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Getting Acquainted with the Real You

In about 400 B.C., when Socrates said to his followers: “Know Thyself,” I am sure this great sage was not referring to the physical being. His every utterance was directed to the intellect, i.e., to the mind.

I once read a story in which the author said there were two entities residing within every being: a plus entity and a minus entity. The plus entity saw nothing but good—health, strength, success, happiness, etc. The minus entity saw just the opposite— gloom, poor health, failure, etc. This author felt that we were influenced by only one entity at a time. If we were to allow the plus entity to take over, we would walk erectly with chests out and chins up, a spark in our eyes and a resolute expression of determination on our faces. If the minus entity should be in charge, the reverse would be true. There would be a lag in our steps; with listless eyes and drooping mouths, our faces would reflect abject despair.

I am not so sure that two entities dwell within our beings, but I do know with certainty that our minds run either in a negative or a positive direction.

According to early psychologists, 95 per cent of all people lean toward the negative side in their thinking. This opinion would imply that most people are under the control of their negative selves, and it would also indicate why such a large percentage of people are unhappy and unsuccessful.

The title of this chapter is: “Getting Acquainted with the Real You.” If you are one of the 95 per cent who lean toward the negative side, you might not be particularly pleased to meet the real YOU. But, instead of being regretful, you will have cause for rejoicing, because you will have learned why you are as you are, and what you can do to change your situation.

In the previous chapter you were given a simple test to learn whether you are inclined negatively or positively. This is the first—and perhaps the most important—step toward getting acquainted with the real you.

The illustrations which follow are intended for those who are negatively inclined. In fact, this description may apply to most readers of this book, because, after all, a strictly positive-minded person really does not need it.

Let me tell you the story of a man who stayed awake all night—and was glad of it. We will call him Joseph Benson. Joe had run into a streak of bad luck and found himself without money and with a mass of overdue bills on his desk. Things looked serious for this unhappy man, who was already feeling the effects of loss of sleep.

One night Joe went to bed and, as usual, began thinking about his many creditors and of the threats they had been making regarding his indebtedness.

A tide-turning thought entered Benson’s mind. In one of my earlier books, he had read the same thought which is repeated in this book, to the effect that man is a mind with a body—not a body with a mind. The statement hadn’t meant much to Joe when he first read it, but now it seemed to take on a new significance.

“If I am mind,” Benson thought, “I can be anything I want to be. All I have to do is make up my mind what I would like to be—and then be just that.”

Throughout the night his mind ran in constructive circles. He thought of himself as he was. He thought of others whom he would like to emulate. He thought of the changes he would have to make within himself to be able to accomplish what he would like to accomplish.

“What is the difference between me and the man I admire— and perhaps even envy?” he asked himself.

“I do not like to refer to myself as being spineless,” he thought, “but I might as well face it and admit it to be the truth.

“I shrink when asking others to grant me any request which might relieve my condition, because I feel I will be refused, as, invariably I am.

“The go-getter has forcefulness. He tells others what kind of deal he would like to make—one which will be of benefit to both. They listen to him and, in most cases, do as he wants them to do.

“My actions are guided by my mind. The other man’s actions are guided by his mind. Why can’t I change my mind to coincide with his?”

The early morning rays of the sun peeping through the openings in his curtains indicated the dawn of a new day. Joe Benson arose, and instead of having a bedraggled appearance, he was alive and alert, with an expression quite similar to that of the miner who has just struck pay-dirt.

Mrs. Benson, upon seeing her changed husband, was actually timid about asking Joe what had happened. She didn’t have to, though, because at breakfast, she got the enthusiastic story of how a sleepless night would change the future for them both.

Joe stayed home that day—and with good reason. With pencil and paper, he charted his problem according to the Mental Yardstick described in one of my former books. He decided what his objective would be; in his case it was a means of liquidating his indebtedness and establishing an income on which he could maintain a reasonably high standard of living.

He next listed every obstacle which stood between him and his objective; then he outlined a plan of action which would enable him to hurdle the obstacles and attain his objective.

Before retiring that evening, he meditated on his new plan at great length, and determined to arise early in the morning to put it into action.

Without understanding the principles revealed in this book, Joe Benson was literally “Growing Rich While He Slept.” He had retired with his plan well in mind, and while his conscious mind was asleep, his Creative Mind had worked diligently on Joe’s constructive plan of action.

It would take many, many pages to tell the complete story of Joe Benson and what happened to him as a result of his sleepless night, but suffice it to say that he and his wife are now living in a large mansion, with an income ample to take care of it.

Do you understand why this was possible? The change took place when Benson learned the truth that he was a Mind with a Body and that he could—through a mere change of his mind— become whatever he wanted to be.


Permit me to ask a question!

