The Seven Laws of Success
by Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986)
WHY are only the very few—women as well as men—successful in life?
Just what is success?
Here is the surprising answer to life's most difficult problem, proving that NO HUMAN NEED EVER BECOME A FAILURE!
All who have succeeded have followed these seven laws!
The only WAY to success is not a copyrighted formula being sold for a price. You can't buy it! The price is your own application to the seven existing laws.
DID IT EVER occur to you that there might be a reason why so many people make a failure of life? Not only men and career women, but wives and mothers to!
Are you one who is wrestling with the problem of "making ends meet"? Nearly all of us are. This problem need not mean failure—yet it often leads to it.
It is a fact—the vast majority do wind up failures. Yet none need fail!
Take a look at the facts in the world.
Is THIS Success?
Every two minutes someone in the United States attempts suicide. Each day nearly 70 persons succeed—but is that success? The World Health Organization estimates that some one thousand people commit suicide in the world—every day!
Suicides now outnumber murders. Now various organizations for the prevention of suicide are a reality! But the cause is individual failure!
Only a minority, of course, go to this extreme, but the overwhelming majority do end their lives in failure.
Much of the world is in current "prosperity." Yet—in booming U.S.—more businesses failed in a very recent year than in any other in the last twenty-six. Across the world streaks the shocking trend of increasing failures. Scores of millions daily allow the creeping cancer of failure to chain them to a life of unhappy circumstances, from which only death promises release.
Why are only the very few really successful? Is it mere chance—is it just happen-so—can it be luck? Or are there definite reasons?
Why do all but the very few find themselves, by age 60 or 65, dependents? Why must there by old-age pensions, public welfare aid, charities to support the non-crippled, non-handicapped helpless? Why must children so often provide for aged parents—when it ought to be the other way around?
I am going to tell you why!
There are definite causes! Seven basic laws govern success! It is high time people come to know them, and end this unhappy and needless tragedy!
Finding the Answer
When I was a young man of twenty-three, I was a member of the editorial staff of a national magazine. I was sent on tours over the United States, covering ten or fifteen states each tour. My assignment was investigating business conditions, reporting workable ideas and facts. I interviewed businessmen and chamber of commerce officials. I discussed with merchants and manufacturers their problems. I searched out ideas and methods that had been successfully applied in sales promotion, public relations, cutting costs, speeding up turnover, increasing profits.
One of the things my editors assigned me to investigate was the reason behind the success of the few, and the failure of the many. Some 95% of smaller independent merchants were reported by Dun and Bradstreet to be heading toward bankruptcy.
Of course, we were concerned then only with the success or failure of men. But the same laws apply to the lives of women.
I asked the opinions of hundreds of businessmen. Most thought success resulted merely from superior ability, and failure from the lack of it. But this opinion consigned the majority to failure from birth without a chance. If a man lacked the ability, he was foredoomed to failure. There seemed nothing he could do about it. I was not satisfied with this idea—and later I proved it false.
The manager of the large J.L. Hudson department store in Detroit thought failure generally resulted from lack of adequate capital. A minority interviewed agreed with him. But this, also, made dollars, and not the man, responsible for success or failure.
Actually, investigation showed these to be contributing factors, but only that. A more prevalent factor, I found, was fitting the proverbial "square peg in the round hole." Most failures were misfits. Most, had they known these seven laws, could have made a success in the field where they best fit.
This quest for the reasons for success or failure intrigued me. My research on this question did not stop with these editorial tours. Observation and analysis of this problem have continued through the years.
And I know, now, that no human being need ever become a failure!
Failures are not foredoomed. Success does not just happen! It is governed by seven definite laws. If you know them, and apply them, the happy result, in the end, is assured.
Every individual was put on this earth for a PURPOSE! Every person was put here to become a success. Every human ought to enjoy the sweet taste of success—to find peace and happiness—to live an interesting, secure, and abundant life! And in order that all might—if willing—reap such full and abundant rewards, the Creator set in motion actual, definite LAWS to produce that desired result.
The tragedy is that through the centuries and millennia man has turned his back on those laws—those causes of the very success he craves! The world long ago ignored and forgot them. Today, most people do not know what they are. Most people have not followed a single one of the seven basic laws.
I ask in all candor—isn't that a shocking state of human affairs? It is, in fact, the colossal tragedy of all history!
You Can't Buy it!
If some recognized authority had a copyrighted plan to sell that was guaranteed to make all who follow it prosperous and successful, I suppose people by the thousands would flock to buy the plan.
One man had such a plan. It was a sort of pseudo "psychological" religion. He promised the plan would make its followers prosperous or rich—the easy way, of course. Its propagator advertised that it had made him rich. He boasted of his fine home, his great high-ceiling pipe-organ room. The inference was that it would make its purchasers equally prosperous—but he neglected to mention that it was the naïve dupes who bought his bogus plan who made him rich.
This man stumbled onto an advertising catch-phrase for a headline in magazine and newspaper advertisements, which multiplied responses. He used it for years. But ultimately it wore itself out. This charlatan's "success" was neither real nor lasting. He was, himself, a colossal failure.
The only way to true success is not a formula being sold like merchandise.
You can't buy it with money. It comes to you free—without money, and without price. There is a price, of course—your own application of these definite laws. It is not guaranteed to be the easy way—but it is guaranteed to by the only way to real success!
It so happens that on the very morning of the day this was originally written, I read in a London newspaper the obituary of Clark Gable, motion picture celebrity. I suppose the world would rate him a great success. But was he?
Just what is success, anyway?
How can people win success when so few know what it is?
I was struck with a number of things in this cinema-star's obituary. My mind, of course, was on this theme, since I was at the moment writing on it.
Clark Gable was heralded on page one of this newspaper as king of the films. He was described as "the romantic hero of 90 films." He was one of the first ten money-making stars in the years 1932-43, 1947-49, and 1955. That is 16 years. And the top film stars make fabulous incomes. "He was, " said the obituary, "one of the few screen idols to stay the course for so long." But does all that spell SUCCESS?
