“When the English poet W. E. Henley wrote the prophetic lines, “I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul,” he should have informed us that the reason we are the Masters of our Fate, the Captains of our Souls, is because we have the power to control our thoughts.

He should have told us that the ether in which this little earth floats, in which we move and have our being, is a form of energy moving at an inconceivably high rate of vibration, and that the ether is filled with a form of universal power which ADAPTS itself to the nature of the thoughts we hold in our minds; and INFLUENCES us, in natural ways, to transmute our thoughts into their physical equivalent.

If the poet had told us of this great truth, we would know WHY IT IS that we are the Masters of our Fate, the Captains of our Souls. He should have told us, with great emphasis, that this power makes no attempt to discriminate between destructive thoughts and constructive thoughts, that it will urge us to translate into physical reality thoughts of poverty, just as quickly as it will influence us to act upon thoughts of riches.

He should have told us, too, that our brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and, by means with which no man is familiar, these “magnets” attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts. … But, being a poet, and not a philosopher, Henley contented himself by stating a great truth in poetic form, leaving those who followed him to interpret the philosophical meaning of his lines.” – You Are “The Master of Your Fate, the Captain of Your Soul,” Chapter 1. The Power of Thought, THINK AND GROW RICH (Napoleon Hill, 1937 revised by Arthur Pell, 2004), p14-15

“You will perceive the main differences by the following illustrations: The conscious mind is like the navigator or captain at the bridge of a ship. He directs the ship and signals orders to men in the engine room, who in turn control all the boilers, instruments, gauges, etc. The men in the engine room do not know where they are going; they follow orders. They would go on the rocks if the man on the bridge issued faulty or wrong instructions based on his findings with the compass, sextant, or other instruments. The men in the engine room obey him because he is in charge and issues orders which are automatically obeyed. Members of the crew do not talk back to the captain; they simply carry out orders.

The captain is the master of his ship, and his decrees are carried out. Likewise, your conscious mind is the captain and the master of your ship, which represents your body, environment, and all your affairs. Your subconscious mind takes the orders you give it based upon your conscious mind believes and accepts as true.

When you repeatedly say to people, “I can’t afford it,” then your subconscious mind takes you at your word and sees to it that you will not be in a position to purchase what you want. … “Never finish a negative statement; reverse it immediately, and wonders will happen in your life.” … Your subconscious mind works twenty-four hours a day and makes provisions for your benefit, pouring all the fruit of your habitual thinking into your lap.” – Outstanding Differences and Modes of Operation, Chapter 1. The Treasure House Within You, THE POWER OF YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND (Joseph Murphy, Ph. D. 1963), p21-23


What is it that transmutes our thoughts into their physical equivalent? How can we beautifully and proudly ‘claim’ that indeed we have become ‘the master of my fate, and the captain of my soul’ at the last moment of our life?

The more I read books and articles related with the subject of our mind, the more I get to acknowledge how powerful our subconscious mind is! How?

Our subconscious mind is tapped into the creative force – the Infinite Intelligence – and is the very connecting link as the medium of communication between the finite human thinking mind and Infinite Intelligence. In Think and Grow Rich, Hill exclaims that the possibilities of creative effort connected with the subconscious mind are stupendous and imponderable.1

I am convinced that the reason why ‘the universal power ADAPTS itself to the nature of the thoughts we hold in our minds and INFLUENCES us, in natural ways, to transmute our thoughts into their physical equivalent,’ is because our subconscious mind – that is tapped into the universal power – operates exactly in such a way.

Hence, the notion of ‘being the masters of our fate and the captains of our soul’ can be translated into ‘being the master of our conscious mind,’ which is the only power that can exert its influence on our subconscious mind.

For this reason, I believe only after we understand the characteristics and the workings of the subconscious mind more concretely can we become the master of our fate.

Six Key Traits of Our Subconscious Mind

According to The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, there are several key traits that help us reach our goal on this matter – the nature of the subconscious mind and how it works in connection with the conscious mind. I have summarized roughly in six points.

1. The Subconscious Mind Doesn’t Discriminate the Nature of Suggestions

In The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, there is a startling illustration of experiments where the subconscious mind accepts any suggestions made to it without discrimination. Innumerable experiments on persons in the hypnotic state have shown that the subconscious mind is incapable of making selections and comparisons. If a practiced hypnotist suggests that they (i.e. persons in the hypnotic state) are a Napoleon Bonaparte, or a cat or a dog, they will act out the part with imitable accuracy. 2

What’s critical here is, in normal circumstances, there is no way we can influence the subconscious mind as it only obeys what the conscious mind is suggesting.

2. There Is a 24-Hour-Working Life Force and Intelligence Which Takes Care of the Body

There is another powerful aspect of our subconscious mind. Dr. Murphy illustrates the case of the single-celled organism as an example that gives evidence of ‘mind action and reaction,’ performing the basic functions of movement, alimentation, assimilation, and elimination even though it has no organs. He states this shows what goes on in our complex body.

There is an intelligence which will take care of our body if we let it alone. It works for 24 hours and listens to us all throughout the day. Our subconscious mind is a life-ward system which takes care of our body by itself. 3

The thing is, our conscious mind always interferes with its five-sense evidence based on outer appearances, leading to the sway of false beliefs, fears, and mere opinion. When fear, false beliefs, and negative patterns are made to register in our subconscious mind through psychological, emotional conditioning, there is no other course open to the subconscious mind except to act on the blueprint specifications offered it.4

3. Conscious Mind Is Cause and Subconscious Mind Is Effect: It Never Works The Other Way

We plant seeds in the garden to grow and harvest. The seeds are our thoughts that we consciously choose and the garden is our subconscious mind from which we harvest fruits.

