Saturday, December 28, 2019

Chapter 12 – And the Best of Luck! – Wake up and Live – 04

2_Chapter 12 - And the Best of Luck!1

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

Chapter 12 And The Best of Luck!

SUMMING up, then, we have as the first tenet of success: Act as if it were impossible to fail.

Beginning to put this into practice, we discover that the first demand upon us is that we should reclaim as much as possible of the energy which now goes into reverie or into time-killing, and devote it to purposeful activity, to action toward an end. We act by ignoring all memories or apprehensions of failure, by refusing to attach importance to temporary discomfort or past pain. We learn not to court frustration by using an attitude or tone which leaves any opportunity for rebuff or non-cooperation. We exercise our minds in trial performances in order to have them fully under our control when the occasion to use them in an expert way arises. With the imagination we painlessly explore all the possible reaches of our lives and constantly provide ourselves with projects of future interests to such an extent that we shall not fall back into day dreaming.

We deliberately make for ourselves an invigorating mental climate, and in this atmosphere, freed of doubts and anxieties, we act.

In the last few chapters we have been considering these facets of successful action one by one. Now it must be remembered that, however correct and suggestive such detailed considerations may be, they suffer badly in one manner: their tempo, so to speak, has had to be altered in order to show them minutely.

A slow-motion picture of ball-players in action, of golfers, of a tennis match, is sometimes of inestimable value to these who are learning to play. The muscular effort behind a sudden dexterous turn of the body, in its normal tempo far too quick for the eye to catch, is shown in the retarded film in all its subtlety. But we gain our insight into the technique of difficult plays by losing sight, for the moment, of another aspect.

You will remember how, in such pictures, the player glides languorously through the air, the ball curves slowly towards the racquet, touches it with a soft impact and slides slowly away again. Illuminating as these pictures are, they are also always irresistibly comic: the leap, the crack, the rapidity of the game as we know it is gone, replaced by a twilit, dreaming gentleness.

Now, to consider the technique of success in these pages, we have had to sacrifice pace to analysis in just this way. The actual tempo of success, while it should not have the nervousness or strain that is almost inevitable in a competitive contest, is quicker, smoother, more brisk than any book analyzing it can ever show. There is a delightful conciseness in successful action. “I know I’m doing a good picture if I’m painting just as fast as I can move,” a great artist said to a group of friends recently.

“The minute I dabble I know I’m stalling, that there’s something I’m not seeing right; when I’m right it’s almost like play.”

There is undoubtedly something game-like about pertinent activity: those distressful clichés of a few years ago, “the advertising game,” “the engineering game,” “the restaurant game,” had some excuse in reality. The vocabulary of men who are successful in the sense that they have amassed huge fortunes abounds in terms taken over from the jargon of sports: “A fast one,” “Out of bounds,” and so on. And however unlike the big business ambition of such a man one’s own personal idea of success may be, there is something to be deduced from the frequency of recreation-terms when stories of success are in question. Purposeful action seems quicker, clearer more straightforward and enjoyable than any other. In reality, you may be working more slowly and carefully than ordinarily; still, the fact that there is no confusion of issues, no part of your mind off wool-gathering as you move, gives an unmistakable “tone” to activities which are being carried on in the proper way.

It is just this tone that you are setting yourself to recapture by imagination when you remember the mood of an earlier success. Once you have found it in the past, made use of it for present action, and noted the similarity in pace which results, you will soon be able to strike the right rhythm without the elaborate preliminary imaginative activity. Further, this rhythm sometimes crops out unexpectedly, in the middle of unimportant events; it is a promise that, if you can get away and at work, you will find yourself “in vein.” So you will come to recognize its onset and be able to turn it to your advantage.

This feeling of pace, or tone, or rhythm – it represents itself differently to differing temperaments – will be your evidence that you are headed the right way. This is no recommendation to hasten your physical action in working. That may or may not come to pass. Very often it does; in other cases undue haste has been one of the contributions of the Will to Fail, which, aping the decisiveness of authoritative motion, allowed several essentials to good work to be overlooked or skimped.

It is not so much any real briskness that is being considered here as it is the fact that unimpeded movement in a forward direction is pleasant and rhythmical, movement which goes unwaveringly towards success.

