Thinking for Results, Chapter Three
by Christian D. Larson
The three states of mind mentioned in the previous chapter will naturally lead us to a place where results can be secured, but how great these results are to be will depend upon the loftiness of our aim. Therefore a mental state will be required that will constantly center attention upon the high places of attainment, and such a state we find in aspiration. But here we must know the difference between aspiration and ambition especially when they act separately. When ambition acts aside from aspiration the aim of the mind will be to promote the personal self by calling into action only those powers that are now active in the personal self. Such an action, however, tends to separate the personality from the greater powers within which will finally produce a condition of personal inferiority. We have seen this fact illustrated so frequently that it has become proverbial to say that personal ambition when in full control of the mind invariably leads to personal downfall.
It is a well known fact that no mind that is simply ambitious can ever become great, and the reason is that personal ambition prevents mind and consciousness from ascending into those superior states of thought and power which alone can make greatness possible. This ascension of mind and consciousness, however, invariably takes place through the attitude of aspiration, and therefore the force of ambition should always be inspired by the spirit of aspiration. Both are necessary and they must combine perfectly in every case if results worth while are to be realized.
The attitude of aspiration causes the mind to think of the marvels that lie beyond present attainment and thereby inspires the creation of great thoughts, which is vastly important. There must be great thoughts before the mind can become great, and the mind must become great before great results can be secured.
Aspiration concentrates attention upon superiority always and therefore elevates all the qualities of the mind into that state. This being true, every effort in life should be directed towards those possibilities that lie beyond the present attainment if we wish to cultivate and strengthen the attitude of aspiration. When we are simply ambitious we proceed as we are and seek to make a mark for ourselves with what power we already possess; but when we are alive with the spirit of aspiration we seek to make our selves larger, more powerful and far superior to what we are now, knowing that a great light cannot be hid, and that anyone with great power must invariably reach the goal he has in view.
The ambitious mind seeks to make a small light shine far beyond its capacity, and through this effort finally wears itself out. The aspiring mind, however, seeks to make the light larger and larger, knowing that the larger the light becomes the further it will shine, and that no strenuous efforts will be required to push its powerful rays into effectiveness. But when the attitude of aspiration looks beyond the personal self it does not necessarily look outside of the self. The purpose of aspiration is to enter into the possession of the marvels of the great within because what is found in the within will be expressed in the without. Therefore, when we constantly rise above the personal self we perpetually enlarge the personal self, thus gaining the capacity to accomplish more and more until we finally accomplish practically everything we have in view. The attitude of aspiration therefore should never leave the mind for a moment; but we should on the contrary keep the mental eye single upon the boundless possibilities that are within us and deeply desire with heart and soul a greater and a greater realization of those possibilities in practical life.
The attitude of contentment may truthfully be said to be the twin sister of aspiration and its important function is to prevent aspiration from losing sight of what has already been gained. When contentment is absent the present seems more or less barren, and when aspiration is absent the present seems sufficient. But the present is never barren nor is it ever sufficient. The present is rich with many things of extreme value if we only train ourselves to see them. These things, however, are not sufficient to the advancing soul. Greater things are at hand and it is our privilege to press on through the realization of those greater things. We must therefore conclude that the true attitude of mind in this connection is to be content with things as they now are, and at the same time reach out constantly for greater things.
When contentment is absent the present is not fully utilized and we cannot attain the greater things until we have fully employed what has already been received. When aspiration is absent the present is used over and over again like the air in a closed room, and the result must be mental stagnation to be followed by failure and final extinction. When, we look at this subject from another point of view we find that the mind that is not contented cannot be developed; nor can such a mind make the best use of the powers it may now possess. Every moment therefore should be filled with contentment and perfect satisfaction, but every moment should also be filled with a strong desire for still greater attainments and achievements. In such a state where contentment and aspiration are combined we shall find life to be a continual feast, each course being more delicious than the one preceding. We shall also find such a life to be the path to perpetual growth and continuous joy.
To cultivate the state of contentment we should live in the conviction that all things are working together for good, and that what is best for us now is coming to us now. The truth is that if we are trying to make all things work together for good, and live in the faith that we can, we actually will so order things in our life that all things will work together for good. And what comes to us every day will be the very best for us that day. When we live, think and act in this manner we shall soon find that the best is daily coming to us, and that the best of each day is better than that of the day preceding. The result will be perfect contentment, and the placing of life in that position where it can receive in the great eternal now all that the great eternal now has to give. In brief, when we so live that we permit the present moment to be filled with all the richness that it can hold, then we shall have the contented mind and the ever-growing mind, the mind that is proverbially described as a continuous feast.
