Prosperity Chapter XXI
As A Man Expecteth So Is He
Prosperity Chapter XXI:
When I was graduated from a New Hampshire academy my greatest
stimulus to further endeavor was my favorite teacher's belief in me.
Taking me by the hand at parting, as he bade me good-bye, he said:
There is only one thing more stimulating, more helpful, in the
struggle for success, than the knowledge that others — our teachers, our
parents, our friends and relatives — believe in us and expect great
things of us; that is, to expect great things of ourselves.
The difference between what two people get out of life, what they
accomplish, and what they represent to others, depends upon the
difference in what they expect of themselves.
A general who goes into a battle expecting to be beaten will be
beaten. His expectation of defeat communicates itself to his army,
demoralizes it at the start, and makes it impossible for the men to do
their best. It is the same in the battle of life. To enter it with the
expectation of defeat, is to be defeated before you begin.
If you desire to succeed you must show your confident expectancy of
success in your very presence. You must also live day by day in the very
soul of expectancy of splendid things which are coming to you.
Working for one thing and expecting the opposite can bring only one
result — failure. Every time you say you don't expect ever to be
anything, or to get anything, or to accomplish anything worth while, you
are neutralizing the efforts you are making to be or to get or to do
what you want.
Our expectations must correspond with our endeavor. If we are
convinced that we are never going to be really happy, that we are
destined to plod along in discontent and wretchedness, to suffer all our
lives, we shall tend to get what we expect.
To be ambitious for happiness and yet always expect to be miserable,
to continually doubt our ability to get what we long for, whatever it
may be, is like getting on a train which is headed east when we wish to
go west. We must expect to go in the direction of our desire, of our
longing and effort. If you would succeed in what you are trying to do or
to be, you must turn your back upon failure, blot out of your mind
every thought, every picture, every suggestion of failure, and head
"We never can get more out of ourselves than we expect."
- O.S. Marden
When, through a series of reverses and disappointments, a man has
lost his grip upon himself, and feels convinced that he cannot possibly
get on his feet; when he expects nothing but failure, there is only one
thing you can do for him, — try to arouse his hope; to restore his lost
faith; to show him that, being divine, there is something in him which
can never fail; that he and his Maker are one, and that, working
together, they are a majority in any situation.
I have just received some manuscripts accompanied by a letter, in
which the writer says: "I know the enclosed are nothing like your
articles, for I couldn't write like you no matter how hard I might try. I
don't expect you will want to publish these, but thought I would send
them along because of the possibility that you might."
Now, at the very outset, this writer prejudiced me against his
articles by his self-expressed inferiority and the suggestion that they
were not worth publishing, and would probably be returned. It was as
though a young man should start out in a disheartened mood to look for a
job, discouragement in his face and in his every action, and should say
to a prospective employer: "I don't think you will hire me; I didn't
expect any luck when I came in, but thought I would try. I haven't much
confidence in myself, and don't know that I can do work along this line.
I doubt very much if I should suit you. Still I will try my best if you
want to give me a chance, though I don't believe you will, for I never
have any luck in hunting jobs."
This may sound ridiculous, but it expresses the mental attitude which
multitudes of people hold toward the thing they long for and are
striving to attain. They never expect to succeed in anything they
undertake; never expect to be comfortable, to say nothing of having the
luxuries and refinements of life. They expect only failure and poverty,
and do not understand that this very expectancy increases the power of
their mental magnet to attract these things, even though they are trying
to get away from them.
I was recently talking with a man who is a good illustration of what
this mental attitude does for us. He told me that for many years he had
been working very hard, with no vacations, no let up in his efforts;
that he worked holidays and most of his Sundays, and yet had never gotten anywhere and never expected to; that, in fact,
things seemed to be in a conspiracy to disappoint and defeat him. "Of
course you haven't succeeded, my friend, because you never expected to,"
I said to myself. "Moreover, you never gave yourself a chance. Holding
your nose to the grindstone all this time, fearing and expecting
poverty, failure, disappointment, limitation, defeat in everything, has
made you a magnet for these things and drawn you into a failure rut."
"We ask little things, we expect little things, and thus we limit our supply."
We don't necessarily get what we work for; it is what we expect
that comes to us. What you fear, as well as what you long for, is headed
All your fears, all your doubts, all your failure thoughts are taking
shape in your life, molding conditions to their likeness; and no matter
how hard you work for the thing you want, if you hold constantly in
mind negative, discouraged thoughts; if you expect failure instead of
success, evil instead of good, it is what you expect that will come to
you. In other words, your thought is the creative force that molds and
determines the conditions of your life.
"There is a tremendous power in the habit of anticipating good
things, of believing that we shall realize our ambition; that our dreams
will come true. Multitudes limit their success at the very outset by
anticipating bad things, expecting that they are going to fail, that
their dreams will never be realized."
- Orison Swett Marden
Prosperity Chapter XXI , continued...
"You must have birds in your heart, Madam, before you can find them
in the bushes," said John Burroughs, the great naturalist, to a woman
who complained that no birds ever came to her orchard, while he counted a
score or more there, even while she uttered her complaint.
It is what you hold in your heart, what you believe will manifest
itself to you, that comes into your life. No one can accomplish anything
great in this world who is confident that he was made to do little
things, and is satisfied with an inferior position, hopeless of being
anything but an underling all his life.