Did the change of Joe Benson’s mental attitude require hard work and drudgery? Just the reverse! He approached his problems with firmness and determination. Those to whom he talked about his predicament were impressed by his spirit and wanted to assist this man because he seemed worth while. Before the change he would feebly approach a man with shaky hand and whining voice. Invariably, he would be turned down because he created the impression that he would be unable to keep any promises he might make.

Was it hard work to turn the tide? To the contrary. In former days, Joe would arrive home discouraged because he knew he would have to spend much time in battling with creditors. With his new entity taking over, he would arrive home joyous, viewing life as he had never seen it before. And, instead of having mounting debts, he saw his savings and investments growing.

Another question comes to mind. Did Joe do anything you can’t do? No! Just as he changed his mind and began seeing himself as he wanted to be, so you can do exactly the same, and the change which will take place in your life will be just as spectacular as the change which took place in the life of Joe Benson.

I would not be truthful with you if I said that to change your consciousness as Joe Benson did is as easy as to change your mind and go to a movie instead of staying at home. No, a different mental process is required.

Perhaps this illustration will help you to understand more clearly. Have you ever seen someone do a trick of magic which seemed so baffling you couldn’t possibly imagine how it was done? Then the trick was exposed to you; you were told just exactly how it was performed.

At first you thought to yourself: “Oh, I can’t do that!” But then you studied the explanation given to you, and you exclaimed: “Now I get it!” When it dawned upon you just how simple the trick really was, you knew that with a little practice you could do it, too.

So many people feel they are destined to go through life doing without and making sacrifices, it seems a miracle to them that their salvation is so near at hand and that it is simple to get what they want in life. When these people read a book like this, they may hope for the better things in life, and wish they could have them, but they do not permit the thought to seep into their consciousness that abundance is within easy reach.

Here is another illustration which shows how a change in mental attitude took a man out of the doldrums and placed him on the road to Health, Wealth and Happiness.

Fred White was an average fellow. He made enough to get by on, but he was certainly not a man who could be classified as a success.

The head of the company for which Fred worked gave a lawn party for all his employees, including Fred. Before the party ended, all the guests were invited on a tour through his impressive home.

White didn’t even wish for such an estate; it seemed so far beyond his possibilities of attainment. But, that night Fred did a lot of thinking. He recalled how the large living room had been designed so that the picture window looked out upon a huge pool, giving the effect of a lakeside villa.

He remembered the priceless paintings adorning the large walls—mostly landscapes and portraits of his employer’s ancestors.

Fred was quite unhappy as he wondered why some people could have everything, while others go through life with just the barest of necessities.

Suddenly, a great truth dawned upon him. “Why am I so unhappy?” he reasoned. “Right now I can enjoy practically everything my boss has. Within an hour I can drive to the lake where I can spend minutes, hours, or even a whole day, enjoying a lake view far more picturesque than my boss sees from his living-room window.

“I can drive out in the country or up in the hills and see far more beauty than is found on the canvasses in his home. “My home may not be so elaborate, but I enjoy tasty, nutritious meals, and sleep in a comfortable bed.”

As Fred White made comparisons between his situation and that of the man he had been envying, he began to understand that he was not too badly off, and found a sense of peace stealing over him.

But Fred didn’t allow himself to become complacent. He began developing what I refer to in my book, I Will, as happy discontent. He was happy with the blessings he had, but discontent to remain happy with them since he felt he could, and had the right to, add to his possessions.

Envy is a restraining force. To envy indicates a lack of confidence in one’s ability to acquire what he envies; hence, it prevents the development of initiative to obtain what is envied.

Fred White’s realization that, even without riches, he could enjoy the same blessings which the wealthy enjoyed gave him a great sense of peace. He no longer envied his employer, but found that he was growing mentally and could begin thinking in terms of self-improvement.

As White took on stature as a man of affairs, his employer paid more attention to him and began lifting him up higher and higher in his company.

Need I carry this story further? Only to the extent of telling you that today Fred White is vice-president of the company and is now living in a very fine home himself.


I said earlier that 95 per cent of all people leaned toward the negative side, and that this figure probably included you. I believe, however, that even with negative people, there is more inborn positiveness than there is a negativity. The individual allows his positive self to become obscured by negative thoughts. He is like a house of wood which has been painted. In volume, there is thousands of times more wood than there is paint, yet the paint completely covers the wood.

If you were to take a white sheet of paper one foot square and place on it a small black spot only 1/16th of an inch square, although the paper is 36,864 times as large as the small black square, your eye would dwell on the spot more than it would on the large area.

No matter how negative you might have thought you were, I definitely believe you are far more positive than you are negative. But, if you are not enjoying out of life all that you hope for, it is not that Fate has anything against you. It is because you are allowing the negative side of you to take over.