The attitude of gratitude is closely related to that of contentment and is one of the greatest of all mental states; and the reason why is found in the fact that no mind can be right nor think constructively unless it is filled with the spirit of gratitude. The fact is that new life is coming to us every day and with it new opportunities. Every moment therefore is richer than the one before; but if this coming of new life and new opportunities does not add to the richness and value of our own personal life there is a lack of gratitude. And the explanation is that where gratitude is lacking the mind is more or less closed to the many good things that are coming our way. The grateful mind, however, is always an open mind, open to the newer, the higher and the better, and therefore invariably coming into possession of more and more of those things.
The entire race is moving forward with the stream of continuous advancement; better things therefore are daily coming into the life of each individual. If he does not receive them the reason is that his mind is more or less closed on account of the lack of gratitude. For let us remember in this connection that the mind simply must be grateful for everything in order to be open to the reception of new things and better things. We simply cannot receive better things unless we are truly grateful for that which we already possess. This is the law in this matter, and it is a law that will bear the most rigid analysis. To give thanks therefore with the whole heart for everything that comes into life, and to express constant and whole-souled gratitude to all the world for everything that is good in the world—this is the secret through which we may open the mind to the great cosmic influx; that influx that is bringing into the life of every individual the richness and the power that complete life has in store for every individual.
But in order to be grateful in the best and most perfect manner we must have appreciation. We must be able to see the real worth of that which comes into life before we can express the fullness and the spirit of the grateful heart. The attitude of appreciation is also valuable in another direction. When we appreciate worth we always gain a higher consciousness of worth and thereby make our own minds more worthy.
To cultivate the mental state of appreciation we should eliminate all tendency to fault finding, criticism and the like, and we should make a special effort to see the worthy qualities in everything and everybody with which we come in contact. The result of such a practice will not only be a better appreciation, with a deeper insight into the superior qualities of life, but also the building of a more wholesome mind. Realizing the value of appreciation we should, whenever we discover a lack of appreciation in ourselves, proceed at once to remove the cause. We shall not hesitate in doing this when we find that a lack of appreciation also tends to give the mind a false view of things thereby preventing the acquisition of the best that life has in store.
The appreciative mind has a natural tendency to look upon the better side of things, but this tendency becomes complete only when the optimistic attitude is added. To be optimistic, however, does not mean to think that black is white or that everything everywhere is all right. The true optimist can also see the flaws and the imperfections in life, but he gives direct attention to the good side, the better side and the strong side. And having this larger view he always knows that the strong side is much larger and far superior to the weak side. He never becomes discouraged therefore because he knows that failure and wrong are only temporary, and that the right finally wins every time. In addition, he knows that he can aid the right to such an extent that the victory can be gained now.
The pessimist lives in the false and does not see things as they are. His conclusions are therefore worthless. For this reason we should never pay any attention to the words of the pessimist as we shall be misled in every instance if we do. Instead we should listen to the prophecy of the optimist, and then put all our ability and all our faith into the possibilities of that prophecy thereby making it come true, proceeding of course in the conviction that we can. The value of the optimistic attitude in scientific thinking therefore is very great; because to think correctly on any subject the mind must have the mountain top view, and we must think correctly if we wish to think for results.
Though the optimist may live on the sunny side, still the full value of life's sunshine cannot be gained until we add the attitude of constant cheerfulness. To be cheerful, bright, happy and joyous is absolutely necessary if we wish to think scientifically, think constructively and think for results. When we proceed to think for results we think for a purpose. We employ correctly the constructive mental processes so that we may work ourselves up to the goal in view. Growth and development therefore must take place all along the line of action, but no mental growth can take place without mental sunshine. Accordingly, we should resolve to be happy no matter what may transpire. We cannot afford to be otherwise. Sunshine will melt the most massive iceberg if the rays are direct and the clouds are kept away; and it is the same in daily life. No matter how cold, disagreeable and uncongenial your present environment may be, plenty of mental sunshine can change it all.
It pays to be happy. Cheerfulness is a most profitable investment and there are no riches that are greater than constant joy. This attitude is not for the few or for occasional moments because all the sunny states of mind can be made permanent in a short time by a very simple process. Make it a practice to go to sleep every night with cheerfulness on your mind and with a feeling of joy in every atom of your being. Through this practice you will carry the cheerful idea into the subconscious, and gradually the joyous state will become an established state in the subconscious mind. The result will be that the subconscious will express cheerfulness and wholesomeness at all times, and it will become second nature for you to have a sweet disposition, a sunny frame of mind and an attitude of perpetual joy.
This method may seem to be too simple to be of value, but the simplest methods are usually the best. And anyone can prove through a few weeks of trial that this method will produce the desired results, and will through more continuous practice actually transform mind and disposition to such an extent that the mind will henceforth live in constant mental sunshine. And there are few things that are more important than this if we wish to train the mind to act and work in those attitudes that are necessary in order that we may proceed successfully in thinking for results.