WE have seen that there is a tendency in all of us to react in a definite way to thoughts or ideas which we call suggestion. After we become thoroughly acquainted with a man, we feel that we can “depend on him,” as we say, which merely means that we know pretty well how he will act under given circumstances, “how he will feel about it’,” and what he will do. In other words, we know in general the sum-total of his habits of thought.
The same is true of society. We become acquainted with any race, nation, or group, and we learn that the vast majority holds similar ideas, accepts the same customs and standards, and has similar religious concepts.
If it were not so, and if every individual on earth had different customs and views from every other, social intercourse would be impossible, and we would be totally unable to “understand” each other. Because we know in general the sum-total of the habits of society we can usually tell in advance how it will react to any given idea.
We may speak of this sum-total of mental habits both of the individual and of society as the subconscious mind. It is the mental activity which takes place without conscious thought; it is intelligence acting “unthinkingly.” But it is intelligence in some form for it
reacts to ideas or suggestions, and in an orderly way which we can understand.
Knowledge of the existence of this corporate or social subconscious is important for it points the way to the proper use of suggestion to sway not merely one mind but many.
This is well illustrated in the art of advertising. The best advertisement is, of course, the one which will attract the largest number of purchasers for the least money.
It has been found by experience that the following make the most striking appeal: Necessities of life, as things to eat and wear; things that promote the sense of power and importance of the individual, such as a better house, neighborhood, or car than one’s neighbors or associates; love of out-of- doors, which is instinctive.
In other words, the suggestion to be made by the advertiser or salesman is merely a reinforcement of the suggestion which the possible buyer has already been making to himself.
On the other hand, if it is something new that is to be promoted, it becomes necessary to make a “campaign of suggestion.” The public must be informed that the article exists, is for sale, and has virtues which make its possession desirable.
It must be talked about, read about, seen, and if by any means possible, discussed. It is especially desirable to have it argued over, and in the
case of a new religious idea, for example, it fosters growth to have it quarreled about. Partisanship means patronage. New ideas must become familiar before accepted or paid for. James A. Garfield used to say that an unfamiliar idea had to be presented three times in the same speech.
The third time it became acceptable because familiar. It has been proven by actual tests that an advertisement of a quarter page inserted four times in the newspaper will bring five times the result secured by a full page of the same advertisement if inserted but once.
The suggestion becomes more powerful each time it is made until the reader remembers it and feels an impulse to buy. Repetition of suggestion is, therefore, seen as an imperative.
Our minds are being impinged upon constantly by suggestions and to a very great extent we rule or are ruled by them.
It is well from time to time to run over the chief factors in our lives to see whether or not we belong to the vast group who “act without thinking.” Are we just accepting whatever suggestion comes our way or are we resolutely formulating our own suggestions, establishing our own standards, and marking out our own pathway?
Ninety-five percent of Americans, to say nothing of foreign peoples, are led by the other five percent. The “other five” owns most of the wealth. Who is deciding your social, religious, political, and economic ideas and ideals for you?
Possibly it is time to wake up and think! The thinkers are those who formulate the suggestions for the unthinking.
Read what Mr. Henry Ford says in his book, “My Life and Work,” under the title, “Machines and Men”:
“Scarcely more than five percent of those who work for wages, while they have the desire to receive more money, have also the willingness to accept additional responsibility and the additional work which goes with the high places.”
Responsibility means independence, and independence means the selection and formulation of your own suggestions.
A number of years ago the author of this book was conducting lectures and classes as one of the directors of the Southern California Metaphysical Institute. In line with what we have just been saying, he conducted the following experiment.
A series of lecture lessons on scientific salesmanship was prepared; a theater was rented; admission was made without charge, and an expert salesman was sent out with literature to the department stores and other places where labor was employed to invite those interested to attend.
So few accepted the invitation that the number was negligible and had it not been for our large membership and personal following, the experiment would have been very costly. It was to me a very graphic demonstration of the reason why five percent is rich and the other ninety-five per cent is poor.
This book is written for those who are determined to join the leaders of the race. Be willing to think. Few do.
“How few there be of the thinking few Who really think, who think they do.”
How very few, then, are those who think!
Re-educate your subconscious by suggestion. Declare many times daily, “I will henceforth refuse to think that I cannot succeed. I will no longer be hypnotized by the following ideas. (Name the ones you are going to get rid of.) I can and will succeed along this line.” (Name the things you desire to accomplish and firmly hold them in mind as certain of accomplishment.)