“You Can Do It if You Believe You Can!”

IN the preceding lesson you learned of the value of
enthusiasm. You also learned how to generate
enthusiasm and how to transmit its influence to others,
through the principle of suggestion.

You come, now, to the study of self-control,
through which you may direct your enthusiasm to
constructive ends. Without self-control enthusiasm
resembles the unharnessed lightning of an electrical
storm – it may strike anywhere; it may destroy life and

Enthusiasm is the vital quality that arouses you to
action, while self-control is the balance wheel that
directs your action so that it will build up and not tear

To be a person who is well “balanced,” you must
be a person in whom enthusiasm and self-control are
equalized. A survey which I have just completed of
the 160,000 adult inmates of the penitentiaries of the
United States discloses the startling fact that ninety-
two per cent of these unfortunate men and women are
in prison because they lacked the necessary self-
control to direct their energies constructively.

Read the foregoing paragraph again; it is
authentic, it is startling!

It is a fact that the majority of a man’s griefs
come about through lack of self-control. The holy
scriptures are full of admonition in support of self-
control. They even urge us to love our enemies and to
forgive those who injure us. The law of non-resistance
runs, like a golden cord, throughout the Bible.

Study the records of those whom the world calls
great, and observe that every one of them possesses
this quality of self-control!

For example, study the characteristics of our own
immortal Lincoln. In the midst of his most trying
hours he exercised patience, poise and self-control.
These were some of the qualities which made him the
great man that he was. He found disloyalty in some of
the members of his cabinet; but, for the reason that
this disloyalty was toward him, personally, and
because those in whom he found it had qualities which
made them valuable to his country, Lincoln exercised
self-control and disregarded the objectionable

How many men do you know who have self-
control to equal this?

In language more forceful than it was polished,
Billy Sunday exclaimed from the pulpit: “There is
something as rotten as hell about the man who is
always trying to show some other fellow up!” I wonder
if the “devil” didn’t yell, “Amen, brother!” when Billy
made that statement?

However, self-control becomes an important
factor in this Reading Course on the Law of Success,
not so much because lack of it works hardships on
those who become its victims, as for the reason that
those who do not exercise it suffer the loss of a great
power which they need in their struggle for
achievement of their definite chief aim.

If you neglect to exercise self-control, you are
not only likely to injure others, but you are sure to
injure yourself!

During the early part of my public career I
discovered what havoc lack of self-control was
playing in my life, and this discovery came about
through a very commonplace incident. (I believe it not
out of place here to digress by making the statement
that most of the great truths of life are wrapped up in
the ordinary, commonplace events of every-day life.)

This discovery taught me one of the most
important lessons I have ever learned. It came about
in this way:

One day, in the building in which I had my office,
the janitor and I had a misunderstanding. This led to a
most violent form of mutual dislike between us. As a
means of showing his contempt for me, this janitor
would switch off the electric lights of the building
when he knew that I was there alone at work in my
study. This happened on several occasions until I
finally decided to “strike back.” My opportunity came
one Sunday when I came to my study to prepare an
address that I had to deliver the following night. I had
hardly seated myself at my desk when off went the

I jumped to my feet and ran toward the basement
of the building where I knew I would find the janitor.

When I arrived, I found him busily engaged, shoveling
coal into the furnace, and whistling as though nothing
unusual had happened.

Without ceremony I pitched into him, and for five
minutes I hurled adjectives at him which were hotter
than the fire that he was feeding. Finally, I ran out of
words and had to slow down. Then he straightened
himself up, looked back over his shoulder, and in a
calm, smooth tone of voice that was full of poise and
self-control, and with a smile on his face that reached
from ear to ear, he said:

“Why, you-all’s just a little bit excited this
morning, ain’t you?”

That remark cut as though it had been a stiletto 1

Imagine my feelings as I stood there before an
illiterate man who could neither read nor write, but
who, despite this handicap, had defeated me in a duel
that had been fought on grounds – and with a weapon –
of my own choice.

My conscience pointed an accusing finger at me. I
knew that not only had I been defeated but, what was
worse, I knew that I was the aggressor and that I was
in the wrong, which only served to intensify my

Not only did my conscience point an accusing
finger at me, but it placed some very embarrassing
thoughts in my mind; it mocked me and it tantalized
me. There I stood, a boasted student of advanced
psychology, an exponent of the Golden Rule
philosophy, having at least a fair acquaintance with
the works of Shakespeare, Socrates, Plato, Emerson
and the Bible; while facing me stood a man who knew
nothing of literature or of philosophy, but who had,
despite this lack of knowledge, whipped me in a battle
of words.

I turned and went back to my office as rapidly as
I could go. There was nothing else for me to do. As I
began to think the matter over I saw my mistake, but,
true to nature, I was reluctant to do that which I knew
must be done to right the wrong. I knew that I would
have to apologize to that man before I could place
myself at peace in my own heart, much less with him.
Finally, I made up my mind to go back down to the
basement and suffer this humility which I knew I had
to undergo. The decision was not easily reached, nor
did I reach it quickly.

I started down, but I walked more slowly than I
had when I went down the first trip. I was trying to
think how I would make the second approach so as to
suffer the least humiliation possible.

When I got to the basement I called to the janitor
to come over to the door. In a calm, kindly tone of
voice he asked:

“What do you wish this time?”

I informed him that I had come back to apologize
for the wrong I had done, if he would permit me to do
so. Again that smile spread all over his face as he

“For the love of the Lord, you don’t have to
apologize. Nobody heard you except these four walls
and you and me. I ain’t going to tell it and I know you
ain’t going to tell it, so just forget it.”

And that remark hurt more than his first one, for
he had not only expressed a willingness to forgive me,
but he had actually indicated his willingness to help
me cover the incident up, so it would not become
known and do me an injury.

THE man who actually knows just what he
wants in life has already gone a long way
toward attaining it.

But I walked over to him and took him by the
hand. I shook with more than my hand – I shook with
my heart – and as I walked back to my office I felt
good for having summoned the courage with which to
right the wrong I had done.

This is not the end of the story. It is only the
beginning! Following this incident, I made a
resolution that I would never again place myself in a
position in which another man, whether he be an
illiterate janitor or a man of letters, could humiliate
me because I had lost my self-control.

Following that resolution, a remarkable change
began to take place in me. My pen began to take on
greater power. My spoken words began to carry
greater weight. I began to make more friends and
fewer enemies among men of my acquaintance. The
incident marked one of the most important turning-
points of my life. It taught me that no man can control
others unless he first controls himself. It gave me a
clear conception of the philosophy back of these
words, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make
mad.” It also gave me a clear conception of the law of
non-resistance and helped me interpret many passages
of the holy scriptures, bearing on the subject of this
law, as I had never before interpreted them.

This incident placed in my hands the pass-key to
a storehouse of knowledge that is illuminating and
helpful in all that I do, and, later in life, when
enemies sought to destroy me, it gave me a powerful
weapon of defense that has never failed me.

Lack of self-control is the average salesman’s
most damaging weakness. The prospective buyer says
something that the salesman does not wish to hear,
and, if he has not this quality of self-control, he will
“strike back” with a counter remark that is fatal to his

In one of the large department stores of Chicago I
witnessed an incident that illustrated the importance
of self-control. A long line of women were in front of
the “complaint” desk, telling their troubles and the
store’s faults to the young woman in charge. Some of
the women were angry and unreasonable and some of
them made very ugly remarks. The young woman at
the desk received the disgruntled women without the
slightest sign of resentment at their remarks. With a
smile on her face she directed these women to the
proper departments with such charming grace and
poise that I marveled at her self-control.

Standing just back of her was another young
woman who was making notations on slips of paper
and passing them in front of her, as the women in the
line unburdened their troubles. These slips of paper
contained the gist of what the women in the line were
saying, minus the “vitriolic coloring” and the anger.

The smiling young woman at the desk who was
“hearing” the complaints was stone deaf! Her assistant
supplied her with all the necessary facts, though those
slips of paper.

I was so impressed with the plan that I sought the
manager of the store and interviewed him. He
informed me that he had selected a deaf woman for
one of the most trying and important positions in the
store for the reason that he had not been able to find
any other person with sufficient self-control to fill the

As I stood and watched that line of angry women,
I observed what pleasant effect the smile of the young
woman at the desk had upon them. They came before
her growling like wolves and went away as meek and
quiet as sheep. In fact some of them had “sheepish”
looks on their faces as they left, because the young
woman’s self-control had made them ashamed of

Ever since I witnessed that scene, I have thought
of the poise and self-control of that young woman at
the desk every time I felt myself becoming irritated at
remarks which I did not like, and often I have thought
that everybody should have a set of “mental ear
muffs” which they could slip over their ears at times.
Personally, I have developed the habit of “closing” my
ears against much of the idle chatter such as I used to
make it my business to resent. Life is too short and
there is too much constructive work to be done to
justify us in “striking back” at everyone who says that
which we do not wish to hear.

