A Successful Woman
( Originally Published 1916 )
THERE is a woman of my acquaintance who is a success. She is not rich, not gifted in the usual arts that gain notoriety, not young and peachy, not celebrated.
She is in quite moderate circumstances, and lives with her husband in a flat in a neighborhood that is not "select." She has no children.
She is past fifty, and glad of it.
Why is she successful?
Because she is cheerful, and because she cheers everybody around her.
And she is cheerful because she is the one woman out of, say, fifty I know who has succeeded in perfectly ADJUSTING herself to her surroundings.
The secret of the art of life is ADJUSTMENT, and whoever can accomplish that is entitled to be called successful. And to this title no other person has a right.
No human being is able to secure an entirely ideal environment. No woman ever lived who had a perfect husband, perfect children, a perfect home, perfect clothes, a perfect income, and perfect friends. Those who complain because they lack in any one of these respects are foolish, and know nothing of how to take hold of life.
This woman is content with the husband she has, she loves him for precisely what he is, and does not want to make him over. To have tinkered him and changed him to suit her fancy of what a husband ought to be was, of course, impossible, though many a silly woman wrecks her happiness at that task. She has done the better thing: She has ADJUSTED herself to the man as he is.
Homekeeping is her lot. So she has ADJUSTED herself to it. She has learned to love it. Her home is beautiful within, restful, tasteful, altogether delightful.
Her income is at a certain figure. To that figure she has ADJUSTED' all her desires. She lives just as contentedly as if the figure were ten times as great.
She said to me the other day : "I wish you would write something to persuade women to love the common things, the everyday things. You ask me why I am so contented. It is because I love everything I see constantly about me. I love that chair, that table, that desk, those pictures, curtains, and rugs. They are all friends of mine.
"Every piece of glass or china on my table means something to me. There is not an article in this apartment that does not please me when I look at it.
"I love my friends. I love my day's duties. love the way we live.
"When any thought of unlove presents itself to me, I put it away, just as if it were unclean. I will not give room to dislikes."
This woman is a point of sunshine in a cloudy world. If the Lord were angry with the city, as He was wroth against Sodom, and should look about to see if there were at least three souls worth while, for whose sake He might spare the town from His consuming fire, this woman would be one of the saving sort. For she is a radiating centre of helpfulness. She boosts all spirits.
Any woman can be successful, as this woman is, if she will learn the art of ADJUSTMENT. For better than a billion dollars it is to be adjusted. Better than having everything just as you'd like it, is to like things just as they come to you.