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Title: Power of Mental Imagery - Being the Fifth of a Series of Twelve Volumes on the - Applications of Psychology to the Problems of Personal and - Business Efficiency
Author: Hilton, Warren, 1874-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Applied Psychology


_Being the Fifth of a Series of_
_Twelve Volumes on the Applications_
_of Psychology to the Problems of_
_Personal and Business_




The Society of Applied Psychology



(_Printed in the United States of America_)




     I. IMAGINATION AND RECOGNITION                 Page

          RECOGNIZING THE PAST AS PAST                 3


          VISUAL IMAGERY                               9
          AUDITORY IMAGERY                            11
          IMAGERY OF TASTE AND SMELL                  12
          MUSCULAR AND TACTUAL IMAGERY                13
          INVESTIGATIONS OF DOCTOR GALTON             15


          A RULE FOR INFLUENCING OTHERS               31
          APPLICATION TO PEDAGOGY                     32
          A STUDY OF ADVERTISEMENTS                   34
          THE WORDS THAT CREATE DESIRE                35
          A KEY FOR SELECTING A CALLING               36


          FINDING OUT YOUR WEAK POINTS                39
          TESTS FOR VISUAL IMAGERY                    40
          TESTS FOR IMAGERY OF HEAT AND COLD          44
          HOW TO CULTIVATE MENTAL IMAGERY             45


          HOW WEALTH IS CREATED                       51
          THE KLAMATH PHILOSOPHY                      52
          HOW MEN GET THINGS                          53
          PREREQUISITES TO ACHIEVEMENT                54
          THE EXPANSION OF BUSINESS IDEALS            57
          RISING TO THE EMERGENCY                     58
          THE CONSTRUCTIVE IMAGINATION                59
          LITTLE TASKS AND BIG TASKS                  60
          WORKING UP A DEPARTMENT                     61
          IMAGINATION AND ACTION                      65





[Sidenote: _Recognizing the Past as Past_]

In the preceding volume of this _Course_, entitled "The Trained
Memory," you learned that the memory process involves four
elements, Retention, Recall, Recognition and Imagination; and the
scope and operation of two of these elements, Retention and
Recall, were explained to you.

There remain Recognition and Imagination, which we shall make the
subject of this book. We shall treat of them, however, not only
as parts of the memory process, but also as distinct operations,
with an individual significance and value.

Both Recognition and Imagination have to do with mental images.

Recognition relates exclusively to those mental images that are
the replica of former experiences. _It is the faculty of the mind
by which we recognize remembered experiences as a part of our own
past._ If it were not for this sense of familiarity and of
ownership and of the past tense of recalled mental images, there
would be no way for us to distinguish the sense-perceptions of
the past from those of the present.

Recognition is therefore an element of vital necessity to every
act of memory.

[Sidenote: _Imagination, Past, Present and Future_]

Imagination relates either to the past, the present or the
future. On the one hand, it is the outright re-imagery in the
mind's eye of past experiences. On the other hand, it is the
creation of new and original mental images or visions by the
recombination of old experiential elements.

[Illustration: _Girls_--

You'll want to have it taste just right, especially if it's for
"him," so be careful of the directions: Make a paste, using a
tablespoonful of

Anderson's Chocolate

--to a cup of boiling milk--stir for a moment--then serve
this delightful beverage. Watch his eyes sparkle--note the
satisfaction in every sip--hear him murmur "You're a dear."






[Sidenote: _Visual Imagery_]

When we speak of "images" in connection with Imagination and
Recognition we do not refer merely to mental pictures of things
seen. _Mental images are representations of past mental
experiences of any and every kind._ They include past sensations
of sound, taste, smell, feeling, pain, motion and the other
senses, as well as sensations of sight. One may have a mental
image of the voice of a friend, of the perfume of a flower, just
as he may have mental images of their appearance to the eye.
Indeed, the term "image" is perhaps unfortunately used in this
way, since it must be made to include not only mental pictures in
a visual sense, but all forms of reproductive mental activity.

