Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Learn to Rely Upon Yourself.
    A young man in the morning of life has had
occasion to write me several letters, and in two
of these he has mentioned the possibilities of great
success which he saw before him were he the for-
tunate possessor of a few hundred dollars as capital.
    I suggested to this youth that his idea was not
new, and that it was shared by the majority of
human beings at the present time.
    There is scarcely an individual who does not
believe himself capable of achieving wonderful
things, provided he were able to invest a few hun-
dred or thousand dollars in his enterprise.
    The greater number of these individuals would
gladly mortgage property or name to secure a loan
of the amount they wish to invest, confident of
their ability to make a fortune.
    That is why so many attorneys are busy foreclos-
ing mortgages.
    When a man has half a million dollars, he does not
run a great risk if he borrows a quarter of a million
more; not so great a risk as the man worth nothing
who borrows $50 for investment in a "sure scheme."
    It is a misfortune for any young man to start out
in life with an idea that he can prop up his business
with borrowed money.
    It is only when a young man is in dire distress
that he should allow himself to lean upon the crutch
of a loan.  Such distress may come to the worthy
and industrious at times; they are financial invalids,
needing the temporary aid of the more fortunate.
Many a successful man in the world to-day has con-
tracted debts of this kind in early life--debts of
honor, whose payments helped lay the corner-stones
of character.
    But the youth who is forever wanting to speculate
on other people's money will never become a suc-
cessful man, and he will never build a strong-char-
acter for himself.
    Character must have for its foundation self-reli-
ance and self-denial.  We must learn how to go
without things, and to wait and work for them
before we are worthy of possessing them.
    The temporary pleasure and satisfaction which a
young man finds through borrowed capital, or the
success which may come to him through it, does not
teach him patience, persistence, industry, or econ-
omy, as a rule.  He is not made self-reliant.  Let
an emergency arise later in his career, and his first
thought is not what he can do, but what others can
do for him.
    The modern school of physical culture teaches
young people to avoid leaning even against a chair
back for support.  Every human being is given a
spine, and he should so sit or stand that his spine
supports the weight of the upper body.
    There is a moral as well as a physical spine.
Once we learn the art of leaning on our own
strength, we do not need the assistance of borrowed
    The young man who relies upon himself and his
Creator, who knows what he wants and why he
wants it, and who knows, too, how to wait, will soon
be in a position to lend, but he will never be in a
position where he needs to borrow.  When he learns
what riches lie in his own mind and how to utilize
them, he will not ask for what lies in his neigh-
bor's purse to aid him to success.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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