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Your Mental Eraser

Many effective means of memory training have been offered to the public, but, to my knowledge, there is no course teaching one how to forget.

A philosopher once said: “It is the memories of the past and the fear of the future which make our present so difficult.”

One of the reasons why it is so hard to maintain positive thoughts is our memories of past hardships and failures. If your road has been a tortuous one, you are likely to have a conflict of mental pictures if you now try to visualize success with smooth sailing. Your recalling unpleasant situations of the past may tend to neutralize the success pictures for your future.

You will now understand why it is so important to develop your faculties of forgetting, just as it is important to develop the ability to remember.

Let us return to a statement made earlier in this book: You Are What You Think You Are!

The impression you have of yourself represents an accumulation of mental pictures acquired throughout a lifetime. Since 95 per cent of all people incline toward the negative side, it is most likely that you have a negative impression of yourself, unless you are one of the fortunate 5 per cent. In other words, you think of yourself as being destined by Fate to live a hard life; and, as a rule, you do.

If you had a mental eraser and could wipe away all of the unpleasant, negative pictures, replacing them with positive ones, your future years would be successful and ideally happy. Perhaps I should say “your future years will be successful and happy,” because I know you will lose no time in using your mental eraser, once you’ve got it.

In suggesting that you erase all negative mental pictures, there is one point I wish to make clear. The pictures of your past unpleasant experiences should be erased so far as they affect your present activities, but they should not be removed from your memories.

During my long life I have had some bitter experiences and have learned many things the hard way. But, I wouldn’t part with those memories for anything. Now that I have learned how to master conditions and have gained a reasonable amount of success in life, I can more fully appreciate what I have by comparing my present with my past. Do you remember the rich man I told you about who wished he could once have been poor?

We therefore face this provocative dilemma: We should retain mental pictures of past experiences as a means of comparison; yet we should erase negative mental pictures so that positive ones may take over.

Perhaps the best way of solving this problem is to take all pictures of former events—unpleasant ones particularly—and place them in our memory files for reference purposes only. We will then edit all new pictures seeking admittance, and quickly refuse those which could have a negative effect on our lives and affairs.

In former days, every home possessed a family album. In it you would find pictures of great-grandpa with his handle-bar mustache, and great-grandmother wearing her bustle and leg-o’-mutton sleeves. You would also find baby pictures of family members—now grown up—sans clothes, lying belly down on a woolly rug.

None of us would like to look the way, or dress the way they did in the “days when,” but it is nice to have the pictures as a means of comparing the past with the present.

You gain through past mistakes—If. That important word is the catalyst which will join your past experiences with future failure or success.

The financial upheaval of 1929—referred to as the big depression—proved the soundness of the statement above. Two men who were of equal means before the blow-up, both very comfortably situated, were reduced to nothing from a dollars and cents standpoint. One man took his plight so seriously, and with so much self-pity, that he went down for the count. He never did prove big enough to pull himself out of the sloughs of despondency.

The other man realized that he was not the only one in such a plight; he also knew that many, many people, just as badly off as he was, would survive. He made a study of existing conditions and estimated which one of the industries would recover first; then he identified himself with that industry. In a comparatively short time he was back to his former state, once again in comfortable circumstances.

Pause a moment and think about these two men. Why did one man sink and the other man succeed? There was no difference in their external conditions. The difference was in the mind.

One man accepted the mental pictures of disaster and, as you learned in the previous chapter, thoughts are pictures and pictures are patterns. There was nothing this man could do but fail, since he saw himself as a failure.

The other man used his mental eraser, erased the disaster pictures (except to put a copy in his mental album for future reminiscence), and replaced them with success action pictures.


In the exercises to follow, you will begin thinking about thinking. This may sound strange at first, but as you think about thinking you will experience a great revelation. You will begin to get a glimpse of the gigantic reservoir of power you have at your command.

Become very critical about the thought pictures you allow to enter your mind. Each time you find a picture coming into consciousness which has any connection at all with failure, illness, or gloom, remove it.

For example: If you are about to keep an appointment with a man with whom you expect to make a profitable deal, and you find thought pictures coming to you in which you wonder if he will meet your proposition with favor, replace them with enthusiastic pictures of your prospect agreeing to your offer. If the offer is one which will benefit the prospect, he will most likely respond as you want him to.

For many years I was engaged by important companies to train salesmen, and still do on occasion.

During one class session, I talked about the type of mental pictures a salesman should hold just prior to calling upon a prospect.

I urged the salesmen to approach the prospect with mental pictures of his being friendly and especially receptive to the visit. This is quite contrary to the mental pictures held by most salesmen, particularly cub salesmen. These men will usually venture into a prospect’s office wondering if he will be granted an interview and, if so, whether the prospect will give him a favorable hearing.

An advertising agency executive told me a fascinating story as to what he gained from that lecture.

“Frankly, I didn’t expect to get much good from the course,” he remarked, “because I was pretty well satisfied with my selling ability. I took the course merely to set an example for my salesmen who also attended. But, what an awakening I had! I tried your ‘mental picture idea’ when seeking new accounts, and found I was making far more sales than I had in the past. My business increased by leaps and bounds.”

As another exercise, think of this book as something far greater than a mere book. Think of it as the password which, to you, is the “Open Sesame” to a more abundant life. Allow yourself actually to effervesce with enthusiasm as each page points to new paths of accomplishment. Become eager to prove that the principles outlined herein will be just as effective for you as they have been for others.

