Get on boldly; go serenely, go augustly;
Who can withstand thee then!
What a grasp the mind would have if we could always hold the victorious attitude toward everything! Sweeping past obstacles and reaching out into the energy of the universe it would gather to itself material for building a life in its image.
To be a conqueror in appearance, in one’s bearing, is the first step toward success. It inspires confidence in others as well as in oneself. Walk, talk and act as though you were somebody, and you are more likely to become such. Move about among your fellowmen as though you believe you are a man of importance. Let victory speak from your face and express itself in your manner. Carry yourself like one who is conscious he has a splendid mission, a grand aim in life. Radiate a hopeful, expectant, cheerful atmosphere. In other words, be a good advertisement of the winner you are trying to be.
Doubts, fears, despondency, lack of confidence, will not only give you away in the estimation of others and brand you as a weakling, a probable failure, but they will react upon your mentality and destroy your self-confidence, your initiative, your efficiency. They are telltales, proclaiming to every one you meet that you are losing out in the game of life. A triumphant expression inspires trust, makes a favorable impression. A despondent, discouraged expression creates distrust, makes an unfavorable impression.
If you don’t look cheerful and appear and act like a winner nobody will want you. Every man will turn a deaf ear to your plea for work. No matter if you are jobless and have been out of work for a long time you must keep up a winning appearance, a victorious attitude, or you will lose the very thing you are after. The world has little use for whiners or long-faced failures.
It is difficult to get very far away from people’s estimates of us. A bad first impression often creates a prejudice that it is impossible afterward wholly to remove. Hence the importance of always radiating a cheerful, uplifting atmosphere, an atmosphere that will be a commendation instead of a condemnation. Not that we should deceive by trying to appear what we are not, but we should always keep our best side out, not our second best or our worst. Our appearance is our show window where we insert what we have for sale, and we are judged by what we put there.
The victorious idea of life, not its failure side, its disappointed side; the triumphant, not the thwarted-ambition side, is the thing to keep ever uppermost in the mind, for it is this that will lead you to the light. You must give the impression that you are a success, or that you have qualities that will make you successful, that you are making good, or no recommendation or testimonial however strong will counteract the unfavorable impression you make.
So much of our progress in life depends upon our reputation, upon making a favorable impression upon others, that it is of the utmost importance to cultivate mental forcefulness. It is the mind that colors the personality, gives it its tone and character. If we cultivate will power, decision, positive instead of negative thinking, we cannot help making an impression of masterfulness, and everybody knows that this is the qualification that does things. It is masterfulness, force, that achieves results, and if we do not express it in our appearance people will not have confidence in our achieving ability. They may think that we can sell goods behind a counter, work under orders, carry out some mechanical routine with faithfulness and precision, but they will not think we are fitted for leadership, that we can command resources to meet possible crises or big emergencies.
Never say or do anything which will show the earmarks of a weakling, of a nobody, of a failure. Never permit yourself to assume a poverty-stricken attitude. Never show the world a gloomy, pessimistic face, which is an admission that life has been a disappointment to you instead of a glorious triumph. Never admit by your speech, your appearance, your gait, your manner, that there is anything wrong with you. Hold up your head. Walk erect. Look everybody in the face. No matter how poor you may be, or how shabby your clothes, whether you are jobless, homeless, friendless even, show the world that you respect yourself, that you believe in yourself, and that, no matter how hard the way, you are marching on to victory. Show by your expression that you can think and plan for yourself, that you have a forceful mentality.
The victorious, triumphant attitude will put you in command of resources which a timid, self-deprecating, failure attitude will drive from you.
This was well illustrated by a visitor to the Athenæum Library in Boston. Ignorant of the fact that members only were entitled to its special privileges, this visitor entered the place with a confident bearing, seated herself in a comfortable window seat, and spent a delightful morning reading and writing letters. In the evening she called on a friend and in the course of conversation, referred to her morning at the Athenæum.
“Why, I didn’t know you were a member!” exclaimed the friend.
“A member! No,” said the lady. “I am not a member. But what difference does that make?”
The friend, who held an Athenæum card of membership, smiled and replied:
“Only this, that none but members are supposed to enjoy the privileges of which you availed yourself this morning!”
Our manner and our appearance are determined by our mental outlook. If we see only failure ahead we will act and look like failures. We have already failed. If we expect success, see it waiting for us a little bit up the road, we will act and look like successes. We have already succeeded. The failure attitude loses; the victorious attitude wins.
