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.
YOU have analyzed your present mental attitude. You have formulated your desire. You have saturated your mind with relevant facts of observation.
But you must do more, much more, before you will have made the most of your God-given talents and attained to a high degree of mental efficiency.
You must acquire the art of concentration.
You must learn how to focus your forces.
You must possess your mind with purposive thoughts of what you are to have and what you are to be, until new and original conceptions come to you, and come with an impelling force that will not brook postponement.
It is not enough that you should use your energies instead of hoarding them. It is not enough that your life should be a life of action. Your mental energies must be, night and day and unceasingly and purposefully, directed toward a single goal.
Your mind must reach down into the infinite reservoir and bring forth visions, projects, plans, inventions, devices. It must be filled with the fire of enthusiasm, the cool courage of conviction, and the inventive resourcefulness that is ready for any emergency.
Your mental attitude must be compounded of but two ideas - "I am certain to succeed," and "How?". Consistently and persistently maintaining this attitude, you must draw from the profoundest depths of your being and from all the world about you a constant stream of power, power in the form of initiative thought and power in the form of outside forces working in your interest.
The procedure now to be outlined will enable you to speedily accomplish1 this result.
Ignorance may whisper, "impossible," " occult," "uncanny." Waste no time on such silly mouthings. You know the underlying scientific principles. You know the power of a concentrated attention. Let the mind, to its innermost subconscious depths, but brood upon a fixed idea, and all the [forces of Nature with which you come in touch, within you and without you, will be measured and utilized solely for the realization of that fixed idea, and you will acquire the intensity of desire and the unwavering conviction of its attainment that is creative, dynamic, and carries with it irresistible impulses to efficient activity.
First - Every night, half an hour before retiring, go to your room, where you can be entirely alone and as remote as possible from noise and distraction.
Second - Seat yourself in a wide and comfortable chair, or, better still, lie down on your back at full length. See that your clothing is loosened, so that you will suffer no distressing annoyance on this account. Compose yourself as if for sleep, assuming a position of restfulness, abandon and utter relaxation. Close your eyes, letting the lids rest lightly on your cheeks.
Third - Shut your mind resolutely against every form of bodily sensation. Forget for the time that you are encumbered with a body.
Fourth - Bar out of your consciousness every memory, every thought of the past.
Fifth - Build a mental picture of the thing you want to have, to do or to be - the one thing that you immediately desire first and most of all.
By this we mean nothing indefinite. We do not refer to ultimate aims that can come only as the result of long periods of effort.
We mean something specific, something that can be yours tomorrow, something that in itself constitutes the next step in your chosen career.
Sixth - See yourself finding the ways and means of realizing your desire, overcoming obstacles one after another, all the obstacles that can possibly arise.
See yourself called upon to display, and displaying, alertness, promptness, courage, confidence, resourcefulness, patience, push, enterprise, expert knowledge, insight, shrewdness, tact, self-control, decision.
See yourself face to face with the situation that confronts you in real life and manifesting the qualities and doing the things necessary to your purpose.
Put yourself body and soul into this picture. Multiply details. Rivet your mind upon it.
Seventh - Advance step by step, logically, wisely, consistently, to the climax of the drama.
See yourself winning out. See yourself solving the problem, getting the thing you want, acting the part you desire to play.
Detach your spirit from the flesh of this world and incorporate it in the mental image of yourself.
Live the victory mentally until a sense of its reality permeates your soul.
Eighth - Make your dream picture as delightful as possible. Dwell upon it with joyful satisfaction.
Warm your heart with a feeling of thankfulness that that which you have so long desired is really yours. This feeling of gratitude, this emotional element, will bring forth associations that .will give life to the picture and will animate your faith.
Keep yourself tight shut in this dream-world for at least fifteen minutes.
Ninth - Arise and make your preparations for the night. Then upon retiring once more close your eyes and let your mind dwell upon your vision for five or ten minutes or until you fall asleep. Let it be the last thing in youi: thoughts as you become unconscious.
Tenth - Every time you are awake during the night call the mental picture before you and keep it in consciousness as long as you remain awake.
Eleventh - In the morning, immediately upon awaking, repeat the procedure set out in the third, fourth and fifth instructions.
Twelfth - The more of your spare time you spend in this way, the more promptly will you actualize your ideals. By repeated concentration, every detail of the image of your desire will be so deeply engraved upon your mind as to exert an influence throughout the day. It will inhibit wasteful emotions and impulses. It will give you poise and self-possession. It will so inspire you with its promise as to awaken an energizing response in the profoundest depths of your subconsciousness.
Therefore, practice this exercise of [Visualization with reference to the main object of your life night and morning with unwavering regularity. Practice it also at occasional intervals during the day's work whenever any problem of unusual difficulty confronts you. The results of this simple device will amaze you.
When ideas fail to come, when your work is a tangle of distractions and you know not where to turn, take your troubles into "the silence," and, behold, plans ready-made will come to you, an unsuspected wealth of originality will reveal itself, and you will arise free from doubt, anxiety and fear, and ready to act with decision and confidence!
Visualization is an art. It must be cultivated. It requires incessant practice. And, most important of all, it must have material to work with. It must have facts. It must have an ample fund of detailed information.
Imagination is based on experience.
All your efforts at concentration will be barren of result unless your mental images are clear and life-like counterparts of reality. The play of your creative imagination must deal with men and things truthfully and accurately represented. Only in this way can you prefigure conditions as you will meet, them in the physical world.
You must see in order to foresee.
You must prevision not only ultimate achievements, but ways and means and methods in operation.
You must be possessed with the eternal query, How?
As a publisher, how can you better appeal .to the public taste in the makeup of your publications?
As a real estate man, how can you most quickly find a buyer for the land you have to sell?
As a promoter, how can you best explain to the owners of individual enterprises that the promoter's share of stock in the new combination is a legitimate charge, and that your services are needed to bring these diverse interests together?
As an advertiser, how can you frame your advertisement so that ten words will do the work of a thousand and your readers will supply the nine hundred and ninety you have left unsaid?
These eternal "hows" stimulate ini-tiative. Facts coupled with these eternal "hows" are the raw materials you must take with you into the secret chambers of your mind when you retire within yourself and concentrate your mental vision upon the one problem to be solved.