Why Be Tired:
Energy For Sedentary Workers
How To Do More Work Without Getting Tired
Conquering Your Fatigue Problem With Food
Improving Your Energy Machine With Exercise
Use Your Glandular Energies
Sex And Energy
Test Your Efficiency
Use Your Glandular Energies
( Originally Published 1936 )
You may have got the idea that I am asking you to coddle yourself, or that I am trying to show you an easy way to get somewhere in the world. To the contrary, I have been trying to give you a foundation which will not have to be coddled, a surplus of energy which will make you quit looking for easy methods. Vigorous activity is the only answer there ever was to life, and your only answer is to be able to take it and like it.
These chapters have been placed in logical training sequence. Now we are ready to talk about using your energies to the limit, getting you to work the same way you would play football. Now you have it in you and I expect to get it out of you. In fact, I expect the spirit of the game to get more out of you than training put into you.
The spirit that fires your energy.
Mr. Smith had been bedridden for seven years and the community spoke of him as "lingering." But when the house caught fire Mr. Smith, forgetting the inelegance of his costume and the incapacity of his earthly remains, carried out the piano.
Such things do happen. Emergencies prove that all men underestimate their energies. You can learn to use these "emergency" energies in your work.
Charles M. Schwab became famous by learning to make men use these energies. When he went to Bethlehem Steel he used a bonus system which so stimulated his men that they accomplished a great deal more than they had even under the efficiency system mentioned in the second chapter. His chief executive was paid only twenty-five thousand a year, but some years made nearly a million in bonus money by producing in great excess of his obligations. That ratio held right down to the window-washers, and Bethlehem stock reflected it by rising more than 500 points.
Schwab knows the value of spirit. He entered the employ of Carnegie as stake driver in the engineering corps of the Edgar Thompson Steel Works, was assistant manager and chief engineer at the age of nine-teen, and general superintendent at twenty-seven. At thirty-five he was president of the Carnegie Steel Company, Ltd., the largest of the steel mergers in the late nineties.
And that spirit is not, as you might think, a whip for a tired horse. It is not bad for you. It is as fundamental to health as it is to energy. Drudgery, not vigorous games, is what kills people. Child labor is bad no matter how light ; play is good for children no matter how strenuous.
What is glandular energy ?
This spirit is, in fact, often capable of getting sick people out of bed. And when you make people feel better by telling them they look better, you accomplish it by awakening this spirit and not by "mental healing." Doctors nowadays cure many things with this spirit. Your doctor takes a bit of this spirit out of a bottle and feeds it to you, or injects it into your blood.
If you examine the label on the bottle you will find that you are taking "desiccated thyroid gland" or some other glandular preparation. It is not a medicine and will not kill germs ; it increases your own powers to take care of yourself.
The "spirit" which "fires" your energies is, in short, glandular energy. The ductless glands are organs which manufacture and store fluids for several purposes. Some of these glands manufacture fluids which are devoted to the formation of energy. These fluids, when liberated into the blood, aid the formation of energy in several ways ; but their chief function is to promote faster burning of food very much as you might use gasoline to make a smoldering fire burn brighter.
When these energy glands are unusually active you are aware of it, and sort of glow with energy. You call this feeling "emotion." This is most plainly felt in an emergency, when you might need great energy. The glands are very obliging that way ; they will pro-vide extra energy when called upon. Where the doctor may inject a stimulant such as strychnine or arsenic with a hypodermic needle to tide you over a difficulty, the body has its own hypodermics in the form of the glands.
This is how it works : Someone tries to pick your pocket. Your brain rushes a message down to your adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands squeeze an extra supply of adrenaline into your blood. That speeds up the formation of energy, and you feel this taking place and call the feeling anger. Your skin sort of prickles, for instance, as it contracts and forces idle blood into the working tissues, the heart, lungs, muscles and brain. Extra blood forced into your head reddens your face. Your heart beats so strongly that you can feel it thumping. Your abdomen draws in and idle blood is again forced into working tissues. Your chest puffs up as you begin to breathe more deeply. Your liver releases a great amount of its stored energy food, called blood sugar. If you were wounded your blood would even clot quicker than ordinarily to prevent bleeding. Your muscles feel ready for action, and they are. You feel stronger, and you are. Your mind is affected too, becoming belligerent and forgetting fear and timidity. Your glands have reacted to the emergency and in every way prepared you to cope with it.
