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Prosperity Chapter XVII:
The son of a poor Welsh schoolmaster, without advantage of birth or fortune, without pull or influence of any kind, David Lloyd George succeeded in raising himself to the highest position in the British Empire.
As Prime Minister of England, he ranks next to King George, while his power and responsibility greatly over-top that of the King or any other man in the empire.
Before the boy was two years old, his father died. His mother then took her family to live with her brother, Richard Lloyd, a humble cobbler. The cobbler's shop was a sort of political forum for working men of the neighborhood, and there young David got his early training in politics.
In his teens he studied law, and at the age of twenty-one began to practice. But long before he was admitted to the bar, when he first visited the House of Commons, he made up his mind that that was to be his future domain, and then and there resolved to enter parliament.
With all the vigor and tenacity of his nature he concentrated on his ambition, with what result the world knows. One of the ablest and most brilliant statesmen England has produced; he is today the most dominant figure in world affairs.
What David Lloyd George has done in his field you can do in yours, as millions of others have done, by the same means, — concentration.
There is no more powerful magnet in the world for attracting the thing we desire, no force more effective in realizing the ambition we long to attain than concentration. It has been the chief factor in all the great achievements of history. It is the cornerstone of success in every line; the principle upon which all progress is based.
All the inventions, all the discoveries, all the modem facilities, which the world enjoys are the children of focused minds. Whatever you long to be, or to have, you can be, you can have, by focusing your mind and concentrating your efforts on that one thing.
When Franz Liszt, the great composer, was a mere youth, his elder brother chided him for spending his time on music and told him that he himself was going to be a great landowner. The would-be landowner scorned his young brother's musical bent, holding that a talent for music would only ruin a man. Franz, however, stuck to his bent, and even ran away several times in order to gratify the ambition for a musical career, which was discouraged at home.
Years later when the elder brother had become a wealthy landowner he called on Franz, who was still a struggling musician. Not finding him at home he left his card which bore the inscription, "Herr Liszt, Landowner." When more years had passed and the young composer had finally won out, he returned the call of his landowner brother and presented his card, which read, "Herr Liszt, Brain-owner."
Aside from the humor of this little story, the point is that each of the brothers got what he concentrated on; the one became a wealthy landowner, the other a world-famed musician and composer.
If your ambition is like that of the elder brother, to become a wealthy landowner, a prosperous man of affairs, then you must concentrate on prosperity, on the acquisition of wealth in some form.
We all know men who seem to attract money from every direction. Everything they touch turns to money, as we say, while others who work just as hard for the same end have no success at all. The different results are due to the difference in intensity and persistence of concentration.
"One great cause of failure of young men in business is lack of concentration"
- O.S. Marden
The natural, the born money-maker thinks in terms of money; he is
making money mentally all the time, so to speak, because his mind is
focused on money. He is always nursing his money vision. He is positive
in his conviction that he will make money, will be wealthy, and he
concentrates on his object with such intensity and singleness of aim
that he literally creates money.
The man who wants money, but who doesn't concentrate intensely on getting it; who doesn't believe very much in his ability to get it, who fears he will never be even what we call a well-to-do man, is like one who wants to be successful, but is always thinking about failure, worrying about it, fearing, believing, that he never will become a success. Or like a man of average ability who should scatter his forces in a dozen different directions, hoping that by chance he might manage to succeed in some one of them.
There is no such thing as succeeding in anything by chance. The greatest genius in the world never created a masterpiece in any line — by chance. Concentration is the master key to all success. It is the fundamental law of achievement. The man who does not concentrate will be either a half success, a mediocrity, or a complete failure.
The French have a proverb, "He who does one thing is terrible." In other words, he who sticks to one thing is irresistible. No matter if a world opposed his progress he would forge his way through to his goal. It was bending all his energies to the accomplishment of his purpose that made Napoleon one of the most notable figures in history. His intense concentration on his one unwavering aim enabled him to write his name on the very stones of the capital of France; to stamp it indelibly upon the heart of every Frenchman. Even today, a century after his death, France, though a republic, is still under the spell of Napoleon's name.
"To make a success of the shoe business is my one great ambition," said the head of one of the largest shoe houses in the world not long ago. "I am not a director or trustee of any bank. I do not scatter my energies. I don't pretend to know many things, but I do know something about the shoe business. I have put my ability, my energy, my life into the work of making good shoes"
This man, who began life on the lowest round of the ladder, without capital or influence, built up a business which keeps a force of two hundred traveling salesmen on the road today and is turning over some $25,000,000 a year.
Emerson says, "The one prudence in life is concentration; the one evil is dissipation." Scattering our energies, dissipating our creative force, failing to bring our mind to a focus and to hold it there, is responsible for nine-tenths of the failures in life and most of the poverty of the world.
- Andrew Carnegie
I know one of those dissipaters who generates more new ideas and outlines more new schemes than anyone else I have ever met. Yet he has never accomplished anything more than the making of a meager living, because he never sticks long enough to any one thing to make it go. His brain power and all of his energy are scattered in following one new thing after another without ever carrying any of them forward to completion.
Every time I talk with him he amazes me with the fertility of his mind, his resourcefulness in developing original ideas, many of which would prove valuable if they were only put into execution, but they never get beyond the mental stage. The concentration necessary to bring them down to earth, to put them to work, is lacking.
There are thousands like this man, getting small salaries in very ordinary positions, whose knowledge of a dozen different occupations, concentrated in one line, would have made them efficient specialists.
