Highlights from Wattles’s “The Science of Getting Rich”
Post from April 4, 2017 (↻ May 15, 2023), filed under Philosophy (feed).
Another part of the series, here are some highlights from Wallace D. Wattles’s The Science of Getting Rich (1910)—you’ve come across these notes in a different format a few years ago.
Emphasis as it appears in the original work may be missing, and my own edits, though marked, may be broad. Then, important: By sharing these highlights I neither implicitly endorse nor recommend respective authors and their views. Assume that I know little of the authors, and that I have a nuanced view on the matter. (Everything the highlights can tell is that—much like the books themselves—for some reason or other I found them of interest.) When a detailed understanding of my views is important, ask me.
Man’s right to life means his right to have the free and unrestricted use of all the things which may be necessary to his fullest mental, spiritual, and physical unfoldment; or, in other words, his right to be rich.
Success in life is becoming what you want to be
There is nothing wrong in wanting to get rich. The desire for riches is really the desire for a richer, fuller, and more abundant life; and that desire is praise-worthy.
Desire is possibility seeking expression, or function seeking performance.
A man’s highest happiness is found in the bestowal of benefits on those he loves; love finds its most natural and spontaneous expression in giving.
The man who has nothing to give cannot fill his place as a husband or father, as a citizen, or as a man.
It is a natural law that like causes always produce like effects
Getting rich is not the result of saving, or “thrift”; many very penurious people are poor, while free spenders often get rich.
Nor is getting rich due to doing things which others fail to do
[…]getting rich is the result of doing things in a Certain Way.
Talented people get rich, and blockheads get rich; intellectually brilliant people get rich, and very stupid people get rich; physically strong people get rich, and weak and sickly people get rich.
You may be the poorest man on the continent, and be deeply in debt; you may have neither friends, influence, nor resources; but if you begin to do things in this way, you must infallibly begin to get rich, for like causes must produce like effects. If you have no capital, you can get capital; if you are in the wrong business, you can get into the right business; if you are in the wrong location, you can go to the right location; and you can do so by beginning in your present business and in your present location to do things in the Certain Way which causes success.
The visible supply is practically inexhaustible; and the invisible supply really is inexhaustible.
Nature is an inexhaustible storehouse of riches; the supply will never run short. Original Substance is alive with creative energy, and is constantly producing more forms. When the supply of building material is exhausted, more will be produced
[…]. The Formless Stuff responds to the needs of man; it will not let him be without any good thing.
Thought is the only power which can produce tangible riches from the Formless Substance. The stuff from which all things are made is a substance which thinks, and a thought of form in this substance produces the form.
Original Substance moves according to its thoughts; every form and process you see in nature is the visible expression of a thought in Original Substance. As the Formless Stuff thinks of a form, it takes that form; as it thinks of a motion, it makes that motion. That is the way all things were created.
The thought of a house of a certain construction, if it were impressed upon Formless Substance, might not cause the instant formation, of the house; but it would cause the turning of creative energies already working in trade and commerce into such channels as to result in the speedy building of the house.
Man is a thinking center, and can originate thought. All the forms that man fashions with his hands must first exist in his thought; he cannot shape a thing until he has thought that thing.
First, we assert that there is one original formless stuff, or substance, from which all things are made. All the seemingly many elements are but different presentations of one element; all the many forms found in organic and inorganic nature are but different shapes, made from the same stuff.
A man’s way of doing things is the direct result of the way he thinks about things.
To do things in a way you want to do them, you will have to acquire the ability to think the way you want to think; this is the first step toward getting rich.
To think what you want to think is to think truth, regardless of appearances.
[…]To think according to appearance is easy; to think truth regardless of appearances is laborious, and requires the expenditure of more power than any other work man is called upon to perform.
[…]Every appearance in the visible world tends to produce a corresponding form in the mind which observes it; and this can only be prevented by holding the thought of the truth.
This power can only be acquired by getting hold of the basic fact which is behind all appearances; and that fact is that there is one Thinking Substance, from which and by which all things are made.
