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´╗┐Title: Applied Psychology: Making Your Own World - Being the Second 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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Applied Psychology


_Being the Second of a Series of
Twelve Volumes on the Applications
of Psychology to the Problems of
Personal and Business


The Society of Applied Psychology



  Chapter                                                       Page


       MIND AS A MEANS TO ATTAINMENT                              3
       THREE POSTULATES FOR THIS COURSE                           4
       EXPERIENCE AND ABSTRACTIONS                                5
       PRIMARY MENTAL OPERATIONS                                  6


       MIND'S SOURCE OF SUPPLIES                                  9
       DOES MATTER EXIST?                                        10
       FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE                                      11
       SECOND-HAND KNOWLEDGE                                     12
       THE ROAD TO PERCEPTION                                    14
       THE PLACE WHERE SENSATION OCCURS                          15
       REACTION-TIME                                             17
       THE HUMAN TELEPHONE                                       18
       THE LIVING TELEGRAPH                                      19
       THE SIX STEPS TO REACTION                                 20
       UNOPENED MENTAL MAIL                                      21
       IN TUNE WITH LIFE-INTEREST                                23


       UNRELIABILITY OF SENSE-ORGANS                             27
       BEING AND SEEMING                                         29
       USE OF ILLUSIONS IN BUSINESS                              31
       MAKING AN ARTICLE LOOK BIG                                32
       TESTING THE CONFIDENTIAL MAN                              33
       TESTS FOR CREDULITY                                       34
       WHAT COLORS LOOK NEAREST                                  35
       TESTING THE RANGE OF ATTENTION                            36
       A GUIDE TO OCCUPATIONAL SELECTION                         37
       TEST FOR ATTENTION TO DETAILS                             38
       OTHER BUSINESS APPLICATIONS                               39


       FACTORS OF SUCCESS OR FAILURE                             43
       SHOULD SEEING BE BELIEVING?                               44
       HEARING THE LIGHTNING                                     46
       IMPORTANCE OF THE MENTAL MAKE-UP                          47
       UNREALITY OF "THE REAL"                                   48
       "THINGS" AND THEIR MENTAL DUPLICATES                      49
       EFFECT OF CLOSING ONE'S EYES                              50
       IF MATTER WERE ANNIHILATED                                51
       IF MIND WERE ANNIHILATED                                  52
       AS MANY WORLDS AS MINDS                                   53


       OPTION AND OPPORTUNITY                                    57
       PRE-ARRANGING YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS                          58
       HOW TO DEFINITELY SELECT ITS ELEMENTS                     59
       USING "UNSEEN EAR PROTECTORS"                             61
       HOW TO AVOID WORRY, MELANCHOLY                            62
       PUTTING CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER FOOT                          63
       RUNNING YOUR MENTAL FACTORY                               64
       ACQUIRING MENTAL BALANCE                                  65
       DISSIPATING MENTAL SPECTERS                               66
       HOW TO CONTROL YOUR DESTINY                               67



[Sidenote: _Mind as a Means to Achievement_]

In the preceding book, "Psychology and Achievement," we established
the truth of two propositions:

I. _All human achievement comes about through bodily activity._

II. _All bodily activity is caused, controlled and directed by the

To these two fundamental propositions we now append a third, which
needs no proof, but follows as a natural and logical conclusion from
the other two:

III. _The Mind is the instrument you must employ for the
accomplishment of any purpose._

[Sidenote: _Three Postulates for this Course_]

With these three fundamental propositions as postulates, it will be
the end and aim of this Course of Reading to develop plain, simple
and specific methods and directions for the most efficient use of
the mind in the attainment of practical ends.

_To comprehend these mental methods and to make use of them in
business affairs you must thoroughly understand the two fundamental
processes of the mind._

These two fundamental processes are the Sense-Perceptive Process and
the Judicial Process.

The Sense-Perceptive Process is the process by which knowledge is
acquired through the senses. Knowledge is the result of experience
and all human experience is made up of sense-perceptions.

