Life in a Nutshell

Edna Lister wrote these brief essays as a syndicated newspaper column published in the 1930s and 1940s, in major cities throughout the United States. Feeling powerless in the face of life is a miserable existence. When you follow her suggestions for vital living, you capture the joy of becoming a conquering creator, fully in charge of your own life. As you read her essays, discover how they answer your questions today.

Act As If

Do you believe that you can make a declaration, and it will be established for you? Do you know that it will be established? Do you act as if you had it now? Or does discouragement creep into your mind and heart to swamp all your lovely ideas and goals? Do you get tired of waiting and turn to another well-advertised method as a short-cut to accomplishment?

If a man had stood in line all night at a ticket window, but got tired and left when he was third from the window, you'd know that it would be the end of the line for him if he returned. He would forfeit all previous time spent waiting and standing. Yet, you do this to yourself, often when you are in sight of your goal.

Laws are laws, not suggestions, and cannot fail. You can finish what you start, if you hang on long enough. Since you can never tell when you are third next at the window of fulfillment, keep your place in line until you gain your desired goal.

Never let Old Man Discouragement get you down — hang on and know that persistence is the watchword and persistence always wins!

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A Firm Foundation

You cannot use yesterday's achievements as sofa cushions and feather beds for the future. A single tremendous effort may make you a world hero, but to rest on one performance for the remainder of your life will not maintain your hero's status.

Life always rudely awakens today's hero to face a cold fact: No one stays sold overnight.

You cannot afford to stop selling yourself for a single day or you lose with someone. If you forget to smile for an hour because of hurt feelings, someone calls you an old grouch. If you lose interest in others on the day they need it, they think you do not love them. They hunt greener pastures where they can find sympathy.

Married couples who lose that first rapturous exploration of interest called the honeymoon find themselves becoming bored and headed toward separation. Interest in others' affairs makes you an agreeable companion, one who is sought in spare moments.

Self-interest is interest turned within. Self-selling is interest turned outward.

What good is the past except to be used as a firm foundation upon which to build your future? Avoid bogging down in self-pity. Turn your interest outward toward others and life.

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An Ounce of Appreciation

Is appreciation the last thing your family or boss thinks of giving? Does it take all the natural joy from your work, and leave you feeling low and unnecessary?

Even work that you may love can grow stale under these outer conditions, if you allow yourself to think too much about not being appreciated for what you are doing. The way to cure this dullness in your own life is easy.

Start an appreciation campaign right where you work and live. Everyone responds to it. Everyone loves to be appreciated. Appreciation keeps this old world ticking. It is the spice of life to most folks and most folks will do most anything when others appreciate it. It doesn't cost a cent and gives the giver large returns.

You may not receive appreciation from those to whom you give it, but you will create bubbling joy within your own heart. Life will look rosy again and your outlook will return to normal.

Try it tomorrow wherever you find yourself. Use it on your family. Find something to praise and your smile may draw some praise to you. An ounce of appreciation will give many a pound of satisfaction.

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Anti-Fog Formula

Have you hungered for a formula that would dispel that foggy feeling that envelopes you some mornings, when you cannot seem to shake some weird spell of semi-consciousness?

One young woman found a formula that sent her to the top of a profession that chose her for its own. When her father died, leaving an invalid wife and small son, a friend found a position for the daughter, who was still in high school. She had only her nerve and the will to do.

So, she started saying, "Lord, don't let me miss an opportunity today." He never did. She prospered with only her midnight oil and by reading merchandising books from the library — after she fed everyone and did the house work — and advanced straight into an executive position as head of a firm.

Lord, don't let me miss an opportunity today — instead of crying because she had a family to care for and had to get up early to feed them before work. Lord, don't let me miss an opportunity today — instead of good times with the other young people, making good where she found herself chosen.

"Lord, don't let me miss an opportunity today. Let me use what I have, where I am now."

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A Simple Faith

Have they called you simple-minded because you enjoy simple pleasures? Did it disgruntle you or make you feel that perhaps you were silly?

Never allow yourself to grow too complex about your enjoyments. If you do, you will lose something of your spontaneity of heart that can cause you many dull hours later in life. Never try to emulate another's ideas of enjoyment and never let anyone spoil yours.

So, take stock right now and decide just what is important. Then stick to your guns under all circumstances. Keep your list comprehensive enough to allow for added joys and uncomplicated enough so it won't ever grow burdensome.

Find out why and how your grandmothers could always sing, though burdened with work and few conveniences. Learn to be free of material things, neither possessing them unduly nor allowing them to possess you as they may have in the past. Use a simple-minded faith in a Supreme Ruler's care for you!

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At the Heart of Soul

Do you really want eternal youth? Do you want to pay the price necessary to regain all your lost ambition and forgotten ideas? Would you like to touch the flame of desire again?

Eternal youth comes from living at the heart of the soul. It comes from the very center of that divine spark that is your real identity. It comes from that ability to enjoy the days because they are full of life and because life itself is so very entrancing.

Eternal youth comes from a mature understanding of responsibility, from that experience of knowing, loving and calling everything Good as it comes. Eternal youth isn't afraid to suffer and grow, and counts all pain as gain. It has no tears to dry because it is too busy living to take time for crying.

You weave the life of eternal youth of stardust and moonbeams, held together by cobweb-fine strands that grief or sorrow would rend asunder. Eternal youth knows that it must hold fast to confidence and assurance. Eternal youth does not listen to anything that might disturb its delicate balance of joy in and about life. Eternal youth is as free as air and as delicate as a spider's web.

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Battles, Dragons and Life

Have you been afraid of life? Afraid to live? Hurt by the bit you've had? Are you afraid to try any more? Is your fondest dream to find a sheltered corner where you can rest? A sunny spot where life will pass you by?

Why spend time hunting a safe place to sit in the sun? Why spend time hunting an easy corner where nothing can ever happen? To hide isn't to be safe! To be safe isn't living, only existence. A jellyfish can do as much.

Life means growth, and growth brings pain. Lots of life always hurts. Just at first! Exactly as when an arm "goes to sleep." The returning circulation is painful, but it "feels better when it stops hurting."

Your trouble is not too much life, but too little. The lack of life hurts. Your idea has been to avoid having any more of it, since the tiny bit already yours hurts so badly.

Any soldier knows he must face and discount only so many things while marching. He must face the guns, hunger, cold and long marches. He accepts this, and discounts it. Meet life like a soldier! Hands up! Surrender to the fact you must face life, not evade it. Like a nettle, to be painless, you must grasp and love it.

Life is a foe you must meet and conquer with courage. Does a great dragon stand right in the line of your march? Something that overwhelms you to contemplate? Have you turned your back to it? Right about face! Steady! Aim! Fire! And pouf! It was only a bloated, puffy old bull-frog!

You may have run from the scene of battle instead of leading the charge. You may have been eager to leave the battleground instead of eager to stand.

To be trampled underfoot by the army is the fate of the one who turns back. To get into the thick of the smoke, into the midst of the battle — that is living. Charge! Face the guns! Let's go! [Published in the Business Enterprise, Edinburgh, Scotland. ]

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Believe to Receive

Life can be a stupid business when you grow up and lose that first rapturous expectancy and belief in the tooth fairy. Of course, people will laugh if you go around waving your magic wand, but then they'll laugh at you anyway for your ideals. So why not enjoy the pleasure of an expectant attitude and use your magic wand to chase away the blues.

Children make wishes and never doubt that they will come true. We, who have grown up to be wise, often make our wishes, then turn about-face and open a campaign of "What will I do if the wish doesn't materialize." Perhaps you lack that simple faith in a Power great enough to back you all the way to success.

Holding fast to that first rapturous faith in your ability to succeed, planning to meet your Fairy Godmother right around the very next corner is the only asset you need, provided you build on expectancy.

You'll never receive more from life than you can believe in having. So why not believe, wish-work greatly and wave your magic wand joyously always? There's never a dull moment when you fully believe in a Fairy Godmother!

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Bite Your Tongue

Anyone can get tired and quit, bluster and grow angry, be critical and condemning — it takes only a brain cell-and-a-half! The single-celled creature can do as much, so don't be proud of it! Self-mastery requires using real brains with alertness and unwavering persistence.

It takes less strength of character to bite your tongue in self-control than it does to conquer all desire to lash out and burn another with hasty words unwisely spoken. However, biting your tongue is the first step toward conquering self. This eventually leads to complete self-mastery, which is more than half the battle toward any goal.

The higher your vision, the longer it takes to bring it forth into the outer where others can be see it. It takes longer to build a cathedral than it does a five-room house.

If your vision is cathedral-size, others may finish their dreams before your foundation is complete. Waste no time watching them, for it will take more time and effort of labor to build yours from foundation to roof.

To be unhampered by emotional jags, you must use great discrimination in choosing your attitudes toward life, then follow them with perseverance and courage under all conditions.

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Cat Lessons

The cat embodies six creative ideas: Perfect independence, perfect adjustment to life, perfect determination, perfect relaxation, perfect balance, and a perfect sense of direction and control. You can never lessen a cat's individuality or independence. It never "knuckles down," but always commands respect.

The cat symbolizes perfect adjustment, since it never worries or carries a burden because it knows how to accept. It hunts alone and always rustles up a meal, which represents perfect adjustment to life.

The cat represents determination because of its ability to concentrate perfectly on one idea. A cat will single-mindedly howl at the door until you either let it in or let it out, and it will wait for a mouse by the hour in complete silence.

The cat symbolizes relaxation. It works, then rests, plays, then rests in perfect relaxation. And it has sense enough to breathe itself into its body after sleep with a good, long stretch.

The cat represents perfect freedom in balance and always lands on its feet. Finally, because the cat has a perfect sense of direction and control, it never gets lost, but always finds its way home.

If you find that you're not the perfect embodiment of these principles, don't worry. Open a new account in God's Universal Reserve Bank, and wait at the door until you receive.

"I open this account with enlarged ideas and huge declarations. I deposit what I desire to draw out, and must make my deposits every day. If I deposit fear, doubt, delay ideas, irritation or criticism, that's what I will draw out!"

Deposit all cat virtues, and let go of all cat detriments, such as laziness, selfishness, and fault-finding words that scratch like claws. Always preen before your mirror to see if your joy-face is on straight!

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Chickens Come Home to Roost

It sounds pretty complicated when we talk about what mind will do for you when harnessed and used with direction and control. Yet science aids us to gain a better understanding.

Radio, television and satellites prove that there is an unseen substance that does move into the ethers and reassemble in another spot as sound and picture. It carries through any thickness of concrete and there is no barrier through which it cannot penetrate.

Have you applied this principle to your words and thoughts? Every thought you think, you send into the atmosphere as a vibration that has a definite form. Every time you picture something it builds a form in another grade of substance. Every time you send forth emotion, it does the same thing.

Three grades of substance make a composite form in the invisible. These may be soft little white doves or sturdy black crows, but return to you they must.

Our grandmothers knew this, for they always said that your "chickens come home to roost." Each thought, emotion and picture returns to you. You must direct and control your imagination, thinking and desires for good results!

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Classes, Exams and Grades

Expecting a second-grader to make perfect marks on a high school exam would be the height of folly. From birth to death, life is graded into individual classes, each important to the one who is in it.