Everywhere we find men who early in life studied law, medicine, theology, who taught school a few years, worked in a store a little, took a hand at railroading, did a little business, traveled for some house, and finally settled down at one thing, only to find that their training years, the years of largest opportunity, when they were susceptible to discipline, had gone by.
No matter how brilliant or versatile you may be you cannot afford to divide your ability, to throw away valuable experience in jumping from one vocation to another. If you would succeed in a worth-while way, you must be a whole man with undivided interests, able to fling the weight of your entire being into one calling.
No one is large enough to be split up into many parts; and the sooner a man can stamp this truth upon his mind the better his chances for being a profitable member of society.
Elbert Hubbard says: "The master man is a person who has evolved intelligent industry, concentration, self-confidence until these things become the habit of his life."
Coleman Dupont furnished a good example of the master-man at a critical stage in the affairs of the Dupont Powder Company. When he was called to the head of the business it was losing ground rapidly, but through his amazing industry and concentration, backed by confidence in his ability to do what he undertook, he very soon turned the tide and headed the company toward success. When an interviewer asked Mr. Dupont how he did this, he said: "I talked powder, I ate powder, I dreamed powder. I thought of little else but powder." This concentration on one unwavering aim built up an enormous institution of world-wide fame.
No matter what your business, trade, or profession, you cannot make a mistake in following Mr. Dupont's remarkable methods of concentration which make him a master-man in his line.
Think the thing you want; talk it; live it; breathe it; dream it; act it; radiate it from every pore of your body; saturate your life, with it; visualize it; believe that it is already yours. That's the only way to get anything of value in this world.
If we could only realize the marvelous power of thought, the creative force in concentration, the drawing power of intense visualizing, how much more we could accomplish! It is this, which really makes the mind a powerful magnet to attract what it desires, what it longs for most. Everywhere we see illustrations of the attractive force of positive, definite thought concentrated on one point.
"There is no more powerful magnet in the world for attracting the thing we desire, or in realizing the ambition we long to attain than concentration."
To demonstrate prosperity, you must concentrate on prosperity; you must hold the prosperity attitude; to demonstrate abundance, you must think abundance, just as you must think health, think vigor, if you would be healthy and vigorous. It is not enough to long for health; you must believe that you will be, that you already are, well and strong. You must expect it.
According to thy faith be it unto thee. You must hold in mind that thing, whatever it is, you wish to express in your life, and you must believe it will come. The student who is trying to become a lawyer saturates his mind with law. He thinks law, reads law, studies law, keeps his mind focused upon a future as a lawyer; keeps in a law atmosphere; he pictures himself practicing at the bar, a man of mark in his profession; he continually fills his life with the law ideal, and by the force of his powerful concentration fits himself for the practice of law.
The medical student must follow the same method; so must the aspirant to the ministry or any other vocation. And so must the aspirant to wealth.
You can't expect to become prosperous if you don't hold fast to the prosperity vision, if you don't believe with all your heart you are going to be prosperous. If your mind is occupied with something else most of the time; if it is filled with doubts about ever accumulating property or becoming prosperous in any line of business, don't deceive yourself with the idea that prosperity will come to you if you only work hard. It won't.
Nothing will come into your life except by the doorway of your thought, of your expectation, your faith. Concentration is indispensable to success in anything. As Dr. Julia Seaton says: "Concentration is the vital essence of all life, and without it there is no real purpose, no real control. Upon the power of concentration more than upon any other one thing, depends" our law of attracting, controlling and mastering life's conditions."
If you feel discouraged because you are not getting on as you hoped you would, something is wrong. Your mind is not pulling in harmony with your effort on the physical plane. Something has arrested your progress, and that something is a mental stumbling-block which you yourself put in your path. You are not thinking yourself on, you are not putting yourself in the getting-on current by concentrating with confidence, with faith, along the line of your ambition.
Discouragement, doubt, a wavering, divided mind, the scattering of your efforts, something or other is neutralizing the force which would naturally take you to your goal. Perhaps you are frittering away your energies by giving your spare time to side-lines, trying to make a little success here, a little there, not giving the whole of yourself to your life work.
In Maine, the farmers say that it makes a horse a gawk to drive it without blinders, because its attention is drawn this way and that, which ruins the animal's gait and speed. Many a man has been ruined by not confining himself within sufficiently narrow limits to give concentration and direction to his energies.
Said Andrew Carnegie: "One great cause of failure of young men in business is lack of concentration. They are prone to seek outside investments, side-lines. The cause of many a surprising failure lies in so doing. Every dollar of capital and credit, every business thought, should be concentrated upon the one business upon which a man has embarked. He should never scatter his shot. It is a poor business which will not yield better returns for increased capital than any outside investment. No man or set of men or corporation can manage a businessman's capital as well as he can manage it himself. The rule, 'Do not put all your eggs in one basket,' does not apply to a man's life-work."
Don't be afraid of being known as a man of one idea. The men who have moved the world have been men of this kind.
It is the man who has his purpose burned into every fiber of his being, who has the faculty of focusing his scattered energies on one point as a burning glass focuses the scattered rays of the sun, which succeeds.
"When I have a subject in hand I study it profoundly," said Alexander Hamilton. "Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the success I make, the people are pleased to call genius. It is the fruit of thought and labor."
Concentration without genius will accomplish more than genius without concentration.