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Prosperity Chapter VIII:
When Frank A. Vanderlip, former president of the National City Bank, New York, was a reporter on the Chicago "Tribune," he asked his chief to tell him what he thought would be the greatest help to a man struggling to succeed. "Look as if you had already succeeded" was the prompt reply.
This made a great impression upon young Vanderlip and completely changed some of his ideas on the subject, especially in regard to dress. From that time he began to spruce up, to be more particular about his general appearance. His chief had opened his eyes to the great value of appearances, especially in making a first impression. He became convinced that if a man did not look prosperous, people would think he did not have the right ambition or the ability to succeed; that there must be something the matter with him or he would dress better and make a better appearance.
Charles W. Eliot, President-emeritus of Harvard, said that much of one's success would depend on others' opinion of him, of those to whom he, perhaps, had never spoken a word, had never even seen. One's reputation travels by various routes in every direction and, according to its nature, will have a big influence on one's career.
It is a great thing to form a habit of going through the world giving the impression to everybody that you are a winner, that you are bound to be somebody — to stand for something worth while in the world.
Let this idea stand out in everything you do, in your conversation, your appearance. Let everything about you make the world say, "He is a winner; keep your eye on him."
If you are anxious to win out in a large way, cultivate the bearing of success, the appearance of a successful man. If you carry about with you a defeated, poorhouse atmosphere; if your appearance suggests slovenliness, slipshodness, the lack of system and order, the lack of energy, of push, of the progressive spirit, you can't expect others to think you are an efficient, up-to-date person, someone who is actively pushing to the front.
Of course every employer knows that it sometimes happens that a shabbily dressed man, with baggy trousers and soiled linen, may have a lot of good stuff in him, but they don't expect it. The chances of finding a very valuable employee with such an advertisement of himself is so small that most men won't take the risk.
Your dress, your bearing, your conversation, your conduct, should all square with your ambition. All of these things are aids to your achievement, and you cannot afford to ignore any one of them. The world takes you at your own valuation. If you assume the victorious attitude toward it, it will give you the right of way.
One reason why it is so difficult for many young people to get a start, to get on, comes from the fact that they do not create in others the impression of power, of the force that achieves, that does things. They do not realize how much their reputation has to do with their getting on in the world. They do not realize that other people's confidence is a tremendous force.
A great physician or lawyer gets his reputation largely from the impression which he makes upon people, not only in the way he performs the duties of his profession, but also in his general attitude.
We weigh, measure, and estimate people by the impression they make upon us, everything considered. The victorious attitude inspires confidence in others as well as in oneself. Its psychological effect is compelling. Walk, talk, and act as though you were already the man you long to be, and you are unconsciously putting into operation unseen forces that bend circumstances to the accomplishment of your will.
Let your air be that of a winner, of a man who is resolved to make his way in the world — to make himself stand for something.
Put energy and life into your step; vim, force, vitality, pep into every movement of your body. Look straight forward; never wince. Don't apologize for taking up room on the earth which might be filled to better advantage by another; you have just as much right here as any other human being, if you are making good, and if you are not making good you should be.
No matter what comes to you, defeat, threatened failure, never lose your victorious consciousness. Let people read this declaration in your bearing, in your life generally: "I am a winner; I have not shown the white feather. I have not shirked; I have done my part; I have not been a sneak; I have not been a thief or a cheat, wearing and using what others have earned and giving nothing back in return. I have done my part and can hold up my head and look the world in the face!"
"Walk, talk, and act as though you were a somebody, and you are much more likely to become such."
- O.S. Marden
The more trying your situation, the harder the way looks to you, the
darker the outlook, the more necessary it is to carry that victorious
consciousness. If you carry the down-and-out expression, if you confess
by your very face that you are beaten, or that you expect to be, you are
The victorious idea of life, not the failure idea; the triumphant, not the thwarted, ambition is the thing to keep ever uppermost in the mind, for it is this that will lead you to the goal you aspire to reach.
Have faith in your God-given power to succeed in a worthy ambition. Concentrate your efforts on its realization, and nothing on earth can keep you back from success. Such a mental attitude will make you a winner from the start, because you always head toward your thought, toward your conviction of yourself.
The conviction that you are born to win is a tremendous creative force in your life, just as the conviction that you are a failure will keep you down till you change the model of yourself. Life is not a losing game. It is always victorious when properly played. It is the players who are at fault.
God did not make a man to be a failure. He made him to be a glorious success. The great trouble with all failures is that they were not started right. It was not drilled into the very texture of their being in youth that what they would get out of life must be created mentally first, and that inside the man, inside the woman, is where the great creative processes of all that we realize in our careers are carried on.
- Orison Swett Marden
Most of us depend too much upon the things outside of us, upon other people, when the mainspring of life, the power that moves the world of men and things, is within us.
