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Success

All men wish for success, I suppose; not all, however, wish to succeed in the same way, any more than they do in the same things, and what one might call success another might deem failure, for we all have different ambitions, and the reason of our desire to succeed in what we undertake may be a right or a wrong one; for instance, if we wish to succeed in our pursuits, because we love them, that is right enough, provided we never envy those who get on better than we do; but if we only wish to succeed in our efforts, so that we may be before others, then we may count our success as failure. To look down on those who cannot do so well as we, or who have not attained the same position in social life, shows an arrogant spirit, that is quite as bad as envy, and evinces a littleness of mind, perfectly incompatible with any real success. The question is, what do we mean by success? When a person speaks of a "successful man," what does he mean; I fear in most cases he means simply a man who has become very wealthy, a. millionaire, or a clever business man, one who, usually, has outdone his fellows in some way, and who has had his own interests paramount all his life; such a successful man would not see much success in the life of, let us say, some poor artist whose zeal was all taken up by the desire to represent Nature even more perfectly, even though he never were to find a buyer for even one picture; success in his art being all his anxiety, and that for the sake of art only; and the struggling artist would in his turn see nothing in the life of a millionaire to envy, as he has a higher goal before him, than the mere possession of money, his riches being an ever-widening perception of the beauties of Nature. All true artists have a higher goal than the ordinarily successful man, be they poets, painters, or musicians; for all of them are portraying in their various ways the beauties of life, and its mines of hidden wealth, hidden to the ordinary observer; but for those whose intellect and soul is able to see deeper into things than others, quite visible, and ready to hand to be explored. And these men are successful in a sense that the merely moneyed man has no idea of, and indeed are nearing the success that only is worth having, viz., that of a pure, unselfish, uncomplaining, contented life; that is what we should all be aiming for, and only in proportion as we attain to it have we any real right to call ourselves successful; and if our aim be continually that, we shall at length grow to it, because we shall convict ourselves of failure every time we complain of any! or are discontented with our lot in life, or wish for anything for ourselves only. Each time we find such unworthy thoughts and feelings have had a place within us, we shall, if we are truly wishing to be successful in our lives, cast away the unworthy thought, till at length it will no longer assail us, and thus growing in strength and purity, we may at last really achieve a success worthy of the name.

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Emma Allum

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