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Help Yourself by Helping Others

You cannot teach a subject to others unless you are familiar with it yourself. And, the longer you teach it, the more proficient you become.

I have lectured on subjects relating to self-improvement in most of the principal cities in this country and Canada. After a lecture I often hope that my listeners have gained as much from the talk as I have from giving it.

Explaining principles to others fixes them more firmly in your own mind. You may read about a certain theory and be impressed with it at the time but, unless you make use of it, it will soon be forgotten. Talking about it will have a tendency to fix it in your consciousness so that it will be ever ready for use.

Using what you have learned so far in this book will forever keep you from want. Moreover, it will keep you supplied with an abundance of worldly goods. But this knowledge will be of little good unless you make use of it.

Provide yourself with everything you have been hoping for: a fine home, lots of money, etc. Then, instead of permitting others to become envious over what you have, show them how they may acquire what they want.

Some readers of this book will become so enthusiastic they will try to force its teachings on their friends and relatives. This will do no good and will make them unpopular. Many people have such negative minds they will not believe that by merely reading a book their circumstances can be changed. They will declare that others’ wealth was acquired through sheer good luck.

Tell them about the book, if you wish, and offer to lend it to them, if they want to read it; but go no further. If they are really enthusiastic (and not jealous) over your progress, they will gladly ask to read the book; or, better still, they can buy a copy to have as their very own.

Frank Barry was an ordinary fellow. He had a job and was able to provide food, shelter and clothes for his wife and child. Then he read one of my books and took its principles to heart. Soon he was able to earn more money than he had been earning and to move into a much better apartment.

A friend of Barry asked him what had happened to enable him to improve his circumstances so dramatically. Frank liked this man and spent much time virtually giving him a course in positive thinking and how to change his circumstances through the establishment of correct mental images.

The effect of this teaching was not immediately noticeable upon Barry’s friend, but it was on Frank Barry. His thoughts went back to his circumstances before he learned the facts and to what had happened since he began to apply the power of right thinking.

“If positive thinking could do what it has already done for me, why can’t it continue to improve my condition until I can move my family into the home of our dreams, with everything necessary to go with it?”

There was no negative answer to this question. Frank Barry continued to climb until today he is vice-president of the company for which he works. He is living in a most modern home of his own; he has a maid and gardener, and he is now setting his sights even higher. Here is a specific case of one man’s helping himself by helping another.

Or, consider another case, of two brothers, married and living close to each other. Their circumstances were about the same, and both of them were negative as to their outlook on life.

One brother became acquainted with positive thinking and how it can affect one’s life. He practiced it and soon bettered his condition quite materially.

“Bunk!” exclaimed the other brother with much disgust. “You just happened to get a few good breaks,” this critic continued.

“I have the answer to all of your problems. If you ever want it, come by and I’ll give it to you,” the fortunate brother said.

Several months went by before the negative brother took advantage of the offer made by his more successful brother. However, seeing his brother continuing to climb, he finally realized that more than luck was involved. There must be a more substantial reason.

Reluctantly, and with much humility, the negative brother approached his more successful one. “You win, what is it?” he asked him.

For over two hours, he got a lesson in the difference between negative and positive thinking and how his life could be changed.

A few weeks after this thought-provoking conference, the positive-thinking brother was offered an opportunity so big he could not turn it down. He was given a job which required the assistance of several good men.

In his new role, he thought of his brother and offered him a position as an assistant. Now, both brothers are climbing, and neither one of them would waste time in listening to anyone who might argue that positive thinking is mere bunk.

Do not attempt to force your type of thinking on those not yet ready for it. You will be wasting your time as well as arousing the animosity of those you’re trying to teach.

On one of my frequent lecture tours, I met a man who invited me to join him for dinner. This man, I later learned, was a food faddist. He did not give me a chance to order what I wanted, but explained to the waiter exactly what he should serve to me. This experience was embarrassing because, when I didn’t eat some of the concoctions served, my host did everything except force me to eat the food. I am sure this man knew much about nutrition and that he was sincere in wanting to help me; but he was forcing his knowledge on one not ready to receive it.

The motive in writing this book is my desire to help others gain as much happiness and success from life as I am enjoying. No one can force you to read it. If they could, it is doubtful if you would be helped. Your mind would not be on the subject matter, but on the one who was trying to control you. If, however, you read the book because you want to read it, because you have learned it holds the key to success through positive thinking, then you are in for an exciting revelation.

I am not sure that I agree with Emerson, who said: “Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.” All of us can do the things which will bring success and happiness in life, if we are willing to be taught what those things are.

It is true that we need the guidance to help us to make use of the powers we already have. So it might be more correct if Emerson had said need instead of want, making the quotation read: “Our chief need in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.”

The word motivate is used extensively in connection with self-improvement. It has a double meaning. Most of us think of motivation as a force which impels us to act, or to move. The sales manager, for instance, will endeavor to motivate his salesman to action.