In the practice of law I have observed a very
clever trick that trial lawyers use when they wish to
get a statement of facts from a belligerent witness who
answers questions with the proverbial “I do not
remember” or “I do not know.” When everything else
fails, they manage to make such a witness angry; and
in this state of mind they cause him to lose his self-
control and make statements that he would not have
made had he kept a “cool” head.

Most of us go through life with our “weather eye”
cast skyward in quest of trouble. We usually find that
for which we are looking. In my travels I have been a
student of men whom I have heard in “Pullman car
conversation,” and I have observed that practically
nine out of every ten have so little self-control that
they will “invite” themselves into the discussion of
almost any subject that may be brought up. But few
men are contented to sit in a smoking compartment
and listen to a conversation without joining in and
“airing” their views.

Once I was traveling from Albany to New York
City. On the way down, the “Smoking Car Club”
started a conversation about the late Richard Croker,
who was then chief of Tammany Hall. The discussion
became loud and bitter. Everyone became angry
except one old gentleman who was agitating the
argument and taking a lively interest in it. He
remained calm and seemed to enjoy all the mean
things the others said about the “Tiger” of Tammany
Hall. Of course, I supposed that he was an enemy of
the Tammany Chief, but he wasn’t!

He was Richard Croker, himself!

This was one of his clever tricks through which
he found out what people thought of him and what his
enemies’ plans were.

Whatever else Richard Croker might have been,
he was a man of self-control. Perhaps that is one
reason why he remained undisputed boss of Tammany
Hall as long as he did. Men who control themselves
usually boss the job, no matter what it may be.

Please read, again, the last sentence of the
preceding paragraph, for it carries a subtle suggestion
that might be of profit to you. This is a commonplace
incident, but it is in just such incidents that the great
truths of life are hidden-hidden because the settings
are ordinary and commonplace.

Not long ago I accompanied my wife on a “bargain
hunting” bee. Our attention was attracted by
a crowd of women who were elbowing each other out
of the way in front of a petticoat counter at which
“bargains” were being offered. One lady who looked
to be about forty-five years of age crawled on her
hands and knees through the crowd and “bobbed” up in
front of a customer who had engaged the attention of
the saleswoman ahead of her. In a loud, high-pitched
tone of voice she demanded attention. The saleswoman
was a diplomat who understood human nature; she
also possessed self-control, for she smiled sweetly at
the intruder and said: “Yes, Miss; I will be with you
in a moment! ”

The intruder calmed herself!

I do not know whether it was the “Yes, Miss,” or
the sweet tone in which it was said that modified her
attitude; but it was one or the other; perhaps it was
both. I do know, however, that the saleswoman was
rewarded for her self-control by the sale of three
petticoats, and the happy “Miss” went away feeling
much younger for the remark.

Roast turkey is a very popular dish, but
overeating of it cost a friend of mine, who is in the
printing business, a fifty thousand dollar order. It
happened the day after Thanksgiving, when I called at
his office for the purpose of introducing him to a
prominent Russian who had come to the United States
to publish a book. The Russian spoke broken English
and it was therefore hard for him to make himself
easily understood. During the interview he asked my
printer friend a question which was mistaken as a
reflection upon his ability as a printer. In an
unguarded moment he countered with this remark:

NO man can rise to
fame and fortune
without carrying others
along with him. It
simply cannot be done.

“The trouble with you Bolsheviks is that you look
with suspicion on the remainder of the world just
because of your own short-sightedness.”

My “Bolshevik” friend nudged me on the elbow
and whispered:

“The gentleman seems to be sick. We shall call
again, when he is feeling better.”

But, he never called again. He placed his order
with another printer, and I learned afterward that the
profit on that order was more than $10,000.00!

Ten thousand dollars seems a high price to pay
for a plate of turkey, but that is the price that it cost
my printer friend; for he offered me an apology for his
conduct on the ground that his turkey dinner had given
him indigestion and therefore he had lost his self-

One of the largest chain store concerns in the
world has adopted a unique, though effective, method
of employing salespeople who have developed the
essential quality of self-control which all successful
salespeople must possess. This concern has in its
employ a very clever woman who visits department
stores and other places where salespeople are
employed and selects certain ones whom she believes
to possess tact and self-control; but, to be sure of her
judgment, she approaches these salespeople and has
them show her their wares. She asks all sorts of
questions that are designed to try their patience. If
they stand the test, they are offered better positions; if
they fail in the test, they have merely allowed a good
opportunity to pass by without knowing it.

No doubt all people who refuse or neglect to
exercise self-control are literally turning opportunity
after opportunity away without knowing it. One day I
was standing at the glove counter of a large retail
store talking to a young man who was employed there.
He was telling me that he had been with the store four
years, but on account of the “short-sightedness” of the
store, his services had not been appreciated and he
was looking for another position. In the midst of this
conversation a customer walked up to him and asked
to see some hats. He paid no attention to the
customer’s inquiry until he had finished telling me his
troubles, despite the fact that the customer was
obviously becoming impatient. Finally, he returned to
the customer and said: “This isn’t the hat department.”
When the customer inquired as to where he might find
that department the young man replied: “Ask the
floor-walker over there; he will direct you.”

For four years this young man had been standing
on top of a fine opportunity but he did not know it. He
could have made a friend of every person whom he
served in that store and these friends could have made
him one of the most valuable men in the store,
because they would have come back to trade with him.
“Snappy” answers to inquiring customers do not bring
them back.

One rainy afternoon an old lady walked into a
Pittsburgh department store and wandered around in
an aimless sort of way, very much in the manner that
people who have no intention of buying often do.
Most of the salespeople gave her the “once over” and
busied themselves by straightening the stock on their
shelves so as to avoid being troubled by her. One of
the young men saw her and made it his business to
inquire politely if he might serve her. She informed
him that she was only waiting for it to stop raining;
that she did not wish to make any purchases. The
young man assured her that she was welcome, and by
engaging her in conversation made her feel that he had
meant what he said. When she was ready to go he
accompanied her to the street and raised her umbrella
for her. She asked for his card and went on her way.

The incident had been forgotten by the young man
when, one day, he was called into the office by the
head of the firm and shown a letter from a lady who
wanted a salesman to go to Scotland and take an order
for the furnishings for a mansion.

That lady was Andrew Carnegie’s mother; she was
also the same woman whom the young man had so
courteously escorted to the street many months

In the letter, Mrs. Carnegie specified that this
young man was the one whom she desired to be sent to
take her order. That order amounted to an enormous
sum, and the incident brought the young man an
opportunity for advancement that he might never have
had except for his courtesy to an old lady who did not
look like a “ready sale.”

Just as the great fundamental laws of life are
wrapped up in the commonest sort of every-day
experiences that most of us never notice, so are the
real opportunities often hidden in the seemingly
unimportant transactions of life.

Ask the next ten people whom you meet why they
have not accomplished more in their respective lines
of endeavor, and at least nine of them will tell you
that opportunity does not seem to come around their
way. Go a step further and analyze each of these nine
accurately by observing their actions for one single
day, and the chances are that you will find that every
one of them is turning away the finest sort of
opportunities every hour of the day.

One day I went to visit a friend who was
associated with a Commercial School, in the capacity
of solicitor. When I asked him how he was getting
along he replied: “Rotten! I see a large number of
people but I am not making enough sales to give me a
good living. In fact my account with the school is
overdrawn and I am thinking about changing positions
as there is no opportunity here.”

It happened that I was on my vacation and had ten
days’ time that I could use as I wished, so I challenged
his remark that he had no opportunity by telling him
that I could turn his position into $250.00 in a week’s
time and show him how to make it worth that every
week thereafter. He looked at me in amazement and
asked me not to joke with him over so serious a
matter. When he was finally convinced that I was in
earnest he ventured to inquire how I would perform
the “miracle.”

Then I asked him if he had ever heard of
organized effort, to which he replied: “What do you
mean by organized effort?” I informed him that I had
reference to the direction of his efforts in such a
manner that he would enroll from five to ten students
with the same amount of effort that he had been
putting into the enrollment of one or of none. He said
he was willing to be shown, so I gave him instructions
to arrange for me to speak before the employees of
one of the local department stores. He made the appointment
and I delivered the address. In my talk I
outlined a plan through which the employees could not
only increase their ability so that they could earn
more money in their present positions, but it also
offered them an opportunity to prepare themselves for
greater responsibilities and better positions.
Following my talk, which of course was designed for
that purpose, my friend enrolled eight of those
employees for night courses in the Commercial School
which he represented.

The following night he booked me for a similar
address before the employees of a laundry, and
following the address he enrolled three more students,
two of them young women who worked over the
washing machines at the hardest sort of labor.

Two days later he booked me for an address
before the employees of one of the local banks, and
following the address he enrolled four more students,
making a total of fifteen students, and the entire time
consumed was not more than six hours, including the
time required for the delivery of the addresses and the
enrollment of the students.

My friend’s commission on the transactions was a
little over four hundred dollars!

