APPLY YOUR FAITH
BY NAPOLEON HILL
In a one-room log cabin in Kentucky, a small boy was lying on the hearth, learning to write, using the back of a wooden shovel as a slate, and a piece of charcoal as a pencil. A kindly woman stood over him, encouraging him to keep on trying. The woman was his mother. The boy grew into manhood without having shown any promise of greatness. He took up the study of law and tried to make a living at that profession, but his success was meager.
He tried store-keeping, he entered the army, but he made no noteworthy record at either. Everything to which he turned his hand seemed to wither and disappear into nothingness.
Then a great love came into his life. It ended with the death of the one he loved, but the sorrow over that death reached deeply into the man’s soul and there it made contact with the secret power that comes from within.
He seized that power and began to put it to work. It made him President of the United States. It wiped out the curse of slavery in America. And it saved the Union from dissolution in the time of a great national emergency.
So this power that comes to men from within knows no social caste! It is as available to the poor and the humble as it to the rich and the powerful. It need not be passed on from one person to another. It is possessed by all who think. It cannot be put into effect for you by any one except yourself. It must be acquired from within, and it is free to all who will appropriate it.
What strange fear is it that gets into the minds of men and short-circuits their approach to this secret power from within, which when it is recognized andused lifts men to great heights of achievement? How and why do the vast majority of the people of the world become the victims of a hypnotic rhythm which destroys their capacity to use the secret power of their own minds? How can this rhythm be broken?
The approach to the source of all genius has been charted. t is the self-same path that was followed by Thomas A. Edison, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, and the other great leaders who have contributed, from their rich experiences, to the establishment of the American way of life.
“How can one tap that secret power that comes from within?” some will wish to ask! Let us see how others have drawn upon it.
A young clergyman by the name of Frank Gunsaulus had long desired to build a new type of college. He knew exactly what he wanted, but the hitch came in the fact that it required a million dollars in cash. He made up his mind to get the million dollars! Definiteness of decision, based upon definiteness of purpose, constituted the first step of his plan. Then he wrote a sermon entitled “WHAT I WOULD DO WITH A MILLION DOLLARS!” and announced in the newspapers that he would preach on that subject the following Sunday morning.
At the end of the sermon a strange man whom the young preacher had never seen before arose, walked down to the pulpit, extended his hand and said, “I liked your sermon, and you may come down to my office tomorrow morning and I will give you the million dollars you desire.” The man was Philip D. Armour, the founder of Armour & Company meat packers.
This is the sum and the substance of what happened. What went on in the mind of the young preacher, that enabled him to contact the secret power that is available through the mind of man, is something with which we can only conjecture, but the modus operandi by which that power was stimulated was applied faith!
Shortly after birth Helen Keller was stricken by a physical affliction which deprived her of sight, hearing and speech. With two of the more important of her five physical senses stilled forever, she faced life under difficulties such as most people never know throughout their lives.
With the aid of a kindly woman who recognized the existence of that secret power which comes from within, Helen Keller began to contact that power and use it. Faith, rightly understood, is active not passive. Passive faith is no more a force than sight is in an eye that does not look or search out.
Active faith knows no fear. It denies that God has betrayed His creatures and given the world over to darkness. It denies despair. Reinforced with faith, the weakest mortal is mightier than disaster. Faith, backed by action, was the instrument with which Miss Keller bridged her affliction so that she was restored to a useful life.
Through applied faith she learned to speak. Through her faith she substituted the sense of touch to do the work of the sense of hearing and the sense of sight, thus proving that no matter how great may be one’s physical handicaps, there always is a means by which they may be eliminated or bridged.
The way may be found through that secret power from within one’s mind, the approach to which must be discovered by the individual himself. Go back through the pages of history and you will observe that the story of civilization’s unfolding leads inevitably to the works of men and women who opened the door to that secret power from within, with applied faith as the masterkey!
