“How To Get What You Want“
by Orison Swett Marden
A cub lion, as the fable runs, was one day playing alone in the forest while his mother slept. As the different objects attracted his attention, the cub thought he would explore a bit and see what the great world beyond his home was like. Before he realized it, he had wandered so far that he could not find his way back. He was lost.
Very much frightened, the cub ran frantically in every direction calling piteously for his mother, but no mother responded. Weary with his wanderings, he did not know what to do, when a sheep, whose offspring had been taken from her, hearing his pitiful cries, made friends with the lost cub, and adopted him.
The sheep became very fond of her foundling, which in a short while grew so much larger than herself that at times she was almost afraid of it. Often, too, she would detect a strange, far-off look in its eyes which she could not understand.
The foster mother and her adopted lived very happily together, until one day a magnificent lion appeared, sharply outlined against the sky, on the top of an opposite hill. He shook his tawny mane and uttered a terrific roar, which echoed through the hills. The sheep mother stood trembling, paralyzed with fear. But the moment this strange sound reached his ears, the lion cub listened as though spellbound, and a strange feeling which he had never before experienced surged through his being until he was all a-quiver.
The lion’s roar had touched a chord in his nature that had never before been touched. It aroused a new force within him which he had never felt before. New desires, a strange new consciousness of power possessed him. A new nature stirred in him, and instinctively, without a thought of what he was doing, he answered the lion’s call with a corresponding roar.
Trembling with mingled fear, surprise and bewilderment at the new powers aroused within him, the awakened animal gave his foster mother a pathetic glance, and then, with a tremendous leap, started toward the lion on the hill.
The lost lion had found himself. Up to this he had gamboled around his sheep mother just as though he were a lamb developing into a sheep, never dreaming he could do anything that his companions could not do, or that he had any more strength than the ordinary sheep. He never imagined that there was within him a power which would strike terror to the beasts of the jungle. He simply thought he was a sheep, and would run at the sight of a dog and tremble at the howl of a wolf. Now he was amazed to see the dogs, the wolves, and other animals which formerly had so terrified him flee from him.
As long as this lion thought he was a sheep, he was as timid and retiring as a sheep; he had only a sheep’s strength and a sheep’s courage, and by no possibility could he have exerted the strength of a lion. If such a thing had been suggested to him he would have said, “How could I exert the strength of a lion? I am only a sheep, and just like other sheep. I cannot do what they cannot do.” But when the lion was aroused in him, instantly he became a new creature, king of the forest, with no rivals save the tiger and the panther. This discovery doubled, trebled and quadrupled his conscious power, a power which it would not have been possible for him to exert a minute before he had heard the lion’s roar.
But for the roar of the lion on the distant hill, which had aroused the sleeping lion within him, he would have continued living the life of a sheep and perhaps would never have known that there was a lion in him. The roar of the lion had not added anything to his strength, had not put new power into him; it had merely aroused in him what was already there, simply revealed to him the power he already possessed. Never again, after such a startling discovery, could this young animal be satisfied to live a sheep’s life. A lion’s life, a lion’s liberty, a lion’s power, the jungle thereafter for him.
There is in every normal human being a sleeping lion. It is just a question of arousing it, just a question of something happening that will awaken us, stir the depths of our being, and arouse the sleeping power within us.
Just as the young lion, after it had once discovered that it was a lion would never again be satisfied to live the life of a sheep, when we discover that we are more than mere clay, when we at last become conscious that we are more than human, that we are gods in the making, we shall never again be satisfied to live the life of common clods of earth. We shall feel a new sense of power welling up within us, a power which we never before dreamed we possessed, and never be quite the same again, never again be content with low-flying ideals, with a cheap success. Ever after we will aspire. We will look up; struggle up and on to higher and ever higher planes….