MENTAL FREEDOMThe next step is to free the mind. Nothing is of greater aid toconcentration. In fact, unless you are able to do this,concentration is impossible. When. harassed by the three devils,hurry, worry, and f ear, the mind never has a fair chance to centeron anything. " Worry generates a poison at the roots of memory."But in your period of relaxation, you have an excellent opportunityto free the mind—now is your chance to eliminate all mentalhandicaps and get ready for the race. Not only hurry, worry, andfear must be thrown overboard, but anything and everything thattroubles you and disturbs your serenity and your peace of mind.Out they go ! You should not indulge in day-dreaming, either, ormental drifting. Clear the mental horizon; give yourself a cleanslate to write upon when your hour of concentration comes. Andwhen it comes, if you have availed yourself of these first two aids Ihave given, you will be, possessed of that rare thing, mental poise.THE PROPER ENVIRONMENTIn order to keep it, utilize the third aid: right conditions. Now, it istrue that a trained mind can concentrate under any conditions—inthe roar and din of .crowded cities or the busy hum of traffic—inthe midst of telephone calls or a thousand and one otherinterruptions. Some men can concentrate on a mental problemwhile walking down a Chicago street and never hear the roar of the elevated or see the hurrying throngs. I have seen men writeon a crowded street car perfectly oblivious to the people aboutthem, not even hearing their own stations when called. But thesemen were already masters of concentration, and I am addressingmy remarks to those who have not yet learned how toconcentrate. Therefore, it is only a matter of common-sense tomake conditions as favorable as possible. Give your mind a fairchance. Concentration is difficult enough, even under the bestconditions. I would suggest that you seek a quiet place free fromall distractions (and noise is a terrible distractor), a place free fromall interruptions which may break your train of thought (and atelephone is a terrible interruptor), a place where you can bealone, free from all outside influences (and a friend who " mustdrops in " is a terrible outside influence), and a place of pleasingenvironment, beautiful or otherwise, where the atmosphere isright for you. I mean atmosphere in its fuller sense, although anabundance of sweet, fresh air is necessary. A well-poised mind cancreate its own atmosphere which inspires the individual, puts himat his best, is strongly conducive to good mental work, and hasmuch to do with his success in concentrating. Not alone for thebeginner, but I may safely say for the majority, is this true. Infact, some of our greatest creative thinkers absolutely insist onright conditions and the right kind of a place in which to producetheir master-pieces. True, good books have been written inmail—great poems written in the trenches—masterly speechesconceived on an express train. But in every case there was adegree of concentration strong enough to rise triumphant abovethe environment.