One of the "fascinating" things mentioned about his life was that he had been married five times! Would we consider at least three failures in marriage (one wife was killed in an air crash) SUCCESS? The obituary said he cultivated "the furrowed brow, the knowing frown, the half-closed eyes, those ears and the wise-guy leer." They were not natural. He deliberately cultivated them for the women. "Clark Gable," said the obituary, "had cultivated these for the girls for nearly the whole of his romantic reign." You might have called it his trademark. He would." "It's just a business to me, always has been," he explained. It was just his way of "earning a living."
Rich Men I Have Known
In my lifetime I have had close and intimate contact almost constantly with recognized successful men. From age 18, in early life—within the United States. From middle-age—worldwide. I have read many books and articles written by such men, numerous biographies and autobiographies of the great and the near great—their experiences, their philosophies. I know how these leaders among men think, how they act, what principles and rules they follow.
One factor characterized nearly every one of these men. They made money. They acquired material possessions. Many headed big corporations. They achieved recognition as being important.
Significantly, most of these man practiced the first SIX of the seven laws of success. That is tremendously important!
There was the president of a great motor car corporation at the time when I was the young assistant secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in his city. He made money. He was recognized in the world as important. He rose to the top in his profession and industry. But in the flash depression of 1920 his corporation passed into receivers' hands, he lost his personal material gains—and he ended his life a suicide! Was he, after all, a success. He neglected not only the seventh, but also the sixth.
Then there were two great bankers whom I knew, one of them quite intimately. This was Mr. Arthur Reynolds, president of the then second largest national bank in America. I first knew Mr. Reynolds when he was president of a bank in the city where I was born. Later, as an ambitious and rising young advertising man in Chicago, I went to him often for personal counsel and advice. He was always interested, helpful. And I always considered his advice sound, and followed it. Mr. Reynolds won a measure of national and worldwide fame.
Some thirty-five years later I walked into his great bank and inquired of one of its many vice-presidents whether he knew where Mr. Reynolds had moved, and where he had died. I had heard that he had retired and moved to our headquarters city, Pasadena, and died there. This vice president had never heard of Arthur Reynolds. "Who was he?" he asked.
He inquired around. No one he asked remembered Arthur Reynolds. Finally the public relations secretary sent to the bank's library, and presently a clerk brought a newspaper clipping. It was the sole record the bank seemed to possess of its former president, who, with his brother, was largely responsible for building up this bank to its great size and importance. The clipping was from a San Mateo, California, newspaper. It told of his death in that San Francisco suburb.
After reading it, I handed the clipped obituary back.
"You'll certainly want to keep this," I remarked. "It must be valuable to the bank."
"Oh, no," he replied. "If you knew him, take it along."
And thus I carried from that great bank what probably was the only record of this man in the bank of which he was so long president. His "success" was not lasting. It was not long remembered.
During his busy lifetime, this man applied the first SIX of the seven rules of success. Yet whatever success he achieved was fleeting, and although he had accumulated money, acquired a nice block of stock in the bank, lived in a fine home, became recognized as important in his lifetime, all of his "success" died with him!
The other great banker was Mr. John McHugh. I first knew him as president of a bank in a Midwest city. Then I had an hour's interesting chat with him in the Willard Hotel in Washington during the American Bankers' Association national convention in 1920. He was then president of a well-known New York City bank. Later, consolidations of several New York banks elevated him two offices higher than the president of the then-largest bank in the world. Yet some 36 years later when I inquired about him at this great bank, the answer was the same—"Who's he? Never heard of him!" His "success" did not live after him.
But there is a real success that endures!
But IS This Success?
Yes, I have been privileged to know many of the great and the near great—especially in the American business world. I have known multimillionaire capitalists, chief executives of great corporations and banks, cabinet members in the national administration at Washington, authors, artists, lecturers, college and university heads.
For the most of them, success meant the acquisition of money and material possessions, and being of recognized status.
One important man I know was Elbert Hubbard, philosopher, prolific writer, publisher, lecturer, known as "the Sage of East Aurora." "The Fra," as he sometimes styled himself, became quite famous. He wore semi-long hair under an extra-size hat, and a string bow tie. He was said to be worth a half million dollars at a time when that equaled three million or more on today's market.
He published two magazines, composed mostly of his own writings, The Philistine, and The Fra. He boasted the largest vocabulary of any man since Shakespeare. He published An American Bible, shocking many of the religious yet explaining that the word "bible" merely means "book," not necessarily implying sacred writings, unless the word "HOLY" is prefaced. His "bible" consisted of his selection of choice writings from American authors. He included Franklin, Emerson, Paine, Jefferson, Lincoln, and, of course, Hubbard! He allotted nearly half of the entire volume to Hubbard—and all other famous Americans combined shared the remainder.
Hubbard was not the victim of an inferiority complex, and he preached a positive philosophy. He did have rare insight and wisdom in purely material matters, and a keen understanding of human nature.
He knew that "important" men craved flattery as an actor enjoys applause. A large share of his fortune was made by writing an almost endless series of booklets, captioned Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great and the Near-Great. These were printed, of course, in rare style in his own Roycroft Press. Dozens and scores of America's rich and famous men paid Hubbard premium prices to write them up in his inimitable literary style.
An interesting sidelight on Mr. Hubbard's concept of success came spontaneously from his lips one Sunday afternoon. He and I were chatting at his Roycroft Inn in East Aurora, New York.
"I asked a Unitarian minister," I said, "whether he had ever been able to discern just what your religious belief really is—if any."
"Fra Elbertus" was interested at once. "And what did he say?" he asked, curiously.
"He said he wasn't quite sure, but he suspected that whatever your religion may be, it probably originated in your pocketbook and bank account." There was no denial.
"Ho, ho," laughed Elbert Hubbard, "well, I get away with it, don't I?"
