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.
As A man of high aims, it be-hooves you to realize them, it is in satisfaction of ambition, realization of desire, that happiness is found.
There are two ways of realizing desire. The first is actual realization; the second is mental realization.
But actual realization without mental realization is of no great consequence as a means to Happiness. There can be no happiness for us in the realization of a desire unless we know about it. The joy comes with the knowledge that what we have so long yearned for has really come to pass.
It is the mental picture, with all its associated and exhilarating emotional and energizing elements, that really gives us pleasure.
It is the mental realization, and that only, that brings joy.
Looked at even from the causal standpoint, mental realization holds far the more important place. For no desire can be realized in physical fact that has not first been mentally realized. There can be no creation without antecedent creative thought.
And, finally, the happiness of mental realization is permanent, while actual realization is ephemeral.
So that the true, the inner Secret of Happiness is found in this: The Mental Realization of Desire.
Now, the mental realization of a desire need not wait on physical attainment.
More than this, it must not wait on physical attainment.
For every physical achievement is a re-birth. It is the incarnation in the world of matter of that which has had a prior life in the world of mind.
So that to be truly happy one must hold ever in mind his high purpose in life with an unshakable faith in its attainment.
It must be more than the mere portrayal of a hope. It must be more than a mere expectation. It must be conceived in positive faith. It must live today and day by day its coming reality. It must be the picture of the preordained. For by faith, and faith only, can the chasms of life be bridged.
Faith is the foundation stone for all enduring structures - faith in yourself, faith in your object, faith in your ability to compass it.
No one will dispute that desire itself is purely mental. Consciousness is composed in part of sense-perceptions and in part of ideas drawn from subconsciousness. Both have associated with them emotional elements and motor impulses.
Desire is a mental picture composed wholly of thought elements drawn from past experience and associated with agreeable emotional elements. Like all other mental pictures, it has its appropriate and associated motor impulses working toward such muscular activity as will tend to realization.
Ideas have an inherent energy. The more vividly the picture of what we want is painted in consciousness, the more distinct and impressive will all its elements become.
Add a few deft touches to the mental picture. See the thing in the present instead of in the future, done instead of in the doing, won instead of in the winning. The sense of its agreeableness will become more and more pronounced. The impulses to action will strain more and more powerfully in the motor paths. Desire is "growing."
This is animate Desire. This is creative thought as distinguished from reverie. This is the kind of mental picture that fills the mind of the "man of vision." This is the kind of thinking that is an unfailing fountain of Happiness. This is Desire conceived in unalterable Faith.
Thoughts are back of all creative impulse.
Whatever there may be of evil or sin, sorrow or suffering or sickness in all the world, it has its origin in thought.
The old idea that a man's bad temper comes from his dyspepsia has given way to the knowledge that his dyspepsia more probably comes from his bad temper. The old idea that a man's despair is due to his failure yields to the knowledge that his failure is more likely due to his despair.
Evil, hopeless thoughts are the cause of all the misery in the world. Aspiring and creative thoughts are the real fairy godmothers of life. They wave the magic wand of an intense desire, a Desire inspired with Faith, and health and riches and happiness shower upon us.
What is the mental machinery by which Thought, Desire, Faith and Happiness may be controlled?
We have seen that the entire content of consciousness, sense-perceptions and memories, is the handiwork of attention.
But interest fixes the attention and determines just how its selective work shall be performed. And interest itself is but the creature of habit, the reflection of the mental pictures that are habitually dwelt upon.
Attention selects from the current of sensory images those elements only that fit into the habitual stage-setting of the mind. All others pass unperceived into subconscious oblivion.
Let three men look upon some great and portentous spectacle like the San Francisco fire. The emotional attitude of each, whether of awe, curiosity, hope, despair or pity, depends upon the elements he unconsciously selects as appropriate to his habitual mental setting.
The control of the emotional attitudes, then, is wholly a matter of attention.
You are a free agent. You are the master of your own mental ship. You can steer it where you will. You can think such thoughts, and such thoughts only, as are agreeable to you. You can at any moment produce in consciousness the living image of those things that you desire.
And though the image fades as quickly as it came, it has brought you a momentary happiness.
Obviously, all that is required to make your Happiness lasting is continuous right-thinking, the habit of mentally realizing your desires.