These places of employment were within fifteen
minutes’ walk of this man’s place of business, but he
had never thought of looking there for business.
Neither had he ever thought of allying himself with a
speaker who could assist him in “group” selling. That
man now owns a splendid Commercial School of his
own, and I am informed that his net income last year
was over $10,000.00.

“No opportunities” come your way? Perhaps they

FEAR no man, hate no
man, wish no one
misfortune, and more
than likely you will
have plenty of friends.

come but you do not see them. Perhaps you will see
them in the future as you are preparing yourself,
through the aid of this Reading Course on the Law of
Success, so that you can recognize an opportunity
when you see it. The sixth lesson of this course is on
the subject of imagination, which was the chief factor
that entered into the transaction that I have just
related. Imagination, plus a Definite Plan, plus Self-
confidence, plus Action, were the main factors that
entered into this transaction. You now know how to
use all of these, and before you shall have finished
this lesson you will understand how to direct these
factors through self-control.

Now let us examine the scope of meaning of the
term self-control, as it is used in connection with this
course, by describing the general conduct of a person
who possesses it. A person with well-developed self-
control does not indulge in hatred, envy, jealousy,
fear, revenge, or any similar destructive emotions. A
person with well-developed self-control does not go
into ecstasies or become ungovernably enthusiastic
over anything or anybody.

Greed and selfishness and self-approval beyond
the point of accurate self-analysis and appreciation of
one’s actual merits, indicate lack of self-control in one
of its most dangerous forms. Self-confidence is one of
the important essentials of success, but when this
faculty is developed beyond the point of reason it
becomes very dangerous.

Self-sacrifice is a commendable quality, but when
it is carried to extremes, it, also, becomes one of the
dangerous forms of lack of self-control.

You owe it to yourself not to permit your
emotions to place your happiness in the keeping of
another person. Love is essential for happiness, but
the person who loves so deeply that his or her
happiness is placed entirely in the hands of another,
resembles the little lamb who crept into the den of the
“nice, gentle little wolf” and begged to be permitted to
lie down and go to sleep, or the canary bird that
persisted in playing with the cat’s whiskers.

A person with well-developed self-control will
not permit himself to be influenced by the cynic or the
pessimist; nor will he permit another person to do his
thinking for him.

A person with well-developed self-control will
stimulate his imagination and his enthusiasm until
they have produced action, but he will then control
that action and not permit it to control him.

A person with well-developed self-control will
never, under any circumstances, slander another
person or seek revenge for any cause whatsoever.

A person with self-control will not hate those
who do not agree with him; instead, he will endeavor
to understand the reason for their disagreement, and
profit by it.

We come, now, to a form of lack of self-control
which causes more grief than all other forms
combined; it is the habit of forming opinions before
studying the facts. We will not analyze this particular
form in detail, in this lesson, for the reason that it is
fully covered in Lesson Eleven, on accurate thought,
but the subject of self-control could not be covered
without at least a passing reference to this common
evil to which we are all more or less addicted.

No one has any right to form an opinion that is
not based either upon that which he believes to be
facts, or upon a reasonable hypothesis; yet, if you will
observe yourself carefully, you will catch yourself
forming opinions on nothing more substantial than
your desire for a thing to be or not to be.

Another grievous form of lack of self-control is
the “spending” habit. I have reference, of course, to
the habit of spending beyond one’s needs. This habit
has become so prevalent since the close of the world
war that it is alarming. A well known economist has
prophesied that three more generations will transform
the United States from the richest country in the world
to the poorest if the children are not taught the
savings habit, as a part of their training in both the
schools and the homes. On every hand, we see people
buying automobiles on the installment plan instead of
buying homes. Within the last fifteen years the
automobile “fad” has become so popular that literally
tens of thousands of people are mortgaging their
futures to own cars.

A prominent scientist, who has a keen sense of
humor, has prophesied that not only will this habit
grow lean bank accounts, but, if persisted in, it will
eventually grow babies whose legs will have become
transformed into wheels.

This is a speed-mad, money-spending age in
which we are living, and the uppermost thought in the
minds of most of us is to live faster than our
neighbors. Not long ago the general manager of a
concern that employs 600 men and women became
alarmed over the large number of his employees who
were becoming involved with “loan sharks,” and
decided’ to put an end to this evil. When he completed

TO do much clear thinking
a man must arrange for
regular periods of solitude
when he can concentrate
and indulge his imagination
without distraction.
-Thomas A. Edison.

his investigation, he found that only nine per cent of
his employees had savings accounts, and of the other
ninety-one per cent who had no money ahead, seventy-
five per cent were in debt in one form or another,
some of them being hopelessly involved financially.
Of those who were in debt 210 owned automobiles.

We are creatures of imitation. We find it hard to
resist the temptation to do that which we see others
doing. If our neighbor buys a Buick, we must imitate
him and if we cannot scrape together enough to make
the first payment on a Buick we must, at least, have a
Ford. Meanwhile, we take no heed of the morrow. The
old-fashioned “rainy-day nest egg” has become
obsolete. We live from day to day. We buy our coal by
the pound and our flour in five pound sacks, thereby
paying a third more for it than it ought to cost,
because it is distributed in small quantities.

Of course this warning does not apply to you!

It is intended only for those who are binding
themselves in the chains of poverty by spending
beyond their earning capacity, and who have not yet
heard that there are definite laws which must be
observed by all who would attain success.

The automobile is one of the modern wonders of
the world, but it is more often a luxury than it is a
necessity, and tens of thousands of people who are
now “stepping on the gas” at a lively pace are going to
see some dangerous skidding when their “rainy days”

It requires considerable self-control to use the
street cars as a means of transportation when people
all around us are driving automobiles, but all who
exercise this self-control are practically sure to see
the day when many who are now driving cars will be
either riding the street cars or walking.

It was this modem tendency to spend the entire
income which prompted Henry Ford to safe-guard his
employees with certain restrictions when he
established his famous $5.00 a day minimum wage

Twenty years ago, if a boy wanted a wagon, he
fashioned the wheels out of boards and had the
pleasure of building it himself. Now, if a boy wants a
wagon, he cries for it – and gets it!

Lack of self-control is being developed in the
oncoming generations by their parents who have
become victims of the spending habit. Three
generations ago, practically any boy could mend his
own shoes with the family cobbling outfit. Today the
boy takes his shoes to the corner shoe-shop and pays
$1.75 for heels and half soles, and this habit is by no
means confined to the rich and well-to-do classes.

I repeat – the spending habit is turning America
into a nation of paupers!

I am safe in assuming that you are struggling to
attain success, for if you were not you would not be
reading this course. Let me remind you, then, that a
little savings account will attract many an opportunity
to you that would not come your way without it. The
size of the account is not so important as is the fact
that you have established the savings habit, for this
habit marks you as a person who exercises an
important form of self-control.

The modem tendency of those who work for a
salary is to spend it all. If a man who receives
$3,000.00 a year and manages to get along on it fairly
well, receives an increase of $1,000.00 a year, does he
continue to live on $3,000.00 and place the increased
portion of his income in the savings bank? No, not
unless he is one of the few who have developed the
savings habit. Then, what does he do with this
additional $1,000.00? He trades in the old automobile
and buys a more expensive one, and at the end of the
year he is poorer on a $4,000.00 income than he was
the previous year on a $3,000.00 income.

This is a “modern, twentieth century model”
American that I am describing, and you will be lucky
if, upon close analysis, you do not find yourself to be
one of this class.

Somewhere between the miser who hoards every
penny he gets his hands on, in an old sock, and the
man who spends every cent he can earn or borrow,
there is a “happy medium,” and if you enjoy life with
reasonable assurance of average freedom and
contentment, you must find this half-way point and
adopt it as a part of your self-control program.

Self-discipline is the most essential factor in the
development of personal power, because it enables
you to control your appetite and your tendency to
spend more than you earn and your habit of “striking
back” at those who offend you and the other
destructive habits which cause you to dissipate your
energies through non-productive effort that takes on
forms too numerous to be catalogued in this lesson.

Very early in my public career I was shocked
when I learned how many people there are who devote
most of their energies to tearing down that which the
builders construct. By some queer turn of the wheel of
fate one of these destroyers crossed my path by
making it his business to try to destroy my reputation.

ASK any wise man
what he most desires
and he will, more than
likely, say “more wisdom.”

At first, I was inclined to “strike back” at him, but as
I sat at my typewriter late one night, a thought came
to me which changed my entire attitude toward this
man. Removing the sheet of paper that was in my
typewriter, I inserted another one on which I stated
this thought, in these words:

You have a tremendous advantage over
the man who does you an injury: you have
it within your power to forgive him, while
he has no such advantage over you.

As I finished writing those lines, I made up my
mind that I had come to the point at which I had to
decide upon a policy that would serve as a guide
concerning my attitude toward those who criticize my
work or try to destroy my reputation. I reached this
decision by reasoning something after this fashion:
Two courses of action were open to me. I could waste
much of my time and energy in striking back at those
who would try to destroy me, or I could devote this
energy to furthering my life-work and let the result of
that work serve as my sole answer to all who would
criticize my efforts or question my motives. I decided
upon the latter as being the better policy and adopted

“By their deeds you shall know them!”

