Orison Swett Marden . . . What He Means To Me
by Jodi Ralston
Started January 17, 2018. Last Updated January 17, 2018.
One of my inspirations, Orison Swett Marden is a New Thought writer who wrote during the late 19th century and into the 20th.
I discovered Marden at critical time in my life, during my father’s illness and subsequent and unexpected passing in August 2017. In his work An Iron Will, the part that really called to me was having a “reserve” of power “equal to all emergencies.” This was something I was sorely in need of, and while I didn’t have it then, the fact I could use my will so that future crises didn’t put me in a tailspin kept me from feeling overwhelmed. You can’t predict tragedies and crises. But you can prepare for them by building a character of resilience and strength. Part of my ongoing work is this. Not just to ward off the worries of the future, but to accomplish all my dreams.
Marden is one tool to get there. He can be yours too with the lessons I share on this page.
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It helps that Marden wrote from heart–and life’s experiences. He demonstrated an iron will when he lost the first manuscript of his first work (that which would become Pushing to the Front) in a fire, yet did not give up. Instead, “with little money, but with lots of time on his hands, he decided to rewrite the manuscript.”
He could have given up. Yet he didn’t. And he met with great success. According to that Wikipedia article, “Pushing to the Front (1894) became the single greatest runaway classic in the history of personal development books at that time.” It was praised and remarked upon by people such as Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison.
Marden succeeded because he was not like most men. In Iron Will, he states that “most men fail […] from lack of dogged determination, from lack of dauntless will.” But why write something that “most” can’t do? Because everyone can develop an iron will. Everyone can choose to continue when the going gets hard. And while success isn’t guaranteed, failure is if you give up.
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Talent + Will
Another inspirational quote from An Iron Will is “One talent with a will behind it will accomplish more than ten without it, as a thimbleful of powder in a rifle, the bore of whose barrel will give it direction, will do greater execution than a carload burned in the open air.” My take on this quote is available here.
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