Observe, too, that great achievements always are born of hardship and struggle and barriers which seem insurmountable; obstacles which yield to nothing but an indomitable will backed by an abiding faith!
And here, in one short phrase—indomitable will backed by an abiding faith—you have the approach of major importance that leads to the discovery of the door of the mind, behind which the secret power from within is hidden!
Men who penetrate that secret power and apply it in the solution of personal problems sometimes are called dreamers! But observe that they back their dreams with action, thus proving the soundness of the statement that faith, rightly understood, is active, not passive.
The emergencies of life often bring men to the crossroads, where they are forced to choose their direction, one road being marked Faith and another Fear! What is that causes the vast majority to take the Fear road? The choice hinges upon one’s mental attitude!
The man who takes the Faith road is the man who has conditioned his mind to believe, conditioned it a little at a time, by prompt and courageous decisions in the details of his daily experiences. The man who takes the Fear road does so because he has neglected to condition his mind to be positive.
In Washington, a man sat in a wheel chair with a tin cup and a bunch of pencils in his hands, gaining a meager living by begging. The excuse for his begging was that he lost the use of his legs, through infantile paralysis. His brain had not been affected. He was otherwise strong and healthy.
But his choice led him to accept the Fear road when the disease overtook him, and his mind atrophied through disuse.
In another part of the same city was another man who was afflicted with the same handicap. He, too, had lost the use of his legs, but his reaction to his loss was far different. When he came to the crossroads at which he was forced to make a choice, he took the Faith road, and it led straight to the White House and the highest position within the gift of the American people.
That which he lost through incapacity of his limbs, he gained in the use of his brain and his will, and it is a matter of record that his physical affliction did in no way hinder him from being one of the most active men who ever occupied the position of President of the United States.
The different in the stations of these two men was very great! But let no one be deceived as to the cause of this difference, for it is entirely a difference of mental attitudes.
One man chose Fear as his guide.
The other chose Faith.
And, when you come right down to the circumstances which lift some men to high stations in life and condemn others to penury and want, the likelihood is that their widely separated positions reflect their respective mental attitudes.
The high man chooses the high road of Faith, the low man chooses the low road of Fear, and education, experience, and personal skill are matters of secondary importance. And its only fixed price is that of an unyielding faith—an active applied faith!
It was the inspiration of the poet who wrote:
“Isn’t it strange that princes are kings And clowns that caper in sawdust rings And common folks, like you and me, Are all builders for eternity?
“To each is given a book of rules, A block of stone and a bag of tools; And each must shape, ere time has flown, A stumbling block or a stepping stone.
”Search until you find the point of approach to that secret power from within, and when you find it you will have discovered your true self—that “other self” which makes use of every experience of life.
Then, whether you build a better mouse trap, or write a better book, or preach a better sermon, the world will make a beaten path to your door, recognize you and adequately reward you, no matter who you are or what may have been the nature and scope of your failures of the past.
What if you have failed in the past? So did Edison, Henry Ford, the Wright brothers, Andrew Carnegie, and all the other great leaders.
They all met with failure in one way or another, but they didn’t call it by that name; they called it “temporary defeat.”
With the aid of the light that shines from within, these and all truly great men have recognized temporary defeat for exactly what it is—a challenge to greater effort backed by greater faith!
Anyone can quit when the going is hard!
Anyone can feel sorry for himself when temporary defeat overtakes him, but self-coddling was no part of the character of the men whom the world has recognized as great.
The approach to that power from within cannot be made by self-pity. It cannot be made through fear and timidity.
It cannot be made through envy and hatred.
It cannot be made through avarice and greed.
No, your “other self” pays no heed to any of these negatives!
It manifests itself only through the mind that has been swept clean ofall negative mental attitudes.
It thrives in the mind that is guided by faith!
Source: Success Unlimited, December 1955, pp. 9-13.
Have you used applied faith in your life? Tell us about it.