Excerpts from
  "Making Life A Masterpiece"
Orison Swett Marden

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Book Contents
1916. Contents: making life a masterpiece; practical dreamers; where your opportunity is; triumph of common virtues; keeping at it as a miracle worker; masterfulness and physical vigor; curing the curse of indecision; unlocking your possibilities; bettering our best; will to succeed; backbone of manhood; shrinking from the disagreeable; kingship of self- control; hour a day; finding your place; secret of happiness; living in the finer senses.



IN an editorial on the death of a noted gambler a leading New York daily said:

"If the man hadn't started in as a gambler so young, continued as one so long, and as one been so successful, one would be tempted to think that gambling was to him a mere avocation, and no essential part of his life."

This man was splendidly gifted by Nature with all the qualities and traits that would have enabled him to make his life a masterpiece, yet he died, leaving only the sorry reputation of a successful gambler.

He played the gambling game on a big scale. He was honest, as honesty goes in professional gambling, kind-hearted, had a high degree of intelligence, good judgment, and a keen business instinct that would have made him successful in any calling. Withal he had a natural love of the beautiful, which he had carefully cultivated. His hobby was the collection of books and works of art, in which he showed excellent taste and judgment.

Here was a man who might have been a king among men had he so chosen. But, unfortunately, he chose early in life to be a gambler, and so, at the very start, ruined his godlike possibilities.

Within a week or two after the death of this man, the press of the whole country recorded the death of another man. And what a man! What a masterpiece he had made of his life! What a character he had builded; what a reputation he had won! What a legacy he had left to the world!

Every newspaper from the Atlantic to the Pacific, not only gave an account of his splendid career, but each had an editorial eulogizing his great work for humanity, and especially for his adopted country.

"Few Americans," said the New York World, "realize the debt that this country owes to John Muir. A scientist with the vision of a poet, a passionate lover of Nature whose ideals were thoroughly practical, he taught a Nation to respect its own property and to preserve from wanton destruction what man could never replace. To his earnest preaching and personal influence more than any other circumstance the United States owes its system of national parks and forest preserves. But for his persistent efforts the Yosemite today would probably be a barren waste, its mountains denuded and its watercourses arid. What was accomplished there was the starting point in a great national plan to save from ruin the forests and watersheds of both coasts."

Think what posterity for all time owes this man, who, despite the combined hostility of lumbermen, landgrabbers, and the great modern god, material Progress, Greed, accomplished his mighty purpose.

If he had done nothing else but save from destruction some of the most magnificent of Nature's works, the world could never repay the debt it owes him. But, though his real vocation was that of a naturalist, his achievement in any one of his avocations of geologist, explorer, philosopher, artist, author, and editor, would have made a success of any ordinary man.

John Muir, it is true, was not an ordinary man. Only the giants here and there match his accomplishments. But none need die so poor as to have only the reputation of a successful gambler.

There is in the career of every human being a possible magnificent masterpiece, or a wretched, distorted daub. Whichever it proves to be it will be hung in civilization's gallery. It will be exhibited to the world as the embodiment, the evidence of that for which each life has stood.

One's career is not only an exhibit to the world, a contribution to civilization, but it is also our exhibit to our Maker, our account of what we have done with the talent He gave us, how we invested it and the returns we have gotten out of it. It is our final report.

One of the most pitiable things in human history is the spectacle of a man who has gambled away his chance in life, gambled away his possibilities, and when near the end of life awakens to the fact that the larger part of his powers has never been utilized, that his almost finished career, which might have been a masterpiece, is only a smirched, unsightly daub.

The sort of man you will make of yourself, how you will be regarded by the world, whether people will admire and respect or despise you, whether you win the approval or the condemnation of your Maker,—all this is in your own hands. No matter where your lot may be cast, no power on earth can keep you from making a man of yourself, a superb character, a masterpiece.

