The Personal Power Course
by Wallace D. Wattles
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Contains ten lessons in Contructive Science, teaching you how to use your own subconscious energies for health, prosperity and personal achievement. The contents of this book was originally published as a series of lessons in Elizabeth Towne's Nautilus magazine, and was published in book form some 11 years after the author's passing under the title The Personal Power Course: 10 Lessons in Constructive Science.
The course is really a synthesis of Wattles' philosophy and teachings in a very easy to understand form that anyone of average intelligence should be able follow and put into practice. The course is free from jargon, and the lessons given are very practical.
Lesson 1 - Fundamentals; Lesson 2 - The Physical Side of Health-Culture; Lesson 3 - The Mental Side of Health-Culture; Lesson 4 - The Physical Side of Wealth-Culture; Lesson 5 - The Mental Side of Wealth-Culture; Lesson 6 - The Development of Talent.; Lesson 7 - The Retention of Youth; Lesson 8 - Martial Happiness; Lesson 9 - Special Application; Lesson 10 - Opportunity.
In order to get what you want, you must act; and in order to act, you must apply force. And it is self-evident proposition that the force to be applied is one within yourself. If you are to use external forces, they can only be made to act by compelling them to obey you; and to compel them to obey you, you must use your internal force. So, whether you seek health, wealth, development, position or happiness, you must expect to get it by applying your own inward force, and you cannot get it any other way.
Is the force within you sufficient for the task? Yes; the force within you is all the force there is, and contains the potentialities of all life. All life is the same, and contains the same essentials, powers, and possibilities. Nobody ever had a talent which you have not, either as a developed or an undeveloped faculty. Nobody ever did a thing which you cannot do by developing the faculty or talent required; and since perfection has not been reached in anything, nobody ever did anything so well but that you can do it better. It is possible for you to become a better soldier than Napoleon, a better lawyer than Daniel Webster, a greater orator than Ingersoll, or a greater inventive genius than Edison; the power is within you, and it is only a matter of development. And if you can eat even a very little food and assimilate it, having it built into new cells, you can have health. The force which can build a few new cells can build you a new body, if it is continuously directed in the right way.
Given, the fact that you have the force, it all becomes a matter of directing that force. The force being sufficient for the work, the sole question is whether you can learn to use it constructively; for we must bear in mind that every act of force is either constructive or destructive in its tendency. Nature is always working along two general lines; integrating atoms, drawing them together into forms, and scattering and dispersing the same atoms; dissolving the forms. The same agencies are employed in construction and destruction; there is no duality, and we do not find two sets of forces at work. Nature, working with the chemistry of life, with oxygen and the food particles of matter, builds a great oak tree; but when it is finished it is already dead at the heart, and Nature goes on with the same agencies - oxygen and the chemical processes - to disintegrate its form. The same oxygen, which is the principal agent in building our living bodies, is the chief agency in disintegrating them when dead. It is a matter of constructive or of destructive use of the same things whether we have health or sickness, success or failure.
In our bodies, the process of cell construction and of cell destruction are going on continuously; and whenever cell destruction in any part is in excess of cell construction, we are dying in that part. Nothing can save us then but a reversal of the process; we must make constructive action equal to, or greater than destructive action. If constructive action equals destructive, we shall hold our own and continue to live; if constructive action exceeds destructive action by even a very little, we shall grow stronger, and the tissues of our bodies will grow finer in texture, more flexible and beautiful, and more youthful in appearance; all these truths are self-evident. What we want, therefore, is to make constructive action slightly exceed destructive action in every part, so that a continual refining process may go on in our physical bodies. This we can do.
In the matter of business success, we find the same basic principle obtaining. Business success is a matter of using certain mental and physical materials so as to combine them into a certain relationship. To succeed in business, we must take certain people and certain things, and combine them together in a certain way; and when we have done this, we have succeeded. Just as, in building a house, the mason takes bricks and mortar and combines them into a structure, so in business we seek to take people, goods, money, and bring them into such relations to each other as to form a certain structure. You are trying to build a structure, and your materials are people, goods, and money.
The certainty and rapidity of the process will depend upon how great a proportion of your actions are constructive. A good bricklayer may waste a great deal of time by doing many things which are not essential to his work at all; he can kill time in lighting his pipe, and in various other ways. And a poor bricklayer may lose by imperfect construction; part of his work may fall down, or he may have to tear it down, changing activity from the constructive line to the destructive one. The best bricklayer is he who wastes no time in irrelevant and negative actions, and who loses none by destructive action; making every act distinctly rightly constructive. That is what you must learn to do in business; make constructive use of every person and thing.
