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.
IN SUCH instances as we have recounted, men have found that persistent effort along certain lines has had the effect of making presently available what would otherwise be simply unused storage batteries of reserve power. What was the source and inspiration for this persistent effort?
You will say that it was ambition or patriotism or some similar semi-emotional influence. And so it was. But what is ambition, what is patriotism, what is any desire but a picturing to the mind's eye of the things desired, an awakening of a mental image of the result to be attained, the reward that is to follow certain efforts? And these mental pictures coming into consciousness have brought with them their associated emotions and their associated impulses to muscular action, impulses appropriate to the picture and automatically tending to work its realization.
These impulses constitute the whole of man's achieving power. They are the Initiative Energy of all Success.
When you are afflicted with doubt and fear, timidity and lack of confidence, this means that your mental inhibitions are too numerous, too high or too strong. Remove them and access is had to the latent energy of accumulated and creative thought complexes. You will then become buoyant, cheerful, overflowing with enthusiasm, and ready for a fresh, definite, active part in life.
Ideas, then, when latent, may be considered as possessing an energizing influence.
The same idea does not necessarily have the same effect upon the same persons at different times. What its effect may be at any time or with any individual depends upon the make-up of the consciousness in which it finds itself.
The setting of consciousness may be entirely different upon the present appearance of the particular idea from
Importance of the Mental Setting what it was on the occasion when this same idea last appeared. Yesterday there may have been present no conflicting tendencies, and this particular idea may therefore have been allowed free and joyous expression. Today other thoughts may be in the ascendency so that we look upon the idea of yesterday with a feeling of revulsion.
The thought that aroused new energy in you yesterday may then sicken you at your task today. The thought that stirs the soul of a vigorous man may shock the sensibilities of a delicate woman.
Yet there are some ideas to which all men in varying degrees seem alike to respond. How often in battle have the failing spirits of an army been revived by the appearance of the leader shouting his battle-cry and waving his shining sword! How often have men been roused to heights of heroic achievement by the strains of martial music! How often have troops spent with exhaustion responded to the call of such simple phrases as "The Flag," "Our Country," "Liberty," or such songs as "The Marseillaise," "God Save the King," "Dixie"! These phrases are but the signs of ideas, yet the sounding of these phrases has summoned these ideas into consciousness, and the summoning of these ideas into consciousness has placed undreamed-of and immeasurable foot-pounds of energy on the hair-trigger of action.
And so it is with you. Down deep in the inmost chambers of your soul are untouched stores of energy that properly applied will exalt your personality and illumine your career.
But to find and claim these hidden riches you must persevere. You must endure.
In a Marathon race it is endurance that wins. The graceful sprinter who is off with a leap at the bark of the pistol soon falls by the wayside.
Life is a Marathon in which persistence triumphs.
There are many "good starters," but few "strong finishers." That is why the failures so outnumber the successes.
The man who travels fastest does more than he is told to do. To merely comply with a fixed routine is to fall short of one's duty. The progressive man adds to the work of today his preparation for the work of tomorrow. He delights in attempting more and more difficult tasks, because in every task he sets himself he sees a step forward in the development of his own abilities. He loves his work more than he loves his pay, and he delves deeper than the exigencies of the moment require, because he craves the power to do more.
Most men start with enthusiasm. No hours are too long, no task too difficult But soon they tire. And lacking willpower to persist, they succumb to the lure of distracting interests. They become disheartened and indifferent. And so they fail.
A young man married. He was proprietor of a flourishing "general" store in Princeton, Indiana. He and his bride forthwith resolved that they could and would lay aside out of their income a thousand dollars a year for ten years, by which time they would have ten thousand dollars and accumulated interest and could go into business in a big city. At the end of the first year, when they took stock of their savings, they decided that thereafter, instead of trying to save a thousand dollars a year for ten years, they would undertake to save ten dollars a year for a thousand years and would be more apt to succeed. Today they are just where they began.
You all know such men - men who are always starting and never finishing.
Ninety-five per cent of the men who go into business are "quitters." The very first disappointment sends them scurrying to cover. They begin to look for a "soft snap" away from the firing line. Is it any wonder that so few reach any great success?
That there is an enormous lack of appropriation of energy in most men's lives is an undoubted fact. Just where this energy is stored, and just what its eternal significance may be, is immaterial to our purpose.
It may be that this reserve is Nature's safeguard against our extravagance.
It may be, as some philosophers contend, that the subconscious, with its vast stores of energy, is a higher, more spiritual phase of man.
Looking for a "Soft Snap"
It may be that the subconscious is for each one of us his individual segment of the Divine Essence - that it marks our "at-one-ment" with God.
It may be that to evoke these latent energies is to call upon those resources of our being which are the embodiment within us of the spirit of the Creator of all things.
It may be that this Divine Essence, if adequately aroused, may exert an absolute transcendence over material things and lift humanity to a God-like plane.
"What we call man," wrote Emerson, "the eating, drinking, planting, counting man, does not, as we know him, represent himself, but misrepresents himself. Him we do not respect; but the real soul whose organ he is, would he let it appear through his action, would make our knees bend." "I said, ye are gods," quoth the Psalmist. "Be ye perfect, even as your Father," was the injunction of the Master.
Whatever the eternal significance of your latent energy may be, the fact remains that it is yours, and yours to use.
If you are to succeed, if you are to do big things, you must be a man of "dog-gedness." You must keep your eyes trained everlastingly upon the vision of the thing you want. You must stay in the race until you get your "second wind." You must be master of yourself and draw freely on your stored-up powers.
Do as we shall tell you in this Course and you will become a master man, the kind of man who "lasts," the kind of man who works his imagination overtime, the kind of man who can strain his energies to the utmost and then, finding himself still a failure, can rise "like the glow of the sun" to do bolder and bigger things - the kind of man who wins.