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Friday, October 7, 2011
How Orison Swett Marden Wanted Us to Create Miracles
Orison Swett Marden is a name almost completely unknown now, but in the early part of the 20th century and well into the 1930s he was a bestselling writer in the mental science/New Thought field. He was quoted extensively in other self-help books, and was really one of the greatest of the early self-help gurus. For some reason, however, his books simply haven't stood the test of time, and he has none of the continued fame of the writers he had influenced, such as Napoleon Hill or Dale Carnegie. This is sad, because Marden is quite a good writer and a clear communicator, and his books would be quite suitable to modern audiences.
Possessed of the most wonderful name that must, all on its own, have been something of an inspiration (an "Orison" being a special kind of prayer of supplication), Marden preached success from a position of knowledge - he had been both a successful doctor and later a wealthy hotelier. Marden had been inspired by the work and example of Samuel Smiles, another medical man, and the inventor of the term "self-help." Marden established Success magazine to chronicle positive stories about success, and it is still in publication today, having been revived by W. Clement Stone.
At present I am writing a chapter on the literature of sales and prosperity in Australia. I am using Marden's book The Miracle of Right Thought as my historical counterpoint, and thought I'd share some of its wisdom, and give you a taste of Orison Swett Marden's worldview.
1. If you constantly think about the bad aspects of your life, you will continue to experience misfortune Marden says, "Prosperity begins in the mind, and is impossible with a mental attitude which is hostile to it." This is one of the central tenets of New Thought, of course, and one which some modern readers find makes them uncomfortable.
2. If we open our mind to good and beautiful things, we will experience them As Marden says, "Our circumstances in life..are all very largely the offspring of our thought."
3. The Infinite Source (God) is exactly like a loving parent We mostly limit ourselves by harbouring a fearful idea of God, and "do not expect half enough of ourselves; we do not demand half enough..." If we only asked for it, God would give us everything we desired, and more.
4. Pessimism is a dangerous and life-destroying mental quality Quite a gloomy outlook for those who spread gloomy thoughts, I'm afraid. Marden says: "A fatal penalty awaits those who always look on the dark side of everything, who are always predicting evil and failure, who see only the seemy, disagreeable side of life."
5. Those who keep their goals in sight will be victorious What is required is resilience and persistence, and a belief in the ultimate certainty of our best and greatest hopes and desires. Those who create a vision of the future actually do end up creating their futures, for "A man was not intended to be a puppet of circumstances, a slave to his environment, he was intended to make his environment, to create his condition."