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 stream of your consciousness is a living current. It is a seething, swirling torrent of activity. Look within and see what is taking place at this moment. You find yourself marking resemblances, noting distinctions, associating one thing with another, and selecting and attending to certain ideas, feeling and impulses while ignoring a multitude of others.
This is the thing called consciousness. It is not an aimless current. It does not flow through the hills and valleys of life adapting itself to the contours of the physical environment. It is a stream that can, if need be, flow up-hill. It is consciousness with a "will." It is consciousness that labors to preserve you, to promote your free development, and to further your practical success.
Make a practice of concentrating upon matters pertaining to a single interest, and you will become absorbed in it as an ideal. You will acquire a standard by which to appraise the value to you of the facts of your life.
Make a practice of concentrating upon a single interest, and you will acquire a constant and completely "possessing" and automatic inhibitory power. You will without thinking refrain from many useless activities. You will refrain from indulgence in pleasures and recreations that would interfere with the accomplishment of your main purpose. You will refrain from wasteful expenditure of your emotions. You will save from a single hour of anger enough energy for a successful day.
Make a practice of concentrating upon a single interest, and you will acquire an ideal that will automatically operate the levers of inner control.
You will acquire a mental machine operating economically, a well-oiled machine that will work automatically, without friction, without effort, almost without thought.
This does not mean that you will be left without the passions that kindle the fires of heroic achievement. Concentration in its highest sense means absorbing, passionate devotion to a cause. It means the state of mind of men whom St. Paul would describe as "fervent" - literally "boiling in spirit."
Absolute concentration means the massing of every atom of individual human energy upon a single purpose. It is the acme of efficiency.
Commonly your emotions and desires scatter your energies and exhaust you to no purpose. Organize and concentrate these powers, and the only question remaining unanswered is, "What goal shall I win?"
Be a man of concentration, and you will be a man of purpose, with faith in the attainment of that purpose.
Be a man of concentration, and you will possess a mental co-ordination,
How to Mass Every Atom of Energy harmony and unity that will lift you above petty annoyances and free you from such impediments as moods and restlessness and discontent.
Concentrate upon a single purpose. iKeep your ideals before you. You cannot then fail to focus all your activities upon the desired end. Only those muscular impulses will find release in action that are associated with the thought of your desire.
Concentrate upon a single purpose, and you will be possessed of an ideal by which to judge the opportunities of your life. You will shrewdly, naturally and unhesitatingly select those that will contribute to your purpose. You will wisely choose certain pleasures and recreations and discard others. You will have an unerring gauge by which to distinguish luxuries from necessities.
Concentrate upon a single purpose, and, often when you least expect it, but surely, surely, the time will come when you will see and grasp your chance and strike in with a winning stroke.
This is the law of success. This is what Lincoln really meant, although it may not have occurred to him in just that form, when he said, "I will study and prepare myself and then some day my chance will come."
Would you sway the minds of others? The same principle applies. The man you are to meet is a problem to be solved. Employ the method of Agassiz. Your man has tastes, tendencies, moods, habits and interests that you must consider. He has animosities, determinations, prejudices, inertias and resistances that must be taken into account. Like yourself, he is a living consciousness, a creature of impulses and inhibitions.
Do not try to batter through his inhibitions. Do not employ coercive methods.
Your task is to soothe him into indifference as to all things that tend to inhibit action along desired lines. Do not waste your time in trying to put out of his mind ideas hostile to your purpose.
His consciousness is a thing of incessant activity. It must be kept busy. The way to bar out undesirable thought is to fill his mind with other things. Therefore, concentrate his attention upon you and your demands. This done, your cause is gained. You have won the day.
"Your ability to move things," says Waldo P. Warren, "depends largely on where you take hold. I shall never forget the first time I saw the great Ferris wheel - that wonder of two world's fairs. What impressed me most was not its magnitude, but the fact that, in spite of its gigantic size, it required only a comparatively small engine to run it. For unlike most wheels the power was not applied at the center, but at the circumference, thus utilizing the extraordinary leverage of one hundred and eighty feet. The same force, if exerted at the axle, would have been powerless to move the wheel a single inch.
"The lever principle is not confined to mechanical things - it is one of the great fundamental ideas which humanity has discovered.
"When the progress of your campaign is beset with obstacles, whether ignorance, prejudice, injustice, or delay, remember the lever principle. Somewhere there is a move that you can make that will set in motion a chain of events that will eventually move even the greatest obstacle. Don't strain at the hub of the ponderous wheel - move a cog that fits into the rim."
In influencing others, just as in mastering yourself, the true test of efficiency, the secret of success, lies in the ability to concentrate the attention.