Chapter - Index
CHAPTER 2 -
THE STARTING POINT OF ALL ACHIEVEMENT
The First Step toward Riches
WHEN Edwin C. Barnes climbed down from the freight train in Orange,
N. J., more than thirty years ago, he may have resembled a tramp,
but his thoughts were those of a king!
As he made his way from the railroad tracks to Thomas A. Edison's
office, his mind was at work. He saw himself standing in Edison's
presence. He heard himself asking Mr. Edison for an opportunity
to carry out the one CONSUMING OBSESSION OF HIS LIFE, a BURNING
DESIRE to become the business associate of the great inventor.
Barnes' desire was not a hope! It was not a wish! It was
a keen, pulsating DESIRE, which transcended everything else. It
The desire was not new when he approached Edison. It had been
Barnes' dominating desire for a long time. In the beginning,
when the desire first appeared in his mind, it may have been, probably
was, only a wish, but it was no mere wish when he appeared before
Edison with it.
A few years later, Edwin C. Barnes again stood before Edison,
in the same office where he first met the inventor. This time his
DESIRE had been translated into reality. He was in business with
Edison. The dominating DREAM OF HIS LIFE had become a reality. Today,
people who know Barnes envy him, because of the "break"
life yielded him. They see him in the days of his triumph, without
taking the trouble to investigate the cause of his success.
Barnes succeeded because he chose a definite goal, placed all
his energy, all his will power, all his effort, everything back
of that goal. He did not become the partner of Edison the day he
arrived. He was content to start in the most menial work, as long
as it provided an opportunity to take even one step toward his cherished
Five years passed before the chance he had been seeking made
its appearance. During all those years not one ray of hope, not
one promise of attainment of his DESIRE had been held out to him.
To everyone, except himself, he appeared only another cog in the
Edison business wheel, but in his own mind, HE WAS THE PARTNER OF
EDISON EVERY MINUTE OF THE TIME, from the very day that he first
went to work there.
It is a remarkable illustration of the power of a DEFINITE DESIRE.
Barnes won his goal, because he wanted to be a business associate
of Mr. Edison, more than he wanted anything else. He created a plan
by which to attain that purpose. But he BURNED ALL BRIDGES BEHIND
HIM. He stood by his DESIRE until it became the dominating obsession
of his life--and--finally, a fact.
When he went to Orange, he did not say to himself, "I will
try to induce Edison to give me a job of some sort." He said, "I
will see Edison, and put him on notice that I have come to go into
business with him."
He did not say, "I will work there for a few months, and
if I get no encouragement, I will quit and get a job somewhere else."
He did say, "I will start anywhere. I will do anything Edison
tells me to do, but before I am through, I will be his associate."
He did not say, "I will keep my eyes open for another opportunity,
in case I fail to get what I want in the Edison organization."
He said, "There is but ONE thing in this world that I am determined
to have, and that is a business association with Thomas A. Edison.
I will burn all bridges behind me, and stake my ENTIRE FUTURE on
my ability to get what I want."
He left himself no possible way of retreat. He had to win or
That is all there is to the Barnes story of success!
A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made
it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success
on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful
foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into
boats, sailed to the enemy's country, unloaded soldiers and
equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried
them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, "You
see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave
these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice--we win--or
we perish! They won.
Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn
his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one
be sure of main-taming that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE
TO WIN, essential to success.
The morning after the great Chicago fire, a group of merchants
stood on State Street, looking at the smoking remains of what had
been their stores. They went into a conference to decide if they
would try to rebuild, or leave Chicago and start over in a more
promising section of the country. They reached a decision--all except
one--to leave Chicago.
The merchant who decided to stay and rebuild pointed a finger
at the remains of his store, and said, "Gentlemen, on that
very spot I will build the world's greatest store, no matter
how many times it may burn down."
That was more than fifty years ago. The store was built. It stands
there today, a towering monument to the power of that state of mind
known as a BURNING DESIRE. The easy thing for Marshal Field to have
done, would have been exactly what his fellow merchants did. When
the going was hard, and the future looked dismal, they pulled up
and went where the going seemed easier.
