THE SECOND TEANSITION PERIOD.
It is the pushing fellows who get well to the front.--William Black
The tricky, underhanded individual pays higher for all he gets.
--W. M. Thackeray
A man ought to be something more than the son of his father.
--J. Staples White
Honor and shame from
o condition rise;
Act well your part, there all the honor lies.--Pope
The darkest hour in the life of any young man is when he sits down to
study how to get money without honestly earning it.--Horace Greeley
If we have seen that the first transition period in life is that which
marks the passing of the child into the youth, then we may safely speak
of the second transition period as that which marks the passing of the
youth into the man.
Usually there is involved in this change the leaving of the parental
home; the selecting of a business or profession; and, sometimes, the
establishment of a new home, and the assuming of the cares of family
life. It is, therefore, of importance that we should guard all the
several interests of this period with more than ordinary care, and
especially that we should acquaint ourselves with those facts and
principles which have successfully guided others through a similar
First of all we must make a careful study of our possibilities. Young
men are constantly worrying lest they be failures and nonentities. Every
man will count for all he is worth. There is as steady and constant a
ratio between what a man is, and what he can accomplish, as there is
between what a ton of dynamite is, and what it can accomplish. There is
as much a science of success as there is a science of mathematics. A
great deal depends on the matter of laying in supplies, accumulating
primary stuff. A man is never too young to have that fact put before
him, and never too old to have it rehearsed. He will understand and
appreciate the truth of it before he gets through life; and it is a
great pity for him not to have, at least, a little appreciation of it
near the beginning, so as to frame his initial years in accordance with
Let, therefore, nothing escape your observation--deem nothing below your
notice. Dive into all depths, and explore all hidden recesses that will
render you a master of every department of any business or profession
you may engage in. The man who can render himself generally useful has
always a better chance of getting on in the world. Whatever you
thoroughly acquire will be a source of satisfaction and profit to you
throughout your future life. It will save you many an anxious hour by
day, and many a restless one by night. Remember that the whole is made
up of parts, and that the parts must be well understood before you can
master the whole. You will never be able to manage your business
successfully without a thorough knowledge of it in all its details.
Resolve, therefore, at the very commencement of your career, to acquire
Young people sometimes say, "I shall never get an opportunity of showing
what is in me, for every business is now so crowded." Shakespeare has
answered this when he said, "There is a tide in the affairs of men,
which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." As a matter of fact
opportunities come to all, but all are not ready for them when they
come. Successful men are those who prepare themselves for all
emergencies, and take advantage of the occasion when the favorable time
A good many young men excuse themselves from ever becoming anything, or
doing anything, by the fact that they always live where it is low tide.
Perhaps that is because it is always low tide where they live. At any
rate, the more we learn of the history of the men who have succeeded,
the more apparent it becomes that if they were born in low water, they
patched up their tattered circumstances, and beat out to sea on a tide
of their own making.
If you would be a success in the business world, then you must master
everything that you lay your hands upon. Bear in mind that this is your
own interest, as well as your duty toward your employer. Think nothing
below your attention; do not be afraid of drudgery. Investigate all,
comprehend all, grasp all, and master all. Business, like an ingenious
piece of machinery, is made up of many complicated parts. Analyze it,
therefore, thoroughly search all its parts, and know for yourself how
they are put together.
You may cherish the hope that you will one day be an employer yourself.
It would be very desirable if we could repose unlimited confidence in
the words and acts of our fellow-men; but, unfortunately, the condition
of the world is not as yet sufficiently advanced to enable us to do so.
Where you will find one that you can trust, you will find many that need
watching. If you should be unacquainted with some of your business
details, you must trust to others, and may in consequence be deceived. A
few months of careful attention to it at the commencement of your career
will secure you against deception throughout the whole of your life as
Then you must also be careful to remember that dividends in life are not
paid until the investment of personal effort has been made. Sowing still
antedates reaping; and the amount sowed determines pretty closely the
size of the harvest. Whether it be young men or wheat fields the
interest can be depended upon to keep up with the capital, and empty
barns in October are the logical consequence of empty furrows in spring.
The young man may as well understand that there are no gratuities in
this life, and that success is never reached "across lots."
Success means, all the way through to the finish, a victory over
difficulties; and if the young aspirant lacks the grit to face and down
the difficulty that happens to confront him at the start, there is
little reason to expect that his valor will show to any better advantage
in his encounter with enemies that get in his way later.
Young men are apt to imitate each other. Let your conduct be such as to
bear imitation; otherwise you will lead those who are younger than you
to form injurious habits, and be the means of leading them away from the
path of duty. It is an obligation you owe your seniors. In the discharge
of their duties they will have to depend upon you to a certain extent;
and if your part is not properly performed, the whole system must
unavoidably suffer derangement.
If the mind is temperate in feeling, deliberate in choosing, and robust
in its willing, character becomes set and enduring. If, on the contrary,
feeling is volatile, choice fickle, and the will flabby, one quality
after another awakens momentary admiration and impulse; ideals succeed
each other as the vanishing visions of a dream; life is passed in a
state of perpetual inward contradiction; and failure, both for
yourselves and for your imitators, is almost sure to follow.
No young man can remain long in this unsettled or transition state; but
he must become _something_. You will therefore do well to be
careful how you tread this probationary ground; for it is really the
one great opportunity of your lives so far as concerns the formation of
your general characters. Use it thoughtfully and well, and your manhood
will be stronger, richer, and more helpful, all through your later