The Miracle Way to a
Successful New Life
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Discover now how to get what you want in life, by using the miraculous forces of ACTION POWER. Take your first step to a new way of life that will lead to the highest goals of success you most desire.
Once the miraculous force of your ACTION POWER is in full operation you will launch out from your current setup and rise like a rocket to new peaks of personal achievement and financial success. You will think success. You will feel success. You will talk success. You will start acting towards success.
As Warren 0. Wagner, Ph.D., a consulting engineer aptly puts it, "Vernon Howard is truly a miracle worker. His new book will surely change the life of anyone who acts out its exciting plans."
The Rev. C. Jack Quigley sums up the life-long value of this book, when he writes, "Action Power is a valuable investment. This powerful book proves that all things are possible through right action."
In short, here's what ACTION POWER will do for you:
Charles Simmons II, President, Simmons Institute, exclaims, "The opposite sex? In chapters 4 and 5 you will find some magic secrets for being attractive to that man or woman. An unusual treat."
Echoing the applause of the thousands who have been inspired by Vernon Howard's previous successful books, Clarence 0. Wilson, General Contractor says, "Vernon Howard is famous for a good reason. With more than a million copies of his books sold, he has guided thousands of people to newer and brighter lives."
But you don't have to take the word of these people who have already witnessed the rich rewards of their ACTION POWER. See for yourself how the specific action powers given in this book can work a miracle of transformation in your life.
So why wait. Start in right now on the road to an electrifying future. Act now! Clear away every obstacle that lies in your way! Use this chance to change your whole life! Success is there for the taking, and as Vernon Howard would say, "Take it, through the magic of your ACTION POWER."
Read what people who have already put their ACTION POWER into motion have to say about this remarkable book.
"Vernon Howard's Action Power! accentuates the positive. The author gives specific directions for improving one's thinking and actions. It is pleasant and stimulating reading." CLYDE F. GILLETT, M.D.
"Regardless of whether you want to s«ll your product* to customers or sell yourself a happier life, you now have the amuing uy in your hands. A thrilling guide." GENE ADAMS Editor, Specialty Salesman
"If you want to get into self-enriching action, start with this great book. Vernon Howard shows you what to do and how to do it—the easy way." MARTHA WALKINSHAW
1. LET'S PLUNGE INTO ACTION RIGHT NOW: (page 8)
What Happened When Cleopatra Acted • Your Happiness and Action • We All Need Exciting Action • Your Secret Servant Named Serendipity • How to Be Happily Surprised • Six Magic Words That Work Wonders • How the Six Magic Words Succeeded • Your Three Keys to Genuine Action • 1. Make It Definite • 2. Make It Interesting • 3. Make It Rewarding • Why Easy Action Is Best for You • How a Simple Question Started a Bank • Review Your Exciting Actions.
2. HOW TO BUILD SELF-CONFIDENCE EASILY: (page 19)
How To Get Started • Your Thoughts Produce Your Actions • A Success Story • Planned Action Wins the Day • Plan 1: It Speeds You Forward • Plan 2: For Favorable Changes • Plan 3: To Know What You Want • An Easy Way to Build Self-Confidence • How to Go into Action! • How to Prevent Discouragement • An Action Worth $250,000 • Confidence-Builders from This Chapter.
3. ACTIONS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY INSTANTLY: (page 30)
What Your Happiness Depends Upon • How Other People Can Make You Happy • How to Create Happy Circumstances • Give Your Actions This Happiness Test • 1. Is It Actively Hopeful? • 2. Is It Kindly Toward Myself? • 3. Does It Challenge My Abilities? • 4. Is It Free of Complications? • Be Action-Minded • Thoughts For Instant Happiness.
4. WOMEN: HOW TO WIN OVER THE OPPOSITE SEX: (page 42)
The Southern Rose • The Power Of Your Personality • Solved: The Mystery of Attraction • What Every Girl Should Know • How To Make a Man Like You • He Likes a Bit of Initiative from You • He Appreciates Your Reasonable Attitudes • He Needs Your Responsiveness • Your Man-Winning Acts in Review.
