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MAKE YOURSELF
BIGGER THAN YOUR POSITION*

By HARRY B. MASON

It was

I want to tell you at the outset how happy need of using them to make a place for himI am to be back here in a University atmo- self. Do not waste your capital; do not squansphere. It is a pleasure to meet you gentlemen der your health Once gone it will never reof the graduating class. I envy you.

turn. Once dissipated, you are worse off than at a similar commencement not so many ages

the man who has lost his money. For money ago that I såt where you do, down there on one can be made again, but health can rarely be of those front seats, filled with eager ambition restored, youth can never be recalled, and and straining at the leash. It was a happy energy and ambition, once forfeited, are time and the whole world was mine oyster. usually forfeited forever. The years that have flown by so rapidly

THREE PERIODS IN LIFE. since have all of them been years of hard

Shakespeare divides human life into seven work, and most of them years also of selfdenial, of frequent disappointment, of struggle

periods. I shall paraphrase him by saying that and hardship and drudgery.

in a man's business life there are three periods. But I should

What are they? nevertheless like to start with you to-night and

From 20 to 30 or 35 is the first period. live them over again. There is nu zest like the

School and college have been left behind, and zest of fighting for a place in the world, with the din of the battle in your ears, and with the

a man is gaining his experience, developing hope of conquest in your heart!

his ability, maturing his judgment, perfecting

himself as an instrument of success, and estabYOUTH A PRICELESS ASSET.

lishing a reputation. This is the period of preYes, you gentlemen are to be envied, and I paring the soil and sowing the seed. From 35 wish you were up here talking and I was down to 55 or 60 is the second era—the period of there listening. Many and grievous have been harvesting the crop. A man is then filling the the mistakes I have committed, and how I long place in the world for which he has prepared for an opportunity to rectify them! Give me himself, is using the powers he has developed, another chance and I could impruve vastly on

and is reaping the returns in money, in dignity, the record. It see it all now. I did not then. in respect, in position. From 60 onward is the But it is one of the penalties of life that we

third period. His powers begin to wane, he cannot go back and run the race over again,

takes life easier, he leaves things more to his hoping to do better next time. The judges associates and successors, and he sinks gradmake their decision: the event is over: the

ually into an old age which should be comfortgates open: the crowds disperse: and you must

able, free from want and worry, and rich with stand or fall on the result !

the memories of a life well lived and a peace Gentlemen, I beg of you, bear this thought

of mind well earned. in mind: force yourselves to realize the un- Now, gentlemen, you are to-night face to escapable, the inevitable, the ruthless fact that

face with the first period of 10 or 15 years. you must live your life right in the first place,

It is by far the most important, the most critifor you cannot live it over again.

cal, of all three periods. For it is the preparaHealth and energy, youth and ambition, are tory period. Upon what you make of it will priceless assets. You are rich in capital. You absolutely and finally determine what the midare richer than the boy born with a silver dle-age and old-age periods are to be. If you spoon in his mouth, but weakened by indul- do not sow the seed you will get no crop. If gence and relaxation, and under no necessity

you do not nourish and tend the soil you will of developing his powers by the compelling garner no harvest—except a harvest of weeds.

It is hard for a young man of 21 to realize *Commencement address delivered before the grad- these things. He is heedless of the years to uating class in pharmacy at Valparaiso University.

come. His life is spread out before him in an almost endless panorama, and he thinks there up against the critical 10 or 15 years, yes, the is plenty of time to make good.

critical 5 years, of your entire career. When He sees men attain success at 40 or 50, and you leave Valparaiso to-morrow, or next day, he assumes that the trick can be turned at any you will be face to face with your destiny. time, not knowing that the man who becomes You will start right in determining your whole influential and prosperous at 40 is the man future. Every day will count. Every action who gets under way at 20. “Let me take will tell. Every month will send you further things easy for a few years,” he argues, “and along the right road or back along the wrong then, after I am married and have a wife and one, and in a very few years, before there is family to support, and increasing expenses to scarcely time for you to realize it, the die is meet, I can settle down and win place and cast. Your horoscope is finished. Your future money. Until this time comes let me enjoy is determined. life. I shall never be young but once."

But there is another consideration. The No, you will never be young but once- years between 20 and 35 are the most importthat's the crux of the whole argument. Your ant in a man's career not only because he has youth is your greatest asset. It is your richest then the physical strength and endurance to do piece of capital. You will have only one, and the hard work of foundation building and to it will go, Heaven knows, all too quickly. What make a place for himself. They are equally will you do with it? Will you use it to build if not more important because they are the a success upon, or will you divert it tu the pur- years when, if ever, character building is done. pose of having a good time? You cannot do

What you make of yourself as a man before both. You cannot eat your cake and have it you are thirty—that you will always be. You too.

cannot make any radical change in your charIf you are going to develop a future you acter after you are 30 or 35. Inclinations then must do it now, while you have the strength, harden into habits and throw their roots down the eagerness, the courage, the endurance of into soil so deep that they cannot be torn up early life—while you can stand the hard except by some great upheaval which few men knocks, while you can live frugally, while you experience. can go through the toil and the struggle and If at 30 you are lazy and shiftless; if you the hardship which success demands. If you have learned to love ease; if pleasures have don't develop your future now, you will have grown to mean more than labors; if present no future. I wish beyond all things to-night advantage is placed above future benefit; if that I could make you realize this. I wish I opportunities have been made to wait for a could force home the truth so powerfully that later acceptance—if these things are true at 30, Vou would absolutely know it to be the truth they will always be true. It is a law almost as and would be guided by it in your later activ- invariable as the tides that what you make of ities.

