Self-confidence in youth makes for self-confidence in after years. This is far from meaning that one can be brazen and inclined towards freshness and get away with it. It merely means the marshalling of one’s forces, the command of one’s self and the ability to make others recognize that we are on the map because we belong there. And one of the quickest ways to accomplish this is to have a smile tucked away for instant use. Again, this does not mean that we are to carry round a ready-to-wear grin which we wear only as we are ushered into the presence of another. A real smile, or a hearty laugh, is not to be counterfeited. We easily know the genuine from the spurious. A real laugh springs naturally out of a pure, unadulterated confidence and a good physical condition. What triumphs, what splendid battles, have been won through the ability to laugh at the right moment.
Whenever we find that we are losing our ability to smile let’s have no false notions. We are neglecting our physical well being. Let us then and there drop the sombre thoughts and get out into the open air. Run down the street and if possible out into the country. If we see a tree and have the inclination to climb it—well, then, climb it. If we are sensitive about what our neighbors might say—too bad! But we can romp with easy grace. If we but knew how gladly our neighbors would emulate our gymnastics if they knew the value of them the laugh would be on us for dreading their opinion. One thing we do know—they will envy us our good health and spirits.
PROFITING BY EXPERIENCE
Experience comes by contact. There is no way we can have experiences without passing directly through them. If we are up and doing they come thick and fast into our lives, some of them weighted down by the peculiar twists and turns of circumstances, others simple, easily understood, and still others complicated to the point of not being understood at all.
People are divided into two classes—those who profit by experience and those who do not. The unfortunate part of it all is that the latter class is by far the larger of the two.
The man of vigorous purpose, fine constitution, and the full knowledge of self, sees through an experience as clearly as through a window. The glass may be foggy, but he knows what lies beyond. Self-reliant and strong he seeks knowledge through experience, while the weak man, the unhealthy-minded, the inefficient, stands aside and gives him the right of way. In later years, however, they bitterly complain that they were not given the same chance to succeed.
The man of experience having long since passed through the stages of indecision has, through careful self-analysis learned to bridge difficulties that would make others tremble with fear. He knows that every lane has a turning. He may not see it at the moment. He may not know where it is. But that doesn’t worry him. He picks up his bundle and trudges ahead, confident that victory awaits him somewhere along the line.