January 2004 Book Review
You're Better Than You Think by Dora Albert
Most Of Us Achieve Only A Small Fraction Of What we could, if only
we had the proper self-confidence. We are held back by terrifying
About 17 years ago, I was the victim of one of the nastiest inferiority complexes any woman ever had to contend with. I had very little faith
in myself as a woman, or as a human being.
Today, friends compliment me on being mature and well adjusted.
Whatever happiness I have today, I owe to the ideas expressed in
this book. It took me many years to discover that I, like most
individuals, was undermining my own thinking by the wrong kind of
self-suggestion. And that by the same token I could fashion my
thoughts to bring me happiness and a feeling of well-being.
This book is dedicated to my husband, with whom I have found so
much happiness--and to all the thousands of individuals throughout
the world, who are living up to only a fraction of their real potentialities.
I want them to know that they are better than they think.
The difference between happiness and unhappiness often is merely
the ability to measure oneself honestly and optimistically, instead of destructively and pessimistically.
When you learn from the famous authorities I have interviewed how
much better you are than you have ever realized, you will go on to find
the happiness and self-completion that come to everyone who
discovers, like King David, how fearfully and wonderfully he is made.
Part One: Why You're Better Than You Think You Are
1. What Do You Think Of Yourself?
Can You See Yourself In This Picture? You Are Attractive, able,
intelligent. You have a body that functions marvellously.
(Talk about automation! Your human automation would put every
machine in the world to shame.) The most elaborate machine,
functioning perfectly most of the time, is at your command.
A portrait of you..."What a piece of work is a man! how noble in
reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express
and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how
like a god!" So wrote Shakespeare of the human body and soul--
and he could have been writing about you.
You have over 12 billion brain cells; they would look like stars under
the microsope. Your brain, the product of at least a billion years of
evolution, is the finest precision machine in existence. It is capable
of several trillion associations of thought. Yet even the ablest
scientists cannot analyze adequately the amazing way in which a
thought springs into the human mind, or the power by which
thoughts travel to and from your brain cells.
Normally, you use about one-tenth of your brain power. If you used
it all, what you would accomplish would stagger your friends and
Spiritually, you're so great that if you sank into the worst kind of
moral slime, by the power of thought you could lift your eyes and
heart to the hills from which your help would truly come. The Bible
promises you this in Psalm 121: "My help cometh from the Lord,
which has made heaven and earth."
Still, you have feelings of inferiority: You have enough atomic energy
in your body to destroy the entire city of New York, as Dr. Norman
Vincent Peale points out in A Guide to Confident Living.*
Still, you suffer from feelings of inferiority. You're the top, but a good
deal of the time you feel low, unhappy, inadequate.
You are unique in almost every other way, but not in this respect.
You share these feelings of inferiority with almost every intelligent
The fact that you sometimes feel so inadequate and inferior is proof
that you are a superior human being, for fools and imbeciles cannot
feel the way you do.
Feeling inferior doesn't prove you are inferior: As a rule, the brighter
you are, the less conceited you are about your brilliance. The most
brilliant men nearly always underestimate themselves.
When Gordon W. Allport, Associate Professor of Psychology at
Harvard, tested a group of college students, he discovered that more
than half of them had, at one time or another, suffered from an
overwhelming sense of intellectual inferiority.*
Professor Allport was astonished. After all, he points out, half of a
group can't be below average. Futhermore, college student, when
tested, prove to be superior in intelligence to the average.
Many of the college students also had a terrific sense of physical
and social inferiority.
Professor Allport thought their feelings about this absurd, too.
College students, he points out, are by and large, superior in
physique and health, and come from superior social backgrounds.
His conclusion: Feelings of inferiority cannot be taken as an index
of actual inferiority.
You're a very poor judge of yourself!....All your life you have probably
been rating yourself incorrectly. Only one person in five can judge
himself correctly. Four chances out of five, you are a wretched judge
You may rate yourself too highly out of self-defense, or too low out of
lack of self-confidence.
Because Americans value self-confidence, we have a tendency to
pretend we have it even when we haven't. This explains why most
of us, in spite of our inferiority feelings, rate ourselves suspiciously
high on the qualities we would like to have. We often rate ourselves,
not as we really think we are, but as we wish we were.
