Prosperity Chapter IX
How To Make Your Dreams Come True
Prosperity Chapter IX:
When Gordon H. Selfridge, former manager of the Marshall Field
Company, went to London and there established a great department store
of the Marshall Field type, he took the final step in the
realization of a dream, which he had nursed for years.
Long before he stepped foot on the shores of England, he had had the
department store all worked out in his mind. He had built it mentally
before he crossed the Atlantic, and already in his mind's eye, saw it a
marvelous success. "I pictured the great crowds of customers headed toward my new store," he said, "and could see it full of eager buyers long before I went to England."
From the time that the idea of a department store in London took form
in his mind, Mr. Selfridge kept visualizing the completed structure. He
kept his dream alive and vivid by the determination to make it come
He would not allow it to be shattered, or let his idea be driven
out by doubts, fears, and uncertainties, or by the well meant advice of
his friends: to keep out of England because the English people were so
slow to new ideas that he would fail if he went there.
He didn't heed what they said, for he didn't believe that the English
people were so unprogressive as they thought. He believed that they
would respond to the American idea, the Marshall Field idea, and that
the methods which had proved so successful in the United States would
also be successful in England.
The amazing popularity of the Selfridge Department Store, which has
long been one of the sights of London, is but another proof that the
dreamer who dreams dreams and sees visions is always wiser than, and
always ahead of, the so-called practical, wise ones who discourage him
and try to turn him aside from his vision.
The men and women who, in all ages, have done great things in the
world have always been dreamers, have always seen visions, and always
pictured their dreams as realities; visualized themselves accomplishing
the things they were ambitious to do long before they were able to work
them out in the actual and make them realities.
Columbus, Stephenson, Charles Goodyear, Elias Howe, Robert Fulton,
Cyrus W. Field, Edison, Bell — all the great discoverers, scientists,
explorers, philanthropists, inventors, philosophers, who have pushed the
world forward and done immeasurable service to mankind, have visualized
their dreams, nursed their visions through long years, many of them in
the midst of poverty, persecution, ridicule, opposition, and contumely
of all sorts, until they brought their dreams to earth and made them
In making a study of the methods of successful men and women I have
found that they are almost invariably strong and vivid visualizers of
the things they are trying to accomplish. They are intense workers as
well as dreamers, and nurse their vision tenaciously until they match it
with reality. They build castles in the air, but they put the solid foundation of reality under them.
When Lillian Nordica was a poor girl, singing in the little church
choir in her native village in Maine, when even her own people thought
it a disgrace for a girl to appear on the stage, to sing in public
concerts or in opera, she was picturing herself a great prima donna
singing before vast audiences in her own country, in foreign capitals,
and before the crowned heads of Europe.
"The moment you resolve
to make your life dream come true, you have taken the first step
towards its realization, but you will stop there if your efforts cease."
- O.S. Marden
When young Henry Clay was practicing oratory before the domestic
animals in a Virginia barn and barnyard, he visualized himself swaying
vast audiences by his eloquence. When Washington was a lad of twelve he
pictured himself as a leader, rich and powerful, a man of vast
importance in the colonies, and the ruler of a nation he would help to
When the young John Wanamaker was delivering clothing in a pushcart,
in Philadelphia, he saw himself as the proprietor of a much larger
establishment than any then in that city. He saw beyond that and
glimpsed the Wanamaker of later days, the great powerful merchant, with
immense stores in the world's leading capitals.
Young Carnegie pictured himself a powerful figure in the steel world,
as did the youth Charles M. Schwab, even when an ordinary employee.
When working at the Homestead plant Schwab told Mr. Carnegie what he
wanted was not more salary, not a larger position as a mere employee;
that his ambition was to be a partner in the concern. That was the only
thing that would satisfy him.
Now this sort of visualizing is not mere vanity, or petty egotism,
it is the God urge in men pushing them out beyond themselves, beyond
what is visible to the physical eye, to better things.
The Scriptures tell us that without a vision the people perish. I
have never known a man to do anything out of the common, who was never
able to see beyond the visible into the vast invisible universe of the
things that might be; who did not keep clearly in his mind the vision of
the particular thing he was trying to accomplish.
It is the man who can visualize what does not yet exist in the
visible world about us and see it as a reality; the man who can see
thriving industries where others see no chance, no opportunities; the
man who sees teeming cities, great populations on the prairies where
others see only sagebrush, alkali plains, desolation; the man who sees
power, opulence, plenty, success, where others see only failure,
limitation, poverty, and wretchedness, who eventually pushes to the top
and wins out.
It was this sort of vision that made James J. Hill the great "empire
builder" of the Northwest. His dream of a great system of railroads that
would cause millions of fertile farms to spring up along their route
and make the desert blossom like a rose, was laughed at as a
visionary-scheme by many of those who were working for him when he died.
They were men who had never been able to make a place and a name for
themselves, because they had never learned that the great secret of
success lies in visualizing dreams and making them come true. Perhaps
they did not believe in their dreams, and put them out of their minds as
mere idle fancies.'
Many people seem to think that the imagination, or visualizing
faculty, is a sort of appendix to the brain, which it is not a
fundamental or necessary part of man, and they have never taken it very
seriously. But those of us who have studied mental laws know that it is
one of the most important functions of the mind.