Let us, for another reductio ad absurdum, consider one great class of successes, of which almost everyone has had some personal experience, or at the very least has met in the lives of those about him: the state called the courage of desperation.

In the most extreme cases, this courage arises because some catastrophe or series of misfortunes has completely wiped out every alternative to success. “He has nothing to lose,” we say of one in this situation. Very well, then; he acts with a directness and daring which he could not ordinarily command. So often that it has become a matter of legend for us, this action is attended with overwhelming success. If you will remember the third victim of the Will to Fail in an earlier chapter, you will recall that he had made a state of desperation into a superstitious prerequisite to accomplishment. Quite misreading the situation, he came to believe that the prospect of utter vanquishment would, each time, cause Fate to relent. What he entirely overlooked was that when he had reached such straits that he dared not fail he invariably acted as he should always act: as if it were impossible to fail. Without exception in this state he succeeded. Inextricably involved in the meshes of his bad and emotional thinking, he invited failure as the only way to spur himself to effort. To his acquaintances he inevitably recalled the crazy hero of world-wide fame, the man who hit himself on the head with a hammer because it felt so good when he stopped.

It was and is all very serious to him.

But remove the absurdity from these examples of the courage of desperation, and we have the sense. Desperation does cut off one alternative. But desperation is not needed, is not the only tool which will cut away the possibility of failure. Imagination will do the work even better and more neatly. And we are left with Courage facing in-the-right-direction.

Courage facing in the right direction is the sine qua non of success. It is to reach that stage that we put ourselves through exercises in flexibility and restraint, learn to turn imagination away from apprehension and into useful channels, determine to act wisely in minor matters in order to store up courage for the major issues of our lives.

We use our heads to get the greatest good from our gifts and abilities, refusing ourselves the weakening privileges of dreaming, avoiding responsibilities, following the line of least resistance, acting childishly.

Success, for any sane adult, is exactly equivalent to doing one’s best. What that best may be, what its farthest reaches may include, we can discover only by freeing ourselves completely from the Will to Fail.

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from Living Sensical

Friday, December 27, 2019

Chapter 11 – Twelve Disciplines – Wake Up and Live – 04

WUAL Chapter 11 - Twelve Disciplines

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

Chapter 11 Twelve Disciplines


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.


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.


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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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Tap 3 – Claude Bristol Magic of Believing – 04

2Tap 3 Claude Bristol Magic of Believing3

(An excerpt from “The Strangest Secret Library” – available on Amazon.)

Tap 3 – Claude Bristol Magic of Believing

Keep step with the world’s affairs. The better informed a person, the better he is equipped to get what he wants.

Don’t forget that Knowledge is Power – all of you should know that by this time.

He who knows others is clever, but he who knows himself is enlightened. – FROM THE SAYINGS OF A WISE ORIENTAL

Increase your knowledge and the scope of your activities will be enlarged and the desire for greater things – larger things, will come automatically and, as they do, the things which you previously thought you wanted will become to your mind trivial and will be disregarded, which is another way of saying that you ultimately will hitch your wagon to a star and, when you do, you’ll move with lightning-like speed.

Study, learn and work. Develop a keenness of observation. Step on the gas. Become alive for yourself and you’ll pass it on to the other fellow. Get confidence, enthusiasm and you’ll set up like vibrations all around you and that’s the theory of all life – as old 30 as the world itself. Like begets like – a laugh brings a laugh – a good deed calls for a good deed – riches beget riches, love, love – and so on.

The old law of attraction stated in Ampere’s theory of electrical magnetism is: Parallel currents in the same direction attract one another – and when you are out of tune and antagonistic you put others out of tune and make them antagonistic because: Parallel currents in opposite directions repel one another.

Wishbones Need Backbones

However, don’t get the thought that I have given you an oversize wishbone which will enable you to sit down and, by talking to yourself, through the idea of repetition, get what you want, because it will never work. You have got to have the wishbone backed up with a backbone and that isn’t all – the wishbone and the backbone must be coordinated and synchronized to a point where they are running in perfect harmony, and when they are in tune, you will find personality developing.