[…]we can create what we want to create; we can get what we want to have, and can become what we want to be.
Every living thing must continually seek for the enlargement of its life, because life, in the mere act of living, must increase itself.
The universe desires you to have everything you want to have.
Nature is friendly to your plans.
Everything is naturally for you.
Make up your mind that this is true.
It is essential, however that your purpose should harmonize with the purpose that is in All.
You must want real life, not mere pleasure of sensual gratification. Life is the performance of function; and the individual really lives only when he performs every function, physical, mental, and spiritual, of which he is capable, without excess in any.
You want to get rich in order that you may eat, drink, and be merry when it is time to do these things; in order that you may surround yourself with beautiful things, see distant lands, feed your mind, and develop your intellect; in order that you may love men and do kind things, and be able to play a good part in helping the world to find truth.
[…]remember that extreme altruism is no better and no nobler than extreme selfishness; both are mistakes.
Intelligent Substance will make things for you, but it will not take things away from someone else and give them to you.
You must get rid of the thought of competition. You are to create, not to compete for what is already created.
You are to become a creator, not a competitor; you are going to get what you want, but in such a way that when you get it every other man will have more than he has now.
[…]if you are to become rich in a scientific and certain way, you must rise entirely out of the competitive thought. You must never think for a moment that the supply is limited.
Never look at the visible supply; look always at the limitless riches in Formless Substance, and know that they are coming to you as fast as you can receive and use them. Nobody, by cornering the visible supply, can prevent you from getting what is yours.
[…]Never get afraid that you will lose what you want because some other person “beats you to it? That cannot possibly happen; you are not seeking that is possessed by anybody else; you are causing what you want to be created from formless Substance, and the supply is without limits.
Give every man more in use value than you take from him in cash value; then you are adding to the life of the world by every business transaction.
If you want a sewing machine, for instance, I do not mean to tell you that you are to impress the thought of a sewing machine on Thinking Substance until the machine is formed without hands, in the room where you sit, or elsewhere. But if you want a sewing machine, hold the mental image of it with the most positive certainty that it is being made, or is on its way to you. After once forming the thought, have the most absolute and unquestioning faith that the sewing machine is coming; never think of it, or speak, of it, in any other way than as being sure to arrive. Claim it as already yours.
Do not forget for a moment that the Thinking Substance is through all, in all, communicating with all, and can influence all.
If you fix upon your consciousness the fact that the desire you feel for the possession of riches is one with the desire of Omnipotence for more complete expression, your faith becomes invincible.
[…]you need not hesitate to ask largely.
Gratitude alone can keep you looking toward the All, and prevent you from falling into the error of thinking of the supply as limited
There is a Law of Gratitude, and it is absolutely necessary that you should observe the law
[…]if your gratitude is strong and constant, the reaction in Formless Substance will be strong and continuous […]. You cannot exercise much power without gratitude; for it is gratitude that keeps you connected with Power.
The moment you permit your mind to dwell with dissatisfaction upon things as they are, you begin to lose ground. You fix attention upon the common, the ordinary, the poor, and the squalid and mean; and your mind takes the form of these things.
[…]to fix your attention on the best is to surround yourself with the best, and to become the best.
[…]faith is born of gratitude. The grateful mind continually expects good things, and expectation becomes faith. […]It is necessary, then, to cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you; and to give thanks continuously.
And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
You must form a clear and definite mental picture of what you want; you cannot transmit an idea unless you have it yourself.
It is not enough that you should have a general desire for wealth “to do good with”; everybody has that desire.
[…]all you need is to know what you want, and to want it badly enough so that it will stay in your thoughts.
[…]it is the things you do not really care about which require effort to fix your attention upon them.
Something more is necessary, however, than merely to see the picture clearly. If that is all you do, you are only a dreamer, and will have little or no power for accomplishment. Behind your clear vision must be the purpose to realize it; to bring it out in tangible expression.
And behind this purpose must be an invincible and unwavering faith that the thing is already yours; that it is “at hand” and you have only to take possession of it.