5. MEN; WOMEN WILL LIKE YOU FOR THESE ACTS: (page 53)
Your Application • The Single Most Important Thing! • How to Thrill Her • How to Be Attractive Without Trying • How to Make a Woman Like You • She Wants to Be Your Only Girl • She Wants Credit for Intelligence • She Wants to Hear Nice Things from You • She Wants You to Be a Mature Personality • Secrets for Winning Her Over.
6. THE GREATEST ACT YOU CAN EVER PERFORM: (page 64)
Daring Action Is a Basic Human Need • Find the Better Way • Do Things the Easy Way • How Does the Daring Man Act? • The Daring Person Places His Success First • The Daring Person Is Powered by Persistence • The Daring Person Enjoys His Actions • How to Double Your Daring • 1. Make the Daring Decision • 2. Don't Wait for Results • 3. Depend Upon Your Natural Powers • Summary of Daring Actions.
7. ACTIONS THAT RELEASE YOUR HIDDEN TALENTS: (page 76)
How To Release Your Richer Self Golden Actions • What You Should Know About Creativity • A Pair of Producers • How to Dazzle Yourself With Success • A Major Secret • Your Desire Is Dynamite! • Your Hidden Talents in Review.
8. HOW TO INFLUENCE OTHER PEOPLE QUICKLY: (page 87)
Give Persuasiveness Your Full Attention • Make Use of Human Nature • Your Secret Weapon For Winning Over Others • How to Gain Endless Rewards • A Major Principle • Lipton's Tea • Check Up on Your Powers of Persuasion • I. Appeal to Self-interest • 2. Be a Permissive Personality • 3. Give Him Good Reasons For Cooperating • 4. Build the Other Person's Self-Esteem • Important Ideas to Remember.
9. ACTIONS THAT GIVE YOU MORE FUN IN LIFE: (page 98)
Dare Yourself! • Why Feel Guilty? • Your Capacity for Pleasure Affects Everything • The Fun of Conquest • The Power of M.I.A. • Why You Will Succeed • Your Reactions Determine Your Pleasures • Have Fun with These Actions.
10. POPULAR ACTS THAT ATTRACT FRIENDS: (page 109)
The Secret of Attractiveness • The Power of a Strong Personality • What People Admire • The Outreaching Personality • Why Be Afraid? • The Power of Self-Awareness • Prominent Points from This Chapter.
11. MONEY-MAKING ACTS THAT WAKE YOU RICH: (page 120)
How Your Mind Makes $$$ • The Power of Purposeful Action • Those Six Magic Words Again • The Turning Point • You Can Learn the Science of $$$ • Wealth and Personality Are Closely Connected • Wealth Comes from Clear Thinking • A B C's of Money-Making Action • Enrich Yourself with This Review.
12. RELAX YOUR NERVES AND HAVE MORE ENERGY: (page 131)
1. Relaxation Speeds Your Success • 2. Relaxation Brightens Your Personality • 3. Relaxation Supplies This Surprising Reward • 4. Relaxation Conquers Fear • What You Should Know About Tension • Life Itself Contains No Conflict • Your Pair of Energies • The Golden City • 1. Live Your Own Life • 2. Do What You Really Want to Do • Some Energetic Ideas for Review.
13. SECRET ACTIONS THAT PERFORM MIRACLES: (page 142)
How to Determine Your Success • What Determination Means • The Value of Informed Action • A Successful Technique • Act With Full Power! • How to Stop Wasting Your Energy • How to Remove Obstacles Quickly • What Action Can Do For You! • Miracle-Making Points.
14. ACTS THAT SOLVE YOUR PERSONAL PROBLEMS: (page 153)
1. A Story About a Song • 2. A Timely Story • 3. A Story of Action • Believe That the Answer Exists! • How to Turn Loss into Profit • How Norman Fell Asleep • Why You Should Be a Rebel • The Power of Negative Action • How to Abandon Useless Actions • Why You Shouldn't Dislike Yourself • How to Conquer Mountains! • Go Over These Problem-Solvers
15. HOW TO MAGICALLY GET WHAT YOU WANT: (page 164)
Win with Pointed Action • Pictured Action • Investigate! • The Power of Individual Action • Take Authority • Self-Action • Act Freely • Observant Action • Why You Should Fumble • Self-Understanding Action • Your Desire in Action • It's So Obvious • Thorough Action • Personal Action • Interesting Action Is Dynamic! • How to Repeat Success • Magical Methods from This Chapter.
