MANKIND is divided into two types, positive and negative. Let me try and describe each to you.
Positive man is magnetic, attractive, courageous, happy, cheerful, healthy, energetic, is full of vitality, power and ability to succeed. He never doubts his ability to win, he never worries when things go wrong; he does not complain when things are not smooth. If he meets with a temporary set-back he becomes the more determined to succeed. He does not lay upon other people the blame of his own mistakes, but instead learns a lesson from his temporary failure which shall be a guide and beacon in all future undertakings.
The positive man can always find people to believe in him and to finance his operations. He never lacks friends, for just the type of people he wants are always anxious to be his friends. Consequently men, and with them, opportunities, are always coming his way. He is an optimist, but is not foolish or blind in his optimism. He is above being petty or mean, or selfish or cruel; neither does he let hate or anger sway him or influence his life or business. He inspires confidence, compels attention, is a leader rather than a follower, and literally exudes an atmosphere of success.
A negative man is, of course, the antithesis of this type. He is fearful, given to worry, apt to look on the dark side of things. Is afraid to act too much on his own responsibility and seeks the help and advice of other people. Has difficulty in making up his mind, and when he has made it up he often changes it. He lets others pass him in the race of life and then worries because he fails to get on.
He is never much of a success in life, no matter what he achieves he might have done very much better. He seldom realizes that his failures are due to his own failings but, instead, lays the blame upon other people's shoulders or ascribes his troubles to chance or ill fortune. His company is not cheerful and is not sought by other people, except one or two as miserable as himself.
All his thought and conversation are tinged with pessimism and his face, in course of time, becomes lugubrious and miserable, an accurate index of the state of mind within. He has no belief in himself. He believes in fate and the influence of outside circumstances. He is, so he says, as God made him and as environment has shaped him. If he is a failure it is, he thinks, not his fault, and if his character is not all that it might be it is due to heredity and environment.
There are, of course, infinite degrees of positiveness and also of negativeness. Therefore one may be said to be more positive or less positive according to one's stage of development, or one can be more negative or less negative according to the degree of helplessness and misery in which one may be steeped; but the essential difference is this, that whereas the positive man looks within for his power to achieve, and looks forward with confidence to the future, the negative person, on the contrary, having no confidence in himself, looks to others and outside sources for help and assistance and fears what fate may bring him. The positive man believes in himself completely and absolutely, the negative person does not; that is the great difference.
It is hardly necessary to point out that all successful people are of the positive type and all the failures belong to the negative class. If you were able to make an examination of the minds of numbers of successful men ranging from such as Lord Northcliffe, Lord Haig and Lloyd George down to the successful tradesman in your own village or suburb, you would find them to be all of this positive type.
If you could examine the minds of the leaders of the professions, the surgeons, physicians, lawyers, counsel, artists, journalists and poets, you would find them all of the positive type. On the other hand, if you get into conversation with a failure it does not matter what station in life he may belong to or what his education may have been—he may be a discredited politician, or a tramp on the road—you will find that his mind is of the negative type.
It is obvious then that he who desires to succeed must belong to the positive type. If he belongs to the wrong class how can it be remedied?
We are what we are as a result of past thinking. Our mental attitude is built up by the thoughts we habitually harbor or cultivate. Thus if we entertain positive thoughts only, and deny negative thoughts, replacing them by their opposites whenever they intrude, we gradually build up a positive attitude of mind, which means that we become positive men or women, and as such cannot fail to be successful in life. Therefore it all comes back to the old question of thought control. "For one to govern his thinking, then, is to determine his life."
Thoughts are positive if they dwell upon the following: Success, achievement, accomplishment, overcoming, conquering, mastering, prosperity, power, courage, calmness, dignity, perseverance, purposefulness, patience, wisdom, faithfulness, confidence, faith, hope, cheerfulness, love, joy, peace, health and happiness.
Thoughts are negative if they dwell upon the following: Failure, difficulty, bad luck, hard lines, I can't, fear, dread, grief, worry, care, anxiety, loss, fate unfaithfulness, grievances, criticizing others, imputing bad motives to others, hate, envy, covetousness, brooding, lust, impurity immorality, selfishness, sensuality, misery, unhappiness, disease, ill-health and death.