Live in the new house, mentally, until it takes form around you physically. In the mental realm, enter at once into full enjoyment of the things you want.
See the things you want as if they were actually around you all the time; see yourself as owning and using them.
Make use of them in imagination just as you will use them when they are your tangible possessions. Dwell upon your mental picture until it is clear and distinct, and then take the Mental Attitude of Ownership toward everything in that picture. Take possession of it, in mind, in the full faith that it is actually yours. Hold to this mental ownership; do not waiver for an instant in the faith that it is real.
And remember what was said in a proceeding chapter about gratitude; be as thankful for it all the time as you expect to be when it has taken form.
The man who can sincerely thank God for the things which as yet he owns only in imagination, has real faith.
Your part is to intelligently formulate your desire for the things which make for a larger life, and to get desire arranged into a coherent whole; and then to impress this Whole Desire upon the Formless Substance, which has the power and the will to bring you what you want.
You do not make this impression by repeating strings of words; you make it by holding the vision with unshakable purpose to attain it, and with steadfast faith that you do attain it.
In order to get rich you do not need a “sweet hour of prayer”; you need to “pray without ceasing.” And by prayer I mean holding steadily to your vision, with the purpose to cause its creation into solid form, and the faith that you are doing so.
When you have formed , it is well to make an oral statement, addressing the Supreme in reverent prayer; and from that moment you must, in mind, receive what you ask for. Live in the new house; wear the fine clothes; ride in the automobile; go on the journey, and confidently plan for greater journeys.
[…]Imagine an environment, and a financial condition exactly as you want them, and live all the time in that imaginary environment and financial condition.
To set about getting rich in a scientific way, you do not try to apply your will power to anything outside of yourself.
It is as flagrantly wrong to coerce people by mental power as it is to coerce them by physical power.
Substance is friendly to you, and is more anxious to give you what you want than you are to get it.
The more steady and continuous your faith and purpose, the more rapidly you will get rich, because you will make only positive impressions upon Substance; and you will not neutralize or offset them by negative impressions.
Doubt or unbelief is as certain to start a movement away from you as faith and purpose are to start one toward you. It is by not understanding this that most people who try to make use of “mental science” in getting rich make their failure.
If you want to become rich, you must not make a study of poverty.
Medicine as a science of disease has increased disease; religion as a science of sin has promoted sin, and economics as a study of poverty will fill the world with wretchedness and want.
Do not spend your time in charitable work, or charity movements; all charity only tends to perpetuate the wretchedness it aims to eradicate.
[…]you cannot hold the mental image which is to make you rich if you fill your mind with pictures of poverty.
Poverty can be done away with, not by increasing the number of well to do people who think about poverty, but by increasing the number of poor people who purpose with faith to get rich.
[…]If you want to help the poor, demonstrate to them that they can become rich; prove it by getting rich yourself.
[…]Use your will power to keep your mind off the subject of poverty, and to keep it fixed with faith and purpose on the vision of what you want.
It is wonderful Becoming.
Give your attention wholly to riches; ignore poverty.
Whenever you think or speak of those who are poor, think and speak of them as those who are becoming rich;as those who are to be congratulated rather than pitied. Then they and others will catch the inspiration, and begin to search for the way out.
You must learn to see the underlying truth in all things
[…]there is only wealth.
The very best thing you can do for the whole world is to make the most of yourself.
[…]you do not need to read any other book upon the subject.
[…]read only the most optimistic comments on the world’s news; those in harmony with your picture.
The scientific use of thought consists in forming a clear and distinct mental image of what you want; in holding fast to the purpose to get what you want; and in realizing with grateful faith that you do get what you want.
[…]you can only get what is yours by giving the other man what is his.
By thought, the thing you want is brought to you; by action you receive it.
Whatever your action is to be, it is evident that you must act now.
And do not spend time in the present taking thought as to the best course in possible future emergencies; have faith in your ability to meet any emergency when it arrives.
Put your whole mind into present action.
If you are ever to begin to make ready for the reception of what you want, you must begin now.