[Sidenote: _Experience and Abstractions_]

The Judicial Process is the reasoning and reflective process. It is
the purely "intellectual" type of mental operation. It deals wholly
in abstractions. Abstractions are constructed out of past experiences.

Consequently, the Sense-Perceptive Process furnishes the raw
material, sense-perceptions or experience, for the machinery of
the Judicial Process to work with.

[Sidenote: _Primary Mental Operations_]

In this book we shall give you a clear idea of the Sense-Perceptive
Process and show you some of the ways in which an understanding of
this process will be useful to you in everyday affairs. The
succeeding book will explain the Judicial Process.



[Sidenote: _Mind's Source of Supplies_]

Whatever you know or think you know, of the external world comes
to you through some one of your five primary senses, sight, hearing,
touch, taste and smell, or some one of the secondary senses, such
as the muscular sense and the sense of heat and cold.

The impressions you receive in this way may be true or they may be
false. They may constitute absolute knowledge or they may be merely
mistaken impressions. Yet, such as they are, they constitute all the
information you have or can have concerning the world about you.

[Sidenote: _Does Matter Exist?_]

Philosophers have been wrangling for some thousands of years as
to whether we have any real and absolute knowledge, as to whether
matter actually does or does not exist, as to the reliability or
unreliability of the impressions we receive through the senses.
But there is one thing that all scientific men are agreed upon,
and that is that such knowledge as we do possess comes to us by
way of perception through the organs of sense.

If you have never given much thought to this subject, you have
naturally assumed that you have direct knowledge of all the
material things that you _seem_ to perceive about you. It has
never occurred to you that there are intervening physical agencies
that you ought to take into account.

[Sidenote: _First-Hand Knowledge_]

When you look up at the clock, you instinctively feel that there is
nothing interposed between it and your mind that is conscious of it.
You seem to feel that your mind reaches out and envelops it.

As a matter of fact, your sense impression of that bit of furniture
must filter through a great number of intervening physical agencies
before you can become conscious of it.

Direct perception of an outside reality is impossible.

[Sidenote: _Second-Hand Knowledge_]

Before you can become aware of any object there must first arise
between it and your mind a chain of countless distinct physical

Modern science tells us that light is due to undulations or
wave-like vibrations of the ether, sound to those of the air, etc.
These vibrations are transmitted from one particle of ether or air
to another, and so from the thing perceived to the body of man.

Think, then, what crisscross of air currents and confusion of ether
vibrations, what myriad of physical events, must intervene between
any distant object and your own body before sensations come and
bring a consciousness of that object's existence!

Nor can you be sure, even after any particular vibration has
reached the surface of your body, that it will reach your mind
unaltered and intact!

[Sidenote: _Etheric Vibrations as Causing Sensations_]

What goes on in the body itself is made clear by your knowledge
of the cellular structure of man.

You know that you have a system of nerves centering in the brain
and with countless ramifications throughout the structural tissues
of the body.

You know that part of these nerves are sensory nerves and part of
them are motor nerves. You know that the sensory nerves convey to
the brain the impressions received from the outer world and that
the motor nerves relay this information to the rest of the body
coupled with commands for appropriate muscular action.


[Sidenote: _The Road to Perception_]

The outer end of every sensory nerve exposes a sensitive bit of
gray matter. These sensitive, impression-receiving ends constitute
together what is called the "sensorium" of the body.

When vibrations of light or sound impinge upon the sensorium, they
are relayed from nerve cell to nerve cell until they reach the
central brain. Then it is, and not until then, that sensations and
perceptions occur.

Consider, now, the infinitesimal size of a nerve cell and you will
have some conception of the number of hands through which the
message must pass before it is received by the central office.

Many of our sensations, especially those of touch, seem to occur
on the periphery of the body--that is to say, at that part of the
exposed surface of the body which is apparently affected. If your
finger is crushed in a door, the sensation of the blow and the pain
all seem to occur in the finger itself.

[Sidenote: _The Place Where Sensation Occurs_]

As a matter of fact, this is not the case, for if one of your arms
should be amputated, you would still feel a tingling in the fingers
of the amputated arm. Thus has arisen a superstition that leads many
people to bury any part of the body lost in this way, thinking that
they will never be entirely relieved of pain until the absent member
is finally at rest.

