Prosperity Chapter III
Driving Away Prosperity
Prosperity Chapter III:
A man once told me that if he could be assured that he would never
have to go to the poorhouse, and that he would have the necessities of
life for his family, he would be perfectly satisfied. He said it was
evidently not intended that he should have luxuries or anything more
than a bare living; he had always been a poor man and he always expected
to be poor, that his people before him had also been poor.
Now, it was just this mental attitude, — for he was a hard worker,
— of always expecting to be poor, believing he would always be poor,
that kept him from attracting prosperity. He had not expected
prosperity and, of course, could not attract what he did not expect. He
only just managed to get along, for that was all he expected to do.
Stop thinking poverty if you wish to attract plenty.
One of the chief reasons why the great mass of human beings live such
mean, stingy, poverty-stricken lives is because their negative mental
attitudes, their doubts and fears and worries, their lack of faith,
attract these conditions.
The Good Book tells us that "the destruction of the poor is their
poverty." That is, their poverty thought, their poverty conviction,
their poverty expectation and poverty belief, their general hopeless
mental outlook keeps away prosperity. The worst thing about poverty is
the poverty thought, the poverty belief.
Multitudes of people never expect to be comfortable, to say nothing
of having the luxuries and refinements of life. They expect poverty, and
they do not understand that this very expectancy increases the power of
their mental magnet to attract want and limitation, even though they
are trying to get away from it; that we always head towards our
expectations and convictions.
Poverty begins in the mind. The majority of poor people remain
poor because they are mental paupers to begin with. They don't believe
they are ever going to be prosperous.
Fate, conditions are against them; they were born poor and they expect
always to be poor, — that is their unvarying trend of thought, their
Go among the very poor in the slums and you will find them always
talking poverty, bewailing their fate, their hard luck, the cruelty and
injustice of society. They will tell you how they are ground down by
the upper classes, kept down by their greedy employers, or by an unjust
order of things which they can't change.
They think of themselves as victims instead of victors, as conquered
instead of conquerors. The great trouble with most people who fail to
realize their ambition is that they face life the wrong way. They do not
understand the tremendous potency of the influence of the habitual
mental attitude in shaping the career and actually creating conditions.
It is really pitiful to see people making slaves of themselves trying
to get ahead, but all the time side-tracking the good things which
would come their way if they did not head them off by their conviction
that there is nothing much in the world for them anyway, nothing more
than a bare living at the best. They are actually driving away the very
things which might flow to them in abundance if they held the right
In every walk of life we see men and women driving away the things they want. Most people think the things they do not want. They go through life trying to build happy, prosperous, healthful lives out of negative, destructive thinking, always neutralizing the results of their hard work. They indulge in worries, in fears and envies, in thoughts of hatred and revenge, and carry habitually a mental attitude, which means destruction to health, growth, and creative possibility. Their lives are pitched to a minor key. There is always a downward tendency in their thought and conversation.
Nine-tenths of the people in the world who complain of being poor and failures are headed in the wrong direction, headed right away from the condition or thing they long for. What they need is to be turned about so that they will face their goal instead of turning their backs on it by their destructive thinking and going in the other direction.
"Stop thinking trouble
if you want to attract its opposite; Refuse to have anything to do with
the things you fear, the things you do not want."
- O.S. Marden
The Morgans, the Wanamakers, the Marshall Fields, the Schwabs, think
prosperity, and they get it. They don't anticipate poverty; they don't
anticipate failure; they know they are going to be prosperous and
successful, because they have eliminated all doubt from, their minds.
Doubt is the factor which kills success, just as the fear of
failure kills prosperity. Everything is mental first, whether failure or
success. Everything passes through our consciousness before it is a
Multitudes of people who work hard and try hard in every way to get
on would be shocked if they could see a mental picture of themselves
headed toward the poorhouse, in fact, as they actually are in thought.
They do not know that, by an inexorable law, they must head toward their
mental attitude, that when they continually think and talk poverty and
suggest it by their slovenly dress, their personal appearance, and by
their environment, when they predict that there is nothing for them but
poverty, that they will always be poor, no matter how hard they may
They do not know that their doubts and fears and poverty-stricken
convictions are making prosperity impossible for them. They do not know
that as long as they hold such thoughts they cannot possibly head toward
the goal of prosperity.
"The man who sows failure thoughts, poverty thoughts, can no more
reap success, prosperity harvests, than a farmer can get a wheat crop
from sowing thistles. No matter how hard you may work, if you keep your
mind saturated with poverty thoughts, poverty pictures, you are driving
away the very thing you are pursuing."
- Orison Swett Marden
Prosperity Chapter III , continued...
The sum total of our life is that upon which we have concentrated.
If poverty or opulence, if success or failure, if prosperity or want
has occupied our minds, if we have focused our attention upon one of
these, that is just what we shall see incorporated in our life.
What you have, my friend, what you have surrounded yourself with, is a
reproduction of your thought, your faith, your belief in your efforts;
is what you have been conscious of.