The size of your fortune may be more or less an accident, but the size of the man you will bring out of your career, rests absolutely with you. This will not have to run the gauntlet of fire, of flood, of panic, or disaster. It will not be subject to loss or utter ruin by change of location, by the shifting tide of population in other directions or any other adverse turn of fickle fortune.

"I am not bound to win in what I attempt," said Lincoln, "but I am bound to be a man. I am bound to be true to the best I know, Any departure from this is contemptible cowardice."

There are possibilities of all sorts of disasters and misfortunes in the business world, in material conditions, which no human brain can forestall or prevent, but a man can make his life a masterpiece even amid the ruins of his business. He can stand out a superb figure even in the desolation of his property, when everything material has been swept away from him.

How many thousands of men in Belgium today who have lost everything they had on earth, their business, their property, their homes, their means of making a living, who have been stripped naked of everything by cruel war, yet are bigger, nobler, grander men than when fortune smiled on them. In many instances their wives and children have been lost, killed by stray shells, or have died from hunger and exposure. Yet these men still have that which lifts them above even such overwhelming misfortunes. They have that which bombs cannot kill, which siege guns cannot shatter, untarnished names, indestructible manhood.

The men whom we honor and look up to, those to whom the world erects monuments, accomplish something infinitely bigger, grander than scraping together dollars. The men who merely play the dollar game have stood pretty low down in the scale of human values. The world may sometimes seem hard and selfish, but it never honors greed and selfishness. In the ultimate reckoning it cherishes the memory of those who have illustrated in their lives the finer human values.

There is something in human nature which makes us instinctively despise selfishness, the grasping greed that is always seeking its own interest. And, as instinctively, we love the man who gives himself to his kind, who gives unselfish service. We know that he is of the salt of the earth, that his value as an uplifter of humanity is beyond computation.

When Ralph Waldo Emerson was earning but a thousand dollars a year he was rendering a greater service to humanity than any rich man of his day. The little village of Concord, Massachusetts, has been made immortal by such souls as Emerson, Longfellow, Louisa M. Alcott, and her father, Margaret Fuller, and other illustrious members of the famous New England coterie. This village has rendered a greater service to the world than has many a great city. Emerson's voice, like the shot which was fired at Lexington near by, has been heard around the world. The religion that started there is permeating all the creeds of the world.

Many people seem to think that they are under no obligation to make life as complete, as successful as possible. But this is precisely what we are here for—to evolve the real man or woman the Creator involved in each of us. We cannot be true to ourselves and shirk this obligation. Each was sent here with a divine message, and it is his business to deliver that message, to honor it royally, not to distort or mutilate it. The message is the work of a lifetime, the evolution of a superb manhood or womanhood,   the grandest achievement of which a human being is capable.

No one can make the most of himself until he looks upon his life as a magnificent possibility, the material for a great masterpiece to mar or spoil which would be a tragedy. Without such an ideal, without an ambition to live the life triumphant, the life worthwhile, that which will call out the largest, completest, superbest man or woman one is capable of being, there is no possibility of true success.

The object of our vocation should not be merely a living-getting. This was a mere incidental in the Creator's plan, only an inferior motive compared with the grander motive of making a life. Self-expression, self-enlargement, self-growth, the calling out of the man or the woman, the exercising of all one's powers of mind and body and soul—this should be the real meaning of an occupation or profession.

If we see in our day's work nothing but rent and food, clothing and shelter, taxes, a little pleasure and other incidentals, then we would better never have lived.

This is only a sordid, superficial view of one's life work. This is merely the perishable side of it, that which passes away.

The opportunity to be a man, a woman, the chance to unfold what the Creator has infolded in one, this is what our work should mean to us. The salary we earn, the money we make out of our talent or talents will afford us a very petty and mean satisfaction compared with that yielded by the opportunity of making such a superb character as will raise one's manhood or womanhood to its highest possibility. As Emerson says, "The man is all—all things preach the indifference of circumstances."

