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What makes hard times? Mental attitude. Hard times, in this country, at least, is more an imaginary disease of the mind than an actual fact. Hard times have always existed for some, and always will. It's a disease that causes people to live on the dark side, borrow trouble, and cultivate disgruntle. Some people, whether rich or poor, it makes no difference, are affected with this malady all the time, others only temporarily, and the whole nation breaks out with the great epidemic every presidential year. What brings it on? Talk. An abnormal mental condition. Each political party makes such a desperate effort to misrepresent the other that people are actually scared into bankruptcy; mental bankruptcy at least. Conditions are no worse during presidential years than other years, except that the politicians and editors get up a great bugaboo that does have a tremendous effect. Not because there's any less corn or wheat or oats or money, or any reason for a scare, but because people think there's reason and it is what peo
ple think, not actual conditions, that makes the difference. As right thinking determinès the success of the individual, so does it determine the success of the country. Send out the cry "hard times" and let enough people take it up and it paralyzes the industries of a nation. The malady is not always epidemic. It's a household pet with some people; it seems to be second nature to them, and it places them at a tremendous disadvantage. Sometimes a man is very poor and has a right to grumble and find fault with conditions. There are men with whom the world has dealt very hard, yet the poor don't cry "hard times" any more than those who are well-to-do. Talking hard times makes a man stingy, and it narrows him down until he doesn't feel right toward himself. It's people who have money and want to keep it who talk hard times, yet it is an entirely unnecessary excuse. It's no disgrace to keep money. It isn't what a man earns, but what he saves that determines his stability. It's when a man feels he ought to spend but doesn't that he offers the excuse "hard times." Talking poverty is like taking a viper into one's bosom; it poisons the system. A man is finally led to believe that
he is actually poor, that the world is against him, and that he is being wronged. Let a man get the idea that he is being wronged, or that everything is against him, and you cut his earning capacity right in two. When a man gets to talking "hard times," he has a tendency to make a prisoner of himself and denies himself everything that is worth while. He doesn't enjoy what he has. He doesn't keep up with the times; he ceases to grow and brings about the very condition which he has been seeking to avoid. "Hard times" has a good many relatives. It's the twin brother of the "blues.” The "blues" is a mental disease which saps the very life out of a person. When once the "blues" get possession they dethrone hope, stifle courage, paralyze ambition, impair digestion, check circulation, hinder assimilation, poison the system, ruin the personality, kill the desire to work, and fall like a blighting curse on every virtue. Thinking "hard times" makes "hard times." Thinking failure makes failure, and thinking the world is against one makes it so.
Why not think good times. It will make a great difference in the way a person feels.
Why not talk like this: "We are doing fine; this is the best year we ever had; next year is going to be better. I wouldn't exchange places with any man on earth. It's great the way business unexpectedly tumbles up against one. We will have to enlarge our plant if we keep on like this much longer. I make it my business to get everything I think will help to increase my prosperity. When I find a new machine that's better than the old, I throw the old one away and put in the new. This is a great country, and I have the best business in it. I keep track of what's going on."
Read what the most successful men say about their enterprises. Get the best books. A good book is a good investment, though you get but one idea out of it. A single idea has often lifted a man out of obscurity and made him immortal.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT.
DON'T be overcautious. The man who never risks anything will never have anything.
If you are working for a man, do more for him than he expects; that is the only way you can give satisfaction.
Don't be shrewd; don't try to look out for number one, and make little sharp deals. You may win in every one of them. You may get all the concessions you ask, but in getting them you get a handicap that is hard to overcome.
Don't take advantage of technicalities; there are plenty of them, but unless you are as rich as Croesus you can't afford such a luxury.
Men make mistakes through misunderstanding and oversight; they promise what they can't perform without sacrifice. You can make them pay; you have their promise and they, you say, have no right to be careless. Yes, you can take