Our recollection of past experiences may be either full and
distinct or hazy and inadequate. Some persons are entirely unable
to reproduce certain kinds of sensory experiences. Somehow they
are aware of having had these experiences, but they cannot
reproduce them. Every one of us has his own peculiarities.

[Sidenote: _Auditory Imagery_]

This morning I called upon a friend in his office. I was there
but a short time. Yet I can easily call to mind every detail
of the surroundings. I can see the exterior of the building,
its form, size, color, window-boxes with flowers, red tile
roof, formal gardens in the open court, and even many of the
neighboring buildings. I can plainly recall the color of the
carpet on his office floor, the general tone of the paper on the
wall, the size, type and material of his desk, and many other
elements going to make up an almost perfect mental duplicate of
the scene itself. I can even see my friend sitting at his desk,
and can distinctly remember the color, cut and texture of his
clothing and just how he looked when he smiled.

[Sidenote: _Imagery of Taste and Smell_]

Last evening we entertained a number of friends at dinner. One of
the ladies was an accomplished musician, and later in the
evening she delighted us with her exquisite playing upon the
piano. The airs she played were familiar to me. I am fond of
music and I enjoyed her playing. I can sit here today and in
imagination I can see her seated before the piano and remember
just how her hands looked as she fingered the keys. But I find it
difficult to recall the air of the selection or the tones of the
piano. My mental images of the notes as they came from the piano
are faint and uncertain and not nearly so distinct and clear as
my recollection of the scene.

[Sidenote: _Muscular and Tactual Imagery_]

I find it easy to recall the appearance of the food that was
served me for breakfast this morning. I can also faintly imagine
the odor and taste of the coffee and toast, but I find that these
images of taste and smell are not nearly so realistic as my
mental images of what I saw and heard during the course of the

When I was in college I was very fond of handball and was a
member of the handball team. It has been many years since I
played the game, yet I can distinctly feel the peculiar tension
of the right arm and shoulder muscles that accompanied the
"service." Nor do I feel the slightest difficulty in evoking a
distinct mental image of the prickly sensations that so annoyed
me as a boy when I would first put on woolen underwear in the
fall of the year.

[Sidenote: _Personal Differences in Mental Imagery_]

From these examples, it is apparent that we can form mental
images of past sensations of sight, sound, taste, smell and
feeling, and indeed of every kind, including the muscular or
motor sense and the sense of heat and cold.

But there is the greatest possible difference in individuals in
this respect. Some persons have distinct images of things they
have seen, are good visualizers. Others are weak in this respect,
but have clear auditory images. And so as to all the various
kinds of sensory images.

This is a fact of comparatively recent discovery. The first
proponent of the idea was Fechner, but no statistical work was
done in this line until Galton entered the field, in 1880. In
his "Inquiries into Human Faculties," he says:

[Sidenote: _Investigations of Doctor Galton_]

"To my astonishment, I found that the great majority of the men
of science to whom I first applied protested that mental imagery
was unknown to them, and they looked on me as fanciful and
fantastic in supposing that the words 'mental imagery' really
expressed what I believed everybody supposed them to mean. They
had no more notion of its true nature than a color-blind man, who
has not discerned his defect, has of the nature of color. They
had a mental deficiency of which they were unaware and naturally
enough supposed that those who affirmed they possessed it were

[Sidenote: _Investigations of Professor James_]

The investigations of Dr. Galton were continued by Professor
James, of Harvard University. He collected from hundreds of
persons descriptions of their own mental images. The following
are extracts from two cases of distinctly different types. The
one who is a good visualizer says:

"This morning's breakfast-table is both dim and bright; it is dim
if I try to think of it with my eyes closed. All the objects are
clear at once, yet when I confine my attention to any one object
it becomes far more distinct. I have more power to recall color
than any other one thing; if, for example, I were to recall a
plate decorated with flowers I could reproduce in a drawing the
exact tone, etc. The color of anything that was on the table is
perfectly vivid. There is very little limitation to the extent
of my images; I can see all four sides of a room; I can see all
four sides of two, three, four, even more rooms with such
distinctness that if you should ask me what was in any particular
place in any one, or ask me to count the chairs, etc., I could do
it without the least hesitation. The more I learn by heart the
more clearly do I see images of my pages. Even before I can
recite the lines I see them so that I could give them very slowly
word for word, but my mind is so occupied in looking at my
printed image that I have no idea of what I am saying, of the
sense of it, etc. When I first found myself doing this I used to
think it was merely because I knew the lines imperfectly; but I
have quite convinced myself that I really do see an image. The
strongest proof that such is really the fact is, I think, the

"I can look down the mentally seen page and see the words that
commence all the lines, and from any one of these words I can
continue the line. I find this much easier to do if the words
begin as in a straight line than if there are breaks. Example:

          Etant fait
          Tous .............
          A des ............
          Que fit ..........
          Ceres ............
            Avec ...........
          Un fleur .........
            Comme ..........
              (La Fontaine S. IV.)"

The poor visualizer says:

"My ability to form mental images seems, from what I have studied
of other people's images, to be defective, and somewhat peculiar.
The process by which I seem to remember any particular event is
not by a series of distinct images, but a sort of panorama, the
faintest impressions of which are perceptible through a thick
fog--I cannot shut my eyes and get a distinct image of anyone,
although I used to be able to a few years ago, and the faculty
seems to have gradually slipped away. * * * In my most vivid
dreams, where the events appear like the most real facts, I am
often troubled with a dimness of sight which causes the images to
appear indistinct. * * * To come to the question of the
breakfast-table, there is nothing definite about it. Everything
is vague. I cannot say what I see. I could not possibly count the
chairs, but I happen to know that there are ten. I see nothing in
detail. * * * The chief thing is a general impression that I
cannot tell exactly what I do see. The coloring is about the
same, as far as I can recall it, only very much washed out.
Perhaps the only color I can see at all distinctly is that of the
tablecloth, and I could probably see the color of the wall paper
if I could remember what color it was."

This difference between individuals is just as marked in the
matter of ability to form _auditory_ images as in respect to
_visual_ images.

[Sidenote: _Investigations of Professor Scott_]

Thus, Professor Walter Dill Scott, of Northwestern University,
cites the following:

"One student who has strong auditory imagery writes as follows:
'When I think of the breakfast-table I do not seem to have a
clear visual image of it. I can see the length of it, the three
chairs--though I can't tell the color or shape of these--the
white cloth and something on it, but I can't see the pattern of
the dishes or any of the food. I can very plainly hear the rattle
of the dishes and of the silver and above this hear the
conversation, also the other noises, such as a train which passes
every morning while we are at breakfast. Again, in a football
game I distinctly hear the noise, but do not see clearly
anything or anybody. I hear the stillness when everyone is intent
and then the loud cheering. Here I notice the differences of
pitch and tone.'

"I had read that some people were unable to imagine sounds which
they had heard, but it had not impressed me, for I had supposed
that such persons were great exceptions. I was truly surprised
when I found so many of my students writing papers similar to
those from which extracts are here given: 'My mental imagery is
visual, as I seem to see things and not hear, feel or smell them.
The element of sound seems practically never to enter in. When I
think of a breakfast-table or a football game I have a distinct
image. I see colors, but hear no sound.'

[Illustration: A feature in the making of Anderson's Cocoa

The manner in which thousands of pounds of Cocoa beans are daily

Anderson & Co. N.Y.