On the other hand, a man who expects great things of himself is
constantly trying to open a little wider the doors of his narrow life,
to extend his limited knowledge, to reach a little higher, to get a
little farther on than those around him. He has enough of the divine
disposition to spur him on to nobler endeavors; he has a quenchless
ambition to make the most of himself.
No matter what the conditions of your birth, it is you who shape your
career, fashion your life for happiness or unhappiness, success or
failure. It is true of all men and women that —
"They themselves are makers of themselves."
If you want to live the larger life, the happy, useful life, you must
think the larger life; you must enlarge your model of yourself and of
your possibilities; you must expect to realize your ideal of yourself
and of the thing you long to do; for, as a man expecteth, so will his happiness, so will his life be.
It doesn't matter what we are trying to do, it is the hope and
expectancy of success that nerves us to put forth our greatest effort;
arms us with the assurance that compels success. The greatest
difference, for instance, between the A+ salesman and the mediocre one
is the difference in their mental attitude.
"No one can become
prosperous while he really expects, or half expects, to remain poor. We
tend to get what we expect, and to expect little is to get little."
"Beaten before he began"; "Didn't believe he was going to get the
order," is written all over some salesmen. In trying to get orders they
lack the hope, the expectation of success, the assurance and
self-confidence that presage victory. They don't know the psychology of
salesmanship; that it consists in holding the conviction of success
always in mind, and so they fall down before the slightest opposition.
There are thousands of second-rate salesmen who have enough ability
to make crackerjacks, but who fail to get results because of their
doubts and fears. At every little objection made by a prospect, they
keep thinking and saying to themselves: "There, I am going to lose that
man; I just feel it in my bones. I wish I could get an order from him,
but it's no use; he's not going to sign."
They do not realize that they are communicating their own doubts and
fears to their prospect. It doesn't take a very sensitively organized
person to feel the negative, failure atmosphere, and when he first lays
his eyes upon one of those timid, doubting salesmen, the prospect knows
that he is not a winner. Instead of victory, he sees defeat in his face;
and if defeat is in a man's face he can't win no matter how much
ability he has. His failure atmosphere repels everyone he contacts with.
Negative minds never make great salesmen or great anything else,
because they don't build; they tear down. They are not creative, but
destructive. They go through life closing the very doors ahead of them
which they long to open; pulling with one hand, so to speak, on the
door-knob, while at the same time holding a foot of doubt against that
very door which they are trying to open. If they affirm their belief
that there are good things for them, almost before they leave their lips
they neutralize their affirmations by their secret doubts. They say one
thing, but expect the opposite, just like the woman who prayed to the
Lord to remove the sand heap from her yard, and when she got through
praying looked out and said, "There it is, just as I expected! Of course
the Lord didn't remove it!" That is the trouble with most of us. We
pray and we work hard for things, and when we don't get them it is,
"just as we expected." We couldn't get what we wanted and longed for
because there was no faith, no belief, back of our efforts and our
You know what St. James says of the man who doubts and fears and has no faith: "Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."
Some people cannot understand how it is that bad men, cruel, brutal,
conscienceless men, often succeed so well in their business. They
succeed by the exercise of the mental law that like thoughts produce
like results. This law works as unerringly as any physical law. It is
neither ethical nor unethical. It is scientific. It is an inexorable
principle, a changeless fact, that what we hold persistently in the mind
is ultimately objectified in the body, in the life, whether it relates
to our health, to our success or to our happiness. Ignorance of the law
does not save us from the consequences of its violation, just as
ignorance of our State or Federal laws does not condone an offense
"If we expect large
things, if we hold the large mental attitude toward our work, toward our
life, we shall get much greater results than if we depreciate
ourselves, and only look for little things."
This is why it is so important that children should be trained in
right thinking from the start. Every child should be reared to expect
big things of himself: to understand that the Creator sent him here on
an important mission, and that he must prepare himself for a life of
Being a child of Omnipotence, of the All-Supply, man is the heir of
all that is; health, success and happiness are his divine birthright,
and every child should grow up with the conviction that good things
instead of evil are waiting for him; that the longings of his heart, the
yearnings of his soul, are prophecies of what he may become if he does
his part in making a thorough preparation for his life work.
Do you realize that your environment today, your achievement, and
your poverty or prosperity are really made up of your expectations of
the past; what you expected of yourself years ago, when you started out
If you have been true to your vision of a successful future, and have
backed up your faith, your ability, with hard work and intelligent
endeavor, you have worked in harmony with the law and are reaping the
harvest of your thought and endeavor.
If, on the other hand, you find yourself poverty-stricken and
wretched, you have violated the law, and your only hope of bettering
your condition is to turn about face and go the other way. Work with the
law, not against it. Work for what you want, but work with confidence,
with the hope, the belief, that you will get it.
Expecting to be happy; expecting to be successful; expecting to win
out in our undertakings; expecting health instead of disease; expecting
good luck instead of ill-luck; expecting harmony instead of discord and
trouble; expecting to make friends wherever we go; expecting to be
thought well of, to stand for something in our community, — this is to
establish relations with the things we want and are working for; it is
to attract them to us: for as a man expecteth so is he; so has he.
Orison Marden Books
Prosperity Chapter XXI
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