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Self-Development and the Way To Power

L. W. Rogers

Written in 1922. The electronic version is courtesy of Project Gutenberg


There are three things
that a person must possess to be successful in
These three things are

(1) an ardent desire, (2) an iron will and (3) an alert intelligence.


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Now, there are three things that a person must possess to be successful in self-development. If he has not these three qualifications he will make but little progress; but, fortunately, any lacking quality can be evolved and if one does not possess these three necessities his first work is to create them. These three things are an ardent desire, an iron will and an alert intelligence.

Why are these three qualifications essential to success and what purpose do they serve?

Desire is nature's motor power the propulsive force that pushes everything forward in its evolution. It is desire that stimulates to action. Desire drives the animal into the activities that evolve its physical body and sharpen its intelligence. If it had no desire it would lie inert and perish. But the desire for food, for drink, for association with its kind, impel it to action, and the result is the evolution of strength, skill and intelligence in proportion to the intensity of its desires. To gratify these desires it will accept battle no matter how great may be the odds against it and will unhesitatingly risk life itself in the combat. Desire not only induces the activity that develops physical strength and beauty, but also has its finer effects. Hunger compels the animal not only to seek food, but to pit its cunning against that of its prey. Driven forward by desire it develops, among other qualities, strength, courage, patience, endurance, intelligence.


Desire plays the same role with man at his higher stage of evolution. It stimulates him to action; and always as his activity satisfies his original desire a new one replaces the old and lures him on to renewed exertion. The average young man beginning his business career, desires only a comfortable cottage. But when that is attained he wants a mansion. He soon tires of the mansion and wants a palace. Then he wants several--at the seaside, in the city, and on the mountains. At
first he is satisfied with a horse; then he demands an automobile, and finally a steam yacht. He sets out as a youth to earn a livelihood and welcomes a small salary. But the desire for money pushes him into business for himself and he works tirelessly for a competence. He feels that a small fortune should satisfy anybody but when he gets it he wants to be a millionaire. If he succeeds in that he then desires to become a multi-millionaire.

Whether the desire is for wealth, or for fame, or for power, the same result follows--when the desire is satisfied a greater one takes its place and spurs the ambitious one to still further exertion. He grasps the prize he believes to contain complete satisfaction only to discover that while he was pursuing it desire had grown beyond it, and so the goal he would attain is always far ahead of him. Thus are we tricked and apparently mocked by nature until we finally awake to the
fact that all the objects of desire--the fine raiment, the jewels, the palaces, the wealth, the power, are but vain and empty things; and that the real reward for all our efforts to secure them is not these objects at all _but the new powers we have evolved in getting them;_powers that we did not before possess and which we should not have evolved but for nature's great propulsive force--desire. The man who accumulates a fortune by many years of persistent effort in organizing and developing a business enterprise, by careful planning and deep thinking, may naturally enough look upon the fortune he will possess for a few years before it passes on to others, as his reward. But the truth is that it is a very transient and perishable and worthless thing compared to the new powers that were unconsciously evolved in getting it--powers that will be retained by the man and be brought into use in future incarnations.


Desire, then, plays a most important role in human evolution. It awakens, stimulates, propels. What wind is to the ship, what steam is to the locomotive, desire is to the human being.

It has been written in a great book, "Kill out desire," and elsewhere it is written, "Resist not evil." We may find, in similar exalted pronouncements, truths that are very useful to disciples but which might be confusing and misleading to the man of the world if he attempted to literally apply them. Perhaps for the average mortal "kill out desire" might be interpreted "transmute desire." Without desire man would be in a deathlike and dangerous condition a condition in which further progress would be impossible. But by transmuting the lower desires into the higher he moves steadily forward and upward without losing the motive power that urges him forever onward.

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