"Another in describing his image of a railroad-train, writes: 'I
am not able to state whether I hear the train or not. I am
inclined to think that it is a noiseless one. It is hard for me
to conceive of the sound of a bell, for instance. I can see the
bell move to and fro, and for an instant seem to hear the ding,
dong; but it is gone before I can identify it. When I try to
conceive of shouts I am like one groping in the dark. I cannot
possibly retain the conception of a sound for any length of

"Another, who seems to have no vivid images of any kind, writes:
'When I recall the breakfast-table I see it and the persons
around it. The number of them is distinct, for there is only one
of them on each side of the table. But they seem like mere
objects in space. Only when I think of each separately do I
clearly see them. As for the table, all I see is a general
whiteness, interspersed with objects. I hear nothing at all, and
indeed the whole thing is so indistinct it bewilders me when I
think of it. My mental imagery is very vague and hazy, unless I
have previously taken special notice of what I now have an image
of. For instance, when I have an image of a certain person I
cannot tell his particular characteristics unless my attention
was formerly directed to them.'

"Another writes: 'There is no sound in connection with any image.
In remembering, I call up an incident and gradually fill out the
details. I can very seldom recall how anything sounds. One sound
from the play "Robespierre," by Henry Irving, which I heard about
two years ago and which I could recall some time afterward, I
have been unable to recall this fall, though I have tried to do
so. I can see the scene quite perfectly, the position of the
actors and stage setting, even the action of a player who brought
out the sound.'

"Quite a large proportion of persons find it impossible to
imagine motion at all. As they think of a football game, all
the players are standing stock-still; they are as they are
represented in a photograph. They are in the act of running, but
no motion is represented. Likewise, the banners and streamers
are all motionless. They find it impossible to think of such a
thing as motion. Others find that the motions are the most
vivid part of their images. What they remember of a scene is
principally movement.

"One writes: 'When the word "breakfast-table" was given out I saw
our breakfast-table at home, especially the table and the white
tablecloth. The cloth seemed to be the most distinct object. I
can see each one in his place at the table. I can see no color
except that of the tablecloth. The dishes are there, but are very
indistinct. I cannot hear the rattle of the dishes or the voices
very distinctly; the voices seem much louder than the dishes, but
neither are very clear. I can feel the motions which I make
during the breakfast hour. I feel myself come in, sit down and
begin to eat. I can see the motions of those about me quite
plainly. I believe the feeling of motion was the most distinct
feeling I had. When the word "railroad-train" was given I saw the
train very plainly just stopping in front of the depot. I saw the
people getting on the train; these people were very indistinct.
It is their motions rather than the people themselves which I
see. I can feel myself getting on the train, finding a seat, and
sitting down. I cannot hear the noise of the train, but can hear
rather indistinctly the conductor calling the stations. I believe
my mental imagery is more motile (of movement) than anything
else. Although I can see some things quite plainly, I seem to
feel the movements most distinctly.'

"A very few in describing their images of the breakfast-table
made special mention of the taste of the food and of its odor. I
have discovered no one whose prevailing imagery is for either
taste or smell. With very many the image of touch is very vivid.
They can imagine just how velvet feels, how a fly feels on one's
nose, the discomfort of a tight shoe, and the pleasure of
stroking a smooth marble surface."





[Sidenote: _A Rule for Influencing Others_]

The practical importance of the fact of mental imagery and of the
individual differences in power of mental imagery is very great.
They should be particularly taken into account in any business or
profession in which one seeks to implant knowledge or conviction
in the mind of another.

[Sidenote: _Application to Pedagogy_]

The underlying principle in such cases is this: _To the mind you
are seeking to convince or educate, present your facts in as
many different ways and as realistically as possible, so that
there may be a variety of images, each serving as a clue to
prompt the memory._

We cannot do more at this point than indicate a few minor phases
of the practical application of the principles of mental imagery.

In the old days geography was taught simply with a book and maps.
Today children also use their hands in molding relief maps in
sand or clay, and mountains and rivers have acquired a meaning
they never had before.

In the days of the oral "spelling match" boys and girls were
better spellers than products of a later school system, because
they used not only the eye to see the printed word, the arm and
hand to feel in writing it, but also the ear to hear it and the
vocal muscles to utter it. And because of this fact oral spelling
is being brought back to the schoolroom.