No two are in the same class, studying the same lesson, so how can we be alike in what we are doing? How can we all give the same answers to lessons when our lessons are all different?

You have no reason to feel self-important about passing with high grades, because your old high marks will do you no good in next year's class. You must have the stamina to dig out the new answers.

Learning rapidly gives you no authority to gloat over another's slowness. Your growth slows and stops when you wrap yourself in a mantle of exaggerated ideas of your ability.

If another wants to make his stand on one step and never move higher, leave him alone to enjoy himself. The "I can't understand" and the "I can't see why" classes are full, and vain speculation about why others stand still easily grows into a feeling of superiority. This may feel good at the time but you could flunk your next exam unless you stay busy — and that would be just too bad, wouldn't it?

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Confusion or Clarity

Can you do any number of tasks simultaneously, and do them all well? Or does being called on to do more than one assignment at a time throw you into a state of confusion?

If you have a "single track" mind, are proud of it and do not want to change — be satisfied and go your way. However, if you would like to be able to act as an executive, who can grasp many details at once, acting upon them at once having given previous orders while making new decisions, then begin a new campaign of self-discipline now.

You have millions of undeveloped cells of brain capacity waiting, and all you need to do is to call that unused capacity into service. Crossed lines of communication cause confusion.

Several exposures on one negative create a confused image. Pictures taken one at a time, one exposure right after the other, will produce as many clear images as you need. You can use a dozen phones at once, if each connection is clear.

Keep each set of negatives clear in your mind. Never allow them to overlap or blur each other. Turn completely from one idea to the next keeping each wire clear and distinct — all you need is practice. Remember, one picture at a time, and hold each line free.

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Conquering Life

Either you conquer life or life conquers you. One choice doesn't cover the whole of life, nor does sitting and waiting cause life's good things to fall into your lap like overripe fruit. Every new problem requires a new answer and every experience a new choice. Unless you choose wisely, you will continually lose.

You do not build life's highway, but you can learn to watch for the signs, keep to the right and give everyone else plenty of room. You can sit alertly in the driver's seat and be ready for either curve or barrier. You can take advantage of every opening in the traffic and surmount the obstacles.

Life is like a stubborn horse that is always ready to take the bit in its teeth and run away. It will, especially if you allow it to wear the spurs and carry the whip! You must choose which is to be master, life or you? Being your own master means you must wear the spurs, carry the whip and be ready to use them when you tire and lag behind.

Life may throw you repeatedly, but you can always climb back into the saddle. Your everlasting effort at plodding is sure to take you somewhere. The effort will keep you from standing still at least. Who knows, you might find a wonderful opportunity ahead!

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Courage in Action

What you need is a personal right so great that you are ready to die for it. You cannot buy courage in the dime store, or for millions. No invisible mantle will supply it — you have it or you don't.

The courage to standyour ground comes from an inner conviction that what you are doing is this great right, and bravery is its inevitable outer expression. No following false gods of materialism or loudly voiced opinions can manufacture courage, for such substitutes fail when called on under fire.

A right goal with the inner courage that never gives way or backs down, showing a brave front to all enemies, does not come from choosing between two evils, even the lesser one. It comes from choosing the one right, and this is always the way of sacrifice for individual or nation.

Straight down the middle of the right road runs your choice, from evil and darkness into the light, Winning comes only from using sacrifice and success as synonymous terms, backed by deathless courage.

Your choice of some "death" rather than to lose your ideals, and facing that death gladly, will open the gates of life to all others forever.

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Have you just paid out all the money you had saved for a vacation with the family this year for an illness, roof repair or that kitchen remodeling? Does everyone take it for granted that you won't mind or be hurt over the scuttling of your ship?

Well, this is another important crossroads in your life and your next decision may determine your whole future. One way will complete the drying up of the milk of human kindness within you, but the other will break open an old encasing shell and set you free.

Have you felt this old shell pressing in on you lately?

Occasionally you reach the limit of your present environment and find you've outgrown the old ideas, actions, emotions and people. This means a new cycle of endeavor, if you take your discounts and plan something new instead of silently boiling over inside with resentment. It means space to stretch your sails and run before the wind.

What does it matter about the clouds and the storm today? What if it does turn to a gale? Storms come, but they always go, too. Patch up your old ship, caulk the old seams or build a new one!

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Spring announces itself with the greening of branch and opening of buds. Nature's life looks up and pushes up to its capacity during the summer season of growth. Winter announces its campaign with turning leaves in autumn. Falling leaves foretell that nature's life is sinking into a rest that simulates a little death.

The compelling urge behind the seasons springs from the same life, and differs only in the direction it takes.

You are a thinking, choosing, feeling, conscious being, and you may choose your direction, either up into greater increase or down into a rest that ends all growth. You need not wait for spring's gentle urge to be up and doing, although you must follow the logic behind the seasons in pursuing your plans.

You must plow, harrow, plant and cherish your ideas, if you are to create anything new. Yet your ideas can die from lack of nourishment.

It's so simple — you may contact the same Power that propels the seasons in their endless cycles, and you may appropriate as much life for your enterprises as does the tree for its growth. Yet you need not wait blindly for the fulfillment of your destiny.

All you need is one flaming desire, one definite choice, added to enough persistence to hold your mind on one point long enough to win.

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Determination Is the Pipeline

How many hours each day do you spend feeling sorry for poor little me? How many criticizing the government, the weather, the other things that you dislike?

If you have no power over the things that you dislike, why waste time and energy finding faults with them? The chances are that they will all be going on for some time, but so what? If you feel that your paycheck is too small for your services, your work too hard, your hours too long, your troubles too great — why, go ahead and cry.

Someday you'll discover that no one else really cares much, and criticism is a pretty cheap claim to fame, although you are an expert at it. Criticism is a shoddy way to use your will power.

Can you make up your mind and stick to it? If you can, nothing is impossible for you to accomplish, but if you can't, you are only digging your present rut deeper. If everyone you meet can unmake your mind for you, you won't even reach the bottom rung.

Make up your mind, keep it made up, take one step at time toward your ideal, and someday it will show on the outside. The speed of your results may surprise you when you hold up your head and smile at life. Determination is the pipeline from your will power to your future.

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Do One Thing at a Time

You don't live your life just once, but many times every day. If you have a task to do after work, you do it dozens of times during the day. If you sell on commission, you sell not once but repeatedly, before, during and after the call.

You carry the office home and live in it instead of with your family. You take your family to the office and live with them all day instead of waiting till you are home. You hold up the office chair daily, the bed at night, and even try to carry the elevator up instead of resting to your floor. So you are always tired, your heart, eyes and back are wearing out.

Why not worry about just one thing at a time — if you must worry. Why not concentrate on the immediate task? Everything ends, one way or another. So look up, take a deep breath and let go. Give God the fear.

The sun continues to shine above the temporary dark clouds. Live above the clouds in the sunshine instead of the gloom underneath. Think yourself to sleep on a starlit cloud instead of holding up the bed. Let bed and chair, elevator and life, uphold you.

Do one thing at a time with all you have and when you rest, rest on a cloud of Light.

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DO Something

Did some disappointment cause you to wrap all your dreams and put them away in moth balls years ago? Or have you put them in cold storage so nothing could happen to them? If you have, get them out right now, unwrap them, warm them up and air them.

Have you thought it your family's fault that you are not a doctor, a lawyer, an artist, a musician or a teacher? Don't excuse yourself another day with such silly soothing syrup for your lack of push and drive!

How do you know that you could have been these things? You can't know, if you've never done anything about it, and you never will unless you do something now.

Someone may have kept you from it while you were very young, but after that it was up to you. If you had really wanted it, no one could have kept you from it. Night schools and books cover everything anyone can want. Nothing on earth can stop one who is determined to do something.

Find out now what your dreams really mean, one at a time. If you still feel cheated, start one project. If after three weeks you develop a passion for it, continue. If it bores you, drop it and forget it.

That deathless desire within you can do anything. Move your dreams from the talk-about-it class and do something!

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Dreams: Idle or Planned

Are you still waiting for your ship of dreams? Do you wonder where it is and why it hasn't returned to you? Are you sure that you loaded it with a cargo you want?

Sometime ago you launched this ship loaded with your old desires, the pictures you've built and the thinking you've done, good, bad and indifferent. Most of this cargo must be spoiled and moldy by now. Are you certain that you could use all the rubbish of the past when it comes?

Wouldn't you prefer a new ship with an up-to-date cargo? If you look, you might see that old ship anchored right offshore near you. Then you could start unloading that old cargo of unwanted things and rebuild your ship into a fast runner.

Unload it now and start loading a new cargo of every lovely and beautiful thing you can conceive of or use. Give it a shove, launch it again, then know that it will return to you speedily in fulfillment of your dreams.

This dream is as real as if you built it with your hands. Believe in it, plan and watch for its return, because it surely will. Idle dreams mean wasted time, active, but planned dreams mean fulfillment.

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End of an Era

Change means advance if you so declare it. Civilization doesn't stand still, but we don't notice the changes until we're almost within a new cycle of expression.

The change always creeps up on us because the keynote of the Western world is activity and we're too busy "doing" to be "seeing" simultaneously. So, one day we are shocked into a realization that something new has happened, which throws us into a state of confusion and bewilderment that seems to leave us helpless.

We flounder around trying to doctor and patch the old, but it doesn't work. We find that we must seek new ways that will incorporate the best of the old with the needed new.

We can't throw out all the old. All we need is to cut off all the dead limbs and twigs, do a bit of grafting, and cultivate the soil.

The difficulty is that so much of the old clings to the trunk tenaciously. The world has developed so many ways to graft and take from people that it is hard to convince many that this era is finished. It is ended and we need to adjust to it, believe in it and work together now, for a new era makes right the one might.

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Eternally Young

We have grown up with the idea that old age is necessary. The three great life periods spoken of as emergence, maturity and decline may have you stymied before you are able to think for yourself.

Some people really begin to live at seventy by acting as if they were youthful and doing all those things left behind with youth. It is possible for you to renew an old body by acting as if you have it.

What holds you back from accepting this as your portion? Psychology has this answer.

You must renew the mind before you can renew the body. First you must discard all your great-grandmothers' patterns for bodies. You must rid yourself of the idea that you shall "decline" with the added years.

Eternal youth is born in the mind and heart first, and only then can you express it in the outer world.

When you combine the use of proper diet and exercise, feeling and thinking into a coordinated whole, you can and shall have bodies that are youthful. You shall be mentally alert, with imaginations that build only those things you decide.

Why plan to live only fifty or sixty years when the cells can renew themselves for a thousand vigorous and healthy years?

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Face That Dragon Now

Does something that looks like a great red dragon block your path? Has it dried up your courage, leaving you cold with fear and dread? Helpless?

Then stop, look and listen. Nothing is as bad as it looks from a distance, and hope and an answer exists for every problem life can present. Take your eyes off that dragon and start looking within yourself. Exercise does your will power muscle good, and now is the time to start exercising.

Be too proud to turn your back under fire. Every soldier knows to face front, discount cold, hunger, long marches and discomfort — to forget everything else and serve.

Eyes front and start marching straight at that dragon. It will shrink as you advance. Stare it down. If you are convinced that you can pass it, you can. It will shrink to the size of a bloated old bullfrog.

Fear always makes things look larger than life, many times their real size. Life is your friend — meet it, love it, march right into it and live. Charge the problem and be convinced of victory!

