Architects of fate or, steps to success and power a book designed to inspire youth to character building, self-culture and noble a



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CHAPTER III.

THE WILL AND THE WAY.

"The 'way' will be found by a resolute will."

"I will find a way or make one."

Nothing is impossible to the man who can will.--MIRABEAU.

A politician weakly and amiably in the right is no match for a politician tenaciously and pugnaciously in the wrong.--E. P. WHIPPLE.

The iron will of one stout heart shall make a thousand quail; A feeble dwarf, dauntlessly resolved, will turn the tide of battle, And rally to a nobler strife the giants that had fled. TUPPER.

"Man alone can perform the impossible. They can who think they can. Character is a perfectly educated will."

The education of the will is the object of our existence. For the resolute and determined there is time and opportunity.--EMERSON.

Invincible determination, and a right nature, are the levers that move the world.--PRESIDENT PORTER.

In the lexicon of youth which fate reserves for a bright manhood there is no such word as fail.--BULWER.

Perpetual pushing and assurance put a difficulty out of countenance and make a seeming difficulty give way.--JEREMY COLLIER.

When a firm and decisive spirit is recognized, it is curious to see how the space clears around a man and leaves him room and freedom.--JOHN FOSTER.

The star of the unconquered will, He rises in my breast, Serene, and resolute and still, And calm and self-possessed. LONGFELLOW.

"As well can the Prince of Orange pluck the stars from the sky, as bring the ocean to the wall of Leyden for your relief," was the derisive shout of the Spanish soldiers when told that the Dutch fleet would raise that terrible four months' siege of 1574. But from the parched lips of William, tossing on his bed of fever at Rotterdam, had issued the command: "Break down the dikes: give Holland back to ocean:" and the people had replied: "Better a drowned land than a lost land." They began to demolish dike after dike of the strong lines, ranged one within another for fifteen miles to their city of the interior. It was an enormous task; the garrison was starving; and the besiegers laughed in scorn at the slow progress of the puny insects who sought to rule the waves of the sea. But ever, as of old, heaven aids those who help themselves. On the first and second of October a violent equinoctial gale rolled the ocean inland, and swept the fleet on the rising waters almost to the camp of the Spaniards. The next morning the garrison sallied out to attack their enemies, but the besiegers had fled in terror under cover of the darkness. The next day the wind changed, and a counter tempest brushed the water, with the fleet upon it, from the surface of Holland. The outer dikes were replaced at once, leaving the North Sea within its old bounds. When the flowers bloomed the following spring, a joyous procession marched through the streets to found the University of Leyden, in commemoration of the wonderful deliverance of the city.

* * * * * *

[Illustration: WALTER SCOTT]

"The Wizard of the North."

"So nigh is grandeur to our dust, So near is God to man, When Duty whispers low, 'Thou must,' The youth replies, 'I can.'"

* * * * * *

At a dinner party given in 1837, at the residence of Chancellor Kent, in New York city, some of the most distinguished men in the country were invited, and among them was a young and rather melancholy and reticent Frenchman. Professor Morse was one of the guests, and during the evening he drew the attention of Mr. Gallatin, then a prominent statesman, to the stranger, observing that his forehead indicated great intellect. "Yes," replied Mr. Gallatin, touching his own forehead with his finger, "there is a great deal in that head of his: but he has a strange fancy. Can you believe it? He has the idea that he will one day be the Emperor of France. Can you conceive anything more absurd?"

It did seem absurd, for this reserved Frenchman was then a poor adventurer, an exile from his country, without fortune or powerful connections, and yet, fourteen years later, his idea became a fact,--his dream of becoming Napoleon III. was realized. True, before he accomplished his purpose there were long dreary years of imprisonment, exile, disaster, and patient labor and hope, but he gained his ambition at last. He was not scrupulous as to the means employed to accomplish his ends, yet he is a remarkable example of what pluck and energy can do.

