Excerpts from the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda
Success is not a simple matter; it cannot be determined merely by the amount of money and material possessions you have. The meaning of success goes far deeper. It can only be measured by the extent to which your inner peace and mental control enable you to be happy under all circumstances. That is real success.
The secret of success and happiness is inside you. If you have found success and prosperity outside, but not inside, you are not truly successful. A millionaire who is not happy is not successful. I don’t mean that if you have a million dollars you cannot be a success. Whether you are rich or poor, if you get happiness out of life you are a real success.
Using Dynamic Will Power
Nothing is impossible, unless you think it is.
As a mortal being you are limited, but as a child of God you are unlimited....Focus your attention on God, and you shall have all the power you want, to use in any direction.
Will is the instrument of the image of God within you. In will lies His limitless power, the power that controls all the forces of nature. As you are made in His image, that power is yours to bring about whatever you desire.
When you make up your mind to do good things, you will accomplish them if you use dynamic will power to follow through. No matter what the circumstances are, if you go on trying, God will create the means by which your will shall find its proper reward. This is the truth Jesus referred to when he said: “If ye have faith, and doubt not,...if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done.” If you continuously use your will power, no matter what reverses come, it will produce success and health and power to help people, and above all, it will produce communion with God.
Mortal man’s brain is full of “can’ts.” Being born in a family with certain characteristics and habits, he is influenced by these to think he can’t do certain things; he can’t walk much, he can’t eat this, he can’t stand that. Those “can’ts” have to be cauterized. You have within you the power to accomplish everything you want; that power lies in the will.
If you cling to a certain thought with dynamic will power, it finally assumes a tangible outward form.
Carrying a thought with dynamic will power means holding to it until that thought pattern develops dynamic force. When a thought is made dynamic by will force, it can manifest according to the mental blueprint you have created.
How can you develop will? Choose some objective that you think you cannot accomplish, and then try with all your might to do that one thing. When you have achieved success, go on to something bigger and keep on exercising your will power in this way. If your difficulty is great, deeply pray: “Lord, give me the power to conquer all my difficulties.” You must use your will power, no matter what you are, or who you are. You must make up your mind. Use this will power both in business and in meditation.
Success or failure is determined in your own mind. Even against the negative opinion of the rest of society, if you bring out by your all-conquering God-given will the conviction that you cannot be left to suffer in difficulties, you will feel a secret divine power coming upon you; and you will see that the magnetism of that conviction and power is opening up new ways for you.
Dealing Constructively With Failure
The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success. The bludgeon of circumstances may bruise you, but keep your head erect. Always try once more, no matter how many times you have failed. Fight when you think that you can fight no longer, or when you think that you have already done your best, or until your efforts are crowned with success.
Learn how to use the psychology of victory. Some people advise, “Don’t talk about failure at all.” But that alone won’t help. First, analyze your failure and its causes, benefit from the experience, and then dismiss all thought of it. Though he fail many times, the man who keeps on striving, who is undefeated within, is a truly victorious person.
Life may be dark, difficulties may come, opportunities may slip by unutilized, but never within yourself say, “I am done for. God has forsaken me.” Who could do anything for that kind of person? Your family may forsake you; good fortune may seemingly desert you; all the forces of man and nature may be arrayed against you; but by the quality of divine initiative within you, you can defeat every invasion of fate created by your own past wrong actions, and march victorious into paradise
No matter how many times you fail, keep on trying. No matter what happens, if you have unalterably resolved, “The earth may be shattered, but I will keep on doing the best I can,” you are using dynamic will, and you will succeed. That dynamic will is what makes one man rich and another man strong and another man a saint.
Concentration — A Key to Success
The root cause of many failures in life is lack of concentration. Attention is like a searchlight; when its beam is spread over a vast area, its power to focus on a particular object becomes weak, but focused on one thing at a time, it becomes powerful. Great men are men of concentration. They put their whole mind on one thing at a time.
One should know the scientific method of concentration (taught in the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons) by which he may disengage his attention from objects of distraction and focus it upon one thing at a time. By the power of concentration, man can use the untold power of mind to accomplish that which he desires, and he can guard all doors through which failure may enter.
We should approach our nearest problem or duty with concentrated energy and execute it to perfection. This should be our philosophy of life.
Most people do everything half-heartedly. They use only about one-tenth of their attention. That is why they haven’t the power to succeed....[Do] everything with the power of attention. The full force of that power can be attained through meditation. When you use that focusing power of God, you can place it on anything and be a success.
Tune yourself with the creative power of Spirit. You will be in contact with the Infinite Intelligence that is able to guide you and to solve all problems. Power from the dynamic Source of your being will flow uninterruptedly so that you will be able to perform creatively in any sphere of activity.
Ask yourself this question: “Have I ever tried to do anything that nobody else has done?” That is the starting point in the application of initiative. If you haven’t thought that far, you are like hundreds of others who erroneously think they have no power to act differently than they do. They are like sleepwalkers; the suggestions coming from their subconscious mind have given them the consciousness of one-horsepower people.