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Faith, the Builder

The substance of faith is as much a part of inanimate creation as it is a part of your life. One phase of faith is unconscious and the other is conscious. In the animal, tree and too often in man, it is an unconscious faith. In all the children of earth who reason and think, it becomes a conscious use of that one faith.

Paul said, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." Evidence is the substance of the unseen hoped for, and the hope is faith. That substance is all about you, in the air you breathe, the food you eat.

You cannot get more substance or destroy what is here. You can only tear down old forms and rebuild with the same substance. Recycling metals proves this. Metal is unconscious substance, unconscious of being used.

Science and religion begin at the same point: "Let there be Light" — this is the one substance, seen or unseen, conscious and unconscious. To rebuild your body and your life, you must consciously use this faith to tear down the old unconscious substance and consciously remold it into a form nearer to your heart's desire.

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Familiar Guests

Imagine two coaches, poised on a rise above the beautiful City of Desire, which lies in the distance, like a mirage. Both coaches roll downhill over a meadow to a fork in the road. The way right enters hilly country, while the left road enters beautiful terrain.

Apathy drives the team, Opinion and Prejudice, as they dash along, taking the easy way at the fork because Apathy confounds their sense of direction. Doubt and Fear ask for a ride. Prudence says no, but Apathy says it doesn't matter, pushes Prudence off and Fear sits in his place.

They stop for Self-Pity and Gossip, then Intolerance and Pride, Revenge, Confusion and I Don't Care, a four-year-old who says, "I won't. I can't." Worry, who's always hungry, sits between Sorrow and Tears. The team begins to lag with the load, and the coach finally gets stuck in the Bog of Despair.

Reason and Imagination drive the other coach pulled by the team, Desire and Will. They choose the rough and stony way, but reorient themselves on every rise. Their passengers are Faith and Understanding, and Poise and Power, a newly married pair.

They meet Beauty, Strength, Joy, Ecstasy, Rapture and Delight, who surround the coach singing. Comprehension, the gate keeper, welcomes them at the City of Desire.

You meet all these familiar guests in life. It's up to you to choose which mystery guests you invite into your coach. Everyone has stood on that rise and decided whether to take the easy way or the hard. No matter how often you begin the journey, finally you must choose the way to the City of Desire.

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Fan the Flame of Desire

The "wishers," the "hopers" and the "wanters" never get very far with their daydreaming. "Wishers" use the sitting end of their spine as a wishbone. "Hopers" are always praying and hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. "Wanters" demand what they want of life, despite payment here or hereafter.

All your new ideas come from dreaming dreams and seeing visions. However, you can't just sit and idly wish, hope, or demand of life. Heart fires go out under passivity.

You must fan those "wishing, hoping and wanting" triplets into the flame of desire in your heart before they can work to your advantage. A flaming desire moves into an "active becoming" that can work wonders in any age.

The difficulty is that you allow your flaming desire to cool so often while you let go of your plan. It takes so much time to whip up the blaze again that you have no time left for active work.

When you start building for new things in your life, you must stick to it. You can't turn against your desire by wondering what you'll do if it doesn't work for you.

You must be faithful to your plan, never again turn to passive daydreaming, or let old dreams absorb you. You must always possess the active ability to dream new things into expression while holding steady the flame of desire. Let a flaming desire possess you!

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From Mountains to Molehills

Have all your pleasures turned to labors? Do you find yourself dreading the very things that you loved to do only a short time ago?

If so, you must add some new zest to your living, something entirely different must enter your day's activities. You must find something else to give new hope to your tired heart. Where can you go to find these new hopes and desires?

Naturally, it would be a very simple matter if you could buy or find them on the outside, but you cannot renew life in this manner — and the effort of digging digging out your buried hopes from within is almost too great to contemplate. However, since no one will ever stick them on you from the outside, you must seek them within your soul.

Sometimes only physical fatigue or emotional reactions cause such a state of mind. Whatever the cause, you can conquer it only by yourself.

If you have been making mountains out of your little molehills, start digging. Enough will power applied now will make molehills from your mountains!

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From Tail to Kite

Anyone becomes quite tired of being a "nobody" while everyone else is leading and getting credit for it while "anyone" works just as hard but is never noticed. People dislike the idea of being only the tail to some large kite with plenty of force and ability to fly high.

You'd like to be a kite yourself, but you can't push your way through. It isn't much consolation to know that no kite can leave the ground without its tail — you still do not like being the tail!

String is useless while waiting around doing nothing; however, string and kite can set a new standard in high goals. It takes that string and bits tied together to balance the kite, and where that kite goes, the tail follows!

While serving as a balance-tail and string-anchor to earth for another's kite, you can learn how to become a kite yourself. The alertness and aliveness you learn while acting as a balance will allow you to soar high when your turn comes.

Let out that string and help the other fellow's kite aloft. Some day his kite may fly right out of your life and forget to return — but you'll be ready to become a kite, really free.

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Give it Your Best

It is better to "make haste slowly" than to do tasks in a hurry and find that you must do them over because of slipshod work.

As you travel along life's road, you may feel that the time you spend having to stop and do so many trivial things for family and friends is holding you back. You plan to do just so much during the day, but you have a dozen unexpected calls on your time and energy, which leaves you at night with almost nothing of the day's original plan accomplished.

Your work piles up. Saturday finds you exhausted. Sunday is no day of rest.

This is one lesson you can learn and, in learning, save yourself bodily wear and tear, at least. Never work for greater patience, or you find your life full of little things to try your patience — attracted by your call for more patience. Move up into your tower room of poise. From this vantage place of Power your only expression will be peaceful, expressing all the patience you need.

Do your very best in each thing. Use your best mind, your best heart, your best effort, even on extra calls and the time you save will give you all the time you need!

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Give to Get

Has life let you down? Has your search for sympathy and understanding been unfruitful? Are you tired of waiting for someone to give you both? Has your expectation of another's sympathy and understanding led you into a load of obligations?

Many married men and women are caring for a family because they thought their partner was sympathetic and understanding. Both were seeking the same thing and both were fooled.

Most folks want free sympathy and understanding without giving anything in return, except housework, cooking or a monthly check to cover expenses. The truth is that giving of the inner self must earn both sympathy and understanding.

Remember that day you went home to get sympathy and found someone with a worse story, so they thought, and you gave them comfort? You found your release in giving to someone else, and your own burden grew lighter as you gave.

That which you demand of life, you are always forced to give to life.

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Growing Up

Have they called you a failure? Did it hurt? Did it make you sore? Or did it rouse your pride to greater endeavor?

You can take it as you choose: As an opportunity to toughen your moral fiber, or as an occasion to become involved in more self-pity. You can make it a stepping stone to advancement, or something to push you further into your shell. No one cares very much which of these you choose.

Do others begin to tell you that it's too far to the top, it's too hard to climb, you can't do it because you haven't the education or the ability to make the grade? When they do, then you have already started the long climb to the top.

Your head is already above the crowd, or no one would spend his valuable time telling you that you are a failure. They are afraid you will pass them on the way up.

From now on use every bit of faultfinding as a challenge to greater endurance. Use both criticism and the laughs you'll get as a measuring rod. Watch yourself grow!

Failure isn't real, but it is lack of faith in yourself. Turn your back on what "might have been" and become what will be when faith rules your life.

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Half a Loaf or Whole

Is your life one compromise after another? Does your day always leave you with an armful of substitutes instead of the things that you start to gather?

Have you almost reached the stage where you do not know substitutes from the things that you wanted? Have you buried all your ideals under such a mass of practical ideas and so much common sense that you can't find them?

You can't ever forget that person you wanted to be, but you'll never get anywhere just by sighing over your lost youth either. Every idealistic problem always has a common sense approach. If you give up because you can't make it work the first time, you can't expect much from it.

Because the approach to its creation was wrong doesn't mean that the idea was wrong. It only needs further thinking to find the right way to make it practical. All the rest of those things that can't be done are going to get themselves done, so why don't you see what you can do about them?

Compromise if you must; use that half a loaf or that crust, but be sure to keep on wanting the whole loaf and the real thing.

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Hours of Gold

Do you know that every hour is all new, shiny and golden? Do you know that God has sent them to you as pure Light?

What if He sent them all gray and drab and you had to make them into Light? That would be hard, wouldn't it? Yet He has sent them to you as perfect as He can make them, and has fully equipped you to take care of them and see that they are not made into darkness.

You have feet, hands, heart, brain cells, faculties, voice, tongue and lips to form words and send them forth, all to keep these golden hours pure Light. Isn't that an easy task? He gave you the easy part to do, to return to Him each night the day's page of hours unspotted by the world.

This is your hour to open a new account with life. In this account, deposit all you desire to draw on for your present needs. You cannot draw from it unless you have already deposited in it exactly what you expect from life.

What have you already deposited with life? Cold emotions, dark thoughts of doubt and fear? Or are you now drawing on an account overflowing with joy? Remember, you must place your own account with life. No one can ever do this for you. You can open it with whatever deposit you want.

How about a new account with God's Bank of Life, all joy, plus? Resolve to deposit a huge new account, right now, of all good things overflowing. Remember, God is abundantly able to supply all you can imagine or desire.

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Ideas in Mind

Plato said, "Necessity is the mother of invention." During the next ten years, necessity will cause more new inventions than during the past hundred years. Anyone can see this, for the lack and shortage is public property, and we must find substitutes.

Inventors will recombine many old materials to replace those we no longer have to use. Someday we will use coal exclusively for materials and electricity will come directly from the atmosphere. Scientific research is open to anyone who likes it.

Have you thought seriously of how this relates to you? What contribution would you like to make toward this change? Are you completely satisfied with your work? If not, now is the time to make that longed-for change.

You won't feel so conspicuous while everything else is in transition, too. Begin right now to do what you really have always wanted to do. Fifteen minutes a day for ten years will cover any college course of study.

Someone must remake all our gadgets to fit the need, and these new ideas are now waiting in Mind. Someone must invent them, why not you? You can make the effort, can't you?

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Inner Peace

Peace comes from an inner grace that radiates from the soul into the world. Peace comes from understanding others, not having them understand you. "Live and let live" is probably the motto to cover this.

Family peace is established when each member does everything possible to understand the others. The first step toward permanent peace, whether among families or nations is to live without misunderstanding.

You could make any nation peaceful by removing all the people — there it would be, all peace and calm! It's the action of rubbing elbows with those who are not agreeable that causes disagreement.

You cannot look for peace from outside. True, lasting peace must come from that inner sense of well-being buried deep within each heart. It must come from a conviction in your heart that you can bring it about by living in peace in your spot. You cannot talk peace and go home and fight with family.

Peace can be made a habit, just as easily as any other emotion. The sooner you start to cultivate peace habits, the more rapidly it will spread into the world.

A peace that will last must be started sometime. Why not now — by everyone who wants peace!

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It's Never Too Late

Right now is the time to take a firmer grip on that load you're pushing to the top of the hill. This is the right place to draw a deeper breath for those last few difficult steps.

The long climb has made you tired — who wouldn't be with such a load? Your poor feet and hands are aching and blistered, but don't stop now — the top is in sight!

Remember how you started: Young and confident, gay and laughing, ideals and idols, dreams and visions, ready to conquer every dragon in your path, ready to lay the whole world at the feet of your love, ready to give up the whole world for your love?

