The Science of Being Great
Chapter 2 - Heredity And Opportunity
YOU are not barred from attaining greatness by heredity. No
matter who or what your ancestors may have been or how
unlearned or lowly their station, the upward way is open for
There is no such thing as inheriting a fixed mental position;
no matter how small the mental capital we receive from our
parents, it may be increased; no man is born incapable of
Heredity counts for something. We are born with
subconscious mental tendencies; as, for instance, a
tendency to melancholy, or cowardice, or to ill temper; but
all these subconscious tendencies may be overcome. When
the real man awakens and comes forth he can throw them
off very easily.
Nothing of this kind need keep you down; if you have
inherited undesirable mental tendencies, you can eliminate
them and put desirable tendencies in their places.
An inherited mental trait is a habit of thought of your father
or mother impressed upon your subconscious mind; you can
substitute the opposite impression by forming the opposite
habit of thought.
You can substitute a habit of cheerfulness for a tendency to
despondency; you can overcome cowardice or ill temper.
Heredity may count for something, too, in an inherited
conformation of the skull.
There is something in phrenology, if not as much as its
exponents claim; it is true that the different faculties are
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