If your deeds are constructive and you are at
peace with yourself, in your own heart, you will not
find it necessary to stop and explain your motives, for
they will explain themselves.

The world soon forgets its destroyers. It builds its
monuments to and bestows its honors upon none but
its builders. Keep this fact in mind and you will more
easily reconcile yourself to the policy of refusing to
waste your energies by “striking back” at those who
offend you.

Every person who amounts to anything in this
world comes to the point, sooner or later, at which he
is forced to settle this question of policy toward his
enemies, and if you want proof that it pays to exercise
sufficient self-control to refrain from dissipating your
vital energies by “striking back” then study the
records of all who have risen to high stations in life
and observe how carefully they curbed this destructive

It is a well known fact that no man ever reached a
high station in life without opposition of a violent
nature from jealous and envious enemies. The late
President Warren G. Harding and ex-President Wilson
and John H. Patterson of the National Cash Register
Company and scores of others whom I could mention,
were victims of this cruel tendency, of a certain type
of depraved man, to destroy reputation. But these men
wasted no time explaining or “striking back” at their
enemies. They exercised self-control.

I do not know but that these attacks on men who
are in public life, cruel and unjust and untruthful as
they often are, serve a good purpose. In my own case,
I know that I made a discovery that was of great value
to me, as a result of a series of bitter attacks which a
contemporary journalist launched against me. I paid
no attention to these attacks for four or five years,
until finally they became so bold that I decided to
override my policy and “strike back” at my antagonist.
I sat down at my typewriter and began to write. In all
of my experience as a writer I do not believe I ever
assembled such a collection of biting adjectives as
those which I used on this occasion. The more I wrote,
the more angry I became, until I had written all that I
could think of on the subject. As the last line was
finished, a strange feeling came over me-it was not a
feeling of bitterness toward the man who had tried to
injure me-it was a feeling of compassion, of
sympathy, of forgiveness.

I had unconsciously psycho-analyzed myself by
releasing, over the keys of my typewriter, the
repressed emotions of hate and resentment which I
had been unintentionally gathering in my sub-
conscious mind over a long period of years.

Now, if I find myself becoming very angry, I sit
down at my typewriter and “write it out of my
system,” then throw away the manuscript, or file it
away as an exhibit for my scrapbook to which I can
refer back in the years to come – after the evolutionary
processes have carried me still higher in the realm of

Repressed emotions, especially, the emotion of
hatred, resemble a bomb that has been constructed of
high explosives, and unless they are handled with as
much understanding of their nature as an expert would
handle a bomb, they are as dangerous. A bomb may be
rendered harmless by explosion in an open field, or by
disintegration in a bath of the proper sort. Also, a
feeling of anger or hatred may be rendered harmless
by giving expression to it in a manner that harmonizes
with the principle of psycho-analysis.

Before you can achieve success in the higher and
broader sense you must gain such thorough control
over yourself that you will be a person of poise.

WHILE others may side-track your ambitions
not a few times, remember that discouragement
most frequently comes from within.

You are the product of at least a million years of
evolutionary change. For countless generations
preceding you Nature has been tempering and refining
the materials that have gone into your make-up. Step
by step, she has removed from the generations that
have preceded you the animal instincts and baser
passions until she has produced, in you, the finest
specimen of animal that lives. She has endowed you,
through this slow evolutionary process, with reason
and poise and “balance” sufficient to enable you to
control and do with yourself whatever you will.

No other animal has ever been endowed with such
self-control as you possess. You have been endowed
with the power to use the most highly organized form
of energy known to man, that of thought. It is not
improbable that thought is the closest connecting link
there is between the material, physical things of this
world and the world of Divinity.

You have not only the power to think but, what is
a thousand times more important still, you have the
power to control your thoughts and direct them to do
your bidding!

We are coming, now, to the really important part
of this lesson. Read slowly and meditatively! I
approach this part of this lesson almost with fear and
trembling, for it brings us face to face with a subject
which but few men are qualified to discuss with
reasonable intelligence.

I repeat, you have the power to control your
thoughts and make them do your bidding!

Your brain may be likened to a dynamo, in this
respect, that it generates or sets into motion the
mysterious energy called thought. The stimuli that
start your brain into action are of two sorts; one is
Autosuggestion and the other is Suggestion. You can
select the material out of which your thinking is
produced, and that is Auto-suggestion (or self-
suggestion). You can permit others to select the
material out of which your thinking is produced and
that is Suggestion. It is a humiliating fact that most
thought is produced by the outside suggestions of
others, and it is more humiliating, still, to have to
admit that the majority of us accept this suggestion
without either examining it or questioning its
soundness. We read the daily papers as though every
word were based upon fact. We are swayed by the
gossip and idle chatter of others as though every word
were true.

Thought is the only thing over which you have
absolute control, yet, unless you are the proverbial
exception, which is about one out of every ten
thousand, you permit other people to enter the sacred
mansion of your mind and there deposit, through
suggestion, their troubles and woes, adversities and
falsehoods, just as though you did not have the power
to close the door and keep them out.

You have within your control the power to select
the material that constitutes the dominating thoughts
of your mind, and just as surely as you are reading
these lines, those thoughts which dominate your mind
will bring you success or failure, according to their

The fact that thought is the only thing over which
you have absolute control is, within itself, of most
profound significance, as it strongly suggests that
thought is your nearest approach to Divinity, on this
earthly plane. This fact also carries another highly
impressive suggestion; namely, that thought is your
most important tool; the one with which you may
shape your worldly destiny according to your own
liking. Surely, Divine Providence did not make
thought the sole power over which you have absolute
control without associating with that power
potentialities which, if understood and developed,
would stagger the imagination.

Self-control is solely a matter of thought-control!

Please read the foregoing sentence aloud; read it
thoughtfully and meditate over it before reading
further, because it is, without doubt, the most
important single sentence of this entire course.

You are studying this course, presumably because
you are earnestly seeking truth and understanding
sufficient to enable you to attain some high station in

You are searching for the magic key that will
unlock the door to the source of power; and yet you
have the key in your own hands, and you may make
use of it the moment you learn to control your

Place in your own mind, through the principle of
Auto-suggestion, the positive, constructive thoughts
which harmonize with your definite chief aim in life,
and that mind will transform those thoughts into
physical reality and hand them back to you, as a
finished product.

This is thought-control!

When you deliberately choose the thoughts which
dominate your mind and firmly refuse admittance to
outside suggestion, you are exercising self-control in
its highest and most efficient form. Man is the only
living animal that can do this.

How many millions of years Nature has required
in which to produce this animal no one knows, but
every intelligent student of psychology knows that the
dominating thoughts determine the actions and the
nature of the animal.

The process through which one may think
accurately is a subject that has been reserved for
Lesson Eleven, of this course. The point we wish
clearly to establish, in this lesson, is that thought,
whether accurate or inaccurate, is the most highly
organized functioning power of your mind; and that
you are but the sum total of your dominating or most
prominent thoughts.

If you would be a master salesman, whether of
goods and wares or of personal services, you must
exercise sufficient self-control to shut out all adverse
arguments and suggestions. Most salesmen have so
little self-control that they hear the prospective
purchaser say “no” even before he says it. Not a few
salesmen hear this fatal word “no” even before they
come into the presence of their prospective purchaser.
They have so little self-control that they actually
suggest to themselves that their prospective purchaser
will say “no” when asked to purchase their wares.

How different is the man of self-control! He not
only suggests to himself that his prospective purchaser
will say “yes,” but if the desired “yes” is not
forthcoming, he stays on the job until he breaks down
the opposition and forces a “yes.” If his prospective
purchaser says “no,” he does not hear it. If his
prospective purchaser says “no” – a second, and a
third, and a fourth time – he does not hear it, for he is
a man of self-control and he permits no suggestions to
reach his mind except those which he desires to
influence him.

The master salesman, whether he be engaged in
selling merchandise, or personal services, or sermons,
or public addresses, understands how to control his
own thoughts. Instead of being a person who accepts,
with meek submission, the suggestions of others, he is
a person who persuades others to accept his
suggestions. By controlling himself and by placing
only positive thoughts in his own mind, he thereby
becomes a dominating personality, a master salesman.

This, too, is self-control!

A master salesman .s one who takes the offensive,
and never the defensive side of an argument, if
argument arises.

Please read the foregoing sentence again!

If you are a master salesman you know that it is
necessary for you to keep your prospective purchaser
on the defensive, and you also know that it will be
fatal to your sale if you permit him to place you on
the defensive and keep you there. You may, and of
course you will at times, be placed in a position in
which you will have to assume the defensive side of
the conversation for a time, but it is your business to
exercise such perfect poise and self-control that you
will change places with your prospective purchaser
without his noticing that you have done so, by placing
him back on the defensive.