Mark well this difference between Marshal Field and the other
merchants, because it is the same difference which distinguishes
Edwin C. Barnes from thousands of other young men who have worked
in the Edison organization. It is the same difference which distinguishes
practically all who succeed from those who fail.
Every human being who reaches the age of understanding of the
purpose of money, wishes for it. Wishing will not bring riches.
But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession,
then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing
those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will
The method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into
its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps,
Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire.
It is not sufficient merely to say "I want plenty of
money." Be definite as to the amount. (There is a psychological
reason for definiteness which will be described in a subsequent
Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for
the money you desire. (There is no such reality as "something
Establish a definite date when you intend to possess
the money you desire.
Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire,
and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put
this plan into action.
Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of
money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its
acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for
the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you
intend to accumulate it.
Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once
just before retiring at night, and once after arising in
the morning. AS YOU
READ--SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION
OF THE MONEY.
It is important that you follow the instructions described in
these six steps. It is especially important that you observe, and
follow the instructions in the sixth paragraph. You may complain
that it is impossible for you to "see yourself in possession
of money" before you actually have it. Here is where a BURNING
DESIRE will come to your aid. If you truly DESIRE money so keenly
that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in
convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The object is to want
money, and to become so determined to have it that you CONVINCE
yourself you will have it.
Only those who become "money conscious" ever accumulate
great riches. "Money consciousness" means that the mind
has become so thoroughly saturated with the DESIRE for money, that
one can see one's self already in possession of it.
To the uninitiated, who has not been schooled in the working
principles of the human mind, these instructions may appear impractical.
It may be helpful, to all who fail to recognize the soundness of
the six steps, to know that the information they convey, was received
from Andrew Carnegie, who began as an ordinary laborer in the steel
mills, but managed, despite his humble beginning, to make these
principles yield him a fortune of considerably more than one hundred
It may be of further help to know that the six steps here recommended
were carefully scrutinized by the late Thomas A. Edison, who placed
his stamp of approval upon them as being, not only the steps essential
for the accumulation of money, but necessary for the attainment
of any definite goal.
The steps call for no "hard labor." They call for no
sacrifice. They do not require one to become ridiculous, or credulous.
To apply them calls for no great amount of education. But the successful
application of these six steps does call for sufficient imagination
to enable one to see, and to understand, that accumulation of money
cannot be left to chance, good fortune, and luck. One must realize
that all who have accumulated great fortunes, first did a certain
amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, DESIRING, and PLANNING before
they acquired money.
You may as well know, right here, that you can never have riches
in great quantities, UNLESS you can work yourself into a white heat
of DESIRE for money, and actually BELIEVE you will possess it.
You may as well know, also that every great leader, from the
dawn of civilization down to the present, was a dreamer. Christianity
is the greatest potential power in the world today, because its
founder was an intense dreamer who had the vision and the imagination
to see realities in their mental and spiritual form before they
had been transmuted into physical form.
If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will
never see them in your bank balance.
Never, in the history of America has there been so great an opportunity
for practical dreamers as now exists. The six year economic collapse
has reduced all men, substantially, to the same level. A new race
is about to be run. The stakes represent huge fortunes which will
be accumulated within the next ten years. The rules of the race
have changed, because we now live in a CHANGED WORLD that definitely
favors the masses, those who had but little or no opportunity to
win under the conditions existing during the depression, when fear
paralyzed growth and development.
We who are in this race for riches, should be encouraged to know
that this changed world in which we live is demanding new ideas,
new ways of doing things, new leaders, new inventions, new methods
of teaching, new methods of marketing, new books, new literature,
new features for the radio, new ideas for moving pictures. Back
of all this demand for new and better things, there is one quality
which one must possess to win, and that is DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE,
the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning DESIRE to possess
The business depression marked the death of one age, and the
birth of another. This changed world requires practical dreamers
who can, and will put their dreams into action. The practical dreamers
have always been, and always will be the pattern-makers of civilization.
