What does it Take?
Does success take capital? Knowledge? What are the essential elements necessary to accomplish a predetermined, worthwhile goal? Most of the uninformed would reply that it took a ‘lucky’ break, or a rich dad, or something along those lines. According to Haanel, we learned that “wealth is a product of labor; and capital is an effect, not a cause; a servant, not a master; a means, not an end.” Wealth should never be a goal, instead it should be a means to accomplishing our ideals, and our ideals should inspire us to attain our ideals.
Prentice Mulford said: “The man of success is the man possessed of the greatest spiritual understanding and every great fortune comes of superior and truly spiritual power.” Many successful persons, started in poverty, such as Sir Thomas Lipton who had a pocket of only 25 cents. He had no capital to depend on, but he had spiritual understanding and power to fuel his vision. So, although money may seem like a necessity towards the vision we wish to manifest, there is a greater source of power. Henry M. Flagler, the Standard Oil multi-millionaire, admitted that the secret of his success was his power to see a thing in its completeness. When asked if he visualized the whole thing, and saw the trains running on the tracks, he answered affirmatively. He employed the power of imagination, which is the ability to idealize, visualize then bring it to pass in the material world.
As we are created in the image of God, we have creative abilities like God. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary definition of ‘imagination’ is ‘The power or faculty of the mind by which it conceives and forms ideas of things communicated to it by the organs of sense.” In a similar vein, Haanel said, “Whatever enters the mind through the senses or the objective mind, will impress the mind and result in a mental image which will become a pattern for the creative energies. We can form our own mental images, through our own interior processes of thought, regardless of the thoughts of others, regardless of the exterior conditions, regardless of the environment of every kind, and it is by the exercise of this power that we can control our own destiny, body, mind and soul. It is by the exercise of this power that we take our fate out of the hands of chance, and consciously make for ourselves the experiences which we desire, because when we consciously realize a condition, that condition will eventually manifest in our lives; it is therefore evident that in the last analysis, thinking is the one great cause in life.”
“Danger is in the ‘Status Quo’~
We learned in a previous lesson, that the problem with people today, is that they don’t think for themselves. We know that thinking is a cause, which yields many different effects. To bring about beautiful ideals that benefit others, we must have correct thinking. But in the absence of thinking for oneself, others can influence our thinking, which can be good or not so good. We learned that most people conform to the status quo, not giving much thought to anything, other than what everyone else is thinking or talking about. There is an inherent danger in that which leaves us open to all kinds of wrong thinking, which takes us further from living the life we were meant to live.
This week, I read an article of interest to me, discussing DDT as the cause of Polio. In the mid 1940’s, black and white motion pictures were being used to rapidly propagate ideas to the masses, much as we see today. Instead of ‘telling a story worth sharing’ motion pictures were used to manipulate people towards a desired end. Edward Bernays, worked for the American Tobacco Company, and craftily used doctors as his ‘tools’ to promote the use of Camel cigarettes as the brand to smoke. After all, doctors had status, and they smoked ‘sexy’ Camel cigarettes, then shouldn’t you smoke them, too? His end game, of course, was to increase his profits.
Edward Bernays authored a book in 1928, titled “Propaganda” and in it this is what he said about the use of video or motion pictures, “The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation. Because pictures are made to meet market demands, they reflect, emphasize and even exaggerate broad popular tendencies, rather than stimulate new ideas and opinions. The motion picture avails itself only of ideas and facts which are in vogue. As the newspaper seeks to purvey news, it seeks to purvey entertainment.”
In light of knowing that there are those who would manipulate masses through media, we must, as Haanel teaches, “Subject every idea to a searching analysis and accept nothing which is not scientifically exact.” Scriptures state in 2 Corinthians 10:5, ” We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” It’s not easy to be the lone ranger, but we must be willing to be different and not accept the status quo. Truth is sometimes beyond what we know. It lies outside of our knowledge base and what we’ve experienced, which doesn’t make it false, it simply makes the truth unknown to us. Truth cannot deny its own inherent characteristic, but truth can be discovered and known. It’s part of self-discovery and learning the purpose of being granted a life to live.
Always be ‘thinking.’ It’s one of our greatest assets!