Of all known forms of energy, thought is the most subtle, the most irresistible force. It has always been operating; but, so far as the great masses of the people are concerned, it has been operating blindly, or, rather, they have been blind to its mighty power, except in the cases of a few here and there. And these, as a consequence, have been our prophets, our seers, our sages, our saviors, our men of great and mighty power. We are just beginning to grasp the tremendous truth that there is a _science of thought_, and that the laws governing it can be known and scientifically applied. The man who understands and who appropriates this fact has literally all things under his control. Heredity and its attendant circumstances and influences? you ask. Most surely. The barriers which heredity builds, the same as those environment erects, when the awakened interior forces are considered, are as mud walls standing within the range of a Krupp gun: shattered and crumbled they are when the tremendous force is applied.
Thought needs direction to be effective, and upon this effective results depend as much as upon the force itself. This brings us to the will. Will is not as is so often thought, a force in itself; will is the directing power. Thought is the force. Will gives direction. Thought scattered gives the weak, the uncertain, the vacillating, the aspiring, but the never-doing, the I-would-like-to, but the get-no-where, the attain-to-nothing man or woman. Thought steadily directed by the will, gives the strong, the firm, the never-yielding, the never-know-defeat man or woman, the man or woman who uses the very difficulties and hindrances that would dishearten the ordinary person, as stones with which he paves a way over which he triumphantly walks, who, by the very force he carries with him, so neutralizes and transmutes the very obstacles that would bar his way that they fall before him, and in turn aid him on his way; the man or woman who, like the eagle, uses the very contrary wind that would thwart his flight, that would turn him and carry him in the opposite direction, as the very agency upon which he mounts and mounts and mounts, until actually lost to the human eye, and which, in addition to thus aiding him, brings to him an ever fuller realization of his own powers, or in other words, an ever greater power.
It is this that gives the man or the woman who in storm or in sunny weather, rides over every obstacle, throws before him every barrier, and, as Browning has said, finally “arrives.” Take, for example, the successful business man,–for it is all one, the law is the same in all cases,–the man who started with nothing except his own interior equipments. He has made up his mind to _one_ thing,–success. This is his ideal. He thinks success, he sees success. He refuses to see anything else. He expects success: he thus attracts it to him, his thought-forces continually attract to him every agency that makes for success. He has set up the current, so that every wind that blows brings him success. He doesn’t expect failure, and so he doesn’t invite it. He has no time, no energies, to waste in fears or forebodings. He is dauntless, untiring, in his efforts. Let disaster come to-day, and to-morrow–ay, even yet to-day–he is getting his bearings, he is setting forces anew into operation; and these very forces are of more value to him than the half million dollars of his neighbor who has suffered from the same disaster. We speak of a man’s failing in business, little thinking that the real failure came long before, and that the final crash is but the culmination, the outward visible manifestation, of the real failure that occurred within possibly long ago. _A man carries his success or his failure with him: it is not dependent upon outside conditions._
Will is the steady directing power: it is concentration. It is the pilot which, after the vessel is started by the mighty force within, puts it on its right course and keeps it true to that course, the pilot under whose control the rudder is which brings the great ocean liner, even through storms and gales, to an exact spot in the Liverpool port within a few minutes of its scheduled time, and at times even upon the very minute. Will is the sun-glass which so concentrates and so focuses the sun’s rays that they quickly burn a hole through the paper that is held before it. The same rays, not thus concentrated, not thus focused, would fall upon the paper for days without any effect whatever. Will is the means for the directing, the concentrating, the focusing, of the thought-forces. Thought under wise direction,–this it is that does the work, that brings results, that makes the successful career. One object in mind which we never lose sight of; an ideal steadily held before the mind, never lost sight of, never lowered, never swerved from,–this, with persistence, determines all. Nothing can resist the power of thought, when thus directed by will.