In my study of the word, I feel that motivate means to give one a motive, and it is that motive which spurs him on to action.

Elsewhere in this book I refer to the need of having an incentive, which is a synonym of the word motive. It seems to me, therefore, that one of the best ways of helping a person is to give him a motive which will stimulate the urge for self-improvement.

To give you a simple illustration: An acquaintance of mine once visited my hobby shop, which, incidentally, is equipped with a large number of power tools.

“Boy, this is a hobbyist’s dream,” he said as his eyes moved from machine to machine.

“Why don’t you put together a hobby shop of your own?” I ventured.

“Gosh, I’d love to, but it takes every cent I make to keep my home going,” he replied dolefully.

“Please do not be embarrassed with the question I am about to ask, but how much money do you spend weekly on liquor?”

“Oh, not over $25,” he admitted, as he tried to keep his eyes from meeting mine.

“If you were to cut that amount in half, you’d save enough money each month to make the payments on an outfit which would closely resemble mine,” I said with a counselling attitude.

A change was coming over the countenance of this visitor. He stepped over to the shelf where I kept my hobby books, and eagerly glanced over many of the plans. His eyes fell on some patio furniture plans and, as he studied them, he knew, without doubt, he could build the chairs and table shown.

“By gosh, I’m going to do it,” he said with marked enthusiasm. This man’s determination took an unexpected twist. As the tools in his new hobby shop began to accumulate, he became so engrossed that he gave up liquor completely, putting the entire liquor budget into his new interest. This is a case where a man was helped by giving him a motive.

In my file of case histories I find another instance in which much was accomplished after a motive had been gained.

John Jeffries was a typical plodder. He instinctively felt that he was destined to go through life punching time clocks. The thought of ever establishing a business of his own had never entered his head, so certain was he that he was not “cut out” to be a businessman.

John frequently did menial jobs for me on my property and whenever I could I would talk to him, hoping that I could give him an incentive to want to improve himself. He paid no attention to most of my suggestions because he had not reached a point where he could see himself as anything other than what he was.

One day Jeffries was criticizing the way a certain firm did business.

“I’ll wager that you would have made a good businessman, you have such constructive ideas,” I told him without making it apparent I was trying to flatter him.

He made no comment, but I could see by the expression on his face that the thought was taking root. Later I had other occasions to remark about his business sense. Each time I was quite subtle so that he would not suspect that I was performing a psychological experiment on him.

One day he came to me and quite eagerly asked me what he should study so that he could go into some kind of business for himself.

I outlined what seemed to be a logical and simple plan for him to pursue. He left me with a spring in his step, a glint in his eyes and an expression of determination which defied failure. John Jeffries started a business with practically no capital, because he had none. He now has a thriving business which is expanding rapidly.

The motive given to John Jeffries was to gain happiness and success through the development of his latent talent.


Throughout this book you have learned many things about your Creative Mind and how to make use of it while you sleep.

In this chapter you have learned how to help yourself by helping others. Please know that you can benefit by this thought while you sleep. Tonight, before retiring, repeat to yourself several times, some such statement as:

“I am growing in influence and affluence so that I can be of help to humanity. I enjoy helping others to help themselves and will constantly draw upon my resources so that I can be generous.”

Saying this tonight will assure you of a brighter tomorrow. You will have grown immeasurably during the night as your Creative Mind establishes within itself an image of you as a great benefactor.

Those who have been inclined to lean toward the selfish side of life may have difficulty in understanding why they should continually think in terms of giving instead of receiving. It is my theory that all receiving is preceded by giving. If we are not getting enough in life, it is because we are not giving enough.

There is one thing certain: the generous person gains more happiness in life than the selfish one. But, aside from the spiritual benefit, it is invariably found that the one who gives the most gets the most.

Applying this principle to business, I will relate the policy of the head of a large chain of dime stores: A salesman showed a sample of an item to the buyer of this chain and told him its wholesale price was 6¢ and if he sold it at 10¢, he’d realize a good profit.

“Go back to your factory and find out how much better it can be made at 7½¢,” the buyer replied. His attitude indicated that his large company was more interested in quality than price and was willing to make 1½¢ less on each sale in order to raise the quality of the product. It is no wonder that the chain is rapidly growing with such a policy.

You are nearing the end of this book and it is my feeling that you are now looking upon it with reverence because it has given you the key to a life more abundant.

Read the last two chapters and then allow yourself a few days to digest mentally all you have learned; then re-read the entire book.

As much as I am sure you have gained so far, it is nothing to what you will gain during your second reading. Why? Because before reading it you were promised many wonderful results, many of which you might have greeted with a bit of scepticism. By now you know how to take advantage of your internal power, so the next time you read this book you will do so with the conviction that you will accept and apply every principle given.

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