The Creator could have provided our bread ready made on trees; we could have been spared the drudgery of hard work so far as our living is concerned. But there was something infinitely grander than the bread and butter side of life in the Creator's plan for us. We were sent here to school. Life is a great university for the unfolding of the mind, for developing character. In choosing our life work, when we are free to choose, we should remember this, and choose that which will call the biggest man or woman out of us and not that from which we can coin the most dollars.

It does not matter so much how we earn our living, provided it is  honest. Self-training, self-discipline, self-improvement, the acquisition of personal power should be one's real aim.

Making life a masterpiece does not necessarily mean that one must engage in some high profession, some great special work or learned calling. All honest labor is dignified and ennobling. Many men have made masterpieces of their lives as cobblers and have lifted this occupation into dignity and respect. Multitudes of farmers are raising farming to the height of a grand profession by mixing brains and character with the soil, and are making masterpieces of their lives. When forging at the anvil in a blacksmith's shop Elihu Burritt was forging his life into a grand masterpiece.

It may be necessary sometimes to make a living on a level lower than that of our highest ideal, but at the same time, we can, if we choose, also make a life. There is an Oriental saying, "If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy white hyacinths to feed your soul" Whatever one's vocation, one is always free to invest in that which will make one a larger, broader, nobler being, that which, in the long run, will be of infinitely more value than many investments in stocks and bonds. No matter what your occupation, though it be washing dishes or carrying a hod, you can always, if you will, be a thoroughbred. You can look up, live up through every moment of your daily routine. The humblest occupation may be glorified by the spirit put into it.

In the early history of our country many of  our noblest characters were shoemakers, cobblers, farmers, laborers. How a man happened to make a living in those days, provided it was respectable, was considered of very little importance compared with what sort of a man was behind the occupation.

What we do for a living does not matter so much as how we do it. It is the spirit in which we do our work that counts, and that counts through all eternity.

You cannot always tell from the things a man is compelled to do for a living what his real character is, what his tastes and inclinations are. It is his voluntary choices, what he chooses when he is free to choose, what he does when he is at liberty to do as he wills,—these, and the spirit he puts into his appointed daily routine, are the things that indicate the quality of the individual.

"I am determined to make my life count," said a poor young immigrant with whom I was talking not long ago. Now, there is a resolution that is worthwhile, because it is backed by a high ambition, the determined purpose to be a man, to make his life one of service to humanity.

This young fellow works hard during the day, studying in a night school, and improving himself in every possible way in his odds and ends of time.

This is the sort of dead-in-earnestness that wins. This is the sort of material that has made America distinctive among all the nations of the earth. This is the sort of determination that gave us a Lincoln, an Andrew Jackson, an Edison, a John Muir—all our great men, native born or adopted sons.

Could anyone have a nobler ambition than this—to make his life count? One cannot imagine its failure, backed up by dead-in-earnest endeavor.
Unfortunately, children are not, as a rule, reared with the right idea of what life or a vocation means. Multitudes of them grow up with the belief that life is a chance to get as much fun as possible, and to make oneself as comfortable and as free from care as opportunities will allow. Such children when they reach manhood or womanhood look upon a vocation as an unavoidable, disagreeable obligation to provide for the necessities of the body. Few of them are instructed in life-making or taught that one's career should be a profession for man-making, woman-making, for the full, free development of our threefold nature, spiritual, mental and physical.

One of our greatest needs today is institutions for teaching people how to live, how to make living the art of arts, not merely how to make a living. As a matter of fact self-control, patience, consideration for others, how to face life the right way, how always to hold the right mental attitude, how to measure up to the ideals held up by the Christ,—these things are of infinitely more importance than mere scholastic training.

I am not belittling an education. It is of supreme importance. Indeed the boy or girl who is not willing to struggle for it, to make sacrifices to get the best education possible, will never make a masterpiece of life. An education gives us mastery of the tools with which we may make a career, not necessarily a masterpiece. The man who lives for self alone, whose life is not of value to the whole community, no matter what his education or calling, is a colossal failure. His life is not a masterpiece, but an unsightly, disgraceful daub. No matter what his learning, his wealth, or his position, he has failed completely in the one great task his Creator set him—to make a man out of the material given him.

