Tools of Success

Paramhansa Yogananda


It does not take long to develop good mental habits. In fact, by exercising strong will, mental habits of health, success, or wisdom may be formed at once. By concentrating on legitimate necessities with perseverance, courage, and faith in God and oneself, one can materialize them at will.


Mental efficiency depends upon the art of concentration. Man must know the scientific method of concentration by which he can disengage his attention from objects of distraction and focus it on one thing at a time. By the power of concentration, man can use the untold power of mind to accomplish that which he desires, and he can guard all doors through which failure may enter. All men of success have been men of great concentration, men who would dive deeply into their problems and discover the pearls of right solutions. Most people are suffocated by distractions and are unable to find the pearls of success.

However, one may be a man of concentration and power and may dive deep into the sea of problems, but still may not find the pearl of success. There are many men who have powerful concentration, but they do not know where to find success. This is where another factor in acquiring prosperity comes into consideration.

Most people live almost mechanically, unconscious of any ideal or plan of life, and without any apparent knowledge of spiritual truth. You must never forget that an important part of your equipment is your purpose in life. The whole world stands aside for the person who knows where he is going and is determined to get there. When you have resolved definitely upon a purpose in life, you must make everything serve that purpose.

The goal of your material life should be maximum business efficiency, peace, health, and general success. Material prosperity consists in acquiring the mental efficiency by which you can gain all these things at will. Great wealth does not necessarily bring health, peace, or efficiency, but acquirements of efficiency and peace are sure to bring balanced material success.

Do not expect to be successful in all your attempts the first time. Some ventures may fail, but others will succeed. Success and failure are interrelated. One cannot exist without the other. With concentrated energy you must approach your nearest problem or duty, and do your utmost to accomplish whatever is needed. This must be your philosophy of life.

Will power

A strong will, by its dynamic force, creates a way for its fulfillment. By its very strength, the will sets into motion certain vibrations in the atmosphere. Nature, with its laws of order, system, and efficiency, then creates circumstances favorable to the individual who exercises will power. Will derives its strength from an honest purpose, lofty motives, and the noble concern to do good for the world at large.



Know that anything others do, you can do also. Once I was having dinner with friends. Everything went well until the Roquefort cheese was served. In India we eat only freshly made cheese, so I viewed the little green specks of mold in the cheese with great suspicion. My soul rebelled against it, and my brain cells warned me to have nothing to do with it. But as I looked at my American friends eating the cheese, I mustered courage and took a lump of it into my mouth.


No sooner had it landed there than all the aristocratic delicacies that had preceded it rebelled. There was great clamor and commotion within me, and they let me know that if “Mr. Roquefort” joined them in the stomach, they would all leave the body. I dared not open my mouth, but just nodded in answer to my host’s question of whether I liked the cheese! Then, as I looked intently at the faces of my friends eating Roquefort cheese pleasantly, I suddenly made up my mind. Concentrating deeply, I told my brain cells, “I am your boss; you are my servants. You shall obey me—this foolishness must stop.” The next minute I was enjoying “Mr. Roquefort’s” company pleasantly, and now he always receives a warm welcome when he enters my “hall of digestion.”

A wish is a desire that you think cannot be fulfilled. Will means desire plus energy, or “I act until that desire is fulfilled.” How few people actually will! You must not use your will power wrongly; your will must be guided by wisdom.

In this life people are following many pathways to one common goal. Some want money, some want health, and others want fame. Various are the desires, but few have the power to accomplish what they wish. How desires come and go in your brain! Do you realize that? When desires corrode your heart, and when you feel it is impossible for you to fulfill them, they are called wishes. Sometimes you hear someone say, “I wish I were the King of Egypt,” or something else just as impossible. Those are wishes that you know cannot be fulfilled.

Many people think that they shouldn’t use their own will power, but it is not possible to avoid using the will. In order to eat, you use your will power; in order to move, you use your will power. When the power to will leaves the body, one dies. The only time you cannot use your will power is when you are under the influence of chloroform.

If you are afflicted with a chronic case of indifference, make up your mind at once to “snap out of it.” Be merry— think of something amusing until you find yourself bubbling over with laughter. Exercise self-control: learn to substitute, at will, joy for sorrow, love for hate, courage for fear, open mindedness for prejudice.

Do you know why people fail? It is because they give up. I often say that if I had no job, I would shake the whole world so that it would be glad to give me a job just to keep me quiet. You must exercise your will power. If you make up your mind and go like a flame, everything will be burned up in your path. The man of realization walks where bullets fly, with the Divine Will behind him.