16. YOUR GUIDE TO EXCITING ACTION: (page 174)
What I Want • My Magic Actions for Winning It • Inspiring Ideas.
AN IMPORTANT PERSONAL INVITATION TO YOU, THE READER
IN A FEW MOMENTS YOU WILL BE SAILING UPON WHAT COULD well be the most exciting voyage you have ever taken.
We are about to explore together the fascinating world of Action. We will solve quite a few mysteries about this dynamic force, and also make some rich discoveries.
Quite often a lack of success in life can be traced back to a lack of right Action. Many people produce powerful thoughts, but neglect to channel their mental energies into active programs. The purpose of this book is to show you how to make the act as powerful as the thought. This is what Shakespeare had in mind when he urged, "Be great in act, as you have been in thought."
The exciting truth is, Right Action is the greatest single power in the world. And it is your personal power, as you will delightfully discover as we adventure ahead.
Right Action can do anything. For every problem, there is a corrective Action. For any obstacle, there is an overcoming Action. For all heartache, there is a happy Action. For each desire, there is a fulfilling Action.
You will shortly make friends with dozens of people who used their personal Action Power for achieving great things. Let's meet a few of them right now:
Alfred the Great acted so wisely and so energetically that he became one of the most honored kings to wear the English crown.
A daring lady spy named Rose Greenhow acted so charmingly that she was visited constantly and eagerly by the President of the United States.
Harry Houdini, the famous escape artist, used his magic Action Power to become one of the greatest entertainers ever to appear on the stage.
The wife of Nobel Prize winner Rudyard Kipling acted with such prompt wisdom that she rescued one of the most beloved poems ever penned.
The clever American showman, P. T. Barnum, once used his vital Action Power to earn $336,000 in ten days.
Dr. Gideon Mantell's persistent actions resulted in one of the most astonishing discoveries in the history of mankind.
In his own way, each of these people used his inner Action Power to win personal success.
You, too, in your own way, can use your Action Power to achieve the special prizes you want. How come? Because the scientific principles of Action belong to the man who simply takes them. Employing a principle of Action might be likened to owning your own pleasure boat—you need only climb aboard and let it carry you enjoyably to your destinations.
What can Action do for you?
It can make success your daily habit.
Who can use it?
Anyone who wishes to change his life.
Where can you start?
Right where you are at this very moment.
So ... let's now adventure together toward your miraculous Action Power, and gain an exciting new life!
LET'S PLUNGE INTO ACTION RIGHT NOW
WHAT IS INACTION?
That's when you watch someone else kiss the girl.
What is action?
That's when you step up and kiss the girl yourself!
There you have just about the simplest explanation possible of the difference between an empty life and one of exciting action. The really thrilling life is one where you personally take part in everything pleasurable. One of the saddest realizations a person can have is that he is not actively participating in his own life.
Later in this chapter I want to give you six magic words. They will place you in the very center of richly rewarding action.
The happy truth is, no one needs to be left out of life's riches. One woman who discovered this truth told me, "For a long time I've been enviously observing life from a distance. But I'm all through with that. From now on I'm going to live."
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN CLEOPATRA ACTED
As we go along in this book you will learn of dozens of effective actions that get you what you want. I'd like to tell you a classic story that introduces you to several of them.
You probably remember a few things about that fabulous beauty, Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile. At one time she was in lively competition with her brother for the throne of Egypt. To add to her problems, the Roman armies of Julius Caesar had just landed at Alexandria. Conquest and loot were their first objectives.
But Cleopatra was as clever as she was beautiful. She reasoned that if she could reach Caesar ahead of her brother she could win the Roman ruler over to her side of the fence. So off she set with only one servant to sell her case to the Emperor of Rome.
