Prosperity Chapter XIV

Self-Faith And Prosperity

Prosperity Chapter XIV: 

A Colossal faith in himself, a sublime self-confidence that never wavered in any situation, was the great secret of Theodore Roosevelt's many-sided success, for he believed in Roosevelt, as Napoleon believed in Napoleon.

There was nothing timid or half-hearted about Napoleon. He went at everything he undertook with that gigantic assurance, that tremendous confidence, that whole-hearted belief in his power to do the thing that half wins the battle before it begins.

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Without any pretension to genius, as he himself said, with only the qualities of the average man, by intensive application he so developed every power of mind and body that he raised himself head and shoulders above the average man.

"According to thy faith be it unto thee," is just as scientific in the world of affairs as any demonstrated truth of science. Whether your ambition be to build up a great business, to accumulate a fortune, to win political power and influence, to make a great name in science, in politics, in journalism, in whatsoever field your bent inclines, a superb faith in yourself is the imperative price.

Most of the people in the great down-and-out army failed because they lacked faith in themselves. They doubted their power to make good. They did not believe enough in themselves, while they believed too much in circumstances and in help from other people.

They waited for luck, waited for outside capital, for a boost, for influence, for a pull, for someone or something outside of them to help them. They depended too much upon everything else but themselves. And now they remain in the great failure army because they are not willing to pay the price for what they want, or they haven't the courage to try again. They lack that which faith gives — bulldog grit, tenacity, determination.

Self-confidence has ever been the best substitute for friends, pedigree, influence, and money. It is the best capital in the world; it has mastered more obstacles, overcome more difficulties, and carried through more enterprises than any other human quality. It has made more American millionaires than any other human force or quality.

It was the ambition to succeed, backed by the "I can and I will" spirit of self-confidence that enabled a poor boy, after repeated and disheartening failures, to give New York City its most beautiful business structure — the Woolworth Building. Foreign architects have pronounced this one of the most beautiful in the world, "a dream in stone."

The man who brought it into being was Frank W. Woolworth. Born on a small farm in New York State, this man had no other heritage than a sound body and the native grit and self-reliance which have carried so many Americans to their goal.

He began his career in a little grocery store, in the corner of a freight shed, owned by the station-master at Great Bend, N.Y. There he acted as grocery clerk and assistant station-master without pay. His first salary in a larger store was $3.50 a week. In spite of persistent hard work for years, disappointment and failures were the only visible results of his efforts. But in spite of hard luck and desperate poverty he hung on until fortune smiled, and then he began to establish the Woolworth five and ten cent stores, with the result that before his death, a few years ago, he had over a thousand stores with a capital of $65,000,000, giving employment to many thousands of people.

"It is the men and women with a stupendous faith, a colossal self-confidence, who do the great deeds, accomplish the "impossible."

- O.S. Marden

Woolworth had also erected the great Woolworth Building, and, overtopping all, he had built a manly, lovable character. He left an example of honest success, wrung from the hardest conditions, that will be an inspiration to every youth who has an ambition to lift himself from poverty to power, while at the same time rendering great service to the world.

Henry Ford is another American who started in life with nothing but brain power and a belief in Henry's ability to do the thing he wanted to do. After many ups and downs, working first as a youth on the home farm near Detroit, later as a machinist, and as chief engineer of the Edison Illuminating Company, always plugging away in his spare time, developing the invention on which he began to work as a small boy, his farm tractor, he had passed the age of forty before he made acquaintance with success.

Indeed, at forty he was supposed by those who could not gauge his character, his indomitable will, his faith in himself and his power to wring victory from defeat, to be a failure. But he was even then engaged in organizing the Ford Motor Company and well started on the way to the phenomenal success that has made his name known all over the world.

Now, at fifty-eight, Mr. Ford, many times a millionaire, is the head of an army of over 80,000 industrial workers, besides many others indirectly identified with his interests. He is owner of thirty-five manufacturing plants in the United States. The largest of these, which is at Highland Park, Detroit, employs 40,000 people in making Ford cars, while at the River Rouge, plant, nine miles from Detroit, auto parts and tractors are turned out. He has a $5,000,000 tractor plant at Cork, Ireland, also assembling plants at Cadiz, Copenhagen, Bordeaux, and Manchester, England, and two in South America.

In addition to all this, Mr. Ford owns The Dearborn Independent, a weekly publication, the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad, and a farm of 5,000 acres, west of Detroit, the food produce of which is sold to the employees of the Ford factories at cost prices. Nor is this industrial giant satisfied to stop here. His benevolent activities go hand in hand with his industrial achievements. His $5,000,000 hospital in Detroit, and his school for boys where they can "learn while they earn," are samples of what he is doing in this direction.