Think what it would mean to the world today if all the people who look upon themselves as nobodies and failures, dwarfs of what they might have been and ought to be, would get this triumphant idea of life into them! If they could once get a glimpse of their own possibilities, and would assume the victorious, the triumphant, attitude, they would revolutionize the world.
How many people form the chronic habit of indulging in frequent fits of depression! They allow the "blues" an easy entrance to their minds, in fact, are always at home to them, and are susceptible to every form of discouragement that comes along. Every little setback, every little difficulty, sends them into the "blues" and they will say "What's the use!" As a result their work is poor and ineffective, and they do not attract the things they desire.
Every time you give way to discouragement, every time you are blue, you are going backward, your destructive thoughts are tearing down what you have been trying to build. One fit of discouragement, visualizing failure or poverty-stricken conditions, will rapidly destroy the result of much triumphant thought building. Your creative forces will harmonize with your thoughts, your emotions and moods; they will create in sympathy with them.
Saturate your mind with hope, the expectation of better things, with the belief that your dreams are coming true!
Be convinced that you are going to win out; let your mind rest with success thoughts. Don't let the enemies of your success and happiness dominate in your mind or they will bring to you the condition that they represent. Destroy the thoughts, and emotions and convictions which tend to destroy your hope, your ambitions, to tear down the results of your past building. If you don't they will create more failure, more poverty. If you want to realize success, think creative, successful conditions.
Set your character and your whole life towards triumph, towards victory. Hold the victorious thought towards yourself, towards your future, towards your career; it will tend to create the conditions favorable to the carrying out of your ambition, the fulfilling of your desires.
"Go boldly, go serenely, go augustly;
Who can withstand thee then!"
I know of nothing that gives more satisfaction than the consciousness that we have formed the habit of winning, the habit of victory, the habit of carrying a victorious mental attitude, of walking, acting, talking, looking like a winner, a conqueror. That sort of attitude always keeps the dominant, helpful qualities in the fore, always in the ascendancy.
One of the most obstinate habits to overcome in mature life, and one fatal to efficiency, is the habit of being defeated. Never allow yourself to fall into it. You may learn a lesson from every defeat that will make a new stepping-stone to your ambition.
Success is every human being's normal condition; he was made for success; he is a success machine, and to be a failure is to pervert the intention of his Creator.
Every youth should be taught to assume a triumphant attitude towards life, to carry himself like a winner, because he was made to win. No child is really educated until he has learned to live a victorious life. That is what real education spells, victory. The habit of winning out in whatever we undertake can be formed almost as easily as the habit of being defeated, and every victory helps us to win other victories.
From the cradle a child should be taught that he is divine, a god in the making, and that he should hold up his head and go forth with confidence, because he is destined for something superb.
Teach the child that he came to the earth with a message for mankind, and that he should deliver it like an ambassador. Show him that wrestling with difficulties is like practicing in a gymnasium where every victory over his muscles makes him so much stronger, and makes the next attempt so much surer and easier. Let him fully understand that every problem solved in school, every errand promptly and courteously performed, every piece of work superbly done, is just so much more added to, his winning power, to the strength of his success possibilities.
"Let victory speak from your face and express itself in your manner, your conversation, your bearing."
The great prizes of life are for the courageous, the dauntless, the
self-confident. The man who is timid and hesitating, who stops to listen
to his fears, lets many a good opportunity pass beyond his reach.
If you find you are inclined to be timid; if you lack courage and initiative; if you are too bashful to speak or express your opinions when it is desired; if you blush, and stammer, and are awkward when you would appear calm and self-possessed, you can overcome your defects and build up the qualities you lack by training your subjective self to be courageous, unembarrassed, at your ease in any surroundings. Constantly suggest courage and heroism to this inner self. Stoutly deny that you are timid, cowardly, afraid to speak or to be natural in public or before anyone. Assert that you are brave, that you are not afraid to do anything that it is right and proper you should do.
Practice walking about among your fellows as though you were brave, courageous, self-confident, perfectly sure of yourself, as capable of carrying on a conversation creditably, or of entering a room gracefully as you are of discharging your daily duties.
Hold the triumphant thought towards your future, towards your ideal, your dream. Carry the atmosphere of the victor. Learn to radiate power. Let everything about you bespeak confidence, strength, masterfulness, victory. Let everybody who has anything to do with you see that you are a born winner.
You must not go about as though life had been a disappointment, as though you had no special ambition in life. If you want to stand for anything unusual; if you want to carry weight in the world; if you want to make your neighbors proud that you live near them, you must brace up in every respect.
Keep yourself up to standard. Don't go about like a failure, like a nobody. Don't go about in a sloppy, slovenly way. Dress up, brace up, look up, struggle up!
Let the world see, as you walk about, that you think well of yourself, and that there is a reason for it. Let people see that you are conscious you are on a superb mission, playing a superb part in the great life game. You will soon begin to see the thing you are looking for instead of the thing you are afraid of, and will find your dreams coming true.