If we overrate ourselves, those who meet us will sense it and show
resentment. Few and far between are those discerning enough to
realize that our pitiful attempts at pretending to be better than we
are merely serve to cover up our terrifying feelings of inferiority.
Incidentally, the two traits on which we are most apt to overrate
ourselves are our sense of humor and our refinement. On these
two points, our best friends can tell us a great deal more about our
personalities than we ourselves know.
The salt of the earth.....Those who rate themselves too high in
desirable qualities are likely to be less brilliant or more frightened
than average; but those who rate themselves too low are the salt
of the earth. Frequently they possess almost every great quality
you can think of except self-confidence.
It takes real intelligence to think you are not so smart as you should
When Socrates was asked why he was considered the wisest man
in Greece, he replied, "It is because I know that I know nothing."
In the seventeenth century, Isaac Newton, who discovered the Law
of Gravitation and was one of the greatest scientific thinkers, made
a very humble statement about his discoveries. He said he felt like
a child playing with pretty shells of knowledge by the seashore,
while the great undiscovered sea of knowledge stretched alluringly
This kind of intellectual humility, however, is different from the kind
of inferiority feeling that makes you feel stupid in comparison with
your next door neighbor or your immediate superior at the office.
Most likely, he is superior merely in position, and possibly in
acquired knowledge. What he has done, you can do. Often it is
mostly a matter of having faith in yourself, and letting that faith help
you with anything you attempt.
In the long run, you will be happier and get further if you have real
faith in yourself, and are neither too humble nor too proud.
An inferiority complex is like a fungus that absorbs healthy living
matter. Don't let it sponge away your great, dynamic personality!
It takes a lot of courage to build up the self-confidence that the
years have corroded. You have that courage!
Three Golden Keys....There are three golden keys by which you
can start building yourself into the kind of person you want to be.
Every step I shall suggest to you in the future is related to one of
You can start using the keys today--right this minute! You will be
using them when you follow the ten-step program that we'll discuss
in Chapter 2.
With these three keys, you can channel your inferiority feelings in
the right direction. You can change yourself into the kind of person
you want to be. You can get almost anything you want out of life.
Does that sound as if I have promised too much?
Actually, I have underestimated what you can accomplish with
these keys. For these are the keys to all achievement, all
success, all productive thinking. With them you can be a creative
thinker, a social lion, a brillant business success.
Every successful person since history began has used them. They
have worked for everyone I know. You must use all three to achieve
your own glorious potentials.
Golden Key One: Thought.... Whenever you have an unpleasant
thought, substitute a pleasant thought for it. This is Golden Key
One---and this is the first step in changing yourself.
You don't have to grit your teeth and tense your muscles to use this
key. All you need do is picture in your mind any memory or thought
that makes you feel good.
In his book, For the Life of Me,* James H. Richardson, former city
editor of the Los Angeles Examiner, tells how he used this Golden
Key when he was only fourteen.
Already he was dreaming of writing a novel. He had written a few
pages, and persuaded a kind neighbor in Winnipeg, Canada, Mrs.
McKinley, to listen to him read them. When he had finished, she
said, "I like it very much, Jimmy. I don't see how you can do it."
So he floated home on Cloud Seven: when he got to his home on
Kennedy Street, he leaned against a gate, and drifted off to Cloud
On Cloud Seven was an immense drawing room with a wide flight
of stairs. The room was filled with flowers. Rich tapestry hung
from the walls. In small groups were elegantly dressed women and
Then he heard someone say, "Here he comes now." All heads
turned to the stairs.
Descending it they saw James H. Richardson, 14, already an
acknowledged genius. The crowd burst into thunderous applause.
For whom? For James H. Richardson, of course.
"I came down from my cloud," he writes, " a boy leaning on the gate
again. But something had happened to me, something that was to
stay with me all my life. I wanted that patter of applause. I still want
it. It's a good thing to want. I don't blame anyone for wanting it and I
disbelieve those who say they don't. Even Lindbergh."
So all his life, Richardson worked to make his dream come true.