Maybe you were coming home from work when this happened, and as tired as you thought you could be. You would have said that you were too tired to fight. But back in our primitive past no such excuse was valid ; when you had to fight you had to fight, and you had to be at your best. So your adrenal glands take care of that, too, by acting as an antitoxin to fatigue, and by burning and removing fatigue toxins much faster than usual. You are no longer tired. Two men could not hold you.
The glands can banish sleep, too. Excitement or emotion of some kind can keep you awake. Or a sudden emotion can bounce you out of bed in an instant, wide awake, whereas awakening is usually a slow and rather discouraging process. A steady supply of glandular energy will decrease both your fatigue and your need of sleep.
You may have thought of such things as a state of mind, or any one of many emotions. In a sense they are. The mind, after all, starts the machinery going. You experience the change as emotion. But your ductless glands are the essential parts of the machinery. Doctor Walter Cannon has shown that these changes do not take place when a dog's adrenal glands are re-moved ; he does not get angry and there is no extra amount of sugar in his blood. He saw the other dog and his brain presumably sent the message, but nothing happened ; his energies did not get ready to fight.*
All of your energetic emotions prepare you for some form of activity, just as anger prepares you to fight. You get so energetic that if you do not fight you may have to "walk it off." Glandular energy almost insists on coming out somewhere.
Are these emergency energies only ?
These are the inflammable energies which we want to use in our work. However, it is not practical to fly to emotional extremes you want to burn more brightly all the time. Let us see if these are emergency energies only, and what their other functions might be.
If your adrenals were surgically removed you would not merely lose the ability to get angry; you would die in a short time. In some diseases, such as cholera and Addison's disease, death is caused by destruction of the adrenals. That is proof that the adrenals are active to some extent all the time, whether you get angry or not. They are needed all the time for the production of energy.
Another valuable energy gland is the thyroid. A cretinoid idiot is a person with a very inactive thyroid gland. He sits inert and motionless, a human jelly fish. Mentally he is idiotic. But he may be cured by giving him daily doses of the thyroid of the sheep or other animal. You need, therefore, thyroid energy in daily doses too, whether you get emotional or not. This is also eloquent proof of just how badly both your mental and physical energies need this gland.
Now we know that you can run short on glandular energies without reaching an extreme condition, just as you can run short on vitamin C without getting scurvy. You can get less, that is, than you could use for best results. Food lacking in iodine, as I have mentioned, taught us that. I also mentioned that school children in Dayton, Ohio, showed a substantial increase in mental ability when fed iodine. They did not know they were victims of thyroid deficiency.
That is where you are interested. You want to get your full share of glandular energy for best results. Most people are not doing that, certainly not in so far as their working energy is concerned.
Dr. Sajous, the leading pioneer in the glandular science, estimates that you need from 30 to 100 cubic centimeters of adrenaline poured into your blood every twenty-four hours. You can get only 30 cubic centimeters and be normal. On the other hand, you could get three times as much adrenal energy if you wanted to, and benefit greatly.
The common cause of inactive glands.
There are several reasons why most people do not get all of the glandular energy they could use. In the first place, these glands need the same sound base of health needed by other tissues. Poor health not only means that the glands have not a good energy ma-chine to work with, but the glands themselves suffer. Diseases impair the glands. General fatigue and nervous fatigue impair the glands. Poor food starves them and food poisons poison them. They deteriorate from a lack of physical exercise.
We have rested, fed and exercised the glands in previous chapters. Unless you are one of the rare cases needing medical attention in this respect, you now have a good physical basis for glandular health. In this chapter we are interested in the mental causes of inactive glands, by far the most common causes.
There are two major mental causes ; the first is this : I have said that the mind must call for glandular energy, and that the glands would oblige. Well, your mind does not call for energy often enough. It says, "I'm not particularly interested in doing anything so you need not bother sending me any energy." The glands lie down and take a nap. You feel dull and listless, the energy picture of disinterest.
The second cause is not as universal, but it is worse. In this case the mind says, "Life is not worth the trouble and I am full of sadness, despair, disgust, worry and misery in general. You glands may as well shut up shop for good as I intend to go into a chronic sulk." Again the glands oblige, and fail to discharge even the minimum of their fluids needed for health. Energy declines sharply, the body fills with poisons, the pulse becomes feeble and anything may happen from acute melancholia to heart failure or diabetes. At a recent medical congress one of the Mayo brothers said his years of observation indicated that a very large percentage of chronic diseases were caused by these "negative" emotions, or lack of the energetic emotions.
