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Orison Swett Marden.

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our ills and accomplish the maximum of our
possibilities.

Faith never fails ; it is a miracle worker. It
looks be)'ond all boundaries, transcends all
limitations, penetrates all obstacles and sees
the goal.

It is doubt and fear, timidity and cowardice,
that hold us down and keep us in mediocrity
— doing petty things when we are capable of
sublime deeds.

If we had faith enough we should travel
Godward infinitely faster than we do.

The time will come when every human
being will have unbounded faith and will live
the life triumphant. Then there will be no
poverty in the world, no failures, and the dis-
cords of life will all vanish.



XI. AFFIRMATION AND AUDIBLE
SUGGESTION



XI. AFFIRMATION AND AUDIBLE
SUGGESTION.



Look out for the man who dares assert the "I."
" What I can do, I ought to do.
What I ought to do, I can do.
What I can and ought to do,
By the grace of God I will do."




HAVE promised my God
that I will do it."

Who can estimate the tre-
mendous, buttressing power
which reenforced Lincoln
when on the 22d of Septem-
ber, 1862, he resolved upon
the Emancipation Proclamation, and entered
this solemn vow in his diary : " I have prom-
ised my God that I will do it."

Up to this time doubt, uncertainty, his nat-
ural precaution, had influenced him and kept
him from coming to a decision ; but now he
solemnly resolved to burn all bridges behind
him and henceforth to dedicate himself to the
accomplishment of this great purpose.

After the false report that Dreyfus had
escaped from Devil's Island, his guards were
doubled, and he was chained to a plank every
night with heavy irons, until his legs were so

185



i86 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

chafed that they became bloody and gangre-
nous. The wretched prisoner thought his jail-
ers had orders to torture him to death, but he
doggedly and persistently repeated to himself :
" I will live ! I will live ! " Who can doubt that
• — conscious as he was of his innocence — this
vehement affirmation, in conjunction with the
man's almost superhuman will-power, had
much to do with his survival of the revolting
cruelty to which he was subjected in his island
prison.

Few people realize the force that exists in a
vigorous, perpetual affirmation of the thing
we long to be or are determined to accomplish.
Great things are done under the stress of an
overmastering conviction of one's ability to
do what he undertakes ; under the tremendous
power of the affirmative, expressed with un-
flinching determination. The very intensity of
your affirmation of confidence in your ability
to do what you attempt is definitely related to
the degree of your achievement. We need
great projectile power. It is easier to force a
huge shell through the steel plates of a ship
when projected with lightning speed from the
cannon than to push it through slowly.

People who always say " God willing," or
" If Providence so wills," they will do this



AFFIRMATION 187

or that, little realize how the doubt expressed
by the " if " takes the edge from their positive-
ness, and tends to produce negative minds. If
the Creator has given a man the inclination
and the power to do a thing that is right and
good He is always willing that he should
do it.

Yet I know a man — and there are thousands
like him — who says that he never makes a
positive statement of what he is going to do,
because it would be questioning the will of
God — a reflection upon the Deity.

There is no one thing which will give a
timid soul such assurance, which will so brace
up one who is inclined to depreciate and efface
himself, as the constant afiirmation of the " I
am." " I am courage ; I am health, vigor,
strength ; I am power ; I am peace ; I am
plenty ; I am a part of abundance, because I
am one with the very Source of Infinite Sup-
ply. I am rich, because I am heir to all the
resources of the universe."

Stoutly, constantly, everlastingly afiirm that
you will become what your ambitions indicate
as fitting and possible. Do not say " I shall be
a success sometime " ; say, " I am a success.
Success is my birthright." Do not say that you
are going to be happy in the future. Say to



i88 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

yourself, " I was intended for happiness, made
for it, and I am happy."

The habit of claiming as our own, as a vivid
reality that which zve desire, has a tremendous
magnetic power. The constant vigorous as-
sertion of " I am health ; I am vigor ; I am
power; I am principle; I am truth; I am
justice; I am beauty; because made in the
image of perfection, of harmony, of truth, of
justice, of immortal beauty" — tends to the
manifestation of these things in our lives.