[Sidenote: _How to Sell Goods by Mental Imagery_]

If you have pianos to advertise, do not limit your advertisement
to a beautiful picture of the mahogany case and general words
telling the reader that it is "the best." Pianos are musical
instruments, and the descriptive words should first of all call
up delightful _auditory images_ in your reader's mind.

If you have for sale an article of food, do not simply tell
your customer how good it is. Let him see it, feel it, and
particularly _taste it_, if you want him to call for it the next
time he enters your store.

[Sidenote: _A Study of Advertisements_]

Turn, for example, to the advertisement of a certain brand of
chocolate, facing page 6. The daintily spread table, the pretty
girl, the steaming cup, the evident satisfaction of the man, who
looks accustomed to good living,--these elements combine in a
skilful appeal to the senses. Turn now to another advertisement
of this same brand of chocolate, shown facing page 22. The
purpose here is to inform you as to the large quantity of cocoa
beans roasted in the company's furnaces. Whether this fact is of
any consequence or not, the impression you get from the picture
is of a wheelbarrow full of something that looks like coal being
trundled by a dirty workman, while the shovel by the furnace door
and the cocoa beans scattered about the floor remind one of a
begrimed iron foundry.

[Sidenote: _The Words that Create Desire_]

_The only words that will ever sell anything are graphic words,
picturesque words, words that call up distinct and definite
mental pictures of an attractive kind._

The more sensory images we have of any object the better we know

_If you want to make a first impression lasting, make it vivid.
It will then photograph itself upon the memory and arouse the

A boy who is a poor visualizer will never make a good artist. A
man who is a poor visualizer is out of place as a photographer or
a picture salesman.

[Sidenote: _A Key for Selecting a Calling_]

No person with weak auditory images should follow music as a
profession or attempt to sell phonographs or musical instruments
or become a telephone or telegraph operator or stenographer.

No man who can but faintly imagine the taste of things should try
to write advertisements for articles of food.

Remember the rule: _To the mind you are seeking to convince or
educate present your facts in as many different ways and as
realistically as possible, so that there may be a variety of
images, each serving as a clue to prompt the memory._

You can put this rule to practical use at once. Try it. You will
be delighted with the result.





[Sidenote: _Finding Out Your Weak Points_]

We suggest that you now test your own reproductive imagination
with a view to determining your points of strength or weakness in
this respect. And in doing so please bear in mind that the
following questions are not asked with a view to determining what
you know about the subject of the question, but simply how
vividly--that is to say, with what life-like clearness--the
mental image is presented to your mind, how close it comes to a
present reality.

[Sidenote: _Tests for Visual Imagery_]

Go into a quiet room, close your eyes and try to bar from your
mind every distraction. Now then, ask yourself these questions:

     VISUAL.--1. Can you remember just how your bedroom
     looked when you left it this morning--the appearance of
     each separate article of furniture and decoration, the
     design and color of the carpet, the color of the walls,
     the arrangement of toilet articles upon the dresser,
     and so on? Can you see the whole room just as clearly
     as if you were in it at this moment? Or is your mental
     picture blurred and doubtful?

     2. How clearly can you see the space that intervenes
     between your house and some far-distant object? Have
     you a clear impression of the visual elements that
     determine this distance?

     3. Can you see a bird flying through the air? an
     automobile rushing down the street?

     4. Can you imagine a red surface? a green surface? Try
     each primary color; which is most distinct to your
     mind's eye?

     5. Can you see a smooth surface? a rough surface? a
     curved surface? a flat surface? a cube? Does the cube
     look solid?

     6. When you memorize a poem do you remember just how
     each word looked on the printed page?

[Sidenote: _Tests for Auditory and Olfactory Imagery_]

     AUDITORY.--1. Can you in imagination hear your
     door-bell ringing?