Of course, the fact is that you would only _seem_ to have feeling
in the amputated arm. The sensation would really occur in the central
brain tissue as the organ of the governing intelligence, the organ
of consciousness.

[Sidenote: _Laboratory Proof of Sense-Perceptive Process_]

And you may set it down as an established principle that _all states
of consciousness, whether seemingly localized on the surface of the
body or not, are connected with the brain as the dominant center_.

The facts we have been recounting have been established by the
experiments of physiological psychology. Thus, the work of the
laboratory has shown that between the moment when a sense vibration
reaches the body and the moment when sensation occurs a measurable
interval of time intervenes.

If your eyes were to be blindfolded and your hand unexpectedly
pricked with a white-hot needle, the time that would elapse before
you could jerk your hand away could be readily measured in fractions
of a second with appropriate instruments.

[Sidenote: _Reaction Time_]

This interval is known as _reaction-time_. It varies greatly with
different persons. During this reaction-time, the cell or cells
attacked upon the surface of the hand have conveyed news of the
assault through numberless intermediate sensory nerve cells to
the brain. The brain in turn has sent out its mandate through the
appropriate motor nerve cells to all the muscle and other cells
surrounding the injured cell, commanding them to remove it from
the point of danger.

The work of the nervous system in dealing with the ether vibrations
that are constantly impinging upon the surface of the body has been
likened to that of the transmitter, connecting wire and receiver
of a telephone. Air-waves striking against the transmitter of the
telephone awaken a similar vibratory movement in the transmitter
itself. This movement is passed along the wire to the receiver,
which vibrates responsively and imparts a corresponding wave-like
motion to the air.

[Sidenote: _The Human Telephone_]

These air-waves when heard are what we call _sound_.

In the same way, air-waves striking the ear are communicated by
the auditory nerve to the brain, where they awaken a corresponding
sensation of sound. But these waves must be vibrating at between
30 and 20,000 times a second. If they are vibrating so slowly or
so rapidly as not to come within this range, we cannot hear them.

[Sidenote: _The Living Telegraph_]

This process is by no means a mechanical affair. On the contrary,
it is a series of _mental_ acts. Every cell in the living telegraph
must receive the message and transmit it. _Every cell_ must
exercise a form of intelligence, from the auditory cell reporting
a sound-wave or the skin cell reporting an injury to the muscle
cells that ultimately receive and understand a message directing
them to remove the part from danger.

Reaction-time, so called, is thus occupied by cellular action in
the form of _mental_ processes intervening between the nerve-ends
and the brain center, in much the same way that light and sound
vibrations intervene between the object perceived and the surface
of the body.

[Sidenote: _The Six Steps to Reaction_]

For even the simplest of sense-perceptions we have, then, this
sequence of events: first, the object perceived; second, the series
of vibrations of ether particles intervening between the object
and the body; third, the impression upon the surface of the body;
fourth, the series of mental processes, cell after cell, in the
nerve filaments leading to the brain; fifth, when these impressions
or messages have reached the brain, a determination of what is to
be done; and, sixth, a transmission by cellular action of a new
message that will awaken some response in the muscular tissues.

[Sidenote: _Unopened Mental Mail_]

This process is completely carried out, however, in only
comparatively few instances. The vast majority of sense-impressions
awaken no reaction. They are registered in the mind, but they are
not perceived. We are not conscious of them. They form a part, not
of consciousness, but of subconsciousness. They are messages that
reach the mind but are laid aside like unopened mail because they
possess no present interest.

Wherever and however you may be placed, you are always and
everywhere immersed in a flood of etheric vibrations. Light, sound
and tactual vibrations press upon you from every side. At a busy
corner of a city street these vibrations rise to a tumultuous
fortissimo; in the hush of a night upon the plains they sink to
pianissimo. Yet at every moment of your day or night they are there
in greater or less degree, titillating the unsleeping nerve-ends of
the sensorium.

