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Chapter 14 Where to center your effort

It is very important that you idealize that which you desire; but, so far as the attainment of it is concerned, the process is much more important, and idealizing the process is the most important of all. I will illustrate (1) by a little incident and (2) by a great world experience.

In the spring of 1919, some time after I had returned to the United States from one of my sojourns abroad, I wrote a letter to Elizabeth Towne. I had known her for many years but while I was living abroad we had been quite out of touch. When Mrs. Towne received my letter it awakened a desire in her mind. There was to be a convention near her hometown the following week. She wished me to speak at that convention. To have me speak at the convention was her ideal of the Thing Desired. Did she stop with the Ideal of the thing desired? Not at all. She began Idealizing the Process of getting me there. She pressed the bell-button immediately; in came a stenographer; and a letter was sent telling me how I could come and return -giving information of the trains -how, by traveling at night, the trip would take the least possible time. At intervals during that day and next she went on Idealizing the Process of arranging for me while there, -where I should stay, when I should speak, how many times I should speak, et cetera, et cetera. She gave ten seconds to recognizing the Ideal of the Thing Desired and an hour or more Idealizing the Process: 10 seconds to the former; 3,600 seconds to the latter. That's about the right proportion.

Think this over; it applies to everything in life. -Give about a thousand times more time and effort to idealizing and working out the process than you give to idealizing the thing you desire and your ideal will come true. Turn from this very simple incident to consider the value of Idealizing the Process in attaining great things -any very great thing -in such a matter as a world war.

The great World War was a great spiritual test of the race. When the Germans in 1914 were at the Marne, the Ideal of the Thing Desired was: the German Army must be stopped! This was not a mere idea; it was a life and death ideal of the peoples of the Allied countries. Great leaders recognized this. When news that the German Army was being forced back was ticked off in the London War Office, Lord Kitchener said, "God must have done it"; and Lord Roberts replied, "It means the nations have been praying." The following year, during another crisis, Lloyd George exclaimed, "The war will be lost unless all England gets down on her knees in prayer;" and in 1918 the great Foch found daily communion necessary. This was the emphasis of the Ideal.

But the Process was not neglected. Even he, who daily spent an hour in prayer and daily went to Holy Communion, knew that God helps only those who know enough to help themselves. Our one national war-ideal was: Win! Having once recognized this, did we waste time harping upon it? No! And we succeeded because we centered most of our efforts upon the processes necessary to win the war. When it was necessary to save food we saved it. We went without this or that -without meat on meatless days; without wheat on wheatless days. But we did more than accept the process; we Idealized it. We made it a matter of patriotism; a religion of brotherly help to our allies who needed food.

When, we needed money, did we continue harping on the Ideal? Not at all! We Idealized the Process of furnishing the means to equip and feed our boys. We Idealized the Process to such an extent that he who did not buy all he could afford and a little more, felt wrong inside. When more ships were needed college boys and highly paid business men did manual work in the ship yards; and when more munitions were needed, women -whose white hands had never before known the grease of factory machines -worked long hours because the process was Idealized.

What was new in this: we had always held ideals and been forced to take part in the processes of life in peace times. The new thing -the thing that brought phenomenal results -was the Idealization of the Process. No work was drudgery; it was an Idealized Part of the Efforts of a Great Human Brotherhood. Suppose we had neglected the Process! Suppose we had made no munitions, built no ships, sold no bonds, sent no men oversea, -would such procedure have helped to win the war?! Such a process would have been ridiculous. Yet, in other matters, we attempt to make our ideals and desires come true by holding persistently day after day and month after month to the ideal of the Thing Desired, giving little or no attention to idealizing the process and putting it into operation.

If you want to win, if you really wish that which you desire, if you truly desire to make your ideals come true -to turn them into realities, first form your ideal of the Thing Desired but give your great effort to Idealizing the Process and putting it into action. That brings you the reality!


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