When it was proposed to unite England and America by steam, Dr. Lardner delivered a lecture before the Royal Society "proving" that steamers could never cross the Atlantic, because they could not carry coal enough to produce steam during the whole voyage. The passage of the steamship Sirius, which crossed in nineteen days, was fatal to Lardner's theory. When it was proposed to build a vessel of iron, many persons said: "Iron sinks--only wood can float:" but experiments proved that the miracle of the prophet in making iron "swim" could be repeated, and now not only ships of war, but merchant vessels, are built of iron or steel. A will found a way to make iron float.

Mr. Ingram, publisher of the "London Illustrated News," who lost his life on Lake Michigan, walked ten miles to deliver a single paper rather than disappoint a customer, when he began life as a newsdealer at Nottingham, England. Does any one wonder that such a youth succeeded? Once he rose at two o'clock in the morning and walked to London to get some papers because there was no post to bring them. He determined that his customers should not be disappointed. This is the kind of will that finds a way.

There is scarcely anything in all biography grander than the saying of young Henry Fawcett, Gladstone's last Postmaster-General, to his grief-stricken father, who had put out both his eyes by bird-shot during a game hunt: "Never mind, father, blindness shall not interfere with my success in life." One of the most pathetic sights in London streets, long afterward, was Henry Fawcett, M. P., led everywhere by a faithful daughter, who acted as amanuensis as well as guide to her plucky father. Think of a young man, scarcely on the threshold of active life, suddenly losing the sight of both eyes and yet, by mere pluck and almost incomprehensible tenacity of purpose, lifting himself into eminence, in any direction, to say nothing of becoming one of the foremost men in a country noted for its great men. Most youth would have succumbed to such a misfortune, and would never have been heard from again. But fortunately for the world, there are yet left many Fawcetts, many Prescotts, Parkmans, Cavanaghs.

The courageous daughter who was eyes to her father was herself a marvelous example of pluck and determination. For the first time in the history of Oxford College, which reaches back centuries, she succeeded in winning the post which had only been gained before by great men, such as Gladstone,--the post of senior wrangler. This achievement had had no parallel in history up to that date, and attracted the attention of the whole civilized world. Not only had no woman ever held this position before, but with few exceptions it had only been held by men who in after life became highly distinguished. Who can deny that where there is a will, as a rule, there's a way?

When Grant was a boy he could not find "can't" in the dictionary. It is the men who have no "can't" in their dictionaries that make things move.

"Circumstances," says Milton, "have rarely favored famous men. They have fought their way to triumph through all sorts of opposing obstacles."

The true way to conquer circumstances is to be a greater circumstance yourself.

Yet, while desiring to impress in the most forcible manner possible the fact that will-power is necessary to success, and that, other things being equal, the greater the will-power, the grander and more complete the success, we cannot indorse the preposterous theory that there is nothing in circumstances or environments, or that any man, simply because he has an indomitable will, may become a Bonaparte, a Pitt, a Webster, a Beecher, a Lincoln. We must temper determination with discretion, and support it with knowledge and common sense, or it will only lead us to run our heads against posts. We must not expect to overcome a stubborn fact by a stubborn will. We merely have the right to assume that we can do anything within the limit of our utmost faculty, strength, and endurance. Obstacles permanently insurmountable bar our progress in some directions, but in any direction we may reasonably hope and attempt to go, we shall find that the obstacles, as a rule, are either not insurmountable or else not permanent. The strong-willed, intelligent, persistent man will find or make a way where, in the nature of things, a way can be found or made.

Every schoolboy knows that circumstances do give clients to lawyers and patients to physicians; place ordinary clergymen in extraordinary pulpits; place sons of the rich at the head of immense corporations and large houses, when they have very ordinary ability and scarcely any experience, while poor young men with extraordinary abilities, good education, good character, and large experience, often have to fight their way for years to obtain even very ordinary situations. Every one knows that there are thousands of young men, both in the city and in the country, of superior ability, who seem to be compelled by circumstances to remain in very ordinary positions for small pay, when others about them are raised by money or family influence into desirable places. In other words, we all know that the best men do not always get the best places: circumstances do have a great deal to do with our position, our salaries, and our station in life.

