17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, April 29, 1912:It rained nearly all day. I wish it would get warm and stay so. Am beginning to think about final.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
I hope that Grandma was thinking positive thoughts about her upcoming finals. I found some surprisingly modern advice about positive thinking in a hundred year old book:
The Psychology of Success
There is nothing which tends so much to the success of volitional effort as the confident expectation of its success, while nothing is so likely to induce failure as the apprehension of it. . .
Lack of success may also be caused by indulgence or lack of courage, the individual preferring to sail along the chartered course of mediocrity rather than to strike out a new path for herself, involving risk, anxiety, and endless work . . . .
There are four mental requisites necessary to the achievement of success, namely: a clear view of the end; a judicious indifference to the sentiment around by the sweeping away of obstacles; an indomitable energy; and the power to resist the temptation to rest on the soporific plane of mediocrity.
Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women (Anna Galbraith, 1911)
If I could get in a time machine, I’d say, “Grandma—I hope you started to study. Then think confident thoughts. I’m rooting for your success.”