Yet how often we see men of mighty intellect and great achievements living entirely on the material plane, seeing nothing of the divinity of life.

How often, too, do we see little dried-up millionaires with only a corner of their brains developed,—that which presides over the grasping, greedy, animal propensities. Their ideality, their reverence, their humanitarian and social qualities have gone out of business from lack of use.

There is no text in that great Book of Life, the Bible, which we need to study quite so much as this one, "The life is more than the meat, and the body more than the raiment."

There can be no greater mistake than to grind all of our energy and our heart's blood, our very selves into the meat, the raiment and housing of life, and to devote only the crumbs, the odds and ends of our time and energies to man-making and woman-making.

Why, the thing ought to be reversed. Getting something to eat and something to wear and a place to live in ought to be a side issue compared with making our lives, building men and women!

It would be nonsense to say that we need not concern ourselves at all about material things. As long as we have bodies that need food and clothing and shelter we must work either with our hands or brains, or with both, to supply those necessities. The point is, we need not bury ourselves to the exclusion of everything else in the money-getting or living-getting problem. This must be subordinated to our higher needs. As Theodore Parker well said, "The best thing that you can get in life is not money, nor what money alone brings with it. You must work for your manhood as much as for your money and take as much pains to get it and keep it, too."

Instead of spending ten, twelve, or fifteen hours a day chasing dollars without a thought of kindness or service for others and so utterly exhausting our energies that there is practically nothing left at the end of the day for life building, home or family building, except the mere scraps of our exhausted vitality, we ought to make these things the very foundation stones of each days' routine.

"Help thou thy brother's boat across, and lo! thine own has reached the shore," is an old Hindu proverb. An unselfish service rendered another in the course of a busy day will glorify the commonest work. A smile or a word of cheer and uplift to a discouraged soul is the finest and most enduring sort of paint to put into one's life picture.

A man is not a machine to be manipulated by outside forces. His motor power is inside of him. He can choose the direction in which he shall go. Every day he can say to himself with absolute assurance, "Without capital, without influence, without pulls, yea, even in spite of the opposition of others, I can be true to myself, I can be a man, and can make my life a masterpiece.

"I am the only real enemy I shall ever have. The only one who can wreck my personal career, keep me from being a success is the man living inside my own skin.

"There is no destiny, no fate that can ruin me. Under God I am my own maker, my own destiny. I am the master of my fate, 'the captain of my soul.' "



RECENTLY a man whose whole life had been practically a failure bragged that there was one fault he had never been guilty of, and that was, building air castles.

Perhaps, my friend, thought I, that is the reason why you are where you are. If you had built air castles in your youth and put out a little more effort in trying to put foundations under them you probably would be enjoying yourself in one of them today.

Some people have a great contempt for dreamers. They pride themselves on their extreme practicality, and are fond of asserting the folly of building castles in the air. Yet every great achievement in the world's history was first foreshadowed in the mind of the achiever. It was "a castle in the air," an impalpable dream, a something dimly, and, in the beginning, vaguely outlined in the imagination before it became a real, substantial structure.

As a matter of fact there must be an air castle before there is a real castle. The plan precedes the building. Equally true is it that you must toil for the bricks and mortar that shall go into your castle or it will never come out of the air.

Our ideas and ideals can never be solid possessions until we express them in life. It is good to erect airy structures in the imagination, but we must bring them down and give them a solid footing on earth if they are ever to do us or the world any good. While they are in the air, they are impractical. If they never get over the borderland of the imagination they do us more harm than good.

If you are dreaming and at the same time pegging away to put a foundation under the immaterial structure in your brain, you are on the right road. Never mind if others call you a dreamer, a visionary, an impractical fellow, you are in goodly company. Practically all of the inventors, discoverers and other great achievers of the past were derided as ne'er-do-wells who would never amount to anything. While they were planning and perfecting, mentally visualizing the creation they had in view, the scoffers laughed at them, called them idle visionaries, time-wasters. But these same "visionaries" and "time-wasters" proved to be the most practical of men, the greatest benefactors of the race.