We who desire to accumulate riches, should remember the real
leaders of the world always have been men who harnessed, and put
into practical use, the intangible, unseen forces of unborn opportunity,
and have converted those forces, (or impulses of thought), into
sky-scrapers, cities, factories, airplanes, automobiles, and every
form of convenience that makes life more pleasant.
Tolerance, and an open mind are practical necessities of the
dreamer of today. Those who are afraid of new ideas are doomed before
they start. Never has there been a time more favorable to pioneers
than the present. True, there is no wild and woolly west to be conquered,
as in the days of the Covered Wagon; but there is a vast business,
financial, and industrial world to be remoulded and redirected along
new and better lines.
In planning to acquire your share of the riches, let no one influence
you to scorn the dreamer. To win the big stakes in this changed
world, you must catch the spirit of the great pioneers of the past,
whose dreams have given to civilization all that it has of value,
the spirit which serves as the life-blood of our own country--your
opportunity and mine, to develop and market our talents.
Let us not forget, Columbus dreamed of an Unknown world, staked
his life on the existence of such a world, and discovered it!
Copernicus, the great astronomer, dreamed of a multiplicity of
worlds, and revealed them! No one denounced him as "impractical"
after he had triumphed. Instead, the world worshipped at his shrine,
thus proving once more that "SUCCESS REQUIRES NO APOLOGIES,
FAILURE PERMITS NO ALIBIS."
If the thing you wish to do is right, and you believe in it,
go ahead and do it! Put your dream across, and never mind what "they"
say if you meet with temporary defeat, for "they," perhaps,
do not know that EVERY FAILURE BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT
Henry Ford, poor and uneducated, dreamed of a horseless carriage,
went to work with what tools he possessed, without waiting for opportunity
to favor him, and now evidence of his dream belts the entire earth.
He has put more wheels into operation than any man who ever lived,
because he was not afraid to back his dreams.
Thomas Edison dreamed of a lamp that could be operated by electricity,
began where he stood to put his dream into action, and despite more
than ten thousand failures, he stood by that dream until he made
it a physical reality. Practical dreamers DO NOT QUIT!
Whelan dreamed of a chain of cigar stores, transformed his dream
into action, and now the United Cigar Stores occupy the best corners
Lincoln dreamed of freedom for the black slaves, put his dream
into action, and barely missed living to see a united North and
South translate his dream into reality.
The Wright brothers dreamed of a machine that would fly through
the air. Now one may see evidence all over the world, that they
Marconi dreamed of a system for harnessing the intangible forces
of the ether. Evidence that he did not dream in vain, may be found
in every wireless and radio in the world. Moreover, Marconi's
dream brought the humblest cabin, and the most stately manor house
side by side. It made the people of every nation on earth back-door
neighbors. It gave the President of the United States a medium by
which he may talk to all the people of America at one time, and
on short notice. It may interest you to know that Marconi's "friends"
had him taken into custody, and examined in a psychopathic hospital,
when he announced he had discovered a principle through which he
could send messages through the air, without the aid of wires, or
other direct physical means of communication. The dreamers of today
The world has become accustomed to new discoveries. Nay, it has
shown a willingness to reward the dreamer who gives the world a
"The greatest achievement was, at first, and for a time,
but a dream."
"The oak sleeps in the acorn. The bird waits in the egg,
and in the highest vision of the soul, a waking angel stirs. DREAMS
ARE THE SEEDLINGS OF REALITY."
Awake, arise, and assert yourself, you dreamers of the world.
Your star is now in the ascendency. The world depression brought
the opportunity you have been waiting for. It taught people humility,
tolerance, and open-mindedness.
The world is filled with an abundance of OPPORTUNITY which the
dreamers of the past never knew.
A BURNING DESIRE TO BE, AND TO DO is the starting point from
which the dreamer must take off. Dreams are not born of indifference,
laziness, or lack of ambition.
The world no longer scoffs at the dreamer, nor calls him impractical.
If you think it does, take a trip to Tennessee, and witness what
a dreamer President has done in the way of harnessing, and using
the great water power of America. A score of years ago, such a dream
would have seemed like madness.
