How many there are who are “stumbling” into trouble, into sorrow, and failure, because they do not “look before they leap!” Success requires foresight. It demands a careful survey of the field before entering upon it. The unforeseen circumstances may be the deciding factor in the enterprise, and while you may not know in advance all that is going to happen, you can know what may happen, and make provision for it.

Foresight is a combination of imagination and judgment. The imagination runs ahead and spies out the land. It pictures all the processes of the undertaking. It penetrates walls and windows, makes long journeys, visits inner offices of banks and businesses, enters other minds and reads their secret? You can mentally go where you want to go and look over every factor in the case with the eye of imagination. Then having seized upon these factors you can array them before reason and have judgment passed upon them.

The foresight of many business men is almost like prescience. They seem to know in advance. The accuracy of their forecasts is startlingly correct.

What man may know about coming events has always been the subject of discussion. The clergy have argued it pro and con. They have exalted or damned prophecy according to their bias, but no one can deny that “coining events cast their shadows before.”

The difference between a forecast and intuition should be noted. One could write a whole book on “hunches” telling of the remarkable forecasts of events in business and markets. I personally knew a woman who followed a profession, but had a distinct gift in regard to “markets,” a direct intuition. She would call her broker and place her orders to buy with such definiteness and success as to indicate an almost direct knowledge of what the market would do. In this way she amassed a considerable fortune. But after she had succeeded in making herself financially independent, she decided to go down on the market herself. So she gave up her professional work and became a speculator. But now her situation was entirely different. She was in the midst of rumors, intrigues, “tips,” deceits, and all the chaotic mental atmosphere of the market where her intuitive powers were constantly clouded with faulty suggestions. She found her “hunches” no longer dependable, and in a few swift weeks her money was swept away on the tide of speculation.

In this case we can see the activity of pure intuition, but I would not call this foresight. It was not so much a matter of making a mental picture as it was of allowing her mind to receive mental impressions, upon which she took definite action. Business foresight might include this intuitive power, but it also includes knowledge of the various factors in the case. It is an open secret that many of the large operators of this country are constant visitors upon “psychics.” These psychics have a peculiar faculty of “sensing” subtle mental impressions which have not yet become vivid enough to become consciously recognized. There are ideas which are still “in solution,” but which are soon to crystallize. Often the psychic can “get” these. The difficulty comes of course in being able to discriminate between the impressions. There is always a great mass of ideas in solution; ideas both good and bad, some of which will materialize and some which will not. For this reason we could not recommend the practice which we mention. In fact, we would warn against it, for the simple reason that the vast majority who search out these psychics do not have the discrimination which passes judgment upon the impressions presented. On the other hand, great financiers whose names we might mention have found it of value to get these impressions and then to go ahead with a wide knowledge of actual conditions and a well-balanced judgment, to carry out their plans. These plans may

mean the manipulation of the market with the full knowledge of the stock to be manipulated. They know the assets of the company back of it, the liabilities, the management, the present market for the product, etc., etc. Coupling their “hunch,” their imagination, their reason, they take definite action with the result that the bigger operators usually succeed.

Of course what is true on the market is doubly true in the world of legitimate business. We will suppose that a woman is going into the millinery business. She must first have a location. There must be materials to work with. There must be a reasonably certain market. But this is not enough. There must be the most divine imagination. Not only must each hat itself be a work of art, a “creation” different from every other hat on earth, that has been, is, or is to be; but she must also know in advance that this hat which she is about to make will be the kind of hat that some woman will want, not now but perhaps three months from now, when the season is on. Future styles! Knowledge of what women are wearing today will not be enough. What will they want tomorrow? They don’t know yet, but she must! Will the brims be wide or narrow? Will the crowns be high or low? Will the material be felt or straw, or both, or neither? Will the basket contain flowers or fruit?

Even if success does not hang by a thread, it certainly is often hung by a ribbon.

Ninety-five percent of new businesses in this country are said to fail, and one of the chief reasons is the lack of foresight and the failure or inability to “read the signs of the times,” and prepare in advance not only for normal requirements, abnormal emergencies, and so on but even for psychologies. This is well illustrated in the case of a merchant friend of mine. He conducted a store in a small Ohio town and dealt in women’s cloaks and dresses. He did his buying in New York and in his early years used to go to the city periodically to purchase what he considered the latest and best thing. He would lay in a supply of dresses ranging from seventy-five to a hundred dollars and bring them triumphantly home expecting them to be “snapped up.” But woman after woman would come to the store, look at a dress, feel it, and pass on. Without any reason but with a uniformity of psychology which baffles analysis, the women of the town would “turn down” what he had expected they would “snap up,” and the dresses would go onto the bargain counter at fifteen dollars apiece. From this experience he learned to bring home only two or three dresses and watch the first women who examined them. If they bought he put in a big order for more. If they “passed them up,” he did not order more.


