Those who have left school at an early age on account of restlessness should take very seriously to heart the fates of tens of thousands of men and women before them who have done the same thing and who have made a failure of their lives, because they did not have sufficient education and training with which to realize their aspirations.
It has been frequently remarked that this is a commercial age. Our great captains of industry, our multi-millionaires, have, most of them, made their fortunes in commerce. This is an age, perhaps—especially in the United States—which rather makes a hero of the business man. For this reason there are many who are ambitious for commercial success. Every year thousands upon thousands of young men and women leave school in order to enter business. By a very natural psychological paradox, there seems to be a fascination about commerce and finance for many young people who have little aptitude for these vocations. Many people, feeling their deficiencies, yearn to convince themselves and others that they are not deficient. It is only another phase of the fatality with which a Venus longs to be a Diana and a Minerva a Psyche. Thousands enter business who have no commercial or financial ability. They cannot know the requirements; they cannot understand the fundamental principles of business. Commercially they are babes in the woods. Therefore they go down to bankruptcy and insolvency, to their great detriment and to the injury of many thousands of others.
These young people are too impractical for business. They may have a theoretical understanding of it, and an intellectual desire to succeed. But, as a result of their impractical type of mind, they neglect details, they overlook important precautions, they are, oftentimes, too credulous, too easily influenced. They usually make poor financiers; they do not make collections well; they are incautious in extending credit and in maintaining their own credit; often they are inefficient and wasteful in management; they do not take proper account of all the costs in fixing prices; they enter into foolish contracts; make promises which they are unable to keep, and oftentimes, as a result of too great optimism, undertake far more than is commercially feasible.
The same strange quirk in human nature which takes the impractical into the marts, takes many ambitious but inherently unfit into art and literature. The stage-struck girl who has not one scintilla of dramatic ability is so common as to be a joke—to all but herself and her friends. Every editor is wearied with his never-ending task of extinguishing lights which glow brightly with ambition but have no gleam of the divine fire. Teachers of art and music, both in this country and abroad, are threatened with insanity because of the hordes of young men and