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Don’t Be In A Hurry, Young Gentlemen
by [?]

There are many young men on earth who fail because they lack ambition and determination to advance. There are many more whose trouble is hasty ambition. They fail to realize their present chances in their hurried reaching out for something better. You may see in any club, pool-room or other resort for wasting time crowds of young men smoking and deploring their lack of success.

“I’ve been working three years at the same job and the same salary,” one will say, “and I don’t see what chance I have for getting ahead.”

The young man who talks in this way does not realize that success depends on developing the qualities which are in him. He can develop them if he will, no matter what his place in the world. Once he is ready to do good work, once he is developed, the work will find him out. —-

When Napoleon Bonaparte was resting from his labors at St. Helena he used to tell this story:

“One day on parade a young lieutenant stepped out of the ranks much excited to appeal to me personally. He said to me that he had been a lieutenant for five years and had not been able to advance in rank. I said to him, ‘Calm yourself. I was seven years a lieutenant, and yet you see that a man may push himself forward, for all that.’ ” —-

Napoleon, when he preached this lesson to the young, dissatisfied officer, was the self-made Emperor of the French and of a great many other nations. He had come to Paris a thin, hollow-cheeked, under-sized boy from the conquered and despised island of Corsica. He stuck in the humble grade of lieutenant for seven years. When the time came he blossomed out.

When he was lieutenant he was developing himself. He studied and mastered the art of war. He wrote the history of Corsica, and no one would publish it. He wrote a drama which was never acted. He wrote a prize essay for the Academy of Lyons, and did not win the prize. On the contrary, his effort was condemned as incoherent and poor in style. These were a few failures; enough to make your ordinary young man throw up his hands and say: “I’ve done all I can do; now let the world look out for me.”

Just as he became hopeful about the future when he knew that he had real military genius, he was dismissed from the army, and his career seemed to be ended. He made the thin soup upon which he and his brother lived. He could afford to change his shirt only once a week. He said:

“I breakfasted off dry bread, but I bolted the door on my poverty.”

He kept at it, and all the time, successful or otherwise, he was developing himself. He developed into an emperor. Young men will please notice that fact, and the fact that Napoleon worked and tried under adversity and monotony instead of grumbling. —-

The newspaper reporter who does not get ahead very fast, the author whose manuscripts are treated as were Napoleon’s first efforts, may study with considerable profit a young American writer named Richard Harding Davis. That young man had been a reporter in Philadelphia for seven years when he went to work on a New York evening newspaper at a small salary. He had written and was writing some of his best stories, but could not get ahead, apparently. Nevertheless, he kept on trying, and developed himself. When other young men were busy talking about themselves or deploring their lot Davis was writing and grinding away out of working hours at the effort to get out and realize what was in him. He succeeded. —-

A few cases have been mentioned for young men to think over. They are selected at random. No young man need worry about himself so long as he can honestly say that he is doing his best.

Being in the same place at the same salary for seven years can do you no harm, if you are developing during that time what is in you. But you may well worry if you are drifting aimlessly, pitying yourself, making no effort. If your mind stays in the same spot for years, that is dangerous. But don’t worry about anything else.