The proverb means that a man who is constantly changing his vocation, who cannot stick to a particular job, will never win success. A stone is covered with green moss when it remains fixed at one spot; similarly, if a man remains steady at his job, he will soon be permanent and confirmed there and that is the way to success. For hereby he wins experience, knows his defects and shortcomings, tries to remove them and thus improve.

Success in life does not, come easily for the mere asking. It has to be won by the hard work and resolute application. The proverb, therefore, gives us a warning to the unstable character who loses heart easily and for want of fixity of purpose and devotion, changes his profession very often.

Rabindranath has said, “Let fresh obstacles come again and yet again: I will receive the blow and remain unmoved.” For the acquisition of this virtue, one is to have a singleness of aim. Our life should be an organised effort to achieve a definite aim. A man who has no aim in life is always rolling from one job to another and he can never win his goal. It is necessary to be patient and persevering.

Failures, as the proverb says, are only pillars of success. Therefore, one must never feel discouraged by failures, but one should try and try again. This means one must preserve at one’s job till success is achieved. Otherwise, one shall have to roll from pillar to post and post to pillar and move like a floating isle without striking any root. It is no use becoming a beautiful blossom that never opens into flower.


Of course, all this depends on two basic requirements. The first is to have a proper assessment of one’s own power and mental preference. The choice of a job must not be made on a mere whim or a chance suggestion. It has to be made after a proper evaluation of one’s capacity and resources. This is by no means an easy task. The second requirement is to have a certain degree of foresight. One must have a clear perspective of what is possible and what is not.

To be always changing one’s position or one’s job wins neither respect nor success. This naturally produces an adverse reaction.

But this should not lead one to think that the first choice is to be the last choice. A man learns by trial and error. So a wrong choice should not be adhered to when things are uncongenial. Dynamism or mobility is the hallmark of modem life. So Stephen Leocock suggests that if one finds a job or better scope and prospect, later on, one should avail oneself of that opportunity.

To sum up, one should in the first place, make a correct estimate of one’s taste, temperament and capacity and shape one’s aim in life accordingly. Having done this, one should stick to it with unflinching courage and devotion. Neither failure nor obstacles should discourage or deter him and make him give up the struggle for the attainment of his goal. Let us keep in mind the words of the English poet—


‘Say not the struggle naught availeth.’