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The New Stuff

Self-Improvement As An Investment - Orison Swett Marden

EVERY NORMAL PERSON is capable of independence and self-reliance, yet comparatively few people ever develop their ability to stand alone. It is so much easier to lean, to trail, to follow somebody else, to let others do the thinking and the planning and the work. Do not think that, just because you are not a born leader, you are a born ‘leaner’. Because you have no great commanding qualities of leadership is no reason why you should not cultivate the little you have. We never know what resources or possibilities of strength are ours until we put our powers to the test. Many a man has proved himself a great leader who did not seem to be so naturally – who showed at first very little evidence of self-reliance. Leaders do not copy. They do not reflect the opinion of the majority. They think. They create. They make their own program and carry it out effectively. How few people stand for anything in particular! The majority of mankind are merely so many individuals in the census; they help make a little larger crowd; but how few men stand above or beyond their fellows and are self-sufficient! In later life we never quite forgive those who have allowed us to lean upon them, for we know that it has deprived us of our birthright. The greatest service a teacher can render a pupil is to train him to depend upon himself, to trust to his own powers. If the youth does not practice self-reliance, the man will be a weakling in adulthood. One of the greatest delusions that a human being could ever have is that his is permanently benefited by continued assistance from others. Power is the goal of every worthy ambition, and only weakness comes from imitation or dependence on others. Power is self-developed, self-generated. WE cannot increase the strength of our muscles by sitting in a gymnasium and letting another exercise for us. Nothing else so destroys the power to stand alone as the habit of leaning upon others. If you lean, you will never be strong, or original. Stand alone or bury your ambition to be somebody in the world."