Do not bother as to whether yesterday’s work was well done or ill done; do today’s work well. Do not try to do tomorrow’s work now; there will be plenty of time to do that when you get to it.
Do not wait for a change of environment, before you act; get a change of environment by action.
It is probable that your actions, at least for some time to come, will be those you have been performing for some time past
If you are engaged in some business, and feel that it is not the right one for you, do not wait until you get into the right business before you begin to act.
Hold the vision of yourself in the right business, with the purpose to get into it, and the faith that you will get into it, and are getting into it; but act in your present business.
[…]Your vision of the right business, if held with faith and purpose, will cause the Supreme to move the right business toward you […].
You can advance only by being larger than your present place
There never would have been new species had there not been organisms which more than filled their places.
Do, every day, all that can be done that day.
There is, however, a limitation or qualification
You are not to overwork, nor to rush blindly into your business in the effort to do the greatest possible number of things in the shortest possible time.
You are not to try to do tomorrow’s work today, nor to do a week’s work in a day.
It is really not the number of things you do, but the efficiency of each separate action that counts.
Every act is, in itself, either a success or a failure.
Every act is, in itself, either effective or inefficient.
You can make each act a success, because all Power is working with you; and all Power cannot fail.
Power is at your service; and to make each act efficient you have only to put power into it.
Every act can be made strong and efficient by holding your vision while you are doing it, and putting the whole power of your faith and purpose into it.
Do, every day, all that you can do that day, and do each act in an efficient manner.
It should be the work of your leisure hours to use your imagination on the details of your vision, and to contemplate them until they are firmly fixed upon memory. If you wish speedy results, spend practically all your spare time in this practice.
You can get rich in any business, for if you have not the right talent for you can develop that talent
[…]you will get rich most satisfactorily if you do that which you want to do.
Doing what you want to do is life; and there is no real satisfaction in living if we are compelled to be forever doing something which we do not like to do
All things else being equal, it is best to select the business for which you have the best developed talent; but if you have a strong desire to engage in any particular line of work, you should select that work as the ultimate end at which you aim.
The best way, generally, to change business or environment is by growth.
Do not be afraid to make a sudden and radical change if the opportunity is presented, and you feel after careful consideration that it is the right opportunity; but never take sudden or radical action when you are in doubt as to the wisdom of doing so.
When you get out of the competitive mind you will understand that you never need to act hastily. No one else is going to beat you to the thing you want to do; there is enough for all.
[…]When you are in doubt, wait.
There is a mind which knows all there is to know; and you can come into close unity with this mind by faith and the purpose to advance in life, if you have deep gratitude.
Do all that you can do in a perfect manner every day, but do it without haste, worry, or fear. Go as fast as you can, but never hurry.
Remember that in the moment you begin to hurry you cease to be a creator and become a competitor
Whenever you find yourself hurrying, call a halt; fix your attention on the mental image of the thing you want, and begin to give thanks that you are getting it. The exercise of gratitude will never fail to strengthen your faith and renew your purpose.
Whether you change your vocation or not, your actions for the present must be those pertaining to the business in which you are now engaged.
[…]the key-thought of all your efforts must be to convey to their minds the impression of increase.
Increase is what all men and all women are seeking; it is the urge of the Formless Intelligence within them, seeking fuller expression.
The desire for increase is inherent in all nature; it is the fundamental impulse of the universe. All human activities are based on the desire for increase
You are a creative center, from which increase is given off to all.
Be sure of this, and convey assurance of the fact to every man, woman, and child with whom you come in contact.
Convey the impression of advancement with everything you do, so that all people shall receive the impression that you are an Advancing Man, and that you advance all who deal with you.
Feel that you are getting rich, and that in so doing you are making others rich, and conferring benefits on all.
Do not boast or brag of your success, or talk about it unnecessarily; true faith is never boastful.
Wherever you find a boastful person, you find one who is secretly doubtful and afraid.
You must so impress others that they will feel that in associating with you they will get increase for themselves. See that you give them a use value greater than the cash value you are taking from them.
Take an honest pride in doing this, and let everybody know it; and you will have no lack of customers. People will go where they are given increase
Beware of the insidious temptation to seek for power over other men.
