Augment Your Success By Leadership
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
NOT long ago I received the last intimate details of the life story of a man—well known on two continents, who failed because circumstances and conditions were always against him—at least, he thought so. If you knew his name, and should turn to "Who's Who In America," you would learn that he has held many positions of prominence, and ,you would read of many great things which he has done in North, Central, and South America.
He was a very successful man so long as he was employed by someone else and directed by someone else. He was not born to wealth or power, but worked his way up from the bottom; and then he worked himself down from the success which he had attained under the direction of others--down to a very miserable failure.
At the height of his success as a constructive engineer, he had been employed by our greatest inventor. But, at that time, this man, of whom I am writing, decided that he could do better for himself. So, he purchased the rights of a very important invention, a very practical invention, one that has since become, under the direction and ownership of others, a very successful venture. But, when it was in his hands, he was never able to meet the problem of handling other men successfully, and troubles with his men, and with men who came to deal with him, prevented him, month by month, from closing one advantageous contract after another. His failure was so great that, during the last years of his life, he was often compelled to borrow a dollar here, or fifty cents there, merely to buy something to eat.
I heard the story from one of his own attorneys, so that I know the details. Year after year the only reason for his failure—that is, the only reason he could give—was that circumstances were against him. He was always on the point of just putting a deal over, but some circumstance or condition prevented it each time—that is the way he explained it to his friends and attorneys.
But, in truth, his failure was due to lack of leadership capacity. He could not handle men without quarreling with them. When he tried to lead others, he failed; al-though, when he had been directed by others, he, had succeeded.
Unless you are a leader in your work, you cannot succeed greatly. If your work is making, handling or creating things, or if it is using words, or if it is managing and directing people, you do not succeed unless you lead in your particular line of work.
There are thousands—yes, millions—of people who work well and faithfully from youth to old age. Yet, they never attain to that which we call success. By efficient work, they just hold their own. They do not succeed greatly, because they do not lead in the work they do.
But, if you make better things than others make, or make them a little more rapidly, or more efficiently, you lead in making things and your reward is success in that line.
If you handle things more effectively than others handle them, you become a leader in handling things, and your leadership brings you success.
If you create things—that is, discover or invent them—you become a leader by treating things, and attain to success, providing that you render service by marketing the things you create.
If you work with words, you may use them as does a copyist, or a stenographer, and not succeed greatly in life. In using words, the stenographer is usually a follower—following the use of words which are dictated by another.
So long as the stenographer remains a follower in the use of words, he can improve his position only by increase of speed, or accuracy, or neatness. But, if in part, he becomes a leader in the use of words—able to use them so that he can take charge of a part of the correspondence of his employer —he becomes a leader in his field, and his compensation is doubled.
There is always a possibility of securing increased compensation and abundance, by one phase of leadership no matter in what field of work you find yourself !
Of course, there are other fields of leadership in the use of words. The person who thinks vividly and expresses himself in vivid imagery, leads all others. He becomes the great author, the great dramatist, the great orator, the great preacher, the great attorney, or the great public leader who inspires us and leads us to a higher and more efficient life.
In justice, the compensation which the world gives, not only for different kinds of work, but for leadership in each kind of work, varies. If you lead in doing things, you receive a certain compensation. If you lead in using words, you receive a greater compensation. If you lead in handling people, you attain to the great reward—for, such leadership is the most, difficult and the most needed.
There are only three fields of work : (1) making, handling, or creating things, (2) using words; and (3) leading and directing people.
Choose your field of leadership.
Choose-the field, in which you wish to lead, on the dual basis of ability and service— the field in which you can render the greatest service to others for the longest time. Your native ability is the first factor which determines your choice, and the needs of others is the second. Of this second factor, it seems unnecessary to write a word—for you know that you will fail if you choose a work which others do not need, just as you would fail if you should invest in a factory to make one-horse shays ! Today, the mass of people do not need one-horse shays.
Leadership is one of the determining factors of success, and—no matter in what field of work you are engaged—if your progress seems to be stopped, if there seems to be no chance for advancement, if your compensation seems to have reached the deadline—then, look to leadership to change all things for you!
If you think there is no demand for your work, you lack leadership. If there is no demand for the special work you are doing, it is because you do not lead others in doing that kind of work, for there is always a demand for the man or woman who can do things better, or more quickly, or more beautifully, than others do them. There is always a demand for the people who can make things or handle things more efficiently than others. There is al-ways a demand for those who lead others in the use of words, and always a demand for those who can lead other people. Even during "hard times" or financial panics, the leaders continue to hold their positions. The inefficient followers are allowed to go. In fact, because of financial depression, employers may be compelled to let them go. But, the employers keep the leaders. The world demands leadership—efficient leader-ship of any kind in every one of the three fields of work.
Naturally, you desire to attain to the heights. You desire to lead people. For this, two personal factors are basic. You must be able to think vividly in order to persuade and convince others, and you must idealize all things and conditions—even your own attitude—in order to be a little ahead of those you wish to lead.
