A CENTRAL PLAN: Do your mental work in the morning, your manual work in the afternoon. Do not dictate letters in the afternoon; from ten to twelve in the morning is best. The brain is usually at low ebb at three o’clock in the afternoon. Do not have your desk so that you have to look side-wise at persons approaching you. It blunts your personality. By no means have people enter behind you, it is the most negative psychic influence possible. Let your position in your office be such that when anyone approaches your eyes will fall upon them as near a straight level as possible. Plan your workroom for efficiency. No matter how small, how large, or if it be but a bench. Put your character stamp on the plan of the work you do. Go to that work as a King goes to his throne. Centralize your work. Plan it. Work your plan.
HAVE A SYSTEM OF ORDER: Set your mind in order first. If you are living as I have taught in the lessons that have gone before, then your mind will assume a supreme command of order almost at once. Classify what you do. Keep matters separate. Do the big things first. As you classify, drop the non-essentials. Weed out the useless. Never spend a minute of your morning hours winding up a string or folding a piece of wrapping paper. Do that when your brain tide has ebbed out in the afternoon, or not at all. Don’t hunt for a pin, or sharpen a pencil, or manicure your nails after you reach your work of the day. Classify your movements, eliminate the useless. Energize your movements. Move with enthusiasm. Put elastic cheer into your step. Wear rubber heels of quiet manners. Simplify your work. Keep it straight, after a little it will keep you straight. Don’t fall over your work, nor step on it, or sit on it. Simplify by stopping the waste of words, waste of material, waste of time. Jollify your work. Put fun into each day’s round of toil. Be original in plans and ideas.
CULTIVATE YOUR EFFICIENCY: To all the above add mental energy. Develop insight, grow new business brain cells. Do not overload your stomach with food, nor your body with clothing. Study directness. Master application. At Niagara Falls I saw two giant dynamos generating twenty-five thousand horse power, their efficiency was kept in perfect balance by a little automatic nickle gate. Your efficiency is kept in balance by little, invisible and automatic thought neurons. A clear brain is the test of efficiency. Plans, orders, system, application, give efficiency. Efficiency is positive thinking. Freedom-thinking, above fear-thinking. Get out and keep out of negative thinking. Just as soon as you drop negative thinking your mind will begin to rise to a new brilliance of expression. One big element in efficiency is silence. It is the strongest thing to be silent. Noise is emptiness, weakness, inefficiency. Silence is the law of greatness; noise the breaking of the law.
DEVELOP YOUR POWER TO REST: That person is wise who knows how to rest. It is a powerful thing to rest successfully. Over-fed persons, or animals, do not rest, they are stupefied. Rest is filling your capacities with energy. “Sleep knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,” or it should. Rest is relaxing the nerves and muscles. Rest is reconstructing broken down cellular tissues. Rest is restringing the harp of the senses, retuning the rhythmic harmonies of the spirit. Rest lets down the tension. When you sit down, let what you sit on hold you. When you lie down, do not try to hold yourself on the bed. Rest is the opposite of labor. Rest is recreation. Rest with sleep is a divine restorative. When you cannot rest, or sleep, you are expending energy without production. Try this little code for rest and sleep: “My mind is empty, my soul is at rest.” Repeat it with your eyes closed and your body relaxed. Say it just as you would imagine the swing of the pendulum of an old fashion hall clock. I never knew it to fail of inducing sleep. Never rest or sleep with light falling on your eyes. Shut out the world and noise.
GROW THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT: Love, Joy, Peace, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance, against such there is no law. Do not sit down and wish for them, nor wait for someone to bring them to you, even God will not bring them to you. Grow them. Cultivate them. Produce them. No power on this earth can defeat you, make you fail, or over-throw you if you fill your Spirit with them. As you work, use them. Take them with you to the store, the factory, the shop, the mill, to your bench. Take them with you to the office, the counting-room, the court-room, and to your throne-room. Take them with you to the battle field, to the halls of justice, to the senate chamber, to the presidential chair. Take them with you thru the streets, along the highways, and over the unbeaten paths of your life. Take them with you down the rivers, and out into the storm driven sea. Chain them to the wheel of your ship, sail on thru the starless night alone. Trust them, for they are the initiative of the Supreme in you.