This requires the most consummate skill and self-

Most salesmen sweep this vital point aside by
becoming angry and trying to scare the prospective
purchaser into submission, but the master salesman
remains calm and serene, and usually comes out the

PEOPLE like to use
their excess energy by
“chewing the rag.” Wm.
Wrigley, Jr., capitalized
this human trait by
giving them a stick of

The word “salesman” has reference to all people
who try to persuade or convince others by logical
argument or appeal to self-interest. We are all
salesmen; or, at least, we should be, no matter what
form of service we are rendering or what sort of goods
we are offering.

The ability to negotiate with other people without
friction and argument is the outstanding quality of all
successful people. Observe those nearest you and
notice how few there are who understand this art of
tactful negotiation. Observe, also, how successful are
the few who understand this art, despite the fact that
they may have less education than those with whom
they negotiate.

It is a knack that can be cultivated.

The art of successful negotiation grows out of
patient and painstaking self-control. Notice how easily
the successful salesman exercises self-control when he
is handling a customer who is impatient. In his heart
such a salesman may be boiling over, but you will see
no evidence of it in his face or manner or words.

He has acquired the art of tactful negotiation!

A single frown of disapproval or a single word
denoting impatience will often spoil a sale, and no one
knows this better than the successful salesman. He
makes it his business to control his feelings, and as a
reward he sets his own salary mark and chooses his
own position.

To watch a person who has acquired the art of
successful negotiation is a liberal education, within
itself. Watch the public speaker who has acquired this
art; notice the firmness of his step as he mounts the
platform; observe the firmness of his voice as he
begins to speak; study the expression on his face as he
sweeps his audience with the mastery of his argument.
He has learned how to negotiate without friction.

Watch the physician who has acquired this art, as
he walks into the sick room and greets his patient with
a smile. His bearing, the tone of his voice, the look of
assurance on his face, all mark him as one who has
acquired the art of successful negotiation, and the
patient begins to feel better the moment he enters the
sick room.

Watch the foreman of the works who has acquired
this art, and observe how his very presence spurs his
men to greater effort and inspires them with
confidence and enthusiasm.

Watch the lawyer who has acquired this art, and
observe how he commands the respect and attention of
the court, the jury and his fellow-practitioners. There
is something about the tone of his voice, the posture
of his body, and the expression on his face which
causes his opponent to suffer by comparison. He not
only knows his case, but he convinces the court and
the jury that he knows, and as his reward he wins his
cases and claims big retaining fees.

And all of this is predicated upon self-control!

And self-control is the result of thought-control!

Deliberately place in your own mind the sort of
thoughts that you desire there, and keep out of your
mind those thoughts which others place there through
suggestion, and you will become a person of self-

This privilege of stimulating your mind with
suggestions and thoughts of your own choosing is
your prerogative power that Divine Providence gave
you, and if you will exercise this holy right there is
nothing within the bounds of reason that you cannot

“Losing your temper,” and with it your case, or
your argument, or your sale, marks you as one who
has not yet familiarized himself with the fundamentals
upon which self-control is based, and the chief one of
these fundamentals is the privilege of choosing the
thoughts that dominate the mind.

A student in one of my classes once asked how
one went about controlling one’s thoughts when in a
state of intense anger, and I replied: “In exactly the
same way that you would change your manner and the
tone of your voice if you were in a heated argument
with a member of your family and heard the door bell
ring, warning you that company was about to visit
you. You would control yourself because you would
desire to do so. ”

If you have ever been in a similar predicament,
where you found it necessary to cover up your real
feelings and change the expression on your face
quickly, you know how easily it can be done, and you
also know that it can be done because one wants to do

Back of all achievement, back of all self-control,
back of all thought control, is that magic something
called desire!

It is no misstatement of fact to say that you are
limited only by the depth of your desires!

When your desires are strong enough you will
appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve. No
one has ever explained this strange phenomenon of the
mind, and perhaps no one ever will explain it, but if
if you doubt that it exists you have but to experiment
and be convinced.

If you were in a building that was on fire, and all
the doors and windows were locked, the chances are
that you would develop sufficient strength with which
to break down the average door, because of your
intense desire to free yourself.

If you desire to acquire the art of successful
negotiation, as you undoubtedly will when you
understand its significance in relation to your
achievement of your definite chief aim, you will do so,
providing your desire is intense enough.

Napoleon desired to become emperor of France
and did rule. Lincoln desired to free the slaves, and he
accomplished it. The French desired that “they shall
not pass,” at the beginning of the world war, and they
didn’t pass! Edison desired to produce light with
electricity, and he produced it – although he was many
years in doing so. Roosevelt desired to unite the
Atlantic and Pacific oceans, through the Panama
Canal, and he did it. Demosthenes desired to become a
great public speaker, and despite the handicap of
serious impediment of speech, he transformed his
desire into reality. Helen Keller desired to speak, and
despite the fact that she was deaf, dumb and blind, she
now speaks. John H. Patterson desired to dominate in
the production of cash registers, and he did it.
Marshall Field desired to be the leading merchant of
his time, and he did. Shakespeare desired to become a
great playwright, and, despite the fact that he was
only a poor itinerant actor, he made his desire come
true. Billy Sunday desired to quit playing base-ball
and become a master preacher, and he did. James J.
Hill desired to become an empire builder; and, despite
the fact that he was only a poor telegraph operator, he
transformed that desire into reality.

Don’t say, “It can’t be done,” or that you are
different from these and thousands of others who have
achieved noteworthy success in every worthy calling.
If you are “different,” it is only in this respect: they
desired the object of their achievement with more
depth and intensity than you desire yours.

Plant in your mind the seed of a desire that is
constructive by making the following your creed and
the foundation of your code of ethics:

“I wish to be of service to my fellow men as I
journey through life. To do this I have adopted this
creed as a guide to be followed in dealing with my

“To train myself so that never, under any
circumstances, will I find fault with any person, no
matter how much I may disagree with him or how
inferior his work may be, as long as I know he is
sincerely trying to do his best.

“To respect my country, my profession and
myself. To be honest and fair with my fellow men, as
I expect them to be honest and fair with me. To be a
loyal citizen of my country. To speak of it with
praise, and act always as a worthy custodian of its
good name. To be a person whose name carries weight
wherever it goes.

“To base my expectations of reward on a solid
foundation of service rendered. To be willing to pay
the price of success in honest effort. To look upon my
work as an opportunity to be seized with joy and made

IT is a peculiar trait
of human nature, but it is true,
that the most successful men will work
harder for the sake of rendering useful
service than they will for money alone.

the most of, and not as a painful drudgery to be
reluctantly endured.

“To remember that success lies within myself – in
my own brain. To expect difficulties and to force my
way through them.

“To avoid procrastination in all its forms, and
never, under any circumstances, put off until
tomorrow any duty that should be performed today.

“Finally, to take a good grip on the joys of life,
so I may be courteous to men, faithful to friends, true
to God – a fragrance in the path I tread.”

The energy which most people dissipate through
lack of self-control would, if organized and used
constructively, bring all the necessities and all the
luxuries desired.

The time which many people devote to
“gossiping” about others would, if controlled and
directed constructively, be sufficient to attain the
object of their definite chief aim (if they had such an

All successful people grade high on self-control!
All “failures” grade low, generally zero, on this
important law of human conduct.

Study the comparative analysis chart in the
Introductory Lesson, and observe the self-control
gradings of Jesse James and Napoleon.

Study those around you and observe, with profit,
that all the successful ones exercise self-control,
while the “failures” permit their THOUGHTS,
WORDS and DEEDS to run wild!

One very common and very destructive form of
lack of self-control is the habit of talking too much.
People of wisdom, who know what they want and are
bent on getting it, guard their conversation carefully.
There can be no gain from a volume of uninvited,
uncontrolled, loosely spoken words.

It is nearly always more profitable to listen than
it is to speak. A good listener may, once in a great
while, hear something that will add to his stock of
knowledge. It requires self-control to become a good
listener, but the benefits to be gained are worth the

“Taking the conversation away from another
person” is a common form of lack of self-control
which is not only discourteous, but it deprives those
who do it of many valuable opportunities to learn
from others.

After completing this lesson you should go back
to the self-analysis chart, in the Introductory Lesson,
and re-grade yourself on the Law of Self-control.
Perhaps you may wish to reduce your former grading

Self-control was one of the marked characteristics
of all successful leaders whom I have analyzed, in
gathering material for this course. Luther Burbank
said that, in his opinion, self-control was the most
important of the Fifteen Laws of Success. During all
his years of patient study and observation of the
evolutionary processes of vegetable life he found it
necessary to exercise the faculty of self-control,
despite the fact that he was dealing with inanimate

John Burroughs, the naturalist, said practically
the same thing; that self-control stood near the head
of the list, in importance, of the Fifteen Laws of

The man who exercises complete self-control
cannot be permanently defeated, as Emerson has so
well stated in his essay on Compensation, for the
reason that obstacles and opposition have a way of
melting away when confronted by the determined mind
that is guided to a definite end with complete self-

Every wealthy man whom I have analyzed
(referring to those who have become wealthy through
their own efforts) showed such positive evidence that
self-control had been one of his strong points that I
reached the conclusion that no man can hope to
accumulate great wealth and keep it without
exercising this necessary quality.