[Sidenote: _Selective Process that Determines Conduct_]

Your mind cannot take time to make all these sense-impressions the
subject of conscious thought. It can trouble itself only with those
that bear in some way upon your interests in life.

_Your mind is like the receiving apparatus of the wireless telegraph
which picks from the air those particular vibrations to which it is
attuned. Your mind is selective. It is discriminating. It seizes
upon those few sensory images that are related to your interests in
life and thrusts them forward to be consciously perceived and acted
upon. All others it diverts into a subconscious reservoir of
temporary oblivion._

[Sidenote: _In Tune with Life-Interest_]

You will have a clearer understanding of the sense-perceptive
processes and a more vital realization of the practical significance
of these facts when you consider how they affect your knowledge of
material things and your conception of the external world.

This subject possesses two distinct aspects.

One aspect has to do with the inability of the sense-organs to
record the facts of the outer world with perfect precision. These
organs are the result of untold ages of evolution, and, generally
speaking, have become wonderfully efficient, but they display
surprising inaccuracies. These inaccuracies are called Sensory

[Sidenote: _Practical Aspects of Perception Process_]

The other aspect of the Sense-Perceptive Process has to do with the
mental interpretation of environment.

Both these aspects are distinctly practical.

You should know something of the weaknesses and deficiencies of the
sense-perceptive organs, because all your efforts at influencing
other men are directed at their organs of sense.

You should understand the relationship between your mind and your
environment, since they are the two principal factors in your
working life.



[Sidenote: _Unreliability of Sense-Organs_]

Figure 1 shows two lines of equal length, yet the vertical line will
to most persons seem longer than the horizontal one.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

In Figure 2 the lines A and B are of the same length, yet the lower
seems much longer.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

Those things look smallest over which the eye moves with least

In Figure 3, the distance from A to B looks longer than the distance
from B to C because of the time we involuntarily take to notice each
dot, yet the distances are equal.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

[Sidenote: _Being and Seeming_]

For the same reason, the hatchet line (A-B) appears longer than
the unbroken line (C-D) in Figure 4, and the lines E and F appear
longer than the space (G) between them, although all are of equal

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

Filled spaces look larger than empty ones because the eye
unconsciously stops to look over the different parts of the filled
area, and we base our estimate upon the extent of the eye movements
necessary to take in the whole field. Thus the filled square in
Figure 5 looks larger than the empty one, though they are of equal

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

White objects appear much larger than black ones. A white square
looks larger than a black one. It is said that cattle buyers who
are sometimes compelled to guess at the weight of animals have
learned to discount their estimate on white animals and increase
it on black ones to make allowances for the optical illusion.


[Sidenote: _Use of Illusions in Business_]

The dressmaker and tailor are careful not to array stout persons
in checks and plaids, but try to convey an impression of sylph-like
slenderness through the use of vertical lines. On the other hand,
you have doubtless noticed in recent years the checkerboard and
plaid-covered boxes used by certain manufacturers of food products
and others to make their packages look larger than they really are.

The advertiser who understands sensory illusions gives an impression
of bigness to the picture of an article by the artful use of lines
and contrasting figures. If his advertisement shows a picture of a
building to which he wishes to give the impression of bigness, he
adds contrasting figures such as those of tiny men and women so that
the unknown may be measured by the known. If he shows a picture of a
cigar, he places the cigar vertically, because he knows that it will
look longer that way than if placed horizontally.

[Sidenote: _Making an Article Look Big_]

A subtle method of conveying an idea of bigness is by placing
numbers on odd-shaped cards or blocks, or on any blank white space.
The object or space containing the figures always appears larger
than the corresponding space without the figures.

This fact has been made the basis of a psychological experiment to
determine the extent to which a subject's judgment is influenced by
suggestion. To perform this experiment cut bits of pasteboard into
pairs of squares, circles, stars and octagons and write numbers
of two figures each, say 25, 50, 34, 87, etc., upon the different
pieces. Tell the subject to be tested to pick out the forms that are
largest. The susceptible person who is not trained to discriminate
closely will pick out of each pair the card that has the largest
number upon it.