Cleopatra had no idea of what she could say to Julius, but she did know what she was going to do. And what she did was something Caesar never forgot! She wrapped herself in an Oriental rug and had herself carried to Caesar's headquarters. The shapely princess was unrolled at Caesar's feet—and what a dramatic meeting that was! The Roman ruler was delightfully impressed with the lovely lady who was clad about as scantily as modesty permits.
As you might guess, that spectacular entrance sold Caesar on the spot. He not only placed Cleopatra on the throne of Egypt but practically turned his home town of Rome over to her.
The Queen of the Nile knew a thing or two about successful action. For one thing, she knew what she wanted, and that, as we will discover in going through these pages, is half the game.
Another thing. She knew the secret of persuading other people to her way of thinking. That is certainly a necessary and profitable type of action that you will discover in Chapter 8.
Finally, this energetic Egyptian enchantress used a type of action that wins when all else fails—daring. The pleasures and profits of daring action will also be taken up in later pages.
YOUR HAPPINESS AND ACTION
Another type of action needed by everyone is the kind supplying inner peace. It's no good making a million dollars if your heart aches. There is no point in being president of your company if you are enslaved by agonizing emotions. It's useless getting applause during the day if you toss restlessly on your bed at night.
"Happiness is in action, and every power is intended for action; human happiness, therefore, can only be complete as all the powers have their full and legitimate play." (Thomas)
A book by Dr. Albert Ellis and Dr. Robert A. Harper carries this message:
In many important respects, then, it would appear that action, particularly when it takes the form of creative, intensely absorbing activity, is one of the mainstays of happy human living . . .
Genuine action gives you the double value of exterior prosperity and inner quietness.
There is a reason why a man doesn't have both, but there is no reason why a man can't have both.
When you plunge into genuine action, you get right results.
When you act wrongly, you get wrong outcomes.
It is really as simple as that.
Genuine action is the final secret of successful living.
WE ALL NEED EXCITING ACTION
Who, do you suppose, needs more action?
You. I. Everyone. All of us need the magic power of exciting action if we are to live happily and productively.
We must have it. Every day. In variety. Life is action. "Man is born for action; he ought to do something." (Aloysius)
A panel of experts in human relations, including a psychiatrist, clergyman, and a municipal judge, once interviewed several hundred people in an effort to help them enrich their lives. What did they find? Underlying the many problems and yearnings was this major complaint:
"Not enough satisfying action."
Our own need for richer action causes us to respect those men and women who act. Notice how we admire people who get things done. We look up to the business executive who plows through difficulties to establish a financial kingdom. We admire the artist or musician who creates a lasting work of art. We recognize and appreciate the acts of parents who guide their children, or the teacher who patiently trains young minds.
In a lighter note, we even admire this type of action:
He floats through the air
With the greatest of ease,
The daring young man
On the flying trapeze.
His actions are graceful,
All girls he can please,
And my love he has stolen away.
Here we have a man who could please all the girls, especially one.
Well, now, because he was a man of action. A rascal maybe, but at least he wasn't dull!
A psychologist from one of our colleges uses a large cardboard picture to illustrate our need for swinging forward. The picture shows two bells, each in its own tower. One bell is swinging merrily; the other is motionless and silent. Below the motionless bell the crowds walk by, ignoring it. But below the swinging bell everyone looks up with interest and appreciation.
"Let that remind you," the point is made, "that it's the swinging personality who attracts success."
Act up! There are delightful surprises awaiting the man who will simply plunge into persistent action, more action, energetic action, any action.
I want to tell you about one of these surprises. Let's call it:
YOUR SECRET SERVANT NAMED SERENDIPITY
Have you ever succeeded at anything by employing your secret servant called serendipity?
No doubt you have, dozens of times. Probably, however, you didn't call it by that curiously rhythmic word. (Say "serendipity" aloud a few times and it will probably run through your head for awhile!)
What is it?
Well, it boarded Columbus' ship, the Santa Maria, and steered her toward the New World.
Serendipity assisted John D. Rockefeller to establish his financial empire.
It secretly served Charles Goodyear when that inventor accidentally discovered the vulcanization of rubber.
Serendipity means that you discover something of value when on the track of something else. It means that while you are working for a certain result a better one turns up. It's an unexpected and delightful prize. The businessman who makes a profitable contact while having fun at a party is helped by serendipity. So is the woman who goes shopping for shoes and runs across just the right earrings.
