Such visions of glory as obscured Larime Hutchinson’s sensible view of the practical world are, perhaps, common enough in adolescence, and, as a general rule, work no serious harm. There were, however, two fatal defects of character in this case. The first was that Larime continued to dream and to write what he thought was verse, when he ought to have been at work plowing corn, for he had qualities which, with industry, would have made him a successful farmer. Second, he was mentally too lazy for the drudgery even the greatest poet must perform if he is to perfect his technique.
The case of Marshall Mears, a young man who consulted us a few years ago with reference to his ambition to become a journalist and author, well illustrates a different phase of this same problem. This young man was of the tall, raw-boned, vigorous, active, energetic, industrious type. There was not a lazy bone in his body. In addition to his energy, he had unusual powers of endurance, so that he could work fifteen, eighteen, or twenty hours a day for weeks at a time without seeming to show any signs of fatigue. He was ambitious for success as a writer. He was willing to work, to work hard, to work long, to wait for recognition through years of constant effort. He had secured a fairly good education and, in many ways, seemed well fitted for the vocation he had chosen to pursue.
A careful examination, however, showed two fundamental deficiencies in Marshall Mears which training could only partially overcome. First, his was one of those narrow-gauge, single-track minds. He was incapable of any breadth of vision. His mind was completely obsessed with details. He would go to a lecture, or to a play, and invariably, instead of grasping the main argument of the lecture, or the lesson of the play, he saw only a few inconsequential details of action in the play, and remembered only