You are too often inclined to blame these two mental causes upon environment. You insist that your work is dull or life is too full of troubles. I am no incurable optimist myself, and I admit work and life can be all of that. But I always remind myself of the practical thing, rather than the optimistic. "What is the sense in letting those things get you down?" I ask myself. "If you let them whip you and draw into your shell of dullness and despair, like a child with hurt feelings, things will just get worse. On the other hand, you could make them a little better. In fact, if you have enough spirit you can whip life soundly ; people do. After all, the inanimate things of environment have no power to change, and are not to be blamed for it. You are the only instrument of change, and the obligation rests upon you. And you are the only one who particularly cares what becomes of you, so you may as well quit going around begging the world for sympathy and feeling sorry for yourself."
Pretty phrases, no doubt, and they may sound suspiciously like child psychology or advertising slogans. However, I shall not claim a great deal for that philosophy ; it will not sustain you for long if you have good sense. I am no believer in Coué, Yoga or anything else lacking in solid facts. This philosophy is no more than a logical idea to get you started ; you will need a lot more than "self-suggestion" to carry you along.
I have found it so, at least. But there are other things to keep you on the energetic side of life for at least a majority of the time. I have had a lot of first-hand experience with those things. I had to leave school in my early teens and support a family, working in cotton mills and at all sorts of miserable labors in all sorts of miserable environments. I never was an optimist and I can still get as low as anybody, but I insist that you need not let life get you down.
Keeping your glands active.
A child is yelling to high heaven, certain that all the world is against him, absolutely refusing to be comforted. You casually bring out a new popgun and be-gin to shoot imaginary flies. The child looks, nearly forgets to cry. But no, he suspects the trick, and proceeds to weep more lustily than ever. You detect a forced note, however, as he tries to make the letter serve for the spirit. You pay him no attention, continuing your guarded stalk of something which could hardly be less than a big blue bottlefly. Alas, the game gets away as you are interrupted by a surly "gimme" and the gun is rudely torn from your grasp.
You have made the child snap out of it quite against his will. He wanted to make you as miserable as possible for a long, long time. But he really was interested in that gun, and his mind sent the message to his glands. His glands switched the anatomy of his emotions, and his energy chemistries changed his mind against its own will.
You can likewise arrange your life and your thoughts to awaken emotions, or glandular energies, which will dictate your mental outlook. You can do this, if necessary, even when your mind is determined to feel sorry for itself. You can say, "Go ahead ; be as miserable as you like." You can really mean it. But then, in a purely mechanical fashion and with no intentions of changing your mind, you can follow the laws which awaken interest and you will snap out of it in spite of yourself. Emotions react by certain laws, not according to what your mind determines to feel. Determine and reason all you want to, but you still get mad when slapped in the face and still feel mice with cold feet counting your vertebrae when you pass a graveyard on a dark night. You can seldom, on the other hand, create an emotion merely by wishing to. That is why, if you are to use your glandular energies, you need more than pretty psychological recipes. The only direct control you can have over your emotions comes from following certain mechanical laws which awaken them and bring interest out of disinterest or even out of a refusal to be interested. I cannot interest you by telling you to sit up and take an interest, but if I suddenly blew fire out of my nostrils your interest would leap out of any despond.
The recipe, then, for using glandular energy in your work is to follow the laws of reaction which keep you interested. The first law, the law necessary for your conviction, is that you understand something about interest.
Interest is the name for the general emotion which is most practical to use in your work. It is unlike anger or fear in that it has no specific aim, and is not so tempestuous. It stimulates all the energy glands, and may derive its tone from one in particular. That is, interest in your work may spring chiefly from a fear of poverty ; your efforts to pass a certain law may spring from a slow anger born of an injustice. Again, interest may be of such a general nature that you have not thought of it as an emotion. You can see the emotional element in interest very clearly by watching a baby coo and gurgle and clutch with interest, and stridently demand his toy if it is taken away from him. Your own interests contain these emotional elements beneath the more restrained adult surface.
The result is that if you work with interest you will work longer, do better work, and tire less than if you lacked interest. You will do twice as well, in fact, and considerably better than you thought you could, because you are using glandular energy freely.
This is not a radical, not even a new, idea. Better men have been before me.
