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Orison Swett Marden.

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future to work for somebody else ; they hear
so much talk of the grasping and the greed
of the rich, that they gradually lose confidence
in their ability to cope with conditions and
become disheartened.

I do not overlook the heartless, grinding,
grasping practices of many of the rich, or the
unfair and cruel conditions brought about by
unscrupulous political and financial schemers ;
but I wish to show the poor man that, not-
withstanding all these things, multitudes of
poor people do rise above their iron environ-
ment, and that there is hope for him. The
mere fact that so many continue to rise, year
after year, out of just such conditions as you
may think are fatal to your advancement,
ought to convince you that you also can con-
quer your environment.

When a man loses confidence, every other



POVERTY 21

success quality gradually leaves him, and life
becomes a grind. He loses ambition and
energy, is not so careful about his personal
appearance, is not so painstaking, does not
use the same system and order in his work,
grows slack and slovenly and slipshod in
every way, and becomes less and less capable
of conquering poverty.

Because they cannot keep up appearances
and live in the same style as their wealthy
neighbors, poor people often become dis-
couraged, and do not try to make the best
of what they have. They do not " put their
best foot forward " and endeavor with all
their might to throw off the evidences of
poverty. If there is anything that paralyzes
power it is the effort to reconcile ourselves
to an unfortunate environment, instead of
regarding it as abnormal and trying to get
away from it.

Poverty itself is not so bad as the poverty
thought. It is the conviction that zue are poor
and must remain so that is fatal. It is the
attitude of mind that is destructive, the facing
toward poverty, and feeling so reconciled to
it that one does not turn about face and
struggle to get away from it with a determina-
tion which knows no retreat.



22 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

It is facing the wrong way, toward the
black, depressing, hopeless outlook that kills
effort and demoralizes ambition. So long as
you carry around a poverty atmosphere and
radiate the poverty thought, you will be
limited.

You will never be anything but a beggar
while you think beggarly thoughts, but a
poor man while you think poverty, a failure
while you think failure thoughts.

If you are afraid of poverty, if you dread
it, if you have a horror of coming to want in
old age, it is more likely to come to you, be-
cause this constant fear saps your courage,
shakes your self-confidence, and makes you
less able to cope with hard conditions.

The magnet must be true to itself, it must
attract things like itself. The only instrument
by which man has ever attracted anything in
this world is his mind, and his mind is like
his thought ; if it is saturated with the fear
thought, the poverty thought, no matter how
hard he works, he will attract poverty.

You walk in the direction in which you
face. If you persist in facing toward poverty,
you cannot expect to reach abundance. When
every step you take is on the road to failure,
you cannot expect to reach the success goal.



POVERTY 23

If we can conquer inward poverty, we can
soon conquer poverty of outward things, for,
when we change the mental attitude, the
physical changes to correspond.

Holding the poverty thought keeps us in
touch with poverty-stricken, poverty-pro-
ducing conditions ; and the constant thinking
of poverty, talking poverty, living poverty,
makes us mentally poor. This is the worst
kind of poverty.

We cannot travel toward prosperity until
the mental attitude faces prosperity. As long
as we look toward despair, we shall never
arrive at the harbor of delight.

The man who persists in holding his mental
attitude toward poverty, or who is always
thinking of his hard luck and failure to get
on, can by no possibility go in the opposite
direction, where the goal of prosperity Hes.

I know a young man who was graduated
from Yale only a few years ago — a broad-
shouldered, vigorous young fellow — who says
that he hasn't the price of a hat, and that if
his father did not send him five dollars a week
he would go hungry.

This young man is the victim of discourage-
ment, of the poverty thought. He says that he
does not believe there is any success for him.



24 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

He has tried many things, and has failed in
them all. He says he has no confidence in his
ability, that his education has been a failure,
and that he has never believed he could
succeed. So he has drifted from, one thing to
another, and is poor and a nobody, just be-
cause of his mental attitude, because he does
not face the right way.