If you have been going through life in this somnambulistic state, you must wake yourself by affirming: “I have man’s greatest quality — initiative. Every human being has some spark of power by which he can create something that has not been created before. Yet I see how easily I could be deluded with the mortal consciousness of limitation that pervades the world, if I allowed myself to be hypnotized by environment!
What is initiative? It is a creative faculty within you, a spark of the Infinite Creator. It may give you the power to create something no one else has ever created. It urges you to do things in new ways. The accomplishments of a person of initiative may be as spectacular as a shooting star. Apparently creating something from nothing, he demonstrates that the seemingly impossible may become possible by one’s employment of the great inventive power of the Spirit.
The one who creates does not wait for an opportunity, blaming circumstances, the fates, and the gods. He seizes opportunities or creates them with the magic wand of his will, effort, and searching discrimination.
Before embarking on important undertakings, sit quietly, calm your senses and thoughts, and meditate deeply. You will then be guided by the great creative power of Spirit.
Whenever you want to produce something, do not depend upon the outside source; go deep and seek the Infinite Source. All methods of business success, all inventions, all vibrations of music, and all inspirational thoughts and writings are recorded in the annals of God.
Creating All-Round Success
He is wisest who seeks God. He is the most successful who has found God.
Great teachers will never counsel you to be neglectful; they will teach you to be balanced. You have to work, no doubt, to feed and clothe the body. But if you allow one duty to contradict another, it is not a true duty. Thousands of businessmen are so busy gathering wealth, they forget that they are creating a lot of heart disease too! If duty to prosperity makes you forget duty to health, it is not duty. One should develop in a harmonious way. There is no use giving special attention to developing a wonderful body, if it houses a peanut brain. The mind also must be developed. And if you have excellent health and prosperity and intellect, but you are not happy, then you have still not made a success of your life. When you can truthfully say, “I am happy, and no one can take my happiness away from me,” you are a king — you have found the image of God within you.
Another qualification of success is that we not only bring harmonious and beneficial results to ourselves, but also share those benefits with others.
Life should be chiefly service. Without that ideal, the intelligence that God has given you is not reaching out toward its goal. When in service you forget the little self, you will feel the big Self of Spirit. As the vital rays of the sun nurture all, so should you spread rays of hope in the hearts of the poor and forsaken, kindle courage in the hearts of the despondent, and light a new strength in the hearts of those who think that they are failures. When you realize that life is a joyous battle of duty and at the same time a passing dream, and when you become filled with the joy of making others happy by giving them kindness and peace, in God’s eyes your life is a success.
Abundance and Prosperity
Those who seek prosperity for themselves alone are in the end bound to become poor, or to suffer from mental inharmony; but those who consider the whole world as their home, and who really care and work for group or world prosperity...find the individual prosperity that is legitimately theirs. This is a sure and secret law.
Every day, do some good to help others, even if it is only a pittance. If you want to love God you must love people. They are His children. You can be helpful materially by giving to the needy; and mentally by giving comfort to the sorrowful, courage to the fearful, divine friendship and moral support to the weak. You also sow seeds of goodness when you interest others in God, and cultivate in them greater love for God, deeper faith in Him. When you leave this world, material riches will be left behind; but every good that you have done will go with you. Wealthy people who live in miserliness, and selfish people who never help others, do not attract wealth in their next life. But those who give and share, whether they have much or little, will attract prosperity. That is the law of God.
Think of Divine Abundance as a mighty, refreshing rain; whatever receptacle you have at hand will receive it. If you hold up a tin cup, you will receive only that quantity. If you hold up a bowl, that will be filled. What kind of receptacle are you holding up to Divine Abundance? Perhaps your vessel is defective; if so, it should be repaired by casting out all fear, hate, doubt, and envy, and then cleansed by the purifying waters of peace, tranquility, devotion, and love. Divine Abundance follows the law of service and generosity. Give and then receive. Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.
Affirmations for Success
I will go forth in perfect faith in the power of Omnipresent Good to bring me what I need at the time I need it.
Within me is the Infinite Creative Power. I shall not go to the grave without some accomplishments. I am a God-man, a rational creature. I am the power of Spirit, the dynamic Source of my soul. I shall create revelations in the world of business, in the world of thought, in the world of wisdom. I and my Father are One. I can create anything I desire, even as my creative Father.
Affirmations for Divine Abundance
O Father, I want prosperity, health, and wisdom without measure, not from earthly sources but from Thine all-possessing, all-powerful, all-bountiful hands.
I will not be a beggar, asking limited mortal prosperity, health, and knowledge. I am Thy child, and as such I demand, without limitations, a divine son’s share of Thine illimitable riches.
Divine Father, this is my prayer: I care not what I permanently possess, but give me power to acquire at will whatever I daily need.
- The Law of Success by Paramahansa Yogananda
- To Be Victorious in Life by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “Focusing the Power of Attention for Success,” Journey to Self-realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “Business, Balance, and Inner Peace: Restoring Equilibrium to the Work Week,” Journey to Self-realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “Increasing the Power of Initiative,” Man’s Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “The Mind: Repository of Infinite Power,” The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda