There is a science of speech, and whoever wishes to promote his welfare and advancement must understand this science thoroughly and regulate his speech accordingly. Every word that is spoken exercises a power in personal life, and that power will work either for or against the person, depending upon the nature of the word. You can talk yourself into trouble, poverty or disease, and you can talk yourself into harmony, health and prosperity. In brief, you can talk yourself into almost any condition, desirable or undesirable.
Every word is an expression and every expression produces a tendency in some part of the system. This tendency may appear in the mind, in the body, in the chemical life of the body, in the world of desire, in character, among the various faculties, or anywhere in the personality, and will work itself out wherever it appears. Our expressions determine largely where we are to go, what we are to accomplish, and how we are to meet those conditions through which we may pass.
When our expressions produce tendencies towards sickness and failure, we will begin to move towards those conditions, and if the tendency is very strong, all the creative energies in the system will move in the same direction, focusing their efforts upon sickness and failure, or taking those conditions as their models, and thereby producing such conditions in the system. On the other hand, when our expressions produce tendencies towards health, happiness, power and success, we will begin to move towards those things, and in like manner create them in a measure.
Every word has an inner life force, sometimes called the hidden power of words, and it is the nature of this power that determines whether the expression is to be favorable or not. This power may be constructive or destructive. It may move towards the superior or the inferior. It may promote your purpose in life or it may retard that purpose, and it is the strongest when it is deeply felt. Therefore, the words which we inwardly feel are the words that act as turning points in life. When you feel that trouble is coming, and express that feeling in your speech, you are actually turning in your path and are beginning to move towards that trouble. In addition, you are creating troubled conditions in your system. We all know that the more trouble we feel in the midst of trouble, the more troublesome that trouble will become. And we also know that that person who retains poise and self-control in the midst of trouble, will pass through it all without being seriously affected; and when it is over, is much wiser and stronger for the experience.
When you feel that better days are coming, and express that feeling in your speech, you turn all the power of your being towards the ideal of better days, and those powers will begin to create the better in your life. Whenever you talk about success, advancement, or any desirable condition, try to express the feeling of those things in your words. This inner feeling determines the tendencies of your creative powers; therefore, when you feel success in your speech, you cause the creative powers to create qualities in yourself that can produce success, while if you express the feeling of doubt, failure or loss in your words, those creative powers will produce inferiority, disturbance, discord, and a tendency to mistakes. It is in this way that the thing we fear comes upon us. Fear is a feeling that feels the coming of ills or other things we do not want; and as we always express through our words the feelings that we fear, we form tendencies toward those things, and the creative powers within us will produce them.
Whether the inner life force of a word will be constructive or destructive depends upon several factors, the most important of which are the tone, the motive and the idea. The tone of every word should be harmonious, wholesome, pleasing, and should convey a deep and serene expression. Words that express whines, discontent, sarcasm, aggressiveness and the like are destructive; so much so, that no one can afford to employ them under any circumstance whatever. Nothing is ever gained by complaints that are complaining, nor by criticisms that criticise. When things are not right, state so in a tone of voice that is firm and strong, but kind. A wronged customer who employs sweetness of tone as well as firmness of expression is one who will receive the first attention and the best attention, and nothing will be left unturned until the matter is set right. The words that wound others do far more injury to the person who gives them expression. No one therefore can afford to give expression to a single word that may tend to wound. Words of constructive power are always deeply felt. They are never loud or confusing, but always quiet and serene, filled with the very spirit of conviction.
Never give expression to what you do not wish to encourage. The more you talk about a thing the more you help it along. The “walls have ears” and the world is full of minds that will act upon your suggestion. Never mention the dark side of anything. It will interfere with your welfare. To tell your troubles may give you temporary relief, but it is scattering seed broadcast that will produce another crop of more trouble. If you have troubles, turn your back upon them and proceed to talk about harmony, freedom, attainment and success, and feel deeply the spirit of these new and better conditions. Thus you will begin to create for yourself a new life, new opportunities, new environment and a new world. Never speak unless you have something to say that gives cheer, encouragement, information or wholesome entertainment. To talk for the mere sake of talking is to throw precious energy away, and no human chatterbox will ever acquire greatness.
