The Great Dynamic Forces
YOU have noticed the difference between the successful and strong men in any walk of life, and the unsuccessful weak men around them. You are conscious of the widely differing characteristics of the two classes, but somehow find it difficult to express just in what the difference lies. Let us take a look at the matter.
Burton said: “The longer I live, the more certain I am that the great difference between men, the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is energy and invincible determination – a purpose once fixed and then Death or Victory. That quality will do anything that can be done in this world – and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities will make a two-legged creature a man without it.” I do not see how the idea could be more clearly expressed than Burton has spoken. He has put his finger right in the center of the subject – his eye has seen into the heart of it.
Energy and invincible determination – these two things will sweep away mighty barriers, and will surmount the greatest obstacles. And yet they must be used together. Energy without determination will go to waste. Lots of men have plenty of energy – they are full to overflowing with it; and yet they lack concentration – they lack the concentrated force that enables them to bring their power to bear upon the right spot. Energy is not nearly so rare a thing as many imagine it to be. I can look around me at any lime, and pick out a number of people I know who are full of energy – many of them are energy plus – and yet, somehow, they do not seem to make any headway. They are wasting their energy all the time. Now they are fooling with this thing – now meddling with that. They will take up some trifling thing of no real interest or importance, and waste enough energy and nervous force to carry them through a hard day’s work, and yet when they are through, nothing has been accomplished.
Others who have plenty of energy, fail to direct it by the power of the Will toward the desired end. “Invincible determination” – those are the words. Do they not thrill you with their power? If you have something to do, get to work and do it. Marshal your energy, and then guide and direct it by your Will – bestow upon it that “invincible determination” and you will do the thing.
Everyone has within him a giant will, but the majority of us are too lazy to use it. We cannot get ourselves nerved up to the point at which we can say, truthfully: “I Will. If we can but pluck up our courage to that point, and will then pin it in place so that it will not slip back, we will be able to call into play that wonderful power – the Human Will. Man, as a rule, has but the faintest conception of the power of the Will, but those who have studied along the occult teachings, know that the Will is one of the great dynamic forces of the universe, and if harnessed and directed properly it is capable of accomplishing almost miraculous things.
“Energy and Invincible Determination: — aren’t they magnificent words? Commit them to memory – press them like a die into the wax of your mind, and they will be a constant inspiration to you in hours of need. If you can get these words to vibrating in your being, you will be a giant among pygmies. Say these words over and over again, and see how you are filled with new life – see how your blood will circulate – how your nerves will tingle. Make these words a part of yourself, and then go forth anew to the battle of life, encouraged and strengthened. Put them into practice. “Energy and Invincible Determination” – let that be your motto in your work-a-day life, and you will be one of those rare men who are able to “do things.”
Many persons are deterred from doing their best by the fact that they underrate themselves by comparison with the successful ones of life, or rather, overrate the successful ones by comparison with themselves. One of the curious things noticed by those who are brought in contact with the people who have “arrived” is the fact that these successful people are not extraordinary after all. You meet with some great writer, and you are disappointed to find him very ordinary indeed. He does not converse brilliantly, and, in fact, you know a score of everyday people who seem far more brilliant than this man who dazzles you by his brightness in his books. You meet some great statesman, and he does not seem nearly so wise as lots of old fellows in your own village, who waste their wisdom upon the desert air. You meet some great captain of industry, and he does not give you the impression of the shrewdness so marked in some little bargain-driving trader in your own town.
How is this, anyway? Are the reputations of these people fictitious, or what is the trouble ? The trouble is this: you have imagined these people to be made of superior metal, and are disappointed to find them made of the same stuff as yourself and those about you. But, you ask, wherein does their greatness of achievement lie? Chiefly in this: Belief in themselves and in their inherent power, in their faculty to concentrate on the work in hand, when they are working, and in their ability to prevent leaks of power when they are not working. They believe in themselves, and make every effort count. Your village wise man spills his wisdom on every corner, and talks to a lot of fools; when if he really were wise he would save up his wisdom and place it where it would do some work. The brilliant writer does not waste his wit upon every corner; in fact, he shuts the drawer in which he contains his wit, and opens it only when he is ready to concentrate and get down to business. The captain of industry has no desire to impress you with his shrewdness and “smartness. He never did, even when he was young. While his companions were talking and boasting, and “blowing,” this future successful financier was “sawin’ wood and sayin’ nuthin’.”
The great people of the world – that is, those who have “arrived” – are not very different from you, or me, or the rest of us – all of us are about the same at the base. You have only to meet them to see how very “ordinary” they are, after all. But, don’t forget the fact that they know how to use the material that is in them; while the rest of the crowd does not, and, in fact, even doubts whether the true stuff is there. The man or woman who “gets there”, usually starts out by realizing that he or she is not so very different, after all, from the successful people that they hear so much about. This gives them confidence, and the result is they find out that they are able to “do things.” Then they learn to keep their mouths closed, and to avoid wasting and dissipating their energy. They store up energy, and concentrate it upon the task at hand; while their companions are scattering their energies in every direction, trying to show off and let people know how smart they are. The man or woman who “gets there,” prefers to wait for the applause that follows deed accomplished, and cares very little for the praise that attends promises of what we expect to do “some day,” or an exhibition of “smartness” without works.
One of the reasons that people who are thrown in with successful men often manifest success themselves, is that they are able to watch the successful man and sort of “catch the trick” of his greatness. They see that he is an everyday sort of man, but that he thoroughly believes in himself, and also that he does not waste energy, but reserves all his force for the actual tasks before him. And, profiting by example, they start to work and put the lesson into practice in their own lives.
Now what is the moral of this talk? Simply this: Don’t undervalue yourself, or overvalue others. Realize that you are made of good stuff, and that locked within your mind are many good things. Then get to work and unfold those good things, and make something out of that good stuff. Do this by attention to the things before you, and by giving to each the best that is in you, knowing that plenty of more good things are in you ready for the fresh tasks that will come. Put the best of yourself into the undertaking on hand, and do not cheat the present task in favor of some future one. Your supply is inexhaustible. And don’t waste your good stuff on the crowd of gapers, watchers and critics who are standing around watching you work. Save your good stuff for your job, and don’t be in too much of a hurry for applause. Save up your good thoughts for “copy” if you are a writer; save up your bright schemes for actual practice, if you are a business man; save up your wisdom for occasion, if you are a statesman; and, in each case, avoid the desire to scatter your pears before – well, before the gaping crowd that wants to be entertained by a “free show.”
Nothing very “high” about this teaching, perhaps, but it is what many of you need very much. Stop fooling, and get down to business. Stop wasting good raw material, and start to work making something worthwhile.