You have been disappointed, you have undergone defeat during
the depression, you have felt the great heart within you crushed
until it bled. Take courage, for these experiences have tempered
the spiritual metal of which you are made--they are assets of incomparable
Remember, too, that all who succeed in life get off to a bad
start, and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they "arrive."
The turning point in the lives of those who succeed, usually comes
at the moment of some crisis, through which they are introduced
to their "other selves."
John Bunyan wrote the Pilgrim's Progress, which is among
the finest of all English literature, after he had been confined
in prison and sorely punished, because of his views on the subject
O. Henry discovered the genius which slept within his brain,
after he had met with great misfortune, and was confined in a prison
cell, in Columbus, Ohio. Being FORCED, through misfortune, to become
acquainted with his "other self," and to use his IMAGINATION,
he discovered himself to be a great author instead of a miserable
criminal and outcast. Strange and varied are the ways of life, and
stranger still are the ways of Infinite Intelligence, through which
men are sometimes forced to undergo all sorts of punishment before
discovering their own brains, and their own capacity to create useful
ideas through imagination.
Edison, the world's greatest inventor and scientist, was
a "tramp" telegraph operator, he failed innumerable times
before he was driven, finally, to the discovery of the genius which
slept within his brain.
Charles Dickens began by pasting labels on blacking pots. The
tragedy of his first love penetrated the depths of his soul, and
converted him into one of the world's truly great authors. That
tragedy produced, first, David Copperfield, then a succession of
other works that made this a richer and better world for all who
read his books. Disappointment over love affairs, generally has
the effect of driving men to drink, and women to ruin; and this,
because most people never learn the art of transmuting their strongest
emotions into dreams of a constructive nature.
Helen Keller became deaf, dumb, and blind shortly after birth.
Despite her greatest misfortune, she has written her name indelibly
in the pages of the history of the great. Her entire life has served
as evidence that no one ever is defeated until defeat has been accepted
as a reality.
Robert Burns was an illiterate country lad, he was cursed by
poverty, and grew up to be a drunkard in the bargain. The world
was made better for his having lived, because he clothed beautiful
thoughts in poetry, and thereby plucked a thorn and planted a rose
in its place.
Booker T. Washington was born in slavery, handicapped by race
and color. Because he was tolerant, had an open mind at all times,
on all subjects, and was a DREAMER, he left his impress for good
on an entire race.
Beethoven was deaf, Milton was blind, but their names will last
as long as time endures, because they dreamed and translated their
dreams into organized thought.
Before passing to the next chapter, kindle anew in your mind
the fire of hope, faith, courage, and tolerance. If you have these
states of mind, and a working knowledge of the principles described,
all else that you need will come to you, when you are READY for
it. Let Emerson state the thought in these words, "Every proverb,
every book, every byword that belongs to thee for aid and comfort
shall surely come home through open or winding passages. Every friend
whom not thy fantastic will, but the great and tender soul in thee
craveth, shall lock thee in his embrace."
There is a difference between WISHING for a thing and being READY
to receive it. No one is ready for a thing, until he believes he
can acquire it. The state of mind must be BELIEF, not mere hope
or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief. Closed minds do
not inspire faith, courage, and belief.
Remember, no more effort is required to aim high in life, to
demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery
and poverty. A great poet has correctly stated this universal truth
through these lines:
"I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more, p. 52
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.
"For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
"I worked for a menial's hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid."
DESIRE OUTWITS MOTHER NATURE
As a fitting climax to this chapter, I wish to introduce one
of the most unusual persons I have ever known. I first saw him twenty-four
years ago, a few minutes after he was born. He came into the world
without any physical sign of ears, and the doctor admitted, when
pressed for an opinion, that the child might be deaf, and mute for
I challenged the doctor's opinion. I had the right to do
so, I was the child's father. I, too, reached a decision, and
rendered an opinion, but I expressed the opinion silently, in the
secrecy of my own heart. I decided that my son would hear and speak.
Nature could send me a child without ears, but Nature could not
induce me to accept the reality of the affliction.
In my own mind I knew that my son would hear and speak. How?
