Energy & Authenticity | Character Building Podcasts

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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from The Psychology of Success by Newton N. Riddle, published in 1909.

Before anything can be accomplished we must have power. It takes power to work, to do business, to enjoy, to think, to live. Mental energy backs all action. If we lack it, we cannot expect to accomplish much until we have developed the elements that supply force.

Even in good health, energy is sometimes deficient, leaving one tame, inert, constitutionally tired, and averse to activity and strenuous effort. Whatever the cause of this tendency, whether hereditary or acquired, it can be overcome by proper training.

Children lacking in energy should early be given short, difficult tasks, and gradually trained to hard work. It is a significant fact that nearly all the great inventors, captains of industry and finance, and other brain workers of world, did hard manual work in early life. This early training developed the energy, persistency, and capacity, that later on sustained great undertakings.

If you are deficient in energy and engaged in a sedentary occupation, take physical training. Lay out a bit of work every day that is really trying, and go through it with vim and snap. Increase the work as the energy increases. Say to yourself, “I have latent power within me, and by Divine grace I will awaken it. I have the mind and the will to do.” Then do it, rejoicing in the achievement, and energy will increase rapidly.

Most of us have energy enough, if we but would (and knew how to) conserve it. We waste our forces in a thousand ways and then wonder why we are all fagged out. A fit of anger in the morning will dissipate power enough to have done a day’s work. Many people exhaust their vitality mainly by worry; others by needless actions or emotions.

Most of us are subject to the formative will and are constantly wasting vitality by needless thinking, planning, scheming, and imagining — and by contemplating things to come, and reimagining the images of things past. Few of us have learned to control our energy.

In addition, we often put much more force into an effort than is needed. Most people are prone to irregular activities; they do three hours’ work in one, then suffer from the reaction. If we are to accomplish much in life, we must get control of our forces and regulate them to an even stroke. Over-activity exhausts the nerve cells that supply energy faster than they can recuperate.

To control your energy say, “I have perfect self-control. I do not fret, hurry, or worry; neither will I dissipate my forces in any way, but, like the experienced engineer, I will apply just enough force to accomplish the desired end and conserve the rest.”

Know in your heart that you can have perfect control over all your energies, forces, and activities. Accept this control, believe it, rejoice in it, manifest it, and soon you will have mastered the art of conserving and directing your forces, which means power for effective life work.

Learn also to cultivate the affections. The emotions are closely allied to the energies. They are a source of life and vitality. Healthy emotional activity is invigorating, energizing, purifying, and elevating. A loveless soul is a dying soul.

The affections give an atmosphere which both receives and communicates influence. A person without love is like a dead planet that receives light, but having no atmosphere cannot convert the light into heat and therefore has no power to sustain life. You would be far better to carry your heart on your sleeve and get scratched once in a while than have no heart at all.

All great personalities have strong emotions, strong affections, strong attachments. If you would have a winning personality, be a great lover. Keep your affections pure and direct them to their proper object; but give them expression. Be faithful in love with your companions, and cultivate a warm, genial friendship for others.

It matters not what your position or calling in life, a strong social nature wisely directed is of great value. It is our greatest charm. It is the secret of many a business and professional success. It opens the door of opportunity. It attracts friends and brings support. It adds much of zest and joy to life, and if we look toward the larger life with the thought of service, or even with the idea of realizing our highest and best, we must love and be loved.

Goodness is born of love. Kindness springs from love. In short, all the nobler virtues to which we aspire are the outgrowth of love. Eternal life is the gift of love. To become the greatest version of ourselves, we must become a center of love; therefore, let us begin today and say, “God is love and that love is poured upon the just and the unjust alike. By Divine grace, I can, I will radiate love and life.”

Energy combined with emotion produces enthusiasm. Cultivate it. You must have it. Nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished without it. The student that lacks enthusiasm seldom does well. The teacher without it is a failure. The salesperson without enthusiasm sells little.

It all begins by increasing your mind power; by changing every intellectual faculty from negative to positive, and training all to work together, thereby giving capacity to perceive, to remember, to think, to know, and to do.

The person who doesn’t notice is always short on the required information. The one who doesn’t remember is constantly forgetting what they learn and neglect what they should attend to. The one who has not learned to think is a slave to other people’s opinions, lacks judgment, initiative, and fails to think of the thing that should be thought of to make a success. All of these adverse conditions can be overcome.

