It was never intended that man should be poor. When wealth is obtained under the proper conditions it broadens the life.
Everything has its value. Everything has a good use and a bad use. The forces of mind like wealth can be directed either for good or evil. A little rest will re-create forces. Too much rest degenerates into laziness, and brainless, dreamy longings.
If you acquire wealth unjustly from others, you are misusing your forces; but if your wealth comes through the right sources you will be blessed. Through wealth we can do things to uplift ourselves and humanity.
Wealth is many persons' goal. It therefore stimulates their endeavor. They long for it in order to dress and live in such a way as to attract friends. Without friends they would not be so particular of their surroundings. The fact is the more attractive we make ourselves and our surroundings the more inspiring are their influences. It is not conducive to proper thought to be surrounded by conditions that are uncongenial and unpleasant.
So the first step toward acquiring wealth is to surround yourself with helpful influences; to claim for yourself an environment of culture, place yourself in it and be molded by its influences.
Most great men of all ages have been comparatively rich. They have made or inherited money. Without money they could not have accomplished what they did. The man engaged in physical drudgery is not likely to have the same high ideals as the man that can command comparative leisure.
Wealth is usually the fruit of achievement. It is not, however, altogether the result of being industrious. Thousands of persons work hard who never grow wealthy. Others with much less effort acquire wealth. Seeing possibilities is another step toward acquiring wealth. A man may be as industrious as he can possibly be, but if he does not use his mental forces he will be a laborer, to be directed by the man that uses to good advantage his mental forces.
No one can become wealthy in an ordinary lifetime, by mere savings from earnings. Many scrimp and economize all their lives; but by so doing waste all their vitality and energy. For example, I know a man that used to walk to work. It took him an hour to go and an hour to return. He could have taken a car and gone in twenty minutes. He saved ten cents a day but wasted an hour and a half. It was not a very profitable investment unless the time spent in physical exercise yielded him large returns in the way of health.
The same amount of time spent in concentrated effort to overcome his unfavorable business environment might have firmly planted his feet in the path of prosperity.
One of the big mistakes made by many persons of the present generation is that they associate with those who fail to call out or develop the best that is in them. When the social side of life is developed too exclusively, as it often is, and recreation or entertainment becomes the leading motive of a person's life, he acquires habits of extravagance instead of economy; habits of wasting his resources, physical, mental, moral and spiritual, instead of conserving them. He is, in consequence, lacking in proper motivation, his God-given powers and forces are undeveloped and he inevitably brings poor judgment to bear upon all the higher relationships of life, while, as to his financial fortunes, he is ever the leaner; often a parasite, and always, if opportunity affords, as heavy a consumer as he is a poor producer.
It seems a part of the tragedy of life that these persons have to be taught such painful lessons before they can understand the forces and laws that regulate life. Few profit by the mistakes of others. They must experience them for themselves and then apply the knowledge so gained in reconstructing their lives.
Any man that has ever amounted to anything has never done a great deal of detail work for long periods at any given time. He needs his time to reflect. He does not do his duties today in the same way as yesterday, but as the result of deliberate and concentrated effort, constantly tries to improve his methods.
I knew the lecturer had been practically broke for ten years. I wanted to hear what he had to say. He spoke very well. He no doubt benefited some of his hearers, but he had not profited by his own teachings. I introduced myself and asked him if he believed in his maxims. He said he did. I asked him if they had made him prosperous. He said not exactly. I asked him why. He answered that he thought he was fated not to experience prosperity.
In half an hour I showed that man why poverty had always been his companion. He had dressed poorly. He held his lectures in poor surroundings. By his actions and beliefs he attracted poverty. He did not realize that his thoughts and his surroundings exercised an unfavorable influence. I said: "Thoughts are moving forces; great powers. Thoughts of wealth attract wealth. Therefore, if you desire wealth you must attract the forces that will help you to secure it. Your thoughts attract a similar kind of thoughts.
If you hold thoughts of poverty you attract poverty. If you make up your mind you are going to be wealthy, you will instil this thought into all your mental forces, and you will at the same time use every external condition to help you."
Many persons are of the opinion that if you have money it is easy to make more money. But this is not necessarily true. Ninety per cent of the men that start in business fail. Money will not enable one to accumulate much more, unless he is trained to seek and use good opportunities for its investment. If he inherits money the chances are that he will lose it. While, if he has made it, he not only knows its value, but has developed the power to use it as well as to make more if he loses it.
Business success today depends on foresight, good judgment, grit, firm resolution and settled purpose. But never forget that thought is as real a force as electricity. Let your thoughts be such, that you will send out as good as you receive; if you do not, you are not enriching others, and therefore deserve not to be enriched.
The man that tries to get all he can from others for nothing becomes so selfish and mean that he does not even enjoy his acquisitions. We see examples of this every day. What we take from others, will in turn, be taken from us. All obligations have to be met fairly and squarely. We cannot reach perfection until we discharge every obligation of our lives. We all realize this, so why not willingly give a fair exchange for all that we receive?
Again I repeat that the first as well as the last step in acquiring wealth is to surround yourself with good influences-good thought, good health, good home and business environment and successful business associates. Cultivate, by every legitimate means, the acquaintance of men of big caliber.
Bring your thought vibrations in regard to business into harmony with theirs. This will make your society not only agreeable, but sought after, and, when you have formed intimate friendships with clean, reputable men of wealth, entrust to them, for investment, your surplus earnings, however small, until you have developed the initiative and business acumen to successfully manage your own investments. By this time you will, through such associations, have found your place in life which, if you have rightly concentrated upon and used your opportunities, will not be among men of small parts. With a competence secured, you will take pleasure in using a part of it in making the road you traveled in reaching your position easier for those who follow you.
There is somewhere in every brain the energy that will get you out of that rut and put you far up on the mountain of success if you can only use the energy.
You know that gasoline in the engine of an automobile doesn't move the car until the spark comes to explode the gasoline.
So it is with the mind of man. We are not speaking now of men of great genius, but of average, able citizens.
Each one of them has in his brain the capacity to climb over the word impossible and get into the successful country beyond.
And hope, self-confidence and the determination to do something supply the spark that makes the energy work.