The motive back of every word should be constructive, and the life expressed in every word should convey the larger, the better and the superior. Such words have building power, and are additions to life of extreme value. Every word should express, as far as possible, the absolute truth, and should never convey ideas that are simply indicated by appearances.
What is meant by speaking the absolute truth, however, is a matter that the majority do not understand, and as it is a very large subject, it would require pages to give even a brief scientific definition. But for practical purposes, the subject can be made sufficiently clear through the use of a few illustrations taken from the world’s daily speech. People who think they have to say something and have nothing in particular to say, always take refuge in a brief description of the weather. In their descriptions they usually employ such expressions as “It is terribly hot,” “It is an awful day,” “This is terrible weather,” “This is a miserably cold day,” and so on. But such expressions do not change the weather, and there is no use of talking if your words are not to be of value in some way. You may say all sorts of disagreeable things about the weather without changing the weather in the least, but will such expressions leave you unchanged? Positively not! Whenever you declare that something is horrible, you cause horrible thoughts to send their actions all through your nervous system. These actions may be weak, but many drops, no matter how small, will finally wear away a rock.
When people talk about themselves, they seldom fail to give expression to a score of detrimental statements. Here are a few: “I can’t stand this,” “I feel so tired,” “I cannot bear to think of it,” “I am thoroughly disgusted,” “I am so susceptible to climatic changes,” “I am so sensitive and so easily disturbed,” “I am getting weak and nervous,” “My memory is failing,” “I am getting old,” “I cannot work the way I used to,” “My strength is gradually leaving me,” “There is no chance for me any more,” “Everything in life is uphill work,” “I have passed a miserable night,” “This has been a hard day,” “I have nothing but trouble and bad luck,” “You know I am human and so very weak,” “There is always something wrong no matter how hard you try,” “You know I have to be so very careful about what I eat as nearly everything disagrees with me.”
A thousand other statements, all of them destructive, might be mentioned, but any one who understands the power of thought will realize at once that such statements can never be otherwise but injurious and should therefore be avoided absolutely. But these statements are not only injurious–they are also untrue–absolutely untrue in every sense of the term.
The fact is you can stand almost anything if you forget your human weakness and array yourself in spiritual strength. You do not have to get tired. Work does not make any one tired so long as he gets eight hours of sleep every night. It is wrong thinking that makes people tired. These are scientific facts. That person who permits himself to become disgusted at anything whatever is talking himself down to the plane of inferiority. When you feel disgusted you think disgusting thoughts, and such thoughts clog the mind. You cannot afford to think disgusting thoughts simply because something else is disgusting, because we daily become like the thoughts we think. We cannot improve disagreeable things by making ourselves disagreeable. Two wrongs never made a right. The proper course is to forgive the wrong-doer, forget the wrong and then do something substantial to right the whole matter. When we think kindly of the weather, place ourselves in harmony with Nature, think properly and dress properly, we shall not be susceptible to changes in the atmosphere; but so long as we say that we are effected by changing atmospheres, we not only make ourselves negative and susceptible, but we also produce detrimental effects in our systems through our own unwholesome beliefs. The man who constantly thinks he is easily disturbed disturbs himself. When we are in harmony with everything including ourselves and refuse to be otherwise, nothing will ever disturb us. That person who is nervous can make the matter worse by saying that he is nervous, because such a statement is a nervous statement and is full of discord. When we begin to feel nervous, we can remedy the matter absolutely by resolving to remain calm, and by employing only quiet, wholesome and constructive speech. Your words will cause you to move in the direction indicated by the nature of those words, and it is just as easy to use words that bring calmness and poise, as those that bring inharmony and confusion.
Modern science has demonstrated conclusively that there is nothing about a person that gets old. Therefore, to say that you are getting old is to persist in speaking the untruth, and it is but natural that you should reap as you sow. We must remember that a false appearance comes from the practice of judging from appearances. To state that your strength is failing is likewise to speak the untruth. There is but one strength in the universe–the strength of the Supreme–and that strength can never fail. You may have as much of that strength as you desire. All that is necessary for you to do is to live in perfect touch with the Supreme, and never think, do or say anything that will interfere with that sublime oneness. The strength of the Supreme is just as able to fill your system with life and power now as it was at any time in the past. Therefore, there is no real reason whatever why your powers should diminish. Be true to the truth and your power will perpetually increase.