The saving of money requires the exercise of self-
control of the highest order, as, I hope, has been made
quite clear in the fourth lesson of this course.

I am indebted to Edward W. Bok for the
following rather colorful description of the extent to
which he found it necessary to exercise self-control
before he achieved success and was crowned with
fame as one of the great journalists of America:


I make my living trying to edit the Ladies’ Home
Journal. And because the public has been most
generous in its acceptance of that periodical, a share
of that success has logically come to me. Hence a
number of my very good readers cherish an opinion
that often I have been tempted to correct, a temptation
to which I now yield. My correspondents express the
conviction variously, but this extract from a letter is a
fair sample:

“It is all very easy for you to preach economy to
us when you do not know the necessity for it: To tell
us how, as for example in my own case, we must live
within my husband’s income of eight hundred dollars a
year, when you have never known what it is to live on
less than thousands. Has it occurred to you, born with
the proverbial silver spoon in your mouth, that
theoretical writing is pretty cold and futile compared
to the actual hand-to-mouth struggle that so many of
us live, day by day and year in and year out – an
experience that you know not of?”

“An experience that you know not of!”

Now, how far do the facts square with this

Whether or not I was born with the proverbial
silver spoon in my mouth, I cannot say. It is true that
I was born of well-to-do parents. But when I was six
years old my father lost all his means, and faced life
at forty-five, in a strange country, without even
necessaries. There are men and their wives who know
what that means; for a man to try to “come back” at
forty-five, and in a strange country!

I had the handicap of not knowing one word of
the English language. I went to a public school and
learned what I could. And sparse morsels they were!
The boys were cruel, as boys are. The teachers were
impatient, as tired teachers are.

My father could not find his place in the world.
My mother who had always had servants at her beck
and call, faced the problems of housekeeping that she
had never learned nor been taught. And there was no

So, after school hours, my brother and I went
home, but not to play. After-school hours meant for us
to help a mother who daily grew more frail under the
burdens that she could not carry. Not for days, but for
years, we two boys got up in the gray cold winter
dawn when the beds feel so warm to growing boys,
and we sifted the coal ashes of the day-before’s fire
for a stray lump or two of unburned coal, and with
what we had or could find we made the fire and
warmed up the room. Then we set the table for the
scant breakfast, went to school, and directly after
school we washed the dishes, swept and scrubbed the
floors. Living in a three-family tenement, each third
week meant that we scrubbed the entire three flights
of stairs from the third story to the first, as well as the
doorsteps and the sidewalk outside. The latter work
was the hardest; for we did it on Saturdays, with the
boys of the neighborhood looking on none too kindly,
so we did it to the echo of the crack of the ball and
bat on the adjoining lot!

In the evening when the other boys could sit by
the lamp or study their lessons, we two boys went out
with a basket and picked up wood and coal in the
adjoining lots, or went after the dozen or so pieces of
coal left from the ton of coal put in that afternoon by
one of the neighbors, with the spot hungrily fixed in
mind by one of us during the day, hoping that the man
who carried in the coal might not be too careful in
picking up the stray lumps!

“An experience that you know not of!” Don’t I?

At ten years of age I got my first job, washing the
windows of a baker’s shop at fifty cents a week. In a
week or two I was allowed to sell bread and cakes
behind the counter after school hours for a dollar a
week – handing out freshly baked cakes and warm, de-


licious-smelling bread, when scarcely a crumb had
passed my mouth that day!

Then on Saturday mornings I served a route for a
weekly paper, and sold my remaining stock on the
street. It meant from sixty to seventy cents for that
day’s work.

I lived in Brooklyn, New York, and the chief
means of transportation to Coney Island at that time
was the horse car. Near where we lived the cars would
stop to water the horses, the men would jump out and
get a drink of water, but the women had no means of
quenching their thirst. Seeing this lack I got a pail,
filled it with water and a bit of ice, and, with a glass,
jumped on each car on Saturday afternoon and all day
Sunday, and sold my wares at a cent a glass. And
when competition came, as it did very quickly when
other boys saw that a Sunday’s work meant two or
three dollars, I squeezed a lemon or two in my pail,
my liquid became “lemonade” and my price two cents
a glass, and Sunday meant five dollars to me.

Then, in turn, I became a reporter during the
evenings, an office boy day-times, and learned
stenography at midnight.

My correspondent says she supports her family of
husband and child on eight hundred dollars a year, and
says I have never known what that means. I supported
a family of three on six dollars and twenty-five cents
a week-less than one-half of her yearly income. When
my brother and I, combined, brought in eight hundred
dollars a year we felt rich!

I have for the first time gone into these details in
print so that you may’ know, at first hand, that the
editor of the Ladies’ Home journal is not a theorist
when he writes or prints articles that seek to preach
economy or that reflect a hand-to-hand struggle on a
small or an invisible income. There is not a single
step, not an inch, on the road of direct poverty that I
do not know of or have not experienced. And, having
experienced every thought, every feeling and every
hardship that come to those who travel that road, I say
today that I rejoice with every boy who is going
through the same experience.

Nor am I discounting or forgetting one single
pang of the keen hardships that such a struggle means.
I would not today exchange my years of the keenest
hardship that a boy can know or pass through for any
single experience that could have come to me. I know
what it means to earn – not a dollar, but to earn two
cents. I know the value of money as I could have
learned it or known it in no other way. I could have
been trained for my life-work in no surer way. I could
not have arrived at a truer understanding of what it
means to face a day without a penny in hand, not a
loaf of bread in the cupboard, not a piece of kindling
wood for the fire – with nothing to eat, and then be a
boy with the hunger of nine and ten, with a mother
frail and discouraged!

“An experience that you know not of!” Don’t I?

And yet I rejoice in the experience, and I repeat:
I envy every boy who is in that condition and going
through it. But – and here is the pivot of my strong
belief in poverty as an undisguised blessing to a boy –
I believe in poverty as a condition to experience, to go
through, and then to get out of : not as a condition to
stay in. “That’s all very well,” some will say; “easy
enough to say, but how can you get out of it?” No one
can definitely tell another that. No one told me. No
two persons can find the same way out. Each must
find his way for himself. That depends on the boy. I
was determined to get out of poverty, because my
mother was not born in it, could not stand it and did
not belong in it. This gave me the first essential: a
purpose. Then I backed up the purpose with effort and
willingness to work and to work at anything that came
my way, no matter what it was, so long as it meant
“the way out.” I did not pick and choose; I took what
came and did it in the best way I knew how; and when
I didn’t like what I was doing I still did it well while I
was doing it, but I saw to it that I didn’t do it any
longer than I had to do it. I used every rung in the
ladder as a rung to the one above. It meant effort, but
out of the effort and the work came the experience;
the upbuilding, the development; the capacity to
understand and sympathize; the greatest heritage that
can come to a boy. And nothing in the world can give
that to a boy, so that it will burn into him, as will

That is why I believe so strongly in poverty, the
greatest blessing in the way of the deepest and fullest
experience that can come to a boy. But, as I repeat:
always as a condition to work out of, not to stay in.

Before you can develop the habit of perfect self-
control you must understand the real need for this
quality. Also, you must understand the advantages
which self-control provides those who have learned
how to exercise it.

By developing self-control you develop, also,
other qualities that will add to your personal power.

Among other laws which are available to the person
who exercises self-control is the Law of Retaliation.

You know what “retaliate” means!

In the sense that we are using here it means to
“return like for like,” and not merely to avenge or to
seek revenge, as is commonly meant by the use of this

If I do you an injury you retaliate at first
opportunity. If I say unjust things about you, you will
retaliate in kind, even in greater measure!

On the other hand, if I do you a favor you will
reciprocate even in greater measure if possible.

Through the proper use of this law / can get you
to do whatever I wish you to do. If I wish you to
dislike me and to lend your influence toward
damaging me, I can accomplish this result by
inflicting upon you the sort of treatment that I want
you to inflict upon me through retaliation.

If I wish your respect, your friendship and your
co-operation I can get these by extending to you my
friendship and co-operation.

On these statements I know that we are together.
You can compare these statements with your own
experience and you will see how beautifully they

How often have you heard the remark, “What a
wonderful personality that person has.” How often
have you met people whose personalities you coveted?

The man who attracts you to him through his
pleasing personality is merely making use of the Law
of Harmonious Attraction, or the Law of Retaliation,
both of which, when analyzed, mean that “like attracts

If you will study, understand and make intelligent
use of the Law of Retaliation you will be an efficient
and successful salesman. When you have mastered this
simple law and learned how to use it you will have
learned all that can be learned about salesmanship.