Well, it's never too late — it's only too soon if you have not yet created your dreams or collected your million. Get this one thing: It's never too late.

Rest a while, but do not let go of your load again or it will roll to the bottom of the hill as it has so often in the past, with wrappings broken and your life scattered in every direction. It takes so much valuable time to seek and pick it up again.

Turn around if you must, but keep your back against the load. Don't lose an inch of ground gained. See how far you've climbed? A little extra push, a little more steam, an ounce more of grit and you'll be over the top!

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Jealous Mistresses

Life and salvation are free to everyone alike. They are priceless, the most expensive commodities in existence. They cost nothing, yet they cost everything. To hold them, you must devote every moment of life to them — both are jealous mistresses and brook no rivals in love.

Yet why do you need more life and what good is salvation? You must do better to save yourself from economic slavery.

The whole world needs saving. Weak eyes, weak backs, weak knees and weak minds mean lack of life. To be saved from weaknesses, you need ever more life. To be saved from darkness of slavery, you need more Light.

To have strength and freedom, you must court light and life. You must woo them above all else. Life and salvation are free to be loved and held in triumph.

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Just DO It

If you live among others, you are bound to blunder occasionally. The better you are, the more a tiny mistake stands out, the more folks see it, the more wrath it calls upon you. Another, who is not so good, may make many mistakes and never gets blamed for it, which peeves you.

Being "called on" one mistake is better than having a dozen overlooked. No one expects much from the lame ducks, but if you are good, everyone not only expects but demands more from you. Regard the reprimands as spurs to greater effort, for no one can afford to become satisfied with his performance, or he will lose his reputation.

If you've been a bumbling blunderer, keep an account of every future bumble and study how-not-to-do-it until you remember them. You'll learn all the right ways and methods one day by the process of elimination. Never join those who are afraid to do anything. If you aren't sure, do it anyhow, and do your very best.

Remain cheerful, leave behind self-disgust and self-blame, and pay any price necessary to become letter-perfect in your relationships. With your eyes facing front, reach out to new ways to live, and practice self-discipline. You'll win.

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Law of Averages

Have you forgotten how to meet the new need for greater speed? Have you lost the desire to accomplish more every hour? Have lean years slowed you down or made you feel old?

The law of averages and compensation is exact, no matter whether you believe it. If your daily average of service is only 10 percent of your ability, then 10 percent is all you'll take in returns. To get 100 percent from life, you must put that much in as your share of the world's service.

Service is the rent you pay for the space you occupy. This investment of ideals and service given to life must return to you in the amount you've invested, and you must average 100 percent every day.

If you can shake loose from past self-indulgences, you can scale any heights that you can envision. Accept a greater destiny for yourself and keep your eyes fixed on a long distance view, if necessary.

You are not less than you were, despite time, age and waiting. You are all that you were plus all that added experience has given you. Buried deep in your soul is the ability to bring forth your finest dreams and they fuel themselves!

Stop resisting your destiny, and step up your creative effort!

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Life's New Opportunities

Are you fond of airing your opinions or of telling someone off? Do you often threaten to tell someone all about what you think of his wrong ideas?

Lying in wait for the other fellow is all right, if you don't happen to be the other fellow. Do you wait until the other fellow is completely off guard, then land hard, making him look foolish, making him stutter and fumble in dismay? This may give you satisfaction, but it leads to a dead end eventually.

Right or wrong, must you always be right? Opinions and prejudices change with the seasons. Sometimes you later find that everyone was wrong. If you are too wrapped up in what you think you know, you'll never be alert enough to find the new answers to the new opinions.

You gain a reputation for a snappy comeback only by watching for the new opportunities in life. Dwelling upon old issues clouds the thinking processes and persistently giving away pieces of mind might lead to giving away too much! Then what would you do? You might give away all that you have — one piece at a time!

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Life's Balance Sheet

How deep is your bondage to people, to ideas, or to your self? Is your freedom-seeking a desperation that is driving you into greater confusion?

Trying to avoid responsibilities and planning to "get away from it all" might work, if you could "lose yourself." Unfortunately, you take yourself along when you run away. If you dislike rain in one city, you will certainly dislike it in another city.

Have you taken a self-inventory lately to see where you stand? What have you found? Does your balance sheet really balance, or have you debits in red? Has your service been halfhearted because more than half your heart is elsewhere?

The only way to balance your book of life is to cure you of the wrong kind of desire-ideas. Tinkering with the laws of life will not cure this. Giving up the desire-idea of escape means working right where you are with all your heart centered upon the work.

True freedom comes from conquering what surrounds you. Emancipation from any place or situation comes from mastering yourself and the condition, instead of running from it. True freedom is accepting your responsibilities and getting acquainted with life!

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Life's Basic Types

In life you meet just a few basic types. You can tell who they are by what they say: "Blamers" want God to do it for them and blame Him when life does not go their way. "If I knew what God wanted, I would do it. God never answers my prayers. If God wants me to move up, He should lift these things from my path. God is punishing me."

The "wisher" class waits for success to fall into their laps, and everything is too much trouble: "This is so hard. I just wish God would take care of this. I never get what I want. God doesn't answer my prayers."

The "off in a corner" type says "I can't stand the vibration of a group. I can do it alone. I don't need help."

The "fearful" type is afraid to be wealthy or to be trusted with money. "Money isn't important to me."

Who can pay the bills by being proud of poverty? "God must not want me to have it." God trusts you with the priceless gift of free choice, so why shouldn't He trust you with His infinite substance? Stop being afraid that if it's good for you, it will hurt someone else.

You can become a creator. God can't wait for you to become perfect, but uses you in the hour you see perfection. If God can do such magnificent work in your ten minutes of burning desire, think what He could do if you stood at that white point of heat constantly.

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Look UP, Not Back

Once upon a time, so the story goes, two cities were to be destroyed by a great fire. No one believed that they would be destroyed except the prophet who received the information when he was without witnesses. He believed, so he removed his family from the cities.

Any woman could understand the Lot's wife and why she looked back to see whether the cities really were burning. She looked back even after she had been told she would turn into a pillar of salt if she did. In the first place, her husband was always talking about something.

She had just hung new drapes in the living room, the furniture had been recovered and she had a new piano that she didn't want to leave behind. She just had to take a peek. One look back turned her into a pillar of salt!

Perhaps you do not believe the story, but you do look back. People turn to hardened arteries, hardened brain cells, hardened hearts and lives.

Looking forward and living upward renews the cells and makes for youth and beauty.

Which do you prefer? Hanging onto past glory and fame, while turning to a pillar of salt, or joy today?

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Love's Golden Thaw

Do you feel that you've given too much of yourself too extravagantly in the past? Does no one ever appreciate what you've done for them? Has love passed you by? Does no one ever give you a gift?

Are you the one who does all the giving? Is all the bread you so generously sliced from your loaf of life still floating around somewhere? Perhaps it's frozen fast to one forgotten event and cannot move to return to you.

Love is the magnetic, golden thaw that calls your own to you. Only love can open a barred door and melt frozen assets.

Giving from a sense of duty, obligation or resentment sends forth the gift as cold ice to be resented in turn by the receiver. Giving easily, but with regret later, freezes every gift. Ice cannot move of itself, so how can a frozen gift return to the giver?

Love is elastic, and any gift given in love returns immediately, having collected the butter and jam for your slice. Love increases itself, going and returning. Turn on the heat! Melt that ice! Spread on that love!

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Love the Promise

The tears people shed about unfulfilled promises could irrigate the Sahara Desert. Most people are sincere in what they say, as they say it. You may even think you mean the hasty, angry words you speak, but realize later that they were born of hurt and grief. Your dearest loved ones may look like ogres to you at night, but shrink to normal size in the morning.

Life is full of situations where you make promises impossible of fulfillment: The friends you promise to see often, the letters you never find time to write, the little attentions you intend to give your family but forget. You mean your promises with all your heart — when you make them.

Why can't you underwrite your life with common sense? Why not sip the last bit of joy from each promise another makes, then forget it? Why not accept the love behind the promise, and take your discounts then?

If they fulfill the promise, you have another great joy. If they forget it, you are out nothing. You have not wasted any time or emotion over its fulfillment, so you cannot be disappointed. Forget the tears and be happy.

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Make Every Minute Count

Do you put off certain tasks until you have "spare" time? Do you spend time resting and letting down while you wait for others? Do you unfinished projects clutter your closets, basement and attic?

Ruskin said that he could tell what a man was by the way he used his spare time. Some folks use it resting until they finally become invalids for life. "Letting down" leaves you too low to do anything when you try to get up. Use a stop watch on yourself for one day, and the total of unused minutes will amaze you.

One who has a poor memory, who does not exercise his powers of recollection, who lets brain cells and nerve centers atrophy is only a lazy person. Make yourself memorize something while knitting, sewing, gardening or mowing the lawn. Prose, or poetry, do it now!

Enough spare time will finish all the tasks and reading you've long put off. Every five minutes spent "doing" will cover much ground in a year. Don't wait for three hours, use that three minutes. Harness your mind to the present. Use all your spare time to prevent useless stagnation. Make every moment count in constructive practice for doing!

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Making Time Fly

Failure does not exist. Each is a success exactly as far as today has brought him. Failure consists of getting tired and hunting a place to sit and rest while asking "why" of life. The only answer is more effort. The only cure for life is more life.

Too many "whys" produce self-pity, which drains the body of all desire for more life. Success is steadily marching toward a goal, the extra pressure you apply to get to the top, the reaching forward that draws to you more life.

If your work or play absorbs you, you never tire while at it, and time passes on wings. The secret is to carry over the same absorbing interest into the less interesting parts of your life.

Keep your attention centered on what interests you in life. Make yourself take an interest in things about you. Hold yourself to that high point of quickened interest, and warm up to the dreaded task. Speed up the work you are doing or find new ways to do it.

You can push just a little bit harder. You can do just a little better and find something beautiful to think about. Stop asking "why" you have to, and get busy now doing something you really like to do!

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Mastery: The Bottom Line

Do you seek freedom from boring relatives or domineering friends who push you around and dictate to you? Do you give of your service with an inner grudge, thinking, "Well, you can have it, but you're not welcome to it"? Many do, though they ask no credit on the outside.

If this is your attitude, now is the right time to change. Emancipation comes only through mastering the inner self. Self-mastery is the only freedom.

No matter how hard you try, you cannot master anyone else. You can remake no one, though you may spend your whole life trying. You can conquer self by changing your general attitude toward family, friends and life.

Each is in exactly the right place now for learning his next lesson. If you do not like it here, then this not the place waiting for you in the Divine Plan. It is the place you have made for yourself. You can leave anytime you like by cleaning your present spot and learning to like the lesson, not the place.

You can change your mind, which is one thing for which you are wholly responsible. You cannot control outer things or people, but you can control yourself. Miracles come from a change of mind and heart, but you must make the change.

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Mathematics of Life

Life itself follows mathematical laws, all under the rules of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. When you do not follow the rules, you become unbalanced and confused.

Using physical energy subtracts energy from the body, which you must replace with more air, food and rest. Mental work subtracts from mental energy, and you must replace it through relaxation and recreation. Prayer must increase the Power of the spiritual life, the very essence of both the mental and physical life.