But was Elbert Hubbard a real success, after all? By human standards, I suppose he was. He knew and applied the first six of the seven laws of success. He worked hard and industriously, and he reaped a bounteous harvest—of money, popularity, acclaim. He and his wife Alice Hubbard went down together into the depths of the Atlantic when a German submarine sank the Lusitania. This was one of the overt acts of the Kaiser's forces that plunged America into World War 1.
But his fame did not appear to last. One seldom hears of him any more.
Hubbard knew material values. But his agnosticism closed the door—and threw away the key—that led to an understanding of spiritual values. He never quite understood the real PURPOSE of life itself. He wasn't sure whether there was a Creator. He was convinced that fundamentalist or traditional "Christianity" was an impractical superstition. He didn't know WHY humanity was placed on the earth—or whether it just happened! He didn't know man's real potential destiny. He didn't know the seventh law of success. And, not knowing or following that seventh rule, he drove himself, by the diligent practice of the six, in the wrong direction—diametrically away from true success!
It Never Satisfied
What was the real meaning of life to these "successful" men?
Their goal in life—their definition of success—was material acquisition, recognition of status by society, and the passing enjoyment of the five senses.
But the more they acquired, the more they wanted, and the less satisfied they became with what they had. When they got it, it was never enough.
Some "successful" men of the world maneuver to get their pictures on page one of metropolitan newspapers, or on the front covers of national magazines. This inflates and briefly titillates ego, but it never satisfies for long. There's nothing the public forgets so quickly as yesterday's news!
Such men seek the flattery of others, and engage in back-slapping to invite it. But, like an actor's applause (the word always makes me think of "applesauce") it doesn't last and leaves them flat, with a gnawing inner hunger for something that will satisfy! So they become restless, discontented.
Their bank accounts may be full, but their lives are empty. And what they do acquire, which is never enough and never satisfies, they leave behind when they die!
What is wrong?
Such men started out with the wrong goals. They had not discerned the true values, but pursued the false.
Isn't it about time we learn the true definition of SUCCESS?
Perhaps the prize example of all history is that of an ancient king, who strove hard, accomplished much, gained fabulous wealth. He experimented with every pleasure, to see whether it brought happiness.
This man said to himself, "Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself."
Continuing to describe his experiment, this man wrote: "I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good."
This ancient king was young enough to try to really enjoy life. He could afford it, too. He was one of the wealthiest men who ever lived—with the resources of a nation at his command. If there was not enough money for a project he dreamed up, he simply raised the taxes.
So, he continued writing of his experiment in searching for happiness and success, "I went in for great works." Stupendous national works and projects. "I built mansions, planted vineyards, laid out gardens and parks for myself, in which I planted all manner of fruit trees, making pools to water the trees in my plantations. I bought slaves, both men and women, and had slaves born within my household. I had large herds and flocks, larger than any before me. I amassed silver and gold, right royal treasures; I procured singers, both men and women, and many a mistress, man's delight. Richer and richer I grew, more than any before me in my country . . . Nothing I coveted did I refuse myself: I denied my heart no enjoyment—for my heart did feel pleasure in all this—so much I did get from all my efforts.
"But," he concluded, "when I turned to look at all I had achieved and at my efforts and trouble, then it was all vain and futile . . . all was VANITY, and a striving after wind. Nothing in this world is worthwhile.
"Utterly vain, utterly vain, everything is VANITY," wrote this king, after his life of experimenting. All it led to was striving—yes, always striving—and for what? "After WIND," he concluded. All that a lifetime of hard work, vigorous application, material accomplishment brought him, he concluded, amounted to no more that a HANDFUL OF WIND!
This man was called the wisest man who had ever lived. He was King Solomon of ancient Israel. But in all his costly experimenting he never found the true values—the meaning of true and lasting SUCCESS!
Simply because, with all his wisdom, this man sought pleasure—happiness—success—his own way, in materialism. In the beginning the Eternal Creator designated and set in motion living laws for the very purpose of producing happiness, abundant living, pure and continuous joy, in all humans who would follow them. These are the seven great laws of SUCCESS. King Solomon, like nearly all the world's "successful" men, applied diligently the first six—but without the seventh, he started out in the wrong direction. The more he strove, the farther he went—in the direction away from true and lasting success.
He knew this seventh law. But, "Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Eternal. . . he did not keep what the Eternal commanded. Therefore the Eternal said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my rules which I commanded, I will surely tear the kingdom from you' " (I Kings 11:6-11).
Now let me tell you the experience of a modern king. He was a close personal friend of ex-King Saud of Arabia, to whom I have been personally presented. Wealth came suddenly to Sheik Ali of Qatar (pronounced "gutter").
Qatar is a little Arabian country jutting into the Persian gulf. The big oil boom recently came to Sheik Ali's little kingdom. It paid the country of 35,000 population 50 million dollars a year, of which 12½ million went personally to old Sheik Ali, age 69.
Now what would you do with it, if you suddenly came into 12½ million dollars a year?
The answer, in all probability, is that you would not do what you now think you would! That much money, coming suddenly into one's hands, usually changes one's ideas completely. That's what it did to old Sheik Ali.
Immediately he began to build big gaudy pink, green, and gold palaces in the midst of malodorous mud hovels. They were air-conditioned, ultramodern, even equipped with push button window curtains! And now the newly wealthy sheik could avoid the 120-degree bake-oven summers of the desert.
He chartered whole airliners and took with him a retinue so large that his newly purchased palatial villa on Lake Geneva could not hold them all, and they overflowed into various resort hotels.
Then Sheik Ali indulged in the $1,000,000 purchase of a magnificent mansion overlooking Beirut—and the beautiful Mediterranean. When King Saud paid him a royal visit, he presented the king with 16 automobiles. One was embellished with gold. Old Sheik Ali became so generous in his self-indulgences, that his debts, over and beyond his fabulous income, soon mounted to 14 million dollars!
The news stories filtered around the world of how the Sheik just simply could not make ends meet on a mere 12½ dollars a year! About the 1st of November, 1960, he abdicated in favor of his son Ahmed, age 40. A new advisory council arranged to pay old Ali's debts, and give him a pension large enough only to provide for a mere handful of servants and a few wives.
