The Business Of Life
( Originally Published 1930 )
We try to run life like a business, these days, and in so doing we are merely succeeding in taking all of the joy out of it. We lose all spontaneity as we grow up and scarcely dare to be natural. Our muscles along with our nerves become atrophied, until we cannot relax. We take ourselves too seriously. We are so anxious to become important in the world; more anxious to impress others with our importance. We become obsessed with our own concepts and make life hard for ourselves. We imagine ourselves very necessary in the scheme of things. We forget that one day the flags of a nation are at half-mast and the next day finds a readjustment with slight variation in formula and things go on just the same!
That "I am holier than thou" attitude is a dangerous state of mind. It develops conceit. It would be well to consider that no matter how far we advance, the path of improvement stretches endlessly ahead. Self-satisfaction is the insurmountable obstacle in the path of true progress.
People who worry, fuss, and fume make life miserable for every-one about them. They worry others and make them worry, too, when they might have been happy had they been let alone. But no they must tell all their worries so that people will know how foolish they are !
The feelings play a tremendous part in the work of life and their results are far-reaching. Too often, we allow the feelings to govern the mind and body. Too often our moods and whimsies govern us and reflect upon others. We should remember that the attitude of mind is the basis of self-control. Mind governs the ability to relax at will. Will follows the desires, hence we must govern the desires most carefully and see to it that we desire what is best for us. We must use the imagination to create an ideal in mind and desire ardently to attain that ideal—then work for it. Create ideals of love and tolerance, and fine traits will develop quickly in your character. Love is akin to tolerance in its broader sense and is wisdom in its highest sense. Tolerant love is a necessary quality in the attainment of both relaxation and happiness.
Hate actually stiffens every nerve and muscle. Hate contracts the brain and warps the mind. It can only be overcome in mind. Change the attitude of mind and the hatred disappears. Endeavor to overcome the hate-evil with good. Think kindly thoughts, and good thoughts, striving ardently to understand the good in the seeming evil, knowing the law will eventually readjust evil into good. Forgive as you would be forgiven.
Of course, it is easier to see the "comedy of errors" in others than in ourselves, just as it is so much easier to forgive ourselves than to forgive others. We quickly forget our own offenses to others. They probably forget as easily their offenses to us. Strive for an easy, tolerant attitude toward the blunders of others and help them, by your own graceful attitude of mind, to better efforts. There is nothing so potent or powerful as "example." In doing this you will gain a host of friends and—you will be able to relax at will.
Love and tolerance make the entire human being radiate and glow ; they open up every avenue to successful living. It is all a process of self-directed thought. People worry too much and think too little. Constructive thought is half the battle; it is the open door to opportunity and the straight road to happiness. Constructive thought—together with right action—is success, it is happiness.