It is a rare thing to find a person who is really masterful in their personality, masterful in what they undertake; who approaches their task with the assurance of a conqueror; who is able to grapple vigorously with their life problems; who always keeps themselves in condition to do their best, biggest thing easily, without strain; who seizes with the grip of a master the precious opportunities which come to them.
In order to keep oneself at the top of one's condition, to obtain complete mastery of all one's powers and possibilities, a person must be good to themselves mentally, they must think well of themselves.
Someone has said that the man who depreciates himself blasphemes God, who created him in His own image and pronounced him perfect. Very few people think well enough of themselves, have half enough esteem for their divine origin or respect for their ability, their character, or the sublimity of their possibilities; hence the weakness and ineffectiveness of their careers.
People who persist in seeing the weak, the diseased, the erring side of themselves; who believe they have inherited a taint from their ancestors; who think they do not amount to much and never will; who are always exaggerating their defects; who see only the small side of themselves, never grow into that bigness of manhood and grandeur of womanhood which God intended for them.
They hold in their minds this little, mean, contemptible, dried-up image of themselves until the dwarfed picture becomes a reality. Their appearance, their lives, outpicture their poor opinion of themselves, express their denial of the grandeur and sublimity of their possibilities. They actually think themselves into littleness, meanness, weakness.
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." His opinion of himself will be reproduced by the life processes within him and outpictured in his body. If you would make the most of yourself, never picture yourself as anything different from what you would actually be, the person you long to become. Whenever you think of yourself, form a mental image of a perfect, healthy, beautiful, noble being, not lacking in anything, but possessing every desirable quality.
Positively refuse to see anything about yourself which would detract from your personality. Insist upon seeing only the truth of your being, the person God had in mind when He made you, not the distorted thing, the burlesque person, which your ignorance and unfortunate environment, wrong thinking and vicious living have produced. The estimate you have of yourself, the image of yourself which you carry in your mind, will mean infinitely more to you than other people may think of you.
If we would make the most of our lives, if we would be and do all that it is possible for us to be and to do, we must not only think well of ourselves, but we must also be just to ourselves physically, be good to our bodies. In order to be the highest, the most efficient type of person, it is just as necessary to cultivate the body, to develop its greatest possible strength and beauty, as it is to cultivate the mind, to raise it to its highest power.
There are plenty of people who are good to others, but are not good to themselves. They do not take care of their own health, their own bodies, do not conserve their own energies, husband their own resources. They are slaves to others, tyrants to themselves.
Faithfulness to others is a most desirable trait, yet faithfulness to yourself is just as much of a requisite. It is as great a sin not to be good to yourself as not to be good to others. It is everyone's sacred duty to keep themselves up to the highest possible standard, physically and mentally, otherwise they cannot deliver their divine message, in its entirety, to the world. It is everyone's sacred duty to keep themselves in a condition to do the biggest thing possible to them.
It is a positive sin to keep oneself in a depleted, rundown, exhausted state, so that one cannot answer their life call or any big demand that an emergency may make upon them.
There are many people of a high order of ability who do very ordinary work in life, whose careers are most disappointing, simply because they do not keep themselves in a physical and mental condition to do their best.
In every place of business we find employees who are only about half awake, half alive; their bodies are full of dead cells, poisoned cells because of vicious living, vicious thinking, vicious habits. Is it any wonder that they get so little out of life when they put so little into it?
I know men in middle life who are just where they were when they left school or college. They have not advanced a particle; some have even retrograded, and they cannot understand why they do not get on, why they are not more successful. But everyone who knows them sees the great handicaps of indifference to their health, neglect of their physical needs, dissipation, irregular living, slipshod, slovenly habits, all sorts of things which are keeping them down, handicaps which even intellectual giants could not drag along with them and make any kind of progress.
Everywhere we see young men and women crippled in their careers, plodding along in mediocrity, capable of great things, but doing little things, because they have not vitality enough to push their way and overcome the obstacles in their path. They have not been good to their physical selves.
An author's book is wishy-washy, does not get hold of the reader because he had no vigor, no surplus vitality, to put into it. The book does not arouse because the author was not aroused when he wrote it. It is lifeless because of the writer's low state of vitality.
The clergyman does not get hold of his people because he lacks stamina, force and physical vitality. He is a weakling mentally because he is a weakling physically. The teacher does not arouse or inspire his pupil because he lacks life and enthusiasm himself. His brain and nerves are fagged, his energy exhausted, burned out, his strength depleted, because he has not been good to himself.
Everywhere we see these devitalized people, without spontaneity, buoyancy, or enthusiasm in their endeavor. They have no joy in their work. It is merely enforced drudgery, a dreary, monotonous routine.
The great problem in manufacturing is to get the latest possible results with the least possible expenditure, the least wear and tear of machinery. Men study the economy in their business of getting the maximum return with the minimum expenditure, and yet many of these men who are so shrewd and level-headed in their business pay very little attention to the economy of their personal power expenditure.
Most of us are at war with ourselves, are our own worst enemies. We expect a great deal of ourselves, yet we do not put ourselves in a condition to achieve great things. We are either too indulgent to our bodies, or we are not indulgent enough. We pamper them, or we neglect them, and it would be hard to tell which mode of treatment produces the worst results. Few people treat their bodies with the same wise care and consideration that they bestow upon a valuable piece of machinery or property of any kind from which they expect large returns.