Think of the debt which civilization owes to the dreamer, Elias Howe, who persisted in realizing his dream of the sewing machine! Who can estimate the revolution in manufacturing and in the condition of the poor people of the South wrought by Eli Whitney's dream of the cotton gin! Think of what the dreams of science have done for the farmer; dreams which have enabled him to mix brains with the soil, and have taken much of the drudgery out of his work!

Why the very discovery of the country in which American dreams were dreamed and realized in the past, and are being dreamed and realized today, was the result of years of Columbus's dreaming. None but a vigorous, practical dreamer would have persisted in sailing west day after day, week after week, with a crew in mutiny and ready to put him in chains.

The civilization on this continent today is a dream realized. Every city is a dream. There were only Indians and wild beasts here when our forefathers landed, bringing practically nothing but their courage with them. But out of the nothing, out of the castles they builded in the air have come our homes, our cities, our institutions. Our Constitution was the inspired dream of Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Hancock and other dreamers. The dearest, the noblest and best things in our national life were but dreams in the beginning.

Our ancestors dreamed of the day when they should be emancipated from the drudgery which enslaved them, and when they could travel with ease and comfort. They dreamed of the time when they could communicate with their fellows in different parts of the world quickly, easily. They dreamed of comforts and luxuries in the home which have become realities for us. All of the inventions and discoveries, improvements and facilities which we are using and enjoying today were dreams to those who lived before us.

The Union Pacific Railroad was first conceived in the brain of a dreamer. Even so late as in Daniel Webster's time, members of Congress decided that the great American desert was absolutely useless, and even Webster himself said it would be silly to think of building a railroad across it. He recommended that camels be imported to carry the mails to the Pacific coast.

Chicago is the result of a vision, less than a century old,—a vision which arose out of a little straggling Indian trading settlement. Salt Lake City was a dream of Brigham Young before it became in reality.

The man whom you condemn as a mere dreamer, my over-practical friend, may be living a much more real life than you, with all your vaunted wisdom. What is called dreaming brings out into the actual latent powers in the subject which matter-of-fact people never discover. If our dreams are sincere desires to achieve, not mere pipe-dreams, there is something deep within ourselves which comes out to meet them and helps to make them realities.

It was the dream of Professor Bell and his father which opened a new world to the multitudes who were living in the deaf mute's dungeon.

Who can estimate the number of human beings who would be sleeping at the bottom of the ocean today but for Marconi's dream? Not sixteen hundred alone, but all of the Titanic's passengers would have found a watery grave. Not only thousands of lives but a great many ships and a vast amount of property have been saved by this young man's dream, for which his associates ridiculed him and dubbed him an "impractical."

Only a comparatively few years ago, anyone who talked seriously of mechanical flight in the air was looked at pityingly by the wise ones, and relegated at once to the list of cranks or madmen. Now, airships are taken almost as a matter of course, and the sight of one sailing through the air excites no surprise. The Wright brothers in this country continued and made practical the "dream" of Professor Langley and others preceding them who had toiled without reward. "Langley's Folly" was the name given to the machine constructed by Professor Langley, which, after his death, was found to work successfully.

We hear a great deal about the impracticableness of genius and of the artistic temperament, but have you ever stopped to think that the beautiful pictures and statues that delight our eyes and feed our imaginations, the wonderful music that stirs our souls to their depths, the poems and great writings that spur us to noble deeds—that all these beautiful creations were first dreams of the artist, the sculptor, the composer, the poet, the writer?

The old masters were criticized by their contemporaries as impracticals, dreamers, but we all know that their air castles, their mind pictures, are the priceless masterpieces of today. All our most precious realities, the fruits of centuries of human thought and toil were born in the imagination. They are somebody's dream children.