We are beginning to discover that the power to visualize is a sort of
advance courier, making announcement of the things that the Creator has
qualified us to bring about. In other words, we are beginning to see
that our visions are prophecies of our future; mental picture programs,
which we are supposed to carry out, to make concrete realities.
"Keeping right after your ideals, nursing your visions, cultivating
your dreams, visualizing the thing you long for vividly, intensely, and
striving with all your might to match it with reality — this is what
makes life count."
- Orison Swett Marden
Prosperity Chapter IX , continued...
For instance, a youth whose bent is entirely in another direction is
not haunted by an architectural vision, an art vision, a mercantile
vision, or a vision of some other calling for which he has no natural
A girl does not dream of a musical career for years before she has
the slightest opportunity for taking up music as a career if she has no
musical talent, or if her ability in some other line is much more
pronounced. Boys and girls, men and women, are not haunted by dreams to
do what nature has not fitted them for.
We dream a particular dream, see a particular vision, because we have
the talent and the special ability to bring the dream, the vision, into
reality. Of course, I do not mean by dreams and visions the mere
fantasies, the vague, undefined thoughts that flit through the mind, but
our real heart longings, our soul yearnings, the mental pictures of a
future which haunts our dreams, and the insistent urge which prods us
until we try to match them with their reality, to bring them out into
the actual. There is a divinity behind these visions. They are
prophecies of our possible future; and nature is throwing up these
pictures on our mental screen to give us a glimpse of the possibilities
that are awaiting us.
One reason why most of us do such little, unoriginal things is
because we do not sufficiently nurse our visions and longings. The plan
of the building must come before the building. We climb by the ladder of
our visions, our dreams.
The sculptor's model must live in his own mind before he can call it
out of the marble. We do not half realize the mental force we generate
by persistently visualizing our ideal, by the perpetual clinging to our
dreams, the vision of the thing we long to do or to be.
We do not know that nursing our desires makes the mental pictures
sharper, more clean cut, and that these mental processes are completing
the plans of our future life building, filling in the outlines and
details, and drawing to us out of the invisible energy of the universe
the materials for our actual building.
There is no other one thing you will find so helpful in the
attainment of your ambition as the habit of visualizing what you are
trying to accomplish, visualizing it vividly, just as distinctly, just
as vigorously as possible, because this makes a magnet of the mind to
attract what one is after.
All about us we see young men focusing their minds with intensity and
persistence on their special aims and attracting to themselves
marvelous results. A medical student holds in his mind a vision of
himself as a great physician or surgeon, and in a few years we are
amazed at the size of his practice. He called it out of the great
universal supply by his perpetual visualizing, the constant intensifying
of his desire, and the unceasing struggle on the material plan to make
his dream come true.
Even if you are only a humble employee, visualize yourself as the man
you long to be; see yourself in the exalted position you long to
attain, a man of importance and power carrying weight in your community.
No matter if you are only an errand boy or a clerk, see yourself as a
partner in your concern, or a proprietor of a business of your own.
There is nothing more potent in drawing your heart's desire to you than
visualizing that desire, dreaming your dream, seeing yourself as the
ideal man of your vision, filling the position in which your ambition
would place you.
Visualize yourself doing what you desire most, and work with all
your might for the attainment of your object on the physical plane, and
nothing can hinder your success. These are the means, consciously or
unconsciously adopted, by which every successful man has ultimately
attained his heart's desire.
Reading and thinking, visualizing and working along the lines of his
ambition, the boy, Thomas Alva Edison, at the very first opportunity,
when a newsboy on the Grand Trunk Railway, begins to actualize his
desires by experimenting with chemicals in a baggage car which he had
fitted up as a laboratory. He clings to his vision constantly,
visualizes his dream of the magic possibilities of electricity; goes on
discovering, experimenting, inventing, until we find him the world's
greatest electrical inventor, the "Wizard of Menlo Park," His mind,
working in harmony with Divine Mind, has wrought marvelous inventions
out of the great cosmic intelligence, which is packed with potencies for
those who can visualize with intensity and work with constancy.
"Dreams are true while they last, And do not we live in dreams?"
What Edison has done, what all aspiring souls have done to make their dreams come true, you can do. Cling to your vision and work.
There is a power in man, back of the flesh, but not of it, working in
harmony with the Divine Intelligence in the great cosmic ocean of
energy, of limitless supply, that is, today, performing miracles in
invention, in agriculture, in commerce, in industry.
This power, which is creative and everywhere operative, is destined
to lift every created thing up to the peak of its possibilities. It is
latent in you, awaiting expression, awaiting your cooperation to realize
The first step toward utilizing this power is to visualize the ideal
of what you want to make real, the ideal of the man or the woman you aim
to be, and the things you want to do. Without this initial step the
further process of creating is impossible.
No matter what happens, always hold fast to the thought that you
can be what you long to be; that you can do the thing you want to do,
and picture yourself always as succeeding in what you desire to come
true in your life.
No matter how urgent duties or obligations may for a time hold you
back, how circumstances and conditions may contradict the possibility of
your success; how people, even your own people, may blame or
misunderstand you, may even call you a crank, crazy, a conceited
egotist, hold fast to your faith in your dream, in yourself.
Cling to your vision, nurse it, for it is the God-inspired model by which He is urging you to shape your life.
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