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from Chapter 1
The Right to be Rich
Whatever may be said in praise of poverty, the fact remains that it is not possible to live a really complete or successful life unless one is rich. No person can rise to his greatest possible height in talent or soul development unless he has plenty of money. In order to unfold the soul and to develop talent he must have many things to use, and he cannot have these things unless he has money to buy them with.
People develop in mind, soul, and body by making use of things, and society is so organized that people must have money in order to become the possessor of things. Therefore, the basis of all human advancement must be the science of getting rich.
The object of all life is development. Everything that lives has an inalienable right to all the development it is capable of attaining.
A person’s right to life means his right to have the free and unrestricted use of all the things which may be necessary to his fullest mental, spiritual, and physical unfolding—in other words, his right to be rich.
In this book, I shall not speak of riches in a figurative way. To be really rich does not mean to be satisfied or contented with a little. No person ought to be satisfied with a little if he is capable of using and enjoying more. The purpose of nature is the advancement and development of life. Every individual should have all that can contribute to the power, elegance, beauty, and richness of life.
The person who owns all he wants for the living of all the life he is capable of living is rich. Nobody can have all he wants without plenty of money. Life has advanced so far and become so complex that even the most ordinary man or woman requires a great amount of wealth in order to live in a manner that even approaches completeness. Every person naturally wants to become all that he is capable of becoming; this desire to realize innate possibilities is inherent in human nature. Success in life is becoming what you want to be. You can become what you want to be only by making use of things, and you can have the free use of things only as you become rich enough to buy them. Therefore, an understanding of the science of getting rich is the most essential of all knowledge.
There is nothing wrong in wanting to get rich. The desire for riches is really the desire for a richer, fuller, and more abundant life. And, that desire is praiseworthy. The person who does not desire to live more abundantly is uncommon. And the individual who does not desire to have money enough to buy all he wants may not be living to his full potential.
There are three motives for which we live: we live for the body, the mind, and the soul. No one of these is better or holier than the other. Each is desirable, and neither body, mind, or soul can live fully if one of the others is cut short of full life and expression. It is not right or noble to live only for the soul and deny mind or body. It is wrong to live for the intellect and deny body and soul.
We are all acquainted with the loathsome consequences of living for the body and denying both mind and soul. We see that real life means the complete expression of all that a person can give forth through body, mind, and soul. No person can be really happy or satisfied unless his body is living fully in every function and unless the same is true of his mind and his soul. Wherever there is an unexpressed possibility or an unperformed function, there is an unsatisfied desire. Desire is possibility seeking expression or function seeking performance.
A person cannot live fully in body without good food, comfortable clothing, warm shelter, and freedom from excessive toil. Rest and recreation are also necessary to his physical life. He cannot live fully in mind without books and time to study them, without opportunity for travel and observation, or without intellectual companionship. To live fully in mind he must have intellectual recreations and must surround himself with all the objects of art and beauty he is capable of using and appreciating.
To live fully in soul, an individual must have love. And the expression of love is often frustrated by poverty.= An individual’s highest happiness is found in the bestowal of benefits on those he loves. Love finds its most natural and spontaneous expression in giving. The person who has nothing to give cannot fill his place as a husband or father, as a citizen, or as a human being. It is in the use of material things, that a person finds full life for his body, develops his mind, and unfolds his soul. It is therefore of supreme importance to be rich.
It is perfectly right that you should desire to be rich. If you are a normal man or woman you cannot help doing so. It is perfectly right that you should give your best attention to the science of getting rich because it is the noblest and most necessary of all studies. If you neglect this study, you are derelict in your duty to yourself, to God, and to humanity. You can render God and humanity no greater service than to make the most of yourself.
Wallace D. Wattles (1860–1911) was an American ‘New Thought’ author, who remained obscure for a long time for personal reasons; Nevertheless, his writings have remained in print and heavily quoted across the self-help and New Thought movements. Wattles had made admirable wealth by the time he died at 51 years of age. He had enjoyed good health except for the short-lived frailty that resulted before he died. When his body was transported for burial in his hometown of Elwood in Indiana, businesses closed for two hours in his respect during the day of his burial. Wattles practiced the art of ‘Creative Visualisation’ where he formed mental images or visual pictures in his mind and worked tirelessly and practically to accomplish the realisation of these visions. Wattles influence on the self-help and New Thought movement is very extensive. The creator of The Secret book and film, Rhonda Byrne, refers to the Science of Getting Rich by Wattles as being her main inspiration. In fact, the Science of Getting Rich has remained in publication through countless publishers for over 100 years and gone through diverse editions.
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