Many young men who are nature's noblemen, who are natural leaders, are working under superintendents, foremen, and managers infinitely their inferiors, but whom circumstances have placed above them and will keep there, unless some emergency makes merit indispensable. No, the race is not always to the swift.

Every one knows that there is not always a way where there is a will, that labor does not always conquer all things; that there are things impossible even to him that wills, however strongly; that one cannot always make anything of himself he chooses; that there are limitations in our very natures which no amount of will-power or industry can overcome; that no amount of sun-staring can ever make an eagle out of a crow.

The simple truth is that a will strong enough to keep a man continually striving for things not wholly beyond his powers will carry him in time very far toward his chosen goal.

The greatest thing a man can do in this world is to make the most possible out of the stuff that has been given to him. This is success, and there is no other.

While it is true that our circumstances or environments do affect us, in most things they do not prevent our growth. The corn that is now ripe, whence comes it, and what is it? Is it not large or small, stunted wild maize or well-developed ears, according to the conditions under which it has grown? Yet its environments cannot make wheat of it. Nor can our circumstances alter our nature. It is part of our nature, and wholly within our power, greatly to change and to take advantage of our circumstances, so that, unlike the corn, we can rise much superior to our natural surroundings simply because we can thus vary and improve the surroundings. In other words, man can usually build the very road on which he is to run his race.

It is not a question of what some one else can do or become, which every youth should ask himself, but what can I do? How can I develop myself into the grandest possible manhood?

So far, then, from the power of circumstances being a hindrance to men in trying to build for themselves an imperial highway to fortune, these circumstances constitute the very quarry out of which they are to get paving-stones for the road.

While it is true that the will-power cannot perform miracles, yet that it is almost omnipotent, that it can perform wonders, all history goes to prove. As Shakespeare says:--

"Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

"There is nobody," says a Roman Cardinal, "whom Fortune does not visit once in his life: but when she finds he is not ready to receive her, she goes in at the door, and out through the window." Opportunity is coy. The careless, the slow, the unobservant, the lazy fail to see it, or clutch at it when it has gone. The sharp fellows detect it instantly, and catch it when on the wing.

Show me a man who is, according to popular prejudice, a victim of bad luck, and I will show you one who has some unfortunate crooked twist of temperament that invites disaster. He is ill-tempered, or conceited, or trifling; lacks character, enthusiasm, or some other requisite for success.

Disraeli says that man is not the creature of circumstances, but that circumstances are the creatures of men.

What has chance ever done in the world? Has it built any cities? Has it invented any telephones, any telegraphs? Has it built any steamships, established any universities, any asylums, any hospitals? Was there any chance in Caesar's crossing the Rubicon? What had chance to do with Napoleon's career, with Wellington's, or Grant's, or Von Moltke's? Every battle was won before it was begun. What had luck to do with Thermopylae, Trafalgar, Gettysburg? Our successes we ascribe to ourselves; our failures to destiny.

Man is not a helpless atom in this vast creation, with a fixed position, and naught to do but obey his own polarity.

Believe in the power of will, which annihilates the sickly, sentimental doctrine of fatalism,--you must but can't, you ought but it is impossible.

Give me the man

"Who breaks his birth's invidious bar, And grasps the skirts of happy chance, And breasts the blows of circumstance, And grapples with his evil star."

It is only the ignorant and superficial who believe in fate. "The first step into thought lifts this mountain of necessity." "Fate is unpenetrated causes." "They may well fear fate who have any infirmity of habit or aim: but he who rests on what he is has a destiny beyond destiny, and can make mouths at fortune."

The indomitable will, the inflexible purpose, will find a way or make one. There is always room for a man of force.

"He who has a firm will," says Goethe, "moulds the world to himself." "People do not lack strength," says Victor Hugo, "they lack will."

"He who resolves upon any great end, by that very resolution has scaled the great barriers to it, and he who seizes the grand idea of self-cultivation, and solemnly resolves upon it, will find that idea, that resolution, burning like fire within him, and ever putting him upon his own improvement. He will find it removing difficulties, searching out, or making means; giving courage for despondency, and strength for weakness."

