IF I did not fear what “THEY” would say . . .
IF I had been given a chance . . .
IF I now had a chance . . .
IF other people didn’t “have it in for me” . . .
IF nothing happens to stop me . . .
IF I were only younger . . .
IF I could only do what I want . . .
IF I had been born rich . . .
IF I could meet “the right people” . . .
IF I had the talent that some people have . . .
IF I dared assert myself . . .
IF I only had embraced past opportunities . . .
IF people didn’t get on my nerves . . .
IF I didn’t have to keep house and look after the children . . .
IF I could save some money . . .
IF the boss only appreciated me . . .
IF I only had somebody to help me . . .
IF my family understood me . . .
IF I lived in a big city . . .
IF I could just get started . . .
IF I were only free . . .
IF I had the personality of some people . . .
IF I were not so fat . . .
IF my talents were known . . .
IF I could just get a “break” . . .
IF I could only get out of debt . . .
IF I hadn’t failed . . .
IF I only knew how . . .
IF everybody didn’t oppose me . . .
IF I didn’t have so many worries . . .
IF I could marry the right person . . .
IF people weren’t so dumb . . .
IF my family were not so extravagant . . .
IF I were sure of myself . . .
IF luck were not against me . . .
IF I had not been born under the wrong star . . .
IF it were not true that “what is to be will be” . . .
IF I did not have to work so hard . . .
IF I hadn’t lost my money . . .
IF I lived in a different neighborhood . . .
IF I didn’t have a “past” . . .
IF I only had a business of my own . . .
IF other people would only listen to me . . .
IF * * * and this is the greatest of them all * * * Ihad the courage to see myself as I really am， I wouldfind out what is wrong with me， and correct it，then I might have a chance to profit by my mistakesand learn something from the experience of others，for I know that there is something WRONG with me，or I would now be where I WOULD HAVE BEEN IF Ihad spent more time analyzing my weaknesses， andless time building alibis to cover them.
Building alibis with which to explain away failureis a national pastime. The habit is as old as thehuman race， and is fatal to success！ Why do peoplecling to their pet alibis？ The answer is obvious. Theydefend their alibis because THEY CREATE them！ Aman’s alibi is the child of his own imagination. It ishuman nature to defend one’s own brain-child.
Building alibis is a deeply rooted habit. Habitsare difficult to break， especially when they providejustification for something we do. Plato had thistruth in mind when he said， “The first and bestvictory is to conquer self. To be conquered by selfis， of all things， the most shameful and vile.”
Another philosopher had the same thought in mindwhen he said， “It was a great surprise to me when Idiscovered that most of the ugliness I saw in others，was but a reflection of my own nature.”
“It has always been a mystery to me，” saidElbert Hubbard， “why people spend so much timedeliberately fooling themselves by creating alibis tocover their weaknesses. If used differently， this sametime would be sufficient to cure the weakness， thenno alibis would be needed.”
In parting， I would remind you that “Life is acheckerboard， and the player opposite you is TIME.
If you hesitate before moving， or neglect to movepromptly， your men will be wiped off the board byTIME. You are playing against a partner who will nottolerate INDECISION！”
Previously you may have had a logical excuse for not having forced Life to come through withwhatever you asked， but that alibi is now obsolete，because you are in possession of the Master Key thatunlocks the door to Life’s bountiful riches.
The Master Key is intangible， but it is powerful！
It is the privilege of creating， in your own mind， aBURNING DESIRE for a definite form of riches. Thereis no penalty for the use of the Key， but there is aprice you must pay if you do not use it. The price isFAILURE. There is a reward of stupendous proportionsif you put the Key to use. It is the satisfaction thatcomes to all who conquer self and force Life to paywhatever is asked.
The reward is worthy of your effort. Will youmake the start and be convinced？
“If we are related，” said the immortal Emerson，“we shall meet.” In closing， may I borrow histhought， and say， “If we are related， we have，through these pages， met.”