« PreviousContinue »
Those who demanded ordinary wages got nothing. Those who worked for what they could get made money. The fact that a man had work of any kind, at any price, was a source of the greatest encouragement.
A year ago we hired a number of men to go on the road at a salary of forty dollars a month and expenses. They couldn't get this much teaching, couldn't make it at anything else. One very brilliant young man who had worked hard and proven his worth said the salary was better than he expected, and he only feared he wouldn't be able to earn it, but would do his level best. Another young man, not worth so much, but who was seven or eight years older, and who was a college graduate, said that "if this first man, who is not a college graduate and is only twenty-one years of age, is worth forty dollars a month to you, then I'm worth a hundred. My experience gained in the University will be used to your advantage. I spent money getting that education and I ought to be paid for it. I won't work for you unless I get a hundred dollars a month." He didn't work. The year has gone. The first man has earned his forty dollars a month, and more. He has a
position now that is a credit to any man of his age. The man who refused the forty a month and wanted one hundred hasn't done anything worth while since. He hasn't earned a hundred dollars all told, and he wouldn't be worth as much to us as he was last year, because he is out of touch with the business. He couldn't get a position with us on a salary at all. He would have to begin on commission again and prove his worth. And so I could give scores of such illustrations. Every employer of men has the same thing to contend with; not with all men of course, but with a great many.
It's no disgrace not to be a success at thirty or thirty-five years of age, or even forty. A man may not have done anything very much when he is thirty-five years old, and yet not have wasted much time either. He may have unconsciously been storing away energy and reserve power that will some day make him famous. Men do not all discover themselves at the same age. Some of our successful men didn't know themselves when they were thirtyfive. Think of "Golden Rule" Jones. "At thirty-five history was to him a blank, the poets unknown, science unguessed. He never wrote
an article for the press until he was forty; he never made a public speech until he was fortyfive. "He died at the early age of fifty-eight, and was known as a practised and skilful orator; a ready writer, a good authority on history, a student of science and an appreciative critic of the world's great literature. So there you have Sam Jones-inventor, successful business man, mayor of a great city, lecturer, author, student, critic, philanthropist."
I would urge every young man who hasn't a position to get one at any kind of work, at any kind of pay, if there is a chance for growth, and I would like to see the kind of work in which there isn't an opportunity for growth. Of course, if a man wants to be a merchant I wouldn't advise him to go to the farm or the railroad shop. If he knows what he wants let him do that. If he doesn't know what he wants let him do anything, and do it with a will, and the time will come when the world will make a beaten path to his door.
I WISH that every young man and young woman might have enkindled in their lives an invincible determination to do and to be. Why shouldn't everyone be a magnificent success? No one was intended to be a failure. Why shouldn't people discover their great possibilities, and the magnificent personality which might be cultivated until it would grow and blossom like a beautiful flower? Why shouldn't people take up the study of enthusiasm and make good will, progress, and enterprise part of their moral law? This great world is big enough, and good enough, and grand enough for every man and woman to succeed in, and it is possible for every person on earth to rise higher and higher in the scale of life until this earth is a perfect paradise. Think of the desire we may cultivate, and the inspiration which would be ours if we would but appropriate the enthusiasm, the courage, the energy, and the zeal that the great men of every age have left
as a blessed heritage to mankind. Think of the glory of putting heart and soul, and inspiration and zeal into your work, and making it the pride of your life and the admiration of the world. It's the only way a person can get all that's coming to him. It's the only natural way to live. Think of what it all means! Not simply that you will realize a handsome profit from your work-that alone is worth striving for; money is a means to an end, and to acquire it is a most laudable ambition; the man who says he doesn't want it is abnormal-but success means vastly more than profit; it means that you have conquered; you have self-satisfaction; you know that you have a place in the world. Success means a greater personality, a greater usefulness, the realization of one's hopes, and a heritage to leave to the world which will encourage the future generations of men. What young men need is a burning desire that will arouse in them the lion of progress and an unconquerable ambition to rise. I tell you, we all need more grit, more nerve, more "git-up-and-git." Think of the multitudes of great men whose lives shine like the mid-day sun. You say it was genius that made them great!