harmony for any length of time.

Every man who manages a business knows what a difficult matter it is to get employees to work together in a spirit even remotely resembling HARMONY.

The list of the chief sources from which POWER may be attained is, as you have seen, headed by INFINITE INTELLIGENCE. When two or more people coordinate in a spirit of HARMONY, and work toward a definite objective, they place themselves in position, through that alliance, to absorb power directly from the great universal storehouse of Infinite Intelligence. This is the greatest of all sources of POWER. It is the source to which the genius turns. It is the source to which every great leader turns, (whether he may be conscious of the fact or not).

The other two major sources from which the knowledge, necessary for the accumulation of POWER, may be obtained are no more reliable than the five senses of man. The senses are not always reliable. Infinite Intelligence DOES NOT ERR.

In subsequent chapters, the methods by which Infinite Intelligence may be most readily contacted will be adequately described.

This is not a course on religion. No fundamental principle described in this book should be interpreted as being intended to interfere either directly, or indirectly, with any man s religious habits. This book has been confined, exclusively, to instructing the reader how to transmute the DEFINITE PURPOSE OF DESIRE FOR MONEY, into its monetary equivalent.

Read, THINK, and meditate as you read. Soon, the entire subject will unfold, and you will see it in perspective. You are now seeing the detail of the individual chapters.

Money is as shy and elusive as the old time maiden. It must be wooed and won by methods not unlike those used by a determined lover, in pursuit of the girl of his choice. And, coincidental as it is, the POWER used in the wooing of money is not greatly different from that used in wooing a maiden. That power, when successfully used in the pursuit of money must be mixed with FAITH. It must be mixed with DESIRE. It must be mixed with PERSISTENCE. It must be applied through a plan, and that plan must be set into ACTION.

When money comes in quantities known as the big money, it flows to the one who accumulates it, as easily as water flows down hill. There exists a great unseen stream of POWER, which may be compared to a river; except that one side flows in one direction, carrying all who get into that side of the stream, onward and upward to WEALTH – and the other side flows in the opposite direction, carrying all who are unfortunate enough to get into it (and not able to extricate themselves from it), downward to misery and POVERTY.

Every man who has accumulated a great fortune, has recognized the existence of this stream of life. It consists of one s THINKING PROCESS. The positive emotions of thought form the side of the stream which carries one to fortune. The negative emotions form the side which carries one down to poverty.

This carries a thought of stupendous importance to the person who is following this book with the object of accumulating a fortune.

If you are in the side of the stream of POWER which leads to poverty, this may serve as an oar, by which you may propel yourself over into the other side of the stream. It can serve you ONLY through application and use. Merely reading, and passing judgment on it, either one way or another, will in no way benefit you.

Some people undergo the experience of alternating between the positive and negative sides of the stream, being at times on the positive side, and at times on the negative side. The Wall Street crash of 29 swept millions of people from the positive to the negative side of the stream. These millions are struggling, some of them in desperation and fear, to get back to the positive side of the stream. This book was written especially for those millions.

Poverty and riches often change places. The Crash taught the world this truth, although the world will not long remember the lesson. Poverty may, and generally does, voluntarily take the place of riches. When riches take the place of poverty, the change is usually brought about through well conceived and carefully executed PLANS. Poverty needs no plan. It needs no one to aid it, because it is bold and ruthless. Riches are shy and timid. They have to be attracted.

ANYBODY can WISH for riches, and most people do, but only a few know that a definite plan, plus a BURNING DESIRE for wealth, are the only dependable means of accumulating wealth.


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