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Be Good To Yourself

Don't Let Your Past Spoil Your Future

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There is nothing more depressing than dwelling upon lost opportunities or a mis-spent life. Whatever your past has been, forget it. If it throws a shadow upon the present, or causes melancholy or despondency, there is nothing in it which helps you, there is not a single reason why you should retain it in your memory and there are a thousand reasons why you should bury it so deeply that it can never be resurrected.

Nothing is more foolish, nothing more wicked than to drag the skeletons of the past, the hideous images, the foolish deeds, the unfortunate experiences of yesterday into today's work to mar and spoil it. There are plenty of people who have been failures up to the present moment who could do wonders in the future if they only could forget the past, if they only had the ability to cut it off, to close the door on it forever and start anew.

I know a number of people who complain of their fate, and hard luck, and what they call their 'iron' environment, who are, themselves, their worst enemies. Unconsciously they poison and devitalize the atmosphere of their surroundings by the pictures of failure which they are constantly creating in their minds. Their pessimism, exhaling from every pore, envelops them in a dense but invisible atmosphere, through which no ray of light or hope can enter, and yet they wonder why they do not succeed. They expect bright pictures to come from dark ones, hope from despair, cheer from gloom.

These same people would think a farmer ridiculous who should sow nettle seeds and expect them to produce wheat or corn; or one who should plant the deadly nightshade in their garden and hope to see the rose or the lily flourish on its stem. They do not seem to appreciate the fact that, everywhere in the universe, like produces like; that, whatever thought we sow, we must reap in kind; that the sour, gloomy, pessimistic seed sown in the garden of the mind must produce its own peculiar fruit. Grapes will not grow on thorns, or figs on thistles.

The person who uses up vitality in complaining, finding fault with circumstances, kicking against fate, who is always protesting that there is no justice in the world, that merit is not rewarded, that the times are out of joint, and that everything is wrong, is put down, and rightly, as a weakling, with a small, narrow mind. Large-minded men and women do not spend their energies whining. If they meet an obstacle they go through it and pass on about their business.

They know that all their time and strength must be concentrated on the work of making a life. The whiner not only wastes their time and strength, but they prejudice people against them. No one feels inclined to help a person who is always complaining of conditions and blaming 'hard luck.' Somehow, we have a feeling that they do not deserve help, but a good scolding instead.

The practical business person has no sympathy with the person who claims that they 'cannot get a job.' A great many employers object to having people around who complain that 'luck has always been against them.' They fear, and perhaps not without reason, that they will create evil conditions.

I recently heard of a successful English politician and businessman who advertised for a man, — a combination of valet and companion. He had reduced the number of applicants for the position to one, and was about to complete arrangements when the man began to tell of his career, his ambitions and misfortunes. It was a genuine hard-luck story. The politician listened for a while and then astonished his would-be employee by saying, "I find I do not want you." When urged to give his reasons for the sudden change in his decision, he replied, "I never hire 'hard luck' people, especially the kind who talk about it."

The successful man's conduct toward the unsuccessful one seems cruel and unjust. The later may not have been responsible for his hard luck, and might have made a valuable servant. But, putting aside the justice or injustice of the prosperous man's conduct, the story points to the fact that the complaining person, the whiner, by their own conduct places themselves at a fearful disadvantage. Nobody wants the person who poses as a victim of hard luck, who says that they "cannot get a job."

Man is so constituted that he does his best work when happiest. He is constructed on the happiness plan, so that when he is most harmonious, he is most efficient. Discord is always an enemy to his achievement, as well as to his comfort and happiness. It is the greatest whittler away of vitality and energy we have.

When the mind is full of discords, worry, and anxiety, when brain and body are out of tune, it is impossible even for a genius to express the perfect music of a full, free life.

People do not realize how rapidly vitality is wasted in friction, in worry and anxiety, in harsh, discordant notes which destroy the harmony of life.

How many completely exhaust themselves in needless worrying and bickering over things which are not worthwhile! How many burn up their life-force in giving way to a hot temper, in quibbling over trifles, in bargain hunting, in systemless work, in a hundred ways, when a little thought and attention to the delicate human instrument on which they are playing would prevent all this attrition and keep the instrument in splendid tune!

If a young man should draw out of the bank a little at a time, the money which he had been saving for years for the purpose of going into business for himself, and throw it away in dissipation, we should regard him as very foolish, and predict his failure. But many of us throw away success and happiness capital just as foolishly, for every bit of friction that comes into our lives subtracts so much from our success. We cannot do two things with our energy at the same time. If we use it up in friction, we cannot expend it in effective work.

"He could not keep himself in tune," would be a good explanation of thousands of failures. Many of these failures could have accomplished great things if they could only have kept themselves in harmony, if they could only have cut out of their lives the friction, the worry and the anxiety which whittled away their energy and wasted their life forces.

The keynote of life's harmony is cheerfulness. Every muscle and every nerve must be tuned until it responds to that vibration. As the piano tuner eliminates the least discord in sound, so the coming man will tune out the discordant notes of passion, of hatred, of jealousy and of worry, so that there shall be no inharmony in the instrument. He will no more think of starting out in the morning to play on the most delicately constructed instrument ever made when it is out of tune, than a great master musician would think of playing in public on an instrument that was out of tune.

Gloom, despondency, worry about the future, and all discordant passion must be tuned out of this life instrument before it will express the exquisite melodies, the ravishing harmonies which the Creator intended it to express.

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