Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Bad Roads.
    Do not forever be talking "hard times."  So
surely as you do, times will never be easy
with you, however prosperity may come to others.
    I have never yet seen great success crown the
efforts of a man who was constantly talking of the
terrible condition of the business world.
    You must realize that there are a lot of things
which need righting before absolute prosperity can
come to any, save the few who are in the foremost
ranks.  You do well to know this, and to use all
your influence to bring about a reform.  If you are
a lecturer, a preacher or a writer on political mat-
ters, you will naturally make it the theme of your
discourse; but even then you will do well to portray
the good that might and will result from different
conditions of government, rather than to dwell upon
the evil in the present system.
    Evil thrives by being talked about.  If you are a
business man, refuse to talk poverty, depressed
markets, injustice and monopoly.  Just so sure as
you harp upon these themes, you will remain under
a ban of them as long as you live.
    Declare yourself stronger that all the evil condi-
tions which you encounter.  No matter how absurd
this may seem upon the face of it, DO IT.  Recall
the fact that you are ten thousand times better
enabled to rise above the worst evils which exist to-
day in our land than are the oppressed people in
other countries, and remember that, no matter how
some of the rich oppress some of the poor to-day, it
is no comparison to the terrible state of affairs which
existed before the French Revolution.
    In every sense, the world is better than it ever
was before.  This does not signify that it is as good
as it can be, or that we should be satisfied with the
injustice which we know is to be found in every part
of our social structure.
    But it signifies that we should be philanthropical
and optimistic.  We should realize that great
reforms move slowly, and that to sit down and curse
the world and rail at the whole universe and harp
upon the terrible condition of "business" is a waste
of time and nerve force, besides being senseless and
    It is about as sensible as it would be if you were
driving a heavy load to market over a bad road, to
sit down by the side of the highway and curse the
ruts and the road-masters, and make no effort either
to mend the roads or to get over them.
    The wise man looks for the best way to get
around the gullies and ruts.   When his team shows
signs of fatigue, he stops and fills in a rut where he
can with sticks and soil, or puts up a sign to warn
others of danger.  Then he pushes ahead, taking
note of the best route, and sending word to the
public that the road needs attention.  But all the
time he keeps pressing on toward market, and finds
a way to reach his goal, while his pessimistic neigh-
bor sits by the roadside and curses.
    The roads were never mended and the market
never reached by such men.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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