A great mind does not come from ancestors, but from the life, the thought and the actions of the individual himself; and such a mind can be constructed by any one who understands the art of mind building, and who faithfully applies his art.
You may have a small mind today, and your ancestors for many generations back may have been insignificant in mental power; nevertheless, you may become even exceptional in mental capacity and brilliancy if you proceed to build your mind according to the principles of exact science; and those principles any one can apply.
There are two obstacles, however, that must be removed before this building process can begin, and the first one of these is the current belief in heredity. That we inherit things is true, but the belief that we cannot become any larger or any better than our inheritance is not true. As long as a man believes that greatness is not possible to him because there were no great minds among his ancestors, he is holding himself down, and cannot become any more than he subconsciously thinks he can; while on the other hand, the man who expects to become much because he had remarkable grandfathers is liable to be disappointed because he depends too much upon his illustrious forefathers and not enough upon himself. Blood will tell when combined with ambition, energy and enterprise, but the very best of blood will prove worthless in the life of him who expects ancestral greatness to carry him through. When we have received good things we must turn them to good account or nothing is gained. Our success will not come from the acts of our forefathers, but can come alone from what we are doing now.
Those who have inherited rich blood can use that richness in building greatness in themselves, but those who have not the privilege of such inheritance need not be discouraged. They can create their own rich blood and make it as rich as they like. Whether your forefathers were great or small matters not. Do not think of that subject, but live in the conviction that you may become what you wish to become by using well the good you have received, and by creating those essentials that you did not receive. If you have inherited undesirable traits, remember that evil is but valuable power misdirected. Learn to properly direct all your forces and your undesirable traits will be transformed into elements of growth, progress and advancement.
We all have met men and women with remarkable talents, who persisted in thinking that they would never amount to anything because there was no genius among their ancestors. But if there had been a genius in the family some time during past generations, the question would be where that genius actually received his genius. If we all have to get greatness from ancestors, where did the first great ancestor get his greatness? There must be a beginning somewhere to every individual attainment, and that beginning might just as well be made by us now. What others could originate in their time, we can originate in our time.
The belief that we must inherit greatness from some one in order to attain greatness is without any scientific foundation whatever, and yet there are thousands of most promising minds that remain small simply because they entertain this belief.
To believe that heredity is against you and that you therefore will not accomplish anything worth while, is to make your work a wearing process instead of a building process. In consequence, you will not advance, and you will constantly remain in the rear; but the moment you realize that it is in your power to become as much as you may desire, your work and study will begin to promote your own growth and advancement. When you live, think and act in the belief that you can become much, whatever you do will cause you to become more. Thus all your actions will develop power and ability, and living itself will become a building process.
That man may become great regardless of the fact that there were no great minds among his ancestors many thinkers will admit, provided there are indications of exceptional ability in the man himself, but they entertain no hope if they see nothing in the man himself. And here we have the second obstacle to the building of a great mind. This obstacle, however, must be removed in every mind that aims to rise above the ordinary, because the belief that the average person has nothing in him is the cause of fully three-fourths of the mental inferiority we find in the world. But the new psychology has conclusively demonstrated the fact that the man who has nothing in him does not exist. All minds have the same possibilities, though most of those possibilities may be dormant in the minds of the majority.
The difference between a great mind and a small mind is simply this, that in the former the greater possibilities have come forth into objective action, while in the latter those possibilities are still in subjective inaction. When we say that a man has nothing in him we are contradicting the very principle of existence, because to be a man, a man must have just as much in him as any other man. What is in him may not be in action, and his mentality may appear to be small, but the possibilities of greatness are there. There is a genius somewhere in his mind, because there is a genius in every mind, though in most minds that genius may as yet be asleep.
When every child is taught the great truth that it has unlimited possibilities within its own subconscious mind, and that it can, through the scientific development of those possibilities, become practically what it may desire to become, we shall have laid the foundation for the greatest race of people that the ages have known. But we need not wait for future generations to demonstrate the possibilities of this truth. Every mind that begins to apply the principle of this truth now may begin to enlarge his mind now, and he may continue this process of enlargement indefinitely.
When we have removed the two obstacles mentioned, and have established ourselves firmly in the conviction that we have unlimited possibilities within us, more than sufficient to become whatever we may desire, we are ready to proceed with the building of a great mind.
To promote the building of a great mind, the two prime essentials, scope and brilliancy, must be constantly kept in the foreground of consciousness. The mind that is not brilliant is of little value even though its scope may be very large. Likewise, the mind that is narrow or circumscribed is extremely limited, however brilliant it may be. A great mind is great both in capacity and ability. It can see practically everything and see through practically everything. To see everything is to have remarkable scope. To see through everything is to have exceptional brilliancy.
