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28 EARLY RISING, QUICK SUCCESS.
New Orleans shipowner, it is said that " he was as methodical and regular as a clock, and that his neighbours were in the habit of judging of the time of day by his movements." Of William Gray, the Boston merchant, who owned at one time upwards of sixty large ships, we read that for upwards of fifty years he arose at dawn, and was ready for the work of the day before others had roused from their slumbers. These are the men who make prize of the world and all it has to give; these are the men who have coined minutes into hours and hours into days. These are the men who are always doing much in order that they may be able to do a little more!
AIMS IN LIFE.
"Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing."—Sydney Smith.
"The crowning fortune of a man is to be born with a bias to some pursuit which finds him in employment and happiness."—R. W. Emerson.
"That man is but of the lower part of the world that is not brought up to business and affairs."—Owen Feltham.
"It is an uncontroverted truth that no man ever made an ill figure who understood his own talents, nor a good one who mistook them."—Dean Swift.
"I have never known an individual, least of all an individual of genius, healthy or happy without a profession, i.e., some regular employment, which does not depend on the will of the moment, and which can be carried on so far mechanically that an average quantum only of health, spirits, and intellectual exertion are requisite to its faithful discharge."—S. T. Coleridge.
JHAT shall I be?" is the question that a young man necessarily proposes to himself,—and " What shall we make of him ?" is the question his parents or guardians propose for him—at that eventful epoch when, taking a farewell look at the rose-garden of his youth, he prepares to enter the wilderness of the "wide world." In a different sense from any intended by Madame de Stael, the first step is the only difficulty (/est le premier pas qui coute). It is a step that can seldom be retraced with safety or advantage. It is a step that decides the future fate of him who takes it, and hence it also decides his success or failure. We are speaking, of course, of those who are compelled to adopt some profession or avocation as a means of livelihood, and not of the gilded youth who are bred in the lap of affluence, and for whom stern necessity has no laws. True it is that even these favoured children of fortune, if they take a right view of life and its duties, will fix upon a career, and sedulously follow it; but in their case a mistake is of less importance, and can more easily be remedied. On the other hand, for the majority it is indispensable that they should labour by brain or hand, and, therefore, it is a vital matter for them to choose the species of labour best adapted to their talents and character. Horace advises an author, in selecting a subject for his muse, to be careful that it does not lie beyond his measure; that he does not attempt to bend the bow of Ulysses, or to carry on his shoulder a burden fit only for an Ajax. It is not less essential to the success of the young adventurer, and, we may add, to his health of mind and tranquillity of heart, that the calling which he chooses should be within the range of his capabilities. Otherwise his defeat is certain. The talent that will
32 HOW TO AVOID FAILURE.
make a man a good lawyer runs to waste if diverted into an
"All freakishness of mind is checked;
A wise father will take care that his son is not "handicapped "—if we may borrow the phraseology of Newmarket —too heavily in the struggle that lies before him. To avoid failure, we must undertake nothing to which we are notoriously unequal, to which we feel ourselves to be unequal; though, of course, we must not mistake the natural timidity of youth for actual incapacity.
To do that which you know you can do, and which your heart wishes you to do, that is the secret of success. Sir Walter Raleigh wrote :—
"Fain would I climb, but that I fear to fall;"
and elicited his Queen's prompt and unanswerable retort:—
"If thy heart fail thee, do not climb at all."
In determining on your future profession, you must not allow your judgment to be overborne by irrational fears. You must not be deterred from climbing by anything else than a mature conviction that if you rose beyond a certain height you would be certain to lose your footing. Timidity, however, is not the usual weakness of young men. Youth is generally bold, because it does not see consequences; and Phaetons are much