Poor old Ali! He found it harder to make ends meet on 12½ million annual dollars than he did in comparative poverty.
The FIRST Law
Certainly NOTHING in life is more important than to know: what is real success—and how to achieve it.
What, then, is the first law of success?
Before stating even the first law, let it be said that I am not considering here such general principles of character as honesty, patience, loyalty, courtesy, dependability, punctuality, etc., etc., etc., except as these are automatically included in the seven rules. We may assume that one cannot become a real success without these principles of right character.
But on the other hand, many are honest who have never practiced a single one of the seven laws, specifically. Many may be loyal, have patience, extend courtesy, be punctual, who are unsuccessful because they have not applied a single one of these seven definite, specific rules. Even so, each of these laws covers a vast territory.
Here, then, is the first law of success:
FIX THE RIGHT GOAL!
Not just any goal. Most of the "successful" men I have mentioned had goals. They drove themselves relentlessly to accomplishment. But making money, gaining STATUS in the eyes of people, enjoying the passing pleasures of the five senses, has literally strewn the pathway of history with fears, worries, heartaches, troubled consciences, sorrows, frustrations, empty lives and death.
These things may be had and enjoyed along with true success. But they alone do not bring success. The right goal includes something more.
In other words, the very first law of success is to be able to define success! Once you have learned what success is make that your goal in life.
Do you know that most people go through life without any GOAL at all? In fact, most people, as I've said before, do not know, and do not apply a SINGLE ONE of the seven laws of success!
Most people never think of having any PURPOSE in life. They are not going anywhere, in particular.
If you have saved up money for a trip to Paris, or Rome, or London for your vacation or holiday, you spend a lot of time in excited anticipation PLANNING your trip—but you DO have a definite DESTINATION—and all plans are laid to take you to that particular destination—that GOAL. You know where you are planning to go. Otherwise, how would you ever expect to arrive there?
As I said once before, most people have no aim—they are merely the victims of CIRCUMSTANCE. They never planned, purposefully, to be in the job or occupation in which they find themselves today. They do not live where they do by CHOICE that is, because they PLANNED it that way. They have merely been buffeted around by CIRCUMSTANCE! They have allowed themselves to drift. They have made no effort to master and control circumstances.
The first law of success, I repeat, is to fix the RIGHT goal. Not any goal. One could set a goal in which he had little or no interest, and drift into inaction. The right goal will arouse ambition. Ambition is more than mere desire. It is desire plus incentive—determination—will to achieve the desire. The right goal will be so intensely desired it will excite vigorous and determined effort. It will fire one with incentive.
There should be an overpowering PURPOSE to life. Few have ever known such purpose. Down through centuries and millenniums thinkers and philosophers have pondered, and sought in vain to learn whether life has a real purpose. Socrates, Plato, Augustine among others speculated and reasoned, yet the true meaning of life eluded them. This deepest and most important question in life remained to them a mystery—an unsolvable enigma!
IF one could discover such an overall PURPOSE—a definite purpose for which humans were put on earth—IF one could discover a human potential greater than mere temporary existence, one would think that PURPOSE would be the goal that should excite dynamic ambition!
But—alas! Who has ever discovered such an objective as life's aim?
Was there nothing greater to look forward to, for my two prominent banker friends? Nothing greater than to enjoy fleeting status, only to be forgotten by those who succeeded them?
What is there, after all, to live for?
I repeat! The first law of real success is to have the right goal! The men I have described, rated eminently successful in the world, all had goals. They applied diligently all of the first six of the Success Laws. But failing the seventh, they misapplied the first. Their success was fleeting.
The Vital Second Law
And so, if you are to arrive at SUCCESS in LIFE, you must first set the right goal, and then comes the PREPARATION to achieve that goal.
So, the SECOND law of success in time sequence, is EDUCATION, or PREPARATION.
How can one expect to accomplish his purpose unless he acquires the know-how?
One thing we need to know about life—and many do not—is that humans do not come equipped with instinct.
To this extent, the dumb animals have a certain advantage over us. They do not have to learn. They never need weary their brains with book learning.
The new born calf does not have to be taught how to walk. It starts immediately to get up on its somewhat infirm and uncertain legs. It may fall down on the first or second attempt, but in a matter of a few moments it stands, even if a little unsteady at first. It does not require a year or two—not even an hour or two—the little calf starts walking in a few minutes! It does not need to reason out any goals. It requires no textbooks, nor teaching. It instinctively knows its goal—dinner! And it knows, also instinctively, the way. On its own four legs it proceeds immediately to the first meal!
I have repeated so many times: birds build nests—by instinct. No one teaches them how. Five generations of weaver birds, isolated from nests or nest-building materials, never saw a nest. When nest-building materials were made accessible, the sixth generation, without any instruction, proceeded to build nests! They were not crows' nests or eagles' nests. They were the same kind of nests weaver birds have built since creation. They had no minds to think out, imagine, design, and construct a different kind of nest.
Of course dogs, horses, elephants, dolphins, and some other animals can be taught and trained to do certain tricks. But they cannot reason, imagine, think, plan, design and construct new and different things. They do not acquire knowledge, perceive truth from error, make decisions, and employ WILL to exercise self-discipline according to their own reasoned wisdom and decisions. THEY CANNOT DEVELOP MORAL AND SPIRITUAL CHARACTER.
But humans have it not quite so easy. Humans have to learn, or be taught. Humans have to learn to walk, to talk, to eat or drink.
We don't come to these basic accomplishments instinctively and immediately like the dumb animals. It may take a little more time. It may come a little harder. But we can go on to learn reading, writing, and "rithmetic"!
Then we can go further, and learn to appreciate literature, music, art. We can learn to think and reason, to conceive a new idea, to plan, design, construct.
We can investigate, experiment, invent telescopes and learn something about outer space and far-off planets, stars, and galaxies. We invent microscopes and learn about infinitesimal particles of matter.