I take it that all of us have admired that intense type of person. I mean by that, one whose shoulders are back, whose chest is out, whose head is up and whose eyes are alert. It is easy to pick out in any organization those whose feet lag, whose shoulders droop, whose chins sag and whose eyes are a blank. Drifters, loafers, quitters. First measure yourself. Then study those with whom you are associated and you can tell at almost a glance those who will make progress and those doomed to failure.

Every physical movement tells a story – each marks your personality.

Take another good look at yourself in the mirror and probe again and again.

You know whether you’ve got it or not. If not, make up your mind to get it – you can and you will if you make up your mind.

The Eyes Have It

If you will develop that intensity of purpose, determination to get ahead, shortly that determination will show in your eyes.

You have heard people say that a certain person has a penetrating gaze – that he looks right through one. What is it?

Nothing more than that fire from within – intensity – or whatever you wish to call it, which means that the person who has that gaze usually gets what he wants. Remember the eyes are the windows of the soul. Look at the photographs of successful men – study their eyes and you will find that every one of them has that intensity; therefore, I say, let it be reflected in the way you walk, in the way you carry yourself and it will not be long before people will feel your presence when you walk through a crowd – and an individual prospect will feel that personality when you talk with him.

All of this is to explain that it takes an affirmative type to make progress and the things I have pointed out may be utilized to develop you into an affirmative type. The negative type is sunk before he starts. Nature takes care of these situations through the old law of the survival of the fittest. We know what happened in the days of Sparta when children were put on their own at a baby age and only those who survived were given further chance. A negative type is a quitter, or, another way, a quitter is a negative type and, while there is no point to going around hitting everybody on the nose just to start something, always remember it’s poor business to let yourself be put on the defensive as that is a negative sign. The person who won’t be licked, can’t be licked. If you are taken unawares and suddenly put on the defensive, snap out of it. Take the offensive because, if you remain on the defensive, you are beaten.

Every Day – In Every Way

Of course, to bring about this intensity of being, it’s necessary to be in good health. I do not claim that the power of will is a cure-all to mend broken legs and all that sort of thing, but I do know that constant application of the theory herein advanced will aid a person in ill health. All of you have heard of Dr. Emil Coue, the Frenchman, who was in this country a few years ago, telling people they could cure themselves if they would adopt his plan.

His idea was that you should say to yourself – Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better. Just ponder over that for a minute.

There was nothing new in that idea, any more than there is in the ideas which I put forth. Simply another way of expressing the whole scheme – reiteration, repetition – keeping upper-most in your mind all the time what you want and which positive thoughts, in turn, are passed on to the subconscious mind – the wonder thing. Think health, wealth and happiness and they will all be yours. It cannot be otherwise.

We all know of people who are continually talking about backaches, headaches or some other kind of aches. They harp on them and the first thing they know, with that reiteration, the aches become realities. If you have such an ache or pain there is no point to talking about it; neither is there any point to talking about your worries, your troubles. Do not talk about them. Do not think about them. Then they will not be in your mind. It is the repetition that keeps them there. Shift your gears – reverse the process. Get away from the negative side and become an affirmative type – think affirmatively and the first thing you know your aches, worries and troubles will disappear.

If thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this thing which disturbs thee, but thy own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgment now. But if anything in thy own disposition gives thee pain, who hinders thee from correcting thy opinion? – PHILOSOPHY OF THE AGES

Are You In Reverse?

When a train roars across the track in front of you, you put on the brakes of your automobile, throw the gears into neutral and idle your engine – you are on your way again just as soon as the train passes but you certainly do not throw your gears into reverse and go backwards.

Compare yourself to the gears of your automobile. In reverse place all fears, worries, troubles, aches and pains. And when things go wrong simply put on the brakes, idle your engine until you can clearly see the road ahead.

In high is everything you desire, health, wealth, happiness – success. No power in the world except your hand can put the gears of your automobile in reverse. If your own gears get in reverse remember you alone put them there.

Erect a steel wall on the right side of the reverse gear, close the doors of yesterday and you will have to shift from low into high and stay there.

