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The Secret of the Ages, by Robert Collier, [1926], at

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The Sculptor and the Clay

"Eternal mind the Potter is,
 And thought the eternal clay.
 The hand that fashions is divine;
 His works pass not away.
 God could not make imperfect man
 His model Infinite, Unhallowed thought
 He could not plan—Love's work and
 Love must fit."
                             —Alice Dayton.

When you step into your office on Monday morning, no doubt you have dreams of wonderful achievement. Your step is firm, your brain is clear and you have carefully thought out just WHAT you will do and HOW you will accomplish big things in your business. Perhaps the very plans you have in mind will influence your whole business career, and

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you have visions of the dollars that will be yours rolling into your bank account.

But do these dreams come true?

Are you always able to put through what you had planned to do—does your day's work have the snap and power you imagined it would have? Are you ever forced to admit that your dreams of big accomplishment are of ten shattered because of "fagged nerves" and lack of energy, because you have not the "pep"?

How easy it is to think back and see how success was in your grasp if only you had felt equal to that extra bit of effort, if only you had had the "pep," the energy to reach out and take it. The great men of the world have been well men, strong men. Sickness and hesitancy go hand in hand. Sickness means weakness, querulousness, lack of faith, lack of confidence in oneself and in others.

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But there is no real reason for sickness or weakness, and there is no reason why you should remain weak or sick if you are so afflicted now.

Remember the story of the sculptor Pygmalion? How he made a statue of marble so beautiful that every woman who saw it envied it? So perfect was it that he fell in love with it himself, hung it with flowers and jewels, spent day after day in rapt admiration of it, until finally the gods took pity upon him and breathed into it the breath of life.

There is more than Pagan mythology to that story. There is this much truth in it—that any man can set before his mind's eye the image of the figure he himself would like to be, and then breathe the breath of life into it merely by keeping that image before his subconscious

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mind as the model on which to do its daily building.

For health and strength are natural. It is ill-health and weakness that are unnatural. Your body was meant to be lithe, supple, muscular, full of red-blooded energy and vitality. A clear brain, a powerful heart, a massive chest, wrists and arms of steel—all these were meant for you—all these you can have if you will but know, and feel, and think aright.

Just take stock of yourself for a moment. Are your muscles tough, springy and full of vim? Do they do all you ask of them—and then beg for more? Can you eat a good meal—and forget it?

If you can't, it's your own fault. You can have a body alive with vitality, a skin smooth and fine of texture, muscles

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supple and virile. You can be the man you have always dreamed of being, without arduous dieting, without tiresome series of exercises, merely by following the simple rules herein laid down.

For what is it that builds up the muscles, puts energy and vitality into your system, gives you the pep and vigor of youth? Is it exercise? Then why is it that so many day laborers are poor, weak, anæmic creatures, forced to lay off from one to three months every year on account of sickness? They get plenty of exercise and fresh air. Why is it that so many athletes die of tuberculosis or of weak hearts? They get the most scientific exercise year in and year out.

Just the other day I read of the sudden death of Martin A. Delaney, the famous trainer, known all over the country as a physical director. He taught

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thousands how to be strong, but "Athletic Heart" killed him at 55. Passersby saw him running for a car, then suddenly topple over dead.

"Exercise as a panacea for all human ills is dangerously overrated," Dr. Charles M. Wharton, in charge of health and physical education at the University of Pennsylvania, said today (March 20, 1926), according to an Associated Press despatch.

Dr. Wharton, who has been a trainer of men for thirty years and was an all-American guard on the Pennsylvania football team in 1895 and 1896, declared the search for the fountain of youth by exercise and diet has been commercialized to a point of hysteria.

"Some one should cry a halt against this wild scramble for health by unnatural means," said Dr. Wharton. "This

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indiscriminate adoption of severe physical training destroys the health of more people than it improves."

Dr. Wharton said he was appalled by the amount of physical defects and weaknesses developed by overindulgence in athletics by students in preparatory schools.

“I know I am presenting an unpopular viewpoint, and it may sound strange coming from a physical director.

“In gymnasium work at the University of Pennsylvania we try to place our young men in sports which they will enjoy, and thus get a physical stimulation from relaxed play.”

Is it diet? Then why is it that so many people you know, who have been dieting for years, are still such poor, flabby creatures? Doesn't it always work, or is it merely a matter of guess-work—and

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those were the cases where no one happened to guess right? Why is it that doctors disagree so on what is the correct diet? For years we have been taught to forswear too much meat. For years we have been told that it causes rheumatism and gout and hardening of the arteries—and a dozen or more other ailments.

Now comes Dr. Woods Hutchinson—a noted authority, quoted the world over—and says: "All the silly old prejudice against meat, that it heated the blood (whatever that means) and produced uric acid to excess, hardened the arteries, inflamed the kidneys, caused rheumatism, etc., has now been proved to be pure fairy tales, utterly without foundation in scientific fact.

