“Why, all men strive and who succeeds?” asks Browning. Every man wants to have success in life, but few are able to achieve it. Those who fail are in the habit of attributing their failure to bad luck, to unfavorable circumstances, to the hostility of enemies, to everything except their own defects and shortcomings. Yet if we study our own lives impartially, we will have to admit that our failures are mostly due to our personal defects and seldom to external circumstances. The age-old doctrine is that if we are able to know our own merits and demerits we should be able to correct our defects.
Self-confidence is essential for success “Self-trust”, said Emersion, “is the first secret of success”. We must have confidence in our capacity to triumph over all obstacles. Timidity and nervousness lead to hesitancy.
Another quality that goes hand in hand with self-confidence is the possession of a strong will and determination. If we have will, we will find the way to do a thing. We must summon all our powers, physical and mental, and bring them to bear on the performance of a work. It there is this single-minded devotion, success is bound to come.
Of course, success can come in those fields of life in which one’s aptitudes find sufficient scope and one’s ambition is related to one’s powers and parts. Therefore, we must know how to choose our vocation, according to our taste and temperament, our capability. We must have pleasure in our work. Often failures in life come through a mistaken choice of life’s vocation. If we are able to choose our career according to our natural inclinations, the chances of success are very bright.
Another important quality is to know and seize an opportunity when it comes our way. If we let opportunity pass, another may not come for years.
Man is the architect of his own destiny. A study of the lives of great men bears this out. Those who talk about destiny and the stare are only allowing external forces to get the better of us. The fact often is that most of us have not determination enough; the lives of most of us are full of hours spent in indolence, of opportunities wasted. Let us, therefore, if we want to succeed in life, fight with all our might against doctrines, which make us, lose self-confidence and destroy our initiative.
It is no use trying for the impossible. ‘One must not hitch one’s wagon to a star.’ The impracticable is undesirable. Everything in the world is worth attempting, if it lies outside the reach of a man.