Nearly all great men, those who have towered high above their fellows, have been remarkable above all things else for their energy of will. Of Julius Caesar it was said by a contemporary that it was his activity and giant determination, rather than his military skill, that won his victories. The youth who starts out in life determined to make the most of his eyes and let nothing escape him which he can possibly use for his own advancement; who keeps his ears open for every sound that can help him on his way, who keeps his hands open that he may clutch every opportunity, who is ever on the alert for everything which can help him to get on in the world, who seizes every experience in life and grinds it up into paint for his great life's picture, who keeps his heart open that he may catch every noble impulse, and everything which may inspire him,--that youth will be sure to make his life successful; there are no "ifs" or "ands" about it. If he has his health, nothing can keep him from final success.

No tyranny of circumstances can permanently imprison a determined will.

The world always stands aside for the determined man. Will makes a way, even through seeming impossibilities. "It is the half a neck nearer that shows the blood and wins the race; the one march more that wins the campaign: the five minutes more of unyielding courage that wins the fight." Again and again had the irrepressible Carter Harrison been consigned to oblivion by the educated and moral element of Chicago. Nothing could keep him down. He was invincible. A son of Chicago, he had partaken of that nineteenth century miracle, that phoenix-like nature of the city which, though she was burned, caused her to rise from her ashes and become a greater and a grander Chicago, a wonder of the world. Carter Harrison would not down. He entered the Democratic Convention and, with an audacity rarely equaled, in spite of their protest, boldly declared himself their candidate. Every newspaper in Chicago, save the "Times," his own paper, bitterly opposed his election: but notwithstanding all opposition, he was elected by twenty thousand majority. The aristocrats hated him, the moral element feared him, but the poor people believed in him: he pandered to them, flattered them, till they elected him. While we would not by any means hold Carter Harrison up to youth as a model, yet there is a great lesson in his will-power and wonderful tenacity of purpose.

"The general of a large army may be defeated," said Confucius, "but you cannot defeat the determined mind of a peasant."

The poor, deaf pauper, Kitto, who made shoes in the almshouse, and who became the greatest of Biblical scholars, wrote in his journal, on the threshold of manhood: "I am not myself a believer in impossibilities: I think that all the fine stories about natural ability, etc., are mere rigmarole, and that every man may, according to his opportunities and industry, render himself almost anything he wishes to become."

Years ago, a young mechanic took a bath in the river Clyde. While swimming from shore to shore he discerned a beautiful bank, uncultivated, and he then and there resolved to be the owner of it, and to adorn it, and to build upon it the finest mansion in all the borough, and name it in honor of the maiden to whom he was espoused. "Last summer," says a well-known American, "I had the pleasure of dining in that princely mansion, and receiving this fact from the lips of the great shipbuilder of the Clyde." That one purpose was made the ruling passion of his life, and all the energies of his soul were put in requisition for its accomplishment.

Lincoln is probably the most remarkable example on the pages of history, showing the possibilities of our country. From the poverty in which he was born, through the rowdyism of a frontier town, the rudeness of frontier society, the discouragement of early bankruptcy, and the fluctuations of popular politics, he rose to the championship of union and freedom.

Lincoln's will made his way. When his friends nominated him as a candidate for the legislature, his enemies made fun of him. When making his campaign speeches he wore a mixed jean coat so short that he could not sit down on it, flax and tow-linen trousers, straw hat, and pot-metal boots. He had nothing in the world but character and friends.

When his friends suggested law to him, he laughed at the idea of his being a lawyer. He said he hadn't brains enough. He read law barefoot under the trees, his neighbors said, and he sometimes slept on the counter in the store where he worked. He had to borrow money to buy a suit of clothes to make a respectable appearance in the legislature, and walked to take his seat at Vandalia,--one hundred miles. While he was in the legislature, John F. Stuart, an eminent lawyer of Springfield, told him how Clay had even inferior chances to his, had got all of the education he had in a log schoolhouse without windows or doors; and finally induced Lincoln to study law.