I was sure there must be a way, and I knew I would find it. I thought
of the words of the immortal Emerson, "The whole course of
things goes to teach us faith. We need only obey.
There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening, we
shall hear the right word."
The right word? DESIRE! More than anything else, I DESIRED that
my son should not be a deaf mute. From that desire I never receded,
not for a second.
Many years previously, I had written, "Our only limitations
are those we set up in our own minds." For the first time,
I wondered if that statement were true. Lying on the bed in front
of me was a newly born child, without the natural equipment of hearing.
Even though he might hear and speak, he was obviously disfigured
for life. Surely, this was a limitation which that child had not
set up in his own mind.
What could I do about it? Somehow I would find a way to transplant
into that child's mind my own BURNING DESIRE for ways and means
of conveying sound to his brain without the aid of ears.
As soon as the child was old enough to cooperate, I would fill
his mind so completely with a BURNING DESIRE to hear, that Nature
would, by methods of her own, translate it into physical reality.
All this thinking took place in my own mind, but I spoke of it
to no one. Every day I renewed the pledge I had made to myself,
not to accept a deaf mute for a son.
As he grew older, and began to take notice of things around him,
we observed that he had a slight degree of hearing. When he reached
the age when children usually begin talking, he made no attempt
to speak, but we could tell by his actions that he could hear certain
sounds slightly. That was all I wanted to know! I was convinced
that if he could hear, even slightly, he might develop still greater
hearing capacity. Then something happened which gave me hope. It
came from an entirely unexpected source.
We bought a victrola. When the child heard the music for the
first time, he went into ecstasies, and promptly appropriated the
machine. He soon showed a preference for certain records, among
them, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary." On one occasion,
he played that piece over and over, for almost two hours, standing
in front of the victrola, with his teeth clamped on the edge of
the case. The significance of this self-formed habit of his did
not become clear to us until years afterward, for we had never heard
of the principle of "bone conduction" of sound at that
Shortly after he appropriated the victrola, I discovered that
he could hear me quite clearly when I spoke with my lips touching
his mastoid bone, or at the base of the brain. These discoveries
placed in my possession the necessary media by which I began to
translate into reality my Burning Desire to help my son develop
hearing and speech. By that time he was making stabs at speaking
certain words. The outlook was far from encouraging, but DESIRE
BACKED BY FAITH knows no such word as impossible.
Having determined that he could hear the sound of my voice plainly,
I began, immediately, to transfer to his mind the desire to hear
and speak. I soon discovered that the child enjoyed bedtime stories,
so I went to work, creating stories designed to develop in him self-reliance,
imagination, and a keen desire to hear and to be normal.
There was one story in particular, which I emphasized by giving
it some new and dramatic coloring each time it was told. It was
designed to plant in his mind the thought that his affliction was
not a liability, but an asset of great value. Despite the fact that
all the philosophy I had examined clearly indicated that EVERY ADVERSITY
BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT ADVANTAGE, I must confess
that I had not the slightest idea how this affliction could ever
become an asset. However, I continued my practice of wrapping that
philosophy in bedtime stories, hoping the time would come when he
would find some plan by which his handicap could be made to serve
some useful purpose.
Reason told me plainly, that there was no adequate compensation
for the lack of ears and natural hearing equipment. DESIRE backed
by FAITH, pushed reason aside, and inspired me to carry on.
As I analyze the experience in retrospect, I can see now, that
my son's faith in me had much to do with the astounding results.
He did not question anything I told him. I sold him the idea that
he had a distinct advantage over his older brother, and that this
advantage would reflect itself in many ways. For example, the teachers
in school would observe that he had no ears, and, because of this,
they would show him special attention and treat him with extraordinary
kindness. They always did. His mother saw to that, by visiting the
teachers and arranging with them to give the child the extra attention
necessary. I sold him the idea, too, that when he became old enough
to sell newspapers, (his older brother had already become a newspaper
merchant), he would have a big advantage over his brother, for the
reason that people would pay him extra money for his wares, because
they could see that he was a bright, industrious boy, despite the
fact he had no ears.