If you would attract good fortune you must
get rid of doubt. As long as that stands be-
tween you and your ambition, it will be a bar
that will cut you off. You must have faith.
No man can make a fortune while he is con-
vinced that he can't. The " I can't " philosophy
has wrecked more careers than almost any-
thing else. Confidence is the magic key that
unlocks the door of supply.

I never knew a man to be successful who
was always talking about business being bad.
The habit of looking down, talking down, is
fatal to advancement.

The Creator has bidden every man to look
up, not down, has made him to climb, not to
grovel. There is no providence which keeps a
man in poverty, or in painful or distressing
circumstances.

A young man of remarkable ability, who
has an established position in the business



POVERTY 25

world, recently told me that for a long time
he had been very poor, and remained so until
he made up his mind that he was not intended
to be poor, that poverty was really a mental
disease of which he intended to rid himself.
He formed a habit of daily affirming" abun-
dance and plenty, of asserting his faith in
himself and in his ability to become a man
of means and importance in the world. He
persistently drove the poverty thought out
of his mind. He would have nothing to do
with it.

He would not allow himself to think of
possible failure. He turned his face toward
the success goal, turned his back forever on
poverty and failure, and he tells me that the
result of his positive attitude and persistent
affirmation has been marvellous.

He says that he used to pinch himself in
every possible way in order to save in little
ways. He would eat the cheapest kind of food,
and as sparingly as possible. He would rarely
go on a street-car, even if he had to walk for
miles. Under the new impulse he completely
changed his habits, resolved that he would go
to good restaurants, that he would get a com-
fortable room in a good location, and that he
would try in every way to meet cultured



26 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

people, and to form acquaintances with those
above him who could help him.

The more liberal he has been, the better he
has been to himself in everything which could
help him along, which would tend to a higher
culture and a better education, the more things
have come his way. He found that it was his
pinched, stingy thoughts that shut off his
supply.

Although he is now living well, he says
that the amount he spends is a mere bagatelle
compared with the larger things that come to
him from his enlarged thought, his changed
attitude of mind.

Stingy, narrow minds do not attract money.
If they get money they usually get it by
parsimonious saving, rather than- by obeying
the law of opulence. It takes a broad, liberal
mind to attract money. The narrow, stingy
mind shuts out the flow of abundance.

It is the hopeful, buoyant, cheerful attitude
of mind that wins. Optimism is a success
builder; pessimism an achievement killer.

Optimism is the great producer. It is hope,
life. It contains everything which enters into
the mental attitude which produces and en-
joys.

Pessimism is the great destroyer. It is de-



POVERTY 27

spair, death. No matter if you have lost your
property, your health, your reputation even,
there is always hope for the man who keeps a
firm faith in himself and looks up.

As long as you radiate doubt and dis-
couragement, you will be a failure. If you
want to get away from poverty, you must
keep your mind in a productive, creative con-
dition. In order to do this you must think
confident, cheerful, creative thoughts. The
model must precede the statue. You must see
a neiv world before you can live in if.

If the people who are down in the world,
who are side-tracked, who believe that their
opportunity has gone by forever, that they
can never get on their feet again, only knew
the power of reversal of their thought, they
could easily get a new start.

I know a family whose members completely
reversed their condition by reversing their
mental attitude. They had been living in a
discouraging atmosphere so long that they
were convinced that success was for others,
but not for them. They believed so thoroughly
that they were fated to be poor that their
home and entire environment were pictures of
dilapidation and failure. Everything was in a
run-down condition. There was almost no



28 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

paint on the house, no carpets on the floors,
and scarcely a picture on the wall — nothing
to make the home comfortable and cheerful.
All the members of the family looked like
failures. The home was gloomy, cold, and
cheerless. Everything about it was depressing.

One day the mother read something that
suggested that poverty was largely a mental
disease, and she began at once to reverse her
thinking habit, and gradually to replace all
discouraging, despondency, failure thoughts
with their opposites. She assumed a sunny,
cheerful attitude, and looked and acted as if
life were worth living.