We are living in a great crisis in human history. There is unlimited need for boldness and courage, but there is no occasion for dismay. On the one hand there is the way to such achievements, to such wealth and happiness as mankind has never before known life, even as we know it now, tastes very good at times. We spoil it a lot for ourselves and each other by fear, follies, hate, bickering, suspicion and anger. There is no need for us to go on spoiling it. We have not the health we might have. We have not a tithe of the happiness we might have. But it is within the power of the human will to change all that. – H.G. WELLS – ENGLAND’S GREAT MAN OF LETTERS

Change Gears Now

This power – this vital energy – or whatever it is, is inexhaustible, and it is so easy to use it if you only have the key.

I am fully appreciative of the fact that psychologists maintain that few persons really think. It is my hope that this message will cause You to Think.

If you dismiss it as so much balderdash, then I shall know that you have never understood or appreciated how the great characters of history whom I have previously mentioned and many others with whom you yourself should be familiar made names for themselves or gained niches in the hall of fame.

Real people – successful people, are those who made themselves and not what others made them. After all, there are only two ways to move, forward and backward – why not forward? Watch the down-and-outer on the street. His whole trouble is lack of positive ideas. If he thinks he is down and out – he is. If he will change his ideas, he will be up and coming. All of us know that.

You can shift your gears if you only realize it. You have been told how to keep out of reverse and it is simply a mechanical process for yourself.

Understand and you will always keep your gears in high and move forward.

Believe In Your Goods

A sale is effected by getting a prospect to think as you do and, unless you believe that the thing you are selling is good then, obviously, you can’t make the other fellow believe it.

That is just plain common sense – so, for those of you who may be selling keep in mind what I have previously said about knowing your article and selling yourself – that is 99% of the success of selling – the other 1% is leg work contacting the prospect.

You should realize that the bending other people to your will or getting them to do as you wish is simply having them think as you think and that is very easy.

Sell Yourself

Charles M. Schwab said: Many of us think of salesmen as people traveling around with sample kits. Instead, we are all salesmen, every day of our lives. We are selling our ideas, our plans, our energies, our enthusiasm to those with whom we come in contact. So it is with every endeavor, and especially true of selling commodities because you must contact people. And when I say contact, I mean contacting them face to face. The day of order taking is gone and it is only the persons who have got it in them who are to succeed now – all the others will sink. You cannot beat a fundamental law – the survival of the fittest.

Therefore, forget about order taking and keep in mind the only way you can close a sale is to make the prospect think as you think – the best way is in face to face contact – you have got to be in his presence – you have got to see his reactions – the old law of cause and effect – and you have got to adapt yourself to the conditions as they confront you with that individual prospect.

Follow Your Hunches

We truly become what we think aboutIf you are intent on making a sale – and you must be if you are going to succeed – keep in mind my theme, the subconscious mind will be giving you ideas, hunches, inspirations, a perfect flood of them, which will guide you correctly. They will point out the way to get into a busy man’s presence – into the privacy of his very self and, when you get there, stand on both feet.

Be alert. Make him feel your personality. Know what you are talking about. Be enthusiastic. Don’t quail.

You are just as good as he is and, besides, you may have something which he hasn’t and that is utmost confidence, utmost faith in the article you are selling. On the other hand, if he is a success he also has personality – therefore be sure to put the contact on a fifty-fifty basis. Do not belittle him – do not let him belittle you. Meet on common ground. Make him like you and when he likes you and you him, success is on its way. Remember you are going to sell him.

There is strength in team work. The esprit de corps pounded into those of us who were in the army made the American forces what they were – and it’s the esprit de corps, team work, determination to move forward which will shove us along. If this is accepted in the spirit in which it is given; put into execution, you will be unbeatable. And by getting in tune and getting others on the track, the world is yours.

When fear rules the will, nothing can be done, but when a man casts fear out of his mind the world becomes his oyster. To lose a bit of money is nothing but to lose hope – to lose nerve and ambition – that is what makes men cripples. – HERBERT N. CASSON

Ascertain exactly what you want and use the mechanics given and you will discover more gates open for you than you ever dreamed existed. I am not interested in any prophetic explanations – I am interested in results. A light will dawn upon you and you will see clearly ahead how to achieve what you are after. The same principles, the same methods can be successfully applied to any line.