We could notice that, gradually, the child's hearing was
improving. Moreover, he had not the slightest tendency to be self-conscious,
because of his affliction. When he was about seven, he showed the
first evidence that our method of servicing his mind was bearing
fruit. For several months he begged for the privilege of selling
newspapers, but his mother would not give her consent. She was afraid
that his deafness made it unsafe for him to go on the street alone.
Finally, he took matters in his own hands. One afternoon, when
he was left at home with the servants, he climbed through the kitchen
window, shinnied to the ground, and set out on his own. He borrowed
six cents in capital from the neighborhood shoemaker, invested it
in papers, sold out, reinvested, and kept repeating until late in
the evening. After balancing his accounts, and paying back the six
cents he had borrowed from his banker, he had a net profit of forty-two
cents. When we got home that night, we found him in bed asleep,
with the money tightly clenched in his hand.
His mother opened his hand, removed the coins, and cried. Of
all things! Crying over her son's first victory seemed so inappropriate.
My reaction was the reverse. I laughed heartily, for I knew that
my endeavor to plant in the child's mind an attitude of faith
in himself had been successful.
His mother saw, in his first business venture, a little deaf
boy who had gone out in the streets and risked his life to earn
money. I saw a brave, ambitious, self-reliant little business man
whose stock in himself had been increased a hundred percent, because
he had gone into business on his own initiative, and had won. The
transaction pleased me, because I knew that he had given evidence
of a trait of resourcefulness that would go with him all through
life. Later events proved this to be true. When his older brother
wanted something, he would lie down on the floor, kick his feet
in the air, cry for it--and get it. When the "little deaf boy"
wanted something, he would plan a way to earn the money, then buy
it for himself. He still follows that plan!
Truly, my own son has taught me that handicaps can be converted
into stepping stones on which one may climb toward some worthy goal,
unless they are accepted as obstacles, and used as alibis.
The little deaf boy went through the grades, high school, and
college without being able to hear his teachers, excepting when
they shouted loudly, at close range. He did not go to a school for
the deaf. WE WOULD NOT PERMIT HIM TO LEARN THE SIGN LANGUAGE. We
were determined that he should live a normal life, and associate
with normal children, and we stood by that decision, although it
cost us many heated debates with school officials.
While he was in high school, he tried an electrical hearing aid,
but it was of no value to him; due, we believed, to a condition
that was disclosed when the child was six, by Dr. J. Gordon Wilson,
of Chicago, when he operated on one side of the boy's head,
and discovered that there was no sign of natural hearing equipment.
During his last week in college, (eighteen years after the operation),
something happened which marked the most important turning-point
of his life. Through what seemed to be mere chance, he came into
possession of another electrical hearing device, which was sent
to him on trial. He was slow about testing it, due to his disappointment
with a similar device. Finally he picked the instrument up, and
more or less carelessly, placed it on his head, hooked up the battery,
and lo! as if by a stroke of magic, his lifelong DESIRE FOR NORMAL
HEARING BECAME A REALITY! For the first time in his life he heard
practically as well as any person with normal hearing. "God
moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform."
Overjoyed because of the Changed World which had been brought
to him through his hearing device, he rushed to the telephone, called
his mother, and heard her voice perfectly. The next day he plainly
heard the voices of his professors in class, for the first time
in his life! Previously he could hear them only when they shouted,
at short range. He heard the radio. He heard the talking pictures.
For the first time in his life, he could converse freely with other
people, without the necessity of their having to speak loudly. Truly,
he had come into possession of a Changed World. We had refused to
accept Nature's error, and, by PERSISTENT DESIRE, we had induced
Nature to correct that error, through the only practical means available.
DESIRE had commenced to pay dividends, but the victory was not
yet complete. The boy still had to find a definite and practical
way to convert his handicap into an equivalent asset.