The belief that there are no opportunities for you is caused by the fact that you have hidden yourself in a cave of inferiority. Go out into the life of worth, ability and competence, and you will find more opportunities than you can use. The world is ever in search of competent minds, and modern knowledge has made it possible for man to develop his ability. No one therefore has any legitimate reason for speaking of hard luck or hard times unless he prefers to live in want. The more you complain about hard times, the harder times will become for you, while if you resolve to forget that there is such a thing as failure and proceed to make your own life as you wish it to be, the turn in the lane will surely come.
The idea that the pathway of life is all uphill work is also a false one, and if we give that idea expression we are simply placing obstacles in our way. Nothing is uphill work when we approach it properly, and there is nothing that helps more to place us in true relationship with things than true expression.
If the night has been unpleasant, never mention the fact for a moment. To talk about it will only produce more unpleasantness in your system. There is nothing wrong about the night. The unpleasantness was most likely produced by your own perverse appetite, or by some reckless inexcusable act. Forgive yourself and declare that you will never abuse nature any more. Such powerful words if repeated often, will turn the tendency of your habits, and your life will become natural and wholesome.
No day would be hard if we met all things with the conviction that we are equal to every occasion. Live properly, think properly, work properly and talk properly, and trouble and ill-luck will not trouble you seriously any more. That person who declares that there is always something wrong is always doing something to make things wrong. When we have wrong on the brain we will make many mistakes, so there will always be something wrong brewing for us. When wrong things come, set them right and look upon the experience as an opportunity for you to develop greater mastership.
When you agree with yourself, all wholesome and properly prepared food will agree with you. But you cannot expect food to agree with you so long as you are disagreeable; and to declare that this or that always disagrees with you, is to fill your system with disagreeable thoughts, disturbed actions and conditions of discord. That nature can digest food under such circumstances no one can justly expect. There is nothing that injures digestion more than the habit of finding fault with the food. If you do not think that you can eat this or that, leave it alone, but leave it alone mentally as well as physically. It is not enough to drop a disagreeable thing from your hands; you must also drop it from your mind.
Remember, you are mentally living with everything that you talk about, and there is nothing that affects us more than that which we take into our mental life. It is therefore not only necessary to speak the truth about all things, but also to avoid speaking about those things that are unwholesome. To speak about that which is wrong or inferior is never wholesome, no matter how closely we think we stand by the facts. Seeming facts, or what is called relative truth, should never receive expression unless they deal with that which is conducive to higher worth; and when circumstances compel us to make exceptions to this rule, we should avoid giving any feeling to what we say.
The greatest essential, however, is to make all speech constructive. Search for the real truth that is at the foundation of all life, and then give expression to such words as convey the full significance to that truth. The results, to say the least, will be extraordinary.
In daily conversation, the law of constructive speech should be most conscientiously applied. What we say to others will determine to a considerable degree what they are to think, and what tendencies their mental actions are to follow; and since man is the product of his thought, conversation becomes a most important factor in man.
We steadily grow into the likeness of that which we think of the most, and what we are to think about depends largely upon the mode, the nature and the subject matter of our conversation. When conversation originates or intensifies the tendency to think about the wrong, the ordinary or the inferior, it becomes destructive, and likewise it tends to keep before mind the faults and defects that may exist in human nature. To be constructive, conversation should tend to turn attention upon the better side, the stronger side, the superior side of all things, and should give the ideal the most prominent place in thought, speech or expression. All conversation should be so formed that it may tend to move the mind towards the higher domains of thought, and should make everybody more keenly conscious of the greater possibilities that exist within them. No word should ever be spoken that will, in any way, bring the person’s faults or short-comings before his mind, nor should any form of speech be permitted that may cause sadness, offense, depression or pain. Every word should convey hope, encouragement and sunshine.
