Here’s an interesting quote by 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.

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.

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.”

Be particularly attentive to this distinction Atkinson does: “I am” and “I do”.

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