William James was a leading philosopher and psychologist at the turn of the 19 th century. He also was one of the founders of the philosophical school of pragmatism.
He gave various interpretations regarding the actual nature of happiness.
One such thought he put forth was that we should direct our attention only to what is worthy and useful and ignore the rest.
I know it seemed like a subjective stuff with no practical consequence but its actual implications turn out to be nothing short of miraculous for this prominent scientist whom we are about to discuss.
How his putting up of this actual theory to test brought out a drastic change in his outer reality with just 30 days of inner change has been detailed in his book Body, Mind, and Spirit by Dr. Elwood Worcester.
This scientist until his fiftieth year lived in a constant state of unhappiness with no significant accomplishments. He had a blinding headache which returned every two days of the week at which he had no control.
Further, all the works on which his reputation rests were unpublished.
Here comes the interesting part- he resolved to put the theory of William James to test for perhaps he can only gain and there is nothing to lose.
Also giving up the old philosophy of life for something that can only add to goodness was worth a try for 30 days.
So, here’s the actual exercise he put up to bring his mind under control.
Limiting his conscious thinking for a month, the value and worthlessness can we well gauged through the following points.
“During this time I resolved to impose definite restrictions on my thoughts. In thinking of the past, I would dwell only on its pleasing incidents. In thinking of the present, I would direct attention to its desirable elements. In thinking of the future, I would regard every worthy and possible ambition as within reach.
I threw myself into this experiment. I was soon surprised to feel happy and contented. But the outward changes astonished me more. I deeply craved the recognition of certain eminent men.
The foremost of these wrote me, out of the blue, inviting me to become his assistant. All my books were published. My colleagues grew helpful and cooperative.
It seems that I stumbled upon a path of life, and set forces working for me which were previously working against me.”
The conclusion which he drew from this test
• His headaches ceased
• He felt more happier
• He was astounded with the outer changes more than the inward changes though in actual they spring from the latter
• Eminent men whose recognition he craved, the foremost of them offered him an assistantship
• His works were all published
• His co-workmen became more cooperative and supportive
So what are you planning now? Living a life of mediocrity or bring to light the god-given powers bestowed on you. This test can do exactly the same for you.