[…]The desire to rule for selfish gratification has been the curse of the world.
Look out for the temptation to seek for authority, to become a “master,” to be considered as one who is above the common herd, to impress others by lavish display, and so on.
The mind that seeks for mastery over others is the competitive mind; and the competitive mind is not the creative one. In order to master your environment and your destiny, it is not at all necessary that you should rule over your fellow men
Beware of the competitive mind
[…]“What I want for myself, I want for everybody.”
[…]if you can give increase of life to others and make them sensible of the fact, they will be attracted to you, and you will get rich.
The man who is merely a “good” workman, filling his place to the very best of his ability, and satisfied with that, is valuable to his employer; and it is not to the employer’s interest to promote him; he is worth more where he is.
The man who is certain to advance is the one who is too big for his place, and who has a clear concept of what he wants to be; who knows that he can become what he wants to be and who is determined to be what he wants to be.
Do not wait for an opportunity to be all that you want to be
Individuals may enter upon the Certain Way at any time, and under any government, and make themselves rich; and when any considerable number of individuals do so under any government, they will cause the system to be so modified as to open the way for others.
The more men who get rich on the competitive plane, the worse for others; the more who get rich on the creative plane, the better for others.
[…]remember that your thought must be held upon the creative plane; you are never for an instant to be betrayed into regarding the supply as limited […].
Whenever you do fall into old ways of thought, correct yourself instantly
Do not spend any time in planning as to how you will meet possible emergencies in the future, except as the necessary policies may affect your actions today. You are concerned with doing today’s work in a perfectly successful manner
No matter how tremendous an obstruction may appear at a distance, you will find that if you go on in the Certain Way it will disappear as you approach it
Guard your speech. Never speak of yourself, your affairs, or of anything else in a discouraged or discouraging way.
Never admit the possibility of failure, or speak in a way that infers failure as a possibility.
Never speak of the times as being hard, or of business conditions as being doubtful.
When others are having hard times and poor business, you will find your greatest opportunities.
Go on in the Certain Way, and if you do not receive that thing, you will receive something so much better that you will see that the seeming failure was really a great success.
When you make a failure, it is because you have not asked for enough; keep on, and a larger thing then you were seeking will certainly come to you.
[…]you will develop all the talent that is necessary to the doing of your work.
Spend most of your leisure time in contemplating your vision, and in cultivating gratitude, and in reading this book.
There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe.
A thought in this substance produces the thing that is imaged by the thought.
Man can form things in his thought, and by impressing his thought upon formless substance can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.
In order to do this, man must pass from the competitive to the creative mind; otherwise he cannot be in harmony with the Formless Intelligence, which is always creative and never competitive in spirit.
Man may come into full harmony with the Formless Substance by entertaining a lively and sincere gratitude for the blessings it bestows upon him. Gratitude unifies the mind of man with the intelligence of Substance, so that man’s thoughts are received by the Formless. Man can remain upon the creative plane only by uniting himself with the Formless Intelligence through a deep and continuous feeling of gratitude.
Man must form a clear and definite mental image of the things he wishes to have, to do, or to become; and he must hold this mental image in his thoughts, while being deeply grateful to the Supreme that all his desires are granted to him. The man who wishes to get rich must spend his leisure hours in contemplating his Vision, and in earnest thanksgiving that the reality is being given to him. Too much stress cannot be laid on the importance of frequent contemplation of the mental image, coupled with unwavering faith and devout gratitude. This is the process by which the impression is given to the Formless, and the creative forces set in motion.
He must keep in mind the Purpose to get rich through the realization of his mental image.
[…]He must give to every man a use value in excess of the cash value he receives, so that each transaction makes for more life; and he must so hold the Advancing Thought that the impression of increase will be communicated to all with whom he comes in contact.
[…]the riches receive will be in exact proportion to the definiteness of their vision, the fixity of their purpose, the steadiness of their faith, and the depth of their gratitude.
Read the whole book: The Science of Getting Rich.
I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!
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