If we have a big idea we take it to a big man—the man of vision. Anything less is to putter around aimlessly. The bigger he is, the more democratic. He will not look for imperfections in our personal make-up when we show him the new process we have discovered.
To be democratic is a triumph of the soul—tending to bring us in close touch with the throbbing heart of humanity. There is no isolation for those of unaffected charm and manner—no barrier in the way of friendship worth having. It is our lack of judgment if we hide ourselves so that we cannot be approached. No matter how high we rise, for the sake of our own brains we must allow men of ideas to get to us. We must not allow our minds to become stagnant. If we fail to get into daily contact with other people, we soon grow dull and uninteresting even to ourselves. Great men may have no time to fritter away but they have plenty of leisure for men worth while—the pushers and the thinkers.
A democratic spirit does not come to the selfish man. He is absorbed in himself and is quite a hopeless case. He is a natural born faultfinder and grouchy by nature. For him life holds no joy save the one in sight. Taking the big look at the man of this type we can only be sorry for him because of his lack of early training. He started off on the wrong foot and thereafter drifted along. Seldom do we overcome the habits with which we arrive at man’s estate. Those who do are entitled to a right hand seat among the chosen.
Being democratic is another phrase for being human and kind. It means that we ought to be able to see behind every face and find the truth of that individual’s existence. It means that life is largely a matter of how we look at it and being human is one way to get the proper slant at things.
The human mind has great adaptive power and can be molded into a thousand ways of thinking. The intelligent man, the man who has taken stock of himself, is able to smile and extend a hearty handclasp whether he feels tip-top or not. He doesn’t have to look glum simply because the world hasn’t thrown itself at his feet. He has only to persevere and success will come eventually.
We must correct our failings as we go along or we will slip down into the rut and stay there. It is a simple matter to be good natured and full of the zest of life if we poise ourselves right—keep ourselves democratic. It is this great soul quality which brings us true friends and boosts us into the fulfillment of our ambitions. Then we may truly laugh and live.
SELF-EDUCATION BY GOOD READING
The character of a man expresses itself by the books he reads. Every well-informed man since the invention of printing has been a close reader of a few books that stand out from among the many. We read of Lincoln devouring the few books he had, over and over again and studying from cover to cover and word for word the Webster’s dictionary of his day. We know that Grant had his favorite volumes from which he drew inspiration and solace. These men made eternal friends of certain great thinkers and drank in their learning with all the fervor of their natures.