Some men succeed in almost everything they undertake, while others generally fail. The latter often excuse themselves on the ground that they had no opportunity; but were they seeking opportunities in any honest and true way? A genuine seeking is a seeking for opportunity to exert ourselves, first in restraining our own tendencies to evil, and secondly in making efforts to do good.
But the man who habitually fails is one who is seeking an opportunity which will carry him to success without compelling him to exert himself He wants circumstances to work for him, and to make things easy for him. History plainly shows that, generally, men who accomplish great results were not those for whom circumstances made things easy, but men whose resolute hearts dominated circumstances, and compelled apparently antagonistic conditions to yield success. If you had seen Abraham Lincoln at twenty-one years of age you would have thought him very unlikely to become a great statesman. Opportunities never came to him "ready made," to do his work for him, and to carry him into an easy place. He made his opportunities. And in this sense, “Providence helps those who help themselves.” Men differ in their mental outfit. But, whatever a man may be, there is always something good and useful which he can do successfully, if he will exert himself, if he is seeking opportunities to do, rather than merely to get something for nothing. But the indolent man does not recognize the good opportunities which surround him. —Edward C. Mitchell, in New-Church Messenger