See Thurlow Weed, defying poverty and wading through the snow two miles, with rags for shoes, to borrow a book to read before the sap-bush fire. See Locke, living on bread and water in a Dutch garret. See Heyne, sleeping many a night on a barn floor with only a book for his pillow. See Samuel Drew, tightening his apron strings "in lieu of a dinner." See young Lord Eldon, before daylight copying Coke on Littleton over and over again. History is full of such examples. He who will pay the price for victory needs never fear final defeat. Why were the Roman legionaries victorious?

"For Romans, in Rome's quarrels, Spared neither land nor gold, Nor son, nor wife, nor limb nor life, In the brave days of old."

Fowell Buxton, writing to one of his sons, says: "I am sure that a young man may be very much what he pleases."

Dr. Mathews has well said that "there is hardly a word in the whole human vocabulary which is more cruelly abused than the word 'luck.' To all the faults and failures of men, their positive sins and their less culpable shortcomings, it is made to stand a godfather and sponsor. Go talk with the bankrupt man of business, who has swamped his fortune by wild speculation, extravagance of living, or lack of energy, and you will find that he vindicates his wonderful self-love by confounding the steps which he took indiscreetly with those to which he was forced by 'circumstances,' and complacently regarding himself as the victim of ill-luck. Go visit the incarcerated criminal, who has imbued his hands in the blood of his fellow-man, or who is guilty of less heinous crimes, and you will find that, joining the temptations which were easy to avoid with those which were comparatively irresistible, he has hurriedly patched up a treaty with conscience, and stifles its compunctious visitings by persuading himself that, from first to last, he was the victim of circumstances. Go talk with the mediocre in talents and attainments, the weak-spirited man who, from lack of energy and application, has made but little headway in the world, being outstripped in the race of life by those whom he had despised as his inferiors, and you will find that he, too, acknowledges the all-potent power of luck, and soothes his humbled pride by deeming himself the victim of ill-fortune. In short, from the most venial offense to the most flagrant, there is hardly any wrong act or neglect to which this too fatally convenient word is not applied as a palliation."

Paris was in the hands of a mob, the authorities were panic-stricken, for they did not dare to trust their underlings. In came a man who said, "I know a young officer who has the courage and ability to quell this mob." "Send for him; send for him; send for him," said they. Napoleon was sent for, came, subjugated the mob, subjugated the authorities, ruled France, then conquered Europe.

What a lesson is Napoleon's life for the sickly, wishy-washy, dwarfed, sentimental "dudes," hanging about our cities, country, and universities, complaining of their hard lot, dreaming of success, and wondering why they are left in the rear in the great race of life.

Success in life is dependent largely upon the willpower, and whatever weakens or impairs it diminishes success. The will can be educated. That which most easily becomes a habit in us is the will. Learn, then, to will decisively and strongly; thus fix your floating life, and leave it no longer to be carried hither and thither, like a withered leaf, by every wind that blows. "It is not talent that men lack, it is the will to labor; it is the purpose, not the power to produce."

It was this insatiable thirst for knowledge which held to his task, through poverty and discouragement, John Leyden, a Scotch shepherd's son. Barefoot and alone, he walked six or eight miles daily to learn to read, which was all the schooling he had. His desire for an education defied the extremest poverty, and no obstacle could turn him from his purpose. He was rich when he discovered a little bookstore, and his thirsty soul would drink in the precious treasures from its priceless volumes for hours, perfectly oblivious of the scanty meal of bread and water which awaited him at his lowly lodging. Nothing could discourage him from trying to improve himself by study. It seemed to him that an opportunity to get at books and lectures was all that any man could need. Before he was nineteen, this poor shepherd boy with no chance had astonished the professors of Edinburgh by his knowledge of Greek and Latin.

Hearing that a surgeon's assistant in the Civil Service was wanted, although he knew nothing whatever of medicine, he determined to apply for it. There were only six months before the place was to be filled, but nothing could daunt him, and in six months' time he actually took his degree with honor. Walter Scott, who thought this one of the most remarkable illustrations of perseverance, helped to fit him out, and he sailed for India.

