WHAT IS A SUCCESSFUL LIFE?
What is a successful life? A few moments' thought will convince us that the question is by no means an easy one to answer. We say this, that, or the other man is successful, but what do we mean by it? One man has houses and lands, has a large bank account, drives fast horses and has many apparent friends, such a man is accounted successful. Yet all of these things that minister to his pleasure have been acquired by unremitting labor, by hard, avaricious dealings with his fellow-men, by trampling upon the hearts and affections of thousands; in the face of these facts is the man a successful one? The question will be answered differently, according; to the views of life of the one answering it. Some think wealth is the only measure of success no matter how attained. Such people have tuned their psalm of life very low. Such people will read the grand tragedies of Shakespeare and remember only this line, “Put money in thy purse.” The horizon of their lives is bounded with dollars and the chink of silver is more melodious to them than the symphonies of Mozart. The man who becomes wealthy is in a measure successful, but only so far as the acquirement sharpens his intellect, broadens his powers, and develops him into a self-reliant, powerful member of society for its good. Selfish wealth is never good. One may be a millionaire, but if with it comes greed, avarice, oppression of others, the success is small indeed. Scattered along the path of life we find examples of men whose success brought them fame and glory and proved an unqualified blessing to all mankind. . . . [Scientist Louis] Aggasiz was at one time importuned to go upon the lecture platform and make money out of his vast knowledge as a naturalist. His reply will be ever memorable: “I have no time to make money.” Such a man would be hooted at on Wall Street by the men who speculate in the earnings of others and imagine themselves the great business men of this age. Yet whose success...
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