This curiously beneficial power was given the catchy name of serendipity by British novelist Horace Walpole. In one of his books, The Three Princes of Serendip, he tells about people who find wondrous treasures while searching for other things. You'll find the word defined in larger dictionaries.
Serendipity is always at your side whenever you employ your magic power of action. It makes you lucky. It supplies bountiful pleasures and profits.
HOW TO BE HAPPILY SURPRISED
You could fill a big book with stories of people who won success by unknowingly connecting themselves with this curious power. One of the best of these tales is the adventure of Thomas Cook, founder of the world-wide travel bureau of Thos. Cook and Son (the founder insisted on Thos., not Thomas).
Thomas Cook, an Englishman, was working for a publisher of religious books when an assignment came for him to arrange a meeting. Since it was to be held at a distant village, Cook thought it a good idea to arrange the transportation of those wishing to attend. He called on officials of the Midland Railway who not only agreed to run a special train but granted reduced fares.
The entire action was an enormous success, especially when the enthusiastic passengers spread the word of their exciting adventure. Other organizations soon came to Thomas Cook to ask his help in providing for their adventures-in-travel. That was the unexpected beginning of the famed Cook's Tours, now serving millions of tourists around the world.
How can you make serendipity serve you with its dynamic power? To find out, I'd like to talk with you personally for a moment. Have you noticed how much more swiftly you grasp something you enjoy doing, like dancing? Well, I want to invite you to enjoy this book with me, to make it an interesting adventure. Don't strain over anything and don't worry if you don't grasp everything at once. Read relaxed, read for fun.
That is how you can best win happy surprises from this book. After that, you will find them in your own life.
SIX MAGIC WORDS THAT WORK WONDERS
Any businessman who can sell $1,000 worth of merchandise per day can also sell $2,000 worth. Any employee who can turn out good work can also produce the superior kind that leads to promotion. Any woman who can persuade a man to treat her like a lady can also influence him to attend her like a princess.
I want to give you six magic words that work wonders when you want to turn small successes into big ones. But first, let's grasp the fact that the difference between a small triumph and a major one is in the action that caused it. When you expand your activities you automatically enlarge your successes. Some engineers were digging an underground canal in southern Italy when their shovels uncovered some ancient materials with strange inscriptions written on them. They expanded their digging operations. That action led to the rediscovery of the wealthy city of Pompeii, covered for centuries by volcanic lava from Mount Vesuvius.
Here are your six magic words:
Do more of a right action.
That's quite an idea, when you stop to think about it. You can apply it to any area of living with rich results. Start using those six magic words in both your business life and in your personal affairs. Here are two steps for best use:
First, ask yourself, "What am I doing right?" Think it through. Review those activities that are working out for you.
Next, ask the question, "How can I do more of those right actions?" Let your imagination dash around. Let it uncover fresh outlets for those correct procedures of yours.
HOW THE SIX MAGIC WORDS SUCCEEDED
One man mixed this plan with grape juice. He came up with an exciting adventure in success. The adventurer was Dr. Thomas B. Welch, founder and pioneer of the Welch Grape Juice Company, of Westfield, New York.
Dr. Welch started things in a town suitably named for a man passionately devoted to the study of grapes, Vineland, New Jersey. He eagerly read every scrap of information he could get on grape varieties, including the famous Concord grape which was developed after 20,000 experiments. The findings of French scientist Louis Pasteur were studied. Dr. Welch wanted to know whether grape juice could be bottled and kept in unfermented form.
All the while he matched his mental explorations with physical energy. His endless enthusiasm kept him busy in the kitchen of his home where he squeezed and bottled gallons and gallons of the rich purple liquid. He finally discovered a bottling process that kept the juice pure and delicious. Off it went to market.
