Here’s an interesting essay from William Walker Atkinson:

“Many of the men and women who have been seeking Prosperity by means of the powers of the mind, have done so by “holding the thought,” and then folding their hands and calmly waiting for some “lucky” event to happen, or in other words, for the long sought for prize to drop down into the laps, from out of the Nowhere.

Now, I have heard of a number of cases in which things apparently came about in this way, although I have always felt that a little investigation would have shown some good and natural cause behind it all, but as a rule the law does not work in this way — it does not leave the old beaten road of cause and effect. It is no Aladdin’s lamp which has merely to be rubbed in order that glittering gems, and showers of gold, be poured out into the lap of the owner, as he lies back on his cushions, lazily rubbing the lamp with the tip of his little finger. The law expects from the man who would invoke its mighty aid, a little honest work on his part.

I think that the majority of those who have met with a greater share of Success by means of the wonderful power of Thought, have met with such Success not by having it fall from the skies, but by following out the ideas, impulses, yes, inspiration, if you will, that have come to them. The man who has turned his back upon the old negative Mental Attitude — who has turned his face toward the rising sun — who has allowed the voice of Faith again to be heard—who knows that the Law which rules the motions of the worlds and still takes note of the sparrow’s fall, has his interest at heart and asks but for Faith — that man, I say, finds that from time to time ideas will come into his mind just when they are needed; will find that the Law takes cognizance of all human needs and has prepared a way to satisfy them. He finds that new ways are pointed out to him — avenues of escape from unbearable conditions — signboards pointing out the right road, but he must have faith in these little hints from the Infinite, and must follow them.

The Law will open the door to you, but will not push you in. And when it finds that you refuse to see the open door, it softly closes it, and not until many weary years have passed do you recognize what you have missed. And the Law insists upon doing its work in its own good way — not in your way. You may know what you want, but you may not know just the right way to get it, although you think you do. The Law will give you many a hint, and many a gentle push in the proper direction, but it always leaves you the liberty of choice — the right to refuse. It does not insist upon your love, your Faith; that is, it does not make you love and have Faith, but until you do love and have Faith you are not conscious of the promptings of the Spirit, or, at most, dismiss them as beneath your notice. Oh, ye of little Faith, when will ye learn.

The man who understands the workings of the Law, acts upon the tender impulses imparted to him, without resistance. He does not ask to see the end of the journey, but he sees the step just ahead of him very plainly, and he hesitates not about taking it. He does not expect the Law to bring results and place them in his hand. All he asks and desires is that the way be pointed out to him, and he is willing and ready to do the rest himself. The true man or woman does not wish to be fed with a spoon. All they ask is that they may have a fair chance to reach the source of supply, and they can manage to handle the spoon themselves. If any man think that the Law is an incubator of parasites—of leeches—of vampires—he is greatly mistaken.

The lesson of the Law is to teach every man to stand upon his own feet—to lean not upon another—but at the same time to feel that he is guided by the great Law of which he himself is a part, which manifests within him as well as without him, and that, consequently, while placing his trust in the Law, he trusts in himself. Not paradoxical at all, when you have the key.

Yes, yes, the Law expects every man to do well the work that lies to his hand—and to do it well, whether it is irksome or distasteful or otherwise; and as soon as he ceases to rebel and beat his wings against the bars of the cage, the way is opened for the next step; and if he does not take that step, he must work away until he learns to take it. And so on, and on, the lesson of each task to be learned before the next is presented.

Work? why certainly you must work. Everything in the Universe works unceasingly. When you learn to look upon work as a joy and not a curse, then you are beginning to see your way out of the grinding process. Then you are getting a glimpse of the Promised Land. Why bless your hearts, Work is the best friend you have, the only trouble is that you have treated it as an enemy and it has paid you back in your own coin. When you learn to treat it as a friend, it will be only too glad to make up, and you will get along like two old cronies.

Now, you people who have been sitting with folded hands and “calmly waiting,” and complaining that your own has not come to you, listen: You are mistaken. Your own has come to you—that’s just the trouble. Your own is the thing you attract, and you have been attracting just what has come to you. Start in today, determined to fall in with the workings of the Law, and pay attention to the “I do” side of things as well as the “I am,” and you will receive new light. Great things are just ahead of you, but you must reach out for them — they’re not going to drop into folded hands. This is the Law.”