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Riches Within Your Reach
The Law of the Higher Potential
by Robert Collier
Copyright 1947, Tenth Edition 1960
"Would you know Life abundant,
Love doubled for all you give?
There is a means no surer
Than helping someone to live."
(The above verse by Ellen H. Jones expresses so well the whole
purpose of this book, that we gladly subscribe our name to it here.) Robert Collier
WHY IS IT that most of the great men of the world, most of the
unusually successful men, started life under a handicap?
Demosthenes, the greatest orator the ancient world produced,
stuttered! The first time he tried to make a public speech, he was laughed off the rostrum. Julius Caesar was an epileptic.
Napolean was of humble parentage, and so poor that it was with
the greatest difficulty that he got his appointment to the Military Academy. Far from being a born genius, he stood forty-sixth in
his class at the Military Academy. And there was only sixty-five
in the class. His shortness of stature and extreme proverty
discouraged himto such an extent that in his early letters to
friends, he frequently referred to thoughts of suicide.
Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson and a
number of our Presidents started life in the poorest and humblest
of homes, with little education and no advantages. Stewart, who
started what is now the John Wanamaker Store in New York, came
to New York with $1.50 in his pocket, and no place where he could
hope to get more until he himself earned it. Thomas Edison was a newsboy on trains. Andrew Carnegie started work at $4 a month.
John D. Rockefeller at about $6 a week.
Reza Khan, who became Shah of Persia, started as an ordinary
trooper in the Persian army. Mustapha Kemal, late Ruler of Turkey,
was an unknown officer in the Turkish army. Ebert, first President of
Germany after World War I, was a saddle maker. A number of our
own Presidents were born in log cabins, without money, without education.
Sandow, the strongest man of his time, started life as a weakling.
Annette Kellerman was lame and sickly, yet perfectly formed
women. George Jowett was lame and a weakling until he was
eleven years old. An older boy bullied him and beat him until he
aroused such a feeling of resentment in young Jowett that he
determined to work and exercise until he could pay back that bully.
In ten years, he was the world's strongest man!
Why is it that men with such handicaps can outstrip all of those
naturally favored by Nature? Why is it that the well-educated,
well-trained men, with wealthy and influential friends to help them,
are so often pushed aside, to make way for some "nobody" whose
family no one ever heard of, but whose sheer ability and force make
him a power to be reckoned with?
Why? Because men with early advantages are taught to look to
material things for success...to riches or friends or influence or
their own training or abilities. And when these fail them, they are
at a loss where to turn next.
But when a man has no special skill or ability or riches or
influence, he has to look to something outside these for success, something beyond material means. So he turns to the God in him,
to his cell of the God-Mind, and of that cell he demands that it bring
him fame or fortune or power or position. What is more, if he
continues to demand it with persistent faith, HE GETS IT!
You see, in every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat there is a lesson showing you how to
win the victory next time. The turning point in the lives of most successful men has come at some moment of crisis, when
everything looked dark, when there seemed no way out. That
was when they turned to their inner selves, when they gave up
hope in material means and looked to the God in them for help.
That was when they were able to turn each stumbling block into
a stepping-stone to success.
"Isn't it strange that princes and kings,
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
And common folks like you and me,
Are builders for eternity?
"Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, a book of rules;
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone."
You are one with the great "I AM" of the universe. You are part
of God. Until you realize that--and the power it gives you--you
will never know God. "We are parts of one stupendous whole,
whose body Nature is, and God the soul." Give Him work to do
through you, give Him a chance to express Himself in some
useful way, and there is nothing beyond your powers to do or
It matters not what your age, what your present circumstances
or position. If you will seek your help outside your merely
physical self, if you will put the God in you into some worthwhile endeavor, and the BELIEVE in Him, you can overcome any
poverty, any handicap, any untoward circumstance. Relying
upon your personal abilities or riches or friends is being like the
heathen of old, whom the Prophet of the Lord taunted. "You have
a God whom you must carry," he derided them. "We have a God
who carries us!"
The God of personal ability or material riches or friends is one
that you must continually carry. Drop him, and immediately
you lose everything. But there is a God in you who will carry
you--and in the doing of it, provide you with every good thing
this world can supply. The purpose of this book is to acquaint
you with this God in you, The God That Only The Fortunate
As the poet so well expressed it---
"In your own self lies Destiny. Let this
Vast truth cast out all fear, and prejudice,
All hesitation. Know that you are great,
Great with Divinity. So dominate
Environment and enter into bliss,
Love largely and hate nothing. Hold no aim
That does not chord with Universal Good.