Hardly realizing the significance of what had already been accomplished,
but intoxicated with the joy of his newly discovered world of sound,
he wrote a letter to the manufacturer of the hearing-aid, enthusiastically
describing his experience. Something in his letter; something, perhaps
which was not written on the lines, but back of them; caused the
company to invite him to New York. When he arrived, he was escorted
through the factory, and while talking with the Chief Engineer,
telling him about his changed world, a hunch, an idea, or an inspiration--call
it what you wish--flashed into his mind. It was this impulse of
thought which converted his affliction into an asset, destined to
pay dividends in both money and happiness to thousands for all time
The sum and substance of that impulse of thought was this: It
occurred to him that he might be of help to the millions of deafened
people who go through life without the benefit of hearing devices,
if he could find a way to tell them the story of his Changed World.
Then and there, he reached a decision to devote the remainder of
his life to rendering useful service to the hard of hearing.
For an entire month, he carried on an intensive
research, during which he analyzed the entire marketing system
of the manufacturer of the hearing device, and created ways and
means of communicating with the hard of hearing all over the world
for the purpose of sharing with them his newly discovered "Changed
World." When this was done, he put in writing a two-year plan,
based upon his findings. When he presented the plan to the company,
he was instantly given a position, for the purpose of carrying out
Little did he dream, when he went to work, that he was destined
to bring hope and practical relief to thousands of deafened people
who, without his help, would have been doomed forever to deaf mutism.
Shortly after he became associated with the manufacturer of his
hearing aid, he invited me to attend a class conducted by his company,
for the purpose of teaching deaf mutes to hear, and to speak. I
had never heard of such a form of education, therefore I visited
the class, skeptical but hopeful that my time would not be entirely
wasted. Here I saw a demonstration which gave me a greatly enlarged
vision of what I had done to arouse and keep alive in my son's
mind the DESIRE for normal hearing. I saw deaf mutes actually being
taught to hear and to speak, through application of the self-same
principle I had used, more than twenty years previously, in saving
my son from deaf mutism.
Thus, through some strange turn of the Wheel of Fate, my son,
Blair, and I have been destined to aid in correcting deaf mutism
for those as yet unborn, because we are the only living human beings,
as far as I know, who have established definitely the fact that
deaf mutism can be corrected to the extent of restoring to normal
life those who suffer with this affliction. It has been done for
one; it will be done for others.
There is no doubt in my mind that Blair would have been a deaf
mute all his life, if his mother and I had not managed to shape
his mind as we did. The doctor who attended at his birth told us,
confidentially, the child might never hear or speak. A few weeks
ago, Dr. Irving Voorhees, a noted specialist on such cases, examined
Blair very thoroughly. He was astounded when he learned how well
my son now hears, and speaks, and said his examination indicated
that "theoretically, the boy should not be able to hear at
all." But the lad does hear, despite the fact that X-ray pictures
show there is no opening in the skull, whatsoever, from where his
ears should be to the brain.
When I planted in his mind the DESIRE to hear and talk, and live
as a normal person, there went with that impulse some strange influence
which caused Nature to become bridge-builder, and span the gulf
of silence between his brain and the outer world, by some means
which the keenest medical specialists have not been able to interpret.
It would be sacrilege for me to even conjecture as to how Nature
performed this miracle. It would be unforgivable if I neglected
to tell the world as much as I know of the humble part I assumed
in the strange experience. It is my duty, and a privilege to say
I believe, and not without reason, that nothing is impossible to
the person who backs DESIRE with enduring FAITH.
Verily, a BURNING DESIRE has devious ways of transmuting itself
into its physical equivalent. Blair DESIRED normal hearing; now
he has it! He was born with a handicap which might easily have sent
one with a less defined DESIRE to the street with a bundle of pencils
and a tin cup. That handicap now promises to serve as the medium
by which he will render useful service to many millions of hard
of hearing, also, to give him useful employment at adequate financial
compensation the remainder of his life.
The little "white lies" I planted in his mind when
he was a child, by leading him to BELIEVE his affliction would become
a great asset, which he could capitalize, has justified itself.
Verily, there is nothing, right or wrong, which BELIEF, plus BURNING
DESIRE, cannot make real. These qualities are free to everyone.
