Here’s an interesting quote from William Walker Atkinson:
“In a general way, mental attitudes may be divided into two classes, viz.: (1) positive and (2) negative. It is difficult, at first, to give the keynote of each of these two classes of mental attitude, but I call your attention to the words of an American writer, in this connection who well says: “That which tends to render one strong, is positive; that which tends to render him weak, is negative.” I do not think that I can improve on this definition, and I advise you to adopt it, and to measure your mental attitudes by that standard.
By all means cultivate and develop the positives, and restrict the negatives, in your mental make-up so that, in the end, your mental attitude may be “positive” instead of “negative” – strong instead of weak.
An interesting thing about the cultivation of a mental attitude, is that not only does the improved mental attitude tend to impress itself upon others with whom you come in contact, but that it also tends to impress itself upon your own mentality, so that you gradually become more and more fixed in the mental attitude.
Mental attitude resembles yeast, in the sense that if you insert a single bit of the ferment in your mind, it will begin to work, and grow other cells, until it finally fills your entire mind. It tends to reproduce itself. This is true of both desirable and undesirable mental ideas, but – and remember this well – here is a most hopeful and encouraging fact: a positive idea will tend to kill a negative one, so you see Nature is fighting on your side. The best way to kill and destroy negative mental ideas and attitudes is to plant a good crop of positive in their places, and then encourage the fight – the negatives will go under surely. It is like pouring fresh water into a basin of dirty water – in time the water will become clear; or, again, like flooding a room with sunshine – the darkness will be destroyed.
In this work of building-up of mental attitude, remember this: “This mind grows to resemble that upon which it feeds,” and therefore, you should “feed” your mind with the very kind of ideas, which you would like to have your mental attitude reflect. For instance, if you desire a mental attitude of Courage, Determination, Masterfulness, Success, etc., you should read stories in which these points of character are brought out; you should frequent the company of this kind of persons; you should constantly hold in your mind the IDEAL of the things you wish to develop in your mental attitude, and you will find that you will naturally find in the outer world the material things corresponding to them. And, remember this, avoid the opposite and negative books, persons and thoughts, as you would poisonous snakes.
It is astonishing how quickly the mind will respond to the steadfast holding of the POSITIVE IDEAL, and the stimulating environment of POSITIVE things. In a short time, there will be set up an instinctive habit of mind, which will select the positive things from its environment and will also reject the negative things. Train your mind to select the right kind of food for itself, and it will soon acquire the habit and perform the work instinctively without any special supervision on your part.
Moreover, there will be developed in your mind that which that gifted American writer, Prentice Mulford, once called “The Attractive Power of Thought,” by means of which you will draw to yourself the things, persons, books, etc., which will supply you with the particular kind of mental food best fitted to the IDEAL you are carrying in your mind. I shall not discuss this last wonderful phenomenon, but ask you to remember and apply the fact, nevertheless, for it is one of the great forces of nature.”
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