Fear Of Final Failure
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The fear of failure has its roots in two misconceptions which are everywhere prevalent. You are invited steadily to examine these misconceptions until you fully perceive and feel their utter falsity.
FIRST MISCONCEPTION: That Success Means Wealth and Visible Power. This is the error into which magazine and newspaper literature commonly drifts. The successful people are the moneyed people, it is often supposed, or the leaders of great industries, notable art, politics or society. This conception is untrue and absolutely groundless.
The error is based on the false notions that money is property and that publicity is power.
Money is not property, except in the bare material, and the right to use the material in a certain way. And money is not wealth, except in its material, at all. Money is a substitute for property and a token of material wealth.
A dying man caused all his ownership in property to be converted into money, and then gathering his relations about him, threw the money into the fire, remarking that he thus relieved them from all trouble concerning it. The act was detestable, of course. Yet all the wealth his money had represented still remained in the world. The property that he had surrendered in the exchange for money still remained. Fire merely destroyed the token.
It is error to regard money as evidence of success, in itself. Money represents a kind of success when it stands for material values created by individual effort. Many possessors of money are unable to point to values behind it as their own creation. Unless your money represents some values which you have created, it is not a symbol of your success, Your success, as indicated by money, consists, then, not in accumulation of money, but in creation of values. Money is not a value: it is a medium of exchange of values. There are multitudes of values in the world which have brought their creators no money. Stolen inventions and the application of scientific discoveries may be cited. No man's success, therefore, is necessarily represented by the amount of money he owns.
Money symbolizes the superficial in life, but success strikes away down into life's very heart.
Similar truths obtain with reference to power. Power is ability to create, transform or move values.
Values are the things that are indispensable to progress.
This power to create, transform or move things that are indispensable to progress cannot reside in publicity nor consist of office or position, since it is often unseen and without the leverages usually employed. Always, at the last, we discover that power is solely a matter of thought and action directed by will.
The only wealth man knows is value indispensable to progress.
The only power man knows is ability to create such value.
The only creator of real value man knows is will-directed thought-action.
Success is the development of . ability to create values indispensable to progress, and the creation of such values through will-directed thought-action.
We conclude, then: You possess this ability to some degree; if you have made the reasonable most of that ability, you are so far a success.
If you have created some values indispensable to progress, as, reasonably speaking, you surely may have done, you are a success.
You possess a will and the power of thought: if you have developed and used will and thought to your reasonable best, you are a success.
Let us understand that the average man and woman has it in his or her power to achieve, for him or her, just as great and genuine a success as any man or woman of wealth, position, fame or genius.
It is, therefore, a mistake to look to any other human being for a standard of your success. You alone can furnish that standard. The only legitimate standard of an individual's success is what that individual, reasonably speaking, can or ought to be and do ac-cording to his endowments with environment or circumstances merely considered as stimulus to achievement. Thus we come to the
SECOND MISCONCEPTION: That Success is Ever a Matter Involving Things External to the Individual. Success is absolutely personal, and has no necessary connection with external matters.
When we measure success by externals, we invariably set up as a standard some other personality or some other person's achievements. Thus. we judge individuals, and ourselves, by mere notions. If the individuals fail to realize our notion, they have failed, we thoughtlessly decide. If their life does not take on certain external signs, they are, again, failures, we conclude. Hence, when we fail to resemble a given individual in personality or in achievement, we judge our-selves to have failed. But all this is error, which we seek now to remove by the regime:
REGIME AGAINST FEAR OF FINAL FAILURE. First Phase: Real Success Now. No man's or woman's success depends on his resembling -a given individual or upon his duplicating another's achievements. The juniper bush or ground cedar is not a failure merely because it may not grow to be as tall as the oak and bear acorns. The possibility of a given kind or degree of success is born into every human being. That is his right and his responsibility. If he wins that, no failure is he. The real question, then, is this— and it is enough: "What can I, any human, be and do to create, trans-form, or move values indispensable to progress?" Your success is your practical answer to that question.
The fear of failure has, therefore, no ground in which to thrive, if —
First, you make practically your own the principles of this chapter;
Secondly, you resolve to make good, and, reason-ably speaking, do make good, the practical answer to the question above given. You can never fear failure while you are so engaged. The resolve and the action will infallibly breed the courage-feeling that you are and shall be equal to all the entertainable demands that may come into your life. As you now read, that feeling arises in your consciousness: make the feeling habit by will and by incessantly recalling the idea.
Second Phase: Psychic Demand. In the meantime, you are invited to continue in deepest action the demand-thought that all success possible to you shall assuredly be forthcoming from year to year through all your life. "Whatsoever things ye desire —believe!"