The first and probably the most important step to
be taken in mastering this law is to cultivate complete
self-control. You must learn to take all sorts of
punishment and abuse without retaliating in kind. This
self-control is a part of the price you must pay for
mastery of the Law of Retaliation.

When an angry person starts in to vilify and abuse
you, justly or unjustly, just remember that if you
retaliate in a like manner you are being drawn down to
that person’s mental level, therefore that person is
dominating you!

On the other hand, if you refuse to become angry,
if you retain your self-composure and remain calm and
serene you retain all your ordinary faculties through
which to reason. You take the other fellow by
surprise. You retaliate with a weapon with the use of
which he is unfamiliar, consequently you easily
dominate him.

Like attracts like! There’s no denying this!

Literally speaking, every person with whom you
come in contact is a mental looking-glass in which
you may see a perfect reflection of your own mental

As an example of direct application of the Law of
Retaliation, let us cite an experience that I recently
had with my two small boys, Napoleon Junior and

IT is well worth remembering
that the customer is the most
important factor in any
business. If you don’t think so,
try to get along without him for a while.

We were on our way to the park to feed the birds
and squirrels. Napoleon junior had bought a bag of
peanuts and James had bought a box of “Crackerjack.”
James took a notion to sample the peanuts. Without
asking permission he reached over and made a grab
for the bag. He missed and Napoleon junior
“retaliated” with his left fist which landed rather
briskly on James’ jaw.

I said to James: “Now, see here, son, you didn’t
go about getting those peanuts in the right manner.
Let me show you how to get them.” It all happened so
quickly that I hadn’t the slightest idea when I spoke
what I was going to suggest to James, but I sparred for
time to analyze the occurrence and work out a better
way, if possible, than that adopted by him.

Then I thought of the experiments we had been
making in connection with the Law of Retaliation, so I
said to James: “Open your box of Crackerjack’ and
offer your little brother some and see what happens.”
After considerable coaxing I persuaded him to do this.
Then a remarkable thing happened – a happening out
of which I learned my greatest lesson in salesmanship!
Before Napoleon would touch the “Crackerjack” he
insisted on pouring some of his peanuts into lames’
overcoat pocket. He “retaliated in kind!” Out of this
simple experiment with two small boys I learned more
about the art of managing them than I could have
learned in any other manner. Incidentally, my boys are
beginning to learn how to manipulate this Law of
Retaliation which saves them many a physical combat.

None of us have advanced far beyond Napoleon
Junior and James as far as the operation and influence
of the Law of Retaliation is concerned. We are all just
grown-up children and easily influenced through this
principle. The habit of “retaliating in kind” is so
universally practiced among us that we can properly
call this habit the Law of Retaliation. If a person
presents us with a gift we never feel satisfied until we
have “retaliated” with something as good or better
than that which we received. If a person speaks well
of us we increase our admiration for that person, and
we “retaliate” in return!

Through the principle of retaliation we can
actually convert our enemies into loyal friends. If you
have an enemy whom you wish to convert into a friend
you can prove the truth of this statement if you will
forget that dangerous millstone hanging around your
neck, which we call “pride” (stubbornness). Make a
habit of speaking to this enemy with unusual
cordiality. Go out of your way to favor him in every
manner possible. He may seem immovable at first, but
gradually he will give way to your influence and
“retaliate in kind!” The hottest coals of fire ever
heaped upon the head of one who has wronged you are
the coals of human kindness.

One morning in August, 1863, a young clergyman
was called out of bed in a hotel at Lawrence, Kansas.
The man who called him was one of Quantrell’s
guerrillas, and he wanted him to hurry downstairs and
be shot. All over the border that morning people were
being murdered. A band of raiders had ridden in early
to perpetrate the Lawrence massacre.

The guerrilla who called the clergyman was
impatient. The latter, when fully awake, was horrified
by what he saw going on through his window. As he
came downstairs the guerrilla demanded his watch and
money, and then wanted to know if he was an
abolitionist. The clergyman was trembling. But he
decided that if he was to die then and there it would
not be with a lie on his lips. So he said that he was,
and followed up the admission with a remark that
immediately turned the whole affair into another

He and the guerrilla sat down on the porch, while
people were being killed through the town, and had a
long talk. It lasted until the raiders were ready to
leave. When the clergyman’s guerrilla mounted to join
his confederates he was strictly on the defensive. He
handed back the New Englander’s valuables,
apologized for disturbing him and asked to be thought
well of.

That clergyman lived many years after the
Lawrence massacre. What did he say to the guerrilla?
What was there in his personality that led the latter to
sit down and talk? What did they talk about?

“Are you a Yankee abolitionist?” the guerrilla had
asked. “Yes, I am,” was the reply, “and you know very
well that you ought to be ashamed of what you’re

This drew the matter directly to a moral issue. It
brought the guerrilla up roundly. The clergyman was
only a stripling beside this seasoned border ruffian.
But he threw a burden of moral proof on to the raider,
and in a moment the latter was trying to demonstrate
that he might be a better fellow than circumstances
would seem to indicate.

After waking this New Englander to kill him on
account of his politics, he spent twenty minutes on the
witness stand trying to prove an alibi. He went into
his personal history at length. He explained matters
from the time when he had been a tough little kid who
wouldn’t say his prayers, and became quite
sentimental in recalling how one thing had led to
another, and that to something worse, until – well,
here he was, and “a mighty bad business to be in,
pardner.” His last request in riding away was: “Now,
pardner, don’t think too hard of me, will you?”

The New England clergyman made use of the Law
of Retaliation, whether he knew it at that time or not.
Imagine what would have happened had he come
downstairs with a revolver in his hand and started to
meet physical force with physical force!

But he didn’t do this! He mastered the guerrilla
because he fought him with a force that was unknown
to the brigand.

Why is it that when once a man begins to make
money the whole world seems to beat a pathway to his

Take any person that you know who enjoys
financial success and he will tell you that he is being
constantly sought, and that opportunities to make
money are constantly being urged upon him!

“To him that hath shall be given, but to him that
hath not shall be taken away even that which he bath”

This quotation from the Bible used to seem
ridiculous to me, yet how true it is when reduced to
its concrete meaning.

Yes, “to him that hath shall be given!” If he
“hath” failure, lack of self-confidence, hatred or lack
of self-control, to him shall these qualities be given in
still greater abundance! But, if he “hath” success,
self-confidence, self-control, patience, persistence and
determination, to him shall these qualities be

Sometimes it may be necessary to meet force with
force until we overpower our opponent or adversary,
but while he is down is a splendid time to complete
the “retaliation” by taking him by the hand and
showing him a better way to settle disputes.

Like attracts like! Germany sought to bathe her
sword in human blood, in a ruthless escapade of
conquest. As a result she has drawn the “retaliation in
kind” of most of the civilized world.

It is for you to decide what you want your fellow
men to do and it is for you to get them to do it through
the Law of Retaliation!

“The Divine Economy is automatic and very
simple: we receive only that which we give.”

How true it is that “we receive only that which we
give”! It is not that which we wish for that comes
back to us, but that which we give.

I implore you to make use of this law, not alone
for material gain, but, better still, for the attainment
of happiness and good-will toward men.

This, after all, is the only real success for which
to strive.


In this lesson we have learned a great principle –
probably the most important major principle of
psychology! We have learned that our thoughts and
actions toward others resemble an electric magnet
which attracts to us the same sort of thought and the
same sort of action that we, ourselves, create.

We have learned that “like attracts like,” whether
in thought or in expression of thought through bodily


action. We have learned that the human mind
responds, in kind, to whatever thought impressions it
receives. We have learned that the human mind
resembles mother earth in that it will reproduce a crop
of muscular action which corresponds, in kind, to the
sensory impressions planted in it. We have learned
that kindness begets kindness and unkindness and
injustice beget unkindness and injustice.

We have learned that our actions toward others,
whether of kindness or unkindness, justice or
injustice, come back to us, even in a larger measure!
We have learned that the human mind responds in
kind, to all sensory impressions it receives, therefore
we know what we must do to influence any desired
action upon the part of another. We have learned that
“pride” and “stubbornness” must be brushed away
before we can make use of the Law of Retaliation in a
constructive way. We have not learned what the Law
of Retaliation is, but we have learned how it works
and what it will do; therefore, it only remains for us
to make intelligent use of this great principle.

You are now ready to proceed with Lesson Nine,
where you will find other laws which harmonize
perfectly with those described in this lesson on Self-

It will require the strongest sort of self-control to
enable the beginner to apply the major law of the next
lesson, on the Habit of Doing More Than Paid For, but
experience will show that the development of such
control is more than justified by the results growing
out of such discipline.

IF you are successful
remember that some where,
sometime, someone gave you a lift
or an idea that started you in the
right direction. Remember,
also, that you are indebted to life
until you help some less fortunate
person, just as you were helped.


