hat do you believe to be
The Object of Life
of your life?
To be happy and successful, per-
haps you are thinking, even if you
do not answer in those words.
That is the idea of the many.
Meanwhile others, who have been educated in the
melancholy faith of their ancestors, believe the
object of this life is to be miserable, poor, and
full of sorrow, that they may wear a crown of
But the clear thinker and careful observer
must realize that there is one and only one main
object in life--the building of character.
He who sets out in early youth with that
ambition and purpose, and keeps to it, will not
only attain his object, but he will, too, attain
happiness and true success--for there is no such
thing as failure for the man or woman of char-
We often apply the two words character and
We speak of a man of "much character"
when he is merely self-assertive and stubborn,
and we call a man successful, who has accumu-
lated a fortune, or achieved fame and a position,
by doubtful methods.
Then what is character, and what is success?
Character is the result of the cultivation of
the highest and noblest qualities in human
nature, and putting those qualities to practical
Success is the conquest of the lower and baser
self, and the ability to be useful to one's fellow
There are men of brain, wealth and position
who are failures, and there are men of limited
abilities and in humble places who are yet suc-
cessful, inasmuch as they make the utmost of
themselves, and their opportunities.
It makes no difference how lowly your sphere
in life may be, and no matter how limited your
environment, you can build your character if
you will. You need no outlay of money, no
assistance from those in power, no influence.
Character Building must be done alone, and
by yourself. The ground must be cleansed of
debris, and the structure must be erected stone
It is dull, slow, hard work, especially the
All preparation is drudgery.
When this little whirling globe of ours began
to cool in space think what a task lay before it!
Think of the mass of chaos, which had to slowly
shape itself into mighty, green, glad and snow-
capped mountains, fertile vales, and noble forests.
Each one of us is a little world, whirling
alone on an individual orbit, but the divine
power is within us, to grow into symmetry,
beauty, and perfection if we only realize it.
And the happiness of the work, once we begin
it, is beyond the power of description.
There is no other satisfaction can compare
with that of looking back across the years and
finding that you have grown in self-control, in
charity of judgment, in a sense of justice, in gen-
erosity, and in unselfishness.
If you are conscious of this growth, let no lack
of material success for one moment disturb you.
That will come, enough for your need, in time.
The man of symmetrically developed charac-
ter is never a pauper.
He is never dependent for more than a tem-
To possess character is to be useful, and to
be useful is to be independent, and to be useful
and independent, is to be happy, even in the
midst of sorrow; for sorrow is not necessarily
The man who has made the development of
a noble and harmonious character the business
of his life, accepts his sorrows as means of greater
growth, and finds in them an exaltation of spirit
which is closely allied to happiness.
To such a nature, absolute wretchedness
would only be possible through the loss of self-
respect; the lowering of an ideal or the failure
of a principle.
Would you be happy and successful? Then
set yourself to build character.
Seek to be worthy of your own highest com-
The Heart of the New Thought by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago : The Psychic Research Company, c1902.