The Substitute Reward

Roy Masters from 'Cure Stress'

America is gobbling up “success,” “get rich” and “influence others” books at a tremendous rate. But are material possessions the real object of our search?

The novelty of riches soon wears thin, as any child who has had a new toy can tell you. Without real purpose, our hunger and dissatisfaction grow worse than before. For unhappy people, money is a means of self-destruction.

They use it to hurt others, or gamble it away on “wine, women and song” in a frantic attempt to ease the pain of externally reactive living.

Having lost the joy of meeting each moment calmly, patiently, graciously, confidently, they seek the substitute reward called pleasure. The writer does not guarantee the seeker wealth, but rather he offers knowledge of the way to contentment, peace of mind, and purpose.

The road to riches is not the road to real happiness. The road which leads to correct response in each moment of truth is the first step to everything worthwhile.

If you were to ask ten people this question, “What would you ask for if you were granted only one wish?” the answers would vary. One might say “a new car”, another might say “education,” another “health,” another “money”; ironically, these people would ambitiously and blindly limit their

opportunities in life.

"the truly positive state of mind effortlessly influences conditions, and adversity builds its strength"

If we were truly inclined toward Reality, we might choose quite differently. We might say, “If I had one wish, I would wish that every good thing I ever wished for would come true.” Here we would be using this one wish to become a foundation for all other wishes.

We all have that choice in life, but we cannot make that wish because it is hidden from us. When Solomon was asked what single wish he would be granted, he answered: “Give me wisdom that I might judge Thy people properly.”

Because of his propensity toward good, his prayer was heard. The Lord was obliged to give Solomon riches, fame, honor, everything, because Solomon had asked for the cause of all good things.

We all know how beneficial wisdom and perhaps positive thinking are for us, but no one as yet has shown us how we may achieve them without kidding ourselves. A sort of pseudopositive thinking ends when we close an inspiring book, or perhaps it lingers for a while after we listen to a lecture.

So we spend more and more time on drinking in good thoughts, which are all too soon washed out by one good emotional upset. Conversely, the truly positive state of mind effortlessly influences conditions, and adversity builds its strength.