     2. Can you form an auditory image of thunder? of waves
     breaking on a rocky shore? of a passing street-car?

     3. Can you mentally hear the squeak of a mouse? the
     twitter of a bird? the breathing of a sleeping child?

     4. Do these images come to you with the distinctness of

     5. Can you distinctly remember a voice you have not
     heard for a long time?

     6. Can you recall the tones of an entire selection of
     music played on the piano?

[Sidenote: _Tests for Imagery of Taste and Touch_]

     SMELL.--Can you distinctly recall the odor of strong
     cheese? of violets? of roses? of coffee? of your
     favorite cigar? Is it clear to your mind that it is the
     odor you are recalling and not the taste?

     TASTE.--1. Can you remember just how butter tastes? an

     2. Try to imagine that you are sucking a lemon. Does it
     pucker your mouth? Does it seem like a real lemon?

     3. Can you imagine the taste of sugar? of salt? of

     PAIN AND TOUCH.--1. Can you in imagination live over
     again any past physical suffering?

     2. Can you recall the feeling of woolen underwear? of
     bedclothes resting upon you?

     3. Can you re-experience a feeling of exhaustion? of

[Sidenote: _Tests for Imagery of Heat and Cold_]

     HEAT AND COLD.--Can you imagine a feeling of warmth? of
     cold? Does your recollection of the feeling of ice
     differ from your memory of a burn?

Go through the above list of questions, carefully noting down
your answers. You will discover some personal peculiarities in
yourself you never dreamed existed.

Try these questions on other members of your own family. You will
be surprised at the varying results. You will perceive the reason
for many innate differences of ability to do and to enjoy.

[Sidenote: _How to Cultivate Mental Imagery_]

Think what an immense part imagination plays in the world of
business, and you will see how important it is to know your own
type of sense-imagery.

To some extent the power of forming mental images can be
cultivated so as to improve one's fitness for different kinds of
employment. Such self-culture rests upon improvement in the
vividness of your sense-perceptions. It suffices for your present
purpose to know that to cultivate your power of sense-imagery in
any respect you must (1) _Keep the appropriate sense-organs in
good condition, and_ (2) _When sense-perceptions of the kind in
question come to you, give your undivided attention to your
consciousness of them._





[Sidenote: _The Process of Creative Imagination_]

There is another type of imagination from the purely reproductive
memory imagination of which we have been speaking in this book.

There is also Creative Imagination.

Creative Imagination is more than mere memory. It takes the
elements of the past as reproduced by memory and rearranges
them. It forms new combinations out of the material of the
past. It forms new combinations of ideas, emotions and their
accompanying impulses to muscular activity, the elements of
mental "complexes." It recombines these elements into new and
original mental pictures, the creations of the inventive mind.

[Sidenote: _Business and Financial Imagination_]

No particular profession or pursuit has a monopoly of creative
imagination. It is not the exclusive property of the poet, the
artist, the inventor, the philosopher. We tell you this because
you have heard all your life of the poetic imagination, the
artistic imagination, and so on, but it is rare indeed that you
have heard mention of the business imagination.

The fact is no man can succeed in any pursuit unless he has a
creative imagination. Without creative imagination the human race
would still be living in caves. Without creative imagination
there would be no ships, no engines, no automobiles, no
corporations, no systems, no plans, no business. Nothing exists
in all the world that had not a previous counterpart in the mind
of him who designed it. And back of all is the creative mind of

[Sidenote: _How Wealth is Created_]

Mind is supreme. Mind shapes and controls matter. Every concrete
thing in the world is the product of a thinking consciousness.
The richly tinted canvas is the physical expression of the
artist's dream. The great factory, with its whirling mechanisms
and glowing furnaces, is the material manifestation of the
promoter's financial imagination. The jeweled ornament, the book,
the steamship, the office building, all are but concrete
realizations of human thought molded out of formless matter.

Mind, finite and infinite, is eternally creative and creating in
the organization of formless matter and material forces into
concrete realities.