yourself as a man in the next ten years you THE CRITICAL FIVE YEARS.

will be in only greater measure in the next 50. I have said that you are to-night facing the If you make yourself abler, abler still you will most important 15 years of your life. I will continue to grow; if you make yourself say more than this: You are facing the most weaker, weaker you will steadily become. As important 5 years of your life! Why? Be

the tree is bent, so will it grow. cause at 25 you have more physical strength Therefore I say, the biggest question you and endurance than you will have at 30. At have to face to-night, gentlemen, is this: What 30 you will have more than you will have at will you do with your youth? Will you build 35. At 35 you will have more than you

will a career on it, or will you waste it? Will you have at 40. An athlete who astonishes the use it to assure your future ease and comfort, world at 22 begins to get passe at 26 or 28, and your prosperity and happiness, to make yourat 30 he is out of the running. The best of self in your later years free from want and care our youth is evanescent. It passes before we and anxiety, or will you spend it riotously, berealize it.

wail its loss when it is too late, and make yourFar, then, from facing a long life of endless self during all your middle life and old age a opportunities to-night, gentlemen, with plenty slave to drudgery and a prey to inisfortune? of leisure for getting under way, you are right What will you do with your youth?

He is gone.

WHAT DETERMINES SUCCESS?

square thing. It is this very man who makes Now in this race of life what determines suc- two fatal mistakes—mistakes which I warn cess and what failure?

There are as many

you will become your Scylla and Charybdis if definitions of success as there are men, and

you commit them. many attempts have been made to disclose what One of these blunders is to adopt the attihas often been called the "secret of success." I tude of the average young man who, when shall enter upon no philosophic and academic asked to do something a little unusual, replies: disquisition. I shall content myself with lay- “That isn't my work.” The other equally ing down one rule of business life which no stupid and fatal error is to say: "I won't earn man can flout or contradict. I have studied more for my employer until I get it.” The with absorbing interest the careers of many young man who commits these follies is lost. successful men, some of whom I have known

Far from refusing to do somepersonally, and I have come to the conclusion thing outside of his own cut-and-dried line of that men usually succeed because they make work, the ambitious man should welcome with themselves bigger than the position they occupy great joy an opportunity to get out of the rut. at the moment, and literally demand another Opportunities are the steps of success: they one higher up the scale. My chief advice to comprise the ladder on which we climb upward. you to-night is this: Make yourself bigger than Opportunities should be seized with hungry your position! If you will only remember this avidity before they escape us and get into the one sentence you may forget everything else I grasp of other and wiser men. say. It is the very heart and core of my mes

MAYOR GAYNOR'S REPLY. sage. Make yourself bigger than your posi

As for the pitiable wail of the youth who tion!

fears he will work harder than his salary jusThis applies to any place in which you may

tifies, I can only reply as the late Mayor Gayhappen to find yourself. It makes no differ

nor did a few years ago. He wrote a malconence whether you are to become a clerk, a

tent that “the man who won't earn more than proprietor, a traveling salesman, an analytical chemist, an employee in a big jobbing or man

he gets is the man who will never get more than

he earns !" And this is the whole question in a ufacturing house, a department manager, or

nutshell. No sane employer is going to raise what not. Make yourself bigger than your position!

your salary until you show him beyond cavil

that you are worth it. He isn't going to give You are perhaps an employee on a small sal

you a better position until he knows beyond ary in a big establishment—very well. Imagine yourself the boss. What would you do to push

any question of doubt that you can fill it. You

have got to show him, and when you do you the business if you were in his shoes? What

will get the raise or the promotion. If you would you have done here and there, what changes would you make, what methods apply?

don't get it from him you'll get it from some

body else-take my word for that! Every Whatever these things are, do themor else

type of employer, whether pharmacist or what suggest them to your chief. Make yourself in

not, is always on the lookout for good and still valuable. Make yourself indispensable. Do

better men, and you will not lack for recognimore than you are asked to do—more than fill

tion if you deserve it. your job!

The great trouble is that most men don't TWO COMMON BLUNDERS.

deserve recognition. They are self-made failBut let me warn you: nine men out of ten ures. They are self-developed knockers. Their will tell you that this advice is all tommyrot. whole philosophy is wrong—they aren't right If you watch them closely, however, you will with the world. They grumble about the lack see that they are the nine failures in every crop of appreciation when they should kick themof ten men—and it is the failures who make selves all over the earth because they don't the most noise and who are unfortunately lis- deserve appreciation. The world is full of tened to the most frequently. It is this type of such men, and they never once realize that “the man who is always crying out that he isn't paid fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in what he is worth, that he isn't appreciated, that ourselves, that we are underlings.” he is being “worked” and that he doesn't pro- But even if you weren't appreciated, even if pose to kill himself until his employer does the you weren't getting all vou deserved, even if

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