Beware of wishful thinking! Merely to wish that this book would help you, will get you nowhere. You’ll end up saying: “I read the book and didn’t get a thing out of it,” and it will be true.

Things begin to happen when you see them happening. This statement, of course, refers to good and bad things. If you see dire things happening, you are directing your powerful Creative Mind to make the pictures realities. Be thankful, however, that the reverse is true. When you see good things happening, you are directing your forces to make those pictures realities.

Think about thinking! Do this and you’ll soon understand why people are as they are. When you are with a ne’er-do-well, study his type of thinking. You will invariably find that his circumstances reflect his thinking. He thinks in terms of “I can’t.” He has all sorts of alibis about why he is not doing any better than he is, and, unfortunately, in most cases he really believes his alibis are reasons instead of excuses.

Spend a bit of time with a go-getter. Study his type of thinking. Instead of giving alibis he shows results. If a problem presents itself to this man, instead of feeling he is licked, he will ask himself: “Let’s see! How can I master this situation?” And he does. He holds mental pictures of successful action. His Creative Mind guides him in thought and action so that he does solve the problem. Imagine his satisfaction. Such a man finds the game of life far more thrilling than any other game he might play.


Please excuse all the repetitions, but I do want to make you so aware of certain principles that they will become a part of you.

Bed-time is an excellent time to fill your mind with constructive pictures. Erase all pictures which might have come into your mind because of the day’s experiences. Go to bed with mental pictures of the big things that will happen the following day.

Know that while you sleep your Creative Mind will be given the necessary information to guide you in thought and action so that on awakening you will revel in the certainty that you are facing an important and successful day. Avoid reverse positives.

Sometimes a positive affirmation can be negative in results. As an illustration, assume that you are working out a routine to overcome timidity. The self-instruction: “I will overcome my timidity,” is a positive statement, but it creates a negative condition. It gives emphasis to the fact that you are timid and makes your condition more real.

To overcome your timidity, affirm that you like people and like to talk to people. You see? There is nothing at all negative about such a statement.

In forming mental pictures you should see yourself mixing with people and enjoying their company. If you have been in the habit of talking about your timidity to friends, stop it. It worsens your condition. Show your friends, by your actions, that your timidity is becoming a thing of the past.

Here is a good formula to follow in creating mental pictures that will not react in a negative manner:

Picture the condition you want; not the condition you are attempting to overcome.

To say: “I will not fail” is negative; to say: “I am a success” is positive. The thought: “I will not be ill” is negative, whereas the expression: “I am gaining in health” is positive.

Suppose you are facing a situation so bad that it is impossible for you to visualize the condition you want, what then? As an example, suppose you are down to your last penny and creditors are closing in on you. You find it difficult to hold pictures of yourself freed from this condition. As you try to form pictures of yourself back on your feet, negative pictures keep creeping in; what do you do then?

Easy! Instead of picturing yourself with your problems solved, hold pictures of yourself getting a solution to your problems. See yourself being guided as to the proper things to do to overcome your problems. A surprise will be awaiting you when you awaken. Before you eat your breakfast, ideas will begin popping into consciousness telling you the things you can do to bring your problems to an end.

To gain supporting evidence on the accuracy of this statement, I called upon a man who had been on the brink of financial disaster and asked him what he did to stage such a phenomenal comeback.

“It looked as if I were heading for financial ruin,” he remarked as he gazed out of his window with a reminiscent look in his eyes. “I just couldn’t hold mental pictures of my problem as being solved,” he said. “Then I recalled having read the statement: ‘There is a solution to every problem, otherwise it would not be a problem,’ and it seemed to add up. That night, as I retired, instead of calling upon my Creative Mind for a solution, I asked for guidance in working out a solution. The next morning as I ate my breakfast, ideas began pouring into my conscious mind, telling me just how I could go about solving my many problems. The thoughts were so easy to understand that there was no doubt at all in my mind as to the effectiveness of the ideas. “I put them to work and they worked so fast, it was no time until I was literally sitting on top of the world. From that time on I let my Creative Mind guide me in every step I took—and it is absolutely astounding how quickly I went from indebtedness to affluence.”

“I want to make lots of money—and make it fast,” said a discouraged wage earner. “I make just barely enough to keep my family decently; how can I ever get ahead?”

This man was told to hold mental pictures of himself in comfortable circumstances, and to erase the picture he had held of his being trapped in an ordinary job.

The sequence of events following his change in mental pictures makes an interesting success story. His first step forward was his opportunity to buy a piece of ground on highly favourable terms. He knew his town was growing in the direction of the property and that it must increase in value.

Guided by his Creative Mind to buy the lot, he borrowed money on his insurance for the down payment. He had the lot only a short time before he sold it, making a clear profit of $2,000. Another piece of property presented itself which he bought, paying his $2,000 down on it. This piece of real estate was large enough to subdivide into residential lots. He did just that, and realized a total profit of $21,000. It would be a waste of space to carry on with this success story, since you already know the outcome. This man did make lots of money and he made it fast.

The extent of your success depends entirely upon the clarity of your mental pictures.

If you can take your mental eraser and obliterate all pictures of doubt and inadequacy, replacing them with pictures showing the condition you would like to have; and if you have sufficient faith to know that you can attain it—watch out! Things will begin to happen.

Do not leave this chapter too hastily. Practice the exercises given, with the assurance that the results will lift you to whatever height you choose.

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