" I am that which I think I am — and I can
be nothing else." The man immersed in ma-
terial things and who lives only to make
money, believes he can make it; knows that
he can make it. He does not say to himself
every morning, " Well, I do not know whether
I can make anything to-day. I will try. I may
succeed and I may not," He simply and posi-
tively asserts that he can do what he desires
and then starts out to put into operation plans
and forces which will bring it about.

If you affirm " I am health ; I am prosperity ;
I am this or that," but do not believe it, you
will not be helped by affirmation. You must
believe what you affirm.

Few people realize the tremendous creative
power there is in stout self-assertion; in the



AFFIRMATION 189

vigorous affirmation of the ego, the " I," the
" I am." But those who have once properly
put it in practice never again doubt its ef-
ficacy.

A prominent music master in New York
who trains opera singers advised a girl with
great musical ability, but with deficient self-
confidence and self-assertion, to stand before
a mirror every day and, assuming a mag-
nificent pose, say to herself, " I, I, I," with all
the emphasis and power she could muster. He
told her to assert herself and to think of her-
self as a prima donna of great power ; that
by constantly assuming the part, playing the
role, she would acquire the habit of self-con-
fidence, which would be worth everything to
her. " Imagine that you are Nordica or Patti,"
he said. " Assume that part boldly and fear-
lessly — and hold yourself with a dignity and
power corresponding with the character."
This advice, which she followed literally, was
worth more to this timid girl than scores of
music lessons. The practice in it increased her
confidence in herself wonderfully, and she
was soon cured of her shyness and timidity.

Audible self-suggestion, which is merely a
continuation or extension of the affirmation
principle, is one of the greatest aids to self-



igo PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

development. This form of suggestion — talk-
ing to oneself vigorously, earnestly — seems to
arouse the sleeping forces in the subconscious
self even more effectually than thinking the
same thing. We all know how we are strength-
ened by the vigorous affirmation of our de-
termination to do this or to do that. We know
the virtue in a robust determination backed
by the vigorously spoken resolve. These are
but other forms of arousing in our subcon-
scious selves latent powers which, when under-
stood and developed, will do wonders for us.
There is a force in words spoken aloud
which is not stirred by going over the same
words mentally. They sometimes arouse slum-
bering energies within us which thinking does
not stir up — especially if we have not been
trained to think deeply ; to focus the mind
closely. They make a more lasting impression
upon the mind — just as words which pass
through the eye from the printed page make
a greater impression on the brain than we get
by thinking the same words ; as seeing objects
of nature makes a more lasting impression
upon the mind than thinking about them. A
vividness, a certain force, accompanies the spo-
ken word — especially if earnestly, vehemently
uttered — which is not apparent to many in



AFFIRMATION 191

merely thinking- about what words express.
If you repeat to yourself aloud, vigorously,
even vehemently, a firm resolve, you are more
likely to carry it to reality than if you merely
resolve in silence.

We become so accustomed to our silent
thoughts that the voicing of them, the giving
audible expression to our yearnings, makes
a much deeper impression upon us.

The audible self-encouragement treatment
may be used with marvellous results in cor-
recting our weaknesses; overcoming our de-
ficiencies.

A remarkably successful friend of mine says
that he has been wonderfully helped by talk-
ing to himself about his faults and short-
comings. " Heart-to-heart talks " with himself
he calls these little exhortations.

If he thinks his ambition is lagging, he gives
himself a mental exercise which tends to
sharpen and improve it. If he thinks his
standards are lowering, he braces up his ideal
by perpetually affirming his ability to do better
and to climb higher every day.

He says that he starts out every morning
with the determination that he is going to be
a bigger man at ni.^ht than he was in the
morning ; that he is going to stand for more ;



192 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

that he is going to carry more weight in his
community. He talks to himself about his
failures of the day before and about his pro-
gramme for the day, while he is dressing in
the morning, something after this fashion :

" Now, John, you lost your temper yester-
day ; you went all to pieces over a mistake that
some one made in the office ; you made a fool
of yourself, so that your employees thought
less of you than before, and it totally unfitted
your mind for doing the large things that
were clamoring for your attention. Don't
make that mistake to-day. You are a pretty
small man if you cannot rise above the petty
details which confuse and block shallow minds.
If you cannot rise above the trivial details of
your office you are not a leader."

