LESSON XX. CONCENTRATION REVIEWED
Source: The Power of Concentration
New Method. You will find in this chapter a most effective and
most practical method of developing the will. You can develop a
strong one if you want to. You can make your Will a dynamo to
draw to you untold power. Exercises are given which will, if
practiced, strengthen your will, just as you would strengthen
your muscles by athletic exercises.
In starting to do anything, we must first commence with
elementary principles. Simple exercises will be given. It is
impossible to estimate the ultimate good to be derived from the
mental cultivation that comes through these attempts at
concentration. Even the simple exercises are not to be thought
useless. "In no respect," writes Doctor Oppenheim, "can a man
show a finer quality of will-power than in his own private,
intimate life." We are all subjected to certain temptations. The
Will decides whether we will be just, or unjust; pure of thought;
charitable in opinion; forbearing in overlooking other's
shortcomings; whether we live up to our highest standard. Since
these are all controlled by the Will, we should find time for
plenty of exercises for training of the will in our daily life.
You, of course, realize that your will should be trained. You
must also realize that to do this requires effort that you alone
can command. No one can call it forth for you.
To be successful in these exercises you must practice them in a
spirit of seriousness and earnestness. I can show you how to
train your will, but your success depends upon your mastery and
application of these methods.
New Methods of Will-Training. Select a quiet room where you will
not be interrupted; have a watch to determine the time, and a
note-book in which to enter observations. Start each exercise
with date and time of day.
Time decided on. Select some time of the day when most
convenient. Sit in a chair and look at the door-knob for ten
minutes. Then write down what you experienced. At first it will
seem strange and unnatural. You will find it hard to hold one
position for ten minutes. But keep as still as you can. The time
will seem long for it will probably be the first time you ever
sat and did nothing for ten minutes. You will find your thoughts
wandering from the door-knob, and you will wonder what there can
be in this exercise. Repeat this exercise for six days.
10 P. M. 2nd Day.
Notes. You should be able to sit quieter, and the time should
pass more quickly. You will probably feel a little stronger
because of gaining a better control of your will. It will brace
you up, as you have kept your resolution. 10 P. M. 3rd Day.
Notes. It may be a little harder for you to concentrate on the
door-knob as perhaps you had a very busy day and your mind kept
trying to revert to what you had been doing during the day. Keep
on trying and you will finally succeed in banishing all foreign
thoughts. Then you should feel a desire to gain still more
control. There is a feeling of power that comes over you when you
are able to carry out your will. This exercise will make you feel
bigger and it awakens a sense of nobility and manliness. You will
say, "I find that I can actually do what I want to and can drive
foreign thoughts out. The exercise, I can now see, is valuable."
10 P. M. 4th Day.
Notes. "I found that I could look at the door-knob and
concentrate my attention on it at once. Have overcome the
tendency to move my legs. No other thoughts try to enter as I
have established the fact that I can do what I want to do and do
not have to be directed. I feel that I am gaining in mental
strength, I can now see the wonderful value of being the master
of my own will-force. I know now if I make a resolution I will
keep it. I have more self-confidence and can feel my self-control
10 P. M. 5th Day.
Notes. "Each day I seem to increase the intensity of my
concentration. I feel that I can center my attention on anything
10 P. M. 6th Day.
Notes. "I can instantly center my whole attention on the
door-knob. Feel that I have thoroughly mastered this exercise and
that I am ready for another."
You have practiced this exercise enough, but before you start
another I want you to write a summary of just how successful you
were in controlling the flitting impulses of the mind and will.
You will find this an excellent practice. There is nothing more
beneficial to the mind than to pay close attention to its own
wonderful, subtle activities.
Secure a package of playing cards. Select some time to do the
exercise. Each day at the appointed time, take the pack in one
hand and then start laying them down on top of each other just as
slowly as you can, with an even motion. Try to get them as even
as possible. Each card laid down should completely cover the
under one. Do this exercise for six days.
