This section is from the book "The Art And Science Of Personal Magnetism", by Theron Q. Dumont. Also available from Amazon: The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism: The Secret of Mental Fascination.
In a preceding chapter, I have stated that the mental phase of personal magnetism consists of two coordinated manifestations of mental power, the first of which was "the holding of certain mental states until the mental atmosphere becomes charged with the vibrations of the particular mental states." Let us now consider what are these "certain mental states" which are to be held.
In the first place, these "mental states" are not so much any set of particular thoughts, but rather are stated mental attitudes in relation to oneself and the outer world of men. A man's mental attitude, if firmly defined and as firmly held, impresses itself upon everything around the man. His looks grow to conform; his voice; his walk; his general appearance; all grow to reflect his inner states of mind. Moreover, his mental atmosphere becomes so charged with certain vibrations that those who come in contact with the man actually feel his mental attitude, and adjust themselves to it.
Who of us cannot recall the "so meek and humble," Uriah Heep mental attitude manifested by some persons of our acquaintance? Who does not remember having actually felt the sneaky, foxy mental attitude of certain other persons? And who can forget the bold, masterful, mental attitude of certain successful men in our field of business acquaintance? Each of these classes is possessed of a mental atmosphere, which reveals itself at once to us, when we meet them.
I need scarcely urge upon you the importance of producing in yourself the most desirable kind of personal atmosphere. And, as I have said, the mental atmosphere is the direct result of the mental attitude of the person, and reflects the same inevitably. Of course, the mental attitude of a person is composed of a variety of beliefs, opinions, views, ideals, etc., and must of necessity be of a somewhat mixed character. In the case of the majority of persons, the personal atmosphere lacks force and character because of a lack of any particular mental color. But, in the case of the strong individuals of the race, it will be found that there is always a strong fixed mental attitude - a strong desire which colors all the thought; a powerful ambition which gives tone to all the rest; or a firm resolve which fires the entire mental character. This strong vibration is carried out into the personal atmosphere, and its influence is felt, and men react thereto.
In a general way, mental attitudes may be divided into two classes, viz.: (l) positive and (2) negative.
It is difficult, at first, to give the keynote of each of these two classes of mental attitude, but I call your attention to the words of an American writer, in this connection who well says: "That which tends to render one strong, is positive; that which tends to render him weak, is negative." I do not think that I can improve on this definition, and I advise you to adopt it, and to measure your mental attitudes by that standard.
By all means cultivate and develop the positives, and restrict the negatives, in your mental make-up so that, in the end, your mental attitude may be "positive" instead of "negative" - strong instead of weak.
An interesting thing about the cultivation of a mental attitude, is that not only does the improved mental attitude tend to impress itself upon others with whom you come in contact, but that it also tends to impress itself upon your own mentality, so that you gradually become more and more fixed in the mental attitude.
Mental attitude resembles yeast, in the sense that if you insert a single bit of the ferment in your mind, it will begin to work, and grow other cells, until it finally fills your entire mind. It tends to reproduce itself. This is true of both desirable and undesirable mental ideas, but - and remember this well - here is a most hopeful and encouraging fact: a positive idea will tend to kill a negative one, so you see Nature is fighting on your side. The best way to kill and destroy negative mental ideas and attitudes is to plant a good crop of positive in their places, and then encourage the fight - the negatives will go under surely. It is like pouring fresh water into a basin of dirty water - in time the water will become clear; or, again, like flooding a room with sunshine - the darkness will be destroyed.
Let us take a little glance at the principal positives and negatives in the list of mental attitudes:
Positives: courage, masterfulness, activity, initiative, dynamic thought, self-esteem, assertiveness, continuity.
Negatives: fear, slavishness, sluggishness, waiting-for-orders, static thought, self-distrust, retreativeness, fickleness.
This list might be extended much further, but I think that you will have caught the idea by this time. Run over the list of the strong positive qualities of the strong men of your acquaintance and endeavor to reproduce them in you. Run over the list of weak, negative qualities of the weak persons you know - and endeavor to "cut them out" of your mental attitudes.
In this work of building-up of mental attitude, remember this: "This mind grows to resemble that upon which it feeds," and therefore, you should "feed" your mind with the very kind of ideas, which you would like to have your mental attitude reflect. For instance, if you desire a mental attitude of Courage, Determination, Masterfulness, Success, etc., you should read stories in which these points of character are brought out; you should frequent the company of this kind of persons; you should constantly hold in your mind the IDEAL of the things you wish to develop in your mental attitude, and you will find that you will naturally find in the outer world the material things corresponding to them. And, remember this, avoid the opposite and negative books, persons and thoughts, as you would poisonous snakes.
It is astonishing how quickly the mind will respond to the steadfast holding of the POSITIVE IDEAL, and the stimulating environment of POSITIVE things. In a short time, there will be set up an instinctive habit of mind, which will select the positive things from its environment and will also reject the negative things. Train your mind to select the right kind of food for itself, and it will soon acquire the habit and perform the work instinctively without any special supervision on your part. Moreover, there will be developed in your mind that which that gifted American writer, Prentice Mulford, once called "The Attractive Power of Thought," by means of which you will draw to yourself the things, persons, books, etc., which will supply you with the particular kind of mental food best fitted to the IDEAL you are carrying in your mind. I shall not discuss this last wonderful phenomenon, but ask you to remember and apply the fact, nevertheless, for it is one of the great forces of nature.
Finally, I advise you to sit down and make a careful, full, and honest chart of your mental characteristics, positive and negative. Then, place a plus sign before the positives, and minus sign before the negative. Then every day run over your plus list, and fix in your mind the idea that these positives MUST be developed; and the negatives MUST be restarted. The development of the positives will come about by the holding in mind of the ideal of them - thus they will develop and increase, like a self-multiplying cell. The negatives maybe restricted by developing their opposites - for; this is the application of the law that positives kill out negatives. Upon these two great fundamental laws of practical psychology, one may build a character at will. I will repeat them once more, so that you will fix them in your mind.
I. Feed your positive qualities by ideas of the same kind, in thoughts, books, persons, environment, etc.
II. Restrict or kill-out your negatives, by developing their positive opposites. And, now, for a wonderful plan of developing a positive mental attitude.
This plan has been successfully practiced my many of my students, some of whom stand high in the list of the world's great men.
It is this:
Build up for your own use, an IDEAL PATTERN of that which you wish to be. Map out exactly the characteristics, which you wish to be yours. Then picture, in your mind's eye, an individual possessed of just these qualities - a complete model, or pattern, of that which you wish to be. Then hold that pattern or model, constantly in your imagination. See it ever; think always about it; view it from the inside and the outside; get fully acquainted with it. And, gradually you will begin to grow like your ideal. The IDEAL will begin to materialize in your own character, and your mental attitude will be that of your model.
Do not pass by this rule, because of its simplicity. It has worked miracles for others - why not for you? If you will persist with this plan, your mental attitude will become positive and fixed, and your personal atmosphere will be charged with the strong, positive vibrations, which will proclaim you as a master.
Let this idea be yours, in studying the following chapters, and remember that in this way you can get the best results from the special instruction, which is to follow this chapter.