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21 Chapter IV


I would realize that my eventual success depends mostly upon the quality and power of my brain. Hence I would train it so as to get the best out of it.

Most of the failures I have seen, especially in professional life, have been due to mental laziness. I was a preacher for years, and found out that the greatest curse of the ministry is laziness. It is probably the same among lawyers and physicians. It certainly is so among actors and writers. Hence, I would let no day pass without its period of hard, keen, mental exertion so that my mind would be always as a steel spring, or like a well-oiled engine, ready, resilient, and powerful.

And in this connection I would recognize that repetition is better than effort. Mastery, perfection, the doing of difficult things with ease and precision, depend more upon doing things over and over than upon putting forth great effort.

I would especially purge myself as far as possible of intellectual cowardice and intellectual dishonesty. By intellectual dishonesty I mean what is called expediency; that is, forming, or adhering to, an opinion, not because we are convinced of its truth, but because of the effect it will have. A mind should, at twenty-one, marry Truth, and “cleave only unto her, till death do them part, for better, for worse.”

By intellectual cowardice I mean all superstitions, premonitions, and other forms of mental paralysis or panic caused by what is vague. To heed signs, omens, cryptic sayings, and all talk of fate and luck, is nothing but mental dirt. I have seen many bright minds sullied by it. It is worthy only of the mind of an ignorant savage.

If I were Twenty-One I would take care of my body21If I were Twenty-One I would be happy

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