To constantly remind a person of his faults is to cause him to become more keenly conscious of those faults. He will think more and more about his faults, and will thereby cause his faults to become more prominent and more troublesome than they ever were before. The more we think about our weakness, the weaker we become; and the more we talk about weakness, the more we think about weakness. Conversation therefore should never touch upon those things that we do not wish to retain or develop. The only way to remove weakness is to develop strength, and to develop strength we must keep attention constantly upon the quality of strength. We develop what we think about provided all thinking has depth, quality and continuity.
Conversation has exceptional value in the training of young minds, and in many instances may completely change the destinies of these minds. To properly train a child, his attention should be directed as much as possible upon those qualities that have worth and that are desired in his development; and the way he is spoken to will largely determine where he is to give the greater part of his attention. To scold a child is to remind him of his faults. Every time he is reminded of his faults he gives more attention, more thought, and more strength to those faults. His good qualities are thereby made weaker while his bad qualities are made worse. It is not possible to improve the mind and the character of the child by constantly telling him not to do “this” or “that.” As a rule, it will increase his desire to do this other thing, and he will cease only through fear, or after having wasted a great deal of time in experiences that have become both disgusting and bitter.
It is the tendency of every mind to desire to do what it is told not to do, the reason being that negative commands are nearly always associated with fear; and when the mind is in the attitude of fear, or dread or curiosity, it is very easily impressed by whatever it may be thinking about.
When we are warned we either enter a state of fear or one of curiosity, and while in those states, our minds are so deeply and so easily impressed by that from which we are warned, that we give it our whole attention. The result is we think so much about it that we become almost completely absorbed in it; and we are carried away, so to speak, not away from the danger, but into it.
When any one is going wrong, it is a mistake to warn him not to go further. It is also a mistake to leave him alone. The proper course is to call his attention to something better, and frame our conversation in such a way that he becomes wholly absorbed in the better. He will then forget his old mistakes, his old faults and his old desires, and will give all his life and power to the building of that better which has engaged his new interest.
The same law may be employed to prevent sickness and failure. When the mind becomes so completely absorbed in perfect health that all sickness is forgotten, all the powers of mind will proceed to create health, and every trace of sickness will soon disappear. When the mind becomes so completely absorbed in higher attainments and in greater achievements that all thought of failure is forgotten, all the forces of mind will begin to work for the promotion of those attainments and achievements. The person will be gaining ground every day, and greater success will positively follow.
To cause the mind to forget the wrong, the lesser and the inferior, constructive conversation may be employed with unfailing results; in fact, such conversation must be employed if the mind is to advance and develop. Our conversation must be in perfect accord with our ambitions, our desires, and our ideals, and all our expressions must aim to promote the real purpose we have in view.
It is the tendency of nearly every mind to try to make his friends perfect according to his own idea of perfection, and he usually proceeds by constantly talking to his friends about their faults, and what they should not do in order to become as perfect as his ideal. Parents, as a rule, do the same with their children, not knowing that through this method many are made worse; and it is only those who are very strong in mind and character that are not adversely affected by this method.
To help our friends or our children to become ideal, we should never mention their faults. Our conversation should deal with the strong points of character and the greater possibilities of mind. We should so frame our conversation that we tend to make everybody feel there is something in them. Our conversation should have an optimistic tendency and an ascending tone. It should deal with those things in life that are worth while, and it should always give the ideal the greatest prominence. Weaknesses of human nature should be recognized as little as possible, and should seldom, if ever, be mentioned. When people engage in destructive conversation in our midst we should try to change the subject, by calling their attention to the better side. There always is another and a better side; and when examined closely will be found to be far greater and infinitely more important than the ordinary side. Admirable qualities exist everywhere, and it will prove profitable to give these our undivided attention.
The first mark of a master mind is that he is able to promote his own perpetual improvement. The second is that he is able to be strong, joyous and serene under every circumstance.
The imagining faculty is the creative faculty of the mind, the faculty that creates plans, methods and ideas. Our imagination therefore must always be clear, lofty, wholesome and constructive if we would create superior ideas and build for greater things.
Before you can have greater success you must become a greater man. Before you can become a greater man you must reach out toward the new and the greater along all lines; and this is possible only through the constructive use of imagination.
You get your best ideas when your mind acts in the upper story. And in all fields of action it is the best ideas that win.