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“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.”                                -Orison Marden.

Can there be any meaning and usefulness in the seemingly trials and adverse conditions of life? Can any possibility and positivity be found in the negative happenings of life? What valuable lessons are there in the pain and agony of adverse circumstance that seems so unfair and grueling to bear?

As the script unfolds you will get answers to these soul searching questions in the life story of Orison Swett Marden.


Orison Swett marden who is regarded to have pioneered the philosophy of self-improvement was born in 1857. His mother died when he was three and his father when he was seven, leaving him an orphan.

Orison became a hired boy to several families and his masters treated him with cruelty; he would spend his days hauling rocks until his hands bled; his fingers endured excruciating pain due to night washing and scrubbing; he was frequently whipped, beaten, kicked and nearly starved.


A turn around came for Orison when he found a self-help book in the attic authored by Samuel Smiles-the book literally changed his mind-set and consequently, his life. Orison was inspired and motivated to leave his legal guardian at the age of 17 to acquire a formal education. He worked to earn a living during the day and studied during the night hours. He later on engaged as an entrepreneur. Orison became financially secured by age 32.



At the onset of 1890, adversity struck; a smallpox outbreak ruined his business at one of his hotels; a draught dried up all his business in the West; ultimately, all of his writings (about 5,000 pages) were destroyed by fire in another of his hotel. However, with grit, tenacity and absolute determination he bought a 25 cent notebook in the morning and began writing all over again.


The book, “Pushing to The Front’ became an influential bestseller that elevated Orison Marden financially, and emotionally. He authored several books and became the founder of Success Magazine which he edited until his death in 1924. Success magazine marked its 100th anniversary in 1991. Orison Marden;’s life and writings have inspired millions of people around the world.

Orison Marden was a key influence in the lives of prominent authors such as napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone, Norman Vincent Peale and Og Mandino.


  • Treat every child as your child because every child is special to God. Despite the harsh and wretched condition of living Orison faced from his masters, but through it all he lived out a unique destiny-becoming a gift to the world and proving that your value remains highly prized despite someone else’s low estimate of you.
  • Never let the limiting environment that you are in, define you but let it refine you. You either change your environment or you leave your environment but never conform to the environment.
  •    Never permit your background to limit you but rather let it be a stepping stone to your foreground, giving you access to occupy the frontline of destiny.
  • Develop a life-long habit of self-education; reading, learning, growing and improving you.
  • Learn from the success stories of great people; what they did and why they did what they did; learn also from their mistakes-what not to do. Let their stories inspire you to aspire to become all that you were created to be.
  • Never let the past hold you bound by playing the blame game or going on a self-pity parade but rather take absolute responsibility for your life and create your future by how you live and what you do in every moment.
  • Work hard and work smart, maximizing every moment in time. Each of us is given 24 hours in a day; how you make use of your time will determine the usefulness of your life.
  • Live beyond making a living and live beyond yourself by making a life. Orison turned down a lucrative job offer in order to concentrate on fulfilling his dream of completing the manuscript of his book, “Pushing to the Front” which turned out to impact millions of lives.
  • Life will give you a new beginning when you embark on a fresh start thereby lifting the embargo of defeat from your life. Despite the tragedy that befell his business and the destruction of his 5,000 pages manuscript, Marden never gave up on his dreams and never gave in to defeat but started afresh, keeping abreast with success.
  • See value in you; create value in you and create value for others and you will live out a valuable life.
  • Recognize your gifts; develop your gifts; maximize your gifts by utilizing it to serve others with a grand vision that outlives you.

The Success Magazine he founded and his writings are still inspiring the world even after well over a century and still counting.

“The great trouble with many of us is that we do not believe enough in ourselves. We do not realize our power. Man was made to hold up his head and carry himself like a conqueror, not like a slave-as a success not as a failure-to assert his God-given birthright. Self-depreciation is a crime.

-Orison Swett Marden     

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