Excerpts from

How To Get What You Want

Wallace D. Wattles

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Book Description
Getting what you want is success; and success is an effect, coming from the application of a cause. Success is essentially the same in all cases; the difference is in the things the successful people want, but not in the success. Success is essentially the same, whether it results in the attainment of health, wealth, development or position; success is attainment, without regard to the things attained. And it is a law in nature that like causes always produce like effects; therefore, since success is the same in all cases, the cause of success must be the same in all cases.

Chapter 1

The cause of success is always in the person who succeeds; you will see that this must be true, because if the cause of success were in nature, outside the person, then all persons similarly situated would succeed.

The cause of success is not in the environment of the individual, because if it were, all persons within a given radius would be successful, and success would be wholly a matter of neighborhood; and we see that people whose environments are practically the same, and who live in the same neighborhood show us all degrees of success and failure; therefore, we know that the cause of success must be in the individual, and nowhere else.

It is, therefore, mathematically certain that you can succeed if you will find out the cause of success, and develop it to sufficient strength, and apply it properly to your work; for the application of a sufficient cause can not fail to produce a given effect. If there is a failure anywhere, of any kind, it is because the cause was either not sufficient or was not properly applied.
The cause of success is some power within you; you have the power to develop any power to a limitless extent; for there is no end to mental growth; you can increase the strength of this power indefinitely, and so you can make it strong enough to do what you want to do, and to get what you want to get; when it is strong enough you can learn how to apply it to the work, and therefore, you can certainly succeed. All you have to learn is what is the cause of success, and how it must be applied.

The development of the special faculties to be used in your work is essential. We do not expect anyone to succeed as a musician without developing the musical faculty; and it would be absurd to expect a machinist to succeed without developing the mechanical faculty, a clergyman to succeed without developing spiritual understanding and the use of words, or a banker to succeed without developing the faculty of finance. And in choosing a business, you should choose the one which will call for the use of your strongest faculties.

If you have good mechanical ability, and are not spiritually minded and have no command of language, do not try to preach; and if you have the taste and talent to combine colors and fabrics into beautiful creation in millinery and dress, do not learn typewriting or stenography; get into a business which will use your strongest faculties, and develop these faculties all you can; and even this is not enough to insure success.

There are people with fine musical talent who fail as musicians; with good mechanical ability who fail as carpenters, blacksmiths and machinists; with deep spirituality and fluent use of language who fail as clergymen; with keen and logical minds who fail as lawyers, and so on; the special faculties used in your work are the tools you use, but success does not depend alone on having good tools; it depends more on the power which uses and applies the tools. Be sure that your tools are the best and kept in the best condition; you can cultivate any faculty to any desired extent.

The application of the musical faculty causes success in music; that of the mechanical faculty causes success in mechanical pursuits; that of the financial faculty causes success in banking, and so on; and the something which applies these faculties, or causes them to be applied is the cause of success. The faculties are tools; the user of the tools is you, yourself; that in you which can cause you to use the tools in the right way, at the right time and in the right place is the cause of success.

What is this something in the person which causes him to use his faculties successfully?

What it is and how to develop it will be fully explained in the next section; but before taking that up you should read this section over several times, so as to fix upon your mind the impregnable logic of the statement that you can succeed. You can; and if you study the foregoing argument well, you will be convinced that you can; and to become convinced that you can succeed is the first requisite to success.

Chapter 2

The faculties of the human mind are the tools with which success is attained, and the right application of these tools to your work or business will do it successfully and get what you want. A few people succeed because they use their faculties successfully, and the majority, who have equally good faculties, fail because they use them unsuccessfully. There is something in the man who succeeds which enables him to use his faculties successfully, and this something must be cultivated by all who succeed; the question is, What is it?

It is hard to find a word which shall express it, and not be misleading. This something is Poise; and poise is peace and power combined; but it is more than poise, for poise is a condition, and this something is an action as well as a condition. This Something is Faith; but it is more than faith, as faith is commonly understood: As commonly understood, faith consists in the action of believing things which cannot be proved; and the Something which causes success is more than that. It is Conscious Power in Action.


Power-Consciousness is what you feel when you know that you can do a thing; and you know HOW to do the thing. If I can cause you to KNOW that you can succeed, and to know that you know HOW to succeed, I have placed success within your grasp; for if you know that you can do a thing and know that you know how to do it, it is impossible that you should fail to do it, if you really try. When you are in full Power-Consciousness, you will approach the task in an absolutely successful frame of mind. Every thought will be a successful thought, every action a successful action; and if every thought and action is successful, the sum-total of all your actions cannot be failure.

What I have to do in these lessons, then, is to teach you how to create Power-Consciousness in yourself, so that you will know that you can do what you want to do and then to teach you how to do what you want to do. Read again the preceding section; it proves by unanswerable logic that you CAN succeed. It shows that all that is in any mind is in your mind; the difference, if any, being in development. It is a fact in nature that the undeveloped is always capable of development; we see then that the cause of success is in you, and is capable of full development.

Having read this you must believe that it is possible for you to succeed; but it is not enough for you to believe that you can; you must know that you can; and the subconscious mind must know it as well as the objective mind. People have a way of saying, "he can who thinks he can"; but this is not true. It is not even true that he can who knows he can, if only the objective mind is spoken of; for the subconscious mind will often completely set aside and overcome what is positively known by the objective mind. It is a true statement, however, that he can whose subconscious mind knows that he can; and it is especially true if his objective mind has been trained to do the work.

People fail because they think, objectively, that they can do things, but do not know, subconsciously, that they can do them. It is more than likely that your subconscious mind is even now impressed with doubts of your ability to succeed; and these must be removed, or it will withhold its power when you need it most.

The subconscious mind is the source from which power comes in the action of any faculty; and a doubt will cause this power to be withheld, and the action will be weak; therefore, your first step must be to impress your subconscious mind with that fact that you CAN. This must be done by repeated suggestions.

Practice the following mental exercise several times a day, and especially just before going to sleep; think quietly about the subconscious mentality, which permeates your whole body as water permeates a sponge; as you think of this mind, try to feel it; you will soon be able to become conscious of it. Hold this consciousness, and say with deep, earnest feeling: "I CAN succeed! All that is possible to anyone is possible to me. I AM successful. I do succeed, for I am full of the Power of Success."

This is the simple truth. Realize that it is true, and repeat it over and over until your mentality is saturated through and through with the knowledge that YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. You can; other people have, and you can do more than anyone has ever done, for no one has ever yet used all the power that is capable of being used. It is within your power to make a greater success in your business than anyone has ever made before you.

Practice the above autosuggestion for a month with persistence, and you will begin to KNOW that you have within you that which CAN do what you want to do; and then you will be ready for the next section which will tell you how to proceed in doing what you want to do. But remember that it is absolutely essential that you should first impress upon the subconscious mind the knowledge that you CAN.

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