"Hon. Stephen Allen, one of the most eminent and useful citizens of New York, died on the steamer 'Henry Clay' which caught fire on the Hudson River. In his pocket was found printed rules by which he had been guided, and among them the following:
- 'Good character is above all other things.
- Never be idle. If your hands cannot be usefully employed, attend to the cultivation of your mind.
- Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts.
- Make no hast to be rich if you want to prosper.
- Never play any kind of game of chance
- Earn money before you spend it
- Live within your income
(And my personal favorite :)
- If any one speaks evil of you, let your life be such that none will believe him.'
Longfellow said, 'The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, without a thought of fame.' Osborne, writing for the Merchant's Magazine, said, 'Success in life consists in the proper and harmonious development of the faculties which God has given us.'
The youth who makes the most of himself is successful. A man with five talents and small opportunities may improve them so as to be of more real service to mankind than one having ten unimproved talents.
One has said well, 'Every man has a mission to perform in this world, for which his talents precisely fit him, and having found what this mission is, he must throw into it all energies of his soul, seeking its accomplishment, not his own glory...Having found out what you have to do- whether to lead an army or to sweep a street, to keep a hotel or drive a cart, to harangue senates or address juries, or prescribe medicines-do it with all your might because it is your duty, your enjoyment, and the necessary road to your success.'
These are the qualities which are found in the career of every successful person; and there is success in even the humblest occupation for him who will pay the price. The irresolute, limp young man or woman who expects to find success 'marked down' some day, is doomed to disappointment. It is a fair price that God has set upon it, and he is not half a man who attempts to get it for less.
These conditions admit of no such alternative as 'luck.'
A 'lucky hit,' a 'lucky fellow,' are common expressions. There is no such thing as becoming learned or great without forethought, plan, or purpose; it must be the result of well-directed and persevering effort.
When the time comes that idleness reaps rich harvests and industry begs bread;that economy goes to the poor-house and the prodigality to the palace; that temperance invites want and drunkenness revels in plenty; that virtue is condemned and imprisoned and vice extolled and crowned- then, and not until then, can a sensible man embrace the popular delusion about luck. It had nothing to do with the triumphs of the great and good in the past, and it can have nothing to do with the triumphs of this class in the future. The successful are self-made, through God's grace.”
(This is an excerpt from a book originally published in 1893 titled “Gaining Favor with God and Man” which is now out of print. I hope that this was encouraging for those of you who read it all the way through. God Bless!)