[Sidenote: _The Klamath Philosophy_]

Says Max Müller in his "Psychological Religion": "The Klamaths,
one of the Red Indian tribes, believe in a Supreme God whom they
call 'The Most Ancient One,' 'Our Old Father,' or 'The Old One on
High.' He is believed to have created the world--that is, to have
made plants, animals and man. But when asked how the Old Father
created the world, the Klamath philosopher replies: _'By thinking
and willing.'"_

[Sidenote: _How Men Get Things_]

We get what we desire because the things we desire are the
things we think about. Love begets love. The man who is looking
for trouble generally finds it. Despair is the forerunner of
disaster, and fear brings failure, because despair and fear are
the emotional elements attendant upon thoughts of defeat.

Behind every thing and every act is, and always has been,
thought--thought of sufficient intensity to shape and fashion the
physical event.

Mind, and mind alone, possesses the inscrutable power to create.

Your career is ordered by the thoughts you entertain. Mental
pictures tend to accomplish their own realization. Therefore, be
careful to hold only those thoughts that will build up rather
than tear down the structure of your fortunes.

[Sidenote: _Prerequisites to Achievement_]

Creative imagination is an absolute prerequisite to material

The business man must scheme and plan and devise and foresee. He
must create in imagination today the results that he is to
achieve tomorrow. He must combine the elements of his past
experiential complexes into a mental picture of future events as
he would have them. Riches are but the material realization of a
financial imagination. The wealth of the world is but the sum
total of the contributions of the creative thoughts of the
successful men of all ages.

[Sidenote: _How to Take Radical Steps in Business_]

With these principles before you, you can plainly see that the
_creative imagination must be called upon in the solution of
every practical question in every hour of the business day._

Consider its part in two phases of your business life--first,
when you are contemplating a radical change in your business
situation; second, when you are seeking to improve some
particular department of your business.

[Sidenote: _How to Take Radical Steps in Business_]

In the determination of how best you can better yourself, either
in your present field of action or by the selection of a new one,
take the following steps: (1) Pass in review before the mind's
eye your present situation; (2) Your possible ways of betterment;
(3) The various circumstances and individuals that will aid in
this or that line of self-advancement; (4) The difficulties that
may confront you. Having selected your field, (5) Consider
various possible plans of action; (6) Have prevision of their
working out; (7) Compare the ultimate results as you foresee
them; (8) Decide upon the one most promising, and then with this
plan as a foundation for further imaginings, (9) Once more call
before you the elements that will contribute to success; (10) See
the possible locations for your new place of business and choose
among them; (11) Outline in detail the methods to be pursued in
getting and handling business; (12) See the different kinds of
employees and associates you will require, and select certain
classes as best suited to your needs; (13) Foresee possible
difficulties to be encountered and adjust your plans to meet
them; and, most important of all, (14) Have a clear and
persistent vision of yourself as a man of action, setting to work
upon your plan at a fixed hour and carrying it to a successful
issue within a given time.

[Sidenote: _The Expansion of Business Ideals_]

There is excellent practical psychology in the following from
"Thoughts on Business":

"Men often think of a position as being just about so big and no
bigger, when, as a matter of fact, a position is often what one
makes it. A man was making about $1,500 a year out of a certain
position and thought he was doing all that could be done to
advance the business. The employer thought otherwise, and gave
the place to another man who soon made the position worth $8,000
a year--at exactly the same commission.

[Sidenote: _Rising to the Emergency_]

"The difference was in the men--in other words, in what the two
men thought about the work. One had a little conception of what
the work should be, and the other had a big conception of it. One
thought little thoughts, and the other thought big thoughts.

"The standards of two men may differ, not especially because one
is naturally more capable than the other, but because one is
familiar with big things and the other is not. The time was when
the former worked in a smaller scope himself, but when he saw a
wider view of what his work might be he rose to the occasion and
became a bigger man. It is just as easy to think of a mountain as
to think of a hill--when you turn your mind to contemplate it.
The mind is like a rubber band--you can stretch it to fit almost
anything, but it draws in to a small scope when you let go.