The former build up character of mind and health of body; they create serenity and peace. The latter break down the nervous system, produce ill health and disease, rob the life of nearly all its joys and destroy all hopes of success.
If you concentrate your thoughts upon the former for a few minutes and let the imagination play round each word, and call up in the mind just what it means, a sense of power, unlimited and all comprehensive will pervades one's being. This is the infinite powers of the subliminal mind being aroused. All these positive qualities which these words represent are within you, otherwise you could not arouse this sense of power. If, by concentrating your thoughts for a few minutes upon Success, a sense of unlimited powers of accomplishment stir within you, then you have actually within you unlimited powers of accomplishment.
If, by thinking only of Joy for a few minutes, a sense of intense Joy pervades the mind, then you have simply called into activity an inexhaustible reservoir of Joy that already existed within you. You cannot call into activity that which does not exist. In the same way if you concentrate your thoughts upon a negative quality, such as misery, you will after a few minutes become gloomy and depressed, or if your mind dwells on fear, you will soon become full of dread and apprehension.
Therefore your success, health and happiness all depend upon the type of thought that you entertain. If your mind dwells upon positive thoughts only, then you become positive and by sustained action, successful. If, however, you think negative thoughts you become negative and consequently a failure.
How then shall you so control your thinking that only positive thoughts are allowed? The answer is, by eternal vigilance, constant watch and guard, and by incessant denials and affirmations. Whenever a weak or vile or unworthy thought attempts to enter your mind, deny its existence in your perfect Mental World, and affirm in its place a thought the exact opposite of the one which you have denied. For instance, the thought may come to you that you will fail at the examination for which you have shortly to sit or that a certain important interview will end disastrously for you, or that you will not be able to pay the rent next quarter day. Whatever the thought may be, if it is negative, deny it from the mind. Raise yourself into your perfect World of Mind and say "There is and can be no failure, man is a perfect mental creature, potentially all the powers of the Infinite are his, therefore he can never fail." And then affirm:
I AM SUCCESS. EVERYTHING THAT I ATTEMPT I COMPLETELY ACCOMPLISH. I AM SUCCESS
Then visualize yourself successful in that which you have attempted, the examination passed, the interview successfully ended, the rent paid. See yourself radiant with success, feel yourself lifted up by the power within. Let the thought, "I am success," sink deeply into your subconscious mind; let this be projected into the space to gather unto itself thoughts of similar quality and power, which shall come back with it to minister to your joy, and you will find the negative fearing thought will flee away. Thus will you become master in your own house and captain of your soul. Thus will you be built up in character and strengthened with determination and ability to accomplish. Thus will you be enabled to go forward with joy and confidence to possess your glorious heritage.
The following affirmation used at night just as you are falling asleep will be helpful; after a few weeks it will have become unnecessary and should be discarded:
WHEN NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ASSAIL ME, I WILL DENY THEM AND REPLACE THEM BY THOUGHTS OF POWER.
Then visualize yourself pursuing the path of achievement which you have so often before seen in your mind's eye. Imagine that you see people trying to drag you from the path and seeking to persuade you to travel down a side turning. See yourself shake them off easily and firmly, continuing your journey to that bright vision which to you is Success.
I have said that there are varying degrees of Positiveness, just as there are degrees of Negativeness. For instance, the lowest form of "success" thought is "I can succeed." A student may have all his life thought that he could not succeed. He may have thought that others might succeed because they were "clever" or had better opportunities, or were blest with "luck"; but he, poor fellow, being neither clever, lucky nor presented with opportunities, cannot succeed; he must forever be content to remain a mere hewer of wood and drawer of water. But one day, we will imagine, he reads a "Pass me on" pamphlet and reads for the first time that he has within him the power to succeed and accomplish, and like a flash he realizes his true inward powers, and cries "I can succeed."
That, of course, is the first step. Very soon he says to himself, "I will succeed," and thus finds himself on the second step, and, for some time, progresses on these lines. This is a rugged and stony path because progress depends almost entirely upon Will-power and progress by Will-power alone is exhausting and trying to a degree, but soon the student realizes that he has acquired a new or wider consciousness and says with joy and wonder, "I am success."