To give scope to the mind, every action of mind must be trained to move toward that which is greater than all persons or things. Those feelings or desires that cause the mind to become absorbed in some one thing or group of things, will limit the mental scope. Therefore in love, sympathy and purpose the sphere of action must be universal. When we live only with that love that centers attention upon a limited number of persons, one of the greatest actions of mind will work in a limited world. When our sympathies go only to a chosen few, the same thing occurs, and when our purpose in life has a personified goal, we keep the mind within the limitations of that personification.
To give universality to our feelings and actions, may require considerable training of the mental tendencies, but it is absolutely necessary if we will develop a great mind. It is only those mental forces that move towards the verge of the limitless in every direction that can cause the mind to transcend limitations; therefore, all the forces of the mind should be given this transcending tendency.
To develop mental scope, consciousness must move in every direction, and it must move along right lines, so that no obstacle may be met during that continuous expansive process. Such obstacles, however, are always produced by limitations of thought. Therefore, they may be avoided when all the actions of mind are placed upon a universal scale. In the mental actions of love, we find many forces, all of which are true in their own places, but all of these forces must be exercised universally; that is, they must act upon a scale that is without bounds in the field of your own consciousness. The mind must go in every direction as far as it possibly can go in that direction, and must act in the conviction that wherever it may go it can go farther still. The understanding must know that there is no obstacle where the mind may seem to cease in its onward action, and that the mind is forever growing, thereby going as far each day as that day’s development requires.
When this idea is applied to a personal love between man and woman, the feeling of love must be based upon the principle that those two souls have the power to love each other more and more indefinitely; that the larger the love becomes the more lovable will the objects of that love become, and that the consciousness of perfect unity in pure affection increases constantly as the two souls become more and more individualized in their own sublime nature. It is possible to make conjugal love universal and continuous between one man and one woman when the love of each is directed toward the sublime nature of the other. Through this law, each individual develops through the consciousness of the largeness of the real nature of the other, and the more the two love each other in this universal sense, the more they will see in each other to love. In addition, the minds of both will constantly enlarge in scope, because when love acts upon this larger scale, the whole mind will act upon this larger scale, as there is no stronger power in mind than love.
The love between parent and child can, in like manner, be made universal. In this attitude, the parent will love all of the child, not only the visible person, but the undreamed-of wonders that are waiting in that child-mind for expression. The child already loves the parent in this larger sense, and this is one reason why the child-mind lives so much nearer to the limitless, the universal, the ideal and the beautiful. And when the parent will do likewise, there will arise between the two a love that sees more and more to love the more love loves in this larger, sublime sense.
The idea is not only to love the tangible, but also that other something that transcends the tangible–that something that appears to the soul in visions, and predicts wonders yet to be. That such a love will expand and enlarge the mind anyone can understand, because practically all the elements of the mind will tend to follow the actions of the love nature, when that nature is exceptionally strong. But we must not imagine that we shall, through this method, love the person less. The fact is, we shall love the person infinitely more, because we shall discern more and more clearly that the person is the visible side of that something in human life that we can only describe as the soul beautiful–that something that alone can satisfy the secret longings of the heart.
The love of everything can, through the same law, become universal. Even friendship, which is always supposed to be confined to a small world, may become universal and limitless in the same way; and when it does, you will see more to admire in your friend every day. You will both have entered the boundless in your admiration for each other, and having entered the boundless, you will daily manifest new things from the boundless, and thus become delightfully surprised at each other constantly. The same may be employed in making sympathy universal; that is, never sympathize with the lesser, but always sympathize with the greater. The lesser is combined in the greater, and by sympathizing with the greater, the mind becomes greater.
In the fields of motives, objects, aims and purposes, we find that nearly every mental action is occupying a limited scope, and is acting in such a manner that its own limitations are being perpetuated. This tendency, however, must be removed if a greater mind is to be constructed, because every action of the mind must aim to change itself into a larger action. To cause every aim or purpose to become universal in its action, the mind must transcend shape, form, space and distance in its consciousness of everything that it may undertake to do. When we confine our thought to so far or so much, we place the mind in a state of limitations, but when we promote every object with a desire to go as far as the largest conception of the present may require, and proceed to attain as much as present capacity can possibly appropriate, we are turning all purposes and aims out upon the boundless sea of attainment. And we shall not only accomplish all that is possible in our present state of development, but we will at the same time constantly enlarge the scope of the mind.
