What is Success?

It is a good thing for young folks to get it straight in their minds what success in. If they think it’s money, they’ll probably be “dead failures.” Real success does not mean wealth. Whoever thinks of George Washington because he made money ? Yet the father of his country was considered a rich man in his time. And there were George W. Childs and Frederick Douglas who died the other day. Who thinks of asking how much money they left? And there is Gladstone, who knows whether he was a rich man or not ?

All of these men are considered successful because they have done a great deal of good for the community in which they lived. They made the most of the talent with which God entrusted them, and did what they considered right. According to that standard anybody may be a success. A carpenter or a farmer, or a mill girl or a houseworker is a success when he or she is honest and upright and tries to do his or her best.

One of the very best mottoes for a boy or girl to hang up in his workshop is the one Oliver Wendell Holmes, the gentle autocrat, gave some girls who were reading his poetry and who wrote him a few days befoe his death : Be in earnest : work hard.”

Mary E. J. Kelley, 1898

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