Hear what the voices of the Silence say--
All joys are yours if you put forth your claim.
Once let the spiritual laws be understood,
Material things must answer and obey."
Some might think merely a poet's dream, but along comes
Dr. J.B. Rhine of Duke University to prove it scientific fact as
In his new book "The Reach of the Mind," Dr. Rhine points out
that in the past, Science seemed to feel that man was entirely
material. It had discovered how glands regulate personality
through their chemical secretions; it had shown that the child
mind matures only as the brain develops; that certain mental
functions are linked with specific areas of the brain, and that if
one of these is injured, the corresponding mental function is lost.
So Science believed that it had accounted for all the processes
of thought and action, that it could show a material basis for
But now Dr. Rhine and other experimenters have proved that
knowledge can be acquired without the use of the senses!
Not only that, but they have also proved that the powers of the
mind are not bound by space or limited by time! Perhaps their
greatest discovery is that the mind can influence matter without
This has been done through prayer, of course, since time began,
but such results have always been looked upon as supernatural.
Dr. Rhine and other experimenters show that any normal person
has the power to influence objects and events.
To quote "The Reach of the Mind"---"As a result of thousands of
experimental trials, we found it to be a fact that the mind has a
force that can act on matter....There must, therefore, be an
energy convertible to physical action, a mental energy."
The one great essential to the successful use of this mental
energy seems to be intense interest or desire. The more keyed
up a person is, the more eager for results, the more he can
influence those results.
Dr. Rhine showed through many experiments that when the
subject's interest is distracted, when he lacks ability to
concentrate his attention, his mental energy has little or no
power over outside objects. It is only as he gives his entire
attention to the object in mind, as he concentrates his every
energy upon it, that he gets successful results.
Dr. Rhine's experiments prove scientifically what we have always believed --that there is a Power over and above the merely physical power of the mind or body, that through intense concentration or
desire we can link up with that Power, and that once we do, nothing
is impossible to us.
It means, in short, that man is not at the mercy of blind chance or
Fate, that he can control his own destiny. Science is at last
proving what Religion has taught from the beginning--that God gave
man dominion and that he has only to understand and use this
dominion to become the Master of his Fate, the Captain of his Soul.
"Body and mind and Spirit, all combine
To make the creature, human and Divine,
Of this great Trinity, no part deny,
Affirm, affirm, the great eternal I.
Affirm the body, beautiful and whole,
The earth-expression of immortal soul,
Affirm the mind, the messenger of the hour,
To speed between thee and the Source of Power.
Affirm the Spirit, the eternal I--
Of this great Trinity, no part deny." Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The God in You
The Declaration of Independence starts with the preamble that
all men are born free and equal. But how many believe that?
When one child is born in a Park Avenue home, with doctors
and nurses and servants to attend to his slightest want, with
tutors and colleges to educate him, with riches and influence
to start him in his career, how can he be said to be born equal
to the child of the Ghetto, who has difficulty getting enough air
to breathe, to say nothing of food to eat, and whose waking
hours are so taken up with the struggle for existence that he
has no time to acquire much in the way of education!
Yet in that which counts most, these two are born equal, for
they have equal access to the God in themselves, equal chance
to give Him means of expression. More than that, the God in
one is just as powerful as the God in the other, for both are part
of that all-powerful God of the Universe who rules the world.
In effect, we are each of us individual cells in the great Mind of
the universe--the God Mind. We can draw upon the Mind of the
Universe in exactly the same way that any cell in our own body
draws upon our brain for whatever it needs outside its immediate surroundings.
All men are born free and equal, just as all the cells in your body
are equal. Some of these cells may seem to be more fortunately situated than others, being placed in fatty portions of the body
where they are so surrounded with nourishment that they seem
assured of everything they can need for their natural lives.
Others may be in hard-worked parts where they are continually
having to draw upon the lymph around them, and through it upon
the blood stream and the heart, and where it seems as though
they cannot be sure of sustenance from one day to the next.
Still others may be in little-used and apparently forgotten parts
where they seem to have been left to dry up and starve, as in
the scalp of the head when the hairfalls out and the fatty tissue
of the scalp dries, leaving the cells there to shrivel and die.
Yet despite their apparent differences in surroundings and
opportunity, all these cells are equal, all can draw upon every
element in the body for sustenance at need.
To see how it is done, let us take a single nerve cell in our own
brain, and see how it works.
