The Secret of Success in Business | Podcasts For Success

Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of inspirational fashion and gift ideas. Visit them online at BookofZen.com. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from “The Power of Concentration” by William Walker Atkinson, published in 1918.

Everyone has two natures. One wants us to advance and the other wants to pull us back. The one that we cultivate and concentrate on decides what we are at the end. Both natures are trying to gain control. This will alone decides the issue. A person by one supreme effort of the will may change their whole career and almost accomplish miracles. You may be that person. You can be, if you Will to be — for Will can find a way or make one.

I could easily fill a book of cases where people who were plodding along in a matter-of-fact way, all at once were aroused and, as if awakening from a slumber, developed the possibilities within them, and from that time on were different persons.

You alone can decide when the turning point will come. It is a matter of choice whether we allow our higher self to control us, or whether we will be controlled by the brute within us. No one has to do anything that they do not want to do. You are therefore the director of your life, if you will to be.

What we are to do, is the result of our training. We are like putty, and can be completely controlled by our will power. Habit is a matter of acquirement. You may have heard people say that someone comes by this or that skill naturally (a chip off the old block) meaning that they are only doing what one of their parents did. This is quite often the case, but there is no reason for it — for a person can break a habit just the moment they master the “I will.”

You might have been a “good-for-nothing” all your life up to this very minute, but from this time on you can begin to amount to something. Even old people have suddenly changed and accomplished wonders.

“I lost my opportunity,” you might be thinking. And that may be true, but by sheer force of will, you can find a way to bring yourself another opportunity. There is no truth in the saying that opportunity knocks at our door but once in a lifetime. The fact is, opportunity never seeks us; we must seek it.

What usually turns out to be one person’s opportunity was another person’s loss. In this day, one person’s brain is matched against another’s. It is often the quickness of brain action that determines the result. One person thinks “I will do it,” but while they procrastinate, the other goes ahead and does the work.

They both had the same opportunity. But one will complain of their lost chance. Every opportunity lost should teach you a lesson, and it will, if you are seeking the path that leads to success.

Many people read good books, but say they do not get much good out of them. They do not realize that all any book or any lesson can do is to awaken them to their possibilities; to stimulate them to use their will power. You may teach a person from now until doom’s day, but that person will only know what they learn themselves. In other words, “You can lead them to the fountain, but you can’t make them drink.”

One of the most beneficial practices I know of is that of looking for the good in everyone and everything — for there is good in all things. We encourage a person by seeing their good qualities and we also help ourselves by looking for them. We gain their good wishes, a most valuable asset sometimes. We get back what we give out.

The time comes when most all of us need encouragement; need buoying up. So form the habit of encouraging others, and you will find it a wonderful tonic for both those encouraged and yourself, for you will get back encouraging and uplifting thoughts.

Life furnishes us the opportunity to improve. But whether we do it or not depends upon how near we live up to what is expected of us. The first of each month, you should sit down and examine the progress you have made. If you have not come up to “expectations” you should discover the reason, and by extra exertion measure up to what is demanded next time.

Every time that we fall behind what we planned to do, we lose just so much, for that time is gone forever. We may find a reason for doing it, but most excuses are poor substitutes for action. Most things are possible. Ours may be a hard task, but the harder the task, the greater the reward. It is the difficult things that really develop us, anything that requires only a small effort, utilizes very few of our faculties, and yields a scant harvest of achievement.

So do not shrink from a hard task, for to accomplish one of these will often bring us more good than a dozen lesser triumphs. I know that every person that is willing to pay the price can be a success. The price is not in money, but in effort.

The first essential quality for success is the desire to do — to be something. The next thing is to learn how to do it; the next to carry it into execution. The individual that is the best able to accomplish anything is the one with a broad mind, the one who has acquired knowledge that may be foreign to a particular case, but is, nevertheless, of some value in all cases.

So the person that wants to be successful, must acquire all the knowledge that they can; they must be well-versed not only in one branch of their profession but in every part of it. Such an individual achieves success.