To all intents and purposes, it has. He is acclaimed everywhere for
the fine work he has done as a city editor and for his great
And it all started with a pleasant daydream!
The right thoughts are usually happy thoughts......The surprising
thing about such daydreams or fantasies is that they can be used
for either of two purposes: On one hand, they can make you wake
up and act. On the other, when you want to drift off to sleep, the
right kind of daydream is invaluable. The right thoughts have the
power to make you sleep like a baby.
Of course, once in awhile, a negative idea may cross your mind.
But two thoughts cannot occupy your mind at the same time, so
let the cheerful thought take the place of the negative one.
Whenever a negative idea tries to intrude, replace it immediately
with a previously selected cheerful memory or a vision of the future.
You noticed that Richardson used a dream of the future to spur
himself on. It is all right to use such a daydream, as long as you
know it is fantasy. Some day you may make it come true.
However, for many of us, it is even more exhilarating to relive the
feeling we had in a moment of true triumph. It is particularly helpful
to remember our successes and even to recite them over and over
silently to ourselves when we are undertaking something new. or
when we are about to apply for a new job.
How to deal with health fears....There is just one warning I'd like to
give about the use of Golden Key One.
In most cases, only good can come from banishing a negative
thought. However, if the negative idea represents a fear that may
have a factual basis, then ask yourself if there is something you
can do about it.
For instance, if your negative thought deals with health, it might not
be wise to substitute the positive idea of a wonderful picnic for your
fearful thought. Then the fear would simply be pushed into the
Instead, substitute the constructive thought that you are going to do
something about your fear. As John A. Schindler, M.D., points out
in How To Live 365 Days a Year,* health fears can best be met by
making an appointment to see a doctor for a physical examination
at least once a year. He adds, "Between the yearly examinations
believe you are sound. If something turns up to cast any doubt in
your mind as to your condition, go to the same doctor. If your fear
turns out to be groundless ( as fears usually do ) make nothing
further of it. It is so much more enjoyable to know that you are well
than to believe there must be something morbidly wrong with you in
spite of what the docter says."
Golden Key Two: Writing...Visualize the traits you would like to
have, and that you think you don't have in sufficient measure.
Write them down on a scrap of paper, or better, in a loose leaf
notebook. If you don't have one handy, may I suggest that you
buy one today? Later we'll discuss how you can use this
notebook as Benjamin Franklin used his, to perfect himself in all
the traits in which he felt he needed training.
Second, buy yourself a set of index cards. You can get them in
any stationery store and in most five and ten cent stores. They
come in different sizes in handy packets, and usually cost from
ten to 25 cents a package. Personally, I like the 4x6 size the best.
Another very popular size is 3x5, and you can easily purchase a
very handy metal carrying case for this size.
Repeat on one of the cards any trait in which you are particularly
anxious to perfect yourself. In fact, you might copy the name of
this trait on a few cards. Tuck one in your wallet. Put one on your
desk. Put one in your night table. Place one in the glove
compartment of your car.
Every time you look at the card, picture yourself in possession of
This will utilize Golden Key One ( Thought ) and Golden Key Two
( Writing ).
A Los Angeles sales manager gave me one of the best suggestions
I have ever heard for combining Golden Keys One and Two for self-
improvement. Incidentally, the method he suggests will make your
self-ratings much more accurate than most self-estimates.
This man is William Edmonds, metropolitan sales manager of the
Multigraph division of Addressograph-Multigraph.
How to use two Golden Keys to evaluate yourself....Mr. Edmonds
says: "After every contact, while it is fresh in his mind, a salesman
or anyone else should think over what he did right and what he did
wrong. If he gave a strong presentation, he should learn to make it
even stronger. If he did anything wrong, he should remember never
to do that particular thing again or say those words or show that
article. He might even make notes on what he did that was right
or wrong, and indicate what the results were.
"At the end of the day, he should evaluate the entire day. He should
separate, mentally and on paper, the good things he did from the
unwise ones, with the idea of adding to strength and subtracting from
"For instance, he might ask himself, "Did I talk too much?" He
should remember to let the customer or whomever he is contacting
do some of the talking."
