How to Build a Small Business Startup | Motivational Podcasts

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Today’s reading has been edited and adapted from The Power of Mental Demand, and Other Essays by Herbert Edward Law, published in 1916.

To push one’s business forward, to develop one’s purpose (conceived in the mind and resolutely determined on), means a steadfast application to it — bringing to bear upon it every mental force that one possesses. To have resolutely in mind a purpose is to have made the first and greatest step toward it.

The difference between those who achieve mediocre success and those who rise high above it is in this mental resolution, this development of a purpose, this pushing of a business. It is not necessary to the creation of a great business that you understand and realize at the beginning the complicated problems that you will have to meet and master. But it is essential that you recognize the necessity of doing each thing as it arises to be done, and doing that thing well, doing it the best within your power.

Whether you are a master of mechanics or of media, you became so by learning one thing at a time. The person who now controls great interests may have seen the time when they had only the slightest knowledge of the interests they now so easily direct.

Remember that the exercise of a faculty increases its power. Thus as you exercise the faculties called out and required in building your business, their power to meet conditions grows. Having resolved on your business, now proceed to push it and push it with every hour that you devote to business. Do it thoughtfully; put into it every mental force that you have at your control. The constant association, the high resolve with the efforts that sustain and back it up, give you added strength for the problems and duties of tomorrow.

Having once resolved upon or desired a calling, a vocation, a business, you will naturally be drawn to it. There is a direct force that carries you towards the object of your desires. Every day you are both consciously and unconsciously working to an end. And if the end is the building of your business, then every day will find you doing those things which advance you step by step in that direction.

With the heart set on a purpose, with a love for it, with a constant association with it in thought, there comes that direction of effort that exercises all intelligence — that application of abilities which in due time will make you master of the situation.

Feel yourself a leader — believe yourself to be one, and you put yourself in the attitude and current that draws to you everything that contributes to that end. Dare to aim high. Dare to display the grit, the adhesion to purpose, the constant pursuing of methods which shape toward the ends you have selected.

You may not reach exactly the point where you aim. Few great businesses shape themselves exactly as they were first conceived. But you will come close and effectively to your aim. Have confidence in yourself. Remember that what others have done, you can too. Remember that the first effort towards success is the formation in the mind of a desire for success, of a determination to succeed, of a resolve that you can and will succeed, and that you have the genius for labor, patience, persistence; and that you have a sincere and loving heart in the enterprise.

Court the position you aim for. Direct both thought and action toward it as you would toward the man or woman for whom you have a great affection. In an affair of the heart there would be no grumbling, you would not use harsh words, you would not find fault, but you would see in the object of your affection all that was beautiful. You would admire, respect and love it.

Give to the accomplishment of your business purpose the same kindly consideration. It needs to be courted. It needs to be developed. This aim of yours is your destiny if you make it so, but not your fate. You must work it out.

Having set your aim, remain steadfast to it. Be faithful to your resolution. Remember that steady plodding in one direction makes headway. But that running here and there both fatigues and perplexes. It takes away the power to direct effort, or to effect purpose.

Keep your mind clear. Do not destroy its clearness with fretfulness, hesitancy, doubt, wavering, or vacillation. Teach your mind to rely on itself, to feel that when once it has reached a conclusion the matter is settled, and that there is left no opening for doubt or any disturbing element of any kind, or vacillation. All discussion or question regarding it is forever put behind you.

The head of the credit department of one of the greatest retailers in the world once told me that it was only possible for him to successfully direct his department by deciding each question of credit that came before him with the best judgment he could bring to bear on it at the time, and then regarding the decision as final, putting it behind him as something settled forever. To have done otherwise would have made every decision, no matter upon what good judgment it was based, the source of harassing doubts and fears which would quickly have worn him out, and rendered him incapable of sound judgment.

It is the athlete with the best nerves, not the strongest muscles, who wins. The nervous, irritable, fretful race-horse is unreliable. It is just so with business people. A cool, quiet, balanced brain, not easily disturbed, gets the best results. Not only do people have confidence in the self-controlled individual, but the power of self-control is itself the foundation of self-reliance. It is a known quantity. It inspires confidence. People place dependence on it, as on the settled and known propositions of life.

No one can calculate on uncertainties. No one depends or relies on them. But everybody relies on that which is solid, unmovable, unchanging, known. As you rely on these qualities in others, so you rely on them in yourself and that is the most important thing of the two. Having thus mentally determined upon your course and freed your mind from all uncertainties, you are now in a position to build your business with a clear, active brain free from every purpose except the absolute progress of your business.

It is not a difficult matter to build a business if all the mental forces can be concentrated upon the work in hand. It is the unsettling elements, such as worry and indecision that detract. Keen, vigorous, long-continued labor in the pushing of one’s plans do not wear one out. They increase one’s power, and though they may bring healthful fatigue, they only give sweetness to rest, and piquancy to recreation.

