The Secret of the Ages, by Robert Collier, , at sacred-texts.com
"Prate not of thy repentance. But believe
The spark divine dwells in thee: let it grow.
That which the upreaching spirit can achieve
The grand and all creative forces know;
They will assist and strengthen as the light
Lifts up the acorn to the oak-tree's height.
Thou hast but to resolve, and lo! God's whole
Great universe shall fortify thy soul."
—Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
names on a sheet of white paper before him.
Your name may be on it.
A position of responsibility is open and he is face to face with the old, old problem—"Where can I find the man?"
The faces, the words, the work, the impressions of various men will pass through his mind in quick review. What is the first question he will ask concerning each?
"Which man is strongest on initiative, which one can best assume responsibility?"
Other things being equal, THAT is the man who will get the job. For the first requisite in business as in social life is confidence in yourself—knowledge of your power. Given that, the second is easy—initiative or the courage to start things. Lots of men have ideas, but few
have the confidence in themselves or the courage to Start anything.
With belief and initiative, the third requisite follows almost as a matter of course—the faith to go ahead and do things in the face of all obstacles.
"Oh, God," said Leonardo da Vinci, "you sell us everything for the price of an effort."
Certainly no one had a better chance to know than he. An illegitimate son, brought up in the family of his father, the misfortune of his birth made him the source of constant derision. He had to do something to lift himself far above the crowd. And he did. "For the price of an effort" he became the greatest artist in Italy—probably the greatest in the world—in a day when Italy was famous for her artists. Kings and princes felt honored at being associated
with this illegitimate boy. He made the name he had no right to famous for his work alone.
"Work out your own salvation," said Paul. And the first requisite in working it out is a knowledge of your power. "Every man of us has all the centuries in him."—Morley. All the ages behind you have bequeathed you stores of abilities which you are allowing to lie latent. Those abilities are stored up in your subconscious mind. Call upon them. Use them. As Whittier put it—
Are you an artist? The cunning of a da Vinci, the skill of a Rembrandt, the vision of a Reynolds, is behind those fingers of yours. Use the Genie-of-your-mind to call upon them.
Are you a surgeon, a lawyer, a minister, an engineer, a business man? Keep before your mind's eye the biggest men who have ever done the things you now are doing. Use them as your model. And not as your model simply, but as your inspiration. Start in where they left off. Call upon the innermost recesses of your subconscious mind, for their skill, their judgment, their initiative. Realize that you have it in you to be as great as they. Realize that all that they did, all that they learned, all the skill they acquired is stored safely away in Universal Mind and that through your subconscious mind you have ready access to it.
The mind in you is the same mind that animated all the great conquerors of the past, all the great inventors, all the great artists, statesmen, leaders, business men.
[paragraph continues] What they have done is but a tithe of what still remains to do—of what men in your day and your children's day will do. You can have a part in it. Stored away within you is every power that any man or woman ever possessed. It awaits only your call.
In "Thoughts on Business," we read: "It is a great day in a man's life when he truly begins to discover himself. The latent capacities of every man are greater than he realizes, and he may find them if he diligently seeks for them. A man may own a tract of land for many years without knowing its value. He may think of it as merely a pasture. But one day he discovers evidences of coal and finds a rich vein beneath his land. While mining and prospecting for coal he discovers deposits of granite. In boring for water he strikes oil. Later he discovers a vein
of copper ore, and after that silver and gold. These things were there all the time—even when he thought of his land merely as a pasture. But they have a value only when they are discovered and utilized.
"Not every pasture contains deposits of silver and gold, neither oil nor granite, nor even coal. But beneath the surface of every man there must be, in the nature of things, a latent capacity greater than has yet been discovered. And one discovery must lead to another until the man finds the deep wealth of his own possibilities. History is full of the acts of men who discovered somewhat of their own capacity; but history has yet to record the man who fully discovered all that he might have been."
Everything that has been done, thought, gained, or been is in Universal Mind.
[paragraph continues] And you are a part of Universal Mind. You have access to it. You can call upon it for all you need in the same way you can go to your files or to a library for information. If you can realize this fact, you will find in it the key to the control of every circumstance, the solution of every problem, the satisfaction of every right desire.
But to use that key, you've got to bear in mind the three requisites of faith in your powers, initiative, and courage to start. "Who would stand before a blackboard," says "Science and Health," "and pray the principle of mathematics to solve the problem? The rule is already established, and it is our task to work out the solution." In the same way, all knowledge you can need is in Universal Mind, but it is up to you to tap that mind.
And without the three requisites you will never do it.
Never let discouragement hold you back. Discouragement is the most dangerous feeling there is, because it is the most insidious. Generally it is looked upon as harmless, and for that very reason it is the more sinister. For failure and success are oftentimes separated by only the distance of that one word—Discouragement.
There is an old-time fable that the devil once held a sale and offered all the tools of his trade to anyone who would pay their price. They were spread out on the table, each one labeled—hatred, and malice, and envy, and despair, and sickness, and sensuality—all the weapons that everyone knows so well.
But off on one side, apart from the rest, lay a harmless looking, wedge-shaped
instrument marked "Discouragement." It was old and worn looking, but it was priced far above all the rest. When asked the reason why, the devil replied:
"Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others. No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors that are tight bolted against the others. Once I get inside I can use any tool that suits me best."
No one ever knows how small is the margin between failure and success. Frequently the two are separated only by the width of that one word—discouragement. Ask Ford, ask Edison, ask any successful man and he will tell you how narrow is the chasm that separates failure from success, how surely it can be bridged by perseverance and faith.
Cultivate confidence in yourself. Cultivate the feeling that you ARE succeeding. Know that you have unlimited power to do every right thing. Know that with Universal Mind to draw upon, no position is too difficult, and no problem too hard. "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." When you put limitations upon yourself, when you doubt your ability to meet any situation, you are placing a limit upon Universal Mind, for "The Father that is within me, He doeth the works."
With that knowledge of your power, with that confidence in the unlimited resources of Universal Mind, it is easy enough to show initiative, it is easy enough to find the courage to start things.
You have a right to dominion over all
things—over your body, your environment, your business, your health. Develop these three requisites and you will gain that dominion.
Remember that you are a part of Universal Mind, and that the part shares every property of the whole. Remember that, as the spark of electricity is to the thunderbolt, so is your mind to Universal Mind. Whatever of good you may desire of life, whatever qualification, whatever position, you have only to work for it whole heartedly, confidently, with singleness of purpose—and you can get it.