Webster was very poor even after he entered Dartmouth College. A friend sent him a recipe for greasing his boots. Webster wrote and thanked him, and added: "But my boots need other doctoring, for they not only admit water, but even peas and gravel-stones." Yet he became one of the greatest men in the world. Sydney Smith said: "Webster was a living lie, because no man on earth could be as great as he looked." Carlyle said of him: "One would incline at sight to back him against the world."

What seemed to be luck followed Stephen Girard all his life. No matter what he did, it always seemed to others to turn to his account. His coming to Philadelphia seemed a lucky accident. A sloop was seen one morning off the mouth of Delaware Bay floating the flag of France and a signal of distress. Young Girard was captain of this sloop, and was on his way to a Canadian port with freight from New Orleans. An American skipper, seeing his distress, went to his aid, but told him the American war had broken out, and that the British cruisers were all along the American coast, and would seize his vessel. He told him his only chance was to make a push for Philadelphia. Girard did not know the way, and had no money. The skipper loaned him five dollars to get the service of a pilot who demanded his money in advance.

His sloop passed into the Delaware just in time to avoid capture by a British war vessel. He sold the sloop and cargo in Philadelphia, and began business on the capital. Being a foreigner, unable to speak English, short, stout, and with a repulsive face, blind in one eye, it was hard for him to get a start. But he was not the man to give up. He had begun as a cabin boy at thirteen, and for nine years sailed between Bordeaux and the French West Indies. He improved every leisure minute at sea, mastering the art of navigation.

At the age of eight he first discovered that he was blind in one eye. His father, evidently thinking that he would never amount to anything, would not help him to an education beyond that of mere reading and writing, but sent his younger brothers to college. The discovery of his blindness, the neglect of his father, and the chagrin of his brothers' advancement, soured his whole life.

When he began business for himself in Philadelphia, there seemed to be nothing he would not do for money. He bought and sold anything, from groceries to old junk. He bottled wine and cider, from which he made a good profit. Everything he touched prospered. In 1780, he resumed the New Orleans and St. Domingo trade, in which he had been engaged at the breaking out of the Revolution. Here great success again attended him. He had two vessels lying in one of the St. Domingo ports when the great insurrection on that island broke out. A number of the rich planters fled to his vessels with their valuables, which they left for safe keeping while they went back to their estates to secure more. They probably fell victims to the cruel negroes, for they never returned, and Girard was the lucky possessor of $50,000 which the goods brought in Philadephia.

Everybody, especially his jealous brother merchants, attributed his great success to his luck. While undoubtedly he was fortunate in happening to be at the right place at the right time, yet he was precision, method, accuracy, energy itself. He left nothing to chance. His plans and schemes were worked out with mathematical care. His letters, written to his captains in foreign ports, laying out their routes and giving detailed instruction from which they were never allowed to deviate under any circumstances, are models of foresight and systematic planning. He never left anything of importance to others. He was rigidly accurate in his instructions, and would not allow the slightest departure from them. He used to say that while his captains might save him money by deviating from instructions once, yet they would cause loss in ninety-nine other cases. Once, when a captain returned and had saved him several thousand dollars by buying his cargo of cheese in another port than that in which he had been instructed to buy, Girard was so enraged, although he was several thousand dollars richer, that he discharged the captain on the spot, notwithstanding the latter had been faithful in his service for many years, and thought he was saving his employer a great deal of money by deviating from his instructions.

Girard lived in a dingy little house, poorer than that occupied by many of his employees. He married a servant girl of great beauty, but she proved totally unfitted for him, and died at last in the insane asylum.

Girard never lost a ship, and many times what brought financial ruin to many others, as the War of 1812, only increased his wealth. What seemed luck with him was only good judgment and promptness in seizing opportunities, and the greatest care and zeal in improving them to their utmost possibilities.

Luck is not God's price for success: that is altogether too cheap, nor does he dicker with men.