Our thoughts, our faith, our beliefs, our efforts, all materialize,
and are objectified about us. Our words become flesh and live with us;
our thoughts, our emotions, become flesh and live with us; they become
our environment and surround us.
There is only one way to get away from poverty, and that is to turn
your back upon it. Begin right away by putting the poverty thought, the
poverty fear, out of your mind. Assume as far as possible a prosperous
appearance; think the way you want to go; expect to get what you are
after, the thing you long for, and you will get it.
Mentally and physically, in your clothing, in your surroundings, in
your home, in your bearing, erase, as far as you can, all marks of
poverty. Affirm with Wait Whitman, "I myself am good fortune."
Don't let slovenliness in your home, shabbiness in your children or
wife, be an unfavorable advertisement of you. The fear of poverty is its
greatest power. That is what gives it its stranglehold on the masses.
Get rid of your fear of it, my friend. Let the prosperity thought take
the place of the poverty thought, the poverty fear, in your mind. If you
have been unfortunate, don't advertise your discouragement. Brush up,
brace up, dress up, clean up; and above all — look up and think up!
Remember that a stream of plenty will not flow towards a
poverty-saturated thought. A pinched, stingy thought means scanty
supply. Thinking abundance, opulence, and defying limitations will open
up the mind and set the thought currents towards greatly increased
If all the poverty-stricken people in the world today would quit
thinking poverty, quit dwelling on it, worrying about it and fearing it;
if they would wipe the poverty thought out of their minds; if they
would cut off mentally all relations with poverty and substitute the
opulent thought, the prosperity thought, the mental attitude that faces
toward prosperity, the change in their condition would be amazing.
The Creator never made a man to be poor. There is nothing in his
constitution which fits drudgery and poverty. Man was made for
prosperity, happiness, and success. He was not made to suffer any more
than he was made to be insane or to be a criminal.
Thousands of people have literally thought themselves away from a
life of poverty by getting a glimpse of that great fundamental principle
— that we tend to realize in the life what we persistently hold in the
thought and vigorously struggle toward.
Don't think that by holding the constructive, creative thought only
now and then, or just when you may happen to feel like it, that it is
going to counteract the influence of holding the destructive thought
most of the time. Lots of people who treat for prosperity and opulence,
hold the want thought, the lack thought too, and that is the reason
their prayer is not answered. They get just the opposite, because that
is the thought, the expectation which predominates in the mind.
Our conviction is much stronger than our will power. No will power
can help you to do a thing when convinced that you can't. For instance,
if you are convinced that a fatal disease which you believe you have
inherited is overcoming you, this thought is infinitely stronger than
your will to prevent it.
We cannot get away from our convictions. These are being built into
the mind, being built into the life and character. If you are convinced
that you are going to be poor, that you are never going to be
prosperous, no matter how hard you may work, your convictions will
triumph and you will live and die in penury. A man will never be
anything but a beggar while he thinks beggarly thoughts.
If you are living in the thought of limitation, the conviction of
lack and want, the fear of poverty, the belief that you can never become
prosperous, you are holding yourself down, keeping yourself back. You
are sowing seed which must produce a harvest like itself.
The boy who sows his wild oats seed might as well expect to get just
the opposite harvest as for you to saturate your mind with poverty
thoughts, lack, want, limitation thoughts, and expect a prosperity
harvest. If you are thinking poverty-stricken thoughts, saturating your
mind with limitation thoughts, you must expect a corresponding harvest
and you will get it whether you expect it or not.
"It is doubting and
facing the wrong way, facing towards the black, depressing, hopeless
outlook that kills effort and paralyzes ambition."
In my youth one of the hardest things in the Bible for me to
understand was the statement, "To him that hath shall be given." I
couldn't reconcile this with the Bible. It seemed positively unjust. But
now I know that it illustrates a law. "To him that hath shall be
given," because in getting what he has a man has made his mind a magnet
to attract more.
On the other hand, "To him that hath little, that which he hath shall
be taken away," because he is headed in the wrong direction mentally.
He is closing the avenues of supply by his little thoughts, his doubts
and fears. He is in no mental condition to get more, to attract more.
If you want to demonstrate prosperity, you must think prosperity; you
must hold your mind everlastingly toward prosperity; you must saturate
your mind with it, just as a law student must saturate his mind with
law, must think it, must read it, must talk it, must keep with lawyers
and in a law atmosphere as much as possible, to be successful as a
It was intended that we should have an abundance of the good things
of the universe.
None of them are withheld from us except by our poverty-stricken mental
attitude. There is no more possible lack for a human being of all that
the heart can wish for than there is lack of water or food supply for
the fish in the great ocean. The fish swims in the ocean of supply, as
we swim in the great cosmic ocean of supply that is all around us.
All we have to do is to open our minds, our faith, our confidence, to
its reality, and use our intelligent effort to get all the good there
is in it, — that is everything we need and desire.
Orison Marden Books
Prosperity Chapter III
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