We have Dr. Walter Cannon, of Harvard, to thank for knowledge on the glandular chemistry of interest. He found, as he expected, large quantities of blood sugar, indicating active energy glands, in football players before a game ; their glands were preparing them for strenuous activity. Then he found the same indications in the blood of students preparing to take an examination, flowing forth in behalf of a "mental" activity or interest. The usefulness of these glandular energies in mental work has been shown by giving examinations to students in the guise of an unimportant quiz ; they do not grade nearly so well as for known examinations, since they are less interested.
Since then the value of interest has become a commonplace, though still neglected, fact. John Dewey, our foremost educator, has gone so far as to say that he would gladly exchange a student's four years of college for an abiding interest in something. You and I have seen examples of that truth, too, and could our-selves be examples. Given sufficient interest, a man needs no other opportunity. Alas that that is the re-verse of public sentiment ; we commonly "feel so sorry for the enthusiastic young fellow who cannot afford to go to college." We had rather see him graduate with nothing but a fraternity pin and diploma to show for it.
Edward Thorndike, of Columbia, made an interesting experiment. He kept some young men awake for nearly a week merely by keeping them interested, continually interested. He then made the rather extreme statement that, "Boredom is the only real cause for diminution of work."
We need not go that far ; all evidences indicate that fatigue can be a very real thing. But boredom is al-most the only common cause ; people seldom work hard enough to produce real fatigue. Every experiment ever made on fatigue proves that a "feeling" of fatigue is not even a fairly accurate guess as to the actual fatigue, or the real inability to do more work. There are many varieties of what the psychologists call "simulated fatigue." Physiologically, they indicate a lack of glandular energies ; bring a lion into the house and there will be no simulated fatigue. If your glands are inactive, it does not matter how well or how much you eat ; food will burn slowly for lack of inflammables and your energy output will be low. You cannot will it otherwise ; but you can awaken interest.
If you are disinterested in your work you are exactly the same as a man who needs to fight but cannot get angry. He suffers from a variety of fears, self-doubts and weak feelings ; so do you. Neither of you has awakened the glandular energies necessary for activity. You see plainly that he needs glandular energy, and may think of yourself as another problem ; but I am sure that if as old and as impulsive an activity as an instinct needs glandular reinforcement, then the relatively feeble and disinclined mind needs it.
Do great men work emotionally ?
If this be true, we can find obvious signs of emotion in the work of great men. Emerson said that, "Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm." Francis Galton found great men so interested in their work that it amounted almost to a "monomania." Nietzsche called the mind our "little reason," the emotions our "great reason." John Dewey put all of this into modern language when he wrote, "The separation of warm emotion and cool intelligence is a great moral tragedy . . . The intellect is always inspired by some impulse. Even the most case-hardened scientific specialist, the most abstract philosopher, is moved by some passion."
If this be true, however, we do not have to take any man's word for it. It will be apparent in the lives of great men. It is apparent, without exception. For twenty years it has been a hobby with me to check that. I will even go so far as to say that no matter how "great" a man is, he cannot produce greatly with-out a great emotion. Every great poem, book, invention or legislation is a great emotion, and not always an indication of any other greatness. Lincoln did not have the "temperament" for farming so he failed as a farmer. In fact, it is said that he failed seven times. Then his passion for humanity made him a success at the hardest job he ever tried.
It is in literature, where a man's record is plain, that the value of emotion is most plainly seen. Hugo, for all his undoubted greatness, did not produce greatly until his banishment from France intensified his emotions and limited them to writing as an outlet. Then he wrote his masterpiece of poetry, "Les Contemplations," his great novel, "Les Miserables," and his prose epic, "Toilers of the Sea."
It was while in prison that Verlaine wrote "Sagesse," the book that made his reputation as a poet.
Bunyan, a tinker, became a preacher because of his wife and her "godly books" and the rest of his life was shaped by terrible self-accusations of his early sinfulness, no doubt magnified. This emotion, when its outlets were limited by the four walls of a jail, produced his great book, "The Pilgrim's Progress."
Defoe was one of the most prolific writers who ever lived but he failed to produce anything great until dire need of money and fear of the debtor's prison caused him hastily to write "Robinson Crusoe."
Dostoievski was exiled to Siberia and betrayed by an unfaithful wife, and of course wrote best on those themes.
