HOW TO GET ON IN THE WORLD; or, A LADDER TO PRACTICAL SUCCESS.
by MAJOR A. R. CALHOUN.
What is Success?
It has been said that "Nothing Succeeds Like Success."
What is Success?
If we go to the dictionary, it will give us the history and etymology of this much used word, and, in general terms the meaning will be "the accomplishment of a purpose." But as the objects in nearly every life differ, so success cannot mean the same thing to all men.
The artist's idea of success is very different from that of the business man, and the scientist differs from both, as does the statesman from all three. We read of successful gamblers, burglars or freebooters, but no true success was ever won or ever can be won that sets at defiance the laws of God and man.
To win, so that we ourselves and the world shall be the better for our having lived, we must begin the struggle, with a high purpose, keeping ever before our minds the characters and methods of the noble men who have succeeded along the same lines.
The young man beginning the battle of life should never lose sight of the fact that the age of fierce competition is upon us, and that this competition must, in the nature of things, become more and more intense. Success grows less and less dependent on luck and chance. Preparation for the chosen field of effort, an industry that increasing, a hope that never flags, a patience that never grows weary, a courage that never wavers, all these, and a trust in God, are the prime requisites of the man who would win in this age of specialists and untiring activity.
The purpose of this work is not to stimulate genius, for genius is law unto itself, and finds its compensation in its own original productions. Genius has benefited the world, without doubt, but too often its life compensation has been a crust and a garret. After death, in not a few cases, the burial was through charity of friends, and this can hardly be called an adequate compensation, for the memorial tablet or monument that commemorates a life of privation, if not of absolute wretchedness.
It is, perhaps, as well for the world that genius is phenomenal; it is certainly well for the world that success is not dependent on it, and that every young man, and young woman too, blessed with good health and a mind capable of education, and principles that are true and abiding, can win the highest positions in public and private life, and dying leave behind a heritage for their children, and an example for all who would prosper along the same lines. And all this with the blessed assurance of hearing at last the Master's words: "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might." [Ecclesiastes 9:10]
There is a manly ring in this fine injunction, that stirs like a bugle blast. "But what can my hands find to do? How can I win? Who will tell me the work for which I am best fitted? Where is the kindly guide who will point out to me the life path that will lead to success?" So far as is possible it will be the purpose of this book to reply fully to these all important questions, and by illustration and example to show how others in the face of obstacles that would seem appalling to the weak and timid, carefully and prayerfully prepared themselves for what has been aptly called "the battle of life," and then in the language of General Jackson, "pitched in to win."
A copy line, in the old writing books, reads, "Many men of many minds." It is this diversity of mind, taste and inclination that opens up to us so many fields of effort, and keeps any one calling or profession from being crowded by able men. Of the incompetents and failures, who crowd every field of effort, we shall have but little to say, for to "Win Success" is our watchword.
What a great number of paths the observant young man sees before him! Which shall he pursue to find it ending in victory? Victory when the curtain falls on this brief life, and a greater victory when the death-valley is crossed and the life eternal begins?
The learned professions have widened in their scope and number within the past thirty years. To divinity, law, and medicine, we can now add literature, journalism, engineering and all the sciences. Even art, as generally understood, is now spoken of as a profession, and there are professors to teach its many branches in all the great universities.
Any one of these professions, if carefully mastered and diligently pursued, promises fame, and, if not fortune, certainly a competency, for the calling that does not furnish a competency for a man and his family, can hardly be called a success, no matter the degree of fame it brings.
"Since Adam delved and Eve span", agriculture has been the principal occupation of civilized man. With the advance of chemistry, particularly that branch known as agricultural chemistry, farming has become more of a science, and its successful pursuit demands not only unceasing industry, but a high degree of trained intelligence. Of late years farming has rather fallen into disrepute with ambitious young men, who long for the excitement and greater opportunities afforded by our cities; but success and happiness have been achieved in farming, and the opportunities for both will increase with proper training and a correct appreciation of a farmer's life.
"Business" is a very comprehensive word, and may properly embrace every life-calling; but in its narrow acceptance it is applied to trade, commerce and manufactures. It is in these three lines of business that men have shown the greatest energy and enterprise, and in which they have accomplished the greatest material success. As a consequence, eager spirits enter these fields, encouraged by the examples of men who from small beginnings, and in the face of obstacles that would have daunted less resolute men, became merchant princes and the peers of earth's greatest.
In the selection of your calling do not stand hesitating and doubting too long.
Enter somewhere, no matter how hard or uncongenial the work, do it with all your might, and the effort will strengthen you and qualify you to find work that is more in accord with your talents.
Bear in mind that the first condition of success in every calling, is earnest devotion to its requirements and duties.
This may seem so obvious a remark that it is hardly worth making. And yet, with all its obviousness the thing itself is often forgotten by the young. They are frequently loath to admit the extent and urgency of business claims; and they try to combine with these claims, devotion to some favorite, and even it may be conflicting, pursuit. Such a policy invariably fails. We cannot travel every path. Success must be won along one line. You must make your business the one life purpose to which every other, save religion, must be subordinate.
"Eternal vigilance," it has been said, "is the price of liberty." [Thomas Jefferson]
With equal truth it may be said, "Unceasing effort is the price of success." If we do not work with our might, others will; and they will outstrip us in the race, and pluck the prize from our grasp. "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong," in the race of business or in the battle of professional life, but usually the swiftest wins the prize, and the strongest gains in the strife.
A Review of "How to Get On in Life"
Table of Contents
Chapter II - The Importance of Character
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Page Updated 7:37 PM Thursday 16 August 2018