He has now reached a higher region of the mind, he is now exercising a larger and deeper faith. He realizes for the first time that success is not something that is outside himself, or that has to be searched for or chased. He realizes that not only is success within him, but that he himself is Success. I cannot explain it further. I am dealing with a state of mind which cannot be described, but which can be experienced. When the student has attained to this stage of consciousness he can no longer fail in life. His life henceforth becomes a constant progression, a passing onwards to higher heights and more glorious achievements.
This is the reason why I have made the affirmation to read "I am Success" instead of "I will be successful." To say that you will be successful is good, but it puts off your success to a future time. To affirm that you are success or successful now is to make your success to begin here and now.
Conscientious readers will say at once: "How can I say truthfully that I am success when all the time failure enters so much into my life? I have just failed to pass an examination, and through lack of energy and perseverance have let the opportunity of a lifetime slip by; how then can I affirm myself success?" The answer is that you are success in reality. In your inward inner self you are success, because you are a mental creature and have all the elements of unbounded success inherent within you.
You, your real mental inner to be. If you affirm that you are Success, and will persist and persevere with that affirmation, then in your inner self you are success, and later this will be translated into your outward life. What is created in the Unseen is later manifested in the Seen. By the affirmation "I am Success," you create Success "within"; later this finds expression in your outward life, in the form of achievement, accomplishment and material prosperity.
Therefore when a thought or suggestion of failure attempts to gain admission to the citadel of your mind, kill it by denial, and affirm in its place the "Success" formula that I have given you. Thus will the attitude of your mind be built up into a definite form. By affirming "I am Success" and by visualizing yourself as the embodiment of success. By seeing, with your mental eyes, yourself with your ambitions realized, and with all things at your feet, you will construct a concrete image in your mind, which will form a matrix, out of which will proceed the material success and accomplishment which are its visible expression.
It cannot be emphasized too much that success is not a something to be won, instead it is rather a mental state, an attitude of the mind. The mind itself has unlimited power, and mental power or thought is the power or force that is greater than all power or forces, therefore the power to accomplish all things is within us. This potent power however, cannot find expression in the life if the attitude of the mind is wrong. When the mind is naturally of the success type or is made so by training, then its intense powers become focused into one powerful beam, which shapes and molds the outward life, on the form of the inward pattern.
There is nothing of "magic" about this, it is capable of the simplest explanation. When your mind is of this type, the impulses sent to the subconscious mind can only result in successful actions. As we have already seen, the subconscious mind is the seat of all action and contains unlimited power and energy. This power and energy only needs directing into the right channel to accomplish anything that we may desire to accomplish. When, therefore, the mind is cast in the "Success" mold, then only "success" thoughts and suggestions can go to the subconscious mind, and these in turn must of necessity be translated into successful actions.
The only difference between a successful type of man and an unsuccessful type, provided they are of equal energy, is one of mind—of thought. The successful man's attitude of mind is such that he generates the right kind of thought, which passing to his subconscious mind, is transmuted into the right type of action. The unsuccessful man, on the other hand, through his mind being of a negative type, generates the wrong kind of thought and this in turn results in the wrong type of action. This is why it is impossible to keep the "success" type of man down for any length of time.
You can bankrupt him, bereave him, maim him, cast him into the gutter and jump on him, and he will come to the top again. It is impossible to keep such a man down for long, simply because his mind will not allow it. This also is why it is impossible to help a man of a negative type. The more one helps such a man the weaker and more hopeless he becomes, and the more helplessly he clings round one's neck for sustenance and support.
Place him in affluent circumstances, find him work, prospects, influence, friends, place in his hands everything possible with which to aid him, and he will let it all slip through his fingers and come right down to want and penury. Therefore, success in life is the result of "success" actions, which are the result of "success" thoughts, which are the result of a "success" attitude of mind, and this is the result of the affirmation "I am success."
As the attitude of the mind alters from negative to positive there is developed what is called personal magnetism; one radiates an influence which attracts people. It is impossible to estimate the difference which this alone makes to one's prospects of success. If a man is in business for himself, what an enormous difference the drawing influence of a well-ordered mind will make to that business. His clients or customers will increase a hundredfold in number, and a better type of client or customer will gradually be attracted. Thus does success and prosperity crowd in upon the man or woman who cultivates the right type of mind. Once the right attitude of mind has been built up the trouble is not how to get business, but how to execute it. It comes crowding in so rapidly it is difficult to cope with.