Tolstoi's two great masterpieces grew out of personal emotions : "War and Peace" was his reaction to personal experience in the army of the Danube in the Crimean campaign ; "Anna Karenina" was the result of a morbid fear that his wife was untrue. This was the man who graduated from law school "knowing practically nothing," as he later insisted ; who in later years studied education in Germany, taught peasants, and questioned all compulsory education and thought that the pupil's interest must alone determine the curriculum.
I could continue with hundreds of examples to show that the intensity of a man's emotion is more important than the amount of his education or the size of his brain. A man may have written a great poem yesterday, and today he is still as intelligent and as educated, but he cannot write another great poem until he has another great emotion. A renaissance is due to an emotion which awakens an entire nation to achievement, made up of the same minds that yesterday were dull.
Educational psychologists have made many experiments to find out why this is so. They found that one interested reading of a book is understood and remembered better than ten disinterested readings. When children are asked what subjects are easiest, they name the ones in which they take the most interest—even if they happen to be physics or chemistry.
But I shall not mention the dozens of discoveries in this direction. I seem already to have labored my point. But the first rule for developing interest depended upon your absolute acceptance of the idea You must understand that it is more important than education, opportunity or anything else. If great men need intense interest, so do the rest of us.
Awakening interest through attention.
I have said that the laws for awakening interest or emotion are mechanical things, that you do not have to co-operate or use child psychology on yourself. That is right. All you have to do is to follow the rule ; your glands awaken of their own accord. You, anybody, can get interested in anything.
The great law of interest is that interest follows attention. It is a common erroneous belief that it works the other way, that attention follows interest. It does after you become interested, but attention came first. It always has to be first. You cannot be interested in Samoan outriggers or jade carvings until they have first come to your attention. On the other hand, if you continue to attend you will become interested in them.
This rule is automatic and I have never seen any explanation for it. You can blame it on some inherent curiosity, some inherent thirst for knowledge, the "energism" theory of a desire for occupation, some egotism to excel, some automatic reaction of brain cells and glands. It does not matter. It does happen.
For a long time your wife could not get you interested in bridge. You were tired, had other things to do, detested the way people quarrel over cards. In spite of all that, when your wife insisted that you learn to play your attention trapped your interest and now you are the worst of the lot. You have had experiences of that sort.
For a long time I thought the most uninteresting thing in the world was the dirty job of working under an automobile. Then I was forced to pay attention to an unreliable old wreck and now you will generally find me under a car knocking dirt into my eyes, and entirely happy. And instead of being a mechanical idiot — well, I think I'm pretty good at it.
You will object that you went through school with-out getting interested. I object that you did not attend. Oh, you attended to memorizing enough to stand examinations ; but you did not attend to facts themselves. They never meant anything to you, never became related steps in the pyramid of knowledge, You were interested in passing, and you did pass ; you were not interested in facts and you did not learn any. You must attend to the facts, the work itself, if you want to be interested in it. Just thinking about graduating into an easier and better paid department will not interest you in your work.
Chiefly, your attention was caught by girls or proms or athletics or other undergraduate weaknesses. You got interested in them, too. You would have been just as interested in study if you had taken a chunk of science in your hand and marveled at the wondrous shape and color of it, considered the things you might do with it. You thought it was dull, so you missed the most exciting thing that has ever happened to man, the thing which has fired men to build the greatest civilization of them all. You miss a lot of things by your habit of thinking all things which you are not already interested in must be dull.
Perhaps you once had a genius of a teacher in school who finally got you to look at a subject you hated, and you came to love it. From a failure you leaped to the head of the class. That happens often. But you will not find many geniuses in this life devoting them-selves to coaxing you to see your own advantages.
I am using school only as an example, not insisting upon it. You may attend to something else, so long as you attend to something of worth. Darwin's teachers said he was an indifferent pupil, but very interested in bugs ; his bugs made history. Edison's non-academic interests led his first and last teacher to call him "addled," so his mother removed him from school after a few weeks, but he went on with his interests.
Continue to attend. When your attention wanders, lead it back. You need not worry about the outcome. When asked how he made his discoveries Newton re-plied, "by ceaselessly thinking about them."
Miscellaneous aids to interest.
There are many aids to interest and you will happen upon far more than I am going to mention if you look for them. They all are methods of catching your attention, and many of them make a more direct appeal to your emotions than simple attention.