The ability to accomplish anything in a convincing fashion depends entirely upon the degree of expert knowledge which you possess coupled with that intensity of purpose. Read and study, practice, practice, tap, tap, tap.

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Open The Door – Claude Bristol Magic of Believing – 04

2Open The Door Claude Bristol Magic of Believing3

(An excerpt from “The Strangest Secret Library” – available on Amazon.)

Open The Door – Claude Bristol Magic of Believing

Before closing I should tell you that the conscious mind must be placed in a receptive condition to get the ideas from the subjective or subconscious. Of course, we all know it is the conscious mind which reasons, which weighs, which calculates – the subconscious mind does not do any of these things – it simply passes on ideas to the conscious mind.

Relax And Tap

You have heard a lot of people say; “play your hunches” – what are those hunches? Where do they come from? They come from the workings of the subconscious mind. Psychologists tell us – you will soon understand the reason – that to put the human mind in a receptive condition you must relax.

If you have ever laid on the massage table and been told by the masseur to relax then you know what I mean. Let the body go limp. If you have trouble at first, try it with your arm – both arms – both legs, until the whole body is relaxed and the mind automatically will relax.

When that is accomplished concentrate on what you want – then hunches come. Grab them, execute them as the little voice tells you. Do not reason or argue, but do as you are told and do it immediately.

You will understand what psychologists, mystics and students mean when they tell you to stop, relax – Think of nothing – when you wish to draw on the subconscious and have the little inner voice speak. As you further progress you will also begin to realize what the seers of the East had in mind when they said: “Become at ease, meditate, go into the great silence, continue to meditate and your problems will fade into nothingness.”

The road ahead will become illuminated and your burdens will fall away one by one. Is there anything clearer than “Pilgrim’s Progress?” My message is no different than that which was conveyed there – only, as I said before – I put it to you in perhaps different words.

The Mysterious Nothingness

The late Thomas A. Edison explaining his success of inventing said: “I begin by using my accumulated knowledge but most of my inventions are completed with Ideas which flash into my mind out of thin air.”

Fred Ott and Charles Dally, associated with Mr. Edison for more than 50 years, solved the secret of making synthetic rubber. I quote from a newspaper story dated October 21, 1931: “On Monday, he (Mr. Edison), started to sink into a stupor. But Dally and Ott were still pounding doggedly (determinedly, concentrating, tap, tap, tap) at their experiments. And on Tuesday night the solution flashed out of the mysterious nothingness.”

The little voice spoke – just like it always does when you make up your mind what you want and when you go after it.

If your own little inner voice suggests that you ask for something, do not be backward about asking. You have nothing to fear. The other person will never help unless he knows your wishes so you must ask.

Accept the theory advanced herein and practice intelligently and the voice will speak just like it did for Edison, Ott, Dally and thousands of others, and you will get results – all will be yours.

In Julius Caesar, Cassius, he of the lean and hungry look, talking to Brutus, of the Roman Emperor’s power, said:

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in Ourselves that we are underlings.”

As you know, William Shakespeare wrote that, and he himself arose above the commonplace by using this Power.

Who Is To Blame?

If you are timid, backward, in a rut and an underling, it is because of yourself. Blame not the stars. Blame not society.

Blame not the world. Blame Yourself. Again I say, change gears. Put them in High and Begin to Move.

Grip Tightly

Some people not thoroughly understanding may say that you are conceited, self-centered, or selfish but care not what they say.

Those are the scoffers – those who would put rocks in your road and otherwise impede your progress. Those who understand will be helpful – they will be eager to serve you. The intelligent ones will begin to study you to determine what you have that they haven’t and try to learn your secret.

I have given you a grip on it; hold it to you tightly and start moving forward.

George Jean Nathan, one of America’s foremost critics, in a compilation of “Living Philosophies” declares he has never known a man who succeeded in life in a material way who did not think of himself first, last and all the time.

Naturally I don’t know just how Nathan meant that but I am sure he did not mean that a successful man is selfish to the point where he isn’t helpful to others because if you follow the theme as I have outlined it and get on the road to success you will not be led to act ruthlessly.

