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Control Of Others

( Originally Published 1907 )

"IF you would work on any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weaknesses and disadvantages, and so awe him; or those that have interest in him, and so govern him."— Francis Bacon.

The preceding directions and illustrations relate to the control of one's self. Will-power is constantly shown to embrace others as well. Here is one of the most interesting of modern subjects of inquiry.

This chapter deals with plain matters. Its subject will be treated further in the volume on "The Personal Atmosphere." There are many things in our life that are not elucidated by what some are pleased to call " Common Sense," and these will in part appear in the discussion of that work.

At the outset we may observe certain broad principles. Without exception, these principles are possible to the large and determined Will. According to your Will-faith, so be it!

First Principle — Belief. Genuine belief in the thing in hand makes mightily for success in the contact with others. Said Emerson : " I have heard an experienced counsellor say, that he never feared the effect upon a jury of a lawyer who does not believe in his heart that his client ought to have a verdict. If he does not believe it, his unbelief will appear to the jury, despite all his protestations, and will become their unbelief. This is that law whereby a work of art, of whatever kind, sets us in the same state of mind wherein the artist was when he made it. That which we do not believe, we cannot adequately say though we may repeat the words never so often. It was this conviction which Swedenborg expressed, when he described a group of persons in the spiritual world endeavoring in vain to articulate a proposition which they did not believe ; but they could not, though they twisted and folded their lips even to indignation."

Second Principle — Confidence. A prime element in personal influence is confidence. Pizarro, the Spanish adventurer, left with one vessel and a few followers on the island of Gallo, where the greatest dangers and suffering had been endured, was offered relief by an expedition from Panama. " Drawing his sword, he traced a line with it on the sand from east to west. Then, turning towards the south, ` Friends and comrades!' he said, ` on that side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm, desertion and death ; on this side, ease and pleasure. There lies Peru with its riches ; here Panama and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south.' So saying, he stepped across the line." And they followed him.

Third Principle — Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is also a large factor in the matter. Samuel Smiles wrote very practically : " There is a contagiousness in every example of energetic conduct. The brave man is an inspiration to the weak, and compels them, as it were, to follow him. Thus Napier relates that at the combat of Vera, when the Spanish centre was broken and in flight, a young officer, named Havelock, sprang forward, and, waving his hat, called upon the Spaniards to follow him. Putting spurs to his horse, he leaped the abattis which protected the French front, and went headlong against them. The Spaniards were electrified; in a moment they dashed after him, cheering for 'El chico blanco!' (the fair boy), and with one shock they broke through the French and sent them flying down hill."

Fourth Principle Self Mastery. Hence the secret of a large control of others is found in the moral mastery of self.

It has been well written : " Keep cool, and you command everybody." A recent author quotes a good remark of Clarendon, who said of Hampden: " He was supreme governor over his passions, and he had thereby great power over other men's." Man may be controlled in an ignoble way by studying and ministering to his weaknesses, but a noble use of self-mastery has sublime privilege in exerting good influence over the weak spot and the foible of humanity. In either instance the strong man is that one whose Will is steady and purposeful. Sooner or later, however, men discover their degradation in manipulated weakness, and, resenting the imposition, throw off the yoke, when-ever the motive of fear ceases to restrain them.

Fifth Principle— Motives. The character of man's influence over his fellows depends upon the motives which he suggests for their action.

One may dominate multitudes by fear --- Nero ruled Rome as a buffoon and a madman. Or, love may be-come the controlling force in personal loyalty — Jesus swayed thousands by the inspiration of His Divine goodness. In the one case influence is coercion, ceasing so soon as fear disappears, or assuming such power as to break in desperation with its own dictates; in the other case motives of fidelity are multiplied, and they become stronger as love's gracious spell continues.

Sixth Principle — Insight. The control of others demands ability to penetrate their motives and discover their plans. Of Mirabeau it was said: "It was by the same instinctive penetration that Mirabeau so easily detected the feelings of the assembly, and so often embarrassed his opponents by revealing their secret motives, and laying open that which they were most anxious to conceal. There seemed to exist no political enigma which he could not solve. He came at once to the most intimate secrets, and his sagacity alone was of more use to him than a multitude of spies in the enemy's camp. . . He detected in a moment every shade of character; and, to express the result of his observations, he had invented a language scarcely intelligible to any one but himself ; had terms to indicate fractions of talents, qualities, virtues, or vices halves and quarters and, at a glance, he could perceive every real or apparent contradiction. No form of vanity, disguised ambition, or tortuous proceedings could escape his penetration ; but he could also perceive good qualities, and no man had a higher esteem for energetic and virtuous characters." This ability may be successfully cultivated.

Seventh Principle Cooperation. Permanent influence over others flows from the enlistment of their strength. The supremest individual power in this respect is gauged by the pleasure which it offers as in- ducement to surrender, or by the sense of right to which appeal is made for alliance, or by suggestion of highest self-interest as a reason for loyalty. The best rule in the control of others is the Golden Rule. In the long run, life reciprocates with those who do unto others as they would that others should do unto them. That power of Will which can compel one to be polite, considerate, patient, helpful, luminously cheerful, is sure to cast a large and agreeable spell upon our fellows.