Human beings are very imitative and studies in mob psychology have taught us that emotions are highly infectious. It is not surprising, then, that one of the best ways to get enthusiastic interest is to "catch" it from others. Francis Galton found that the pursuits of about 47% of the eminent English scientists had been determined by the stimulating influences of fellow workers, relatives, friends and teachers. You can cultivate stimulating people in general, and others who are interested in your work or allied occupations, and you will find it pleasant.
On the other hand you can avoid depressing people. Stand around with "the boys" and talk down your work and your boss and you are likely to talk your glands into sulking.
Rivalry, pride and the spirit of the game will grow out of your relations with other people. They are further reasons why achievement is "catching" and one man may start a renaissance. You should go out of your way to encourage all such emotions.
Keep a fundamental purpose in your mind ; aim at it every day, make every day an important part of it. You can work harder and better for that great purpose than you can for the rewards of one day. Experiments show that if you read a book with the purpose of remembering it you will remember it at least ten times as well as if you read it without the purpose. Consider, then, what it means in terms of inefficiency to work without a central purpose, without a goal. You are a vagrant strolling around aimlessly instead of an enthusiastic man hurrying to an important appointment. And then you worry because you think you are "lazy." But that is entirely natural if you have no place to go, no reason for going. If a man ran races for no reason he would be crazy. The glands do not respond to nothing ; you must put yourself in situations which arouse them, just as we manufacture competition to make men run fast.
Ernst Meumann, the founder and systematizer of experimental pedagogy, always found energy to respond in proportion to the size of the purpose and supposed it to be "a universal law of will" (The Psychology of Learning). A large purpose is, personally, my favorite energizer ; without it I am sodden and bovine and disgusted with myself, with it nothing can slow or tire me. I am going to allow myself to cite an illustrative case concerning purpose.
Herbert Spencer was one of the great men of his time, and earned his reputation with a prodigious amount of painstaking work. But he began even as you and I. He refused to attend Cambridge, seeing no purpose in it. He later wrote, "To apply day after day merely with the general idea of acquiring information, or of increasing ability, was not in me." He accidentally fell into engineering and spent ten years at it without distinguishing himself. Then, finding him-self out of a job, he began an idle study of Lyell's "Principles of Geology." This awakened an interest in the then new theory of evolution, and he pursued this interest during several years in which he worked on the "Economist" in London. During these years he was stimulated by meeting such people as George Henry Lewes, George Eliot and John Stuart Mill. All of this finally stimulated him to the idea of reducing all knowledge to harmonious and related general principles, a gigantic task. His only worry was that he might not live long enough to finish his work. He would get so enthusiastic over his task that he employed a little old lady in black satin to soothe his creative fires with music. And he wrote that he needed "an object at once large and distinct enough" to over-come "constitutional idleness." So do we all.
Welcome difficulties, do not cringe from them. Your reactive emotions like them if you stand up for yourself defiantly. It is about as natural to react against obstacles as to react with encouragement. Many men have become great through opposition to a personal weakness, even as Plutarch tells us, "Demosthenes over-came and rendered more distinct his inarticulate and stammering pronunciation by speaking with pebbles in his mouth." He is still rated among the foremost orators of the world because of this "labor and perseverance almost without parallel." Had he been born with a fine speaking voice the world would undoubtedly have lost a great orator. One of the dangers of civilization is that difficulties are too few, opportunities too easy to stimulate us. We say "three generations from shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves" to describe the de-generation of motive caused by wealth ; we are now at a stage of civilization which is "between shirt sleeves" and wearing white collars which we fear to soil. As Emerson said, "Nature -- when she adds difficulties — adds brains." You do not have to worry about where your brains are coming from ; these laws of reaction are automatic.
Ask for obligations, too. Hate them if you want to, but go mechanically in to the big boss and ask for them. There is something in this "message to Garcia" that makes you come through when you know you cannot. Your glandular energies carry out the piano. A. R. McAllister, president of the National School Band Association, began as manual-training teacher in a high school at Joliet, Ill. When a school band was decided upon he asked to organize and direct it, though it meant no extra pay and a lot of extra work. But, like any obligation, it proved to be an opportunity.
Get some good books concerning your work and study them. You cannot attend to your work until you see it, and you cannot see what you do not know. An automobile is just a bewildering mass of metal until you get acquainted with spark-plugs, distributors and carburetors. The more you know, the more you can attend and the more interests you can find. Knowledge will also fire you with pride, self-respect, confidence and a dozen other things. Facts are exciting ; they have been the chief stimulus to modern progress.
