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Why the Little Wedge of Discouragement Attracts
the Largest Number of Victims
By ORISON SWETT MARDEN
CARTOON BY GORDON ROSS
OMEWHERE I have seen a picture called for nothing tells so quickly in one's appearance "The Devil's Auction,” in which, from and manner, or hinders so much in getting work,
among many other articles, the devil, as as a depressed mentality. In this condition, he auctioneer, exhibits a small wedge with a very was an easy mark for the devil; and when the sharp edge. This he is said to prize above all his temptation came to rob in order to relieve his other tools, because he has caught more victims necessities he yielded. “I believe we all make with it than with any of his other devices.
our unfortunate slips, our bad breaks,” he wrote, We all know what this insidious wedge is, for “when we are in a discouraged, despondent state. there is no one who has not at some time in his Then, to get rid of our anxieties, our pressing life made its acquaintance. It is called Dis- necessities, we are willing to do almost anything." couragement.
Although this young man is filled with remorse The devil holds that this is the only thing he for what he has done, and is resolved to redeem can insert in the average mind almost without his one lapse from the straight path of honor notice; that, in fact, one is unconscious of the when he leaves prison, yet he will never be able to entry of the thin sharp edge of the wedge. But wipe out wholly the record of his crime. This after it has once entered he can make his victim is the most terrible thing about discouragement: do anything he pleases. When a person is onco once you allow yourself to yield completely to its thoroughly discouraged, the devil has little depressing influence you are liable to do somedifficulty in urging him to do some desperate thing that you never can undo, something that thing that will mar or utterly ruin his whole life. you will unavailingly regret to the end of your
days. ISCOURAGEMENT is at the bottom of
more failures, more crime and misery, HE devil watches his opportunity to get his more broken hearts, more ruined lives, more victims at a disadvantage, when they are suicides, than any other one thing. As author down and out, or suffering in some way. He and magazine editor, I receive more letters from knows that it is no use to tackle a man when he is people suffering from this form of mental disease fit, when he is courageous, energetic, and am-chronic discouragement is a disease—than bitious--full of life and enthusiasm, working are written to me any other subject. with a will at his life task, or preparing with high Not long ago a letter
hopes to enter his from a young man who
chosen career,- so he was then undergoing a FIND letters from God
times his attacks until jail sentence for rob
he can get him when bery, told me that it dropped in the street- he is down and out discouragement
mentally. That is the and every one is signed by that had driven him to
time he spreads black crime. He had a wife God's name, and I leave pictures before his eyes and child dependent them where they are; for I
and whispers in his ear on him when he lost
words of discouragehis job, and nothing know that whereso'er I go, ment, when he tells laid by for a rainy day.
him that there is no others will punctually come, Discouragement
use in struggling hold of him, and, no forever and ever.
against fate, that the doubt, had a great deal
only way out of the to do with his failure
difficulty that conto get another position,
fronts him is the way
he points out. No psychologist in this world no other way out of their trouble, whatever it
aminations, or is afraid he will; the business man It is estimated that the average number of who in a financial crisis sees failure and ruin
ahead of him; the talented young artist who
they had absolute faith-the list is as
The number who cut themselves off
learned trades and professions, and persuades
"Here it is! Discouragement! My most valuable possession!”
suicides in the en
tire civilized world each year is one million; and it is safe to say that nine out of ten of this appalling number are driven to self-destruction by discouragement. Day after day, in the newspapers of every great city, we read of men, women, and even children who, under the influence of the devil's prompting, could see
students to leave their half-learned art to try
He has induced people in every field to quit
making them believe they were on the wrong him. Unless he turns about face, shuts out the track, and that somewhere else, in some other devil and his wedge, and finds the God in himself field, they would have a better chance. So he there is no hope for him. has kept people moving about all over the world, shifting, changing, never finding the satisfaction 0 and happiness they crave because they are round age or sex or condition, you can regain your pegs in square holes.