Look up the diagram of a typical nerve cell in any medical work,
and what do you find? From one side of the cell, a long fibre
extends which makes connection with some part of the skin,
or some group of cells such as a muscle. This fibre is part of
the nerve cell. It is the telephone line, carrying orders or
stimuli from the cell to the muscle it controls, or from the
sensory nerve in the skin to the cell in the brain. Thoughts,
emotions, desires, all send impulses to the nerves controlling
the muscles concerned, and provide the stimuli which set these muscles in action, thus transforming nervous energy into
So if you have a desire which requires the action of only a single
muscle, what happens? Your desire takes the form of an impulse
to the nerve cell controlling that muscle, the order travels along
the cell-fibre to the muscle, which promptly acts in accord with
the stimulus given it. And your desire is satisfied.
But suppose your desire requires the action of more than one
muscle? Suppose it needs the united power of every muscle
in the body? So far we have used only the long nerve fibre or
telephone line connecting the nerve cell with the muscle it
controls. But on the other side of each nerve cell are short
fibres, apparently ending in space. And as long as the nerves
are at rest, these fibres do lie in space.
But when you stir up the nerve cells, when you give them a job
that is greater than the muscles at their command can manage,
then these short fibres go into action. Then they bestir
themselves to some purpose. They dig into the nerve cells near
them. They wake these and stimulate them in turn to stir up
those on the other sides of them until, if necessary, every cell
in the brain is twitching, and every muscle in the body working
to accomplish the job you demand.
That is what happens in your body if even a single cell in your
brain desires something strongly enough, persistently enough,
to hold to its purpose until it gets what it wants. And that is what happens in the God-body when you put the same persistence
into your desires.
You see, you are a cell in the God-body of the Universe, just as
every cell in you is a part of your body. When you work with
your hands, your feet, your muscles, you are using only the
muscles immediately connected with your brain cells. When
you work with the money you have, the riches or friends or
influence you control, you are using only the means immediately
connected to your brain cell in the mind of God. And that is so
infinites-imally small a part of the means and resources at the
command of that Great God-mind.
It is just as though you tried to do all the work required of your
body today by using only the tiniest muscle in your little finger,
when by stirring up the surrounding nerve cells, you could just
as well draw upon the power of the whole mind, or of the entire
body if that were needed. It is as though one of your nerve cells undertook to do the work of the whole body, and tried, with the
single muscle at its command, to do it!
You'd think that foolish, if one tiny nerve cell out of the billions in
your brain, undertook any such gigantic job. You'd know it was hopeless....that no one cell, and no one muscle, could ever
accomplish all that work. Yet you, as a single cell in the God-
mind, have often attempted just as impossible jobs. When all
you had to do to accomplish everything you desired was to stir
into action the cells around you!
How can you do this? In the same way that any cell in your
own brain does it. Pray! In other words, get an urgent, insistent
desire. The first principle of success is DESIRE--knowing what
you want. Desire is the planting of your seed. It needs cultivation,
of course, but the first important step is the PLANTING. Desire
stirs the nerve cells in your brain to use the muscles under their
control to do the work required of them. Desire will set your nerve
cell in the God-mind vibrating, using the muscle under its
command and stirring into action all the nerve-cells around it until
they, too, are working with you to bring about the thing you wish.
That is the reason it was said in the Vedas thousands of years
ago that if any two people would unite their psychic forces, they
could conquer the world! That is the reason Jesus told us--"If two
of you shall agree as touching anything they shall ask, it shall be
done unto them. For when two or three are gathered together in
My name, there am I in the midst of them, and I shall grant their request."
When two or more nerve cells unite for a certain action, they get
that action, even if to bring it about they have to draw upon every
cell in the whole body for help!
This does not mean that anything is impossible to a single cell or
a single person -- merely that when two or more are united for a
common purpose, the results are easier. But there is no good
thing any man can ask, believing, that he cannot get.
In the first chapter of Genesis, it is written that God gave man
dominion over the earth. And it is true. It is just as true as that
any nerve cell in your whole body has dominion over your body.
If you doubt it, let one nerve be sufficiently irritated, and see
how quickly it puts every nerve in your body to work to remove
One nerve cell in your body, with a strongly held purpose, can
bring into action every cell in your body to accomplish that
purpose. One nerve cell in the God-body ( in other words, one
man or woman ) with a strongly held purpose, can bring into
action every cell in the Universe, if these be necessary to the accomplishment of that purpose!
Does that mean anything to you? Does it mean anything to
know that the words of prophets and seers are true, that the
promises of the Scriptures can be depended upon, that there
really is a Power in the Universe that responds to the urge of
the lowliest man or woman just as readily as to the command
of the highest?