It is men of this type, men with one hundred percent, of faith, who kill their doubts, strangle their fears, get up every time they fall and push to the front regardless of obstacles, who win out in life.

As long as you live in an atmosphere saturated with failure thought you cannot do the biggest thing possible to you, because you cannot have a hundred percent, of faith; and, remember, that your achievements, your success, will depend upon the percentage of your faith in yourself and in what you are trying to do.

A great many of those who fail in life, or who attain only mediocre positions, keep themselves back by self-depreciation, by a lack of faith in their own powers, the suggestion of their own inferiority. Nothing is more detrimental to success than this sort of mental attitude. 

"You may succeed when others do not believe in you, when everybody else denounces you even, but never when you do not believe in yourself."

The instant you acknowledge that you are incapable of doing the thing you attempt to do, or that anything can permanently block the way to the goal of your ambition, you set up a barrier to your success that no amount of hard work can remove. "He can who thinks he can", holds true in every situation of life.

When some one asked Admiral Farragut if he were prepared for defeat, he said: "I certainly am not. Any man who is prepared for defeat would be half defeated before he commenced."

It makes a great difference whether you go into a thing to win, with clenched teeth and resolute will; whether you are prepared at the very outset to make your fortune, to succeed in your business or profession, to put through the thing you have set your heart on, or whether you start in with the idea that you will begin and work your way along gradually, and continue if you do not find too many obstacles, but that if all doesn't go well there is always a way to back out.

To go into a thing determined to win, to feel that self-assurance, that inward sense of power that makes one master of the situation, is half the battle; while, on the other hand, to be prepared for defeat; to anticipate it is, just as Admiral Farragut said, to be half defeated before one commences. You must burn all your bridges behind you, leaving no temptation to retreat when things look black ahead.

"Faith increases confidence, carries conviction, multiplies ability. It doesn't think or guess. It is not discouraged or blinded by mountains of difficulties, because it sees through them — sees the goal beyond." 

- Orison Swett Marden

Prosperity Chapter XIV , continued...

The men who built up America's great industries and made enormous fortunes — the Peabodys, the Astors, the Goulds, the Vanderbilts, the Morgans, the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Schwabs, the Hills, the Fords, the Marshall Fields, the Wanamakers, — all the people who have done and are doing big things in the world, — not only had the faith which does the "impossible" but they have been exacting trainers of themselves.

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They do not handle themselves with gloves. They hold themselves right up to stern discipline. They do not allow dawdling, idling; they put a ban on laziness, indifference, vacillation; they fix their eye on the goal and sacrifice everything which interferes with their ambition, everything which stands in the way of the larger success.

They know that he who is enamored of his easy chair, who thinks too much of his comfort and ease, his good times with his companions evenings, who thinks too much of the pleasures of the senses, will never get anywhere.

There is no possible way of defeating a human being who is victory organized.

If he has the faith that moves mountains, if he has winning stuff in him, he is going to win, no matter what stands in the way. There is no holding him down, because, in addition to his unswerving belief in himself, he is ready to pay to the last cent the price that even the most gifted among men must pay for success.

Nothing is denied to one who is willing to pay the price for it. Only your own inertia, your own lack of faith in yourself, your own lack of push and determination, can thwart your ambition. Your longings are the proofs that you can back them up with realities.

Faith makes light of obstacles, because it increases ability and multiplies power. Joan of Arc multiplied herself ten thousand times by her faith; multiplied her ability a million times by her conviction that she was God-ordained to restore the throne of France and drive the enemy from her soil. She was ready to make any sacrifice to save her country, and every sacrifice she made, every obstacle she overcame, made her stronger to accomplish the great task she had undertaken.

Without work we know that faith is of no avail. Everything depends on the "hustle" with which we back it.

The only real power one ever gains is won in the struggle to overcome obstacles. It is the effort of brain and muscle put forth in the actual doing of the thing, the downright hard working, the vigorous thinking and planning that make the strong man, the man who reaches the goal of his ambition.

"No matter what your need is, put it into the hands of faith. Do not ask how, or why, or when. Just do your level best, and have faith, which is the great miracle worker of the ages."

It was everlasting hustling, added to his indomitable self-confidence that made Alfred Harmsworth, now Lord Northcliffe, one of the wealthiest men in England, and one of the most successful publishers in the world.