We learn about electricity, laws of physics and chemistry. We learn to use the wheel, construct highways, and roll over ground faster than any animal. We learn to fly higher, farther and faster than any bird. We learn how to take nature apart and make it work for us. We discover and utilize nuclear energy.
But we have to LEARN—to STUDY—to be EDUCATED—to be PREPARED for what we propose to do.
One if the first things we need to learn is -that we need to learn!
Once you have learned enough to CHOOSE A GOAL, the second step toward successfully accomplishing that goal is to LEARN THE WAY—to acquire the additional education, training, experience, to give you the know-how to achieve your goal.
Most people fail to set any definite goals. Having no specific aims, they neglect the specialized EDUCATION to make possible the attainment of their purpose.
Now all these men whose case histories I have recounted had goals. They had the overall purpose of acquiring possessions, attaining status, and enjoying the passing moments. As a means to this objective, they had the specialized goals of succeeding in banking, industry, politics, acting, writing, or whatever. They all EDUCATED THEMSELVES for their particular profession or calling.
They were broad enough to realize that education included not only book learning, but personality development, leadership, experience, knowledge from contacts and associations, and from observation.
Yet these "successful" people were not really successful. They not only chose an overall goal that led them in the way of false values, they also failed to equip themselves with the RIGHT education to make possible that REAL LASTING success—fulfilling the PURPOSE of life.
There is, then, a right and a false education.
These successful people were not lastingly successful. Their education failed to teach them the TRUE VALUES. They chose goals that led them in the way of false values that didn't last.
The entire system of education in this world neglects to recapture the true values. Even the scholarly educators themselves too often devote themselves to arduous years of research into non-essential and useless channels.
The basic and most essential knowledge—the true values, the meaning and purpose of life, the WAY to peace, to happiness and abundant well-being—these basics are never taught. Because I was given to see this decadence in modern education—to recognize this tragic knowledge gap—I was led to found a college that fills this need.
Right education must teach that all things are a matter of cause and effect—that for every result, whether good or evil, there is a cause. True education will teach the CAUSE of this world's evils—of personal or collective troubles—so that they may be avoided. Also it much instruct in the CAUSE of this world's evils—of personal or collective troubles—so that they may be avoided. Also it must instruct in the CAUSE of the GOOD results, that we may know how to win them instead of the troubles. Right education must not stop at teaching TO LIVE! It must know, and teach, the PURPOSE of human life, and how to fulfill it.
Decadent education has spawned student revolt, which has, on occasion, plunged many colleges and universities into states of violence and chaos!
It's another significant tragedy of our time!
This world is dissemination false education that has come down to us from the thinking, philosophizing, yet misguided pagans who lacked a knowledge of the true values and purposes of life! The true history of education is an eye-opening story in itself!
The Basic Third Law
The all-important law coming next in time order is GOOD HEALTH.
We are physical beings. The mind and the body form the most wonderful physical mechanism we know. But man is made of matter. He is basically 16 elements of organic, chemically functioning existence.
He lives by the breath of air—which is the breath of LIFE itself. If the bellows we call lungs do not keep inhaling and exhaling the oxygen-containing air, man won't live to achieve any goal. You are only one heartbeat away from death! As the lungs pump air in and out, so the heart pumps blood through and intricate system of veins and arteries. These must be supported by food and water.
And so man IS just what he eats. Some of the most famous physicians and surgeons have said that 90% to 95% of all sickness and disease comes from faulty diet!
Most people are in utter ignorance of the fact that it does make a difference what we eat! Most people, and the customs of society, have followed a regimen of eating whatever tastes good to the palate.
Adults are babies grown up. Observe a nine-month-old baby. Everything that comes into his hands goes to his mouth!
My youngest brother may not like to read this in print, but I remember when he was about nine months old, and had managed to creep into the basement coal bin. We found him trying to eat little chunks of coal—his mouth and face well blackened!
You may laugh at babies trying to eat silver cups and chunks of coal. Or at people who dip small mice into a sauce, and, holding them by their tails, drop them as a delicious delicacy into their mouths.
If you do, they will laugh back at you. They will tell you that mice eat clean grain and clean foods, while you dip slimy, slithery oysters and other scavenger seafoods into cocktail sauces, and consider them a delicacy!
You think adults have actually LEARNED any better than nine-month-olds babies? Go to your fancy grocer's and you'll find on his shelves canned eel and canned rattlesnake.
WHY? As I said, humans know nothing at birth! We have to learn! But most of us do not know that! And, again, what we don't know, we don't know that we don't know! And somehow, ever since babyhood, most humans seem to have grown up putting everything into the mouth. Most have grown up eating just whatever seemed to taste good—and whatever they saw others eating. There has been little education or even study about WHAT we ought—or ought NOT—to eat.
Most degenerative diseases are modern diseases—penalties for eating foods that have been demineralized in food factories—usually an excess of starch, sugar (the carbohydrates) and fats. Others are caused by a type of malnutrition—lack of needed minerals and vitamins in foods. Then people try to put the "vitamins" back into their systems by buying pills at the drugstore!
A famous director of a "Physical Fitness" program, lecturing at Ambassador College, reminded us that the medical profession has made great strides toward eliminating communicable diseases, yet is having little success coping with the increase of the non-communicable diseases—such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases. These latter are affected by faulty diet.
Of course there are other laws of health—sufficient sleep, exercise, plenty of fresh air, cleanliness and proper elimination, right thinking, clean living.
Right now "jogging" has become the physical fitness fad. Even men in their late forties read a book by a self-professing "expert," and suddenly are straining their hearts running two miles every day. "More and more exercise!" cry the faddists.
Why do humans tend to go to extremes? Exercise is good—it profits a little—but like most things, it can be carried past the law of diminishing returns. You can get an overdose that can cause harm. We are prone to forget the admonition of TEMPERANCE in all things.
What is the value of this excessive exertion in running two miles a day? It induces blood circulation. It gets circulation even to the extremities. And that is good. Stimulating blood circulation is good. Stimulating blood circulation is important. But we can also DESTROY HEALTH by going to unwise extremes. There is as much danger in overdoing exercise as in neglecting it.
