I can see no advantage to be gained by tobacco; and you will find that it administers to your comfort, and that is the only advantage that it has. This in itself is a very damaging kind of an advantage, as, without advancing your object, it endangers your freedom, as all comforts do.
By all means cultivate this and in every form possible, but even here have an eye to moderation. Do not develop your heart and lungs to such an extent that, when you have taken up a more sedentary life later, they will suffer a reaction. Almost all the great athletes suffer a few years’ discomfort while adjusting themselves to a less athletic existence than was theirs in college. Therefore, be moderate and specialize in this, so that in after life you may do what you are best fitted for, and in the attainment of athletic success make a test case of your proficiency of attainment. Do not fear to be prodigal of energy concentrated on the right thing.
In fixing up your room, your house, or personal surroundings, have good, comfortable furniture for rest and for work, but not for show. Be simple, even to the extent of being severe. The fewer things you have, the better off you are. Shun all other possessions as the devil would holy water. Have nothing that is not for a definite purpose and that you do not actually use. The criterion to be applied to these is not what you can find use for, but what you cannot get along without. A traveller who knows his business can travel on very slender baggage, and be perfectly comfortable and clean. Consider yourself a traveller through this world, and study to cut down your baggage. Thus you will avoid dissipation, and keep your freedom.
Yes. Do not be afraid to cultivate the artistic. It is a card thrown to the discard, but one which you cannot regret. Do not have too many. A jumble of pictures is not what you want, but a few good ones. Only beware lest a craze for expensive pictures overtake you, which would interfere with your more definite object. If, however, your career lies in the line of the artistic, the purchase and collection of fine pictures come well within the golden things passed by our touchstone. Many men get a craze after the futile,—a hobby it is usually called; and they will dissipate great amounts of energy in collecting such things as postage-stamps, post-marks, or some other object of little use, and at great expense of time and money.
If you allow such things to distract your attention from your object, you may lose it entirely, just as you lose sight of something in the hands of a conjurer who has succeeded in directing your attention to something of momentary interest. In this connection it is well to say that the habit of spending must be avoided. Let a large expenditure be a circumstance. You can afford, however, to spend money on charities even to the point of dissipation. It is a cultivation of the heart. It might prove a career; and so, before your object is chosen, you approach it, as a possibility, afterward, as a card for the discard, in either case creditable.