One of his great weaknesses was that of
indecision. He had a perfect horror of settling
an important thing so that it could not be
reopened for consideration. He would always
leave things until the last minute — his letters
unsealed, papers unsigned, contracts open,
until he was actually forced to close them, for
fear he might want to reconsider his decisions.

He tells me that he finally overcame this
weakness by constantly telling himself how
foolish it was; how this vacillating habit



AFFIRMATION 193

would handicap his whole career, and how all
men of executive abiUty — men who do great
things — are characterized by their quick,
strong decisions.

It does not matter what the fault is —
whether it is the habit of dawdling, of being
late in keeping appointments, of losing his
temper, of being fractious and unreasonable
with his employees — whatever it may be, he
talks himself out of it. In his talks, he calls
himself by name, and carries a picture of his
other, better, diviner self in his mind ; persist-
ently holding before himself the image of the
man he wants to be, longs to be, and constantly
affirms his ability to be. He says that nothing
else has done half as much for him as this
habit of talking things over with himself.

Another young man in New York recently
told me that he tries to walk through Central
Park every morning on his way to business
in order to get a chance to talk to himself
alone. During these talks, he tells himself that,
let what will come during the day, he must
not lose his self-control ; he must be a gentle-
man under all circumstances ; that he must
not allow worry, anxiety, or unfortunate
moods to waste his energy, but must work it
all up into effectiveness.



194 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

He says that this self " jacking-np " — as he
calls it — this self-tuning in the morning, not
only helps him to get a larger efficiency into
his day's work, but also to do the work with
much less wear and tear. It is a tremendous
tonic. It stimulates him to better and better
work. Since he has adopted the self-com-
muning, self-bracing habit, he has gone ahead
by leaps and bounds.

Every man would be helped as these young
men have been by the habit of talking to him-
self just as though he were another person
in whom he was very much interested and to
whom he was giving his best advice.

Whenever you can do so, it is a good plan
to get so far away from others that you will
not be conscious of their presence, and then
go through your resolutions verbally — with
vehemence, if necessary. You will soon be
surprised to find how much better they will
stick in your consciousness, and how much
more likely you are to follow your own advice
when you give it orally.

If you have some vicious habit which is
keeping you back, sapping the life out of you,
you will be greatly strengthened in your power
to overcome it by constantly saying to your-
self, " I know this thing (calling it by name)



AFFIR^IATION 195

is destroying my vitality. I am not so vigor-
ous ; so robust physically and mentally ; I am
not so efficient as I should be ; I do not think
so clearly, I cannot control my mind so well
as I could were I not hampered by this weak-
ness.

" The paralyzing habit is placing me at a
great disadvantage in life ; it is holding me up
to ridicule, to unfavorable comparison with
others. I know that I have more ability than
many of those about me who are accomplish-
ing a great deal more. Now, I am going to
conquer this thing which is destroying my
prospects. I am going to get freedom for my-
self at any cost."

If your sin is immorality say to yourself:
" Nothing will blacken my soul quicker than
this. I am ruining my chances of future hap-
piness. This cursed thing is an insult to my
ideal of womanhood, an insult to my future
wife, a crime to my future children. There is
no other thing which will so deteriorate my
manhood, which will so honeycomb my very
character and destroy my self-respect as this
damnable thing. I hereby take a sacred oath
never to repeat that which will lessen my
chances in life, that which will make me think
less of myself. I despise the thing which will



196 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

keep me back in life, which will tend to make
me a failure and anything less than a man. I
will not take the risk of indulging a little lon-
ger with the hope that something may help me
break the habit, or that something will assist
me to get strength later, because I know that
every indulgence in the vicious habit binds me
more strongly to it, and makes my chance of
breaking away so much less.'"

Just talk to yourself in this way whenever
alone and you will be surprised to see how
quickly the audible suggestion will weaken the
grip of the vicious habit. In a short time your
self-talks will so strengthen your will power
that you will be able to entirely eradicate your
weakness.