lost hope and courage. You can drive out fear,
worry, the “blues,” all forms of discouragement, ISCOURAGEMENT is a disease that is all the enemies of your success and happiness, by
universal in some form. Everybody in claiming your divine inheritance and asserting greater or less degree is the victim of its poison. your kinship with God. I frequently get letters from young men and The Creator never made any one to be a cowwomen on the threshold of their active careers, ard, to run away from difficulties. It is only the with fine possibilities ahead of them, telling me devil's wedge that does that. We were made to how discouraged they are. A recent one from a hold up our heads, to look the world in the face young woman, after detailing a pitiful list of her without flinching, to conquer every difficulty troubles and discouragements, the things which that opposes us in our efforts to do the thing we she says are keeping her down and making her were sent here to do. We were made to succeed prematurely old, closes with, “Yours from the in our work, to be happy in it, and if we depths of the blues.”
fail, it is because we turn coward in the battle Now, people who live in “the depths of the of life; for it is cowardice, lack of faith in blues” are sure marks for the devil's wedge. Our the Creator, that drives people to despair and habitual moods have everything to do with our suicide. success, and the man or woman who encourages No matter how depressing your present condithe "blues" instead of driving them away is tion, or what your troubles, if you take your bidding for failure. Encouraging the “blues" higher self, the or woman God made you usually ends in chronic discouragement, and to be for your guide, you can recover your footing, when any one allows himself to fall into this state, you can be the brave, successful, happy being no one outside of himself can do anything for the Creator planned.
DON'T PUT OFF
\HE hard problem, the tough job. Tackle it first.
Writing to your mother or father, or brother or sister, and in other ways showing your affection for them.
The putting on of new clothes. Don't put off putting up a good front, making a good appearance that will tally with the thing you are after in life.
Keeping fit, looking after your physical and mental welfare.
The daily bath and the perfect grooming of yourself.
Self-improvement. While it is never too late to learn, it is better to begin early.
Attending to your friendships. Friends will leave us if we give them no attention, and one of the greatest regrets of multitudes of men, as they near the end of life, is that they have put off their friendships--put off cultivating them while they were making money.
Getting acquainted with your family, giving time to your children, showing interest in their sport
How Leigh Hunt, Admiral Farragut, Salmon P. Chase, David
Livingston, Karl Harriman, Peter Clark MacFarlane and Others Who Became Successful Started for Their Goals
By WILLIAM L. STIDGER
OU'RE fired!' said the managing editor of dig out for myself. I went to Philadelphia and a newspaper in Detroit, Michigan, to a applied for a job with a publishing house in that young fellow, several years ago.
city, and, in a few years' time, Mr. Edward Bok The man who was thus suddenly informed invited me to be the managing editor of The that fate no longer wanted him around these Ladies' Home Journal. parts as a substantial part of the pay roll grinned. “So that's why you believe now that the
He grinned just as some men grin when they managing editor did you a good turn when he face their executioner, but his heart was as fired you?" I asked, with a smile of underheavy as a three-ton truck. He had been standing. married only a month. All during that month, “I sure do!” in the enthusiasm of youthful optimism, he “Did you at the time you were fired?” casually informed his wife that the next move for “No! I considered it a great calamity then. him would probably be the city-editor's desk. That's why I am anxious to tell others that Instead, the next move was through the front getting fired from that job was the best trick door.
that fate ever played me.” "But it was the best thing that ever happened "You were, then, literally and figuratively to me!” this same man said to me a few days ago, kicked into your little kingdom here in this as I sat in his office in Chicago. He is Karl office, weren't you?" Harriman, now editor of the Red Book Jagazine, "Kicked is right; kicked just like the boy with supervision over two other magazines. peeping under the tent when along came, a
"Why do you consider being fired such a circus roustabout and, the first thing the boy glorious experience?" I asked him.