Service Pays Dividends

As a matter of fact, the exact opposite is true because you will find that you will wish to do charitable things, good things for other people, performing services involving the throwing out of crumbs as it were, and your willingness to do something for the other fellow will bring about a willingness on his part to do something for you. There is nothing selfish about this – it’s just a matter of cause and effect. Remember Ampere’s laws of attraction.

Like begets like. When you perform a service you will be paid huge dividends.

There is no mystery about it, it’s just so.

“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” – HENLEY

“As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” – JESUS

I know it, I believe it and it’s so.

Practice Tap Tap

If this has registered with you in any particular, then I’ve accomplished something. Read it again carefully and read it again a week from now and keep it to read again. If you’ll put into practice the ideas offered you’ll soon learn I’ve given you truths as old as man himself. They’ve always worked and they always will. Use the mechanics of my system. Make them a part of your daily life and you’ll succeed. If you’re in earnest with yourself you’ll find the whole scheme very simple. Practice, practice – tap, tap, tap – Believe, have Faith and you’ll get the golden key to all – yourself.

If you have read this book understandingly you will appreciate the tremendous power which lies in the science of thought repetition and positive action. You can, by the repetition of the same thought, “tap” yourself upward or downward – dependent on whether you have depressed or constructive thoughts. By voicing your thoughts intelligently and convincingly you can, by suggestion, “tap” others up or down, so it behooves you to exercise great care that you do not misuse your POWER. Fill your mind with creative thoughts and then act as the ideas come to you. Remember: Every thought, kept ever constant leads to action. So keep this book and reread it as frequently as possible. Tap-tap-tap.

  • Here, there – everywhere.
  • Wenn Sie es glauben – ist es so.
  • Si vous le croyez – alors c’est vrai.
  • Om Man tror det – ar det sa.
  • Se voi Credete è – co si.
  • Si creyo is V – es asi.
  • If you believe it, It is so.

“The more you spread it (your message) the greater will become the service you are rendering to your fellow men.” –  PAUL R. KELTY, Editor, THE OREGONIAN. Portland, Or

Many others, believing that great good must follow, urged me to get my message circulated and this little book is the result. I know what it has done; I know what it will do when passed on to others.

You have friends and acquaintances who are depressed, despondent, in ill health, worried over financial affairs, whose worlds are topsy-turvy; dissatisfied with their lot in life – lost in the wilderness. You may perform a great service by having them read T.N.T. and they need never know that you were responsible for their receiving it.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

9 Steps for Any Problem Solving

Nine Steps for Solving Any Problem - Earl Nighitingale

(An excerpt from the bestseller How to Completely Change Your Life in 30 Seconds,
based on talks by Earl Nightingale

For any problem, no matter how big or complex it may be, there is a solution.

Use these nine steps to find it!

What are the similarities in problem solving, decision making, and goal achievement?

Actually, they’re alike in many ways. A decision that must be made is little more than a problem awaiting a solution. We might even call it a simple problem. When we’re faced with a decision, we rarely have to choose between more than two or three alternatives, whereas, in solving a problem, we sometimes face what seems to be an endless list of possibilities. And, what about goal achievement? Isn’t a goal a point we wish to reach? The problem is to move from where we are now, to where we want to be. So, problem solving, decision making, and goal achievement are all closely related functions of creative thinking. It’s important that we keep this in mind.

The first step in solving any problem is to define it. You should always be sure you understand a problem before you go to work on its solution.

Next, you should write down everything you know about the problem. This information might come from your own experience, from books that contain background and statistical data, the Internet, or from friends and business associates who know something about the area in which the problem lies.

Third, decide whom to see. List the names of people and organizations that are recognized authorities on the problem. This is your opportunity to go “all out” for the facts. After determining who can help you, contact them, talk with them, and pick their brains for all the information they possess that can help you solve the problem.

After doing this, be sure to make a note of each thing that’s germane to the problem. Don’t risk forgetting anything that could help you find the solution.

The fifth step in solving a problem creatively is called “Individual Ideation.” This is personal “brainstorming,” or thinking with the brakes of judgment off! Don’t try to decide whether an idea is good or bad – just write it down the moment it comes to you. You can pick and choose – what you’re after is a lot of ideas.