Letting go of the old is subtraction. Adding the new is addition. You must divide the essential from the nonessential, lest your life becomes cluttered with unimportant matters and filled with confusion.

No one can govern your mind or heart unless you allow it, so you can subtract the unnecessary thoughts and emotions, if you choose. Yet first you must divide what builds from what tears down your life.

Add room so your natural abilities and hidden talents have a chance to breathe and multiply themselves a thousandfold. Adding zest and multiplying enthusiasm makes every day a new adventure. Subtract the old stuff that bores you to death. Dullness vanishes when you are fully alive.

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Odds and Ends

When summer finally comes, you may feel so fed up with winter's grind, so tired of everlasting routine that you're apt to sag into tiredness and let go completely.

When fall comes and you must resume added duties, you waste too much effort trying to get into action, lose too much time trying to pick up the scattered ends left dangling all summer while you rested "down."

Letting go too far means slipping into slack mental habits. That means it's always Thanksgiving before you get started to really accomplish anything.

The only way to save yourself both time and effort is to find a method of relaxing without letting go, without losing any of your alertness and aliveness. Finding this happy medium is not too hard and will save plenty of time in the fall.

If you cannot change location or homes or work during the summer, you can change both your ways and times of doing things. You can put on a new summer mind and leave all worrying until fall!

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One Step at a Time

Who invented the idea of failure anyhow? Who thought up the "doormat" idea? Why do you go right on planning to become a failure and turning into a doormat?

There's no choice between the two. They are both poor excuses to replace that original fame you intended to gather from life.

If you persistently push forward a step at a time toward your objective, be it ever so small, you can't fail. Failure is just getting tired and quitting before you arrive. Plodding on must mean success sometime in the future. The time required doesn't count. Nothing does, except your dedicated determination to succeed.

Don't join the "doormat" family! Meekness is all right, if it is an active meekness that holds up its head and takes everything squarely on the chin.

Passive meekness is an invitation to the whole wide world, including your dear family, to pick on you. A "doormat" attitude, which makes others want to wipe their feet on you, is no good.

If you act like a "doormat," someone will surely step on you! See how much you can take with a smile — and like it!

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Open Your Door

Do you believe that opportunity knocks but once at anyone's door? Have you failed to answer that one knock, then decided that it was too late to do anything about it?

This belief has immobilized many a potentially successful life, and if you accept it, it will delay your success too, despite the fact that opportunity knocks at your door every day.

Each opportunity knocks but once, except in rare instances, yet new opportunities arrive at all hours. To greet opportunity you must stand with open arms, waiting.

Not many find a ready-made place for themselves. You must do the making with the ideas, plans, tools and materials you have, and your combination of these factors determines what you can make.

You must know your goal and defend all that you do toward that goal. Intermittent work and lagging steps do not help. Continuity of effort is what succeeds, never giving in or backing down, no matter the cost.

Time never stops and neither will you if you keep moving with it. This is the very hour of fulfillment for anyone who believes it.

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Opinion or Action

Tumbleweeds grow in the dry lands of this country. Their tops are enormous compared with their shallow roots, so the first windstorm of the season pulls them up and sends them scurrying in every direction. They blow along aimlessly until they pile up against some barrier, huddling together for comfort in their plight.

Opinion drifters are like tumbleweeds, and pile up in the same way, for the same reasons. Disgruntled drifters gather, discuss and blame everything and everyone — but never do anything about the subjects of their complaints. They never blame themselves, never admit that they could be responsible for any of the situations about which they complain.

Indifference and lukewarmness are today's curses because those who indulge in them are always prey to those who oppose the social system, government or individuals. The indifferent mouth catchphrases with great gusto because it gives the do-nothing class something to do.

Much talk covers up their shortcomings. They blow from camp to camp exactly as tumbleweeds blow in arid country, never resting, finally ending in dry barrenness.

As a nation and as individuals, we must have deep-rooted convictions about our ideals, general or specific. Our nation's greatness is based on the depth of our individual roots in the soil of right thinking.

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Peak Performance

It takes real strength to be a success. Do you really want to be the strongest person in your family, community or business? Of course, the strongest one always has the most work to do because others can always use a weak back, weak knees, weak eyes and weak head as an excuse to duck the hard tasks.

If you are honest enough in your effort, you do try to run at 10 percent physical efficiency on a daily basis. Yet you dissipate your other 90 percent in silly gossip, fritter it away in imagination. You run old imagination films during the day and sometimes run one film repeatedly all night. All this uses physical energy with all sorts of negative results.

Procrastination uses energy. Billy plays away his energy, then is too tired to cut the lawn — but the lawn waits for him. Billy isn't the only one who is forever using double energy to accomplish things!

Dreading a task misuses energy as procrastination. Getting to it uses the energy generated when the idea was born, and leaves the body with a surplus. This is the secret of abounding strength to do as you like.

It becomes a joy to be the strongest one in your group, for then you can always say, "Yes, send me!"

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Do you admire those individuals who are always unruffled under every condition? Have you wished that you could achieve the same fine balance and poise?

You can, but you pay a price for poise. Only the deep desire to be a greater person gives you the courage to make the necessary payments. Like all worthwhile abilities, poise does not come overnight. It is a matter of slow growth. It must be earned.

What sacrifice can you make to gain this serenity of spirit?

No one can run from family and duty to be free. Yet each may find sanctuary from the hardship of life in a high place of the soul. Living in this high place will create within you the needed calmness to face the outer world unruffled.

You may reach up into this sanctuary at an instant's notice and in it find all those needed answers to life's problems. It is the place of foresight instead of hindsight.

Poise is an inviolate place, which noting and no one may invade, and it is not escape!

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Prime Your Pump

When enthusiasm dies, hopes fade with it and old age sets in. Love flies out the window when enthusiasm for the loved one dims, usually because of the daily intimate contacts that disillusion both parties.

Enthusiasm is the very motive power of all life and must be kept alive within the heart if you are to advance. Without enthusiasm to give life meaning, progress slows, and all desire to conquer fades from heart and mind.

Do you start everything enthusiastically then lose interest? If you do, it leaves you with no energy to complete your project.

The time comes in every phase of your affairs — love, marriage, friendship or business — when you reach this dull, drab place. You must call upon every reserve of strength and duty to push through, without regard to feelings or desires, paying no attention to discouragement or disillusion.

By looking up to the stars, by holding fast to the joy anchor deep in your heart, by lifting high all ideals and faith, by adding a new interest or doing things a different way, you cross this desert.

To prime a pump, you have to pour some water into it. Prime your pump with hope, and enthusiasm will come bubbling up in your wellspring.

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What is a problem? Loads of folks say that no such thing exists. A problem is a situation that your own thinking, emotions and imagination have produced.

If you insist upon living with a problem, insist upon taking it to bed, insist upon taking it to work, insist upon taking it to play, insist upon taking it out to exercise it, it will thrive. As long as you are "conscious" of the problem, you feed it. When you shut off its food, it grows weak.

The idea that you "must be free" is an indication of bondage. Face facts: Since no one can bind you, you must be binding yourself.

Freedom from problems is the natural result of knowing truth. Truth is the sum total of facts and processes as they exist, move and are stated in principle. Truth about life is the sum total of facts and processes as you find them in life.

The truth of principle is life as God knows life. You must know life as it is in God. How is life in God? Inevitable, invincible, limitless, Substance, Power, Mind, and ideas.

If you have to know first, you'll never arrive! You must "seek first" to open the real of the possible. Let go of the problem entirely! Don't care about it! It is good!

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Does it always rain when you go on vacation? When you go out to dinner, is your favorite dessert always gone? Are the good seats sold out when you get around to buying yours?

When you reach the place in your affairs where everything leaves a bad taste in your mouth, where work or play is drab monotony, where your house is getting old, your salary shrinking, your car rattling, then something must be done.

Perhaps you are so interested in these things that unconsciously you are holding out on your family, your boss or your business. Perhaps you are forgetting that you must hustle. If you hold out on life, life will hold out on you.

Anyone can foretell the finish of this attitude. Start now to prepare yourself for stepping up and you'll be discovered. Don't worry, you'll be seen. Steadfast effort is the only royal road to promotion and advancement.

Prove yourself ready for it now by carrying more of the load where you serve, by accepting more responsibility in your present place, by giving twice as much as they pay you for doing.

You must earn promotions before you can receive them. You can't change this law to suit your preferences. Diligent expectancy keeps you grinning even while you're struggling.

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Racetrack or Rut-track

Do you pride yourself on being a good sport and obeying all life's rules? Can you obey all the rules when life stacks the deck against you?

Life is like a race track. At intervals during the year, hurdles are set that you must take in your stride. Your particular rut is the race track, the hurdles are your peculiar limitations, mainly old opinions and prejudices, which you must renounce if you ever expect to see the gates open on the road to success.

How much effort have you spent trying to avoid taking your hurdles? You've already wasted too much time going around them or crawling through the bars. Why, some even try digging under until they find that this disqualifies them for the track. If you've been bold enough to push the hurdles aside, you find them back in place your next time around the track.

Wildly you dash, or slowly you drag around, years on the same old rut-track, dodging the same old issues, same old battles, same old people doing the same old irritating things, same old story of everything stacked against you, while time passes.

Face it now. Life is just one obstacle race after another. Hurdles and obstacles make life an adventure to a contender.

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Resting UP

When you find that you haven't enough strength to carry you through a whole day's activities, you cannot always blame it on the physical body. The idea that you are not strong enough to go the whole day will eventually so deplete the body of nervous energy that physical weakness is the result.

Some can run for eight hours, others for only three hours. Then they must go to bed again to gather enough strength for another round. They live eagerly for the first hour, then sort of run down again. This is not living. It is existing, resting to gain more strength.

Passive resting is a sure sign that life is boring you until you can no longer face it except in short periods. Going to bed to rest, reading from story to story with nothing interesting between, doing only what must be done and getting back as quickly as possible — all are signs of wanting to evade a life that bores you.

You can generate enough energy within your body to carry you through the whole day. You can decide to live a whole day without getting too tired. You can take an interest in what's around you, actually listen when others talk to you.

An expectant attitude will keep you on your feet and build a strong body with plenty of energy. Resting is passive waiting. Living is active expression.

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Return on Investment

Across the road from each other live two gardeners with the same soil and climatic conditions, both having an equal start in life. One gardener is prosperous and has good crops. The other's garden is run down and produces extra poor crops.

One always wins, and the other always loses. He is a day late with his planting and it rains, or he plants, then it is dry. Nothing goes right for the one, and everything goes right for the other.

You can find this situation in any walk of life — it is common. You will not find the cause in outer events or factors, but must seek it within the individual himself. Only a discrepancy in the two attitudes toward life — something expressing from within — can account for the outer difference.

One lets details slide, and they accumulate until he is too late to do the right thing at the right time. He's off somewhere else when others need him in a vital role. His attitude of "what's the use" grows as he accomplishes less and less — soon he is waiting for a "break."

The other drives himself to do the necessary tasks in turn, he studies climate and market. He turns both to his own advantage.

"On the job" and "do it now" may bore you. However, they form the right attitude toward your own outer success and pay the greatest of all returns on your investment.

