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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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The second requisite is a firm will. It should not be forgotten that an unusual and difficult thing is being attempted in which a person of weak will cannot possibly hope to succeed. Even in the ordinary life of the world considerable will power is essential to success. To succeed in business, to become expert in a profession, or to completely master an art, requires strong will, determination, perseverance. The difficulties in occult development are still greater and, while it is true that any degree of effort is well worth while, the weaklings will not go far. Only those with the indomitable will that knows neither surrender nor compromise may hope for a large measure of success. Once the will is thoroughly aroused and brought into action every hindrance in the way will be swept aside.


 "The human will, that force unseen,
The offspring of a deathless soul,
Can hew a way to any goal
Tho' walls of granite intervene.
* * * * *
"Be not impatient of delay,
But wait as one who understands.
When spirit rises and commands
The gods are ready to obey."

Mighty, indeed, is this force when aroused. But a person may be easily deceived about his will. He is likely to think that his will is much stronger than it really is. He may say to himself, "Oh, yes, I would go through anything for the sake of the higher life and spiritual illumination." But that is no guarantee that after a few months of monotonous work he may not abandon it unless he adopts the wise plan of strengthening his will as he moves forward. Let him begin this by testing his present strength of will, but let him not be discouraged by the result. He should remember that whatever he lacks in will power he can evolve by proper effort.

To find out whether he really has much strength of will a person may begin to observe to what extent he permits his daily plans to be modified, or entirely changed, by the things that run counter to his will. Does he hold steadfastly to his purpose or does he weakly surrender to small obstacles? Has he the will power to even begin the day as he has planned it? The evening before he decides that he will rise at six o'clock the next morning. He knows there are certain excellent reasons why he should do so and he retires with the matter fully decided. It is positively settled that at exactly six o'clock the day's program shall begin. But when the clock strikes that hour the next morning he feels strongly disinclined to obey the summons. It involves some bodily discomfort to rise at that moment and he concludes that, after all, perhaps he was a bit hasty the evening before in fixing upon that hour! Whereupon he reconsiders the matter and makes it seven; and when that time arrives he generously extends it to eight o'clock. The hour, of course, is unimportant. But whatever may have been the hour that was previously determined upon the keeping of that determination is of the greatest importance and the failure to put the resolution into effect is evidence of the possession of a weak will.


Now all this proves that such persons have very little real will power, for they permit the desire for trifling bodily comfort to set their plans aside. Such persons are still slaves to the physical body and weakly permit it to upset carefully outlined programs. They are not yet ready for good work in occult development, where real success can come only to those who have steadfast strength of purpose.

People who fail to assert the will and bring the body into complete subjection probably little realize what a price they pay for a trifling physical pleasure; for until we voluntarily take the right
course we have not escaped the evolutionary necessity of compulsion and may reasonably expect sooner or later to be thrown into an environment that will apply the stimulus we still need to arouse the will. It may be unpleasant while it is occurring, but what better fortune could befall an indolent man than to find himself in circumstances where his poverty or other necessity compels him to subordinate bodily comfort to the reign of the will? Nature provides the lessons we require. We may wisely co-operate with her and thus escape the sting. But so long as we need the lesson we may be quite sure that it awaits us.

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