Soon the husband and children caught the
contagion of her cheerfulness, and in a short
time the whole family was facing the light.
Optimism took the place of pessimism. The
husband completely changed his habits. In-
stead of going- to his work unshaven and
unkempt, with slovenly dress and slipshod
manner, be became neat and tidy. He braced
up, brushed up, cleaned up, and looked up.
The children followed his example. The house
was repaired, renovated within and without,
and the family forever turned their backs on
the dark picture of poverty and failure.

The result of all this was that it brought



POVERTY 29

what many people would call " good luck."
The change in the mental attitude, the out-
look toward success and happiness instead of
failure, reacted upon the father's mind, gave
him new hope and new courage, and so in-
creased his efficiency that he was soon pro-
moted, as were also his sons. After two or
three years of the creative, inspiring atmos-
phere of hope and courage, the entire family
and the home were transformed.

Every man must play the part of his ambi-
tion. If you are trying to be a successful man
you must play the part. If you are trying to
dem.onstrate opulence, you must play it, not
weakly, but vigorously, grandly. You must
feel opulent, you must think opulence, you
must appear opulent. Your bearing must be
filled with confidence. You must give the im-
pression of your own assurance, that you are
large enough to play your part and to play
it superbly. Suppose the greatest actor living
were to have a play written for him in which
the leading part was to represent a man in
the process of making a fortune — a great,
vigorous, progressive character, who con-
quered by his very presence. Suppose this
actor, in i)laying the part, were to dress like
an unprospcrous man, walk on the stage in



30 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

a stooping, slouchy, slipshod manner, as
though he had no ambition, no energy or Hfe,
as though he had no real faith that he could
ever make money or be a success in business ;
suppose he went around the stage with an
apologetic, shrinking, skulking manner, as
much as to say, " Now, I do not believe that
I can ever do this thing that I have attempted ;
it is too big for me. Other people have done
it, but I never thought that I should ever be
rich or prosperous. Somehow good things do
not seem to be meant for me. I am just an
ordinary man, I haven't had much experience
and I haven't much confidence in myself, and
it seems presumptuous for me to think I am
ever going to be rich or have much influence
in the world." What kind of an impression
would he make upon the audience? Would he
give confidence, would he radiate power or
forcefulness, would he make people think that
that kind of a weakling could create a fortune,
could manipulate conditions which would pro-
duce money? Would not everybody say that
the man was a failure ? Would they not laugh
at the idea of his conquering anything?

Suppose a young man should start out with
a determination to get rich, and should all the
time parade his poverty, confess his inability



POVERTY 31

to make money, and tell everybody that he is
" down on his luck " ; that he " always expects
to be poor." Do you think he would become
rich? Talking poverty, thinking poverty, liv-
ing poverty, assuming the air of a pauper,
dressing like a failure, and with a slipshod,
slovenly family and home, how long will it
take a man to arrive at the goal of success ?

Our mental attitude toward the thing we
are struggling for has everything to do with
our gaining it. If a man wants to become
prosperous, he must believe that he was made
for success and happiness ; that there is a
divinity in him which will, if he follows it,
bring him into the light of prosperity.

Erase all the shadows, all the doubts and
fears, and the suggestions of poverty and
failure from your mind. When you have be-
come master of your thought, when you have
once learned to dominate your mind, you will
find that things will begin to come your way.
Discouragement, fear, doubt, lack of self-
confidence, are the germs which have killed
the prosperity and happiness of tens of thou-
sands of people.

If it were possible for all the poor to turn
their backs on their dark and discouraging
environment and face the light and cheer, and



32 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

if they should resolve that they are done with
poverty and a slipshod existence, this very
resolution would, in a short time, revolutionize
civilization.

Every child should be taught to expect
prosperity, to believe that the good things of
the world were intended for him. This con-
viction would be a powerful factor in the
adult life if the child were so trained.

Wealth is created mentally first; it is
thought out before it becomes a reality.