Don't tell off-color stories....Mr. Edmonds feels that for a salesman or
anyone else to tell an off-color story is a definite weakness. "If he has
told it at the wrong time and to the wrong person, then he needs to
improve his sense of timing as well as his sense of good taste in
Herman D. Hover, owner of Ciro's, the famous Hollywood night club,
told me that for two years he refused to have a certain brilliant
comedian perform at Ciro's, because his humor was slightly off-color.
Later the jester cleaned up his material, came to Ciro's, and was a
"I think that he is three times as funny as he ever was previously,"
commented Mr. Hover.
This is an important point for everyone who has dealings with the
public to remember. Most of us love humor, but it is possible to
be three times as funny with clean material.
Futhermore, if the owner of an intimate night club thinks that his
sophisticated patrons would be offended by off-color material,
why should you and I take chances with those who may be less
Learn some good clean jokes. Since we are prone to overestimate
our sense of refinement, most of us would be wiser if we avoided
telling unprintable stories. A salesman or speaker who would like
to inject some pleasant humor into his sales presentations or
speeches should buy or borrow from his library a book containing
humorours anecdotes, such as Jacob M. Braude's Speaker's
Encyclopedia of Stories, Quotations, and Anecdotes ( 1955 ),
and his Second Encyclopedia (1957).*
Golden Key Three: Action!.... The moment you started thinking, little
involuntary muscles moved as you thought. But you mustn't let your
program stop with those small, involuntary muscles.
Thought must always lead to action.
You've set yourself a goal--improvement in at least one trait. You've
written it down. The third and final step is to initiate some action that
will set you firmly on the path toward your goal.
Permit yourself no interruptions, no changes, no exceptions in your
new pattern. You're building a new you. The time to start is---when?
Next month? Next week? Tomorrow? You know better.
If you procrastinate, you may never start. William James, one of the
world's greatest psychologists, said it would almost be better never to
have an inspiring thought than to have it and fail to act on it. He didn't
believe that even attending a concert was worth while, if you let the
inspiration you got from it evaporate without action.
Inspiration and constructive thoughts must lead to expression. Or
else you haven't moved forward to victory. Get moving!
Here is a list of traits mentioned in later chapters: health, intelligence,
creative ability, the talent for luck, faith in your ability to overcome the
past, likeability and lovability, serenity, and courage.
If you think you are below average in any of these, then read the
chapter on that quality right away. Make up your mind that you
will take steps toward improving in that particular trait within the
You may, of course, be wrong in your self-rating. You're much better
than you think. Still, the mere thought that you are inferior in any
respect may be holding you back. Your first step will be change
your own concept of yourself. You must picture yourself not as
you think you are, but in full possession of the quality you want to
Three steps toward serenity....Let us suppose, for instance, that
you want to achieve the quality of serenity, as opposed to agitated
worry. You do so by three steps. ( For more information on serenity,
read Chapter 16, "How to Conquer Fears and Worries.")
Step One: From now on, you resolve, I shall think serene, calm,
confident thoughts. I shall hold in my mind the picture of myself as
the calm, serene person I want to be. I shall remember the famous
prayer by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr:
God Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Step Two: In your notebook, enter a separate page under the
heading, SERENITY. What is it, and how can one achieve it?
Well, you might start with this pleasant quote from John Burroughs.
It is worth copying.
Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.
Step Three: Write down your favorite worry chasers...... What else
do we know about serenity? Well, we know we can't be serene if
our minds are crowded with worries. So under serenity, in your
notebook, you might write down: My Favorite Worry Chasers. Then
whenever you think of one, jot it down.
Worry chasers are almost as varied as worries are. I know one
man who, whenever he is worried, plays solitaire. Another
acquaintance starts to whistle and continues till he feels serene.
A woman friend of mine, whenever she is particularly worried about
something, always sings very sad blues songs. For some reason,
this cheers her up.
When I'm worried about something, I like to go out into the garden
and start pulling weeds--or else, if I'm near a swimming pool, I go
Another favorite method of mine is to make a note on my calendar
pad, a month from the day on which I'm worrying. This in itself seems
to calm me. At the moment I do what I can to solve the problem, and
promise myself I'll check results in a month.