To lead others, you must be able to persuade and convince them of the value of whatever you are doing, or of the value of what you are planning to do. All successful effort, in convincing and persuading others, depends on the vivid images in your mind, and the vivid images you awaken in their minds. You may talk and talk, but without vivid imagery, you neither convince nor persuade.
To persuade or convince another, you must create a desire in his mind. His desire depends on the vividness of the images of the things or ideas, which you wish him to accept.
And, the use of vivid imagery in attaining to leadership depends on idealization!
Idealizing is more than visioning or visualizing. Visioning intensifies your desire. Idealizing increases your desire to such an extent that you act. Many thousands of plans have been visualized—their factors selected and related—and yet many such plans have been allowed to die because de-sire was not idealized to the point of initiating action.
To psychologists it is well known that there is no impulse to action until brain centers have become stimulated so that a surplus of energy exists. It is also known that action is not initiated until the surplus energy in the brain centers becomes so great that it demands expression. The power to initiate is very rare. The impulse to initiate, to carry your plan into action, comes only from idealization. It awakens brain centers so that you are compelled to act. Moreover, when one brain center is supercharged with the energy of your mind, it radiates energy to other brain centers. This means new ideas, new relationships, and such a wealth of them, that you wonder where they come from.
Idealization is the mental process of seeing your ideal vividly working in your mind, before you put it into action. It is this, which makes a man a leader.
I remember seeing the late Mr. Morgan sitting on the balcony of a hotel in Egypt. He sat there by the hour, not moving a muscle, and with his eyes closed. If one did not know, one would assume that he was dozing. But, those who knew him intimately, told me that, after sitting thus for an hour or two, he would dictate a few cablegrams which would successfully direct financial operations in his banking houses in all parts of the world.
While he seemed to be dozing, he was idealizing action--the activities which should be carried out in the financial world, and he idealized them so perfectly, that, when put in action, they always worked out success-fully.
Idealizing the action you wish to carry out, builds in brain paths. Then, when you come to the actual doing, you have a habit of doing already successfully established in the brain. Moreover, the more times you idealize the action, the deeper and more permanent these brain paths become, so that when you do go into action, it seems that you are merely repeating what you have already done, and what you have already succeeded in doing—so that there is no hesitancy, no doubt, no lack of confidence, no lack of ease, and no mistakes in your action.
The idealized attitude relates to people, to conditions, and to the universe.
Of course, you begin with yourself for you must hold some kind of attitude about yourself. You may take one extreme or the other, or any point in between. You may think yourself a worm or a god. You are free to take any attitude you desire toward yourself, but there is only one attitude which will make you a leader, and that is the vividly idealized attitude ! An idealized attitude about yourself is more than thinking well about yourself. Idealization balances your concept of yourself, although thinking often throws your concept out of balance.
For example, you have a habit which you wish to overcome. Such habits we call "bad habits." In the past you have made efforts to change some of them. You are making effort today to change others.
Every effort which you make, makes you think. The more effort, the more thought. You do not make any effort to change your good habits, therefore, you do not think much about them. You do make an effort to change the bad habits, therefore, you usually think of the bad habits, and only of the bad ones. This thinking unbalances the true concept of yourself.
Instead of thinking of your bad habits, image yourself that is, vividly idealize yourself as you are ! Do you not discover that you have a thousand good habits, to each bad habit? The idealized attitude toward yourself makes you see yourself as you are. It gives you more confidence, more courage, more hope, more joy—and makes it possible for you to inspire and lead others.
Idealize also your attitude toward others, "That which ye seek, ye shall find." If you look for pettiness and meanness and dishonesty in others, you will find them. If you think that all men are trying to crush you, you will be crushed, for your attitude is such that it closes your eyes to all the opportunities they offer you, and all the help they would give you. If you idealize others as willing to help you, as men and women who intend to do the square thing by you, you will find help and a just reward.
Of the millions of people in New York City, probably not one person in a hundred thousand is a pickpocket—yet how joyless life is if you fear that every other passenger on the subway car is a pickpocket !
The idealized attitude changes all the conditions of life. It changes your attitude toward your business, and your activities in relation to it. It does not make you blind to obstacles, nor lead you to neglect them, but it makes you idealize one or more of the methods of overcoming them. It leads you to expect good results. When you expect good results, you plan more wisely. When you plan wisely, you get better results. It makes it possible for you to lead those, who do not idealize conditions.
In the last thirty years, the idealized attitude has changed all the methods of finance and trade and commerce. Thirty years ago, it was—" Let the buyer beware." Today, it is-"Service and more service."
The idealized attitude changes the concept of life. The universe must be good. If it were not good it would go to pieces over night !
By idealizing yourself, you lift your relationships with others.
By idealizing conditions and processes, you lift your work—no matter what it may be—from struggle to attainment, and from failure to success.
By idealizing life, you step a little ahead of others, and are able to inspire and lead them.
To succeed greatly, you must lead !