“Great God, man! of course I am afraid,” replied the other. “And if you were one-half as afraid as I am, you would turn and run.”
Here we have the discrimination between real courage and mere foolhardiness or recklessness. There are some vocations which require courage. There are others which require an element of recklessness. It requires courage to drive the locomotive of a railroad train at a speed of eighty miles an hour, but it also requires caution, prudence, watchfulness, and even apprehension.
In a western factory men were wanted for an important job, one in which a moment’s carelessness in the handling of levers might cost a dozen fellow workmen their lives. “Find me,” said the superintendent, “the most careful men you can get. I do not want anyone dumping damage suits on the company.” The employment department found the very careful men, but none of them were satisfactory; they were all so careful that they made no speed, and soon had to be relieved for this reason, and because the constant nervous strain was too much for them. Here was a kind of work requiring a certain cool, calm, deliberate recklessness. Men were found with steady nerves, keen eyesight, quick reaction time, and smooth co-ordination of muscular action, together with a moderate degree of cautiousness. These men liked the work for the very tingle of the danger in it. They swung their ponderous machines to their tasks with a sureness of touch and a swiftness of operation which not only delighted the superintendent, but inspired confidence in their fellow workers.
INDICATIONS OF COURAGE AND CAUTION
If you are brunette, with small, sway-back or snub nose, narrow, rounded chin, and a tendency to disturbances of the circulation; if your head is narrow at the sides and high and square behind, look for a vocation where caution is a prime requisite, but do not get yourself into situations where you will have to fight or where there is so much risk that your natural apprehensiveness will cause you to worry and lie awake nights.
Contrary wise, if your chin is broad and prominent, your head is wide above the ears, low and round behind, and rather short; especially if you are a blonde, with a large nose, high in the bridge, and a big rounded dome just above the temples, select for yourself a vocation where success depends upon a cheerful willingness to take a chance. You may blunder into a tight situation now and then, and you will occasionally make a bad guess and lose thereby, but you will not be inclined to worry and you will greatly enjoy the give and take of the fight by means of which you will extricate yourself from undesirable situations.
QUICKNESS OR SLOWNESS OF THOUGHT AND ACTION
If you are of the thoughtful, philosophical type, instead of the keen, alert, practical type, don’t attempt to win success in any vocation requiring quick thought and quick decision. You like to reason things out; you want to know why before you go ahead. Your success lies in lines which require slow, thoughtful, careful reasoning, mature deliberation, and an ability to plod diligently through masses of facts and arguments.