Rouse this will power from the vale of ignorance. How can you develop it? Take up one little thing that you think you cannot do. Try with all your might to accomplish that one thing. Then, when you have accomplished that, go on to something bigger and keep on exercising your will power. If your difficulty is great, say: “Lord, give me the power to conquer all my difficulties.” You must use your will power, no matter what you are, or who you are. You must make up your mind. Use this will power both in business and in meditation.

This will power lies buried within you, and if you use it, there is nothing that you cannot accomplish. It is will power that has created everything— even your body. It is the will that leads you from one desire to another until with all your might you try to succeed. How few people develop that will power!


Carrying a thought with dynamic will power means thinking that thought until it emerges from the brain and takes shape. When your will power continuously develops that way, when you can heal others by your will power, and when you can control your destiny by your will power, you can say to a mountain, “Go into the depths of the sea,” and it will be so. Tremendous things you can do!

It isn’t what you own, but what you can acquire at will, that is real prosperity. A yogi may not have many material possessions, but by his ability to focus his mind, he can create at will the financial success he needs. (Of course, the yogi does not entertain selfish desires; his only wish is that God’s love reign in his soul forever.)

When your will is attuned to wisdom, it is guided by Divine Will. That is what Jesus meant when he said, “Let Thy will be done.”

Lazy people think that prayer alone can solve all their difficulties, but you must exercise your will power—strive to attune it to the Divine Will. When your will revolves continuously around a certain thing, it becomes DYNAMIC will. This is the will that Jesus and all great saints have had.

Again and again, you must send the shells of your prayer and will power to break the ramparts of God’s silence. He is castled behind silence, but if you send shell after shell of meditation and concentration, that wall will break and God’s glory will burst forth.

Man’s will can work within the boundaries of his own little circle of family, environment, world conditions, and destiny, but Divine Will can change the course of destiny, wake the dead, and change the course of the solar or stellar systems. By deep meditation and by wisdom-guided, unflinching, never-discouraged determination, when we can revolve our will around all our noble desires with success, then our will becomes Divine Will.


Therefore, for absolute control of your life and for destroying the roots of failure due to prenatal and postnatal causes, you must exercise your will in every undertaking, until it leaves its mortal delusion of being human will and becomes all-powerful, Divine Will. You do not have to acquire this Divine Will—you need only to know that it is yours already.


You should learn to be magnetic. Everybody possesses the power of magnetism, which is the power by which you draw things to you—the right husband, the right wife, the right business, and so on. If your magnetism is not right, you will draw the wrong people or things. You must learn to develop that fine quality of magnetism by which you can draw to yourself the things that you desire and that are good for you.

Each human being is a medium through which God’s magnetism flows, but material desire, revenge, hatred, and an inferiority complex tamper with that magnetism. Do not obstruct that power.

Meditation is the laboratory in which you know that God and His magnetism are with you. Wherever you go, scatter kindness. Let your heart be charged with God, your feet charged with God, your eyes charged with God.

There is within us a magnetic force by which we attract those who have a living relationship to our magnetic power. A human being cannot attract a stone because a stone has no relation to a human being. We know that an ordinary magnet has a certain range and power. Small magnets draw small things. Larger magnets draw larger objects. The human magnet draws according to its power of attraction. Some people attract physical things, some attract mental things, and some attract spiritual things. It depends on what kind of a magnet one wishes to be.

We must develop two kinds of magnetism—one to attract God, and another to attract our material necessities. If we use all of our magnetism to gain material things, sooner or later we shall become disillusioned. It is true that God gave us bodies and we must look after them, but if we first develop spiritual magnetism, it will guide us in the proper ways to supply all our material needs.

Keep your body free from poisons in order to have magnetism. If your body is filled with poisons, you will find that your energy is more or less bound within you. Try to clean out those poisons. If you are clean within, then all your energy can be displayed through your eyes, your face, and your body.

You must pay attention to your diet. Raw food produces magnetism. Coconut produces lots of magnetism. Beets, spinach, and lettuce are full of vitality and give you magnetism.

Too much meat causes you to lose your magnetism because animal magnetism tampers with your spiritual magnetism. Meat causes you to concentrate upon the physical plane too much, and you tend to attract physical companions instead of spiritual ones. Meat also produces abnormal sex life. If you eat a little bit of meat, it won’t hurt you, but if you make a habit of eating it daily, it will destroy your magnetic qualities. Eat good meat substitutes, more nuts and nutmeat combinations.