Circulation can be induced without over-exertion or danger. I have never forgotten a lecture I heard as a young man in the days of the Chautauqua. The lecturer had been physical trainer to President Howard Taft. Immediately following the close of the Taft administration, this physical trainer managed to secure a list of all—or nearly all—of the centenarians in the United States. He personally visited every one. He asked to what they attributed their long life. One never used tobacco, and gave that as the reason. But another used tobacco all his life and still lived past a hundred years. One "tee-totaled"—but another drank beer and brandy all his life. And so it went. When he had interviewed them all, he analyzed his notes and was surprised to learn that ONLY ONE THING was common to them all. Yet not one gave it credit for his long life. Every one had taken a vigorous daily rub-down. Some with a bath towel, following a daily bath. Some with a brush But in one way or another, each had stimulated blood circulation even to the extremities of toes and fingers by daily rubbing or massaging.
Many ask how I (now in my nineties) keep up the energy, vigor and drive. I'm sure there is more than one reason—but I do not "jog" or go in for fads. I WALK—the best exercise for one of my age. But ever since I heard that lecture, perhaps 60 or more years ago, I have taken a daily RUB-DOWN. Method? A generous-size bath towel, following a daily shower. I try to get enough sleep. I watch elimination (very important). I try to be careful about my diet. And I have a tremendous INCENTIVE—a driving PURPOSE in life, because I have learned what is life's PURPOSE. That spurs to action! I have a mission to accomplish that is more important than my life. There's not much time left—and it MUST and WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED! Besides all this I draw on a greater and higher Power. I think that gives the answer.
The average person has never stopped to realize that it is not natural to be sick. Sickness and disease come only from violation of nature's laws of body and mind—the physical LAWS of health. Most people have not learned that there are any such laws! They suppose that occasional illness or disease is natural in the course of life. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Sickness should not be taken for granted. Some authorities go so far as to say that we do not catch a cold—we eat our colds and fevers! They explain that a cold or fever is merely the unnatural and rapid elimination of toxins and poisons stored up in the glands, resulting from improper diet.
Now what about the great and the near-great of the world? They usually do not know all there is to know about the laws of good, vigorous health with clear, alert minds. But, compared to the average of the population, they know a great deal. They have, as a rule, enjoyed, shall we say, comparatively good health!
As an example, the President of the United States always has a White House physician who is constantly watchful over the President's physical condition. A President is virtually required to get in certain exercise. President Eisenhower played golf frequently. President Kennedy took a daily swim. President Taft had a physical trainer who watched the overweight President daily.
Yet, there are many things that even these important people do not know about the causes of sickness, disease, debility.
One factor I think has worked universally in favor of such men. Mental attitude does have considerable influence on physical condition. Most "successful" men—as the world evaluates success—do think constructively, positively, in a mental attitude of confidence. They do not allow themselves to think negatively or assume an attitude of fear, worry, or discouragement. They do not allow themselves to get into uncontrolled moods of griping, complaining. They enforce on themselves emotional balance. And, mindful of the responsibilities on their shoulders, they probably put more restraint on dissipation than most people.
Without health one is direly handicapped, if not totally cut off from achievement. The fourth Law of Success is largely dependent on good health.
The All-important Fourth Law
A person may have chosen his goal. Having it may have aroused tremendous ambition to achieve it. He may have started out educating and training himself for its accomplishment, and he may even have good health and still make little or no progress toward its realization.
After all, success is accomplishment. It is DOING. They say any old dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim up. An inactive person will not accomplish. Accomplishment is DOING.
Now comes an all-important law.
The fourth success-law, then, is DRIVE!
Half-hearted effort might carry one a little way toward his goal, but it will never get him far enough to reach it.
You will always find that the executive head of any growing, successful organization employs drive! He puts a constant prod on himself. He not only drives himself, he drives those under him, else they might lag, let down and stagnate.
He may feel drowsy, and hate to awaken and get up in the morning. But he refuses to give in to this impulse.
I remember the struggles I once had with this situation. It was during one of my "Idea-Man" tours as a magazine editorial representative at age 22. I was having quite a struggle with drowsiness. Yet I acquired the habit of sleepily answering the morning telephone call and promptly going back to bed and to sleep. Then I bought a "Baby Ben" alarm clock, which I carried with me. But I found myself arising to turn it off, then plunging back into bed. I was too drowsy to realize what I was doing. I was not sufficiently awake to employ willpower and force myself to stay up, get under the shower and become fully awake and alert. It had become habit.
I had to break the habit. I had to put a prod on myself. I needed an alarm clock that couldn't be turned off until I was sufficiently awake to get going for the day.
So one night at the Hotel Patton in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I called a bellboy to my room. In those days the customary tip was a dime. A half dollar then had about the same effect that a $20 bill would have today. I laid a silver half-dollar on the dresser.
"Do you see that half-dollar, son?" I asked.
"Yes, Sir!" he answered, eyes sparkling in anticipation.
After ascertaining that he would be still on duty at 6:30 next morning, I said, "If you will pound on that door in the morning at 6:30, until I let you in, and then stay in this room and prevent me from getting back into bed until I am dressed, then you may have that half-dollar."
I found those bell-boys would, for a half-dollar tip, even wrestle or fight with me to prevent my crawling back into bed. Thus I put a prod on myself that broke the morning snooze habit and got me up and going!
Often workmen never rise above whatever job they may have because they have no drive. They slow down, work slowly, poke around, sit down and rest as much as they can. In other words, they must have a boss over them to drive them, or they would probably starve. They would never become successful farmers—for a farmer, to succeed, must get up early and work late, and drive himself. That is one reason so many must work for others. They cannot rely on themselves—they must be driven by one of more energy and purpose.
Without energy, drive, constant propulsion, a person need never expect to become truly successful.