You are allowing a negative veneer with which you have surrounded yourself throughout the years to influence your thinking, your acting, your achieving.

Train yourself to be positive. Every time you find yourself holding a negative thought, chase it out with a positive one. You may not see results immediately, but they will be forthcoming.

If you plant a seed in the ground, it will be several days before anything shows above the surface. But, if the seed is a fertile one, and you cultivate and water it, you know it will, in time, produce a plant. When you first begin holding positive thoughts, you may not see anything happening at once, but with persistence, you will soon find your positive “entity” taking over and life will present an entirely new meaning to you.

“How can I be positive when everyone around me is negative?” you may ask. This raises a question I might ask. If you were at the railroad station and had the choice of two tickets, one, which would take you to a barren wasteland, and the other to a delightful land of fruits and flowers and enjoyment, which ticket would you select? The answer is obvious.

You have the choice of being either negative or positive. The former guides you to gloom, poor health and failure; the latter to Health, Wealth and Happiness. Which one do you choose?

With the percentage of negative people far exceeding that of positive people, it is logical to assume that all of us are surrounded with more negative people than we are with positive.

If those around you are negative, instead of aping them and making yourself miserable, guard your own happiness by refusing to follow in their footsteps.

You may, if you determine to do so, change some of the negative people into positive ones. Here is the case of a positive-minded wife who, through well-thought-out strategy, changed a negative husband into an enthusiastic positive-thinking mate.

“That mind-over-matter bunk will send you to the booby-hatch,” he constantly told his wife. Whenever something happened of a disappointing nature, and the wife would make some such statement as: “Oh, everything is for the best,” she would be told that she was “off her rocker.”

This wife could have resigned herself to a life of mediocrity, but she refused to do so. She knew the laws of positive thinking, and she also knew how her husband was holding himself back by his negative thinking.

An idea occurred to her. One evening while her husband was sitting around, doing nothing in particular, his wife busied herself by reading one of the many books on mental self-improvement.

“I can’t make head or tail out of this. Will you, with that good mind of yours, read part of this chapter and see if you can make out what the author is trying to say?” she said, as she handed the open book to her husband.

Flattered by her inference regarding his good mind, he accepted the challenge. He read the chapter, not intending to agree with the author but to find loopholes whereby he could prove to his wife that all mind-over-matter theories were a lot of nonsense.

But as he read on and on, the material he was reading began to make sense to him—it all added up. He slowly accepted the idea that negative thoughts produce negative reactions and that positive thoughts produce positive reactions.

This husband began thinking about his job. He realized that he had never done a lick of work over and above what was expected of him, and that what he did was just good enough to get by.

The next morning this man went to his job with a new attitude. He decided to do his work a bit better than he had ever done it before. Instead of sneaking every minute he could to swap stories with fellow workers, he kept happily on the job in an attempt to attain maximum perfection. In his eagerness to excel, he even made a discovery: he learned a short cut which would enable him to turn out more, and better, work. The discovery could even be used by others in the plant, making their efforts more efficient.

What happened? Must I really tell you? I’m sure you’re ahead of me. You know that the man gained recognition by his company and was properly compensated for what he did. Now if you try to talk against “mind over matter” to this changed man, he will put up as strong an argument in favor of it as I could put in this book.

“When one is not up on a thing, he is often down on it,” said a great philosopher, and how right he was.

“The Power of Positive Thinking” (borrowing the title of Norman Vincent Peale’s great book) has been so well established that it cannot be denied by any thinking individual. It is no longer a theory but a fact. And, best of all, it is a fact very easy to prove.

There are still those who will take exception. They will proclaim: “I tried it and it doesn’t work.” In questioning these doubtful ones, you will invariably find that they did not try positive thinking at all. They merely wished for success and happiness, and then because they did not get their wish, they decided that mind has no influence over matter at all.

Permit me to bring this chapter to a close by making the surprising statement that every day everyone is making use of the principle of mind over matter, whether they are benefiting from it or not.

The one who keeps himself miserable through failure, poor health and gloom is definitely being influenced by mind over matter. He does not wish for these conditions, but he sees himself as having them; he believes he is doomed to possess them.

Now then, if this same person could visualize—just as strongly —Health, Wealth and Happiness, not wish for them but see himself possessing them, don’t you agree with me that soon he would be blessed with Health, Wealth and Happiness?

Doesn’t this chapter inspire you to look at life now with a sort of Alice-in-Wonderland delight? Isn’t your vision beginning to pierce through the fog of uncertainty and doubt, and can’t you get a glimpse of the new life that will be yours?

Visit Grow Rich While You Sleep for more articles from this book by Ben Sweetland.