In an interview he said, "I feel that whatever position I have attained is due to focusing my energies and time. When I went into journalism I made up my mind that I would master the business of editing and publishing. This is a vast specialty, but then I was very young and had a good deal of self-confidence."

This self-confidence was one of his most marked characteristics even as a boy. When only fifteen, while attending an English grammar school, he started a little school paper in which he said: "I have it on the best authority that this paper is to be a marked success." And a marked success it proved, as has every enterprise to which this hustling, self-confident journalist has put his hand.

At twenty-one young Harmsworth started in the regular publishing business with a little weekly called "Answers," which was also a success. Before he had reached the age of thirty he was a millionaire publisher and at thirty-six he was the head of the largest publishing business in the world. Today Lord Northcliffe, who is regarded as one of the most powerful and influential men in England, is worth a great many million dollars, besides owning two million dollars worth of paper-making timberland in Newfoundland.

We get in this life whatever we concentrate upon with all our might and main. Our success or failure is in our own hands.

Many who are complaining that the door to success is locked and barred against them, because they are too poor to get an education, or they have no one to help them to get the position they desire, are not succeeding, are not getting the thing they want, because they are not willing to make the necessary effort to succeed.

They are not willing to do the hard work, not willing to get right down on their marrow bones and hustle. They may have faith in their ability, but they haven't the energy to put the ability to work and make it do things for them. They want someone else to do the pushing, to make things happen for them. No man ever climbed to success on another's back. He must hustle, make things happen himself, or fail.

"Faith unlocks the door to power."

Joseph Pulitzer, a young boy who came to America from Germany, was so poor when he landed he had to sleep on the benches in City Hall Park, New York, in front of the space now occupied by the World Building, which he built later. This poor youth had so much faith and so much energy that he made millions out of a paper which was pretty nearly a failure in the hands of the people from whom he bought it.

No matter how humble your position, though you be but a section hand on a railroad, a street cleaner, a day laborer or a messenger boy, if you have faith in yourself, in your vision, and back up your faith with downright hard work, nothing can keep you from realizing your vision.

A fortune is accumulated by the same means that make a man a successful musician, or politician, or inventor. Faith and work have magic in them. It is faith that leads the way in all undertakings. It is the divine faculty which connects men with the great Source of all supply, the Source of all intelligence, the Source of all power, of all possibilities.

If you only have faith, one hundred percent, faith in yourself, in your life work, in anything you undertake, you cannot fail.


I am that which is back of all achievement, which has led the way to success, to happiness, through the ages.

I crossed an unknown ocean with Columbus, who without me would never have discovered America.

I was with Washington at Valley Forge; and but for me he would not have succeeded in liberating the American colonies and making them a nation.

I went through the Civil War with Lincoln, and guided his pen when he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation that freed millions of human beings from slavery.

I was with the English patriots who forced King John to sign that great charter of human rights — the Magna Charta.

I was back of those who forced the French Revolution — and of those who signed the American Declaration of Independence.

I was with Christ when all his disciples and friends had fled; and I cheered and comforted the martyrs at the stake — all the men and women who gave their lives to maintain the truths lie taught.

I crossed the ocean with Cyrus W. Field fifty times before his great undertaking, the ocean cable, was perfected. I was on the ship with him when the cable parted in mid-ocean, after the first message had passed over it, and gave him courage to persist when the work had to be done all over again.

I am the locksmith who can unlock all doors, whom no obstacle can hold back, no difficulty or disaster dishearten, no misfortune swerve from my purpose.

I am a friend to the down-and-outs, the unfortunates, those to whom life has been a great disappointment. If these people would take hold of me I would turn them around so that they would face their goal and go toward it instead of turning their back on it and going in the opposite direction; they would face the sun and let the shadows fall behind instead of in front of them as in the past.

I am a booster, an optimist, one who always sees something of hope in every human being, for I know that there is a God in every one; that men and women are gods in the making; that they are all capable of doing infinitely more, infinitely better things, than they have yet done.

No matter how bad the conditions which confront me, I wear a smile, for I know that the sun is always behind the clouds and that after a time the storm will pass and the sun will shine again.

I see triumph beyond temporary defeat. I look past obstacles which discourage most people, for 1 know that they become smaller as one approaches them; and experience has shown me that but a very small fraction of the things which people dread, fear, and worry about ever happen.

If you know me, if you believe in me, work with me, cling to me, no matter how full of failures and disappointments your past has been, I will help you to overcome adverse conditions and crown you with success, for I conquer all difficulties.


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