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 conscientious but foolish business man who is worrying himself into failure and an early grave must be taught the physiological effects of ideas and given a new standard of values.
The profligate must be lured from his emotional excesses and debaucheries, not by moralizings, but by showing him just how these things fritter his energies and retard his progress.
It must be made plain to the successful promoter, to the rich banker, how a man may be a financial success and yet a miserable failure so far as true happiness is concerned, and how by scientific self-development he can acquire greater riches within than all his vaults of steel will hold.
This Basic Course of Reading offers just such an analysis and exposition of fundamental principles. It furnishes definite and scientific answers to the problems of life. It will reveal to you unused or unintelligently used mental forces vastly greater than those now at your command.
We go even further, and say that this Basic Course of Reading provides a practicable formula for the everyday use of these vast resources. It will enable you to acquire the magical qualities and still more magical effects that spell success and happiness, without straining your will to the breaking point and making life a burden. It will give you a definite prescription like the physician's, "Take one before meals," and as easily compounded, which will enable you to be prosperous and happy. In the development of one's innate resources, such as powers of observation, imagination, correct judgment, alertness, resourcefulness, application, concentration, and the faculty of taking prompt advantage of opportunities, the study of the mental machine is bound to be the first step. It must be the ultimate resource for self-training in efficiency for the promoter with his appeal to the cupidity and imaginations of men as surely as for the artist in his search for poetic inspiration.
No man can get the best results from any machine unless he understands its mechanism. We shall draw aside the curtain and show you the mind in operation.
The mastery of your own powers is worth more to you than all the knowledge of outside facts you can crowd into your head. Read and study and practice the teachings of this Basic Course, and they will make you in a new sense the master of yourself and of your future.
In this Basic Course of Reading we shall begin by giving you a thorough understanding of certain mental operations and processes.
We shall lead your interest away from "vague mysticisms" and emphasize such phases of scientific psychological theory as bear directly on practical achievement.
We shall give you a practical working knowledge of concentrative mental methods and devices. We shall clear away the mysteries and misapprehensions that now envelop this particular field.
In the present volume we shall begin with a discussion of certain aspects of the relation between the mind and the body.
However we look at it, it is impossible to understand the mind without some knowledge of the bodily machine through which the mind works. The investigation of the mind and its conditions and problems is primarily the business of psychology, which seeks to describe and explain them. It would seem to be entirely distinct from physiology, which seeks to classify and explain the facts of bodily structure and operation. But all sciences overlap more or less. And this is particularly true of psychology, which deals with the mind, and physiology, which deals with the body.
It is the mind that we are primarily interested in. But every individual mind resides within, or at least expresses itself through, a body. Upon the preservation of that body and upon the orderly performance of its functions depend our health and comfort, our very lives.
Then, too, considered merely as part of the outside world of matter, man's body is the physical fact with which he is most in contact and most immediately concerned. It furnishes him with information concerning the existence and operations of other minds. It is in fact his only source of information about the outside world.
First of all, then, you must form definite and intelligent conclusions concerning the relations between the mind and the body.
This will be of value in a number of ways. In the first place, you will understand the bodily mechanism through which the mind operates, and a knowledge of this mechanism is bound to enlighten you as to the character of the mental processes themselves. In the second place, it is worth while to know the extent of the mind's influence over the body, because this knowledge is the first step toward obtaining bodily efficiency through the mental control of bodily functions. And, finally, a study of this bodily mechanism is of very great practical importance in itself, for the body is the instrument through which the mind acts in its relations with the world at large.
From a study of the bodily machine, we shall advance to a consideration of the mental processes themselves, not after the usual manner of works on psychology, but solely from the standpoint of practical utility and for the establishment of a scientific concept of the mind capable of everyday use.
The elucidation of every principle of mental operation will be accompanied by illustrative material pointing out just how that particular law may be employed for the attainment of specific practical ends. There will be numerous illustrative instances and methods that can be at once made use of by the merchant, the musician, the salesman, the advertiser, the employer of labor, the business executive.
In this way this Basic Course of Reading will lay a firm and broad foundation, first, for an understanding of the methods and devices whereby any man may acquire full control and direction of his mental energies and may develop his resources to the last degree; second, for an understanding of the psychological methods for success in any specific professional pursuit in which he may be particularly interested; and third, for an understanding of the methods of applying psychological knowledge to the industrial problems of office, store and factory.
The first of these - that is to say, instruction in methods for the attainment of any goal consistent with native ability - will follow right along as part of this Basic Course of Reading. The second and third - that is to say, the study of special commercial and industrial topics - are made the subject of special courses supplemental to this Basic Course and for which it can serve only as an introduction.
In this Basic Course of Reading we shall show you how you may acquire perfect individual efficiency. And, most remarkable of all, we shall show you how you may acquire it without that effort to obtain it, that straining of the will, that struggling with wasteful inclinations and desires, that is itself the essence of inefficiency.
The facts and principles set forth in this Basic Course are new and wonderful and inspiring. They have been established and attested by world-wide and exhaustive scientific research and experiment.
You may be a college graduate. You may have had the advantage of a college course in psychology. But you have probably had no instruction in the practical application of your knowledge of mental operations. So far as we are aware, there are few universities in the world that embrace in their curricula a course in "applied" psychology. For the average college man this Basic Course of Reading will be, therefore, in the nature of a post-graduate course, teaching him how to make practical use of the psychology he learned at college, and in addition giving him facts about the mind unknown to the college psychology of a few years ago.
In these books you will probe deeply into the normal human mind.
You will see also the fantastic and distorted shape of its manifestations in disease.
You will learn the Eternal Laws of Individual Achievement.
But mark this word of warning. To comprehend the teachings of this Basic Course well enough to put them into practice demands from you careful study and reflection. It requires persistent application. Do not attempt to browse through the pages that follow. They are worth all the time that you can put upon them.
The mind is a complex mechanism. Each element is alone a fitting subject for a lifetime's study. Do not lose sight of the whole in the study of the parts.
All the books bear upon a central theme. They will lead you on step by step. Gradually your conception of your relations to the world will change. A new realization of power will come upon you. You will learn that you are in a new sense the master of your fate. You will find these books, like the petals of a flower, unfolding one by one until a great and vital truth stands revealed in full-blown beauty.
To derive full benefit from the Course it is necessary that you should do more than merely understand each sentence as you go along. You must grasp the underlying train of thought. You must perceive the continuity of the argument.
It is necessary, therefore, that you do but a limited amount of reading each day, taking ample time to reflect on what you have read. If any book is not entirely clear to you at first, go over it again. Persistence will enable any man to acquire a thorough comprehension of our teachings and a profound mastery of our methods.