Every thought is, therefore, a cause, and every condition is an effect. We must realize that our conscious mind is the “watchman at the gate” and its chief function is to protect our subconscious mind from false impressions. Only by controlling the cause – i.e. our conscious mind -, and by choosing the desired thought can we control the effect. There’s never the other way round. 5

So, what dominant thought would we consciously choose and suggest to ourselves when our powerful subconscious mind, incapable of discriminating or rejecting your suggestion, listens to us to manifest into physical reality?

Furthermore, how would we react to suggestions made from others to ourselves? Would we accept them as if they are our own or reject them? If our subconscious mind is full of conviction on health, wealth and success, would any suggestions made from others affect us?

You may recall Hill’s secret for this question from the previous article ([2] What Is the Quality of a Lucky Person?: Understanding Two Powerful Aspects of Thought): Human beings are capable of completely controlling their mind. We can control our mind by consciously having the right thought(the cause) to give right suggestions to our subconscious mind(the effect). This way, we also become a savior in Allen’s terms, not a sinner. 6

4. We Can Only Work with Our Conscious Mind

To reiterate, it’s only our conscious mind that has the power to reject the suggestions given to ourselves since our subconscious mind cannot do so. Thus, our business is with our conscious mind and not our subconscious mind. How to do well?

Murphy’s suggestion: Just keep our conscious mind busy with the expectation of the best, and make sure the thoughts you habitually think are based on whatsoever things are lovely, true, just and of good report. We begin now to take care of our conscious mind, knowing in our heart and soul that our subconscious mind is always expressing, reproducing, and manifesting according to our habitual thinking.7

5. Great Aspirations, Inspirations, and Visions for a Grander and Nobler Life Spring from the Subconscious Mind

“Where do the great aspirations, inspirations, and visions for a grander and nobler life spring from?”

Have you ever contemplated this subject? Those noble qualities that human beings most cherish don’t spring from our logical, reasoning mind. It’s not from our conscious mind. Murphy states ‘Our profoundest convictions are those we cannot argue about rationally.’ It’s because they come from our subconscious mind. 8

Our subconscious mind speaks to us in intuitions, impulses, hunches, intimations, urges, and ideas, and it is always telling us to rise, transcend, grow, advance, adventure, and move forward to greater heights. The urge to love, to save the lives of others come from the depths of our subconscious. 9

I believe this is the most important aspect for us to take note of. Definitely, we know some people are better in having these qualities than others. In Make Yourself Unforgettable, the importance of nurturing these traits – intuition, inspiration, original ideas – is also highlighted for a desirable leadership quality. 10 And I believe great minds are those who are better tuned to access to these qualities.

6. We Need to Be Receptive and Open-Minded

Murphy suggests that the infinite intelligence within our subconscious mind can reveal to us everything we need to know at every moment of time and point of space provided we are open-minded and receptive.

We can receive new thoughts and ideas enabling us to bring forth new inventions, make new discoveries, or write books and plays.

Moreover, the Infinite Intelligence in our subconscious can impart to us wonderful kinds of knowledge of an original nature. It can reveal to us and open the way for perfect expression and a true place in your life.11

Are you open-minded and receptive? It is a state where we trust fully the powerful capability of our subconscious mind when we plant the right, desirable seeds – whether it is health, or prosperity, or success in business, or in creative and scientific endeavors.

Closing: Our Subconscious Mind Works for Our Infinite Possibilities

Our subconscious mind is the very connecting link as the medium of communication between the finite human thinking mind and Infinite Intelligence. Suggested and imprinted subconscious mind can work infinite possibilities, translating our dominant desires (expressed in dominant thoughts) into physical reality.

Isn’t it wonderful that we have this channel at our disposal for building our life and shaping our destiny?

What physical reality do we want to create? By now, we know the answer: Our desirable reality depends on our conscious choice of dominant thoughts and on our ability to cultivate and tap into the infinite possibilities of our subconscious mind.

It is self-mastery – that is, mastering and controlling our thoughts -, that will lead us to the success in every endeavor in life. I am convinced that this is the very element we need to work on for our physical manifestations of our desires.

THOUGHT COMES FIRST before everything else. We have our subconscious mind that works twenty-four hours a day and makes provisions for our benefit, pouring all the fruit of our habitual thinking into our lap. 12

Master the conscious mind and the rest will take care of itself. What can stop us when we decide to have a firm grip on our dominant thoughts in every circumstance in our life? This is what W. E. Henley wanted us to remember through his formidable lines in his beautiful peom Invictus.

By becoming the wise master of our conscious thoughts, we become the master of our fate, and the captain of our soul. That way, at the final stage of our life, we may be able to claim that we indeed have become such.


“We are made or unmade by ourselves.

By our thoughts, we forge the weapons by which we can destroy ourselves. Likewise, we also fashion the tools with which we build for ourselves heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thoughts, we ascend to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thoughts, we descend below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character.

We are our own maker and master.13

– James Allen


AS A MAN THINKETH (James Allen, 1903)

THINK AND GROW RICH (Napoleon Hill, 1937)





3. & 4. (p117) Ibid

5. (p33) Ibid 



8. & 9. (p113 -114) Ibid 

10. MAKE YOURSELF UNFORGETTABLE (Dale Carnegie Training, 2011)


12. (p23) Ibid 


This article was originally posted on July 4th, 2019 on this blog but was lost due to an unknown reason. The author reposts here on May 2nd, 2023 to complete the whole Mind series. – Jay


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