The mathematician tells you that if you throw the dice, there are thirty chances to one against your turning up a particular number, and a hundred to one against your repeating the same throw three times in succession: and so on in an augmenting ratio. What is luck? Is it, as has been suggested, a blind man's buff among the laws? a ruse among the elements? a trick of Dame Nature? Has any scholar defined luck? any philosopher explained its nature? any chemist shown its composition? Is luck that strange, nondescript fairy, that does all things among men that they cannot account for? If so, why does not luck make a fool speak words of wisdom; an ignoramus utter lectures on philosophy?

Many a young man who has read the story of John Wanamaker's romantic career has gained very little inspiration or help from it toward his own elevation and advancement, for he looks upon it as the result of good luck, chance, or fate. "What a lucky fellow," he says to himself as he reads; "what a bonanza he fell into." But a careful analysis of Wanamaker's life only enforces the same lesson taught by the analysis of most great lives, namely, that a good mother, a good constitution, the habit of hard work, indomitable energy, a determination which knows no defeat, a decision which never wavers, a concentration which never scatters its forces, courage which never falters, a self-mastery which can say No, and stick to it, an "ignominious love of detail," strict integrity and downright honesty, a cheerful disposition, unbounded enthusiasm in one's calling, and a high aim and noble purpose insure a very large measure of success.

Youth should be taught that there is something in circumstances; that there is such a thing as a poor pedestrian happening to find no obstruction in his way, and reaching the goal when a better walker finds the drawbridge up, the street blockaded, and so fails to win the race; that wealth often does place unworthy sons in high positions, that family influence does gain a lawyer clients, a physician patients, an ordinary scholar a good professorship; but that, on the other hand, position, clients, patients, professorships, manager's and superintendent's positions do not necessarily constitute success. He should be taught that in the long run, as a rule, the best man does win the best place, and that persistent merit does succeed.

There is about as much chance of idleness and incapacity winning real success, or a high position in life, as there would be in producing a Paradise Lost by shaking up promiscuously the separate words of Webster's Dictionary, and letting them fall at random on the floor. Fortune smiles upon those who roll up their sleeves and put their shoulders to the wheel; upon men who are not afraid of dreary, dry, irksome drudgery, men of nerve and grit who do not turn aside for dirt and detail.

The youth should be taught that "he alone is great, who, by a life heroic, conquers fate;" that "diligence is the mother of good luck;" that, nine times out of ten, what we call luck or fate is but a mere bugbear of the indolent, the languid, the purposeless, the careless, the indifferent; that the man who fails, as a rule, does not see or seize his opportunity. Opportunity is coy, is swift, is gone, before the slow, the unobservant, the indolent, or the careless can seize her:--

"In idle wishes fools supinely stay: Be there a will and wisdom finds a way."

It has been well said that the very reputation of being strong willed, plucky, and indefatigable is of priceless value. It often cows enemies and dispels at the start opposition to one's undertakings which would otherwise be formidable.

"If Eric's in robust health, and has slept well, and is at the top of his condition, and thirty years old at his departure from Greenland," says Emerson, "he will steer west and his ships will reach Newfoundland. But take Eric out and put in a stronger and bolder man, and the ships will sail six hundred, one thousand, fifteen hundred miles further, and reach Labrador and New England. There is no chance in results." Obstacles tower before the living man like mountain chains, stopping his path and hindering his progress. He surmounts them by his energy. He makes a new path over them. He climbs upon them to mountain heights. They cannot stop him. They do not much delay him. He transmutes difficulties into power, and makes temporary failures into stepping-stones to ultimate success.

How many might have been giants who are only dwarfs. How many a one has died "with all his music in him."

It is astonishing what men who have come to their senses late in life have accomplished by a sudden resolution.

Arkwright was fifty years of age when he began to learn English grammar and improve his writing and spelling. Benjamin Franklin was past fifty before he began the study of science and philosophy. Milton, in his blindness, was past the age of fifty when he sat down to complete his world-known epic, and Scott at fifty-five took up his pen to redeem an enormous liability. "Yet I am learning," said Michael Angelo, when threescore years and ten were past, and he had long attained the highest triumphs of his art.