Again, in all businesses difficulties appear from time to time, and although these may and do extinguish men of negative type, they cause only temporary trouble to one whose mind has been trained on "success" lines.
As explained in other parts of this Course there are ways by which all difficulties can be overcome by the power of the mind, but it is only those whose minds are controlled aright who can make use of them.
Again, as the mind becomes more positive, the Will is greatly strengthened, the staying power is increased, and the powers of concentration vastly strengthened. Anyone acquainted with the difficulties and trials of establishing a business or professional practice will appreciate the value of this. Success generally comes to those with the greatest staying power. The power to "stick to it" is often the deciding factor in the struggle. Most men give up the struggle when they are just at the turning of the corner, and only a little more push and staying power would ensure success. Instead they give up through lack of "stickability" just when success is ready to crown their efforts.
Many other illustrations could be given to show how it is that success is really more an attitude or quality of the mind than something outside of us, but these will suffice. The great thing to aim at is to build up within you this "success" attitude of mind. When this is established and the habit of action well developed, there is nothing that can stay your success. Affirm that you are success now, steep yourself in the success idea, visualize yourself successful and all conquering, breathe the success atmosphere, live, dream and be success, and nothing can prevent you from being successful, because you, yourself, are success.
Do not, however, strain after success; rather realize that you yourself are "Success" and that you therefore attract to you all that you desire. Go about your duties calmly and with confidence, knowing that you are "success" and therefore must succeed. A hundred times a day, if necessary, affirm "I am success." The last thing at night, just as you fall to sleep; the first minute of your waking day, affirm it and affirm it again, always picturing yourself happy, successful and all-conquering.
The special visualizing exercise for this week is as follows: Sit upright in a quiet place and, closing your eyes, send out to all mankind the best and noblest thoughts of which you are capable, thoughts of good-will and love to everybody in all the wide world. Now feel these thoughts being projected from you in all directions, and mentally see them being sent forth like the beams of light from the light-house. See them penetrating further and further, all over your own country and then through every other country.
Do this for some time and then reverse the process. Feel the thoughts coming back laden with other thoughts of a like nature. See innumerable beams of light pouring into you from all over the world. Feel yourself filled up and overflowing with the riches of all the most glorious thoughts which the world has ever known. The first part of the exercise may exhaust you, but the latter part will fill you with courage, confidence, calm, serenity and peace.
Persevere and endeavor to make this exercise as real as possible. By this exercise you enrich the world by your own noble thoughts, you lessen its pain and sorrow, and help to assuage its griefs. In return you are blessed and strengthened in a way which could never otherwise be possible. The more freely you give of your best thoughts the more bountifully you will receive.
Meditate daily upon the following words of James Allen: "You say you are chained by circumstances; you cry out for better opportunities, for a wider scope, for improved physical conditions, and perhaps you inwardly curse the fate that binds you hand and foot. It is for you that I write: it is to you that I speak. Listen, and let my words burn themselves into your heart, for that which I say to you is the truth: You may bring about that improved condition in your outward life which you desire, if you will unswervingly resolve to improve your inner life.
I know that pathway looks barren at its commencement (truth always does, it is only error and delusion which are at first inviting and fascinating), but if you undertake to walk it; if you perseveringly discipline your mind, eradicating your weaknesses, and allowing your soul-forces and spiritual powers to unfold themselves, you will be astonished at the magical changes which will be brought about in your inward life. As you proceed, golden opportunities will be strewn across your path, and the power and judgment to properly utilize them will spring up within you.
Genial friends will come unbidden to you; sympathetic souls will be drawn to you as the needle is to the magnet, and books and all outward aids that you require will come to you unsought."
Continue to deny evil, illness, sickness, disease, failure, poverty, limitation and all negative states. The more perfectly you expunge them from your mind the more blessed will your life become. Constantly affirm health, success, prosperity, freedom and all positive states, and carry a vision of them always before you.
Spend as much time as possible in the Silence, for in quietness and confidence shall be your strength. Also whenever, during the day, you have to make a decision, mentally retire into the Silence and gain wisdom and inspiration from the Infinite. Thus shall you be kept from all mistakes and blunders, and your life become rich with blessing, because it is lived in obedience to Universal Law.