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GETTING INTO A RUT, AND
GETTING into a rut is the result of being satisfied to drift along with the same old machinery and the same old ideas. In order to keep up the necessary enthusiasm a man must put more ideas into his business or whatever he happens to be doing. Thinking and doing get a man out of a rut; being satisfied puts him in. Ceasing to make preparation gets people into a rut. The student who lays away his books and thinks he has learned enough when he graduates is entering a rut. It won't do to stop studying when one is eighteen or seventy. It won't do to stop studying and planning and preparing after one has made his first success. Constant preparation keeps
a man out of a rut and makes constant success possible. It takes alertness and energy and enthusiasm to keep him up on a level where he can move forward without resistance. The man who votes a party ticket because his father does (and there are a good many of them) is in a
political rut. I know a man who belongs to a certain church, and he says his only reason for belonging to that church in preference to another is because his mother belonged to it, and what is good enough for his mother is good enough for him. That man is in a religious rut, and if there were enough people who were as easily satisfied as he is we would have a revival of the dark ages. What he needs is a new line of goods.
Keeping up with the times puts the latest and best machinery in the factory and on the farm. It puts labor-saving devices into the home. It puts the best and most up-to-date books into the library, and sends out of the home the best and brainest young men and young women that ever lived. Abraham Lincoln got along without many things that are with us every-day necessities, but he got the very best helps that were to be had in his day, and that is something that no person is rich enough to neglect. It is hard to know too many things; it is easy to know too few.
Sometimes a whole firm gets into a rut by not keeping up with the times and making improvements as fast as they should. They
keep the old machinery and the old ways in order to save, and in trying to save they lose and get into the rut so deep that there's only one way to get out-take "new blood" into the firm. Hire young men who are full of energy and ideas to go in and brush out the cobwebs and set things going with a boom.
Keep out of a rut; it's dangerous.
THERE is one quality of the human mind which is valued highly by the business world and which very often means success to the individual, while the lack of it means failure. It is the decisive force in one's life which we call initiative. Some people easily acquire the habit of doing without being directed, things that need to be done. Like every other quality, initiative is a thing to be developed. What is this highly to be desired quality, and how is it to be acquired? is the question of the ambitious man who feels his power but lacks ability to use it in a way that pays. Elbert Hubbard, one of the most practical writers in America, has said that "initiative is doing what needs to be done without being told." The same writer says: "The world reserves its big prizes for but one thing, and that is initiative." Is initiative a quality to be taken on or acquired immediately? Is it a something which is the result of a formula that can be worked out at will? Hardly. Initiative is a result. The