Knowledge of the Laws of Suggestion
ONE of the most startling discoveries of recent times is the fact that the greater part of the world lives and acts not on the basis of a self-chosen path but rather in accordance with the suggestions and impressions by which they are surrounded. We have seen that as between will and imagination, the latter always rules and we have found out the reason why. We should add to this the further fact that mental pictures and ideals are being constantly presented to us in the way of suggestion without our conscious thought. Anything may be denominated a suggestion which sinks into the subconscious or habit mind and produces a result either in the thoughts, feelings, or acts of the individual who receives it.
CONSCIOUS AND UNCONSCIOUS SUGGESTION
A conscious suggestion is one in which the individual consciously chooses some idea which he wishes to plant in the subconscious. The process of giving it is what we call autosuggestion or self-suggestion as in the famous phrase of Coué, “Day by day in every way I am getting better and better.” All treatments and realizations given at the close of chapters in this book are therefore autosuggestions and are designed to
impress the subconscious mind with the idea of attainment leading to financial success.
But we are also receiving a constant bombardment of unconscious suggestion from our associates, society, the papers, and environment in general. Most great business depressions can be shown to be largely due to unconscious suggestion in which an ever-widening circle of the public joins, until it becomes an accepted idea that “times are hard, money is tight, business is getting poor, overexpansion must be followed by reaction which has now set in or is setting in, or is likely to set in.” It is like “taking a cold,” you have no cold now but you are “catching cold,” you “feel it coming on,” you “always have a cold after such an ‘exposure’,” etc. After the panic has been produced by the suggestion, a long period of mental and financial depression follows, and then the more venturesome minds “take a chance” in declaring that there is going to be an improvement. They are of course frowned upon, laughed at, and a concerted effort is made to suppress their enthusiasm. But if the idea is maintained, others gradually join, new ventures are set on foot, old ones are resuscitated, and “the boom is on,” and “good times” result—from the suggestion.
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE SUGGESTIONS
Many people are constantly giving themselves suggestions unconsciously. They are saying, “I cannot
do it. There is nothing ahead for me. I never ‘get the break.’ Something happens at the last minute. There’s no use in trying.” These and many other suggestions which will occur to the reader are negative or destructive unconscious suggestions, unconscious because the man who makes them does not know that every time he gives them utterance he is damning himself. In a sense, of course, all suggestions are affirmative rather than negative; that is, they are the affirmation of the negative. And to affirm a negative state is eventually to create it.
In general, it is better to speak of constructive and destructive suggestions, the former having the tendency to encourage, inspire, and create favorable action, the latter to produce in harmony, sickness, failure, distrust, and unfavorable action. Disease and failure are direct products of creative thought as truly as are health and success. All words, thoughts, and suggestions should therefore be carefully noted to see that they do not convey ideas contrary to constructive purposes.
DIRECT AND INDIRECT SUGGESTION
Suggestions may be made either directly or indirectly. It is often the part of wisdom to camouflage a suggestion. Great care has to be taken that those to whom they are given do not recognize them as such. There are many people who resent the idea of being
influenced by suggestion, as though in some way their personal liberty were being assailed; although as a matter of course no suggestion can ever become effective until it is an autosuggestion, and the trained mind need never accept those that are made. Indeed, one should suggest to himself, from time to time, that he is mentally wide-awake and that he will not act upon any suggestions of which he is not consciously aware.
However, there is a cross-grain in some natures which must be borne in mind when dealing with them. Like everyone else they are susceptible of suggestion but they always take the opposite side, and this must be met in the proper way.
Let us suppose that a woman is attempting to persuade her husband to take a trip with her. She knows in advance that if he thinks she really wants it, he will take pride in saying he simply cannot leave his business. She will perhaps discuss the nature of such a trip, how some of her friends have recently taken it, how much enjoyment they had from it, and conclude by saying, “But of course you won’t have time for it next week.” His testy reply is likely to be, “Why do you say of course? Where do you get that idea? Who said I didn’t have time?”
“Oh, Alice and I were talking it over and she said she had a wonderful trip, but of course you wouldn’t leave your business for it.”
“What does she know about it? You’re both wrong. I’m going.”
We are not here recommending fiction, for there are always facts to fit the case.
Or we will suppose a family to whom the wearing of dinner clothes is only an occasional affair and the man of the house detests doing it. The wife does not say, “Now, dearie, be sure to put on your tuxedo.” She knows too well what he will answer. She lays the suit on the bed and says, “Mrs. Jones phoned me it will be a formal affair.”
A salesman often finds it profitable to use indirect suggestion as when he says, “Your neighbor Jones bought one of these washing machines because he says he isn’t going to allow his wife to break her back over a washboard.”
To “wonder how such a beautiful garment can be made for such a price?” is an indirect suggestion.
The above is very obvious but it illustrates a principle which the alert mind should know. Then exercise your own mental powers in creating suggestions to ease the
pathway of your own life. It is important to remember that no one else can be your brains for you and no system is “fool proof.” Practice and inventiveness alone will produce results. Get in the habit of watching yourself, or thinking about the suggestions you are making and how you can improve them.
FURTHER TYPES OF SUGGESTION
There are of course many types of suggestion. A combination of indirect suggestion and “sensory suggestion” may be found in the advertising value of doughnut-cooking in a window where the fragrance assails the nostrils, the sight delights the eye, and the whole appeals to the stomach. Sensory suggestions are also being constantly made within us as when we suddenly become conscious of some part of the body and dwell upon it with fear, wondering if it is the beginning of some disease, until we have built up, perhaps, the very condition we have feared. One should always refuse to worry over such matters.
Either go to a practitioner, physician, treat it mentally until well, or forget it until it speaks in louder tones.
The opposite to sensory suggestion is psychic. Many have minds easily contacted by impressions and are able to “pick up” thoughts out of the atmosphere just as the receiving set of the wireless picks up the sentient pulsations of the ethers. One must be careful not to
become an indiscriminate receiving set. Learn to tune out much that seeks admission to your mind.
Psychic impressions and suggestions are often made by the direction of the thought to any other mind near or far. These suggestions may be good, as in the case of mental treatment at a distance, or they may be distinctly destructive. A friend of mine one day gave a mental treatment for a man who was out of work, “broadcasting” the call for an employer, and within a few days he had seven offers of employment, some of them from other States. On one occasion the author remarked that one might mentally contact his friends whose whereabouts he did not know, and bring an answer to him. A young man in the audience came back in a couple of days and said he had followed directions and had heard from a friend whom he had lost track of for many months. On another occasion, the author told the story of this young man and a woman in the audience put the principle into practice to learn the whereabouts and condition of a friend. Within a few days she received a letter from the woman and information from four other different sources including a physician who was treating her friend. It is useless to argue here on the problem of coincidence. It has already been settled in a scientific way by authenticated cases as in the books of Flammarion.
Further consideration will be given in the second part of this book.
Remember you are living in a world of suggestion and learn to study the factors that control or influence your thought, conduct, and destiny. Are you affected by good suggestions or bad, positive or negative, optimistic or pessimistic, personal or impersonal, psychic or sensory, direct or indirect, voluntary or involuntary?
Then let me live to larger issues, Let me put the small and petty by,
Let my mind triumph in its own control And joy in conquest of its very thought. Let me perceive and measure every breath, Suggestion born, that blows upon me;
React alone to good, nor ill receive, or know. I am the master of the inner world and so The master of the world around.
My goal is Sure, my path lies to the heights