The recuperative powers are not only able to replace what has been consumed, but to give increased strength through their exercise. And thus each day’s work develops in the mind the capacity for larger work tomorrow. It is this growth of capacity that makes possible the realization of great plans. It is this power of capacity to develop that relieves great projects from ridicule. It is not the sudden inspiration of genius that is depended on to accomplish. It is the daily, determined resolution that every hour shall find occupation, and every day its central aim further advanced.

It is just as possible for you to build your business every day as it is for you to perform other daily exercises. Many of the best things accomplished are those in which every step forward has been made without precise knowledge of what the next step was going to be.

You simply know that you mean to push your business, that you mean to go forward, and you assure yourself by knowing that the step you are taking leads you forward, and you will be satisfied to take that step firmly, confidently. We do not need to know how many steps there are to the top of a monument to get there. We must simply take one step at a time and one step after another, without turning back.

Our conception of the possibilities of our mental forces and what they can achieve is so limited and so far below the highest rational point at which they could be held, that we are much more likely to dwarf our desires than that they should run beyond us. For, every day, businesses are growing to a magnitude exceeding anything of the past; developed, built up — pushed to these dimensions by the very same processes by which small businesses are being built up into large ones.

It is the habit of each day, making one step in advance, that will steadily mount you to any height which, you yourself, conceive for yourself. Let yourself give to your business but eight hours a day of cool, concise and concentrated thought and you will exercise a tremendous power for its advancement. Start out in the morning with a determination to make every moment of the day a moment of pressure in pushing your business forward, and you will be astonished to find out how much more you have done that day than you have on other days when your effort was put forth in an indefinite, indecisive, uncertain way, lacking positivity and power.

Handle every subject that arises with earnest clearness and concentration of mind, giving it the best thought you can bring to bear on it; dispatch it and start another part of the business along the road, each one in its proper order and you will be surprised to find at the end of a few days how firmly you have your business in hand, and how much time you have for studying larger plans and larger advancement.

When you are confident, determined, pushing, buoyant, hopeful; when your courage is resolute and determined, you inspire all the people about you, your associates and your employees, and you inspire the same elements in them. They feel that you are a leader, that you are a force which it is safe to follow. It reacts on yourself. It is the unseen force that pushes your business, that pushes the business of everyone about you, and starts those activities which would never see life without this spirit.

Business cannot be pushed by the mere treadmill of application. To push a business forward you must be expanding and increasing that business in your mind. Every great enterprise has been gone over again and again, detail by detail in the mind of the person who is making it grow, and each time it is gone over it has assumed a little more definite shape, until finally it has taken form, stimulates action, and becomes a reality.

A great accomplishment is but the crystallization of the mental concept of that accomplishment which preceded it. Every successful entrepreneur lives ahead of their project; that is to say, they form their business before it is evident to the world. Whatever is done today was thought and planned out and done mentally before. And it was the sticking to that mental plan that brought about success.

Important plans should be talked over often, but only with those whose interest and motives are like your own. It is said that James J. Hill talked out and planned out his first great transcontinental railroad long before he ever owned a mile of railroad of any kind.

No business should be allowed to worry and harass. Whenever a business wears you out, there is something wrong with it. Either you are not in harmony with your business, or you are gathering to yourself forces and influences which are hostile to your best interests. Make your mind your partner in business. Love your business. Live with it. Feel with it, and make it a beautiful ideal in your mind, and be as careful shaping everything for its advancement and perfection as you would if you were an artist in making every stroke of the brush add to the element of beauty in the picture.

Guard your mind from any invasion of forces which are opposed to success, which are detrimental to it, which hold it down. Associate with good people, get the atmosphere of progress about you. Associate with those who repel those mental attitudes that are not positive and progressive.

Remember that business does not grow by chance. Growth is the consequence of mental force exercised daily in pushing forward your plans. From this mental force proceeds every action, thought, and direction which governs and controls the actual operations, and even the details of your business.

Do not shirk responsibility. You are the architect of your own fortune. Your business success, your mental reach, your achievements, and the achievements of those about you depend upon the resolution and aim of your mind, and upon the pushing of your business plans every hour of your business day. This effort brings not only the greatest progress, but the greatest rest, the greatest recreation, the greatest natural development any human being is capable of.

Success does not mean the mere accumulation of money. That is but a part of the success of which I speak. There is a success greater than the mere accumulation of money. It is the accomplishment of a worthy purpose, the development of yourself and your associates, the creation in yourself of the qualities of leadership and a broad vision.

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All transcripts from our motivational podcasts are edited adaptations of the original work and copyrighted by LivingHour.org.