When a youth decides to become a physi-
cian, he puts himself in a medical atmosphere
just as much as possible. He talks medicine,
reads medicine, studies medicine, thinks medi-
cine until he becomes saturated with it. He
does not decide to become a physician and
then put himself in a legal atmosphere, read
law, talk law, think law. So, if you want
success, abundance, you must think success,
you must think abundance.

Stoutly deny the power of adversity or
poverty to keep you down. Constantly assert
your superiority to your environment. Believe
that you are to dominate your surroundings,
that you are the master and not the slave of
circumstances.

Resolve with all the vigor you can muster



POVERTY 33

that, since there are plenty of good things in
the world for everybody, you are going to
have your share, without injuring anybody
else or keeping others back. It was intended
that you should have a competence, an abun-
dance. It is your birthright. You are success
organized, and constructed for happiness, and
you should resolve to reach your divine
destiny.

When you make up your mind that you
are done with poverty forever ; that you will
have nothing more to do with it ; that you
are going to erase every trace of it from your
dress, your personal appearance, your manner,
your talk, your actions, your home ; that you
are going to show the world your real mettle ;
that you are no longer going to pass for a
failure ; that you have set your face persist-
ently toward better things — a competence, an
independence — and that nothing on earth can
turn you from your resolution, you will be
amazed to find what a reenforcing power will
come to you, what an increase of confidence,
reassurance, and self-respect.

The very act of turning your back upon the
black picture and resolving that you will have
nothing more to do with failure, with poverty ;
that you will make the best possible out of



34 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

what you do have; that you will put up the
best possible appearance ; that you will clean
up, brush up, talk up, look up, instead of
down — hold your head up and look the world
in the face instead of cringing, whining, com-
plaining — will create a new spirit within you
which will lead you to the light. Hope will
take the place of despair, and you will feel the
thrill of a new power, of a new force coursing
through your veins.

Thousands of people in this country have
thought themselves away from a life of
poverty by getting a glimpse of that great
principle, that we tend to realize in the life
zvhat we persistently hold in the thought and
vigorously struggle toward.



III. THE LAW OF OPULENCE



III. THE LAW OF OPULENCE

'Tis the mind that makes the body rich. — Shakespeare.

One of the most \icious ideas that ever found entrance
into human brain is that there is not enough of every-
thing for everybody, and that most people on the earth
must be poor in order that a few may be rich.




E talk abundance here." I
was struck with this motto in
a New York office recently.
I said to myself : " These
people are prosperous be-
cause they expect prosperity ;
they do not recognize poverty
or admit lacking anything they need."

The way to make the ideal the real, is to
persistently hold the thought of their identity.
The way to demonstrate abundance is to hold
it constantly in the mind, to frequently say
to yourself, " All that my Father hath is
mine." " The Lord is my shepherd : I shall
not want." If all this is true (and you know
that it is), any want or lack in your life is
abnormal.

The great fundamental principle of the law
of opulence is our inseparable connection with
the creative energy of the universe. When we

37



38 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

come into full realization of this connection
we shall never want again. It is our sense of
separateness from the Power that created us
that makes us feel helpless.

But as long as we limit ourselves by think-
ing that we are separate, insignificant, un-
related atoms in the universe ; that the great
supply, the creative energy is outside of us,
and that only a little of it can in some mys-
terious way be absorbed by a few people who
are " fortunate," " lucky," we shall never
come into that abundant supply which is our
birthright.

And where did the false idea of the absorp-
tion of all the good things by the few, of the
necessity of competition, originate? It had its
origin in the pessimistic assumption that it is
impossible for everybody to be wealthy or
successful ; in the thought of limitation of all
the things which men most desire ; and that,
there not being enough for all, a few must
fight desperately, selfishly for zuhat there is,
and the shrewdest, the longest-headed, those
with the most staying power, the strongest
workers, will get the most of it. This theory
is fatal to all individual and race betterment.

The Creator never put vast multitudes
of people on this earth to scramble for a



THE LAW OF OPULENCE 39

limited supply, as though He were not able to
furnish enough for all. There is nothing in
this world which men desire and struggle for,
and that is good for them, of which there is
not enough for everybody.

