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It has been said that the two chief factors of success are industry and health. But the history of human triumphs over difficulties shows that the sick, the crippled, the deformed, have often outrun the strong and hale to the goal of success, in spite of tremendous physical handicaps.
Many such instances are cited in other chapters of this volume.
Where men have built an abiding success, industry and perseverance have proven the foundation stone? of their great achievements. Every man may lay this foundation and build on it for himself. Whatever a man's natural advantages may be, great or small, industry and perseverance are his, if he chooses. By the exercise of these qualities he may rise, as others have done, to success, if like Palissy he
"Labors and endures and waits And what he can not find creates."
WHEN IS SUCCESS A FAILURE?
When you are doing the lower while the higher is possible.
When you are not a cleaner, finer, larger man on account of your life-work.
When you live only to eat, drink, have a good time, and acc.u.mulate money.
When you do not carry a higher wealth in your character than in your pocketbook.
When your highest brain cells have been crowded out of business by greed.
When it has made conscience an accuser, and shut the sunlight out of your life.
When all sympathy has been crushed out by selfish devotion to your vocation.
When the attainment of your ambition has blighted the aspirations and crushed the hopes of others.
When you plead that you never had time to cultivate your friendships, politeness, or good manners.
When you have lost on your way your self-respect, your courage, your self-control, or any other quality of manhood.
When you do not overtop your vocation; when you are not greater as a man than as a lawyer, a merchant, a physician, or a scientist.
When you have lived a double life and practised double-dealing.
When it has made you a physical wreck--a victim of "nerves" and moods.
When the hunger for more money, more land, more houses and bonds has grown to be your dominant pa.s.sion.
When it has dwarfed you mentally and morally, and robbed you of the spontaneity and enthusiasm of youth. When it has hardened you to the needs and sufferings of others, and made you a scorner of the poor and unfortunate.
When there is a dishonest or a deceitful dollar in your possession; when your fortune spells the ruin of widows and orphans, or the crushing of the opportunities of others.
When your absorption in your work has made you practically a stranger to your family.
When you go on the principle of getting all you can and giving as little as possible in return.
When your greed for money has darkened and cramped your wife's life, and deprived her of self-expression, of needed rest and recreation, or amus.e.m.e.nt of any kind.
When the nervous irritability engendered by constant work, without relaxation, has made you a brute in your home and a nuisance to those who work for you.
When you rob those who work for you of what is justly their due, and then pose as a philanthropist by contributing a small fraction of your unjust gains to some charity or to the endowment of some public inst.i.tution.
RICH WITHOUT MONEY
Let others plead for pensions; I can be rich without money, by endeavoring to be superior to everything poor. I would have my services to my country unstained by any interested motive.--LORD COLLINGWOOD.
I ought not to allow any man, because he has broad lands, to feel that he is rich in my presence. I ought to make him feel that I can do without his riches, that I can not be bought,--neither by comfort, neither by pride,--and although I be utterly penniless, and receiving bread from him, that he is the poor man beside me.--EMERSON.
He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.--SOCRATES.
My crown is in my heart, not on my head, Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones, Nor to be seen: my crown is called content; A crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy.
Many a man is rich without money. Thousands of men with nothing in their pockets are rich.
A man born with a good, sound const.i.tution, a good stomach, a good heart and good limbs, and a pretty good head-piece is rich.
Good bones are better than gold, tough muscles than silver, and nerves that carry energy to every function are better than houses and land.
"Heart-life, soul-life, hope, joy, and love, are true riches," said Beecher.
Why should I scramble and struggle to get possession of a little portion of this earth? This is my world now; why should I envy others its mere legal possession? It belongs to him who can see it, enjoy it.
I need not envy the so-called owners of estates in Boston or New York.
They are merely taking care of my property and keeping it in excellent condition for me. For a few pennies for railroad fare whenever I wish I can see and possess the best of it all. It has cost me no effort, it gives me no care; yet the green gra.s.s, the shrubbery, and the statues on the lawns, the finer sculptures and the paintings within, are always ready for me whenever I feel a desire to look upon them. I do not wish to carry them home with me, for I could not give them half the care they now receive; besides, it would take too much of my valuable time, and I should be worrying continually lest they be spoiled or stolen. I have much of the wealth of the world now. It is all prepared for me without any pains on my part. All around me are working hard to get things that will please me, and competing to see who can give them the cheapest. The little that I pay for the use of libraries, railroads, galleries, parks, is less than it would cost to care for the least of all I use. Life and landscape are mine, the stars and flowers, the sea and air, the birds and trees. What more do I want? All the ages have been working for me; all mankind are my servants. I am only required to feed and clothe myself, an easy task in this land of opportunity.
A millionaire pays a big fortune for a gallery of paintings, and some poor boy or girl comes in, with open mind and poetic fancy, and carries away a treasure of beauty which the owner never saw. A collector bought at public auction in London, for one hundred and fifty-seven guineas, an autograph of Shakespeare; but for nothing a schoolboy can read and absorb the riches of "Hamlet."
"Want is a growing giant whom the coat of Have was never large enough to cover." "A man may as soon fill a chest with grace, or a vessel with virtue," says Phillips Brooks, "as a heart with wealth."
Shall we seek happiness through the sense of taste or of touch? Shall we idolize our stomachs and our backs? Have we no higher missions, no n.o.bler destinies? Shall we "disgrace the fair day by a pusillanimous preference of our bread to our freedom"?
What does your money say to you: what message does it bring to you?
Does it say to you, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die"?
Does it bring a message of comfort, of education, of culture, of travel, of books, of an opportunity to help your fellow-men or is the message "More land, more thousands and millions"? What message does it bring you? Clothes for the naked, bread for the starving, schools for the ignorant, hospitals for the sick, asylums for the orphans, or of more for yourself and none for others? Is it a message of generosity or of meanness, breadth or narrowness? Does it speak to you of character? Does it mean a broader manhood, a larger aim, a n.o.bler ambition, or does it cry, "More, more, more"?
Are you an animal loaded with ingots, or a man filled with a purpose?
He is rich whose mind is rich, whose thought enriches the intellect of the world.
A sailor on a sinking vessel in the Caribbean Sea eagerly filled his pockets with Spanish dollars from a barrel on board while his companions, about to leave in the only boat, begged him to seek safety with them. But he could not leave the bright metal which he had so longed for and idolized, and when the vessel went down he was prevented by his very riches from reaching sh.o.r.e.
"Who is the richest of men?" asked Socrates. "He who is content with the least, for contentment is nature's riches."
In More's "Utopia" gold was despised. Criminals were forced to wear heavy chains of it, and to have rings of it in their ears; it was put to the vilest uses to keep up the scorn of it. Bad characters were compelled to wear gold head-bands. Diamonds and pearls were used to decorate infants, so that the youth would discard and despise them.