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Rich Man, Poor Man

Once upon a time two brothers lived near each other. One was wealthy and the other one couldn't be bothered thinking about money because living was so important. The wealthy brother was always worrying about his improvident brother when not busy worrying about other things, but he always had to worry.

The poor brother wouldn't return to get the dime he was short-changed of because he couldn't be bothered about the interest on a dollar. He never cared about money until his purse was empty. Then he hustled to fill it again, but he always had a relapse.

He either had money or didn't, but it never bothered him either way. He was too busy laughing at life and singing his way through it. His heart was happy because he was alive and well.

The wealthy brother was never well, and happy only when his money was increasing. He certainly had no time to waste just enjoying life. Someone had to earn money, didn't they? Now, his wealth had dwindled away because he worried himself into weakness and illness. The poor brother is earning more all the time, still laughing.

You can't have it both ways, can you? You must choose.

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Rx for Joy

When the sun hides behind a cloud, do you think it's gone forever? Do you choose the shady side of the street, then complain of the cold? Do you sulk and freeze instead of crossing into the sunshine?

You can, if you like, because no one will come along and carry you. Folks may think it odd to act that way, but they'll leave you free to please yourself.

On sunny days you can live under clouds of darkness formed in your own head. On cloudy days you can live in the sunshine because your heart is singing with joy. Choose which you prefer, sun or clouds, and live it.

Don't be a half-and-half person. If you like clouds, then make good black ones. Cover your spot with them if you like, but don't expect another to share your spot when he likes the sun.

If you want a popular spot, make it sunny and folks will seek you. Friends will come and friends will stay when your spot is full of warmth.

Remember, no one else can make your spot sunny or fill it with shadows. No one can keep you under clouds or force you into the sun. This is your life — under the clouds or on top of them in the sun!

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Score on Life

Is your greatest desire to find a sheltered nook where you can rest? A sunny spot where you can watch the world pass, leaving you safe, quiet and untouched?

If you are spending your time hunting an easy spot where nothing can ever happen, or a safe place to sit away the years, you might as well give up. Such a place doesn't exist, either here or in heaven. Playing the harp twenty-four hours a day for a million years sounds like hard and boring work.

To hide isn't to be safe. To be safe isn't living. To be perfectly safe is only existing.

Life means growth, growth means pain. To give plenty of life a chance always hurts at first. When your arm goes to sleep, it hurts to awaken but later feels fine.

No one ever had too much life, it is having too little that gets you down. If you decide against having any more life because the little you have hurts so, you might just as well go find an old shell and crawl under it to live like a turtle.

Don't let life score you, score on life. Life is like a thistle — to be lived, it must be grasped tightly, thorns and all. Every pain is a step up. The advantage is yours when you decide to hunt the hard spots before they hunt you.

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Seasons of the Soul

In fall, sap descends from the tree's branches to the darkness at it roots, instinctively obeying the laws of nature regarding its particular life. In winter, the tree lies sleeping while it gathers the strength you see portrayed in buds, leaves and blossoms.

Occasionally a tree dies, which is escape from life, but it is not beyond an unconscious or instinctive consciousness to do this. Spring opens a time of great expansion. Homeowners dig weeds, plant, prune and prepare for growth as the sap of consciousness ascends.

Your unconscious instinctive phase of mind responds to the seasons, and dictates your spring, summer, fall or winter as you ascend and descend the pole in consciousness. During fall and winter, desire, vitality and consciousness recede to subterranean depths. You bury yourself and may wallow in the trough of self-pity. Some people live through four seasons a day!

Subconscious mind is like a garden full of weeds — hatred, rebellion, selfishness, jealousy, self-pity, resentment. Yet you can change them into beautiful flowers of love. You eventually begin to dig around your subconscious roots, plant new seeds of consciousness and begin pruning to lift subconscious mind to live in the Light where it belongs.

No matter how often you dig, you find weeds to pull, and must pull them to learn why you are in bondage to petty emotions. This is no wasted effort, but part of being a good caretaker in your garden of soul.

Be a faithful excavator of hidden self. It returns to you as goals fulfilled, new security, new increases, new friends, new illumination, new beauty in your life.

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Are you so self-conscious that it makes you unhappy? Do you just know that when you walk into a room everyone has been talking about you because they become silent as you enter?

When over-sensitivity reaches this advanced stage, it needs drastic measures. Isn't it a bit far-fetched to think that you are the most important being in the life of everyone you meet? That a room full of people cannot meet without using you as the main topic of conversation? It could be possible that they might be thinking and talking of someone or something else.

Are you just too, too proud of being super-sensitive? This is only an exaggerated form of egotism, though you think it a sign of extra special "fineness."

When you tell folks all about your super-sensitivity, you are only telling them how madly in love you are with yourself. When you study your effect upon others instead of their effect on you, your eyes will be opened to a thousand things you've been blind about before.

Popularity comes from showing interest in others and their affairs — and in remaining silent about your own. Try forgetting self-consciousness in service for others.

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Stagnation or Clarification

Do new ideas pass you by and land in your neighbor's mind, though you are eager to have ideas of your own? Are you discouraged by your inability to grasp new things?

Sometimes you have so many old, cherished notions and ideas in your mental house that you have no room for any new ones. If you will not give up your outdated, outgrown ideas, they grow long Spanish moss, just like southern trees, shutting out everything new.

You must prepare a landing place for a new idea. The mental house cleaning is just as important as the physical house cleaning. A pitcher filled with stagnant water is useless. To be useful, ready to refill, you must empty it and clean it.

You may find valuable data, effective unused ideas lost in the clutter. Yet when opened to the light of day, they may attract new material, giving birth to a new presentation for practical use.

Results of a mental house cleaning can be amazing in clarifying mental alertness. Empty the old ideas, and take your mind somewhere for a refill.

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Stars: Alibi or Goal

Do you collect alibis? Are you full of excuses for dawdling over things? Do you whine when things go wrong and gripe about everything you dislike? Do you believe in fate you can't escape or that the stars rule your life?

It cramps your style to believe in a fate that cuts everything by pattern, then sews it up in fine seams, while the stars somehow compel you to follow that pattern. Fate and stars are safe alibis, since they can't retaliate.

If you wait to have your stars "right" before asking the boss for a raise, he may refuse because his stars are all wrong that day. The uncertainty of living on the Fate and Star Program is that the stars and fate never seem to get together for you. Whining and excuses went out of style with hoop skirts!

Today you can change your fate line into your Path of Destiny. Reach for the stars, knowing that you can do anything you desire to do, provided you back it up with hard work.

Real work needs no excuses. Everyone can see what you are doing.

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Taking Stock

Are you always "on watch" for others' words and actions so you'll miss nothing that might be offensive? Do you feel like "starting something" over everything you hear?

If you're miserable because no one understands you or sympathizes with you, this is a good time to take stock. How can you blame an enemy's enjoyment if you look hurt or offended by everything that happens?

If you show that you're sitting on the point of the pin every time something hits you, you can count on more blows. Do you wriggle and squirm every time you are hurt?

Almost everyone likes a circus and some folks just have to play ringmaster to keep their fatty ego inflated. They must play to a grandstand, though it is only their victim. When the performance impresses the victim enough to cringe, a sense of power thrills the ringmaster.

The only cure is indifference to the performance except to admire it as perfect in its kind. Become the admiring audience instead of the cringing victim. Stop watching for offenses and ignore the hurts.

Why start something or be miserable to satisfy someone else's ego?

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The Balance of Power

Have you harnessed your three great creative aids, imagination, thinking and desire? Are they working for you twenty-four hours a day? Have you bridled them with a curb bit? Are you driving them straight toward your destination?

Life might be likened to a pair of balance scales, with the two sides representing the positive and negative sides of your life. In the right pan are all the fine, positive, constructive things that thinking, imagination and emotion can do for you. Into the left pan go all those factors that are negative and destructive, that give the lie to your real self and tear down all the good.

Which side holds the balance of power in your life? The positive or the negative, the right side or the left side?

Are you certain that you are using imagination, thinking and desire to create what you want from life? If not, then empty the left side now and make sure your balance is on the right side.

You'll find that delay in your affairs will vanish, things that you have been working to find will search for you. Results will come from your honest efforts, sometimes without effort or work, instantaneously.

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The Burden of Habit

You compose your life of right habits and wrong habits, which most people are perfectly aware of having. Thinking, imagination and emotions are the tools you use in fashioning habits. Thinking makes the plan, imagination etches the blueprint, and emotional desire releases the substance that fills the habit-plan with life, body and expression.

If you fill the two sides of a scale with each day's thinking, imagination and emotions, you might be shocked at the answers to many of your questions. Place your positive, constructive habits on the right side and the negative and destructive on the left.

The side that sags tells the story. If you want the habits on the heavy side of the scale perched in your living room, sitting at your table, or waiting in your bedroom, then you are using these tools of a creator perfectly.

You create your life. The way you use your imagination, thinking and desire determines what kind of life you have, what kind of habits you form. Thinking, imagination and emotional desires work against you, if you misuse them with wrong habits. It takes good old-fashioned perseverance to form new, constructive habits.

You can do it. Just let go of indifference and lukewarmness. Use your imagination, thinking and desire tools and determine to create only those habits that you truly desire to express in your life.

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The Doing Quality of Faith

"I won't" is a challenge that you send the universe — one that reacts on you like a boomerang. "I will" becomes an overdue invoice for you to pay all your debts to the law.

A reason backs the yogi's incessant mantra. He knows that, you color the substance of your life with every thought, emotion and picture that imagination builds.

Substance goes forth as breath, dynamic and powerful, or weak, right or wrong. Substance goes forth to do something every moment of your life, both here and beyond what we call the "veil."

Sending forth substance backed by good, constructive ideas formed into words to create for you will remake your whole life. You must take advantage of this law and watch your expression through words because every word has a composite numerical value and creates after its own kind.

"I won't" always returns to you, and you must eat it and like it. "I will" recalls to you all the little clouds of darkness you've left behind, to be inhaled and cleansed.

So, to accomplish anything really worthwhile, you should say, "I can" and "I do" instead — they challenge the forces of the universe to aid you at any hour. I now can do all things under faith.

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The Education Habit

Do you wish you had the education that would make it possible for you to walk and talk with those who have been well-educated? Do you feel inferior among your group?

Any honest heart-desire for education can be satisfied easily in this land. However, if you are traveling with some group of folks who make you feel inferior, start traveling in a different direction with another group.

Educated folks will never make anyone feel inferior or uneducated. Education is a part of the one who is truly educated.

No one is conscious of the skin covering his body unless something happens to it. Education is as much a part of the soul of the person as the skin is part of the body. Once skin is normal, you forget it. Once you gain education, it is so a part of you that you are never conscious of having it.

Education is always drawing from the other fellow to itself, consequently, when in the presence of a truly educated person, you always feel at your best because you are being drawn upon for bits of knowledge.

The "education habit" is always too busy learning to waste time causing inferior feelings. Therefore, seek those who are still educating themselves.

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The Face of Beauty

One day you look in your mirror and are surprised at the strange face that gazes back at you. The face you see is yours and has been forming as many years as you have to your credit. It is something you have earned. In fact, it is you that you see.

Written on your face is the total of your life. One woman, Marie Stopes, said, "You can take no credit for beauty at sixteen. But if you are beautiful at sixty, it will be your soul's own doing." Youth is always beautiful. However, beauty at sixty is real because living in beauty earned it.