Take the thing we need most — food. We
have not begun to scratch the possibilities of
the food supply in America.

The State of Texas could supply food,
home, and luxuries to every man, woman, and
child on this continent. As for clothing, there
is material enough in the country to clothe
all its inhabitants in purple and fine linen.
We have not begun yet to touch the possibili-
ties of our clothing and dress supply. The
same is true of all other necessities and
luxuries. We are still on the outer surface of
abundance, a surface covering kingly supplies
for every individual on the globe.

When the whale ships in New Bedford
Harbor and other ports were rotting in idle-
ness, because the whale was becoming extinct,
Americans became alarmed lest we should
dwell in darkness ; but the oil wells came to
our rescue with abundant supply. And then,
when we began to doubt tiiat this source
would last, Science gave us the electric light.

Like Newton, the greatest scientists of the



40 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

world still feel that they are playing with
grains of sand on the shore of our illimitable
supply in every line of human need. The
possibilities of finding heat, power, and light
in chemical forces should the coal supply fail
are simply boundless.

The same thing is true of food. The most
advanced agriculturist feels that he is but an
amateur when it comes to the possibilities of
mixing brains with the soil. Education and
knowledge are enabling us to produce more
from a few acres of soil than men formerly
produced from hundreds of acres. Agriculture
is still in its infancy. We know almost nothing
as yet about the possibilities of getting nitro-
gen from the atmosphere, and of renewing the
soil. No matter which way we turn, Science
matches our knowledge with her marvellous
reserves and nowhere is there a sign of limit.

There is building material enough to give
every person on the globe a mansion finer
than any that a Vanderbilt or Rothschild
possesses. It was intended that we should all
be rich and happy; that we should have an
abundance of all the good things the heart
can crave. We should live in the realization
that there is an abundance of power where
our present power comes from, and that we



THE LAW OF OPULENCE 41

can draw upon this great source for as much
as we can use.

There is something wrong when the chil-
dren of the King of kings go about like sheep
hounded by a pack of wolves. There is some-
thing wrong when those who have inherited
infinite supply are worrying about their daily
bread ; are dogged by fear and anxiety so that
they cannot take any peace ; that their lives
are one battle with want ; that they are always
under the harrow of worry, always anxious.
There is something wrong when people are
so worried and absorbed in making a living
that they cannot make a life.

We were made for happiness, to express joy
and gladness, to be prosperous. The trouble
with us is that we do not trust the law of in-
finite supply, but close our natures so that
abundance cannot flow to us. In other words,
we do not obey the law of attraction. We
keep our minds so pinched and our faith in
ourselves so small, so narrow, that we strangle
the inflow of supply. Abundance follows a law
as strict as that of mathematics. If we obey
it, we get the flow ; if we strangle it, we cut it
oflF. The trouble is not in the supply ; there is
abundance awaiting everyone on the globe.

The majority of us still believe in the idea



42 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

of competition. We regard it as a necessary
principle of business, as is indicated by such
maxims as " Competition is the Hfe of trade."

If we could only realize and feel our close,
intimate connection with the Power of in-
finite supply, we could not want.

It is the feeling of separateness from the
great Power that makes us fear, just as the
child's separation from its mother fills it with
fear and terror.

When we shall learn the cause of this feel-
ing of separateness, that it is wrong thinking,
sin, which isolates us, we shall know how to
get in touch again with the great supplying
Principle of the universe.

When we feel a sense of unity, an at-oneness
with the Creator, we cannot fear, we cannot
want, because we are in the very midst of the
supply, in the very lap of abundance.

It is impossible for God's image and like-
ness in man to reflect failure or poverty.
Man's divine image reflects prosperity, riches
that are royal, divine abundance that never
fails, plenty that can never grow less.

Many lives are like the great Sahara Desert,
only here and there a little clump of green
trees and flowers where there happens to be
a little moisture; a tiny oasis here and there.


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Online LibraryOrison Swett MardenPeace, power, and plenty → online text (page 2 of 14)