The Successful Man
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
In every community there is always some one whom his neighbors call a successful man. He commands the esteem of the whole circle of his acquaintance. He is alert and active in business; he is absorbed in the duties of a busy life; but he has time to be friendly with all and to endear himself to all with whom he comes in contact. He is spoken of as a clever companion, an honorable business man, a prosperous citizen, a man of solid integrity. This personage in every community is our successful man. He may be a miner in the mountains of Pennsylvania or a millhand in the valleys of Ohio. He may be a farmer in the great West or a mill owner in the great East. He may run the locomotive of the director's train or sit among the magnates in the palace car behind. He may be a power in Wall street or a still greater power in Franklin Square. He may stand in the pulpit and hold large audiences entranced by his eloquence, or he may stand at the other end of the church and show the vast audience to their seats. It matters not. In various stations of life and by varying standards of judgment he is pronounced successful by his fellows. That judgment passed upon his conduct by a watchful circle of acquaintances is the test of his success and the measure of his greatness. Those who grant him this meed of honor know him, observe him and envy him. They wish to be as well off as he, and yet they never succeed themselves nor learn the process by which he outstrips them and wins the highest and best prizes of life.
Thus every community has its successful man, who, with a sort of innate genius for getting ahead, passes all competitors and carries off the best enjoyments and the real pleasures of life. In this way Society becomes most unequally, but sharply divided into two classes—a small class of those who succeed, a large class of those who meet with failure. We think it pertinent to inquire what it is in the successful man that makes him so, while his neighbor, seemingly just as well endowed by Nature, does not succeed. This inquiry and its answer will lead us to the discussions found in the following pages. In our analysis we hope to show some interested reader the way for him to turn the tide of failure and build a successful career upon the blunders of past years.