[Sidenote: _The Constructive Imagination_]

"Make it your business to know what is the best that might be in
your line of work, and stretch your mind to conceive it, and then
devise some way to attain it.

[Sidenote: _Little Tasks and Big Tasks_]

"Big things are only little things put together. I was greatly
impressed with this fact one morning as I stood watching the
workmen erecting the steel framework for a tall office building.
A shrill whistle rang out as a signal, a man over at the engine
pulled a lever, a chain from the derrick was lowered, and the
whistle rang out again. A man stooped down and fastened the chain
around the center of a steel beam, stepped back and blew the
whistle once more. Again the lever was moved at the engine, and
the steel beam soared into the air up to the sixteenth story,
where it was made fast by little bolts.

"The entire structure, great as it was, towering far above all
the neighboring buildings, was made up of pieces of steel and
stone and wood, put together according to a plan. The plan was
first imagined, then penciled, then carefully drawn, and then
followed by the workmen. It was all a combination of little

[Sidenote: _Working Up a Department_]

"It is encouraging to think of this when you are confronted by a
big task. Remember that it is only a group of little tasks, any
of which you can easily do. It is ignorance of this fact that
makes some men afraid to try."

Suppose, now, that instead of making a radical change in your
business situation, you are simply seeking to improve some
particular department of your business.

[Sidenote: _Imagination in Handling Employees_]

In commercial affairs men are the great means to money-making,
and efficient personal service the great key to prosperity. In
your dealings with employees do not be guided by the necessities
of the moment. Expediency is the poorest of all excuses for
action. Have regard not only for your own immediate needs, but
also for the welfare and future conduct of your employees. It is
part of the burden of the executive head that he must do the
forethinking not only for himself but for those under him.

Perhaps the man you have under observation for advancement to
some executive position has all the basic qualifications of
judicial sense, discrimination and attentiveness to details, but
you are uncertain whether he has enough imagination to devise new
ways and means of doing things and developing business in new
fields. If you wish to try a simple but very effective test along
this line, you can adopt the following standard psychological
experiment, which has been used at Harvard, Cornell and many
other colleges and schools.

[Sidenote: _How to Test an Employee's Imagination_]

Let fall a drop of ink on each of several pieces of white paper,
letterhead size. This will make irregular blotches of varying
forms. Let the subject be seated at a desk and ask him to write
briefly about what he sees in each blotched sheet, whether it be
an animal form suggested by the outline of the blot, or anything
else that comes into his mind while looking at the black spot.
The principle involved here is the same as that involved in
seeing pictures in a flickering log fire or having a vision of
past or future events by gazing into a crystal. In any of these
cases, it is not the blot, the fire or the crystal that produces
the vision, but the creative imagination that recombines old
elements into new forms. The number of images suggested to one by
certain standard forms of ink-blot when compared with established
results is a measure of his imaginative ability.

[Sidenote: _Imagination in Business Generally_]

In the choice of a location for your factory or store, you must
foresee its future traffic and transportation possibilities. In
passing upon a proposed advertisement you must get inside the
head of the man on the street and see it as he will see it. In
the purchase of your stock of goods you must gauge the trend of
popular taste and foresee the big demand. In your dealings with
creditors you must plan a course of action that will enable you
to settle the account to _your_ best interest at _their_
request. You must find a way to collect from your debtors and at
the same time hold their business. And so in a hundred thousand
different ways you are constantly required to use creative
thought in laying every stone in the structure of your fortune.

[Sidenote: _Imagination and Action_]

Do not understand us as saying that imagination, as the
term is popularly used, is all you need. There must be also
action, incessant, persistent. But _creative imagination,
in a psychological and scientific sense, begets action. Every
thought carries with it the impellent energy to effect its
realization._ Use your imagination in your business and the
action will take care of itself. Given imagination and action,
and you are sure to win.


Removed duplicate sidenotes and adjusted placement of sidenotes.

The original book used asterisks as ellipses.

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