It is absolutely necessary to have a fixed goal whatever our purpose in life may be, but we must never give special shape or size to that goal. We must think of our goal as being too large to be measured, even in the imagination. When we have a goal in mind that is only so and so large, all the creative energies of the mind will limit themselves accordingly. They will create only so and so much, regardless of the fact that they may be able to create many times as much. But when we think of our goal as being too large to be measured, the creative energies will expand to full capacity, and will proceed to work for the largest attainment possible. They will act constantly on the verge of the limitless, and will cause the mind to outdo itself every day.
In the field of desire, the same law should be applied, and applied constantly, as there are no actions in the mind that exercise a greater influence over the destiny of man than that of desire. When desire is low or perverted, everything goes down or goes wrong, but when desire changes for the better, practically everything else in the human system changes to correspond. To train desire to become universal in action, every individual desire should be changed so as to act only for the promotion of growth. Those desires which when fulfilled, do not make for the enlargement of life, are detrimental. The powers of all such desires therefore must be changed in their course. Your object is to become more and achieve more, and to constantly promote that object, development and growth must be perpetual throughout your system. For this reason, every action must have growth for its purpose, and as every action is the result of some desire, no desire must be permitted that is not conducive to growth. It is not necessary, however, to remove a single desire from the human system to bring about this change, because every desire can be trained to promote the building of a greater life.
When every desire is caused to move towards the larger and the greater through the mind’s irresistible desire for the larger and the greater, all the creative forces of the mind will move towards the same goal, and will constantly build a greater mind. The principle is this, that when all the actions of mind are trained to move towards the larger, they will perpetually enlarge. The first essential to the building of a great mind will thereby be promoted.
To promote the second essential, mental brilliancy, the actions of mind must be made as high and as fine as possible; that is, the vibrations of the mental life must be in the highest scale attainable. To see through everything, the mind will require the very finest rays of mental light, and as this mental light is produced by the vibrations of the actions of mind, these actions should be as high in the scale as we can possibly reach at every stage of our mental ability. The light of intelligence is created by the mind itself, and the more brilliant this light becomes, the greater will become the powers of intelligence, discernment, insight, understanding, ability, talent and genius. And the power of mind to create a more brilliant mind increases as the mind places itself more and more in the consciousness of the absolute light of universal intelligence.
To cause the mind to become more brilliant, all the tendencies of mind should fix their attention upon the highest mental conception of mental brilliancy. Every expression of the mind should be animated with a refining tendency. Every force of the mind should rise towards the absoluteness of mental light. Those states of mind that tend to magnify the inferior must be eliminated, and this is accomplished by thinking only of the superior that is possible in all things. All mental actions that are critical, depressing or depreciative must be replaced by their constructive opposites, as every action of the mind must concentrate its attention upon the largest and the best in all fields of consciousness. The mind must be kept high in every respect, because the higher in the mental scale the mind functions, the more brilliant will become the mental light.
To increase the rapidity of the vibrations in these higher mental states, creative energy must be supplied in abundance, and to comply with this requirement, all that is necessary is to retain in the human system all the energy that is already created. The human system creates and generates an enormous amount of creative energy every day. Therefore, when all this energy is retained and transmuted into finer mental elements, the mind will be abundantly supplied with those finer energies that can increase both the power and the brilliancy of thought and mind. The mind that is animated with a strong desire to constantly refine itself, and that is thoroughly charged with creative energy, will always be brilliant, and will become more and more brilliant as the laws given above are faithfully and thoroughly applied.
Remove the sting; remove the whine; remove the sigh. They are your enemies. They are never conducive to happiness; and we all live to gain happiness, to give happiness. From every word remove the sting. Speak kindly. To speak kindly and gently to everybody is the mark of a great soul. And it is your privilege to be a great soul. From the tone of your voice remove the whine. Speak with joy. Never complain. The more you complain, the smaller you become, and the fewer will be your friends and opportunities. Speak tenderly, speak sweetly, speak with love. From all the outpourings of your heart, remove the sigh. Be happy and contented always. Let your spirit sing, let your heart dance, let your soul declare the glory of existence, for truly life is beautiful. Every sigh is a burden, a self-inflicted burden. Every whine is a maker of trouble, a forerunner of failure. Every sting is a destroyer of happiness, a dispenser of bitterness. To live in the world of sighs is to be blind to everything that is rich and beautiful. The more we sigh, the less we live, for every sigh leads to weakness, defeat and death. Remove the sting, remove the whine, remove the sigh. They are not your friends. There is better company waiting for you.