Taking your work home with you and making friends with it is a good way to make it a hobby, too. Men seldom achieve great success without making a hobby of their work. Or turn it around, if you like, and make your hobby your work.
Think always of doing your work as well as possible ; you will work harder and like it better, and even tire less than when you "kill time." There is no pleasure, pride or profit in poor work.
Yes, remember the profit ; work definitely for promotion and pay. Some experiments on school children found that they worked better for rewards than anything else, though that may not be so true of the mature mind. Your boss wants to give you a raise, too, if you can earn it. All of these things, in fact, will bring the top down to you just about as much as they lift you up toward the top.
Cultivate pleasant relations and friendships with your fellow workers if you can, and do anything else which may make your work more pleasant. These emotions will tend to associate themselves with your work, and of themselves liberate energy.
A fundamental general rule to remember is that the more full and healthy your emotions are, the more easily they are awakened to an interest in life and success. I am always impressed by the number of great men who have highly sensitive emotions which react easily, and the number whose emotions for some reason are denied casual and trivial outlets. Naturally, if the emotions are sated by trivial excesses, taught to respond only to light and vivid things, and their keen appetites calloused and dulled by morbid and ugly things, then it becomes difficult to interest them in hard work and cold facts. Not only do we often waste our lives with what Emerson called "inferior duties," but we waste our glandular energies with inferior emotions. These glandular energies are as chemical and actual as any other energy, and can be exhausted in the same way. Tired emotions react poorly. On the other hand, glandular energy is highly inflammable and the glandular organs are small and soon filled, so if this energy is hoarded it will soon run over and take fire of its own accord and become available for things you ordinarily find dull. (See the following chapter on the sexual waste of emotional energy.)
One of our famous medical specialists was an uneducated country boy who went "to the city" on a shopping trip. He saw the fine buildings and green lawns of a great college and the sight so thrilled him that he decided to go there and become a doctor. A reason-able person would have told him that it was an impossible ambition, but he did it. Good emotional habits may not succeed as well as a frugal rural life in making your emotions reactive and chaste, but you need not be a jaded sophisticate. You may not achieve Lincoln's feat of walking twenty miles to borrow a book to study, but you can learn to enjoy strong, stimulating, informative and otherwise energetic books.
Yoder, Terman, Turck and others who have studied the childhood of great men report strong play interests, but these play emotions were often diverted into what we ordinarily call studies. Shelley played with books, Newton with machines, Darwin with collections. You and I learned to cry that we must come in from marbles to study for a brief half hour. It may be something of a task for us to redirect these pampered emotions into useful channels, and in the face of many idle emotional distractions, but it can be done.
As I say, there are endless things which may awaken your enthusiasm. All things which help to catch your attention, which stimulate your energetic emotions to reaction, have possibilities. Be always on the alert for tricks of this sort, putting interest before all things. Ask the world to slap you in the face if you need that to awaken your emotions. Never waste any emotion that you may get in useless noise, or "release" it by hurling teacups as you are sometimes advised nowadays ; swallow it if it chokes you and let it rankle a long time and give you energy to show the world. You can use any emotion ; anger, bitterness, loneliness, despair and all the rest have produced immortal literature.
Do not worry about your "ability." Emotion will take care of that. Wolfgang Kohler even found it to be true of apes. Apes put in a cage with food outside and beyond reach, became progressively more intelligent about using sticks to draw the food to them as their hunger emotions became stronger. In one in-stance so many obstacles were put between the cage and the food that the ape could think of no way to get his dinner, and finally gave up and threw things at the food in anger and howled with misery. Then another ape was turned into the yard and approached the food, driving the caged ape into an agony of apprehension. But suddenly his emotions exploded an idea into his head and he grabbed a stick and executed the intricate movements necessary to get his food.
Keep after your aids to interest day after day, persistently, mechanically. You need not worry about the results ; they are automatic. Your glands will react of their own accord, and you cannot use your glands merely by taking thought anyhow. As James said, you have little direct control over your feelings, but you can control them through your actions. I have offered a partial list of the actions which awaken interest, or which awaken your glandular energies in behalf of your occupation.
Indolent people evade hard work because they hate the very thought of exertion, and frivolous people avoid it because they think it is so dull. The nice thing about glandular energy is that it makes you like exertion and nothing is dull ; you do not have to grit your teeth and force your will and stifle your emotions. You achieve Nietzsche's alluring formula for greatness : "not only to bear up under necessity, but to love it."