Orders came in so briskly that soon he had to build a small brick factory. The future looked just fine for Dr. Welch and his grape juice business. But then something happened, or rather, something didn't happen. Grape juice was being produced by the gallons but orders didn't match the increased output. Realizing that most of his customers were within the New Jersey and New England areas, Dr. Welch thought of a simple solution — he would offer his product to a wider world of consumers. He and his son, Charles, who had now joined the young industry, placed a one-inch advertisement in a church paper. With high hopes they waited for things to happen. Not much did. Dr. Welch wondered whether he had been wasting his time after all. Maybe, his doubtful mind told him, it had been a mistake to place his future in grape juice.
But he was, by nature, a persistent pioneer. He knew there was only one thing to do when everything looked dark—to strike boldly toward the light. After carefully looking the situation over he concluded that he had been acting rightly all along. With this in mind, what was the answer to the present problem of insufficient orders?
The answer flashed: Do more of a right action.
Having thought, he acted. He and his son signed a contract for general magazine advertising. That did it. Sales rose at once a rewarding 25%. People who read the ads bought the juice. They liked it and have bought it ever since.
Dr. Welch had his grape juice business. He attached it to a scientific principle of success. And won.
You also have your own business or ambition. You can also attach it to this dynamic principle. And win.
If you want to turn a small success into a big one, do this:
Do more of a right action.
YOUR THREE KEYS TO GENUINE ACTION
From the very start I'd like to suggest that you make this book of practical value to you. It should be used with down-to-earth benefits in mind. After all, life itself is pretty practical. We are interested in—and should be vitally interested in—practical results from our everyday actions.
We want self-advancement. We welcome the easing of nerves and pressures. All of us desire financial security. As healthy people we want pleasurable sex experiences. We want someone to love us.
What all of us really want from our actions are personal and satisfying benefits. If we do not fulfill these natural needs to a reasonable degree we are not really living. Existing, maybe—but not living.
One woman who came for counsel opened the session like this:
I asked her, "What?"
"I'm tired of it."
"Tired of what?"
"Of inventing phony devices for getting through my day. I'm weary of the whole pretentious mess. My activities are counterfeit; they mean nothing. But I pretend they do. I'm fed up with pretending. Now what do I do?"
"Now you can congratulate yourself," I told her. "You see at last the futility of pointless activity. Good. Now we can help you along with genuine ones."
You may ask, "But what is genuine action?"
This: Genuine action is that which contributes anything of practical value to you.
An honest effort to understand yourself is genuine action. Driving your car to a business meeting is another kind. Giving helpful advice to your children is right action. So is selling merchandise. So is loving someone.
A right action is one that contributes to your inner development or to your outer prosperity.
A wrong action is one that harms your inner self or damages your exterior prosperity.
Authentic action includes three elements. It must be:
1. MAKE IT DEFINITE
When John Jacob Astor left his home in the village of Waldorf, Germany, he had a definite purpose—to become a wealthy man through constructive action. He backed up his purpose with energy and enthusiasm as he became a merchant, and later invested in New York real estate. His definite actions led to a fortune worth at least $20,000,000. Your clear-cut activities can likewise lead you to the fortunes you desire. Listen to what the authors of Psychology have to say about purposefulness:
A purpose can be the most definite of motives and the most powerful. The more definite the goal, the more determined you are to overcome obstacles and put in the necessary effort.
2. MAKE IT INTERESTING
Find an action that really fascinates you. Don't try to manufacture an interest; it won't work. Start off by cheerfully asking yourself, "Honestly, now, what really interests me?" It could be, as in the case of John Jacob Astor, a financial fortune. Or maybe your interest lies in adding valuable people to your life. Perhaps you'd like to learn a new skill. The idea is to make sure that it is a spontaneous and enthusiastic action; not just something you think you should be interested in or what others expect of you. Forget dutiful action. For once in your life do what you really want to do. Writes Dr. Alexis Carrel:
Everyone feels the desire to live according to his own fancy.
3. MAKE IT REWARDING
Actions that promise you a personal reward are power-packed. So make sure that your activity offers a prize that you eagerly want! And remind yourself of it constantly. You may have read of Thor Heyerdahl's modern voyage, a sea drama packed with fascinating adventure. This Norwegian scientist believed that Polynesia had been settled long ago by the ancient inhabitants of Peru, in South America. He was convinced that the Peruvian boats had been carried on natural currents and winds to those South Pacific islands. To prove it, he did it! Heyerdahl's 45-foot raft, Kon-Tiki, floated steadily away from the coast of Peru and 101 days later reached its destination in Polynesia. The scientific rewards of that action were enormous.