A beautiful feeling within translates itself into beauty of the outer form. Of course, the reverse also must be true.

This is the only face you'll ever have and it's a shame you can't turn it wrong-side-out to save the wear and tear from your poor old emotions. Since you can't, it seems an excellent idea to begin now to remake it. Of course, you could avoid looking in the mirror, but it is too bad for the fellow in front of it, don't you think?

Your body will forever respond to the mind behind and within it, and you can remake it in the image of any desire of that mind. Living at the center of your being in poise will give you the expression of peace, and you will radiate a new-found joy — it costs only effort and time.

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The Fountain of Youth

What causes youth and strength, age and weakness? They are ideas. Youth and strength train together and are interdependent, one on the other.

Age belongs to the calendar, and weakness belongs to mind. Yet Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, forever. So, what happens? People age and weaken because they entertain undesirable guests, thoughts that overstay their welcome. If you stop entertaining them, they leave.

A strong will never changes its purpose. A weak will is afraid to change its attitudes, tactics, or way at a moment's notice.

You must hold fast to the purpose of your goal. All the powers of life back the person who surrenders completely to God's Power. No half way measures are acceptable. You must gamble life, and stake everything to hold all the aces in hand and play them at the right time.

When the powers of life control you, nothing can stop you. Steadily, unchangeably, surely, determinedly, the game is yours. If you listen to the world, you are beaten before you start. Start in the silence, under Light, and never reveal your hand.

No condition can down, conquer, hold you back, or keep you away. Youth and strength grow from agreeing with God and adjusting to the world. God built you to be and do now.

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The Good Front

Keeping your eyes on the rest of the world is so much easier than keeping them straight ahead. Yet watching neighbors and friends is a waste of time, and never pays a single dividend.

You cannot judge what is going on behind a smile or a frown you see. A smile may cover a deep grief you would not care to hide away in your heart. A frown may hide a heart afraid of being hurt again after some devastating experience. Both are putting up a good front behind which you may hide the real self.

You show the world what you want the world to see. You must look deep below the surface if you would uncover the important things of life, and this takes time. You cannot do it with a casual glance.

Sometimes a "two-story front" covers a shack behind. Yet a poor front could cover solid gold.

Keeping your eyes straight ahead is no easy task. It's a full time job requiring full strength and courage. Save your eyes for seeing only the important and true things of life.

Meet life head-on, laughing instead of groaning, struggling even when too tired to move. Victory comes from steadfastly holding your eyes on your goal.

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The Greater Works

Life is filled with examples of the known and the unknown, which is fast becoming the known. Practically everything that formerly belonged to the "it can't be done" class is now being done by someone who didn't know that it couldn't be done.

We are living in an age of "greater works." Two thousand years ago the fastest travel was by the ship of the desert, called a camel. Our ships of the air now travel faster than the speed of sound.

We used rush lights first, then tallow dips. Now we turn night into day with electrical power. If this isn't doing the greater works, someone should say so and make us believe it.

Why doubt your ability to do greater things, to apply greater power as strength of mind and body to act, as greater new ideas to apply? Despite another's lack of faith in your ability, you succeed.

Occasionally your family or friend's "you can't do it" is exactly what you need to make you dig in and do. Go the limit on today's power and you will have more for tomorrow.

Someone is going to do all the new things, why not you? If you don't know that something can't be done, you can do it.

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The More and More Plan

Each year we harvest and gather countless tons of fruits, vegetables and grains, while other untold measures of verdure and flowers come forth and wither. Yet each field and garden has the same amount of soil after harvest, and we must prune the trees and bushes again.

The substance that nature uses in this growth comes from the invisible Source of all life. The power of attraction draws it from the heart of the tree, bush, bulb and seed. All growth follows undeviating natural laws of expansion, and nothing added from the outside can change the essential process.

Do you really think God endows tree, bush, bulb and seed with the ability to contact this Source, draw forth everything needed for expansion, but denies this to you? Do you feel bound to run your life on the "less and less life plan" because you believe you do not have the Power to operate on the "more and more plan" of abundant nature?

Life does not hang its gifts on the outside like ornaments on some Christmas tree. Creative gifts must come from exercising your inherent powers and abilities, which are far greater than any possessed by a tree.

When will you let go of foolish ideas of lack, and let the Power within you draw all it needs to further the great design of life you have planted? Now is the right time.

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The Real "I"

Will and desire must work together to attain any goal. If desire wants to play golf, but will takes you back to the office while your friends go to golf, chances are overwhelming that you'll accomplish nothing the whole afternoon.

Desire is on the golf course while will sits in the office betrayed by imagination's pictures of the game's pleasures. Will can't concentrate when abandoned by desire and led down the primrose path by imagination.

You can easily tell whether you're in charge of your creative tools. Take an inventory: Would I like to find everything I've imagined during the past month sitting on my doorstep, waiting in my office, resting in the living room or perched on my kitchen table? Or are they nightmares?

Would you like each of your imaginings to come true right now? If you would, you're well on your way to complete success. If you wouldn't, then start right here to hold your own.

Consciously imagine what pattern you desire, then cut your thinking to conform to your chosen life pattern. Make sure your emotional life does not give power to what you don't want in your life. Keep imagination's eye on your chosen goal, not letting it run wild, daydreaming or idling away your valuable time.

Your real "I" takes charge, dictating to imagination what you desire to create as your new, successful glorious life.

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The Road to Wisdom

Constructive fear and common sense go hand in hand as companions gaining wisdom from every new experience. Just to be afraid of a new experience is neither common sense nor constructive fear. It is just fear.

To wait for the traffic lights to change could be caused by a fear of being hit, but it would be a good, constructive fear, for it saves lives. To avoid disobeying the law for fear of getting caught is a constructive fear and leads into the habit of obeying laws.

"The end of fear is the beginning of wisdom." Wisdom comes from learning that something is wrong to do or that it won't work. That is how you instill morals into children's minds.

Without enough imagination, wisdom never grows. When doing hazardous work, imagination builds pictures of what could happen, you becomes afraid and because of this use the necessary caution to protect your life.

A constructive fear of getting caught makes you avoid unwise actions until the habit of obedience invites wisdom. To be tough and not care what happens is lack of imagination, not wisdom. A constructive fear, imagination and common sense leads to wisdom.

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The Secret Enemy

You achieve, not by what you add to the outside, but by what you get rid of on the inside. The only enemy you have is that little fellow deep within your heart who is always looking for trouble from the outside.

You waste enough time playing detective, gathering evidence, trying the case, judging and sentencing those you call enemies to run any two lives perfectly.

You must agree with this hidden adversary "whilst you are in the ways with him," which means at the very time he rears his head and not a day or week later. You can agree with anything you find in the world of your expression.

When you allow this secret enemy within to rule your life, you surely believe in outer enemies. Then you fight many battles in your mind, supplying your enemies' answers, too. But when you go to battle over imagined wrongs, the enemies you've created never give the answers you've put in their mouths. Often you're left in a worse state than when you started your "war."

Success in the outer results from ridding yourself of hidden enemies within your heart. Do it now.

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The Virtue Hunt

Are you certain that your family deliberately laughs the most when you feel the worst? Just when everything has gone to smash and you can hear the opening rumbles of one of your worst moods?

Being with folks is always hard because they have such a variety of dispositions, each needing different treatment, and the strain finally gets too great to bear. You can become unbalanced if you keep looking for faults, including your own, until you see only faults everywhere while sinking fathoms deep into a sea of super-faultfinding.

Did it ever occur to you that you could hunt for virtues?

What you see depends upon where you are looking. What you are hunting determines what you will find and what you feel depends upon both.

Everyone has at least one virtue. You might find it, if you hunted hard enough. You may have to dig in under that family laughter to find it, but you can.

Last year's best is not good enough for this year's struggle. You must earn this year's success this year, which takes persistent effort in finding the good instead of pursuing the worst. Forget your worst moods and faultfinding — laugh with your family instead.

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The Voice of Peace

Beneath all racial hatred, jealousy, fear and greed are the same underlying principles of creative desire. All religions are founded on them, and politicians use them to mold men and women to their will.

From the savage to the highest intellectual type, aspiration awakens the desire for something to follow that is greater than oneself. Whether it is an idol or fetish, business, science or cause, once the focal point is found, faith supports it and devotion gives its all.

All earth's religions teach this, yet they have overlooked or left out that ingredient essential to breed peace: Brotherly love, which is the very essence of peace. When brotherly love reigns, you forget the self in service, forget hardships in love of the cause served, and face death without fear in a sacrifice born of love, not hatred.

If dictators can use the qualities found in every heart to produce war, then we can use those same qualities to produce peace!

How? When you deeply desire the same for your brother as for yourself, when the cause of brotherly love possesses you with a flame of eagerness, then unconquerable faith backs your efforts to bring it to pass. When enough of us prove that faith by our continued devotion, then we will erase war from the minds and hearts of mankind.

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Would your family be disturbed if you decided to stop always hunting for trouble? Aren't you tired of expecting trouble, day after day?

Any time you get tired of trouble you can give it up. No one can insult you unless you allow it. No one can get inside your mind to mess it up unless you open the door and invite them in to do the stirring.

Your thoughts dwell upon the dark side of everything with your permission. Only you can change them.

Did it ever occur to you that you might be boring your family? It is a bore when someone is always watching — like a cat waiting for the mouse to dash for the cheese — picking on every phrase to make it into something. Besides, why look for trouble when just waiting brings enough, and mostly it turns out for the good after all.

Why not become a troubleshooter instead of a troublemaker?

A troubleshooter can always find a trouble cure, and this pays more dividends for the effort than do trouble-making and hunting. Change a bad habit into a good one by curing troubles rather than make them. Once a troubleshooter, always a troubleshooter.

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Tune in the Joy Station

Your brain cells and the corresponding faculties form a complete broadcasting and receiving set and are individual. You can send out whatever you desire to ride on the waves of universal ether, and you can tune in upon any vibration on earth.

In fact, you must send forth every thought, emotion or vain picture you allow in your station. If your thinking and emotions are messy, so is your broadcasting.

What do you tune in from the world, and what do you broadcast? Are you the victim of vagrant thoughts and scattered ideas that you pick up unconsciously? Do you allow your own subconscious mind to broadcast all the intimate thoughts and feelings you would not care to have recorded and re-broadcast to you?

When your mind wanders and "nobody is home," no one is in charge of your station to consciously direct and control your faculties. When you are home and in charge, you can choose what you broadcast and tune in only those positive and constructive ideas that will aid you to grow stronger.Let this Joy Station pay you great dividends for your service.

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Uncle Sam's Britches Patches

When we fully stop doctoring, operating upon, tinkering with and patching our Republic and let it breathe for itself, we'll realize exactly what the dictators have always known — it is a perfect form of government for all peoples.

Because of the demagogues' loud shouts we've put it to bed, spending our time feeling its pulse, feeding it broth and putting an ice pack on its head. No wonder it has nearly died, which is what the world's dictators want. They are afraid of it, or they wouldn't bother fighting it.

Rule by law is unwieldy and cumbersome until it gets up to speed, then nothing can upset it or hold it back. We do not need to make everyone work together. We may ask questions, but we work for love of freedom. We may become disturbed, but do not stop.