The mind can be trained to perceive and to take notice; to remember and recall what it perceives; to analyze, put together, take to pieces, draw conclusions, think and do the right thing at the right time. One thing at a time (and that done well) is what makes all life’s efforts tell. Scattered forces are ineffective. Divided interests waste power.

In mind building, it is well to concentrate the efforts upon one or two elements at a time. In work, the best results with the least wear and tear are gained by focusing the mind upon the thing in hand. In winning fame or fortune, it is better to select one thing for which you have natural talent and stay with it.

Mind is a limited quantity; the more you spread it, the thinner it gets. Experience proves that those who have a definite purpose, and concentrate their energies and talents upon it, are the winners. Hold in the sunlight a piece of paper; the scattered rays will barely warm its surface. Focalize the rays and they will set the paper on fire.

You may be a genius, as bright a child as was ever born of woman, but scatter your energy and talent over several lines of work, business, or profession and you will be ineffective. Focalize your powers on some worthy undertaking and you will bring things to pass.

Use your imagination and come with me to an upper room where an inventor has been concentrating his mind for thirty hours without sleep or rest. Concentration is intensified. Forty hours, fifty hours of the most intense application, with little food and no relaxation. He comes down from his room looking like a hunted beast.

The face is grave, the eyes deep set, the hair disheveled. He calls for his six best assistants and starts back to the room. A friend says, “Stop, man, you are going into brain fever. When are you coming down?” “When the invention is complete, or I will never come down.” Once more in the upper room he asks his assistants to think upon certain lines and answer his questions. The concentration is continued.

Fifty-one, fifty- two, fifty-three, fifty- four, fifty-five, fifty-six hours and the brain of Thomas Edison is wrought to a white heat; but from the white heat of that brain the world is aglow with the electric light tonight, that lights not only our streets, mines, and tunnels, but the homes and hearts of millions, bringing health, wealth and comfort to the populace of the earth; and as long as the electric light shall burn, the name of Thomas Edison shall shine forth in dazzling letters in the halls of fame as the greatest of scientific inventors.

Cultivate individuality. It is the trade mark of power. Eccentricities, when unduly accentuated, make one ridiculous and lessen your opportunities for success; but individuality gives distinctiveness and the stamp of originality to everything said and done. No two persons are by nature exactly alike. God puts the stamp of uniqueness upon everything in creation.

The present educational and industrial systems tend to destroy individuality. We must resist this tendency. Originality of thought and conduct, of manners and methods, is one of the great essentials in the building of a winning personality.

To do your best, you must be natural. You must get out of the beaten path, get away from stereotyped methods, and develop your inherent peculiarities. Most of us are imitators. We cramp our souls to fit the fashions.

Take the matter of dress. There is a true art in dress; it consists in harmony between the cut of the garment, the amount of trimming, the colors used, and the form, features, complexion, and color of hair and eyes of the wearer. Where this law of harmony is obeyed a work of art is the result. Any person so attired is well dressed. Even sharp, irregular features can be made attractive; but how many people have the wisdom, courage, and independence to follow this law in opposition to the latest fashion trends?

Even among leading fashion designers, we see combinations and incongruities that would make a true artist groan and cause beauty to hide its face in shame.

Now, what is true in dress is doubly true in our methods of character building. We imitate others in study, forms of speech, habits, manners, business, and (most of all) in religion and spirituality. These machine-made characters are like generic clothes. They are easy to acquire, but they seldom fit perfectly and do not wear well.

My friends, if you would make the most of self, study the pattern that Nature has put into your physical and mental constitution. Build according to this pattern. Be sure that your building is harmonious, consistent, and adapted to the requirements of your chosen vocation; but be true to yourself, loyal to the spirit within you — the farther you differentiate your life from that of all others, the greater your power and chances for success.

Lastly, remember that the chief element in a winning personality is character. The highest priced thing on the market is character. The thing most in demand in every relation, vocation, and condition in life is character. The final asset, back of every business institution which makes it and keeps it solvent, is character.

What value is a brain without conscience? How much is a person worth to their employer who simply knows how but cannot be depended upon? I shall not define this word, character, for what we define, we limit; but character means power, honesty and integrity, faithfulness to trust, promptness and punctuality, loyalty and reliability, carefulness and constancy, courage and conviction, energy and application, self-respect and respect for others, politeness and dignity, attention and concentration upon the thing at hand, humility with independence, obedience with power to command, the ability to say “no” and stick to it, the capacity to do and the will to do it.

If you have these elements you have character. If you have character you have the spinal column and energy of a strong personality.

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