"Red meats have nothing whatever to do with causing gout and rheumatism,

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because neither of these diseases is due to foods or drinks of any sort, but solely to what we call local infections. Little pockets of pus (matter) full of robber germs mostly streptococci—around the roots of our teeth, in the pouches of our tonsils, in the nasal passages and sinuses of our foreheads and faces opening into them;…Our belief now is: 'No pockets of pus, no rheumatism or gout.' Food of any kind has absolutely nothing to do with the case.

"On the other hand, the very worst cases on record in all medical history of hardening and turning to lime (calcification) of the arteries all over the body, and in the kidneys and intestines particularly, have been found in Trappist and certain orders of Oriental monks who live almost exclusively upon starch and

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pulse—that is, peas, beans, and lentils, and abstain from meat entirely."

Then what is right? Is it the combination of diet and exercise? But surely the patients in sanitariums and similar institutions would have every chance to get just the right combination, yet how often you see them come out little, if any, better off than when they went in.

No. None of these is the answer. As a matter of fact, the principal good of either diet or exercise is that it keeps before the patient's mind the RESULT he is working for, and in that way tends to impress it upon his subconscious mind. That is why physical culturists always urge you to exercise in front of a mirror. If results are achieved, it is MIND that achieves them—not the movements you go through or the particular kind of food you eat.

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Understand, I don't ask you to stop exercising. A reasonable amount of light, pleasant exercise is good for you mentally and physically. It develops your will power. It helps to impress upon your subconscious mind the image you want to see realized in your body. And it takes your mind off your troubles and worries, centering your thoughts instead upon your desires. Just where your thoughts should always be.

Outdoor exercise, tennis, horseback, swimming—any sort of active game—is the best rest there is for a tired mind. For mental tiredness comes from a too steady contemplation of ones problems. And anything that will take ones mind completely off them, and give the subconscious time to work out the solution, is good. That is why it so often happens that you go back to your work after

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a day of play—not merely refreshed, but with so clear a mind that the problems which before seemed insurmountable are but as child's play to you.

You who envy the rosy cheek and sparkling eye of youth, who awake in the morning weary and unrefreshed, who go to your daily tasks with fagged brain and heavy tread—just remember that Perfect Youth or Perfect Health is merely a state of mind.

There is only one thing that puts muscles on your bones. There is only one thing that keeps your organs functioning with precision and regularity. There is only one thing that builds for you a perfect body. That one thing is your subconscious mind.

Every cell and tissue, every bone and sinew, every organ and muscle in your entire body is subject to the control of

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your subconscious mind. As it directs, so they build or function.

True, that subconscious mind accepts suggestions from your conscious mind. Hold before it the thought that the exercise you are taking is building muscle upon your arms or shoulders, and your subconscious mind will fall in readily with the suggestion and strengthen those muscles. Hold before it the thought that some particular food gives you unusual energy and "pep," and the subconscious mind will be entirely agreeable to producing the; added vigor.

But have you ever noticed how some sudden joy (which is entirely a mental state) energizes and revitalizes you—more than all the exercise or all the tonics you can take? Have you ever noticed how martial music will relieve the fatigue of marching men? Have you

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ever noticed how sorrow (which is entirely a mental state) will depress and devitalize you, regardless of any amount of exercise or health foods you may take?

Each of us has within him all the essentials that go to the making of a Super-Man. But so has every acorn the essentials for making a great oak tree, yet the Japanese show us that even an oak may be stunted by continual pruning of its shoots. Negative and weak thoughts, thoughts of self-doubt, of mistrust, continually prune back the vigorous life ever seeking so valiantly to show forth the splendor and strength of the radiant inner self.

Choose what you will be! Your responsibility is to think, speak, act the true inner self. Your privilege is to show forth in this self, the fullness of peace and plenty. Keep steadfastly in

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mind the idea of yourself that you want to see realized. Your daily, hourly, and continual idea of yourself, your life, your affairs, your world, and your associates, determines the harvest, the showing forth. Look steadfastly to your highest ideal of self, and your steadfast and lofty ideal will draw forth blessing and prosperity not only upon you, but upon ail who know you.

For mind is the only creator, and thought is the only energy. All that counts is the image of your body that you are holding in your thought. If heretofore that image has been one of weakness, of ill-health, change it now—TODAY. Repeat to yourself, the first thing upon awakening in the morning and the last thing before going to sleep at night—"My body was made in the image and likeness of God. God first

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imagined it in its entirety, therefore every cell and bone and tissue is perfect, every organ and muscle performing its proper function. That is the only model of me in Universal Mind. That is the only model of me that my Subconscious Mind knows. Therefore, since Mind—God—is the only creator, that is the only model of me that I can have!"

Next: XXII. Why Grow Old?