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"Wholesale nothing!" was the reply. "He is the barber at Woodlawn, or thinks he is, at least, and I'll bet he never owned a dog, to say nothing of a team like that."
He was a.s.sured that he was mistaken.
He became excited, and offered to bet any amount that that fellow was the barber at Woodlawn, and he guessed he knew what he was talking about, and that he would know that fellow among a million.
Before bringing this volume to a close I wish to say for the benefit of those who may have met with reverses, and are possibly on the verge of giving up all hope of achieving success, that during my "twenty years of hus'ling" I found the great secret of every success I met with was energy. Never quit, never give up, never look on the dark side, and no matter how dismal the prospects seemed, or how rocky the past had been, I never allowed myself to become disheartened or in any way discouraged.
The average man is too willing to let well enough alone. Instead of making his business a constant study with a view of devising some new method of conducting it, he is liable to sit down with a self-satisfied conviction that so long as he is holding his own he should be satisfied.
No man can make a greater mistake than to adopt these old-fogy ideas.
The idea of being satisfied with their lot, I believe has kept many men from progressing; it requires no energy whatever to conclude to let well enough alone; it is a very easy resolution to make and not a hard one to keep, and like the bad-luck excuse, is likely to afford much satisfaction to those who are not ambitious to push ahead.
I believe every man should build up his hopes and aspirations, not to extremes, but so far as to elevate his ideas to a realization that a mere living should not satisfy him through life, and nothing short of the best paying and most prominent position would gratify him.
The young man starting out in life who for a while only succeeds in holding his own or possibly meets with reserves, should be manly enough to find no fault, but he should be _too much of a man_ to remain satisfied with a bare living.
It pays to be reasonably aggressive in all things. The man who shows a disposition to look out for his own welfare and not be imposed upon by others, will invariably receive the most attention and be taken the best care of under all circ.u.mstances. He should not allow false pride or dudish notions to interfere in the least with his business.
He should realize that the mere comforts of life with a respectable appearance is sufficient for one starting out, and that a few years hence when he has established for himself a lucrative business with a reputation for honesty and business integrity, there will be no likelihood of any one ever reminding him of his former humble circ.u.mstances.
He should never attempt to mingle in a social way with those whose financial standing and expensive habits of living far exceed his own.
While he should cultivate the acquaintance of business men of the highest standing, it should only be done in a business way.
When his business shows an increase of profits, he should improve in his mode of living, as a matter of social advancement.
The young man as a beginner should avoid stingy and penurious methods.
This is as often an acquired habit as it is a natural one, and will always work more or less detrimental to a business. No man can afford to be close and trifling in his deal. It not only belittles him in the eyes of the world, but he very soon recognizes in himself a person of narrow ideas; and the man with a poor opinion of himself will surely not prove a success in the business world. While I believe in judicious economy, I despise penuriousness.
If a man has but a dollar to spend, I believe he should spend it in as princely a style as though he had a million left. But if he hasn't the dollar to spare, he should make no pretensions whatever.
Opportunity has no doubt frequently played a large part in man's success. In my opinion, however, the most acceptable theory in the science of commercial success is that every man takes his own.
That is, the man who is the most sagacious and energetic will never lose a chance to take advantage of opportunities, and there is no doubt that what many complain of as being ill luck, is simply the result of their failure to grasp the situation that a shrewder man would have taken advantage of and thereby gained success.
The average young man in starting out usually endeavors to form a co-partnership with his best friend or nearest neighbor, regardless of capital or ability, the result of which is, that each will depend on the other to make the business a success, and neither will be likely to develop his fullest capacity for doing business.
The man who has force of character enough to a.s.sert his own rights and to carry out his own independent thoughts will usually be the most successful without a partner.
The old adage, "A rolling stone gathers no moss," has not in my experience always proved a true saying. Nor have I found it to be so in the experience of many successful men with whom I have come in contact.
My observation of others has shown me that in many instances men have lost their last dollar in the vain endeavor to successfully carry out a business that a short experimental trial should have convinced them would be a failure.
As for myself, I am always willing to investigate and experiment, but not to the extent of risking my last dollar on what a reasonable test proves unprofitable, simply through fear of being considered "a rolling stone."
I have at present, and have had for some time what might be considered many irons in the fire, and have thus far never had any of them seriously burned, owing no doubt to the fact that I always endeavor to surround myself with competent help, and especially with a good lieutenant at the head of each business.
And I have adopted the plan of pushing to its utmost capacity that which, after a reasonable test, showed elements of success, and dropping as I would a hot coal that which proved the reverse.
My latest business enterprise--although still running the jewelry business with more force than ever--is my connection with the Johnston Car-seat Company, manufacturing the Emmert Coach and Reclining Car-seat, which has been adopted by many of the leading Railroad companies.
I mention this to show that I do not believe in the old-fogy theory of our forefathers, to "let well enough alone;" and were I the possessor of fifty times the wealth of Croesus I would never quit, but still keep hus'ling.