[Sidenote: _Testing the Confidential Man_]

This test can be made one of a series used in examining applicants
for commercial positions. It can also be used to discover the
weakness of certain employees, such as buyers, secretaries and
others who are entrusted with secrets and commissions requiring
discretion, and who must be proof against the deceptions practiced
by salesmen, promoters and others with seductive propositions.

[Sidenote: _Tests for Credulity_]

This examination can be carried still further to test the subject's
credulity or power of discrimination. What is known as the "force
card" test was originally devised by a magician, but has been
adopted in experimental psychology. Take a pack of cards and shuffle
them loosely in the two hands, making some one card, say the ace of
spades, especially prominent. The subject is told to "take a card."
The suggestive influence of the proffered card will cause nine
persons out of ten to pick out that particular card.

Turning from illusions of suggestion, shape and size, another field
of peculiar sensory illusions is found in color aberration. Some
colors look closer than others. For instance, paint an object red
and it seems nearer than it would if painted green.

[Sidenote: _What Colors Look Nearest_]

Aside from the obvious uses to which these sense-illusions can be
put, they form the basis for a number of psychological experiments
to test the abilities of persons in many ways. Here is a test which
deals with the range of attention. If you desire to discover the
capacity of any person to pay attention to unfamiliar questions or
subjects which might at some future time have great importance, try
this test. Have a piece of pasteboard cut into squares, circles,
triangles, halfmoons, stars and other forms. Then write upon each
piece some such word as hat, coat, ball or bat. The objects are
then placed under a cloth cover and the subject to be examined is
told to concentrate his attention on the shapes alone, paying no
attention to the words. The cloth is lifted for five seconds and
then replaced. The subject is then told to draw with a pencil the
different shapes and such _words_ as he may chance to remember. The
experiment should then be repeated, with the injunction to pay no
attention to the shapes but to remember as many words as possible,
and write them down on such _forms_ as he may happen to recall.

[Sidenote: _Testing the Range of Attention_]

Of course, the real object is to determine whether the subject will
see more than he is told, or whether he is a mere automaton. The
result will tell whether his attention is of the narrow or broad
type. If it be narrow, he will see only the forms in the first case
and no words, and in the second case he will remember the words but
be unable to recall the shape of the pieces of cardboard.

[Sidenote: _A Guide to Occupational Selection_]

His breadth of attention will be shown by the number of correct
forms and words combined which he is able to remember in both cases.
In other words, this will measure his ability to pay attention to
more than one thing at a time.

Other things being equal, the narrow type of attention belongs to
a man fitted for work as a bookkeeper or mechanic, while the broad
type of attention fits one for work as a foreman or superintendent
or, lacking executive ability, for work requiring the supervision
of mechanical operations widely separated in space.

[Sidenote: _Test for Attention to Details_]

The ordinary man sees but one thing at a time, while the exceptional
man sees many things at every glance and is prepared to remember and
act upon them in emergency.

Having determined a person's scope of attention, you may want
to test his accuracy in details as compared with other men. To
conduct such an experiment dictate a statement which will form one
typewritten letterhead sheet. This statement should comprise facts
and figures about your business of which the subjects to be tested
are supposed to have accurate knowledge. After this original page is
written, have your typist write out another set of sheets in which
there are a large number of errors both in spelling and figures.
Then have each of the persons to be examined go through one of these
sheets and cross out all the wrong letters or figures. Time this
operation. The man who does it in the quickest time and overlooks
the fewest errors, naturally ranks highest in speed and accuracy
of work.

[Sidenote: _Other Business Applications_]

Look into your own business and you will undoubtedly find some
department, whether it be store decoration, office furnishing,
window dressing, advertising, landscape work or architecture, in
which a systematic application of a knowledge of sensory illusions
will produce good results.



[Sidenote: _Factors of Success or Failure_]

The aspect of the sense-perceptive process that deals with the
relation of mind to environment is of greatest practical value.