We've taken on the heaviest load ever tried before by a nation, but we can carry it, even the share of those too lazy to haul their own weight — our reward will be liberty for all nations. The work of freeing these nations from darkness too great to contemplate must continue faster.

When we finish ripping all the propaganda patches off Uncle Sam's britches, underneath we'll find good cloth, ready to wear just as long as it takes us to win!

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Use Your Time to Climb

We are all born equal in the number of hours we have for individual living. We can neither add to them, nor take from them. They stand.

These hours all come from the future, slip into the present and sometimes become the past without having ever been used or lived. If you rest through them, you may rest yourself to death.

If you strain to live in the future, you produce ragged, oversensitive nerves. If you sag into your body, hiding while you let life go by, you grow old before your time and live only in the past. By watching your present use of hours, you can foretell your future, unless you change overnight.

Life is one barrier after another for you to surmount. Each hour means greater strength or greater weakness. Hours of self-pity weaken you, and tears make you a cousin to a jelly fish. Hours of courage strengthen you, and joy makes you alive.

Conquering self this hour creates a stronger desire to climb higher on tomorrow's hours. Choose to stand on time this hour, concentrating all your powers in one direction. Years' end is bound to find you nearer your chosen goal.

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What's in a Name?

Has the world called you an opportunist? Have you let down and slowed down because you can't stand to be called names, especially this one?

Well, if anything said about you can stop you, you'll never win any race. When a horse refuses to start with the rest, when he always gets out of hand, he goes into the racing discard pile. Life is surely one long race with time. However, life is still good, though the going is mostly on a muddy track.

What if you do knock down the bar when you take a high jump? You can charge it to practice and keep on trying, can't you? Falling doesn't mean a thing, but mounting again counts.

Unless you watch for each opening, you'll never win any race in life. Yet, if you see an opening and dash through before anyone else, you'll be called an opportunist. How can anyone win anything without taking advantage of every opening that life offers?

So, play the game cleanly. Be proud of every scar, count every bruise as evidence of advance on success, and don't mind a bit of mud. Take the bit in your teeth and ride hard. As an opportunist, be a good sport.

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What to Do Next

You do know what to do next. You may think you don't, but you always do. You stop and fumble to avoid what you wish to escape because you don't like what you should do next. You may have hidden it from your conscious mind, but it is there, under the surface, a hindrance, a limitation.

If you've reached the end of your rope, you have only yourself to blame. It's your job to know when your rope is getting short, and find another length to splice onto the end.

What wears you out, physically and mentally, isn't the work you do, but your internal conflicts about doing the duties you feel belong to another. You feel imposed on and cheated of what's rightfully yours, even if it's just free time.

No one loses all faith and hope at once. The background of loss must cover a long period before you slow down, stop doing and waste time saying, "I don't know what to do next."

Another task is always at your fingertips. You always have another place to go, another person to see, another hour to live. You may have faith in this. Nothing can conquer faith. Your faith is unconquerable, so carry on! Do the next thing next!

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White Heat

If you sit awake all night, waiting for a new dawn, you never see it because you're too sleepy to know when it comes. If you stand and work for a new day, the dawn always appears, and you are awake to see it. When you sit long enough, you forget what you were waiting for and turn your interest to something else.

At the white point of heat, the steelworker pours the metal for a steel bar. He never allows it to cool before the pouring. Sitting and waiting cools you off, and the longer it continues the less enthusiasm you have to pour yourself into the needed mold of life.

Why can't you get hot under the collar, or just hot without any collar about your job, your friends, your ideals? Why can't you keep boiling over about your own future?

The experts call this white point of heat "efficiency," but they never seem to tell you how to hold to that point. If you cool all day with boredom, you will surely be full of flaws at night. If you can learn how to boil all day, you can do anything you set your heart on, even when someone pushes you off the fire and into the corner.

The trick of success is to continue your effort and get the most from life by running on your own steam, which is that white point of heat needed to produce results!

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Who's the Goat?

Do you always avoid the blame by making someone else the goat? Or are you always made the family or office goat? Do you seem to invite this?

It takes two to make any bargain, and you need not be the second party. Allowing someone to tag you with a load you know nothing about can become a habit. Bearing the whole burden, taking all the leftovers, always getting the smallest piece of cake, having plans interfered with every time can finally make anyone a martyr. Worse, it can set the mind to enjoy being martyred.

Is it better to be the goat or to make someone else the goat? This depends upon your viewpoint. Keep right on being the goat, if it satisfies you and you enjoy it, otherwise speak up for justice.

Make a stand that the family share burdens equally. Let each in turn take the small piece of cake. They'll respect you, even if they do not like it.

If you're among the world's goat-makers, don't be surprised when, like proverbial chickens that come home to roost, your little goats return to their maker, butting you fore and aft. It's better that both goat-ees and goat-ors mind their own business now.

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Why Turn the Other Cheek?

Free advice to all would-be martyrs: To achieve martyrdom in the shortest possible time, try turning the other cheek whenever your manner or precious words of counsel offend someone. This is guaranteed to cause more folks to hate you than any other approach you can try.

If you don't care much for being a martyr, you must learn a lesson. If you are foolish enough to get into a situation where someone wants to slap you once, it seems common sense to turn the other cheek for another slap to impress on your subconscious mind that you are in the wrong place, to remember never to be caught there again.

Nothing is written in stone that tells you that you must return to the same person for a future slap for the same old thing. You are supposed to have the good judgment to avoid having to learn the same kind of lesson repeatedly.

Sacrifice those words and actions that give offense in favor of a charming personality. Which means more to you, martyrdom or charm?

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X Equals Your Determination

Have you had an inner, secret urge all your life to do something different — something you'd love to do, but are afraid to start?

Never has an urge been placed within the heart of man that he could not realize, if he were willing to do enough good hard work to develop it. When an idea touches your mind, it has come from your Source and must, under law, carry with itself the ability to become that which it is, in form.

The difficulty of preparation and hardship of change is its only hold-back. What do you feel or think will hold you back? Analyze yourself carefully in stages and decide which trait is your own peculiar drawback to success. Are you afraid of being laughed at by your family? Whatever it is, bring it into the light of day, then firmly talk to yourself like this:

"You can be what you desire to be. You can do whatever you desire to do. You can make good, provided you make the first effort and start." The rest is just plodding steadily toward that goal. Your ability equals your desires, X equals your determination, and you determine the value of X.

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Your Chariot of Life

Desire, will, and imagination are the tools you use to create your life, to envision or dream actively. They are your detriment or your salvation, according to how you use them.

Desire and will are the team mates drawing your chariot of life. Imagination is sitting in the driver's seat, holding fast the reins of control. If the team pulls in the same direction and with equal strength, you can have anything you can imagine yourself as having.

Do your desire and your will pull together? If will chains you to a desk to work and desire leaves your body to go to the ballpark for the game, your team mates are pulling in opposite directions. Your imagination becomes confused and you cannot concentrate upon the business in hand.

The broad highway of life leads straight ahead. If desire and will are pulling to either side, imagination is drawn and quartered trying to hold the lines and keep your chariot of life on the highway.

Desire and will and desire must pull together always. Either bring desire back to the desk or take will out to the ball game. Get your imagination, desire and will going in the same direction, simultaneously.

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Your Five-Year Plan

What have you planned to accomplish with your life by the end of this year? What is your five-year plan?

Unless you plan, you won't do enough daily building to reach your desired place. Unless you set a charted course, your life will slip by and you'll find the years have caught up with you without having furthered your aims.

If you don't plan to uncover and unfold your greater abilities and powers, if you don't take time daily for self-improvement, time steals away. One day you'll realize that you've become a member in the "Grand Order of Discards and Has-Beens," a large organization whose members are all waiting for something wonderful to happen.

You cannot wait to receive more before giving more. If you do, chances are you'll never create the opportunity to show the world how good you are. Someone will always beat you to the next place by just a few minutes.

The more you give right where you are, without grudging the service, the greater your reward will be. What do you care about tough going, or bumps and bruises? The goal is the thing. Forget your bumps and bruises and get busy.

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Your New Year

This is your year of fulfillment. Do you know exactly where you are going this year? Have you charted a new course to fit the changing times? It doesn't matter how many small ports you are forced to visit by circumstances beyond your control, how often you must stop for forced repairs, how many contrary winds blow you off your charted course.

Delays cannot keep you from finally reaching your chosen goal, if you constantly hold your original course, clearly outlined on your new chart. Always set your helm on a straight line back to your course of life. No matter the delay, return to the original line the instant your ship is free to move again.

Keep your mind made up. Do not allow anyone or anything to unmake it for you.

God's winds are always with you. Do you know this deeply enough in your own heart to remain strong in confidence that you can win? Constant in your thinking and determination to strive and struggle with life itself until you have won?

Nothing is too hard to do, no effort too great or too long to make, no goal too distant to attain. The long-range view of life is the success view. When you cramp your view to today's despair, you lose incentive and the power to move toward success. So, make yours a long-range vision, part of a 10- or 20-year plan.

Give yourself time enough to accomplish a truly great plan. Now is your time of fulfillment! "Old age" and "too late" don't exist! Life is "deathless, ageless and abiding." Life is "the same yesterday, today and forever," and you are that life.

Chart a new course. Tie down your helm to stay the course, so no contrary winds of earth can blow you too far to return to that course. No heavy gale can take the helm from your hands, or make you alter the course toward your goal.

You are complete within yourself, and you are already your own fulfillment.

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Your Subconscious Sieve

Do you have trouble remembering things? Do you continually think that perhaps your memory is failing you? Why do you think this?

Subconscious memory is a sieve so fine that nothing ever falls through, but is held there for you to draw on the memory impressions of your life with all its experiences. The subconscious is a willing servant, ever ready to aid you by sending whatever you desire to use to the conscious mind. However, the subconscious grows careless unless it is rigorously well-trained and maintained.

Any servant treated in a slipshod way does slipshod work. The subconscious memory servant is no exception to this rule. If your thinking is sloppy and confused, if you're always contradicting yourself, subconscious memory may refuse to answer your call. It's neither lost nor gone — it needs only some good, hard corrective measures.

Before sleep at night give it definite orders to listen and obey your commands. Tell yourself that your memory is wonderful, that it sends everything you need instantly. Don't contradict yourself. Keep coaching yourself until you get results!

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Zest or Rest

The only way to make life bearable is to live vigorously and gloriously every minute. Running from life's problems does no good. A problem has a way of catching up with you at the worst possible moment, even while you are congratulating yourself that you are rid of it.

You'd never get to enjoy your escape, even if you could find a place to "leave it all behind." Everyone else would follow you to escape, too.

There you have it! You have no place to go to get away from life. No amount of wishing, fretting, fussing or hating life will rid you of it. If you try to avoid living life where you are now, you find yourself twisted out of shape from walking forward while looking backward!

Get right down on your knees and scrub the mess. Roll up your sleeves and punch the fear. Take up the duster and clean out the cobwebs of your thinking and emotions. These efforts will make you zestful about living and enable you to meet life head on.

Stop thinking about how noble you are. Brush the old clutter off your tired brain cells. Make room for new ideas, new friends, new plans and more life to pay extra dividends.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 – 1971
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

This collection of essays is published by The Society of the Universal Living Christ, and © 2017 by Linda Mihalic, following substantial revision. All Rights Reserved.