An After-the-Lesson Visit With the Author

Nothing is permanent except change. Life
resembles a great kaleidoscope before which Time
is ever shifting, changing and rearranging both
the stage setting and the players. New friends are
constantly replacing the old. Everything is in a
state of flux. In every heart is the seed of both
rascality and justice. Every human being is both a
criminal and a saint, depending upon the
expediency of the moment as to which will assert
itself. Honesty and dishonesty are largely matters
of individual viewpoint. The weak and the strong,
the rich and the poor, the ignorant and the well-
informed are exchanging places continuously.

Know YOURSELF and you know the entire
human race. There is but one real achievement,
and that is the ability to THINK ACCURATELY.
We move with the procession, or behind it, but we
cannot stand still.

NOTHING is permanent except change!
In the picture above you see proof that the law of
evolution is working out improvements in the methods
methods of travel. Remember, as you study this
picture, that all these changes took place first in the
minds of men.

At the extreme left you see the first crude method
of transportation. Man was not satisfied with this slow
process. Those two little words “not satisfied,” have
been the starting point of all advancement. Think of
them as you read this article.

Next, in the picture, you see the history of
transportation step by step, as man’s brain began to
expand. It was a long step forward when man
discovered how to hitch a bullock to a wagon and
thereby escape the toil of pulling the load. That was
practical utility. But, when the stage-coach was
ushered into use that was both utility and style. Still
man was “not satisfied” and this dissatisfaction
created the crude locomotive that you see in the

Now all these methods of travel have been
discarded except in certain uncivilized (or
uncommercialized) parts of the world. The man
drawing the cart, the bullock drawing the cart, the
stage-coach and the crude locomotive all belong to
ages that have passed.

At the right you see the transportation methods of
the present. Compare them with those of the past and
you may have a fair idea of the enormous expansion
that has taken place in the brain and mind of man.
Man now moves about more rapidly than in the past.
From the first type of locomotive there has been
evolved a powerful machine capable of hauling a
hundred cars of freight, compared with the one small
light car that could be drawn with the original.
Automobiles that travel at the speed of seventy-five
miles an hour are now as common as were the two-
wheel carts in ages past. Moreover, they are within the
means of all who want them.

And still man’s mind was “not satisfied.” Travel
on the earth was too slow. Turning his eyes upward he
watched the birds soaring high in the elements and
became “DETERMINED” to excel them. Study, also,
the word “determined,” for whatever man becomes
determined to do man does! Within the brief period of
fifteen years man has mastered the air and now travels
in the airplane at the rate of a hundred and fifty miles
an hour.

Not only has man made the air carry him at
amazingly rapid speed, but he has harnessed the ether
and made it carry his words all the way around the
earth in the fractional part of a second.

We have been describing the PAST and the

At the bottom of the picture we may see the next
step forward that man will take in methods of travel; a
machine that will fly in the air, run on the ground and
swim in the water, at the discretion of man.

The purpose of this essay and the picture at the
top of the page is to provide food for THOUGHT!

Any influence that causes one to think causes
one, also, to grow stronger mentally. Mind stimulants
are essential for growth. From the days of the man-
drawn cart to the present days of air mastery the only
progress that any man has made has been the result of
some influence that stimulated his mind to greater
than normal action.

The two great major influences that cause the
mind of man to grow are the urge of necessity and the
urge of desire to create. Some minds develop only
after they have undergone failure and defeat and other
forms of punishment which arouse them to greater
action. Other minds wither away and die under
punishment, but grow to unbelievable heights when
provided with the opportunity to use their imaginative
forces in a creative way.

Study the picture of the evolution of
transportation and you will observe one outstanding
fact worth remembering, namely, that the whole story
has been one of development and advancement that
grew out of necessity. The entire period described in
the picture as “THE PAST” was one wherein the urge
was that of necessity.

In the period described in the picture above as
“THE PRESENT” the urge has been a combination of
both necessity and the desire to create. The period
described as “THE FUTURE” will be one in which the
strong desire to create will be the sole urge that will
drive man’s mind on and on to heights as yet
undreamed of.

It is a long distance from the days of the man-
drawn cart to the present, when man has harnessed the
lightning of the clouds and made it turn machinery
that will perform as much service in a minute as ten
thousand men could perform in a day. But, if the
distance has been long the development of man’s mind
has been correspondingly great, and that development
has been sufficient to eventually do the work of the
world with machines operated by Nature’s forces and
not by man’s muscles.

The evolutionary changes in the methods of
transportation have created other problems for man’s
mind to solve. The automobile drove man to build
better roads and more of them. The automobile and the
speedy locomotive, combined, have created dangerous
crossings which claim thousands of lives annually.
Man’s mind must now respond to the urge of
“necessity” and meet this emergency.

Keep this essay and remember this prophecy:

Within five years every railroad crossing in the
country will be amply protected against automobile
accidents, and, the automobile, itself, will manipulate
the system that will do the protecting; a system that
will be fool-proof and effective; a system that will
work whether the driver of the automobile is asleep or
awake, drunk or sober.

Come, now, for a brief glimpse at the machinery
of the imagination of man, as it works under the
stimulant of desire to create.

Some imaginative man; perhaps some fellow who
never did anything else of note and who will never do
anything worth while again; will create a system of
railroad crossing protection that will be operated by
the weight of the passing automobile. Within the
required distance from the crossing a platform similar
to the platform of a large freight scale will cover an
entire section of the roadway. As soon as an
automobile mounts this platform the weight of the
machine will lower a gate, ring a gong and flash a red
light in front of the motorist. The gate will rise in one
minute, allowing the motorist to pass over the track,
thus forcing him to “stop, look and listen.”

If you have a highly imaginative mind YOU may
be the one who will create this system and collect the
royalties from its sale.

To be practical the imaginative mind should be al.
ways on the alert for ways and means of diverting
waste motion and power into useful channels. Most
automobiles are far too heavy in comparison with the
load they carry. This weight can be utilized by making
it provide the motorist with railroad crossing

Remember, the purpose of this essay is to give
you merely the seed of suggestion; not the finished
product of an invention ready to set up and render
service. The value to you, of this suggestion, lies in
the possibility of THOUGHT that you may devote to
it, thereby developing and expanding your own mind.

Study yourself and find out to which of the two
great major urges to action your mind responds most
naturally – the urge of necessity or the desire to
create. If you have children, study them and determine
to which of these two motives they respond most
naturally. Millions of children have had their
imagination dwarfed and retarded by parents who
removed as much as possible of the urge of necessity.
By “making it easy” for your child you may be
depriving the world of a genius. Bear in mind the fact
that most of the progress that man has made came as
the result of bitter, biting NECESSITY!

You need no proof that methods of transportation
have undergone a continuous process of evolution. So
marked has the change been that the old one-lung type
of automobile now provokes a laugh wherever it is
found on the street.

The law of evolution is always and everywhere at
work, changing, tearing down and rebuilding every
material element on this earth and throughout the
universe. Towns, cities and communities are
undergoing constant change. Go back to the place
where you lived twenty years ago and you will
recognize neither the place nor the people. New faces
will have made their appearance. The old faces will
have changed. New buildings will have taken the place
of the old. Everything will appear differently because
everything will be different.

The human mind is also undergoing constant
change. If this were not true we would never grow
beyond the child-mind age. Every seven years the
mind of a normal person becomes noticeably
developed and expanded. It is during these periodical
changes of the mind that bad habits may be left off
and better habits cultivated. Fortunate for the human
being that his mind is undergoing a continuous
process of orderly change.

The mind that is driven by the urge of necessity,
or out of love to create, develops more rapidly than
does the mind that is never stimulated to greater
action than that which is necessary for existence.

The imaginative faculty of the human mind is the
greatest piece of machinery ever created. Out of it has
come every man-made machine and every manmade

Back of the great industries and railroads and
banking houses and commercial enterprises is the all-
powerful force of IMAGINATION!

Force your mind to THINK! Proceed by
combining old ideas into new plans. Every great
invention and every outstanding business or industrial
achievement that you can name is, in final analysis,
but the application of a combination of plans and
ideas that have been used before, in some other

“Back of the beating hammer

By which the steel is wrought,
Back of the workshop’s clamor

The seeker may find the Thought;
The thought that is ever Master

Of iron and steam and steel,
That rises above disaster

And tramples it under heel.

“The drudge may fret and tinker

Or labor with lusty blows,
But back of him stands the Thinker,

The clear-eyed man who knows;
For into each plow or saber,

Each piece and part and whole,
Must go the brains of labor,

Which gives the work a soul.

“Back of the motor’s humming,

Back of the bells that ring,
Back of the hammer’s drumming,

Back of the cranes that swing,
There is the Eye which scans them,

Watching through stress and strain,
There is the Mind which plans them –

Back of the brawn, the Brain.

“Might of the roaring boiler,

Force of the engine’s thrust,
Strength of the sweating toiler,

Greatly in these we trust;
But back of them stands the schemer,

The Thinker who drives things through,
Back of the job – the Dreamer

Who’s making the dream come true.”

Six months or a year from now come back and
read this essay again and you will observe how much
more you will get from it than you did at first reading.
TIME gives the law of evolution a chance to expand
your mind so it can see and understand more.