The individual who craves friendship, and yet desires a self-centered spirit more, will never lack for friends.
If you would have friends, cultivate solitude instead of society. Drink in the ozone; bathe in the sunshine; and out in the silent night, under the stars, say to yourself again and yet again, “I am a part of all my eyes behold!” And the feeling then will come to you that you are no mere interloper between earth and heaven; but you are a necessary part of the whole. No harm can come to you that does not come to all, and if you shall go down it can only be amid a wreck of worlds.
Like old Job, that which we fear will surely come upon us. By a wrong mental attitude we have set in motion a train of events that ends in disaster. People who die in middle life from disease, almost without exception, are those who have been preparing for death. The acute tragic condition is simply the result of a chronic state of mind—a culmination of a series of events.
Character is the result of two things, mental attitude, and the way we spend our time. It is what we think and what we do that make us what we are.
By laying hold on the forces of the universe, you are strong with them. And when you realize this, all else is easy, for in your arteries will course red corpuscles, and in your heart the determined resolution is born to do and to be. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis.
When I was a farmer lad I noticed that whenever we bought a new cow, and turned her into the pasture with the herd, there was a general inclination on the part of the rest to make the new cow think she had landed in the orthodox perdition. They would hook her away from the salt, chase her from the water, and the long-horned ones, for several weeks, would lose no opportunity to give her vigorous digs, pokes and prods.
With horses it was the same. And I remember one particular little black mare that we boys used to transfer from one pasture to another, just to see her back into a herd of horses and hear her hoofs play a resounding solo on their ribs as they gathered round to do her mischief.
Men are animals just as much as are cows, horses and pigs; and they manifest similar proclivities. The introduction of a new man into an institution always causes a small panic of resentment, especially if he be a person of some power. Even in schools and colleges the new teacher has to fight his way to overcome the opposition he is certain to meet.
In a lumber camp, the newcomer would do well to take the initiative, like that little black mare, and meet the first black look with a short-arm jab.
But in a bank, department store or railroad office this cannot be. So the next best thing is to endure, and win out by an attention to business to which the place is unaccustomed. In any event, the bigger the man, unless he has the absolute power to overawe everything, the more uncomfortable will be his position until gradually time smooths the way and new issues come up for criticism, opposition and resentment, and he is forgotten.