In order to do this in his work, the bricklayer must have a pretty clear idea of what he wants to build; he must know whether he is working on a square house, or a circular chimney. And in order to build your business structure, you must know what you want. Actions which would be constructive upon a building of one type would be destructive upon a building of another type. If you are going to build a brick house, you will not buy lumber for a frame house; you will buy brick. And the more clearly you have in mind the house you wish to build even to its least important details, the more completely you can provide the necessary materials, and the more definite and constructive you can make every action.
I cannot lay too much stress on the necessity of wanting to do something, and of knowing what you want to do and what you want to be. You might as well put to sea without knowing which port you wish to make as to start in life without a definite purpose. You cannot work constructively unless you have in mind to construct something; and you must have in mind a picture of that which you wish to construct. Aim high; but know what you are aiming at; do not fire into the air. Hitch your wagon to a star, but know what star it is, and know why you hitch to it. What kind of structure would a bricklayer build who was not sure whether he was working on a circular chimney or a square cottage?
We have now called your attention to two fundamental facts: first, that you have within you the power to get what you want; and second, that in order to use this power constructively, you must KNOW what you want.
We now proceed to the third fact, which is that before you can act constructively, you must attain to a certain STATE OF MIND. We will assume that there are two general states of mind, which we will call the ELECTRICAL and the MAGNETIC. In the electrical state of mind, your personality resembles a highly charged electrical conductor. There is a constant giving off of energy on all sides, most of which escapes, performing no work. Objects brought near are first violently attracted, and then as violently repelled. Action is sudden, powerful, and inconstant; therefore, often ineffectual. The expenditure of force may be in any direction; there is no continuity of purpose.
In the magnetic state, there is always an attraction of certain things, and always a repulsion of others. The action is fixed, certain, and always in the same direction. There is no leakage, or waste of force. A magnet is a center toward which certain things are irresistibly impelled to move, and from which certain things are as irresistibly driven. So among men, the electrical person sometimes attracts and as often repels those whose friendship he seeks, but the magnetic person always attracts those whom he seeks to attract. The actions of the electrical personality are often destructive and disintegrating; but every act of the magnetic person is a constructive act. So we must learn to avoid the electrical mental state, and cultivate the magnetic state.
As physical friction generates electricity, so mental friction causes the electrical state of mind. Worry is mental friction, and the one and only cause of worry is fear. Where fear is present, worry is also present. It is all very well to talk of the uselessness of worry, the folly of it, and so on; and it is all very well to tell you not to worry, but you cannot help worrying, so long as you have any fear as to the future. You can only eliminate worry by eliminating fear. You cannot get rid of worry by telling yourself that it is useless, foolish and harmful; so long as you have fear, you will worry just the same.
And you will have fear just as long as you have doubt or uncertainty. So long as you have doubt or uncertainty as to whether you will get well, you will worry about your health; so long as you have doubt or uncertainty as to whether you will succeed in business, you will worry about failure; and so on. Where there is no doubt or uncertainty as to future health or success there can be no fear, and where there is no fear, there can be no worry, or mental friction. So long as there is doubt or uncertainty there must be fear; and as long as there is fear, there will be worry, mental friction, and the electrical state of mind, resulting in destructive action. So you must eliminate from your thoughts all doubt and uncertainty that you will get well; that you will succeed; that you will gain your point and get what you want. You may have some uncertainty as to methods, but you must have none as to ultimate results. You may not feel certain that you will succeed today, or next week, but you must feel certain that you will succeed sometime.
Now, nothing can eliminate doubt but faith; and only certainty can remove uncertainty. How can you make yourself CERTAIN that you will get well, and that you will succeed? You can only do it by BELIEVING something; by getting down to some basic FACT, the knowledge of which will give you certainty. And here is the basic fact, stated in several ways:
You have within you the power which can give you perfect health; if constructively used, it WILL give you perfect health, and you can certainly learn to use it correctly. So there is no uncertainty as to health.
You have within you the power which can bring you to abundance; if constructively used it WILL bring you to abundance, and you can certainly learn to use it constructively. So there is no uncertainty about wealth.
You have within you the power which can develop any or all of your talents; if constructively used it WILL develop them, and you can certainly learn to use it constructively. So there is no doubt about development.