Look at this subject for a moment and you will see that the world
in which you live and work is a world of your own making. All the
factors of success or failure are factors of your own choosing and

If there is anything in the world you feel sure of, it is that you
can depend upon the "evidence of your own senses," eyes, ears,
nose, etc. You rest serene in the conviction that your senses
picture the world to you exactly as it is. It is a common saying
that "Seeing is believing."

[Sidenote: _Should Seeing Be Believing?_]

Yet how can you be sure that any object in the external world is
actually what your sense-perceptions report it to be?

You have learned that a countless number of physical agencies must
intervene before your mind can receive an impression or message
through any of the senses.

Under these conditions you cannot be sure that your impression of
a green lamp-shade, for instance, comes through the same sort of
etheric and cellular activities that convey a picture of the same
lamp-shade to the brain of another. If the physical agencies through
which your sense-impressions of the lamp-shade filter are not
identical with the agencies through which they pass to the other
person's brain, then your mental picture and his mental picture
cannot be the same. You can never be sure that what both you and
another may describe as green may not create an entirely different
impression in your mind from the impression it creates in his.

Other facts add to your uncertainty. Thus, _the same stimulus_
acting on _different organs_ of sense will produce _different
sensations_. A blow upon the eye will cause you to "see stars"; a
similar _blow_ upon the ear will cause you to _hear_ an explosive
sound. In other words, the vibratory effect of a _touch_ on eye
or ear is the same as that of _light_ or _sound_ vibrations.

[Sidenote: _Hearing the Lightning_]

The notion you may form of any object in the outer world depends
solely upon what part of your brain happens to be connected with
that particular nerve-end that receives an impression from the

You _see_ the sun without being able to _hear_ it because the only
nerve-ends tuned to vibrate in harmony with the ether-waves set in
action by the sun are nerve-ends that are connected with the brain
center devoted to sight. "If," says Professor James, "we could
splice the outer extremities of our optic nerves to our ears,
and those of our auditory nerves to our eyes, we should hear the
lightning and see the thunder, see the symphony and hear the
conductor's movements."

[Sidenote: _Importance of the Mental Make-Up_]

In other words, the kind of impressions we receive from the world
about us, the sort of mental pictures we form concerning it, in fact
the character of the outer world, the nature of the environment in
which our lives are cast--_all these things depend for each one of
us simply upon how he happens to be put together, simply upon his
individual mental make-up_.

There is another way of examining into the intervening agencies that
influence our mental conception of the material world about us.

[Sidenote: _Unreality of "The Real"_]

Look at the table or any other familiar object in the room in which
you are sitting. Has it ever occurred to you that this object may
have no existence apart from your mental impression of it? Have you
ever realized that no object ever has been or ever could be known
to exist unless there was an individual mind present to note its

If you have never given much thought to questions of this kind,
you will be tempted to answer boldly that the table is obviously a
reality, that you have a direct intuitive knowledge of it, and that
you can at once assure yourself of its existence by looking at it
or touching it. You will conceive your perception of the table as
a sort of projection of your mind comfortably enfolding the table
within itself.

[Sidenote: _"Things" and their Mental Duplicates_]

But perception is obviously only a state of mind. Can it, then, go
outside of the mind to meet the table or even "hover in midair like
a bridge between the two"? If you perceive the table, must not your
perception of it exist wholly within your own mind? If, then, the
table has any existence outside of and apart from your perception
of it, then the table and your mental image of the table are two
separate and distinct things.

In other words, you are on the horns of a dilemma. If you insist
that the table exists _outside_ of your mind, you must admit that
your knowledge of it is not direct, immediate and intuitive, but
_indirect_ and representative, because of intervening physical
agencies, and that the only thing directly known is the _mental
impression_ of the table. On the other hand, if you insist that your
knowledge of the table is direct, immediate and intuitive you must
admit that the table is only a mental image, a mental reality, if it
is any sort of reality at all, and that it has no existence outside
of the mind.

[Sidenote: _Effect of Closing One's Eyes_]

You may easily convince yourself that the table you directly
perceive can be nothing other than a mental picture. How? Simply
close your eyes. It has now ceased to exist. What has ceased to
exist? The external table of wood and glue and bolts? By no means.
Simply its mental duplicate. And by alternately opening and closing
your eyes, you can successively create and destroy this mental

[Sidenote: _If Matter Were Annihilated_]

Clearly, then, the table of which you are directly and immediately
conscious when your eyes are open is always this _mental duplicate_,
this aggregate of color, form, size and touch _impressions_; while
the real table, the physical table, may be something other than the
one of which you are directly aware. This other thing, this physical
table, whatever it is, can never be directly known, if indeed it has
any existence, a fact that many distinguished philosophers have had
the courage to deny.

Imagine, then, for a moment that everything except mind should
suddenly cease to exist, but that your sense-perceptions--that is
to say, your perception of sensory impressions--were to continue to
follow one another as before. Would not the physical world be for
you just exactly what it is today, and would you not have the same
reasons for believing in its existence that you now have?

[Sidenote: _If Mind Were Annihilated_]

And, conversely, if the world of matter were to go on, but all
mental images, all perception of sense-impressions, were to come
to an end, would not all matter be annihilated for you when your
perceptions ceased?

_It is obvious that the world is not the same for all of us; but
that it is for each one of us simply the world of his individual

[Sidenote: _As Many Worlds as Minds_]

The whole subject of sense-impressions, sensation and perception
may, therefore, be looked at from the standpoint of the mind as an
active influence, as well as from the standpoint of outside objects
as the exciting causes of sense-impressions.



[Sidenote: _Option and Opportunity_]

_External objects excite sensory impressions, but the perception of
them is purely at the option of the mind._

This is of the greatest practical importance. Consider its
consequences. It means that sense-impressions and your perception of
them are two very different things. It means that sense-impressions
may throng in upon you as they will. They are the work of external
stimuli impressing themselves upon the sensorium as upon a
mechanical register. You are helpless to discriminate among them.
You cannot accept some and exclude others. You are a perambulating
dry plate upon which outside objects produce their images.

[Sidenote: _Prearranging Your Consciousness_]

But, and this is a vital distinction, perception is an act of the
mind. It is initiated from within. It permits you to discriminate
among sensations in the sense that you may dwell upon some and
ignore others. It enables you to definitely select, if you will,
the elements that shall make up the content of your consciousness.

_Perception as an independent mental process thus enables you to
predetermine what elements of passing sensory experience may be made
the basis of your conscious judgments and of your feelings and

[Sidenote: _How to Definitely Selects its Elements_]

Bear this in mind when you think of your environment and its
supposed influence upon your life. Remember that your environment
is no hard-and-fast thing, an aggregate of physical realities. Your
environment, so far as it affects your judgment and your conduct,
is made up, not of physical realities, but of mental pictures.

_Your environment is within you._ Get this conclusion clearly in
your mind.

Hold fast to the point of view that, _Environment, the environment
that influences your conduct and your life, is not a chance massing
of outward circumstances, but is the product of your own mind_.

[Sidenote: _An Infallible Recipe for Self-Possession_]

Think what this means to you. It means that by deliberately
selecting for attention only those sense-impressions, those elements
of consciousness, that can serve your purpose, you can free yourself
from all distractions and make peaceful progress in the midst of

[Sidenote: _Using "Unseen Ear Protectors"_]

"In the busiest part of New York, a broker occupied a desk in a
room with six other men who had many visitors constantly moving
about and talking. The gentleman was at first so sensitive to
disturbances that he accomplished almost nothing during business
hours, and returned home every evening with a severe headache. One
day a man of impressive personality and extremely calm demeanor
entered the office, and noticing the agitated broker, smilingly
said: 'I see that you are disturbed by the noise made by your
neighbors in the conduct of their affairs; pardon me if I leave
with you an infallible recipe for peace in the midst of commotion:
_Hear only what you will to hear_.' With this terse counsel he
quietly bade the astonished listener adieu. After his visitor
had departed, the nervous man felt unaccountably calm, and was
constrained to meditate upon his friend's advice, and no sooner
did he seek to put it into practical use than he learned for the
first time that it was his rightful prerogative to use unseen ear
protectors as well as to employ his ears. Six or seven weeks
elapsed before he saw his mysterious visitor again, and by that
time he had so successfully practiced the simple though forceful
injunction, that he had reached a point in self-control where the
Babel of tongues about him no longer reached his consciousness."

[Sidenote: _How to Avoid Worry, Melancholy_]

Herein lies a remedy for worry, with its sleepless nights and
kindred torments; for melancholy and despair, with their train of
physical and financial disaster.

How? Simply by shutting off the flow of disagreeable thoughts and
substituting others that are pleasant and refreshing.

You are master. You can change the setting of your mental stage
from portentous gloom to sun-lit assurance. You can concentrate your
thought upon the useful, the helpful and the cheerful, ignore the
useless and annoying, and make your life a life of hope and joy, of
promise and fulfilment.

[Sidenote: _Putting Circumstances Under Foot_]

You will not question the statement that what you do with your life
is the combined result of heredity and environment. At the same time
you doubtless possess a more or less hazy belief in the freedom of
your own will.

The chances are that in any previous reflections on this subject you
have magnified the influence of outside agencies and wondered just
how a man could make himself the master rather than the victim of

You now realize that your environment is an environment of thought,
that your material universe is a thing your own making, and that
you can mold it as you will simply by the intelligent control of
your own thinking.

[Sidenote: _Running Your Mental Factory_]

In Book I. you learned that--

I. _All human achievement comes about through bodily activity._

II. _All bodily activity is caused, controlled and directed by the

In this volume you have added to these propositions a third, namely:

III. _The mind is the instrument you must employ for the
accomplishment of any purpose._

Acting on this third postulate, you have begun the consideration
of primary mental operations with a view to evolving methods and
devices for the scientific and systematic employment of the mind
in the attainment of success. You have concluded your study of
the first of the two fundamental processes of the mind, the
Sense-Perceptive Process, and have learned to distinguish between
seeing or hearing or feeling on the one hand and perceiving on
the other.

[Sidenote: _Acquiring Mental Balance_]

Realizing this distinction and applying it to your daily life,
you can at once set to work to acquire mental poise and practical
self-mastery, the essence of personal efficiency.

There never has been a moment in all your life when sense-impressions
were not pouring in upon you from every side, tending to disturb
and annoy you and interfere with your concentration and progress.
Heretofore you have struggled blindly with these distracting
influences, not knowing the elements with which you had to deal
nor how to deal with them.

[Sidenote: _Dissipating Mental Specters_]

But the mask has been torn from the specter of distraction, and
hereafter when irrelevant sights, sounds and other sensations
threaten to interrupt your work, just stop a moment and consider.
So far as you and your actual knowledge are concerned, nothing
exists in substance and reality outside your mental picture of it.
So far as you and your actual knowledge are concerned, all matter
is simply thought, and you have never doubted your ability to
dismiss a thought. It is for you, then, here and now, to decide
whether you will harbor sensory pictures that impede your progress
and allow them to harass and dominate you and interfere with the
achievement of your ambition, or whether you will ignore these
intruders and thereby annihilate them.

[Sidenote: _How to Control Your Destiny_]

Success is a variable term. In the last analysis, it means simply
getting the thing that _you_ want to have.

Whether you succeed or fail depends altogether upon your own
attitude toward the external facts of life.

You have within you a living Force against which all the world is
powerless. You have only to know it and to learn how to use it.

Learn the lesson of your own powers, the secret of controlling the
selective and creative energy within you, and you can bring any
project to the goal of accomplishment.

In the closing volumes of this _Course_ we shall instruct you in
practical methods by which the selection of those elements of
experience that are helpful may be made absolutely automatic.

Transcriber's Note:

Some illustrations have been moved from their original positions,
so as to be nearer to their corresponding text, or for ease of
navigation around paragraphs.

Duplicate chapter headers have been removed from the text version
of this ebook and hidden in the HTML version.

The word 'prearranging' appears both with and without a hyphen.
This variance matches the original text.

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