But you must be very positive in the affirma-
tion of your ability to overcome it. If you sim-
ply say to yourself, " I know that this thing
is bad for me; I know that if I continue to
drink, or to smoke cigarettes, or to practice
immorality, it will interfere with my success,
but I do not believe I shall ever be able to
overcome it ; it has gotten such a hold on me
that I cannot give it up " — you will never
make any headway.

Always stoutly afUrm your ability to con-
quer. Say to yourself, " I was not made to be



AFFIRMATION 197

dominated by a vice, a weed, or an extract of
grain. God's image in me was not intended to
wallow in filth. I can never use the ability I
have to the best advantage, never be the man
I was intended to be or am capable of being,
while I harbor this enemy which will sap my
ability and weaken my chances in life. It is
creating structural changes in my body ; it is
destroying my ability and blunting my moral
sensibility. I am done with it once and for-
ever ; the appetite for it is destroyed in my
being. I do not want it — I do not need it — I
will not touch it. I was made to hold up my
head and be a man — to do the work of a man.
There is something divine within me — the
God-man — perfectly able to overcome this
thing which is crippling my career and hold-
ing me back, and I am going to do it."

Don't be disappointed if you do not get im-
mediate relief. Continue to talk to yourself in
this confident manner, especially upon retiring,
always affirming your ability to overcome your
weakness, whatever it may be, and you will
conquer. Your will power will assist you, but
conviction is a thousand times stronger than
will power ; and the constant affirmation of the
ability of the divinity within you to overcome
the thing which handicaps you will finally help



198 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

you to conquer. When you once get a glimpse
of the divine power within you, and experience
its help; when you learn to trust to the God
in you for assistance, you will find yourself
and the Divinity always in the majority. No
power can stand against you then.

At first it may seem silly to you to be talk-
ing to yourself, but you will derive so much
benefit from it that you will have recourse to
it in remedying all your defects. There is no
fault, however great or small, which will not
succumb to persistent audible suggestion. For
example, you may be naturally timid and
shrink from meeting people ; and you may dis-
trust your own ability. If so, you will be great-
ly helped by assuring yourself in your daily
self-talks that you are not timid ; that, on the
contrary, you are the embodiment of courage
and bravery. Assure yourself that there is no
reason why you should be timid, because there
is nothing inferior or peculiar about you ; that
you are attractive, and that you know how to
act in the presence of others. Say to yourself
that you are never again going to allow your-
self to harbor any thoughts of self-deprecia-
tion or timidity or inferiority; that you are
going to hold your head up and go about as
though you were a king, a conqueror, instead



AFFIRMATION 199

of crawling about like a whipped cur. You
are going to assert your manhood, your indi-
viduality.

Man was planned to stand erect, to look up, ]
to go through life with his backbone straight,
to look the world in the face with a fearless
eye — he was never made to cower and flinch, \
to whine, to apologize and to depreciate his
ability.

If you lack initiative, stoutly affirm your
ability to begin things, and to push them
through to a finish. And always put your re-
solve into action at the first opportunity.

If you are bashful, diffident in company, and
inclined to depreciate yourself and think that
you are not quite as good as other people, just
deny all of this to yourself, and resolve that
you will never lose an opportunity for culti-
vating and strengthening your deficient con-
versational faculties.

Never allow yourself to imagine that you
are being watched or laughed at. Always
think of yourself as a king or a queen. If you
suffer from self-consciousness, oversensitive-
ness, say to yourself constantly : " I am a king.
There is no reason why I should consider my-
self inferior to others. I will just walk about
as though I were governor of my state, or



200 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

mayor of my city ; a full, complete man — mas-
ter of the situation."

If you are the victim of indecision ; if you
are inclined to weigh and balance and recon-
sider tilings all the time, just deny all this
to yourself verbally, strongly, emphatically,
and resolve that hereafter you are going to act
before your doubt has a chance to weaken your
decision or ask for a reconsideration. Say to
yourself that you would better make mistakes
than not to act at all, or to be forever on the
fence.