Now, you have the bad habit of thinking of these things as matters of uncertainty; and you must get rid of this habit, and form the one of thinking of them as matters of certainty. This you can do by making the power within you the subject of constant meditation; by thinking it all the time. As an abstract proposition, you know that you can get what you want; keep thinking about this as a fact until you HABITUALLY think that you can get what you want; and then keep on meditating and considering until you continually FEEL that you can get what you want. Continuous meditation upon the fact that you CAN get what you want will in a very short time establish feeling that you CERTAINLY WILL get what you want; and when that feeling is established, you will enter the poised, or magnetic state of mind.
It is not enough to merely give your intellectual assent to the proposition that you have within you the power which can; you must FEEL that you have this power; and the feeling is only established by continuously meditating upon the FACT. For a month, then spend all the time you possibly can in pondering upon the fact that you have within you the power which CAN accomplish what you want. It is not a theory or a supposition, but a fact; think of it as a fact until you feel that it IS a fact, and then you will have taken that first great forward step in constructive thought and action.
The Physical Side of Health-Culture
All building and re-building of the body must commence with the digestive process. It is through the digestive system that the materials for new cells are supplied and prepared for use; so the first step toward health and a perfect body must be to see that the digestive and assimilative processes are properly carried on; that the right materials are supplied and that they are properly prepared for the constructive work. Just as you would commence to build a house by laying a foundation, so you must commence to build a healthy body by establishing a good digestion; the digestive process is the foundation of all constructive work. No matter what your symptoms are; no matter what your disease, or where it is located, you must begin your cure by establishing perfect digestion and assimilation. The first step in construction is to supply the builder with the right materials, properly prepared.
What are the right materials? You know that there is a vast amount of discussion and disagreement as to WHAT we should eat, and perhaps you are confused and at sea between meat-eaters and vegetarians, raw foodists and cooked foodists, and so on; you do not know what to eat, and are almost afraid to eat at all for fear you will get the wrong thing.
Let me lay down a proposition which will help you. Any of the plain solid foods which are in common use will be sufficient for you, if you have good digestion. If your digestion is good, and you have pure air to breathe, you can live and build a perfect body on whole wheat bread alone; on rice alone; on beans alone; on oats alone; on cornbread alone; on any one of a dozen other things. And on a combination of these ordinary foods, such as you may find on any working-man's table, you can live to perfection, having every element that nature uses in building the human body.
Let me tell you in the beginning, what to do about all this discussion concerning calories, proteins, carbohydrates, raw foods, nuts, fruits, meats, and so on; FORGET IT. Do not read any more of it, or listen to any more of it; drop the whole business. What you want is to get so that you will not have to carry a package of especially prepared foods about with you, but may go where you like, and sit down to any table, eat what is set before you, and get good results. This you can do, if you go about it in the right way. Your grandfather, who chopped wood or ploughed, or wielded a shovel for his living, did not think about food science; and the less you think about it the better for you. All such thought is fear thought.
First, regulate your breakfast, a very light breakfast is better to work on. True, your grandfather always ate three heavy meals a day; and it is also true that he probably did three times as much muscle work as you are doing; and furthermore, it is true that he would have been far better on the light-breakfast or no-breakfast plan. At noon eat those things which are the staple foods of man, the world around; the things which the masses of people eat, everywhere. When the time comes for the usual evening meal, eat the same foods, in the same way, if you are hungry; and be sure that you do not eat unless you are hungry. Eugene Christian's "Corrective Eating" lessons (price $1.98, address New York City) are a liberal education on food combinations and diet.
So much for the time to eat, and the kind of food to eat; now as to the manner of eating. If you do not wish to overeat, and if you wish to thoroughly digest and assimilate your food, you MUST "fletcherize." True, your grandfather did not practice fletcherism; but it is also true that your grandfather lived under physiological, psychological, social, industrial, and sanitary conditions which were vastly different from those under which you are living. There are no exceptions to this rule, either; if you want perfect results, or even very good results from you eating, you must fletcherize.
Fletcherizing consists in TASTING and CHEWING every mouthful of food until it is reduced to a liquid, so that it gets away from you by involuntary swallowing; and in holding a certain MENTAL ATTITUDE while you are doing so. Begin your meal with the food you are most inclined to eat, no matter what it may be; take a moderate mouthful, and taste and chew until it disappears. When you feel that you have eaten enough, stop; do not eat another mouthful, no matter who urges you, or how tasty and inviting the food.