I have found the results rather surprising. In a month's time when I
come upon my notation, more often than not I think with surprise:
How could I have worried seriously about that?
My experience is very much like that of the French philosopher,
Montaigne, who admitted that he had had a lot of misfortunes in his
life, most of which never happened. If I write down four worries, by
the end of the month I usually find that three of them have
disappeared, which leaves me with only one to tackle.
After you have written down your worries and worry chasers, try to
think of solutions for your worries, if they belong to the worries that
can be changed by action.
You are going to do the best you can to solve your solvable problems.
Then stop worrying about the unsolvable ones!
Worry is a habit....Did you know that psychologists say that worry is
a habit? If you are a frequent worrier, you have allowed yourself to fall
into the habit of worrying.
If you played the piano as frequently as you worry, you would probably
be a first class pianist.
Since you practise worrying instead of practising some desirable skill,
you may easily be a first grade, professional, top-notch worrier. I know,
for I used to be one.
Substitute a new habit for it. Obviously, you will not cease worrying by
saying to yourself, "I'm going to stop worrying about that old goat, my
boss." The words will simply flash a picture into your mind of your
boss looking like an old goat, and you'll worry about him harder than
No, you must utilize Golden Key Three, Action, and it must be the
One of the best methods for getting rid of worries is described by the
great physical instructor and authority on relaxation, Joseph A.
Kennedy, in Relax and Live.*
As he explains, mental imagery is wiped out of the mind when we
visualize, imagine, or remember black perfectly.
"Just remember having seen some black object in the past," he says.
"You may remember whatever black object is easiest for you--a black
telephone, a black pair of shoes, a black letter seen in a book, black
coal, black velvet drapes.....Remembering a small black period on a
page is best of all, but remember whatever black object it is easiest
for you to remember, and you can even shift from one black object to
another, if you wish."
What to do when you want to blow your top.....Besides the habit of
worrying, another great threat to serenity is anger.
My most successful business friends do not agree with those
psychologists who say that if you feel like blowing, blow!
They point out that business employees in minor positions may lose
their jobs if they do, and top executives may lose the respect of their
As one business friend of mine says, "If you cannot discipline yourself,
how can you expect to lead others? Self-discipline must come first."
At times when you are tempted to blow your top, try instead to see the
other fellow's point of view. If you're still angry, go for a walk as soon as
possible. By going in for physical exertion you'll get rid of some of the
adrenalin that accumulates when your rage is roused.
In the next chapter, you will learn two ways to build up self-confidence
by using Key One, the Thought key; two ways to build it up by using
Key Two, Writing Things Down; and six ways to build up your self-
esteem through the use of Key Three, Action.
Chapter One in a Nutshell...
You have a body that functions marvellously, a mind full of resources
you haven't even begun to tap. You have abilities you have never
exploited. Spiritually, God made you only a little lower than the angels.
With all this, you may think yourself inferior. Many of the world's
greatest and most successful individuals have had feelings of inferiority
similar to yours. Inferiority feelings are very common, and usually prove
only that you have enough intelligence to aim high.
With the use of three Golden Keys, you can become the kind of
person you were meant to be. These are:
1. Thought. Substitute a pleasant, constructive thought for every
unpleasant idea that enters your mind.
2. Writing. Write down the qualities you want to achieve and the
faults you want to avoid. After every interview or sales call, write
down the things you did that you feel were right, and those that
you feel were wrong.
3. Action. Substitute one good habit for a habit that yu don't like
very much in yourself. Continue to use Key One by visualizing
yourself as successful in getting used to the new habit.
NEW EXCLUSIVE LINE of our Jack Russell Terrier Products can
now be ordered at: CT Jack Russell Family thru CafePress.com
We hope you enjoy our site and welcome your feedback.
FREE Classifieds Submit URL FAQ
© 2000 - 2011
All Rights Reserved. No Part Of This Web Site May Be Copied,
Including Images and Text Without Prior Written Consent From:
Collectible Treasures Antique and Collectibles Contact
Diamond Eye Our Jack Russell Terrier
Main Page of Items We Have Sold, Plus Additional Pages With Links..These Items ARE NO LONGER FOR SELL, and are included for reference purposes ONLY...
FREE Classified Ads