Notes. Task will seem tedious and tiresome. Requires the closest
concentration to make each card completely cover the preceding
one. You will probably want to lay them down faster. It requires
patience to lay them down so slowly, but benefit is lost if not
so placed. You will find that at first your motions will be jerky
and impetuous. It will require a little practice before you gain
an easy control over your hands and arms. You probably have never
tried to do anything in such a calm way. It will require the
closest attention of your will. But you will find that you are
acquiring a calmness you never had before. You are gradually
acquiring new powers. You recognize how impulsive and impetuous
you have been, and how, by using your will, you can control your
Notes. You start laying the cards down slowly. You will find that
by practice you can lay them down much faster. But you want to
lay them down slowly and therefore you have to watch yourself.
The slow, steady movement is wearisome. You have to conquer the
desire of wanting to hurry up. Soon you will find that you can go
slowly or fast at will.
Notes. You still find it hard to go slowly. Your will urges you
to go faster. This is especially true if you are impulsive, as
the impulsive character finds it very difficult to do anything
slowly and deliberately. It goes against the "grain." This
exercise still is tiresome. But when you do it, it braces you up
mentally. You are accomplishing something you do not like to do.
It teaches you how to concentrate on disagreeable tasks. Writing
these notes down you will find very helpful.
Notes. I find that I am beginning to place the cards in a
mathematical way. I find one card is not completely covering
another. I am getting a little careless and must be more careful.
I command my will to concentrate more. It does not seem so hard
to bring it under control.
Notes. I find that I am overcoming my jerky movements, that I can
lay the cards down slowly and steadily. I feel that I am rapidly
gaining more poise. I am getting better control over my will each
day, and my will completely controls my movements. I begin to
look on my will as a great governing power. I would not think of
parting with the knowledge of will I have gained. I find it is a
good exercise and know it will help me to accomplish my tasks.
Notes. I begin to feel the wonderful possibilities of the will.
It gives me strength to think of the power of will. I am able to
do so much more and better work now, that I realize that I can
control my will action. Whatever my task, my will is concentrated
on it. I am to keep my will centered there until the task is
finished. The more closely and definitely I determine what I
shall do, the more easily the will carries it out. Determination
imparts compelling force to the will. It exerts itself more. The
will and the end act and react on each other.
Notes. Now try to do everything you do today faster. Don't hurry
or become nervous. Just try to do everything faster, but in a
You will find that the exercises you have practiced in
retardation have steadied your nerves, and thereby made it
possible to increase your speed. The will is under your command.
Make it carry out resolutions rapidly. This is how you build up
your self-control and your self-command. It is then that the
human machine acts as its author dictates.
You certainly should now be able to judge of the great benefit
that comes from writing out your introspections each day. Of
course you will not have the exact experiences given in these
examples, but some of these will fit your case. Be careful to
study your experiences carefully and make as true a report as you
can. Describe your feelings just as they seem to you. Allow your
fancies to color your report and it will be worthless. You have
pictured conditions as you see them. In a few months, if you
again try the same exercises, you will find your report very much
better. By these introspections, we learn to know ourselves
better and with this knowledge can wonderfully increase our
efficiency. As you become used to writing out your report, it
will be more accurate. You thus learn how to govern your
impulses, activities and weaknesses.
Each person should try to plan exercises that will best fit his
needs. If not convenient for you to practice exercises every day,
take them twice or three times a week. But carry out any plan you
decide to try. If you cannot devote ten minutes a day to the
experiments start with five minutes and gradually increase the
time. The exercises given are only intended for examples.
Will Training Without Exercise. There are many people that do not
want to take the time to practice exercises, so the following
instructions for training the will are given to them.