The world is yours! It matters not whether you be prince or
pauper, blue-blooded or red, white-skinned, black, yellow or
brown. The God-body of the Universe makes no more distinction between cells than do you in responding to the impulses of the
nerve-cells in your own body.
Rich or poor -- it's all one to you. Highly placed or low -- one can
cause you as much trouble, or give you as great satisfaction,
as another. And the same is true of the God-body of the
Universe. All men are created free and equal. All remain free
and equal nerve cells in the God-mind of the Universe.
The only difference lies in our understanding of the power that
is ours. How much understanding have you? And what are you
doing to increase it? "Seek first understanding, and all things
else shall be added unto you." Easier to believe that now, isn't
it? With the right understanding, you could run the world. Can
you think of anything more important than acquiring
What turned the complaining, discouraged, poverty-stricken
and quite ordinary young Bonaparte into the greatest military
genius of his age, "Man of Destiny" and master of most of
The Talisman of Napoleon, the Talisman of every great and
successful man, the only Talisman that will stir the whole body
of the Universe into action, is the same Talisman as that needed
to put the entire physical body at the service of any one nerve
cell -- a purpose so strongly held that life or death or anything
else seems of small consequence beside it! A purpose -- and
the persistent determination to hold to it until it is accomplished.
Love sometimes makes such a Talisman -- the love that goes
out to dare all and do all for the loved one. Greed oftentimes
brings it into being -- hence many of the great fortunes of today.
The lust for power is a potent Talisman, that has animated men
since time began. Greater still is the zeal of one who would
convert the world. That Talisman has carried men through fire
and flood, into every danger and over every obstacle. Look
how Mohammed, a lowly camel driver, became the ruler of and
prophet to millions.
Faith in charms, belief in luck, utter confidence in another's
leadership, all are Talismans of greater or lesser power.
But the greatest of all is belief in the God inside YOU! Belief in
its power to draw to itself every element it needs for expression.
Belief in a definite PURPOSE it came here to fulfill, and which
can be fulfilled only through YOU!
Have you such a faith? If not, get it! For without such a faith,
life is purposeless, meaningless. What is more, until you lay
hold of that Talisman, life will never bring anything worth while to
What was it won for Grant over his more brilliant opponents?
The grim, dogged, persistent purpose to fight it out along those
lines if it took all summer! What is it that has made England
victor in so many of her wars, in spite of inept leadership and
costly blunders? That same bull-dog determination, which
holds on in spite of all reverses and discouragements, until its
fight is won. What was it that wore out the unjust judge, in the
parable that Jesus told?
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that man ought
to always to pray, and not to faint; saying, 'There was in a city
a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man; " 'And
there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying,
"Avenge me on mine adversary." " ' And he would not for a
while; but afterward he said within himself, "Tough I fear not God,
nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will
avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me."' "And
the Lord said, ' Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not
God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him,
though he bear long with them?' "
If the nerve in a tooth keeps crying out that a cavity in that tooth
needs attention, won't you finally drop everything and seek out
a dentist who can satisfy that nerve's needs? And if any other
nerve prays continuously for attention, won't you do likewise
Well, you are a nerve in the God-body. If you have an urgent
need, and keep praying and insisting and demanding the
remedy, don't you suppose you will get it just as surely?
A definite purpose, held to in the face of every discouragement
and failure, in spite of all obstacles and opposition, will win no
matter what the odds. It is the one nerve cell working against
the indifference, the inertia or even the active opposition of the
entire group. If the cell is easily discouraged, it will fail. If it is
willing to wait indefinitely, it will have to wait. But if it keeps
stirring up the cells next to it, and stimulating them to stir those
beyond, eventually the entire nerve system will go into action
and bring about the result that single cell desires -- even if it be
only to rid itself of the constant irritation.*
You have seen young fellows determined to go to college. You
have thought them foolish, in the face of the obstacles facing
them. Yet when they persisted, you know how often those
obstacles have one by one magically disappeared, until presently
they found themselves with the fruition of their desires. A strongly
held purpose, persisted in, believed in, is a sure to win in the end
as the morrow's sun is to rise. And earnest prayer is to the God-
body what a throbbing nerve is to yours. Hold to it, insist upon it,
and it is just as sure of a hearing. But remember: "He that
wavereth is like the wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed;
let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."
All are born free and equal. All may not start with the same amount
of wealth or opportunity immediately available to them, but all can
go to the Source of these and get just as much of them as is
necessary to satisfy their desires.
We are surrounded by riches. We have available unlimited wealth.
But we have to learn how to draw it to us.
**NOTE** I hope you have enjoyed our book review titled: Riches
within Your Reach by Robert Collier.
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