In studying the problem of business foresight, I have been very much interested in the career of Arthur E. Stilwell, the railroad builder.19 It has been my good fortune to know him personally for a number of years and to discuss these things with him. He has always exercised a remarkable psychic power which doubtless all possess but which few have developed. From his earliest youth, he was able to penetrate the world of mental causes with such accuracy as to constitute a virtual prophetic power. Mental convictions would come to him with such definiteness as to lead him to act upon them often against the judgment of his associates but with ultimate success. The most interesting incident occurred in connection with the building of the Kansas City and Southern Railroad.

Those acquainted with this road know that it ends in the south at Port Arthur, the greatest land-locked harbor of its kind. This location for the terminal was not the one selected by engineers, who preferred Galveston, but was used by the insistence of Mr.

Stilwell whose faculties of intuition and judgment led him to forecast the very disaster which afterwards overtook Galveston. Port Arthur was completed just as


19 He has built more miles of railroad than any man living today.

the tidal wave struck the Texas city, and had the terminal been placed there it would have been swept away.

Whatever explanation we may give to this almost prophetic faculty, we must at least recognize the fact that there are remarkable powers within us, which can be utilized to bring success, and to provide against the failures which overtake those who do not utilize them. One might bear with stoic calm the vicissitudes of fortune, but who can endure the failure which is due entirely to the neglect of that which might have been foreseen and forestalled?

Scientific use of the laws of the subconscious will save us from such tragic mistakes. We must bear in mind that the subconscious is in touch with a wide field of facts of which the conscious mind may at the present moment be ignorant. It remembers important points which the conscious phase of mind has forgotten; it is the recipient of impressions from other minds; it has observed numerous details which escaped conscious attention.

In short, the facts are ready for an interpretation. This interpretation may take the nature of prophecy.

It is in identically the same way that discoveries of science are constantly being made. The facts are

observed, it is perceived that there is some relationship between these facts, this relationship is found to be of an orderly kind; and so an hypothesis is drawn up proclaiming other facts which must naturally flow from those already known. It was in this way that the planet Neptune was discovered. No human eye had ever seen it, but in studying the movement of the planet Uranus through space it was found that the latter had the habit of running off the orbit it was naturally supposed to follow. From the observation of these facts the hypothesis was established that there must be another and unknown planet somewhere off in space which was exercising an influence upon it. It remained for a young mathematician to compute the orbit of the unknown and hypothetical planet. After two years of herculean mental effort John Sharpe Williams plotted the point in space, the telescope was trained upon it, and Neptune was discovered.

Such use of the mind bears the nature of prophecy and the forecast of coming events is by no means out of the reach of those who will use their mental forces scientifically,20


20 Remanding prophetic functions of the mind, it will be interesting for the student to note the studies made by

Guidance of the mental forces should, therefore, be carefully sought in order that gross errors may not be made.

In general practice it is only necessary to follow these steps:

  1. Take time to use your mental forces for the purpose at hand. Too many act first and think afterwards. There is no brilliancy in thinking afterwards of the clever things you might have said or done.
  2. Carefully look over all the facts at hand. Get your working data—everything that pertains to the matter in hand.
  3. Review the powers of mind and renew your faith in them asserting your ability to pass sensible judgment upon these facts and to come to a reasonable and correct solution.
  4. State definitely that your mind now knows the steps you should take and will guide you in what you should do. Dwell upon this at some length until you feel that this knowledge is fully developed within you.


    Flammarion in his book, “Death and Its Mystery,” Vol. II, “At the Point of Death.”

  5. Assert that you will be able to go confidently forward and that you will not make mistakes in the choices you will be called upon to make from time to time.
  6. Go to work.

    How necessary it is that we awaken our hidden and sleeping forces. Cultivate imagination! Practice planning! Make mental surveys! Develop judgment! Look to the future! Soon you will find yourself exercising an “uncanny” power which will amaze others by the accuracy of its forecasts.

    “The lightning-bug is brilliant, But it hasn’t any mind;

    It stumbles through existence, With it headlight on behind.”

    Which way is your headlight pointed?

Fenwicke Lindsay Holmes

Fenwicke Lindsay Holmes

Fenwicke Lindsay Holmes was an American author, former Congregational minister, and Religious Science leader.

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