[This is taken from Theron Q. Dumont's The Power of Concentration.]
All have the ability to concentrate, but will you? You can, but whether you will or not depends on you. It is one thing to be able to do something, and another thing to do it. There is far more ability not used than is used. Why do not more men of ability make something of themselves? There are comparatively few successful men but many ambitious ones. Why do not more get along? Cases may differ, but the fault is usually their own. They have had chances, perhaps better ones than some others that have made good.
What would you like to do, that you are not doing? If you think you should be “getting on” better, why don’t you? Study yourself carefully. Learn your shortcomings. Sometimes only a mere trifle keeps one from branching out and becoming a success. Discover why you have not been making good—the cause of your failure. Have you been expecting someone to lead you, or to make a way for you? If you have, concentrate on a new line of thought.
There are two things absolutely necessary for success—energy and the will to succeed. Nothing can take the place of either of these. Most of us will not have an easy path to follow so don’t expect to find one. The hard knocks develop our courage and moral stamina. The persons that live in an indolent and slipshod way never have any. They have never faced conditions and therefore don’t know how. The world is no better for their living.
We must make favorable conditions and not expect them to shape themselves. It is not the man that says, “It can’t be done,” but the man that goes ahead in spite of adverse advice, and shows that “it can be done” that “gets there” today. “The Lord helps those that help themselves,” is a true saying. We climb the road to success by overcoming obstacles. Stumbling blocks are but stepping stones for the man that says, “I can and I Will.” When we see cripples, the deaf and dumb, the blind and those with other handicaps amounting to something in the world, the able-bodied man should feel ashamed of himself if he does not make good.
There is nothing that can resist the force of perseverance. The way ahead of all of us is not clear sailing, but all hard passages can be bridged, if you just think they can and concentrate on how to do it. But if you think the obstacles are unsurmountable, you will not of course try, and even if you do, it will be in only a half-hearted way—a way that accomplishes nothing.
Many men will not begin an undertaking unless they feel sure they will succeed in it. What a mistake! This would be right, if we were sure of what we could and could not do. But who knows? There may be an obstruction there now that might not be there next week. There may not be an obstruction there now that will be there next week. The trouble with most persons is that just as soon as they see their way blocked they lose courage. They forget that usually there is a way around the difficulty. It’s up to you to find it. If you tackle something with little effort, when the conditions call for a big effort, you will of course not win. Tackle everything with a feeling that you will utilize all the power within you to make it a success. This is the kind of concentrated effort that succeeds.
Most people are beaten before they start. They think they are going to encounter obstacles, and they look for them instead of for means to overcome them. The result is that they increase their obstacles instead of diminishing them. Have you ever undertaken something that you thought would be hard, but afterwards found it to be easy? That is the way a great many times. The things that look difficult in advance turn out to be easy of conquest when once encountered. So start out on your journey with the idea that the road is going to be clear for you, and that if it is not you will clear the way. All men that have amounted to anything have cleared their way and they did not have the assistance that you will have today.
The one great keynote of success is to do whatever you have decided on. Don’t be turned from your path, but resolve that you are going to accomplish what you set out to do. Don’t be frightened at a few rebuffs, for they cannot stop the man that is determined—the man that knows in his heart that success is only bought by tremendous resolution, by concentrated and whole-hearted effort.
“He who has a firm will,” says Goethe, “molds the world to himself.”
“People do not lack strength,” says Victor Hugo; “they lack Will.”
It is not so much skill that wins victories as it is activity and great determination There is no such thing as failure for the man that does his best. No matter what you may be working at, at the present time, don’t let this make you lose courage. The tides are continually changing, and tomorrow or some other day they will turn to your advantage if you are a willing and are an ambitious worker. There is nothing that develops you and increases your courage like work. If it were not for work how monotonous life would at last become!
So I say to the man that wants to advance, “Don’t look upon your present position as your permanent one. Keep your eyes open, and add those qualities to your makeup that will assist you when your opportunity comes. Be ever alert and on the watch for opportunities. Remember, we attract what we set our minds on. If we look for opportunities, we find them.
If you are the man you should be, some one is looking for you to fill a responsible position. So when he finds you, don’t let your attention wander. Give it all to him. Show that you can concentrate your powers, that you have the makeup of a real man. Show no signs of fear, uncertainty or doubt. The man that is sure of himself is bound to get to the front. No circumstances can prevent him.
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