The mental attitude is simply one of cheerful confidence that the food so eaten will be perfectly digested and assimilated. This mental attitude is not based on theory, but on physiological truth. If you do not eat until you are really hungry, and then if you eat plain food which you like, and fletcherize it, it cannot help being digested and assimilated. Hunger is a certain indication of digestive power; and where there is digestive power, food which has been chewed to a liquid will certainly be digested if you do not interfere with the process by fear-thought. Fear thought is fatal to good digestion; you cannot digest food well while you are thinking anxiously about the process of digestion. You MUST eat your food with cheerful confidence.
To practice fletcherism, and to attain this cheerful confidence, some will power and perseverance are required. You will frequently catch yourself dropping back in into the old habits of bolting your food, and of wondering whether it is going to "hurt you." Whenever you do this you must call a halt, and start again. When, by years of practice, you have formed a habit of doing a thing in a certain way, it is not easy to form a habit of doing it in the opposite way; but it can be done; and there is only one way to do it. That way is persistently, repeatedly and continuously doing it in the way you WANT to do it, instead of in the way you have habitually done it.
Suppose a man has the habit of wearing his hat a little on one side and he determines to form the habit of putting it on straight. Twice in succession he takes thought, and puts it on straight as he goes out; the third time he finds, on getting into the street that he has it on one side; and he instantly takes it off and puts it on as he wants to wear it. So, day after day, he makes a point of instantly straightening the hat whenever he finds that it is on one side; and by and by he has by this continuous auto-suggestion formed the habit of THINKING of himself with the hat on straight; and he will never put it on the side again.
Take notice that your success or failure in all things is at stake in this one matter. You are taking this course of lessons because you wish to become self-controlling; you wish to become master of your own destiny, and to rule over your environment, instead of being ruled by it. How can you expect to control your environment unless you can rule yourself in the manner and method of eating? Right here, on the adoption of the no-breakfast plan and fletcherism, you win or lose the whole battle. If you do without your breakfast a few mornings, and then begin to nibble a cracker, or take a bite of toast; or if you practice fletcherism for a week and then begin to grab and gobble in the bad old way, I honestly advise you to go not further with these lessons. Do not try to make any demonstrations in mental science until you can control yourself in these simple matters.
The amount of discomfort you experience in taking up the no-breakfast plan will depend on your mental attitude. Until quite recently physiologists taught that a man could not live longer than ten days without food; and in consequence, hundreds of people who were deprived of food starved to death in from six to ten days. Within the past decade, however, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that a person whose mind is properly trained can fast for thirty or forty days with little loss in weight, and often with no apparent diminution in strength. This proves that the people who have starved to death in ten days or less have died because they had been trained to believe that they MUST perish if they went beyond that limited period without food. If you believe that way, you can experience all the distressing feelings of incipient starvation in going without your breakfast; or by confidently expecting the opposite, you can do the hardest work in the forenoon, "on an empty stomach" without the least discomfort, but with an actual gain in power over the breakfast eater. This you can prove to be true by giving it a thorough trial continuing long enough to get mentally adjusted to the plan.
Aside from the above, the physical requirements for good health may be summed up in a paragraph. Breathe pure air, especially when you sleep. Open your windows WIDE both in summer and in winter; pile on the bed clothes if you need them, or sleep in warm clothing, but have PURE AIR. Bathe as often as necessary for perfect cleanliness; do not take cold baths unless you enjoy them. Get a little all-round exercise of some sort every day. And that is all. You do not need to work hard, or do strange or unnatural things in order to be well. You do not have to swallow drugs, or live on outlandish and freakish bills of fare. You do not have to "assist nature" or interfere with nature, or to do yourself violence in any way, externally or internally. Good health is a perfectly natural thing, and no unnatural practices are necessary in order to get it and keep it.
The cure of disease is a work of nature, and not a work of art. Breathe pure air, keep clean, and get enough outdoor exercise every day; if you desire to correct and develop bodily beauty, as you should, use Walter Camp's "Daily Dozen," phonograph records to be had at any store.
For the coming month, then, concentrate on these practices; remembering what you learned in the first lesson - that you CAN do what is required of you, and that if you DO what is required of you, you will certainly get what you want. These laws have worked perfectly for thousands of others, and they will certainly do so for you. Do not allow yourself to doubt, worry, or get into the electrical state of mind; but maintain an attitude of calm confidence which leads into the magnetic state. Do not be discouraged because you find yourself frequently slipping back into the old practices; each time you do so, take a new grasp upon yourself, and keep right on; and by the time you practice the next lesson, which will deal with the mental side of health culture, you will have made great progress, and will be ready for another advance.