What Is Best?
Success Means the Constant Employment of Our Best Faculties in the Noblest of Service.
THE LESSON—That true success does not depend so much upon what you get out of this world, as upon what you accomplish for others.
The magic word, "Success," is before each one of us to inspire us to larger deeds; but let us not forget that many a rich man has made a great failure of life, while many a poor man has made a great success of it. The talk deals with the subject in a commercial way, as an illustration of success in the truest sense.
"Every one of us desires to be successful. But some of us have one definition of success while others have an entirely different view. Many are sure that the attainment of wealth is the measure of success; some are equally sure that the achievement of political or social honors marks the arrival at the goal of success; and so on. But, no matter how we may have defined success, many of us who have fallen short of our ideals declare in the bitterness of disappointment that we could have reached the top if we had only had the advantages that others enjoyed; if we had been helped at the proper time, or if we could have had enough money or strength.
"Let us take the example of the young man who occupies a high position in the commercial world. We will draw a picture of him seated at his desk. [Draw Fig. 88, complete.] This young man is at the head of an important department of a great manufacturing concern, and there are rumors that he is about to be advanced to a place of greater responsibility. He receives a large salary. It is a part of his duties to direct the work of many men in his department. These men come to him for instructions. We will draw one of these men. [Draw man to complete Fig. 89.] What is passing in the mind of the man who stands here receiving his instructions? This is what he is saying to himself: 'I cannot understand why this other man, who is no older than I am, should have such a good position, while I must stay in a place of less importance. He must have a pull.' And he goes away with bitterness in his heart.
"The fact is that the man with the lesser position spends his time, his energy and his talent in pursuing the trivial, temporary things, the so-called pleasures of life. He is a time-waster. The successful one has won his way by concentrating his efforts on learning how best to do his work.
"Do you ever harbor such thoughts about people who have made good in the commercial life? Have you ever, for example, thought that the high place in the world of commerce held by Andrew Carnegie was attained through some strange chance or luck? If you have, perhaps it might be well to take a glance at the main points of his early life. In Scotland, his father was a weaver, whose business was destroyed by the introduction of power looms. One day, when the father came home, he said to his boy, 'Andy, I have no more work!' The lad knew what it meant, and immediately he decided to meet his father's problem to keep the wolf of hunger from the door. He was then but ten years old. It was decided to come to America, and here Andrew Carnegie, at the age of eleven, obtained a place in a mill as a bobbin boy, at $1.20 a week. He writes as follows concerning the great lesson he learned at that time: 'I was no longer dependent upon my parents but at last was admitted to the family partnership as a contributing member and able to help them. I think that makes a man out of a boy sooner than anything else.' At the age of fourteen, he was a stoker in the boiler room of a small factory, and then took employment as a telegraph boy at $300 a year. When he advanced to a place of greater responsibility as a telegrapher, he made his first investment in the purchase of an interest in an express company. While still engaged in this capacity he met Woodruff, the inventor of the sleeping car, and seeing the value of the invention he later engaged in its manufacture. From then forward, as superintendent of the Pittsburgh division of the Pennsylvania railroad, in the oil fields and in the steel industry of which he has long been regarded as the king, his rise has been the result, not of good fortune, but of hard work looking toward a desired object.
"The story of the success of the lives of Lincoln, of Moody, of Mozart, of thousands of the world's great men is the story of work and hope, of poverty and inspiration.
"So, in the Christian life, Jesus asks us to cast out of our lives the pursuit of the vain, transient things and to center our minds and hearts upon the truest, the loftiest and the best. Success may mean a most humble place in the world. But the 'pearl of great price' is the blessing of peace, of faith, of hope and of love which come to him to whom the Master says, 'Well done.'"
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