by Wallace Wattles
Chapter 01 - The Right To Be Rich
Whatever may be said in praise of poverty, the fact remains that it is not possible to live a really complete or successful life unless one is rich. No one can rise to his greatest possible height in talent or soul development unless he has plenty of money, for to unfold the soul and to develop talent he must have many things to use, and he cannot have these things unless he has money to buy them with.
A person develops in mind, soul, and body by making use of things. Society is so organised that we must have money in order to become the possessors of things. Therefore, the basis of all advancement must be the science of getting rich.
The object of all life is development, and everything that lives has an inalienable right to all the development it is capable of attaining.
A person's right to life means his right to have the free and unrestricted use of all the things which may be necessary to his fullest mental, spiritual, and physical unfoldment; or, in other words, his right to be rich. In this book, I shall not speak of riches in a figurative way. To be really rich does not mean to be satisfied or contented with a little. No one ought to be satisfied with a little if he is capable of using and enjoying more. The purpose of nature is the advancement and unfoldment of life, and everyone should have all that can contribute to the power, elegance, beauty, and richness of life. To be content with less is sinful.
The person who owns all he wants for the living of all the life he is capable of living is rich, and no person who has not plenty of money can have all he wants. Life has advanced so far and become so complex that even the most ordinary man or woman requires a great amount of wealth in order to live in a manner that even approaches completeness. Every person naturally wants to become all that they are capable of becoming. This desire to realise innate possibilities is inherent in human nature; we cannot help wanting to be all that we can be. Success in life is becoming what you want to be. You can become what you want to become.
You can have the free use of things, only as you become rich enough to buy them. To understand the science of getting rich is therefore the most essential of all knowledge.
There is nothing wrong in wanting to get rich. The desire for riches is really the desire for a richer, fuller, and more abundant life, and that desire is praiseworthy. The person who does not desire to live more abundantly is abnormal, and so the person who does not desire to have money enough to buy all he wants is abnormal. There are three motives for which we live: We live for the body, we live for the mind, we live for the soul. No one of these is better or holier than the other; all are alike desirable, and no one of the three; body, mind, or soul; can live fully if either of the others is cut short of full life and expression. It is not right or noble to live only for the soul and deny mind or body, and it is wrong to live for the intellect and deny body or soul.
We are all acquainted with the loathsome consequences of living for the body and denying both mind and soul, and we see that real life means the complete expression of all that a person can give forth through body, mind, and soul. Whatever he can say, no one can be really happy or satisfied unless his body is living fully in its every function, and unless the same is true of his mind and his soul. Wherever there is unexpressed possibility or function not performed, there is unsatisfied desire. Desire is possibility seeking expression or function seeking performance.
A person cannot live fully in body without good food, comfortable clothing, and warm shelter, and without freedom from excessive toil. Rest and recreation are also necessary to his physical life. One cannot live fully in mind without books and time to study them, without opportunity for travel and observation, or without intellectual companionship.
To live fully in mind a person must have intellectual recreations, and must surround himself with all the objects of art and beauty he is capable of using and appreciating. To live fully in soul, a person must have love, and love is denied it's fullest expression by poverty.
A person's highest happiness is found in the bestowal of benefits on those he loves; love finds its most natural and spontaneous expression in giving. The individual who has nothing to give cannot fill his place as a spouse or parent, as a citizen, or as a human being. It is in the use of material things that a person finds full life for his body, develops his mind, and unfolds his soul. It is therefore of supreme importance to each individual to be rich.
It is perfectly right that you should desire to be rich. If you are a normal man or woman you cannot help doing so. It is perfectly right that you should give your best attention to the science of getting rich, for it is the noblest and most necessary of all studies. If you neglect this study, you are derelict in your duty to yourself, to God and humanity, for you can render to God and humanity no greater service than to make the most of yourself.