‘History is filled with stories of individuals who dated a new era in their lives from reading of a single book’ writes Og Mandino in his compilation of such stories titled, ‘University of Success’. Reading the book I came across one such story which has influenced me. I wish to share that story.
“The Magic Story” first appeared in the December 1900, issue of the original ‘Success Magazine’. It created an immediate sensation and after urgent requests were made for its reprint, in book form, a small edition of a little silver-grey book was published.
The book is divided into two parts,
Part One related the story of a down-and-out starving artist named Sturtevant whose life suddenly changed for the better after he purchased an old scrapbook for three cents and found, within its covers, what he called “a magic story” written by an unknown author.
This lesson, Part Two of the Magic Story, by Frederick Van Rensselaer Day, contains the entire text of what was printed on those homemade parchment pages. Someday the words may be as important to you as they once were to Sturtevant…
The story has six lessons rather six self-help doctrines. Briefly they are as follows:
Man should not be blinded to whatsoever merit exists in the opportunity which he has in hand, remembering that a thousand promises for the future should weigh as nothing against the possession of a single piece of silver.
Fortune will sometimes smile upon an intended victim because of pure perversity of temper. Such was one of my experiences. I prospered, and, at seven and twenty, owned a business. Wherein, less than four years earlier, I had worked for hire.
Fortune, is a jade who must be coerced; she will not be coddled.
Here begins the second lesson to be acquired:
Fortune is ever elusive, and can only be retained by force. Deal with her tenderly and she will forsake you for a stronger man.
Life has many pathways, and of them by far the greater number lead downward. Some are precipitous, others are less abrupt; but ultimately, no matter at what inclination the angle may be fixed, they arrive at the same destination, – failure. And here begins the third lesson:
Failure exists only in the grave. Man, being alive, has not yet failed; always he may turn about and ascend by the same path he descended by; and there may be one that is less abrupt and more adaptable to his condition.
Seek comrades among the industrious, for those who are idle will sap your energies from you. This was the fourth tenet.
The Rejected man and the leper are the same, since both are abominations in the sight of man, – albeit they differ much, in that the former may be restored to perfect health. The former is entirely the result of imagination; the latter has poison in his blood. It’s the fifth.
Further in the story the author discovers a character: His best self ‘the Presence’
More about ‘The Presence’ in the Author’s words:
There was a Presence with me; intangible to others. I discovered later, but it was real me.
The Presence was in my likeness, yet was it strikingly unlike. The brow, not more lofty than my own, yet seemed more round and full; the eyes, clear, direct, and filled with purpose, glowed with enthusiasm and resolution; the lips, chin, the whole contour of face and figure was dominant and determined.
He was calm, steadfast, and self-reliant;
I named it as my Better Self.
Before I encountered the Presence I was cowering, filled with nervous trembling, and fearsome of intangible shadows.
I discovered that constant association with the Presence was producing a bold effect upon me,
I ventured to ask, “who are you’? Startled I heard the sound of my own voice.
“I am that I am,” was the reply. “I am he who you have been; I am he who you may be again; why do you hesitate? I am he who you were, and whom you have cast out for other company. I am the man made in the image of God, who once possessed your body.
Once we both lived together not much in harmony, but we adjusted as tenants in common who rarely fought for full possession. Then you became puny and weak, you became selfish, difficult until I could no longer live with you. Therefore I moved out.
There is a plus-entity and a minus-entity in every human body which is born into the world. Whichever one of these is favoured by the flesh becomes dominant.
Then the other one is forced to abandon the body, temporarily or for all time.
I am the plus-entity of yourself; you are the minus-entity.
I own all things; but you possess nothing.
That body which we both inhabited is mine, but it is unclean today, and I will not dwell within it. Cleanse it, and I will take possession of it.”
“Listen!” said the Presence, and he towered over me while I cowered abjectly at his feet. “To the plus-entity of a man, all things are possible. The world belongs to him, – is his estate. He fears nothing, dreads nothing, stops at nothing; he asks no privileges, but demands them; he dominates, and cannot cringe; his requests are orders; opposition flees at his approach; he levels mountains, fills in vales, and travels on an even plane where stumbling is unknown.”
But whereas the minus-entity sits in one corner cowering, a puny, shuddering, abject figure, a distorted appearance, deformed in shape, dishevelled and deformed presence. Its looks are piteous, it’s walk tottering. I knew then that it was the minus-entity. I’m happy the plus-entity is within me.
Here the sixth and last lesson to be acquired, the author concludes. Although there is more to be said, the author informs he was a successful man now and bounced backed from failure. And he gives us the following advice.
I pray you who read, heed well the following admonitions, since upon them depend the word “success” and all that it implies:
Whatsoever you desire of good is yours. You have but to stretch forth your hand and take it.
Learn that the consciousness of dominant power within you is the possession of all things attainable.
Have no fear of any sort or shape, for fear is an adjunct of the minus-entity.
If you have skill, apply it; the world must profit by it, and, therefore, you.
Make a daily and nightly companion of your plus-entity; if you heed its advice, you cannot go wrong.
Go, therefore, and do that which is within you to do; take no heed of gestures which would beckon you aside; ask of no man permission to perform.
The minus-entity requests favors; the plus-entity grants them. Fortune waits upon every footstep you take; seize her, bind her, hold her, for she is yours; she belongs to you.
Start out now, with these admonitions in your mind. Stretch out your hand, and grasp the plus, which, maybe, you have never made use of, save in grave emergencies. Life is an emergency most grave.
Your plus-entity is beside you now; cleanse your brain, and strengthen your will. It will take possession. It waits upon you.
Start tonight; start now upon this new journey.
Be always on your guard. Whichever entity controls you, the other hovers at your side; beware lest the evil enter, even for a moment.
My task is done. I have written the recipe for “success.” If followed, it cannot fail. Wherein I may not be entirely comprehended, the plus-entity of whosoever reads will supply the deficiency; and upon that Better Self of mine, I place the burden of imparting to generations that are to come, the secret of this all-pervading good, – the secret of being what you have it within you to be.