TRAIN YOUR VOICE: Take your snarling, growling, snapping, whining voice away into the jungle and leave it to the wild beasts. Take your sobbing, sniveling, trembling, dolorous, sanctimonious voice down into some dismal swamp and bury it. Train your voice as you would tune a harp. Your voice is an index of character. Keep it on the level. Let it “speak as one having authority.” Charm it with modulation. Make it ripple with music. Allow no thrust of anger to ruffle it. Intensify it with determination. Strengthen it with courage. Give it dominion and power. When other voices are hot and spuming around you, keep your voice cool. Never allow your voice to become dull, dubious, uncertain, shrinking, or hollow. Voice tones that are round, rhythmic, full measured. Have a serene and reposeful voice. Look at what you speak. Reflect your soul in your voice. Let the manner of your voice be calm, smooth, collected, but energized with positive forces. Have a cheerful voice, a voice that makes one think of sunshine and smiles.
HOW TO LOVE RELATIVES: To love your relatives be away from home all you can. To have them love you keep about three hundred miles between you and them. Thousands of homes and lives are wrecked by two families of the same family trying to live under the same roof. Noah would have foundered with the Ark ten days after the flood started if he had taken more than two out of any one family with him. Cain would never have killed Abel if Adam hadn’t made the fool blunder of trying to keep his two sons everlastingly with him. Of course there was some excuse in the fact that in those days New York and Paris were not brilliantly attractive cities. If there is any one thing outside a church row, that tickles the devil into a frenzy of laughter it is when a young married couple go home to live with the family. There is about as much real life joy and harmony in it as there would be in a jungle picnic of monkeys and parrots. There is just one place where large families can dwell together peaceably—the grave-yard. It is contrary to natural law that families of grown ups, should live together. When a cub bear is old enough, big enough to hunt for food, and comes back after he once goes out, his mother gives him a mauling that makes him feel he would rather starve than come back again. Does she love him? Of course she loves him to the limit of her instinct, loves him to the point of pride that she wants him to be a brave, daring, self-reliant master of the forest. When the whelps of a lion get to be more than playful kittens, the mother leads them into the jungle, slips away, leaving them to hunt. The young lions may return to the old home, but their father and mother have moved away to a distant den. To evolve their natures, to become supreme denizens of the forest they must rely upon their own prowess. Take the eagle, when the mother eagle by instinct knows the wings of her babies have become strong enough to support their bodies, she pushes them out of the eyrie. They fly, or will be dashed to death on the rocks. They always fly. But you say human beings are not bears, lions, or eagles. Well, humans could well afford to attend the Nature College of the wild animals of the woods, to learn the ethics of health, happiness and the development of the individual.
Treat your relatives royally, then let them alone. Keep out of their affairs, try to keep them out of your affairs. Be kind, generous, sympathetic. But keep out of the danger zone. Insist upon living by yourself, living your own life, thinking your own thoughts, playing your part in life’s drama. Parents wish they could hold their children, the way to hold them is to let go of them. If you love them you will let go. Love is unselfish. God sent His only Son on the loneliest journey ever taken, and He came back crowned with glory. God can live with lots of people you and I can’t. Abraham amounted to something, God said to him: “Get thee out.” “And he went out, not knowing whither.” He staid until he became the head of a people as numberless and brilliant as the stars of the heaven. But Isaac hung around home, lived on his father’s greatness, and the only real thing he did that was worth while was to re-dig some wells his father had dug before him. The first time he saw his sweetheart Rebecca, whom another man had to go and get for him, he lifted up his voice and cried like a boob. He had become soft on the mutton and grape juice of his father. Tender little doves flit around the home cote, but the eagle sweeps from sun to sun. Anyhow, in these modern days children are very largely bringing up their parents.
To kill a quarrel, shut your mouth.
There is a world of sense in the saying; “Sell your hammer and buy a horn.”
There is one place we can bear a boil, and smile—on the other fellow’s neck.
Many people possess more than a thousand acres of possibilities, and have about half an acre under cultivation.
The best way to exterminate mosquitoes would be to start a plan to cultivate them as a money making commodity.
Stop nagging, twitting, insinuating, suspecting those whose love you wish to hold. You assassinate love when you ridicule it.
Temper is the yeast of personality. No man or woman ever rises in the world without it. A razor, knife, ax, or writer, actor, minister, without it, isn’t worth a damn in any market. Never lose your temper, lose all things, but keep your temper.
When I see people who are great stickers as to form, or attitude, in prayer, they remind me of my old neighbor, Saxby, who fell into Bill Smith’s well. He said: “The prayingest prayer I ever said, was in that well standing on my head.”
Do you know the meanest thing about the worst boy on your street? I will tell you. It is the fact that you do not like him, and he knows it. God never made a mean boy. Parents have made some, towns have made some, and cities have made a host.