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.
IT IS not enough to have a mere general passion for success. Mere indefinite wishing for wealth will never get you anywhere. Besides this general passion you must have definite interests continually renewed. You must give the mind something specific and tangible and immediate to work upon. You must incessantly add new details. Otherwise interest, attention and activity will wane.
Your biggest problem is how to keep your efficient output of mental energy at a high level. The solution lies in maintaining interest.
This is true whatever your business relationship. If you are an employer, you must continually devise new ways of renewing the interest of your men and inspiring them to concentrate their attention upon your business.
You cannot put a young man into an office with monotonous routine duties to perform and expect him to take the interest that you take in your business. You must make his work interesting for him. You must give him a game to play, not expect him to put all his energy into playing your game.
It is no answer to say that the young man knew what the position meant before he took it. It is not a question of merely satisfying his craving for excitement in his work. It is a question of making his work interesting to him so that he will give it the best there is in him. It is not a question of any particular individual, because it is a question that must arise with every man who takes the "job."
There is no law compelling you to commend a man for special services he may render. Doubtless absolute devotion to your interests is what you pay him for. But if you take this attitude you will get just what you pay for an automaton in the place where a live man ought to be.
Appeal to the self-interest of your employees, arouse their living enthusiasm, concentrate their minds on your work with rewards, commendations, competitions, and ingenious devices calling forth a fresh play of forces, and you will get their best service and be following the policy of greatest business success.
If you are an employee, view the subject from its reverse side. You must bear in mind that your chances of advancement depend upon your concentration of interest and attention, and you must continually search your work for new sources of interest. You cannot work for a man, day in and day out, in the same old spiritless, automatic way, and expect your employer to shower you with opportunities and rejoice when your payday comes around.
Lose your interest in your employer's business, and a hundred men of equal ability are hammering at the door to take your place. You cannot succeed if your interest fails.
Keep your interest alive by trying to discover new things in old surroundings, new aspects to everyday tasks. The world was old when Columbus discovered America. You, too, may make new discoveries in every department of your work. And always bear in mind that you are putting forth this added effort for the sole purpose of finding fresh sources of interest, as a means to greater concentration of attention on your work, the secret of individual efficiency and of your personal success.
Some men are interested in everything except the thing they are paid to think about. In consequence they are deaf, dumb and blind to all that concerns their business.
Others are so absorbed in their work that in all things relating to it they can "hear flies walking on the ceiling" and see the working of your brain-cells when you think.
Be alive, be alert, and the way to acquire these qualities is by habitually investigating the details of your business for the simple sake of finding new sources of interest.
Take the following four injunctions and make them working principles of conduct in your business.
1. Determine each morning upon the one definite thing worth while that you want most of all to do or to obtain that day. The being or doing or getting of anything worth while can come only as a result of an overmastering desire.
2. Do not admit the possibility of your own inability or defeat. It is the state of your own mind that makes for success or failure. Feel assured of your ability to do things, and you can go out among men and win them to your way.
3. Keep you attention riveted on the thing you want and your own ability to compass it.
4. Act promptly in the line of your desire.
Follow these rules and you will acquire the habit of concentration, the never-say-die spirit, the faculty of pushing ahead when the case seems hopeless, the courage, the tenacity, the resourcefulness that are indispensable to success.