Page images

people and maintain harmony. Radical differences are not made less different by blunt argument and positiveness. Our politics or our religion or our conviction on any subject may be satisfactory to us. We may be satisfied that our position is the only correct one, but we cannot win people to our cause by blunt or sarcastic statements.

The "I say just what I think" man is not a success. His presence is as unpleasant and depressing as a cold, drizzling rain. He says meaner things to a man's face than he says behind his back. He prides himself on his shrewdness in seeing flaws. He is a teacher who doesn't teach, an honest man who isn't honest, and a friend who is not a friend.

Another bad thing about this sort of man whose "thinker" gets out of tune, he looks for the wrong thing. It might not be so bad to say what he thinks if he had the right kind of thoughts. His mind dwells upon the bad in people instead of the good. You can often see evil where it does not exist, but even if it already exists, what is the use of looking for thorns when the bush is full of roses?

We could say mean things about some people,

but what's the use? We can say good things about every one; why not do it?


It's a great thing to get advice from a man who knows, but it's an unfortunate thing to get advice when he doesn't know. Taking advice is like taking medicine; a little is sometimes a good thing, but it is usually dangerous. Follow the advice of people and fail, and they have nothing for you but contempt. Pay no attention to them and succeed, and they will follow in your footsteps. A man must either be a leader or be led; take everyone's advice and nothing is accomplished. A person who does that gets to be good for nothing. Take one person's advice who doesn't know as much about it as you do and it is just as bad. It is a great thing to get advice, but a greater thing to quietly listen, and then pay very little attention to it. Sacrifice your own individuality, do what you think will please your friends, and you have elected yourself to be a follower, and a follower without a leader. Put life and energy into a thing; do it your own way, and

you will be the leader. It dosen't pay to be a slave to outside influence. A person has a cold, but he can't afford to take everything his friends tell him is good for the cold. A man can't believe everything he is told, and act upon all the suggestions of others and still have a mind of his own. Some men vote for the last man who talks to them. They take the advice of the last man, especially if it can be followed without exertion. While a man must have some advice, and must have friends, and co-operation and intercourse with his fellows, yet if he is going to get along well he must do his own thinking and his own deciding; use his own mind for the purpose for which it was given him; not by being stubborn, but by being positive and courageous. One can cultivate decision by thinking decision and actually deciding. Do things that require immediate decision, and decide promptly, and in that way decision and positiveness are developed. The ability to decide promptly and to discriminate between this and that, is a trait of character which means success.

One always knows more about what he is going to do than anyone else is likely to know

about it. He should not, therefore, be misled by those who are not particularly interested. Every man has twenty friends to tell him "he can't" to one who tells him "he can." Unless a man is possessed of some decision and knows what he is doing, he listens to this one and that one until he finds himself an old

man with nothing done. When a young man tries to decide on the suggestions of his friends it develops in him an indecisive, vacillating nature. "What will they think about it?" ought not to be much of a consideration; if the thing is honorable and promises success that's enough. In his endeavor to be well thought of he forgets that he has an individuality of his own. The people he is trying to please seldom give him a second thought; those who give the most advice often care the least. Go to those who are a little better at saying than doing, and they will tell you that the professions are overcrowded; that business is a pretty hard proposition, and that a man can't succeed on a farm. Go to a successful man and he will tell you that prospects were never so bright; a man's chances for success never so great in any line. The people who have done things are those who

have gone ahead on their own initiative without paying attention to the advice of their friends. People give advice to a man of decision and force, but with him it doesn't count; it is a mere incident in his life; a sort of bumblebee trying to stop the Overland Limited. Decide; start, and then go like a cannon-ball.

Whatever a young man is going to do he has given it more thought and is able to see greater possibilities in it than can his neighbors who haven't thought of it at all; therefore, why should he let them decide for him? He is moving around from place to place looking for "openings;" he is told that is a poor town; business dull; nothing doing, etc., and he moves on, forgetting that whatever success he has is quietly sleeping under his own hat.


A volume could be written on any subject in this book and many have been, but no one has time to read them and thresh it out. People don't want to buy books as a farmer sometimes buys wheat, in the shock; they want it threshed; they want simply the wheat, not the chaff and

« PreviousContinue »