It is not to be understood that these suggestions seek to put a premium upon what is called " policy." Men are not all selfishness. There is a divine reason in humanity which makes it amenable to the kingly sway of sincerity, reality and righteousness. Not a few individuals in high positions to-day there are whose chief capital is their unblemished manliness. The native vigor of down-right honesty creates a current of at-traction which it is hard to resist. The people put faith in Grant, because, no doubt, of manifest. ability, but also for the reason that they saw in the silent commander an actual man. When a soul succeeds in convincing others that it is genuinely possessed by an eternal truth or principle, the Infinite steps in and accords him a public coronation as leader. Saul among the Jews was simply fantastic; David was a real argument for a king and a throne. Stephen A. Douglas, with culture and political machinery behind him, was no match for Lincoln, because in this man burned the unquenchable fires which blazed in the heart of the North. It was the " Little Giant " against " Honest Old Abe" and the great slavery-hating States. Here the Will, that years before had shaken its clenched fist at the " Institution," rose to grandeur and assumed the robes of prophet and deliverer.

Eighth Principle — Will-Power. The resolute Will is leader by Nature's choice. If itself is throned in righteousness, its sway is certain and permanent — in a modified sense at times, to be sure, but not infrequently with limits outlasting the span of its possessor's life. Cromwell's Will made him " Ironsides." William of Orange competed with the subtlety, patience and tireless pertinacity of Philip the Second, and won a lasting influence which the Spanish king could not destroy by power of wealth, position or ecclesiastical backing. These historic dramas are huge representations of smaller affairs in every community. In the fullest sense, a strong Will for control of others is a right Will.

Yet it seems true that not all such control is explicable on the theory of plain means and methods. What is the secret of the power which cowes the wild beast, compelling its eye to wander from the steady gaze of man? What bows the stubborn purpose of the would-be criminal when confronted by the resolute fearless gaze of his victim " in that deadly Indian hug in which men wrestle with eyes "? What maintains the mastery of family, school, prison, when some quiet spirit walks among their inmates? It is not al-ways fear, for his punishments may not be unduly severe. It is not always love, for he sometimes fails to inspire affection. It is personality centered in unyielding Will power. Other elements of explanation are frequently possible, but there are dominant minds whose only explanation is — themselves.

Mirabeau, speaking at Marseilles, was called " calumniator, liar, assassin, scoundrel." He said, "I wait, Messieurs, till these amenities be exhausted." The Will of Mirabeau was phenomenal., " His whole per-son gave you the idea of an irregular power, but a power such as you would figure as a Tribune of the People."

Of Wellington, Victor Hugo remarked : " The battle of Waterloo was won by a captain of the second class." But, Hugo, who set out to be the greatest man of his time, and who wrote the greatest work of prose fiction that has been produced for an hundred years, was here biased by the Napoleonic tradition. Welling-ton's campaigns were skillfully planned and carried out with a pertinacious patience calculated to wear to shreds the hostilities of many Bonapartes. When asked, during Waterloo, what should be done in case of his death, he replied : " Do as I am doing." Here was the culmination of that spirit which could say to a madman coming into his presence with the remark, " I am sent to kill you," " Kill me? Very odd." In such men the static Will exhibits the Gibraltar on which mind is fortified in action. It is a power seemingly capable of achievements by means that are superior to ordinary appeals. It discharges, as it may be said, like a battery, either to overwhelm or to win, by sheer resolution. Unseen, without gesture, it speaks : I am your master. I claim you for my friendship, my following, my uses." And the thing is even so.

The phenomena of hypnotism are familiar. It is now distinctly asserted that " no one can be hypnotized against his Will ; no one can be hypnotized without he complies with certain conditions and does his part to bring about the subjective state. To be hypnotized in no respect shows a weakness ; weak-minded people (contrary to the opinion of some) do not make good sensitives; the most susceptible subjects are intelligent people having strong minds and Will-power, with the ability to maintain a certain passivity as to results ; hypnotism is not a conflict of Will-powers in which the stronger overcomes the weaker. The person hypnotized may have a very much stronger Will than the operator."

Hypnotism thus seems to depend largely at least upon prearranged conditions. But here is the secret of " personal magnetism." One is truly magnetic who establishes the best condition of mind among those with whom he comes in contact. Here arises the necessity for a good personal address, a right personal atmosphere, a plausibility of argument, dexterity in avoiding disagreeable matters, the ability to present pleasing motives for action by others, and qualifications of the like kind. The real secrets of results of " personal magnetism" are to be found not only in yourself, but as well in the " other fellow "; if you can readily make him feel as you feel and think as you think, without suggesting the fact to him that you are doing so, you are " magnetic." Hence the precepts of average social and business success, together with indomitable Will not to lose control of self and forever to keep success in mind, constitute a source of real personal magnetism which has its illustrations every-where in our life. " Every thought created by our mind is a force of greater or lesser intensity, varying in strength according to the impetus imparted to it at the time of its creation."


The great subject of personal magnetism is elaborately and practically set forth in the author's work, "Power for Success," to which the student is referred.