In all my experience in dealing with men and women who had personal
problems, I never handled a single case which more definitely demonstrates
the power of DESIRE. Authors sometimes make the mistake of writing
of subjects of which they have but superficial, or very elementary
knowledge. It has been my good fortune to have had the privilege
of testing the soundness of the POWER OF DESIRE, through the affliction
of my own son. Perhaps it was providential that the experience came
as it did, for surely no one is better prepared than he, to serve
as an example of what happens when DESIRE is put to the test. If
Mother Nature bends to the will of desire, is it logical that mere
men can defeat a burning desire?
Strange and imponderable is the power of the human mind! We do
not understand the method by which it uses every circumstance, every
individual, every physical thing within its reach, as a means of
transmuting DESIRE into its physical counterpart. Perhaps science
will uncover this secret.
I planted in my son's mind the DESIRE to hear and to speak
as any normal person hears and speaks. That DESIRE has now become
a reality. I planted in his mind the DESIRE to convert his greatest
handicap into his greatest asset. That DESIRE has been realized.
The modus operandi by which this astounding result was achieved
is not hard to describe. It consisted of three very definite facts;
first, I MIXED FAITH with the DESIRE for normal hearing, which I
passed on to my son. Second, I communicated my desire to him in
every conceivable way available, through persistent, continuous
effort, over a period of years. Third, HE BELIEVED ME!
As this chapter was being completed, news came of the death of
Mme. Schuman-Heink. One short paragraph in the news dispatch gives
the clue to this unusual woman's stupendous success as a singer.
I quote the paragraph, because the clue it contains is none other
Early in her career, Mme. Schuman-Heink visited the director
of the Vienna Court Opera, to have him test her voice. But, he did
not test it. After taking one look at the awkward and poorly dressed
girl, he exclaimed, none too gently, "With such a face, and
with no personality at all, how can you ever expect to succeed in
opera? My good child, give up the idea. Buy a sewing machine, and
go to work. YOU CAN NEVER BE A SINGER."
Never is a long time! The director of the Vienna Court Opera
knew much about the technique of singing. He knew little about the
power of desire, when it assumes the proportion of an obsession.
If he had known more of that power, he would not have made the mistake
of condemning genius without giving it an opportunity.
Several years ago, one of my business associates became ill.
He became worse as time went on, and finally was taken to the hospital
for an operation. Just before he was wheeled into the operating
room, I took a look at him, and wondered how anyone as thin and
emaciated as he, could possibly go through a major operation successfully.
The doctor warned me that there was little if any chance of my ever
seeing him alive again. But that was the DOCTOR'S OPINION. It
was not the opinion of the patient. Just before he was wheeled away,
he whispered feebly, "Do not be disturbed, Chief, I will be
out of here in a few days." The attending nurse looked at me
with pity. But the patient did come through safely. After it was
all over, his physician said, "Nothing but his own desire to
live saved him. He never would have pulled through if he had not
refused to accept the possibility of death."
I believe in the power of DESIRE backed by FAITH, because I have
seen this power lift men from lowly beginnings to places of power
and wealth; I have seen it rob the grave of its victims; I have
seen it serve as the medium by which men staged a comeback after
having been defeated in a hundred different ways; I have seen it
provide my own son with a normal, happy, successful life, despite
Nature's having sent him into the world without ears.
How can one harness and use the power of DESIRE? This has been
answered through this, and the subsequent chapters of this book.
This message is going out to the world at the end of the longest,
and perhaps, the most devastating depression America has ever known.
It is reasonable to presume that the message may come to the attention
of many who have been wounded by the depression, those who have
lost their fortunes, others who have lost their positions, and great
numbers who must reorganize their plans and stage a comeback. To
all these I wish to convey the thought that all achievement, no
matter what may be its nature, or its purpose, must begin with an
intense, BURNING DESIRE for something definite.
Through some strange and powerful principle of "mental chemistry"
which she has never divulged, Nature wraps up in the impulse of
STRONG DESIRE "that something" which recognizes no such
word as impossible, and accepts no such reality as failure.
Attribution: THINK and GROW RICH ©
1938, published 1938, by THE RALSTON SOCIETY, Meriden, Conn.
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