The secret of success is to try always to improve yourself, no matter where you are or what your position. Learn all you can. Don’t see how little you can do, but how much you can do. Such a person will always be in demand, for they establish the reputation of being a hustler. There is always room for them because successful firms never let a hustler leave their employment if they can help it.

The individual that reaches the top is the gritty, plucky, hard worker and never the timid, uncertain, slow worker. An untried professional is seldom put in a position of responsibility and power. The person selected is one that has done something, achieved results in some line, or taken the lead in their department. They placed there because of their reputation of putting vigor and virility into their efforts, and because they have previously shown that they have pluck and determination.

The person that is chosen at the crucial time is not usually a genius; they do not possess any more talent than others, but they have learned that results can only be produced by untiring concentrated effort — that “miracles” in business do not just “happen.” They know that the only way success happens is by sticking to a proposition and seeing it through. That is the only secret of why some succeed and others fail.

The successful worker gets used to seeing things accomplished and always feels sure of success. The person that is a failure gets used to seeing failure, expects it and attracts it to themselves. It is my opinion that with the right kind of training every person can be a success. It is really a shame that so many men and women, rich in ability and talent, are allowed to go to waste, so to speak.

Someday I hope to see a millionaire philanthropist start a school for the training of (quote) “failures”. I am sure they could not put their money to a better use. In a year’s time the science of practical psychology could do wonders these students who have lost their grip on themselves; who (through some sorrow or misfortune) have become discouraged.

At first, all they need is a little help to get them back on their feet, but usually they get a knock downwards instead. The result is that their latent powers never develop and both they and the world are the losers. I trust that in the near future, someone will heed the opportunity of using some of their millions in arousing those who have begun to falter.

All they need to be shown is that there is within them an omnipotent source that is ready to aid them, providing they will make use of it. Their minds only have to be turned from despair to hope to make them regain their hold. When a person loses their grip today, they must win their redemption by their own will. They often will get little encouragement or inspiring advice from those around them. They must usually regain the right road alone.

Today we must conquer our weakening tendencies alone. Don’t expect anyone to help you. Just take one big brace, make firm resolutions, and resolve to conquer your weaknesses and vices. Really none can do this for you. They can encourage you; that is all. I can think of nothing, but lack of health, that should interfere with anyone becoming successful. There is no other handicap that you should not be able to overcome.

To overcome a handicap, all that it is necessary to do is to use more determination, and grit, and will. The individual with grit and will, may be poor today and wealthy in a few years; will power is a better asset than money; Will will carry you over chasms of failure, if you but give it the chance.

The people who have risen to the highest positions have usually had to gain their victories against big odds. Think of the hardships many of our inventors have gone through before they became a success. Usually they have been very much misunderstood by relatives and friends. Very often they did not have the bare necessities of life, yet, by sheer determination and resolute courage, they managed to exist somehow until they perfected their inventions, which afterwards greatly helped in bettering the condition of others.

Everyone really wants to do something, but there are few that will put forward the needed effort to make the necessary sacrifice to secure it. There is only one way to accomplish anything and that is to go ahead and do it. A person may accomplish almost anything today, if they just set their heart on doing it and lets nothing interfere with their progress.

Obstacles are quickly overcome by the person that sets out to accomplish their heart’s desire. The “bigger” the individual, the smaller the obstacle appears. The “smaller” the individual, the greater the obstacle appears. Always look at the advantage you gain by overcoming obstacles, and it will give you the needed courage for their conquest.

Do not expect that you will always have easy sailing. Parts of your journey are likely to be rough. Don’t let the rough places put you out of commission. Keep on with the journey. Just the way you weather the storm shows what material you are made of. Never sit down and complain of the rough places, but think how nice the pleasant stretches were. View with delight the smooth plains that are in front of you. Do not let a setback stop you. Think of it as a mere incident that has to be overcome before you can reach your goal.

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