Law Number 5—for Emergencies
One might suppose that if he had a goal—and with it the ambition to achieve his purpose—if he then became trained, educated, and experienced in pursuing it, kept in good health, and constantly drove himself relentlessly toward his objective, that he would be bound to accomplish it.
Important as these four laws are, they are not enough.
Life constantly encounters hazards, obstacles, unexpected problems or setbacks. You may be proceeding along right on schedule, when BANG!—out of nowhere comes an unexpected complication. Some sudden circumstance arises which seems to stop you completely, or at least set you back.
So, to meet these constantly arising problems, you must have:
When complications, obstacles, unexpected circumstances appear to block your path, you must be equipped with RESOURCEFULNESS to solve the problem, overcome the obstacle, and continue on your course.
The old Slow Train Through Arkansas (I read the book years ago) encountered a cow lying across the tracks ahead. The train could not proceed toward its destination until that obstacle was removed.
When we drove the old Model "T" from Iowa to Oregon in 18 days back in 1924, we met repeated emergencies of motor troubles, flat tires or blowouts. We had to solve the difficulties by patching tires, putting "boots" in the casings, or doing our own repair work by the roadside when the motor stalled.
I learned a lesson in determination and resourcefulness on my first visit to Niagara Falls. It was on December 25th, probably 1913, with a silver thaw. I strolled out on Goat Island, which divides the river just above the falls. At one point there was a huge rock. It appeared as an impassible barrier to that rapid-flowing river, racing to its destination, down over the falls, into the rapids below and on to Lake Ontario.
I watched, intrigued. Did the rushing waters stop, quit, give up? Not on your life! I was thrilled as I watched the water swirl around the huge boulder—splash on over it, even find a hole through it, dashing, crashing, roaring on toward its goal!
The IBM people used to put out a famous card found in many offices, which says "THINK!"—and sometimes they deliberately spell it "THIMK?"
When sudden emergencies arise, then of all times you need a clear mind, calm nerves, rapid thinking, sound reasoning! You need RESOURCEFULNESS! You need a cool head, to quickly get all the facts and make a wise decision.
Do you keep calm in emergencies, or lose your head and go to pieces? Do you think rapidly, yet clearly and logically, or do you freeze up and go dead?
To succeed, you need to cultivate the ability, and the habit, of remaining unexcited, yet leaping to action on high tension, reaching the right decision, then acting on it!
And now one would most certainly think that these five laws should be all that is required to guarantee ultimate success. And yet nine out of every ten who have all these five still fail—without the important sixth law.
Importance of # 6
Among the case histories recounted in the beginning pages was that of the president of a major automobile manufacturing corporation. He had utilized the first five of these laws—that is, except he had the usual goal that leads in the wrong direction. Yet in the flash depression of 1920, when he lost his personal fortune, he committed suicide.
This man had reached the point where he was, to all appearances, through! During life he had resourcefully solved emergencies and problems that arose. But now, suddenly, it seemed that everything had been swept from under his feet. Everything he had worked for. Everything he had accumulated. Everything he had set his heart on! There was NOTHING left! He was washed up—finished! So it seemed to him. I never knew his private life.
He gave up! He committed suicide. So near success, yet so far!
Yes, nine in ten, at least once or twice in a lifetime, come to the place where they appear to be totally defeated! All is lost!—apparently, that is. They give up and quit, when just a little more faith and perseverance—just a little more STICK-TO-IT-IVENESS would have turned apparent certain failure into glorious success.
Law number six, then, is PERSEVERANCE—stick-to-it-iveness!
I know! I have reached that point more than once! I, too, had everything swept out from under me in that flash depression of 1920.
I had been making an income, still in my twenties, equivalent to an executive's salary in today's dollar value. But some 90 percent of it came from five or six big Midwestern corporations. Most of these great corporations "went under"—that is, they went into "receivers'" hands.
Later, in 1926, an advertising business I had started on the west coast was wiped out from under me by an association decision made in the east. A million-dollar project was dashed to oblivion by the stock-market crash and depression of 1929. But I did not quit or give up living. That was when my life GOAL was changed!
Even the first two years of the operation of Ambassador College stared constant defeat in the face. Nearly everybody thought we were through—we had failed! WHY, they wondered, didn't I realize it and QUIT? In those days I had to listen to associates around me talking constantly about "when this college folds up."
But it didn't fold up! By the year 1949 we got over our first financial hump. Later, the second. Today, I think we may be justified in saying that the college is, indeed, a glorious SUCCESS! And our other operations today are worldwide on a major scale.
Still We Need Law # 7!
Well now, it would certainly seem that if one follows these SIX laws of success, nothing more should be required!
But still, these "successful" men I have described followed these six principles. They gained their goals. They made money. They attained recognized status. They enjoyed the passing pleasures.
Still their lives were empty—they were never satisfied—they were discontented, they never found lasting, permanent, enduring happiness—they did not take their acquisitions with them when they died, and their fame died with them!
What they lacked—what ALL lack who fail of REAL success, application of Success Law number 7—the most important law of all! That is the ingredient that would have changed everything?
The Overlooked SEVENTH Law
I have reserved this all-important seventh Law till last to explain. But far from being least, it is first in vital importance!
I have held it till now because 1) it is the very last one that people will acknowledge and apply; and 2) being first in making possible real success, I want to state it last so it will remain stamped in the mind of the reader.
When serious illness strikes, people call the doctor. It is automatic for most to rely on human professional knowledge and skill—on material drugs, medicines and knives. But finally, when the attending physician—perhaps with specialists called in collaboration—gravely shakes his head and says there is no more that medical science can do—it is now in the hands of a higher Power—then, at last people cry out desperately to the Creator God!
Is it possible that the living GOD might be a factor in determining the success or failure of one's life? Few have thought so.
People will ignore all their lives any idea of divine guidance and help—yet if one should find himself on a foodless and waterless raft after a shipwreck in mid-ocean, it is remarkable how quickly he would begin to believe there really is a living God! In last-resort desperation most people will cry out to Him whom they have ignored, disobeyed, and set at naught all their lives.