Even brains are second in importance to will. The vacillating man is always pushed aside in the race of life. It is only the weak and vacillating who halt before adverse circumstances and obstacles. A man with an iron will, with a determination that nothing shall check his career, if he has perseverance and grit, is sure to succeed. We may not find time for what we would like, but what we long for and strive for with all our strength, we usually approximate if we do not fully reach. Hunger breaks through stone walls; stern necessity will find a way or make one.

Success is also a great physical as well as mental tonic, and tends to strengthen the will-power. Dr. Johnson says: "Resolutions and success reciprocally produce each other." Strong-willed men, as a rule, are successful men, and great success is almost impossible without it.

A man who can resolve vigorously upon a course of action, and turns neither to the right nor the left, though a paradise tempt him, who keeps his eyes upon the goal, whatever distracts him, is sure of success. We could almost classify successes and failures by their various degrees of will-power. Men like Sir James Mackintosh, Coleridge, La Harpe, and many others who have dazzled the world with their brilliancy, but who never accomplished a tithe of what they attempted, who were always raising our expectations that they were about to perform wonderful deeds, but who accomplished nothing worthy of their abilities, have been deficient in will-power. One talent with a will behind it will accomplish more than ten without it. The great linguist of Bologna mastered a hundred languages by taking them singly, as the lion fought the bulls.

I wish it were possible to show the youth of America the great part that the will might play in their success in life and in their happiness also. The achievements of will-power are simply beyond computation. Scarcely anything in reason seems impossible to the man who can will strong enough and long enough.

How often we see this illustrated in the case of a young woman who suddenly becomes conscious that she is plain and unattractive; who, by prodigious exercise of her will and untiring industry, resolves to redeem herself from obscurity and commonness; and who not only makes up for her deficiencies, but elevates herself into a prominence and importance which mere personal attractions could never have given her. Charlotte Cushman, without a charm of form or face, climbed to the very top of her profession. How many young men, stung by consciousness of physical deformity or mental deficiencies, have, by a strong persistent exercise of will-power, raised themselves from mediocrity and placed themselves high above those who scorned them.

History is full of examples of men and women who have redeemed themselves from disgrace, poverty, and misfortune, by the firm resolution of an iron will. The consciousness of being looked upon as inferior, as incapable of accomplishing what others accomplish; the sensitiveness at being considered a dunce in school, has stung many a youth into a determination which has elevated him far above those who laughed at him, as in the case of Newton, of Adam Clark, of Sheridan, Wellington, Goldsmith, Dr. Chalmers, Curran, Disraeli, and hundreds of others. "Whatever you wish, that you are; for such is the force of the human will, joined to the Divine, that whatever we wish to be seriously, and with a true intention, that we become." While this is not strictly true, yet there is a deal of truth in it.

It is men like Mirabeau, who "trample upon impossibilities;" like Napoleon, who do not wait for opportunities, but make them; like Grant, who has only "unconditional surrender" for the enemy, who change the very front of the world. "We have but what we make, and every good is locked by nature in a granite hand, sheer labor must unclench."

What cares Henry L. Bulwer for the suffocating cough, even though he can scarcely speak above a whisper? In the House of Commons he makes his immortal speech on the Irish Church just the same.

"I can't, it is impossible," said a foiled lieutenant, to Alexander. "Be gone," shouted the conquering Macedonian, "there is nothing impossible to him who will try."

Were I called upon to express in a word the secret of so many failures among those who started out in life with high hopes, I should say unhesitatingly, they lacked will-power. They could not half will. What is a man without a will? He is like an engine without steam, a mere sport of chance, to be tossed about hither and thither, always at the mercy of those who have wills. I should call the strength of will the test of a young man's possibilities. Can he will strong enough, and hold whatever he undertakes with an iron grip? It is the iron grip that takes the strong hold on life. What chance is there in this crowding, pushing, selfish, greedy world, where everything is pusher or pushed, for a young man with no will, no grip on life? "The truest wisdom," said Napoleon, "is a resolute determination." An iron will without principle might produce a Napoleon; but with character it would make a Wellington or a Grant, untarnished by ambition or avarice.

"The undivided will 'T is that compels the elements and wrings A human music from the indifferent air."



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