Page images
[ocr errors]

result of constructive thinking and decisive action; it is the result of constructive thinking plus desire and willingness to do the task set before one no matter how hard that task may be. The lazy man has no initiative. The man who lacks ambition, the man who lacks conviction, the man who lacks purpose and is afraid will have a hard time developing this aggressive and progressive quality. The big prizes in this world are waiting for men who not only possess these qualities, but for men who don't know anything about being afraid to try; men who make up their minds that the thing can be done and will be done.

Constructive thinking is the dynamics of initiative, and constructive thinking is thinking thoughts which, when put into action, bring results. How many men fail and are failing to-day in all departments of public and professional life simply because they lack this quality. The average young law graduate thinks it isn't just proper or in accordance with the ethics of the profession for him to hunt for any business at the start. Senator Beveridge says: "Scores of the brainiest lawyers in the country are eking out a miserable exist

ence in small country towns simply because they lack initiative. They are afraid to seek out the big prizes, although they have the ability to get them." Initiative is action, intelligent action, not only for the sake of pleasing an employer, but for the higher reason of doing something which ought to be done.

Every young man is needed and there is work for him, provided his services are valuable. It is his business to find out where he is needed, go there, offer his services, and do the work.

We call this the age of progress, and it is if measured by other times. But how many men in proportion to the mass are engaged to-day in aggressive and progressive work? Men of initiative are in a surprisingly small minority. Initiative is the ability to work without a boss; going ahead and doing your work without being told. After finishing a piece of work some people sit down and fold their hands and wait until they are told what to do next. There are people who don't like to tackle their work in the morning; whether in the field or in the office, they hesitate. Employés sometimes hang around and visit five or ten minutes in

the morning before they get down to business; that's all lack of initiative.

Initiative pays. If you have to be told to do things; if you have to be told constantly what to do and how, the firm has to hire someone to do it; that overseer has to have a good salary and you must earn it for him. Go ahead and do the thing yourself and you won't need an overseer. You will get your own salary and his, too. Why not be an overseer of other people as well as yourself? Initiative will do it.

Initiative is doing the thing the way you think it ought to be done and then taking chances. A man who won't do a thing unless he is told when he knows it ought to be done is a coward, and he is simply waiting for some one to tell him to do it so that if it doesn't turn out all right he will not be blamed. Every person has an opportunity to develop initiative. If you are working for yourself you must develop it. If you are not working for yourself and don't develop initiative, you never will be working for yourself. If your employer goes off and forgets to tell you what to do, go ahead and do what you think ought to be done and do it as nearly right as you can. That is developing

initiative whether you do the thing right or not. Cultivate the faculty of relying upon your own judgment; stand alone. A man can't develop self-reliance and good judgment by waiting for someone else to take the responsibility. He must begin, must make the effort, even if he doesn't do very well at first. Perfection is not a matter of days; it is the work of a lifetime. The first steam engine was much different from the present magnificent locomotive. Webster's first speech was as different from his best as the old engine is different from the new.

Young men must have a great purpose, an intense earnestness, and a willingness to undertake and carry out their plans. Every business house has rules as a guide to its employés. These rules are strictly followed by a large per cent. of the employés, and they should be. But the men who become partners in the business must do more than live up to the rules. A man who does no more than he is told is little better than a machine. The man who becomes a partner or owner has to make decisions himself. He is likely to meet situations daily which require him to think and act independently. Decisions must be made, and made on the spot.

[ocr errors]

The young man who is unable to meet these emergencies is simply swamped and left in the rear. It is a thousand times better to make an occasional mistake than to fail to act at all. The way to avoid mistakes of judgment is to study the business thoroughly, study every transaction, scrutinize every detail. In this way the largest element of failure is eliminated. The men who are famous as the world's great generals have given the closest attention to the minutest detail. With them there was no such thing as luck. Their lives were mathematical in their precision; their victories were mathematical in their recurrence. Everything was conducted on the basis of cause and effect. They never struck a blow without being thoroughly prepared. Then when they struck it was with all their might and for a purpose. A young man's only question should be: "Can the thing be done?" When that is decided he should make up his mind once for all that it will be done. Preparedness, decision of character, and a willingness to go ahead and get the thing done mark the man of initiative.

Would you be rich in the wealth of the world? You can be by first being rich in ambition, perseverance, and initiative.

« PreviousContinue »