This section is from the book "Applications of Psychology to the Problems of Personal and Business Efficiency", by Warren Hilton. Also available from Amazon: Psychology and Achievement - Applied Psychology 12 Volume Set.
THE MEN of the nineteenth century have harnessed the forces of the outer world. The age is now at hand that shall harness the energies of mind, new-found in the psychological laboratory, and shall put them at the service of humanity.
Are you fully equipped to take a valiant part in the work of the coming years?
The greatest of all eras is at hand! Are you increasing your fitness to appreciate it and take part in it, or are you merely passing your time away?
Take careful note for a week of the incidents of your daily life - your methods of work, habits of thought, modes of recreation. You will discover an appalling waste in your present random methods of operation.
Individual mental efficiency is an absolute prerequisite to any notable personal achievement or any great individual success. Your mental energies are the forces with which you must wage your battles in this world. Are you prepared to direct and deploy these forces with masterful control and strategic skill? Are you prepared to use all your reserves of mental energy in the crises of your career?
A Mighty and Intelligent Power resides within you. Its marvelous resources are just now coming to be recognized.
Recent scientific research has revealed, beyond the world of the senses and beyond the domain of consciousness, a wide and hitherto hidden realm of human energies and resources.
These are mental energies and resources. They are phases of the mind, not of the "mind" of fifty years ago, but of a "mind" of whose operations you are unconscious and whose marvelous breadth and depth and power have but recently been revealed to the world by scientific experiment.
In this Basic Course of Reading we shall lay before you in simple and clear-cut but scientific form the proof that you have at your command mental powers of which you have never before dreamed.
And we shall give you such specific directions for the use of these newfound powers, that whatever your environment, whatever your business, whatever your ambition, you need but follow our plain and simple instructions in order to do the thing you want to do, to be the man you want to be, or to get the thing you want to have.
If you have any thought that the control of your hidden mental energies is to be acquired by mere hygienic measures, put it from you. The idea that you may come into the fulness of your powers through mere wholesome living, outdoor sports and bodily exercise is an idea that belongs to an age that is past. Good health is not necessary to achievement. It is not even a positive influence for achievement. It is merely a negative blessing. With good health you may hope to reach your highest mental and spiritual development free from the harassment of soul-racking pain. But without good health men have reached the summit of Parnassus and have dragged their tortured bodies up behind them.
Nor does success necessarily follow or require long preparation in a particular field. The first occupation of the successful man is rarely the one in which he achieves his ultimate triumph. In the changing conditions of our day, one needs a better weapon than the mere knowledge of a particular trade, vocation or profession. He needs that mastery of himself and others that is the fundamental secret of success in all fields of endeavor.
It is well to tell you beforehand that in this Basic Course of Reading we shall be content with no mere cataloguing of the factors that are commonly regarded as essential to success. We shall do no moralizing. You will find here no elaboration of the ancient aphorisms, "Honesty is the best policy," and "Genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains."
The world has had its fill of mere exhortations to industry, frugality and perseverance. For some thousands of years men have preached to the lazy man, "Be industrious," and to the timid man, "Be bold." But such phrases never have solved and never can solve the problem for the man who feels himself lacking in both industry and courage.
It is easy enough to tell the salesman that he must approach his "prospect" with tact and confidence. But tact and confidence are not qualities that can be assumed and discarded like a Sunday coat. Industry and courage and tact and confidence are well enough, but we must know the Why and the How of these things.
It is well enough to preach that the secret of achievement is to be found in "courage-faith" and "courage-confidence," and that the way to acquire these qualities is to assume that you have them. There is no denying the undoubted fact that men and women have been rescued from the deepest mire of poverty and despair and lifted to planes of happy abundance by what is known as "faith." But what is " faith"? And "faith" in What? And Why? And How?
Obviously we cannot achieve certain and definite results in this or any other field so long as we continue to deal with materials we do not understand. Yet that is what all men are doing today. The elements of truth are befogged in vague and amateurish mysticism, and the subject of individual efficiency when we get beyond mere preaching and moralizing is a chaos of isms.
The time is ripe for a real analysis of these important problems, - a serious and scientific analysis with a clear and practical exposition of facts and principles and rules for conduct.
Men and women must be fundamentally trained so that they can look deep into their own minds and see where the screw is loose, where oil is needed, and so readjust themselves and their living for a greater efficiency.
The embittered, the superstitious, the Fundamental Training for Efficiency prejudiced, all those who scorpion-like sting themselves with the virus of failure, must be given an antidote of understanding that will repair their deranged mental machinery.