Take the treatment of the digestive apparatus, for instance, which really supplies the motor power for the whole body, and we will find that most of us do not give it half a chance to do its work properly. The energy of the digestive organs of many people is exhausted in trying to take care of superfluous food for which there is absolutely no demand in the system. So much energy is used up trying to assimilate surplus, unnecessary food, improper food, that there is none left to assimilate and digest that which is actually needed.
Men are constantly violating the laws of health, eating all sorts of incompatible, indigestible foods, often when the stomach is exhausted and unable to take care of simple food. They fill it with a great variety of rich indigestible stuffs, retard the digestive processes with harmful drinks, then wonder why they are unfit for work, and resort to all sorts of stimulants and drugs to overcome the bad effects of their greediness and foolishness.
Many go to the other extreme and do not take enough food or get enough variety in what they do eat, so that some of their tissues are in a chronic condition of semi-starvation. The result is that while there is a great overplus of certain elements in some parts of the system, there is a famine of different kinds of elements in other parts of the system.
This inequality, disproportion, tends to unbalance and produce a lack of symmetry in the body, and induces abnormal appetites that often lead to drinking or other dissipation. Many people resort to dangerous drugs in their effort to satisfy the craving of the starved cells in the various tissues when what they really need is nourishing food.
There are only twelve different kinds of tissues in the body and their needs are very simple. For instance, almost every demand in the entire system can be satisfied by milk and eggs, though, of course, a more varied diet is desirable, and should always be adjusted to suit one's vocation and activities. Yet, notwithstanding the simple demands of nature, how complicated our living has become!
If we would only study the needs of our bodies as we study the needs of the plants in our gardens, and give them the proper amount and variety of food, with plenty of water, fresh air, and sunshine, we would not be troubled with disordered stomachs, indigestion, biliousness, headache, or any other kind of pain or ache.
If we used common sense in our diet, lived a plain, sane, simple life, we would never need to take medicine. But the way many of us live is a crime against nature, against manhood, against our possibilities.
It is amazing that otherwise shrewd, sensible people can deceive themselves into practicing petty economies which are in reality ruinous extravagances.
No good mechanic would for a moment think of using tools that are out of order. Think of a barber trying to run a first-class shop with dull razors! Think of a carpenter or cabinet-maker attempting to turn out finished work with dull chisels, saws, planes, or other tools!
The man who wants to do a fine piece of work, whether it be the painting of a picture or the building of a house, must have everything with which he works in the best possible condition, otherwise the quality of his work will suffer.
The great thing in life is efficiency. If you amount to anything in the world, your time is valuable, your energy precious. They are your success capital and you cannot afford to heedlessly throw them away or trifle with them.
Whatever else you do, husband your strength, save your vitality, hang on to it with the determination with which a drowning man seizes and clings to a log or spar at sea. Store up every bit of your physical force, for it is your achievement material, your manhood or womanhood timber. Having this, the person who has no money is rich compared with the person of wealth who has squandered their vitality, thrown away their precious life energy. Gold is but dross compared with this, diamonds but rubbish; houses and lands are contemptible beside it.
Dissipaters of precious vitality are the wickedest kind of spendthrifts, they are worse than money spendthrifts; they are suicides, for they are killing their every chance in life.
Of what use is ability if you cannot use it, offerees that are demoralized, weakened by petty, false economies? What use is great brain power, even genius, if you are physically weak, if your vitality is so reduced either by vicious living or lack of proper care, that your energy becomes exhausted with the very least effort?
To be confronted by a great opportunity of which you are powerless to take advantage, because you have let your energy leak away in useless, vicious ways, or to feel that you can only take hold of your great chance tremblingly, weakly, with doubt instead of assurance and a consciousness of vigor, is one of the most disheartening experiences that can ever come to a human being.
If you would make the most of yourself, cut away all of your vitality sappers, get rid of everything which hampers you and holds you back, everything which wastes your energy, cuts down your working capital. Get freedom at any cost. Do not drag about with you a body that is half dead through vicious habits, which sap your vitality and drain off your life forces.
Do not do anything or touch anything which will lower your vitality or lessen your chances of advancement. Always ask yourself, "What is there in this thing I am going to do which will add to my life-work, increase my power, keep me in superb condition to do the best thing possible to me?"
Much precious energy is wasted in fretting, worrying, grumbling, fault-finding, in the little frictions and annoyances that accomplish nothing, but merely make you irritable, cripple and exhaust you. Just look back over yesterday and see where your energy went to. See how much of it leaked away in trifles and in vicious practices. You may have lost more brain and nerve force in a burst of passion, a fit of hot temper than in doing your normal work in an entire day.
Some people are very careful to keep the pianos in their homes in tune, but they never trouble themselves about the human instruments which are out of tune most of the time. They try to play the great life symphonies on a living instrument that is jangled and out of tune, and then wonder why they produce discord instead of harmony.
The great aim of your life should be to keep your powers up to the highest possible standard, to so conserve your energies, guard your health, that you can make every occasion a great occasion.
The trouble with most of us is that we do not half appreciate the marvelousness of the human mechanism, nor the divinity of the man that dwells in it.
"Man is an infinite little copy of God," says Victor Hugo. "That is glory enough for man. Little as I am, I feel the God in me."
Unfortunately most of us do not feel the God in us, we do not realize our powers and possibilities. We lose sight of our divinity. We live in our animal senses instead of rising into the God-like faculties. We crawl when we might fly.