Too much protein and starchy foods retain the poisons in the body. Eating freely of fruits and vegetables can help you to develop magnetism. Fruits are even more magnetized than vegetables. They are filled with sunshine and vital energy. Overeating is bad. Fasting is very good, as it gives the stomach a rest. Your eyes and your whole body will be magnetized by the kind of food you eat.

We must develop physical magnetism in order to have a body that is strong and can obey our commands. Recharging the body with energy develops great magnetism.

To acquire mental magnetism, we must do everything with deep concentration. People who have reached the top of any profession or business have great magnetic power. If one is a slave to any of the senses, he loses magnetism. If he has control over the senses, he develops magnetism. To develop and maintain an even mind without getting emotional is the way to magnetic living. Emotionalism must be converted into power and be governed by wisdom; then one has great magnetism.

Every time you are looking, or listening, or lifting your hands, you are throwing out magnetic current. If you are absent-minded, you have no magnetism. When you send a thought, you are sending energy with it. If you are thinking one thing while doing something else, then your energy is divided. When you are fully attentive to what you are doing, then you are developing magnetism.

To be firm is magnetic; to be just is magnetic; to be kind is magnetic.

We must be careful with whom we associate because we are continually exchanging magnetism with other people through our thoughts, through shaking hands, and through looking into the eyes of another person. As soon as we shake hands with someone, a magnet is formed. The person who is the stronger gives his vibration to the other person. We become like the people we mingle with, not through their conversation, but through the silent magnetic vibration that goes out from their bodies. When we come within the range of their magnetism, we become like them.

A magnet has a positive and a negative pole through which it draws to itself pieces of iron or steel within a certain range. When a magnet is rubbed against a piece of non-magnetic iron or steel, the latter also becomes magnetic. People, too, can become magnetized through close association with magnetic personalities to whom they give their deep, loving, and respectful attention. They should first decide what kind of magnetism they want and then choose the particular people who possess it.

For instance, if you are a failure and you want success, associate and shake hands as much as possible with those who have attained success in their business, art, or profession. In shaking hands, two magnets are formed: the upper, spiritual magnet with the two heads, and the lower, physical magnet with the two pairs of feet as poles. The junction of the hands in the handshake forms the common neutral point as well as the curve for the upper and lower magnets.

What happens when a spiritual man who is a failure, and a prosperous businessman who is spiritually weak, attentively shake hands? Through the two pairs of feet, forming the two poles of one magnet, they exchange physical qualities; through the two heads, forming the two poles of another magnet, they exchange mental qualities. If such men come in close mental contact, besides shaking hands frequently and attentively, the businessman will become more spiritual and the spiritual man will become more prosperous, by virtue of the upper magnet. They exchange their bad qualities also, through the power of the lower magnet formed by the feet. Both the spiritual man and the businessman may be affected in their vocational qualities.

Divine magnetism is the power of all powers. When our prayer bursts from our heart and God relinquishes His vow of silence to speak to us, then we have gained divine magnetism. We must use our time to develop spiritual magnetism in order to attract the Imperishable. Develop the power to attract the highest, and then we can easily attract all lesser things.

We must detach ourselves from this physical residence, the body. Each of us is a spark of the Infinite. We must differentiate between the perishable and the imperishable. Anything that belongs to the body is perishable; anything that belongs to the mind is semi-perishable; anything that belongs to the soul is imperishable.

Stay in tune with the Divine Magnetic Power. Think of God so constantly that He will be with you wherever you go. Then all your good desires, even those formed in the distant past, will materialize.

© 2008 Excerpted from “How To Be A Success.” Published by Crystal Clarity Publishers.

Tools_Success_6Born in India in 1893, Paramhansa Yogananda was trained from his early years to bring India’s ancient science of Self-realization to the West. In 1920, he moved to the United States to begin what was to develop into a worldwide work touching millions of lives. Americans were hungry for India’s spiritual teachings, and for the liberating techniques of yoga. In 1946, he published what has become a spiritual classic and one of the best-loved books of the 20th century, Autobiography of a Yogi. In addition, Yogananda established headquarters for a worldwide work, wrote a number of books and study courses, gave lectures to thousands in most major cities across the United States, wrote music and poetry, and trained disciples. Yogananda’s message to the West highlighted the unity of all religions, and the importance of love for God combined with scientific techniques of meditation.

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