Gave birth to the lady in Boston had any doubt of her right to enter the Athenæum and free use all its conveniences, her manner would have betrayed it. The library attendants would have noticed it at once, and have asked her to show her card of membership. But her assured air gave the impression that she was a member. Her victorious attitude dominated the situation and put her in command of resources that otherwise she could not have controlled.
The spirit in which you face your work, in which you grapple with a difficulty, the spirit in which you meet your problem, whether you approach it like a conqueror, with courage, a vigorous resolution, with firmness, or with timidity, doubt, fear, will determine whether your career will be one grand victory or a complete failure.
It is a great thing so to carry yourself wherever you go that when people see you coming they will say to themselves, “Here comes a winner! Here is a man who dominates everything he touches.”
The thinking of yourself as habitually lucky will tend to make you so, just as thinking of yourself as habitually unlucky and always talking about your failures and your cruel fate will tend to make you unlucky. The attitude of mind which your thoughts and convictions produce is a real force that builds or tears down. The habit of always seeing yourself as a fortunate individual, the feeling grateful just for being alive, for being allowed to live on this beautiful earth, and to have a chance to make goodwill put your mind in a creative, producing attitude.
We should all go through life as though we were sent here with a sublime mission to lift, to help, to boost, and not to depress and discourage, and so discredit the plan of the Creator. Our conduct should show that we are on this earth to play a magnificent part in life’s drama, to make a splendid contribution to humanity.
The majority of people seem to take it for granted that life is a great gambling game in which the odds are heavily against them. This conviction colors their whole attitude, and is responsible for innumerable failures.
In the betting machines used by horse racing gamblers, the bettors make the odds. If, for example, five hundred persons bet on a certain horse, and a hundred bet on another, then the first horse automatically becomes a five to one choice, and the odds in favor of his winning are five to one. In the game of life, most of us start by putting the odds on our failure.
,In horse race gambling the judgment that forms the basis of belief as to the winning horse has a comparatively secure foundation in a knowledge of the qualifications of the different racers. In life gambling, it is merely the unsupported opinion or viewpoint of the individual that puts the odds against himself. The majority of people look at the probability of their winning out in the live game in any distinctive way as highly improbable. When they look around and see how comparatively few of the multitudes of men and women in the world are winning they say to themselves, “Why should I think that I have a greater percentage of chance in my favor than others about me? These people have as much ability as I have, perhaps more, and if they can do no more than grub along from hand to mouth, of what use is it for me to struggle against fate?”
When people believe and figure that they cannot, and therefore never will, be successes, and conduct themselves according to their conviction: when they take their places in life not as probable winners, but as probable losers, is it any wonder that the odds are heavily against them?
“Mad! Insane! Eccentric!” we say when some miserable recluse dies in squalor and wretchedness,—”Starved,” the coroner’s inquest finds, although bank books revealing large deposits, or else hoards of gold, are discovered hidden away in nooks and crannies of the wretched miser’s quarters.
Are such persons, whom we call mad, insane, eccentric, who stint and save, and hoard in the midst of plenty, refusing even to buy food to keep them alive, any worse than those who face life in a poverty-stricken, failure attitude, refusing to see and enjoy the riches, the glories all around them? Is it any wonder that life is a disappointment to them? Is it any wonder that they see only what they look for, get only what they expect?
What would you think of an actor who was trying to play the part of a great hero, but who insisted on assuming the attitude of a coward, and thinking like one; who wore the expression of a man who did not believe he could do the thing he had undertaken, who felt that he was out of place, that he never was made to play the part he was attempting? Naturally you would say the man never could succeed on the stage, and that if he ever hoped to win success, the first thing he should do would be to try to think himself the character, as well as to look the part, he was trying to portray. That is just what the great actor does. He flings himself with all his might into the rôle he is playing. He sees himself as, and feels that he is actually, the character he is impersonating. He lives the part he is playing on the stage, whether it be that of a beggar or a hero. If he is playing the part of a hero he acts like a hero, thinks and talks like a hero. His very manner radiates heroism. And vice versa, if the part he takes is that of a beggar, he dresses like one, thinks like one, bows, cringes and whines like a beggar.
