• Principles in Wallace Wattles's 'The Science of Getting Rich' have stood the test of time
Science describes the logical steps that lead to a predictable result. When you freeze water, it turns into ice. Two plus two equals four. However, the steps towards financial prosperity are not as scientifically precise, or are they?
Most people say the path to making money is not clear and that growing wealthy has a lot to do with luck and personal connections. Working hard is no guarantee of growing rich, and neither is saving or living the straight, narrow path. We all know of people who went against conventional wisdom regarding wealth and still grew prosperous.
Life would be much easier if there was a set of instructions which anyone wanting to grow rich could take, a bit like the A, B, Cs of prosperity. An American author from a century ago compiled the principles of wealth generation into a book titled, 'The Science of Getting Rich.'
The author, Wallace Wattles, wrote his book with the basic principle that aspiring for wealth is not a sin. Having grown himself from poverty, Wattles wrote that money is necessary for each one of us to attain a meaningful life. "Mankind develops in mind, soul and body by making use of things, and society is so organised that man must have money to own things," wrote Wattles.
The book does not advocate for any particular religion, but it's author says strong faith is key to a successful life. The book describes the attitudes people should adopt to open up their minds towards prosperity. Wattles strongly advises against magic, saying such practices confuse people but do not attract wealth.
"You do not have to take away anything from anyone; you do not have to cheat and take advantage," said Wattles. He emphasised ethical business practices, warning against shortchanging customers and employees. Each of us, he said, should strive to add value in the lives of other human beings regardless of their social status.
As expected of a book, 'The Science of Getting Rich' is a long read, but its teachings can be summarised into 10 principles.
1. Belief in a higher power
God desires that you should get rich. He wants you to get rich because He can express Himself better through you if you have plenty of things to use in giving him expression. What He wants is that you should make the most of yourself, for your own sake and the sake of others.
2. Your life is a result of your thoughts
The thought of a tree does not cause the instant formation of a full-grown tree, but it sets in motion the actions which will produce the tree. Everything we do starts in our thoughts. The reverse is also true, that is, we cannot do anything that we have not thought about. Our way of doing things is the direct result of our thoughts. In 2021, we should no longer allow our thoughts to get clouded by doubts and fears because we know we can become what we want to be.
3. Create, do not steal
You do not have to take away anything from anyone. You do not have to drive sharp bargains. You do not have to cheat and take advantage. You do not need to let anyone work for you for less than they should. You do not have to lust over the property of others or to look at it with wishful eyes. Become a creator, not a competitor. Riches secured through unscrupulous means are never permanent; they are yours today and another's tomorrow.
4. Wherever you are, add value to other people
You do not have to beat anybody in business. If you are in a business which beats people, get out of that business. When you give more in use value than you take from other people in cash value, then you are adding to the life of the world with every business transaction.
5. Form a clear mental picture of your wishes
You cannot transmit an idea unless you have it yourself. It is not enough that you should have a general desire for wealth, everybody has that desire. If you wish to own a house, think about how it will look, how many rooms, what colour of roofing, the furnishings, the garden, everything. Think about every tiny detail each day so the picture in your mind pushes you into action.
6. Use willpower positively
Things are not brought into being by thinking about their opposites. Health cannot be attained by thinking about disease. Positive values are not promoted by indulging in vices. And no one ever got rich by losing money. Times will always be hard and there's no point talking endlessly about it. Opportunities exist even in the hardest of circumstances.
7. Take action now!
Whatever actions you plan to take, it is evident that you must act NOW. You cannot act in the past, nor can you act in the future. Your actions must be in your present business or employment and must be upon the persons and things in your present environment. If there is something that must be done today, and you do not do it, you have failed in so far as that thing is concerned. On the other hand, you should neither overwork nor rush blindly into things in the effort to do the greatest possible number of things in the shortest possible time.
8. Grow out of your current environment
You can advance only by being larger than your present place. You cannot grow out of your current circumstances if you have not completed the things that you need to do regarding that situation. "The world is advanced only by those who more than fill their present places," wrote Wattles.
9. Use your strengths
Generally speaking, you will do best in that business which will utilise your talents or training. It will be easier for you to succeed in a field for which you already have well-developed talents. If there are past mistakes whose consequences have placed you in an undesirable environment, you may have to take up something you do not like for a while. But you can make doing it pleasant with thoughts that it is making it possible for you to eventually get into what you prefer doing.
10. Disappointment is not failure
Do not feel disappointed at any point. You may expect to have certain a thing at a certain time, and not get it at that time, and this will appear like a failure. But if you hold on to your faith, you will find that the failure was only a passing cloud.