If you have hard work to make up your
mind to undertake what you know you ought
to, just get by yourself somewhere alone and
brace yourself up. Talk to yourself as you
would to some friend whom you love; some
one whom you know has ability but lacks cour-
age and pluck. Reenforce yourself; reinvigor-
ate your mind ; reassure yourself.

Through these self-talks, if you will be sin-
cere with yourself and strong and persistent
in your affirmations, you will be surprised to
see how you can increase your courage, your
confidence, and your ability to execute your
ideas.

I know a young man who was so self-con-
scious when a youth that he would cross the



AFFIRMATION 201

street to avoid meeting any one he knew. He
was completely confused when any one he was
not accustomed to see chanced to speak to him.
He was constantly depreciating himself and
belittling his ability. Indeed, I have rarely
seen any one who depreciated a splendid abil-
ity so much as he did. Yet he has so entirely
overcome these faults by audible suggestion
that no one would suspect that he had ever
lacked self-appreciation or confidence, or that
he had been a victim of shyness.

He tells me that he used to go out in the
country and talk to himself seriously about
his failings. " Now, Arthur, either there is
something in you or there is not ; and I am
going to find out," he would say. " Do not be
a fool. You are just as good as anybody else,
so long as you behave as well. Hold up your
head and be a man. Do not be afraid to face
anybody. Go about among people as though
you were somebody. Quit this everlasting self-
depreciation, self-effacement. You are God's
child, and you have just as good a right on
this glad green earth as anybody else. Do not
go about apologizing for being alive, or im-
agining you are taking up room which belongs
to others."

He says that he also derives very great



202 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

benefit from praising and appreciating himself
audibly when he has done unusually well, or
has acquitted himself as a man. On such occa-
sions he will sav : " Arthur, that was fine ! You
did splendidly ! I am proud of you. That just
shows what you are capable of. Do as well in
every instance, and you will amount to some-
thing in the world and be somebody."

I know of nothing so helpful for the timid,
those who lack faith in themselves, as the habit
of constantly affirming their own importance,
their own power, their own divinity. When a
man once sees that he is divine, once gets a
glimpse of his own capability, he will never
be content to wallow in the mud and mire of
things ; nor will he doubt his own kingship.
The trouble is that men do not think half
enough of themselves ; do not accurately meas-
ure their ability ; do not put the right estimate
upon their possibilities. We berate ourselves,
belittle, efiface ourselves, because we do not
see the larger, diviner man in us.

The objective side of man has a wonderful
power to inspire and to encourage the sub-
jective side; to arouse the subconscious men-
tality where all latent power and possibilities
lie. Deep within man dwell those slumbering
powers; powers that would astonish him, that



AFFIRMATION 203

he never dreamed of possessing; forces that
would revolutionize his life if aroused and
put into action.

The majority of people call out but a very
small percentage of these latent forces which
are waiting to serve them. Many pass the
half-century mark before some emergency or
crisis in their life lifts the lid off their possi-
bilities, and multitudes go through life without
ever getting a glimpse of their powers.

Many a family has eked out a miserable
existence in poverty and drudgery while there
was a fortune in minerals or oils in the very
soil which they owned. Millions have died in
mental penury, died weaklings, when they had
within their own natures vast possibilities of
power which they never uncovered, never
utilized.

As miners have died poor while holding
claims which covered great wealth, so vast
multitudes of people die poor without ever
working the rich mines within them.

The trouble with us is that we do not make
a loud enough call upon the Great Within of
us, our higher, more potent selves. We are too
timid, too tame in our demands.

" Affirm that which you wish, and it will be
manifest in your life." Affirm it confidently,



204 PEACE, POWER, AND PLENTY

with the utmost faith, without any doubt of
what you affirm.

Assert your possession of the things you
need ; of the qualities you long to own. Force
your mind toward your goal ; hold it there
steadily, persistently, for this is the mental
condition that creates. The negative mind,
which doubts and wavers, creates nothing.
" Nerve us with incessant affirmatives ; do not
bark against the bad; but chant the beauties


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Online LibraryOrison Swett MardenPeace, power, and plenty → online text (page 9 of 14)