Now, if you are trying to be successful you must act like a successful person, carry yourself like one, talk, act and think like a winner. You must radiate victory wherever you go. You must maintain your attitude by believing in the thing you are trying to do. If you persist in looking and acting like a failure or a very mediocre or doubtful success, if you keep telling everybody how unlucky you are, and that you do not believe you will win out because success is only for a few, that the great majority of people must be hewers of wood and drawers of water, you will be about as much of a success as the actor who attempts to personate a certain type of character while looking, thinking and acting exactly like its opposite.
But a psychological law, we attract that which corresponds with our mental attitude, with our faith, our hopes, our expectations, or with our doubts and fears. If this were fully understood, and used as a working principle in life, we would have no poverty, no failures, no criminals, no down-and-outs. We would not see people everywhere with expressions which indicate that there is very little enjoyment in living; that it is a serious question with them whether life is worthwhile, whether it pays to struggle on in a miserable world where rewards are so few and uncertain and pains and penalties so numerous and so certain.
Each boy, every girl should be taught to assume the victorious attitude toward life. All through a youth’s education, the idea should be drilled into him that he is intended to be a winner in life, that he is himself a prince, a god in the making. From his cradle up he should be taught to hold his head high and to look on himself as a son of the King of kings, destined for great things.
No child is properly reared and educated until he or she knows how to lead a victorious life. This is what true education means—victory over self, victory over conditions.
It always pains me to hear a youth who ought to be full of hope and high promise express a doubt as to his future career. To hear him talk about his possible failure sounds like treason to his Creator. Why youth itself is victory. Youth is a great prophecy, the forerunner of a superb fulfillment. A young man or a young woman talking about failure is like beauty talking about ugliness; like superb health dwelling upon weakness and disease; like perfection dwelling upon imperfection. Youth means victory because everything in the life of the healthy boy or girl is looking upward. There is no downgrade in normal youth; it is its nature to climb, to look up. Its very atmosphere should breathe hope, superb promise of the future.
If all children were reared with such a triumphant conception of life, with such an unshakable belief in their heritage from God, that nothing could discourage them, we would hear no talk of failure; we would soon sight the millenium. If they were made to understand that there is only one failure to be feared,—failure to make good, the failure of character, the failure to keep growing, to ennoble and enrich one’s life,—this world would be a paradise.
Just think what would happen if all of the down-and-outs to-day, all of the people who look upon themselves as failures or as dwarfs of what they ought to be, could only get this victorious, this triumphant, idea of life, if they could only once glimpse their own possibilities and assume the triumphant attitude! They would never again be satisfied to grovel. If they once got a glimpse of their divinity, once saw themselves in the sublime robes of their power, they never again would be satisfied with the rags of their poverty.
Yet instead of trying to improve their condition, to get away from their failure, poverty-stricken atmosphere, they cling the more closely to it and sink deeper and deeper in the quagmire of their own making. Everywhere we find whining, miserable people grumbling at everything, complaining that “life is not worth living,” that “the game is not worth the candle,” that “life is a cheat, a losing game.”
Existence is not a losing game. It is always victorious when properly played. It is the players who are at fault. The great trouble with all failures is that they were not started right. It was not drilled into the very texture of their being in youth that what they would get out of life must be created mentally first and that inside the man, inside the woman, is where the great creative processes of life are carried on.
That which man does with his hands is secondary. It is what he does with his brain that counts. That is what starts things going. Some of us never learn how to create with our minds. We depend too much upon creating with our hands, or on other people to help us. We depend too much on the things outside of us when the mainspring of life, the power that moves the world of men and things, is inside of us.
There are times when we cannot see the way ahead, when we seem to be completely enveloped in the fogs of discouragement, disappointment and failure of our plans, but we can always do the thing that means salvation for us, that is persistently, determinedly, everlastingly to face towards our goal whether we can see it or not. This is our only chance of overcoming our difficulties. If we turn about-face, turn our back on our goal, we are headed toward disaster.
No matter how many obstacles may block your path, or how dark the way, if you look up, think up, and struggle up, you can’t help succeeding. Whatever you do for a living, whatever fortune or misfortune may come to you, hold the victorious attitude and push ahead.
A captain might as well turn about his ship when he strikes a fog bank, because he cannot see the way ahead of him, and still expect to make his distant harbor, as for you to drop your victorious attitude and face the other way just because you have run into a fog bank of disappointment or failure. The only hope of the captain’s reaching his destination is in being true to the compass that guides him in the fog and darkness as well as in the light. He may not see the way, but he can follow his compass. That we also can do by holding the victorious attitude towards life, the only attitude that can insure safety and bring us into port.