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 a case like this it may be necessary to make some allowances for favorable circumstances, but the fact remains that this man was able to fill the higher position. So it must be concluded that it was not circumstances, but some quality of mind, that made him equal to the opportunity. He undoubtedly had integrity, industry and energy. He must also have had judgment, adaptability and tact. But men less successful have had these. He had, however, one very essential quality - comprehensiveness, the ability to grasp the whole plan and purpose of the business and appreciate the relative importance of the various parts. His interest and sympathy were not confined to a mere fragment, but he appreciated the entire business as one great composite idea, and he was constantly expanding that idea. This is the secret of progress, the expansion of thought. This marks the difference between a developer and a mere follower.
If you would display initiative psychic power of a high type, study your business not only with reference to its details and as a unit, but with reference to its relations with other kinds of business. Make yourself familiar with all its departments, its raw material resources and requirements, its operating units, its cost of production, the quality and quantity of its output, the value and efficiency of its mechanical equipment. Size up your business with reference to others in the same field. Determine the demand, the competition, the best methods of augmenting output and sales, the best systems for arriving at cost of production. Know your business from within and without, so that your subconsciousness is a veritable mine of information concerning it. Then, when you come to put your mind upon creative plans, when you leave the world of facts and go into a self-communion of creative concentration, all these treasures of detail will throng upon you, and, instead of vague dreams, your mind will conjure up a multitude of possibilities, contingencies, emergencies, painting them with life-like clearness of detail. And you will find yourself shrewdly and adroitly assembling your resources to face these contingencies, inventing ways to meet these emergencies, and so unconsciously preparing yourself for the actual problems of your daily life.
You are fully aware of the need of confidence and courage and serene faith. Go, then, a little deeper and you .will see that no more satisfying assurance can man have than the knowledge that "everything has been allowed for." It releases untold stores of pent-up reserve energy.