By willing and realizing, the will grows. Therefore the more you
will, the more it grows, and builds up power. No matter whether
your task is big or small, make it a rule to accomplish it in
order to fortify your will. Form the habit of focusing your will
in all its strength upon the subject to be achieved. You form in
this way the habit of getting a thing done, of carrying out some
plan. You acquire the feeling of being able to accomplish that
which lies before you, no matter what it is. This gives you
confidence and a sense of power that you get in no other way. You
know when you make a resolution that you will keep it. You do not
tackle new tasks in a half-hearted way, but with a bold, brave
spirit. We know that the will is able to carry us over big
obstacles. Knowing this despair never claims us for a victim. We
have wills and are going to use them with more and more
intensity, thus giving us the power to make our resolutions
stronger, our actions freer and our lives finer and better.
The education of the will should not be left to chance. It is
only definite tasks that will render it energetic, ready,
persevering and consistent. The only way it can be done is by
self-study and self-discipline. The cost is effort, time and
patience, but the returns are valuable. There are no magical
processes leading to will development, but the development of
your will works wonders for you because it gives you
self-mastery, personal power and energy of character.
Concentration of the Will to Win. The adaptability of persons to
their business environment is more a matter of determination than
anything else. In this age we hear a good deal of talk about a
man's aptitudes. Some of his aptitudes, some of his powers, may
be developed to a wonderful extent, but he is really an unknown
quality until all his latent powers are developed to their
highest possible extent. He may be a failure in one line and a
big success in another. There are many successful men, that did
not succeed well at what they first undertook, but they profited
by their efforts in different directions, and this fitted them
for higher things, whereas had they refused to adjust themselves
to their environment, the tide of progress would have swept them
My one aim in all my works is to try and arouse in the individual
the effort and determination to develop his full capacities, his
highest possibilities. One thing I want you to realize at the
start, that it is not so much ability, as it is the will to do
that counts. Ability is very plentiful, but organizing initiative
and creative power are not plentiful. It is easy to get employes,
but to get someone to train them is harder. Their abilities must
be directed to the work they can do. They must be shown how,
while at this work, to conserve their energy and they must be
taught to work in harmony with others, for most business concerns
are dominated by a single personality.
Concentrating on Driving Force Within. We are all conscious, at
times, that we have somewhere within us an active driving force
that is ever trying to push us onward to better deeds. It is that
"force" that makes us feel determined at times to do something
worth while. It is not thought, emotion or feeling. This driving
force is something distinct from thought or emotion. It is a
quality of the soul and therefore it has a consciousness all its
own. It is the "I will do" of the will. It is the force that
makes the will concentrate. Many have felt this force working
within them, driving them on to accomplish their tasks. All great
men and women become conscious that this supreme and powerful
force is their ally in carrying out great resolutions.
This driving force is within all, but until you reach a certain
stage you do not become aware of it. It is most useful to the
worthy. It springs up naturally without any thought of training.
It comes unprovoked and leaves unnoticed. Just what this force is
we do not know, but we do know that it is what intensifies the
will in demanding just and harmonious action.
The ordinary human being, merely as merchandise, if he could be
sold as a slave, would be worth ten thousand dollars. If somebody
gave you a five thousand dollar automobile you would take very
good care of it. You wouldn't put sand in the carburetor, or mix
water with the gasoline, or drive it furiously over rough roads,
or leave it out to freeze at night.
Are you quite sure that you take care of your own body, your own
health, your only real property, as well as you would take care
of a five thousand dollar automobile if it were given to you?
The man who mixes whiskey with his blood is more foolish than a
man would be if he mixed water with gasoline in his car.
You can get another car; you cannot get another body.
The man who misses sleep lives irregularly--bolts his food so
that his blood supply is imperfect. That is a foolish man
treating himself as he would not treat any other valuable piece
Do you try to talk with men and women who know more than you do,
and do you LISTEN rather than try to tell them what you know?
There are a hundred thousand men of fifty, and men of sixty,
running along in the old rut, any one of whom could get out of it
and be counted among the successful men if only the spark could
be found to explode the energy within them now going to waste.
Each man must study and solve his own problem.
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