If you will make the following suggestions a part of your working capital, you are on the highway of agree-able and satisfactory relations with your fellows. Though the matter seems simple enough in theory, it will tax your perseverance to the utmost to carry it out to practical results :

1. Never show temper.

2. Never betray envy or jealousy.

3. Indulge in no sarcasms.

4. Keep unpleasant opinions to yourself.

5. Tell no man an uncomfortable truth, if this can with honesty be avoided, and make sure that you disclose the motive of a well wisher if you must utter the facts.

6. Make no remark about others which you would not instantly make in their presence.

7. Make no remark about others which you must know will, if instantly reported to them, cause enmity against you or injure their interests.

8. Never criticise to a man his wife, to a wife her husband, to a parent the child, to the child its parent, nor to any person a relative or friend.

9. When conversing with others make sure with whom you are talking in these respects, and in regard to all social, business, political and religious matters.

10. Never make a joke that hurts any one present or absent.

11. Never relate anything which might not with propriety be repeated to a lady just introduced to you.

12. Make no promise without knowing that you can fulfill it. Then fail not.

13. Make your word good promptly. If you cannot, explain to the person involved.

14. Never dodge a creditor.

15. Don't be a bore.

16. Ride your hobby in the back yard.

17. Permit other people to have views.

18. See things as they are; tell them as you see them — when good sense and kindness allow.

19. Put a heart into your handshake.

20. Be as courteous to " low " as to " high."

21. Be considerate of the rights and feelings of others. How about your barking dog? your thrumming piano? your lusty boy?

22. Carry the Golden Rule on your sleeve°

23. Never rub a man the wrong way.

24. Never contradict an irritated person.

25. Never get into an argument in a parlor nor on the street.

26. Never ridicule a man's pet theory nor a woman's foible.

27. Never ridicule a person's walk, dress, habit, speech.

28. Never laugh at weakness.

29. Permit yourself to sneer at nothing. The sneer is the devil's laugh.

30. Never hold any one in contempt. At least conceal the feeling like a death's-head.

31. Never order people about. Your clerk is no dog.

32. Be absolutely honest everywhere.

33. Be gracious and accommodating.

34. Cultivate generosity of pocket and of thought.

35. On sixty dollars a month don't browbeat the people. You are only a ticket agent, a steamboat purser, a hotel clerk, a bank teller. Not much, after all, if you are to treat the public as though you were a lord. A good deal if you are decent.

36. Don't stalk along the street as though you were superfine, angelic, distilled wonder of imperial blue blood. You are exceedingly lovely, to be sure ; yet just a woman bones, fat, blood, nerves, weaknesses and blunders -- like the rest of womankind.

37. Never antagonize others unless principle demands. And then, hold the purpose in view, " To win, not to alienate."

38. Never pass judgment upon others without first mentally "putting yourself in his place."

39. Never utter that judgment unless you are convinced that this will accomplish some good or satisfy the reasonable demands of a definite principle.

40. Never permit your general opinion of a person to blind you to his good qualities.

41. In discussions, never interrupt a speaker, nor talk in a loud tone of voice. If you cannot speak without interruption, go away, or keep silence. One who will not hear your views is not worth the trouble of excited conversation.

42. Preface all statement of difference of opinion with a conciliatory word.

43. Never insist upon doing business with a person who evidently does not wish to see you — unless you are a policeman, a sheriff, a tax-collector, a lawyer's clerk, a physician or a messenger of death.

44. If your man is busy, yet makes an effort to be polite, get out of his presence as quickly and pleasantly as possible. Go again when he feels better.

45. Don't try to do business with a madman.

46. Don't try to conciliate a pig; it is always best to let him alone.

47. Don't sell a man what he doesn't want.

48. Don't sell a man an inferior article which he believes to be a superior.

49. Don't ask a favor from a person whom you haven't treated properly.

50. Don't try to fool people whose business it is to know people.

51. Always grant a favor if reasonably possible.

52. Don't try to down a man who knows more about a subject than you do.

53. Don't criticise or condemn matters into which you have never delved to discover merits or demerits. How can you say whether it is right or wrong when you don't know its real or pretended principles ?

54. Bear in mind that a friend is always worth more than an enemy. " Grudges " and ill-feelings toward other men wreck havoc in the brain substance.

55. Be above petty jealousies, or a continual fretting about what somebody said or did.

56. Cultivate the ability, in dealing with others, to turn aside cutting remarks, either real or fancied. Don't have super-sensitive feelings that are cut by every zephyr of j est.

57. Remember Carlyle's " great silent men " don't tell everything you know, either concerning others or relating to your own affairs.

58. Don't tell things " before they are ripe." Often times green may-be-so's later cause mental indigestion.

59. Don't launch a project until you have looked on every possible side of it. Sometimes the unobserved side is the one where the cave-in starts.

60. Always use pleasant words ; this is not expensive, and you know not when the boomerang may return. A bad word is like a mule's hind feet; it will wait years for its one chance — and it usually gets that chance.

61. Treat every man, woman and child as though you were just about to confer a great favor but avoid all condescension.

62. Make sure that your way is best before insisting upon it. Defer such insisting until you have won over the other person.

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