The dreaming power was given to us for a divine purpose. There are millions of people on the earth who could not endure existence but for the ability to live in dreamland at will. They would become insane were it not for the power to escape from their cruel environment, to fly from trouble and suffering into a dreamland of bliss and beauty, a land which they people with their own imagination.

What would become of the poor wretches in our prisons but for the inner vision which carries them outside the prison walls to their old homes, there to re-live the scenes of their childhood with those who love them, while their bodies are locked behind iron bars?

What a relief it is to those who are shut in by a depressing environment, who suffer all the pangs of poverty, discouragement, and failure, or who are chained to those who do not understand or love them, to be able to rise into dreamland and live, for the time at least, in a land of harmony, of loveliness, of joy! What refreshment and strength it is for mind and body to soar above the worries and frets and cares of the day and renew oneself, as it were, in a spiritual bath in dreamland!

One of the most charming women of my acquaintance, one who has gone through experiences of suffering, of sorrow and of losses that fall to the lot of few mortals, owes her salvation, she declares, to her dreams, or as she calls them, her waking visions. Although well on in years, bereft of all her loved ones and compelled to practice rigid economy in order to make both ends meet, yet she is sweeter, more magnetic than even in girlhood, simply because she can at will rise out of her iron environment and refresh herself in the world beautiful of her own imagination. There, she avers, she hears harmonies more entrancing than any strains of voice or musical instrument that ever reached human ears; sees beauties more ravishing than were ever perceived by the body's eye.

The ability to rise and live with God in a land of harmony, truth and beauty, the power to free ourselves temporarily, at least, from the problems that fill us with care and anxious thought and to renew our souls is one of the greatest gifts of Divine Love.

The time will come when the proper use of the imagination as an educator, a developer, a creator of happiness will be treated, and taught as a science. Then people will learn to control and guide the mental force so as to direct it into channels that will lead to constructive work.

The impractical dreamers are those who spend the most of their time in dreamland. These people never seem to discover that this is a very real world. Their feet rarely touch the earth. Their air castles remain air castles. They do not put bricks and mortar about them and anchor them to the earth so that they can live in them.

The one talent men who work their visions out in the actual are of more use to the world than the ten talent men who live all the time in dreamland. This is why we see the ordinary, practical one talent doer everywhere outdistancing the ten talent dreamer who never gets down to business, who never does anything but dream.

The measure of our usefulness to society is not gauged by what we think or dream or promise, but by what we actually achieve or the things we start or put in the way of accomplishment by those who come after us.

Some of our greatest leaders of thought, forerunners of a new order of things, were called dreamers because the visions they saw did not materialize during their lives. Their great work consisted in pointing the way, blazing the first steps on the trail to new truths. The pagan world called the disciples of Christ visionaries, madmen, because they preached and taught a code of ethics that could not be understood by the mass of their contemporaries. The great Master himself was not understood even by the little band of chosen ones, the apostles, whom he had picked out to carry on His work. Even He was derided as a dreamer, mocked at, spat upon, crucified as a preacher of sedition.

Many men in every age who have been called impractical dreamers were really prophets predicting things that were possible. The world could see nothing in the direction in which they looked, but they saw light, the dawn of possibilities which eventually became realities. It is true that many of them dropped into the ground before the sun rose or their predictions came true, but they had set the feet of their successors on the right path; the air castles of the past grew into the noble edifices of the present.

Think of what the world owes to our forefathers' dream of democracy. That mighty dream which crumbled thrones and toppled monarchies in the past has gone on increasing in vividness and strength until today mankind is actually talking of a World Republic.

One of the things that keeps many people back is the foolish habit of stifling their aspirations, discouraging their dreaming propensity. They say to themselves, "What is the use of dreaming about the wonderful things I am going to do in the future? There is no such achievement in store for me. I am not a genius. I must content myself with an ordinary career." These negative thoughts and assertions chill their youthful ardor with the result that their ambition sags, their ideals shrivel, and, having no great life incentive, they drop into a humdrum routine and fall far below the level they might have attained.