knew, he was sitting in the lap of a clown: 'How "Because, if I hadn't been fired I would be did you get here? asked the clown. 'I was writing copy to-day for that paper at a meager kicked in,' answered the boy. “Then in you selary. As it was, being fired compelled me to stay!' said the clown. 'You are my guest from
now on.' That boy, I would say, was, to use Goethals when he took the sea trip for his your phrase, literally 'kicked into a boy's king- health. “It was only to get rid of a serious dom.'” Thus spake the editor from his little malady that threatened my life. In fact I room on the top floor of a big Chicago office- didn't know what I was to do. I was blue and building.
discouraged, with no money and no possibility of His is truly a little kingdom. The bell rang going back to preaching, because of my health. and in came an artist. The decision as to When we landed in Panama, I decided to have a whether an illustration should be cut for two talk with Goethals, if that were possible. It pages or run clear across double pages was made was. I landed a real interview. It won attenin a few seconds, and made by the editor. A tion, and then came others. They were folyoung woman entered.
"Mr. Blank, to see lowed by stories and books." you."
.” I recognized the name as that of a well- “So you, too, were ‘kicked into your kingknown author.
dom' by fate?” I said to him. It was fascinating to watch Karl Harriman at “I certainly was! And I still bear the prints work, and to realize that, as is the case of any of the hobnails on my anatomy!” he said with a successful editor, more than a million people are grin. a part of his kingdom; a part of his audience; a “So far as that is concerned,” said Macpart of his congregation; a part of his political Farlane, "Theodore Roosevelt, was 'kicked into constituency; a part of his great group of his kingdom' too, by fate.” unknown.
“What do you mean; into the Presidency?” His is truly a little kingdom of power, and he I asked him. had been kicked into it.
“No, I wasn't thinking of that. I was thinking
of the time he suddenly faced the fact that he How Peter Clark MacFarlane Left
was a weakling, physically, and bad to go West the Ministry
for his health. That was the turning point in KNOW a successful writer. He is Peter Roosevelt's career. He told me so himself; so
Clark MacFarlane. Fate kicked him out of bad health literally kicked him in, too!" the theater. He was an actor. As he walked home he saw a little church boarded up, a sign
Leigh Hunt and Farragut Were Misfits on the front door stating that the church was \HEN, I thought of Leigh Hunt. He had closed because it didn't have a preacher.
been a misfit through all his early days. In MacFarlane had always had a hankering to school and college, he was one of the men who preach, so he hunted up the deacons and said didn't fit in. A sudden sickness came while he that he would fill the pulpit until they could was in New York. It was a sickness that was engage a regular preacher. He captivated the accompanied by terrible suffering. But he says congregation, and the result was that he became of this sickness in his autobiography: “One a successful preacher. Then fate gave him great benefit resulted to me from this suffering. another kick. This time it was sickness, and he It gave me an amount of reflection, such as, in all landed in Panama where he interviewed George probability, I never should have had without it. W. Goethals, the engineer who built the Panama It taught me patience, it taught me charity, it Canal. It was the first time that the great taught me the worth of little pleasures, as well as American had ever been successfully interviewed, the utility and dignity of great pains; it taught although many magazines had made an attempt. that evil itself contains good.”
MacFarlane was a sick man. He had to have This sickness made Leigh Hunt. It changed a sea voyage for a rest. His friend, Captain his life. Yardley, then commanding a small coast-wise
, said, AVID FARRAGUT was kicked into his “Bring your family and take a trip with me down to Panama.”
He had been rather dissolute and careless, and "I had no idea he would take me up,” Captain held the idea that a real seaman must be a Yardly told me, as I talked with him in San swearing tyrant. According to an old story of Francisco. “But, when the ship was ready to his early life, his father called him into his own sail, Peter showed up with his whole family. cabin after turning everybody else out, and, They were a great crowd. I remember that the locking the door, remarked: children told the passengers their father was the “David, what do you mean to be?" janitor of a New York apartment house. That "I mean to follow the sea.” was their idea of a man of power.”
"Follow the sea!" said his father. “Be a MacFarlane had no idea of interviewing poor, miserable, drunken sailor before the mast,