We offer no golden key which unlocks the doors to success. Much as we regret to disappoint many aspiring young men and women, we must be truthful and admit that there is no magic way in which some wonderful, unguessed talent can be discovered within them and made to blossom forth in a night, as it were. Many people of this type come to us for consultation, evidently with the delectable delusion that we can point out to them some quick and easy way to fame and fortune. Again we must make emphatic by repetition the hard, uncompromising truth that laziness, cowardice, weakness, and vacilation are incompatible with true success. No matter what a man’s other aptitudes may be, no matter how great his talent or his opportunities, we can suggest absolutely no vocation in which he can be successful unless he has the will to overcome these deficiencies in his character.
Many a man is deluded into the fond supposition that he is not successful because he does not fit into the vocation where he finds himself. The truth is that he probably is in as desirable a vocation as could possibly be found for him. The reason he is not successful is because he has failed to develop the fundamental qualities of industry, courage, and persistence.
When the impractical man learns his limitations he is all too likely to go to extremes in depreciating his own business ability. Many such people are seemingly proud of their deficiencies in business sense. “I am no business man. You attend to it, I’ll trust you,” they say. While a lack of natural business ability may not be a man’s fault, it is nothing to be proud of. You may not be born with keen, financial sense, but that is no reason why you may not develop more and more of it and make yourself a better business man. As a matter of fact, every man is in business—he has something to sell which he wishes the rest of the world to buy from him. He has himself, at least, to support, and more than likely he has others dependent upon him. He has no right, therefore, to neglect business affairs and to permit others to impose upon him and to steal from him and from those dependent upon him the proper reward for his labor.
Even the youth who is poor in mathematics can learn something about geometry, algebra, and trigonometry; even he who “has no head for language” can learn to speak a foreign tongue and even to read Latin or Greek. It is not easy for either one of them and perhaps the one can never become a great mathematician nor the other a great linguist, but both can learn something, both can improve their grasp of the difficult subject. There are probably few readers of these pages who have not in their school days overcome just such handicaps in some particular subject of study.