Remember the four rules for brainstorming:

(1) No negative thinking;
(2) The wilder the ideas, the better;
(3) A large number of ideas is essential; and
(4) Combination and improvement of ideas is what you’re after.

One idea often leads to another, better idea. Don’t worry if some of your ideas seem far-fetched or impractical. You’re looking for all the ideas you can possibly find.

Don’t reject any – write them all down!

Then Group Brainstorm. This is your opportunity to put the minds of others to work on the problem. Handle this session the same way you did your “Individual Ideation.” No negative thinking, no criticism at this stage; the wilder the ideas the better; get as many ideas as possible; and, try for idea combination and improvement. Write down all the ideas the group comes up with.

When you have all your ideas written down, rate them for effectiveness and facility. The effectiveness scale ranges from “very effective” to “probably effective” to “doubtful.” And the facility scale ranges from “easy” to “not so easy” to “difficult.” The rating of ideas will clearly indicate the likely success of any possible solution. Of course, it’s best to consider first the idea or ideas that are rated both “very effective” and “easy.”

  • Suppose you’re a manufacturer. And suppose your sales and marketing team brainstorming comes up with some ideas to increase sales. Let’s say one of the ideas is to revamp completely one of the products that your company is offering to the public. Let’s rate this idea in terms of effectiveness. You know the present product meets a need and is acceptable to the buying public. What about an entirely changed product? Without a lot of marketing tests and then a period of actual manufacturing for sale, it would be hard to say just how effective this idea would be in increasing sales. Better rate it “doubtful.”
  • And how does this idea of completely revamping one of the products check out in the facility area – “easy,” “not so easy,” or “difficult”? It would be “difficult,” wouldn’t it? It would require new engineering, new tools, new manufacturing plans, new packaging, and new marketing methods.
  • Suppose, however, that one of the salesperson’s ideas is to run TV advertisements for the company’s product on one of the major television networks. This would be “probably effective” and would be “not so easy,” but it could be done.
  • Let’s say another idea is to set up a new sales incentive program, a program directed to those people who are at the front of the problem, the salespeople. If it were a well-designed and – implemented incentive program with predictable compensation for increased performance, it would stand a good chance of being “very effective.” It would be relatively “easy” to do. It should increase the company’s sales.
  • There are many other evaluation yardsticks you might use. Two more are time and money. Try rating your ideas against these measurements. For example, in the case of a manufacturer who wants to increase its sales, certainly to change the product would take a great deal of time and money. And to advertise it on a popular network television program would cost a great deal. On the other hand, to introduce a new sales incentive program might be neither too costly nor too time consuming.

Remember, when you evaluate your ideas, measure them against these four yardsticks: effectiveness, facility, time, and cost. Every idea you have may not be worth creative action, and that’s why you must skillfully evaluate each of them. But once you’ve carefully judged your ideas, take action.

Enter your ideas into an “Action Plan”: decide who should do it, when it should be done, when to start, and how to do it. These are all important considerations because the execution of the solution is just as important as the solution itself.

Be certain to give yourself a deadline for putting your plan into action. We work hardest and most efficiently when we know there is a definite time element involved. So, make a note of the date when you must put your solution to work. It’s good to remember that timing is often critical when a new idea is introduced. Carefully calculate the deadline in the light of the general situation. You might write down a second date – the one by which you intend to have the action completed and the problem solved.

Remember what was said earlier about problem solving, decision making, and goal achievement? They have a great deal in common. They can all be attacked in much the same way.

“For any problem … no matter how big or complex it may be … there is a solution.”

For any problem … no matter how big or complex it may be … there is a solution. All you have to do is find it! History is filled with people who believed a problem did not have a solution and they did not find it, and people who believed there was a solution and they did find it – same problem, different perspective, one successful and one not. Which type of person will you be?

Remember these steps for brainstorming your ideas:

1. Define the problem.
2. Write down everything you know about the problem.
3. Decide what people and resources to bring into the solution.
4. Make a note of everything that is germane to the problem.
5. Conduct a personal brainstorming Individual Ideation.
6. Utilize Group Brainstorming and rate your ideas for effectiveness, facility, time, and cost.
7. Evaluate your ideas for the best options.
8. Create an “Action Plan.”
9. Give yourself a deadline for putting your plan into action.

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