Empower yourself with rewarding action!
WHY EASY ACTION IS BEST FOR YOU
The prettiest woman in the office went out for an evening's worth of fun with the least attractive man in the office. "Why did you go out with him?" asked her girl friends. "Because," she replied, "he asked me."
Do you want something? Here is the golden rule: Whenever you want something, always do the most obvious thing to get it. Ask for it. Perform the easy act. Take the direct route. Look for the obvious answer. "The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities." (Feltham)
Edgar Allan Poe's mystery tale, "The Purloined Letter," is an excellent illustration. The action takes place in Paris during the days of kings and royal mistresses. A letter is written by a man to a lady in royal favor. It is stolen from her apartment by a scheming government official. The villain promptly blackmails the lady, using the letter to seize political power. The distressed lady calls upon the Prefect of the Parisian police to recover the message.
The police are sure of only one thing—that the dangerous letter is hidden somewhere in the official's apartment. They miss nothing in searching the place. Furniture is taken apart. They look for secret panels. Boxes and packages are explored. They peer under rugs and into books. Nothing. No letter.
The police chief finally appeals to a clever detective, C. Auguste Dupin, offering him 50,000 francs for finding the letter.
Dupin looks. Finds it. Where? Right out in the open. The letter had been resting innocently in a card rack in full view of everyone.
The unsuccessful policemen had searched everywhere but the most likely place. The more direct Dupin looked in the obvious place and found what he wanted.
Experiment with this idea in your own way. Find areas where you can apply it to practical advantage. Do the direct and the easy thing. Cut through mental red tape and get to the point. Shoot straight for the target.
The busy businessman wanting to save precious minutes could examine his letters and find ways to say just as much in half the words. The teacher wishing to reach her students with maximum effect could state the facts of the lesson in plain language. The person hoping to be a more likable individual need only perform more likable actions. The friend wanting to repair a misunderstanding need only approach the other person with a friendly, "Let's clear the air." Dr. William B. Terhune, in his book Emotional Problems and What You Can Do About Them, wisely advises:
"Take the attitude that there is always a way and—what is more—a simple, satisfactory way to deal with all situations."
HOW A SIMPLE QUESTION STARTED A BANK
One day a man with a springy step and a confident manner marched into the office of a bank. Standing before the vice-president's desk he announced, "I'm going to start a bank. Tell me how to do it."
That simple statement of purpose and that direct question really started something in the banking world. As a matter of fact it was the beginning of one of the largest financial institutions in the world today. The speaker was A. P. Giannini. The institution he brought into existence is known today as the Bank of America.
A. P. Giannini had already earned a measure of success when he stepped into that office. But he wisely realized that the direct kind of action in this new enterprise was to ask for expert advice.
His young bank grew and prospered as he continued with his straightforward actions. He offered small loans to those turned down elsewhere. He carefully explained to people the advantages of depositing money in his bank. People thought of him as a friend first and a banker second. All because he possessed a clear mind that produced simple and direct actions. He did things the easy way.
People sometimes ask me, "But what should I do when I don't know what to do?"
The answer is, see what you can do with the most obvious course of action. It will do far more for you than anything complicated.
REVIEW YOUR EXCITING ACTIONS
1. Make up your mind to lead an exciting life through constructive action.
2. Genuine action makes dreams come true and cures all unhappiness. English author John Ruskin sums it up, "Doing is the great thing."
3. Remember, nothing happens until someone plunges into action. If you want things to happen, you plunge into action!
4. Employ your secret servant serendipity. It works alongside everyone who acts.
5. As a starting action, relax with this book as you read it. Make it an enjoyable adventure.
6. To succeed at anything at all, remember the six magic words: Do more of a right action.
7. Keep in mind that genuine action is that which gives you something of practical value.
8. Make your actions definite, interesting and rewarding.
9. Always do things the easy way. Look for the most obvious way to get what you want, then plunge ahead.
10. Whenever you don't know what to do—act up!
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