Wouldn't it seem axiomatic that, if there is a compassionate beneficent Creator standing ready and willing to give us emergency help as a last resort, it would have been more sensible to have sought His guidance and help all along? Yet some have acquired wealth, lived luxuriously, and then, suddenly losing all, turned finally to God in their economic distress. Others have committed suicide. Few, it seems, will ever rely on their Maker and life-Sustainer until they feel helpless and in desperate need. Even then the motive too often is selfish.
Yet, if we are to enjoy the good things of life—freedom from fears and worries, peace of mind, security, protection, happiness, abundant well-being—the very SOURCE of their supply is the Great God! Since all comes from Him anyway, why not tap the SOURCE from the very beginning?
But in our day of modern science, sophistication and vanity, it has not been fashionable to believe in a Maker. In this deceived world, knowledge of God has found little or no place in modern education.
The ALL-IMPORTANT seventh Law of Success, nevertheless, is having contact with, and the guidance and continuous help of GOD!
And the person who does put this all-important seventh law last is very probably dooming his life to failure at the end.
Why of First Importance
Look again at the very first Law, as it has been listed here. It is not merely choosing a goal—any goal. It is setting as one's life-aim the right goal.
The "successful" of this world all had goals. But their goals led to material ends. They sought happiness in vanity, pride of status, material acquisitions, physical activities and pursuits. They sought the approbation of people. But people are human, and their lives are temporary. Material objects, too, are not enduring, but wax old until consigned to disuse.
The main goals of those supposed to be successful in the world usually are two: Vanity—desire for status; and money with the material things it will buy. But happiness is not material, and money is not its source. Vanity, as Solomon observed is like a striving after wind!
These men I have mentioned made money. Their bank accounts may have been full, but their lives were empty. When they acquired money, it never satisfied, and always they wanted more. These monetary victories, these material acquisitions, gave, of course, a thrill of satisfaction—but it never lasted!
This life-long struggle—this constant striving "after wind"—striving after false values—left in its wake a trail of fears and worries, apprehensions, disappointments, heartaches, troubled consciences, discontent, empty lives, frustrations—and finally, DEATH!
Oh yes, of course there were pleasures, moments of excitement, periods of enjoyment. There were occasional thrills, temporary sensations of delight. But always they were followed by periods of depression. Always a gnawing inner soul-hunger returned. This in turn drove them to seek satisfaction in the thousand-and-one events in the world's whirl of material pleasures and pastimes. Yet these never filled the void. They never satisfied the real inner hunger.
These people probably didn't realize it, but the hunger was spiritual. And spiritual hunger is never satisfied by material food!
The "successful" of this world applied six of the success laws. But they left GOD out of the picture, and the happiness of real success out of their lives.
It seems almost no one, today, realizes HOW—and WHY—we were made. WHAT we humans are, and WHY we are. Why should we live in ignorance of these basics of knowledge?
Two basic and vital facts are overlooked:
1. While man was made a material being, of the dust of the ground, sustained by eating material food and drinking material water, he was made also to need spiritual food, and to drink of the "living water" of God's Spirit. Without these spiritual needs man cannot be truly and continually happy. Nothing else really satisfies.
2. The Eternal Creator, who made us in His own likeness, is creator of ALL that is. Everything man needs to make life continuously and abundantly satisfying, must come from Him. He is the SOURCE OF SUPPLY. He is the GIVER of everything good. WHY must men ignore the true SOURCE, and try to obtain where there is nothing to be obtained? If I wish to draw clear, sparkling drinking water from a well, I will go to a well filled with such water, not to one that is empty. God says of our people: "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the FOUNTAIN of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13).
And again He says: "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not?" (Isaiah 55:1-2.)
Once again, look at the first of the Success Laws. Stated another way, it is to DEFINE SUCCESS! And what constitutes real Success? Once you have learned the true meaning of Success, then you have found the only right goal.
The right goal sets the direction of your life's journey. Success is the destination of that journey. Success is where you finally arrive—and true Success includes a happy and enjoyable journey along the way.
PURPOSE to Life?
Is there, after all, a PURPOSE to life?
If we were put here by a Creator, would He have put us here without a REASON? And a Creator with Mind and Power that could have designed and produced the human mind and body could have failed to make available for humans every tool, ingredient and facility needed to fulfill His Purpose!
Of course men cut off from God have no knowledge of that Purpose. For that knowledge is not material, but spiritual knowledge. And spiritual things cannot be seen—nor heard, felt, smelled or tasted. Spiritual knowledge can be transmitted only by revelation. And this world has rejected revelation. Men cut off from their Creator of necessity are spiritually blind and ignorant, groping in the dark. So they fail to seize the proper tools, ingredients and facilities.
But the Maker has sent an instruction book along with the human mechanism He made. It contains all the real answers. It reveals life's real PURPOSE—the potential destiny of man! That instruction book, as Bruce Barton aptly said, is the "book nobody knows." Almost no one knows that 95% of the contents of that Book is virtually ignored by the professing Christian clergy. Most scientists and educators today suppose, erroneously and in ignorance of the facts, that the Bible is merely the book of an ancient race of Jewish people, striving to devise a concept of a god—in by gone days of ignorance and superstition. They don't examine the Book, as they examine other data, to see what it says. They ignore it as something beneath their pride of intellect to consider.
The religious Bible-believing fundamentalists generally quote and use not more than some 5% of the Scriptures. Approximately one-third of the entire contents of the Bible is devoted to ADVANCE NEWS REPORTS, called, in religious terminology, prophecy. FEW pay any attention to this third of the writings—and most seem devoid of understanding.
What almost ON ONE realizes is that the ignored 95% of that great volume is the INSTRUCTION BOOK which the Maker sent along with His product—just as any manufacturer of a material commodity does. Yet some scholars today have been surprised and shocked to learn that this ignored, maligned, misrepresented Book contains THE ANSWERS to life itself—reveals the PURPOSE of life—the LAWS that govern it—the ANSWER to what IS Success, and how to achieve it!
It has been like discovering a