Whatever you do, don't discourage your dreaming propensity. Your heart's desires are not empty vaporings. They foreshadow possible realities. Man was made to aspire, to look upward. Imagination was intended to play a tremendous part in our careers, our destiny. The man who only sees what actually exists today never progresses; it is the man who sees ahead, who anticipates, who forecasts the future, that forges ahead.

The man without a vision, who does not dream, is always narrow, limited. If he is a businessman, he is the slave of routine, a slave of his ledger. He is interested in things, not in ideas, or ideals. He will talk business, he is interested in money-making matters and nothing else. He cannot talk about music, or art, or books. He is not interested in politics, philosophy, psychology, or human welfare. His mind is confined within the narrow limit of things; it is circumscribed by Self. There is no point of interrogation in his mind. He is content, as he will tell you, to let well enough alone. He reaches out only for material things. He never reaches upward. His mind does not aspire; it grovels. His ideals are low-flying. He is literally tied to earth.

It is a sorry day for a man when he thinks his dreaming time is past, when he ceases to build air castles and to picture the wonderful things he is going to do in the future. Imagination means hope, and when that is dead we are only half alive.

I am always sorry to hear men in middle life talking about their fading visions and saying that their dreaming days are over. No more unfortunate idea ever crept into a man's head than that at a certain arbitrary age he has reached the zenith of his power, and soon thereafter will be going down the decline of life. Why, I have seen men of fifty and sixty more full of vigor and vim, mental and physical, than their juniors by fifteen or twenty years. All our years should slant upward, never downward. Life should be a continual ascent, a triumphal march onward, success-ward.

There is no more reason for us to begin to make ourselves somber and over-serious when we leave our youthful days behind than there is for us to cease cultivating our mental and spiritual faculties. It is just as much our duty to enjoy living at every period of our existence as it is to be useful. And we cannot be very useful when we are miserable, when we have soured on life, because unhappiness dulls the faculties and takes the edge off our ambition.

If we live normally and up to our best through two or three score years our added experience, our increased knowledge and wisdom, the garnered strength of our longer period of discipline, should more than compensate for any little loss of agility or of youthful buoyancy and sprightliness. There will be no decline in life as long as we cling to our vision, and the mind is kept young, but where there is no vision the people age, dry up and perish. High ideals, lofty thinking, noble purposes, useful endeavor, kindliness, an optimistic outlook, a mind ever open to new ideas,—these are the factors which keep man growing and make one sixty, seventy or a hundred years young instead of as many decades old.

It does not matter whether you are fifty or fifteen, you will find that if you encourage your dreaming propensities you will tend to bring out new powers which, perhaps, you did not know you possessed. We are all conscious that we have a great deal of unused ability, but we don't know just how to get hold of it. Often we don't know what it is, but we feel that there is something in us, which, if we could only utilize it, would add wonderfully to our success in life. Now, the way to bring this latent ability out is to try in every way possible to make your dreams realities. Nothing that the mind of man can conceive is impossible. The dreamers of today are the achievers of tomorrow. "And forever they are dreamers who make their dreams come true."

The mind is the storehouse of ideas and ideals, the architect of our careers. It makes our success or our failure, our heaven or our hell. We don't need to go out of the flesh to find happiness or torment. We dream ourselves into one or the other state here and now.

My dream conception of heaven is a place of indescribable beauty where no sense of unrest, discord, disaster or unhappiness ever enters. It is to me a place or condition where no one is envious or jealous, where no one tries to take advantage of another, and where all are interested in each other's welfare. In this dream heaven of mine each is joyously working at the thing he loves best to do. Harmony and love illuminate every face. Happiness so fills the atmosphere that there is no room for discord. Unrest, anxiety, worry, disappointment are unknown. The shadow of fear never enters here. Love reigns supreme, and—that dream place is possible right on this planet.

"Making Life A Masterpiece"
Orison Swett Marden

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