[amazon-product align=”right” alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″ region=”us” tracking_id=”varsblah-20″]1612030165[/amazon-product]Last week, in the second part of this review, we looked at the value of money, the importance of education, and the danger of arrogance.
“The fusion of firmness with a careful weighing of the risks will best attain the real decision which is known as courage.”
The courage required for success must be balanced between two extremes: being so stubborn you never compromise and being so weak you always do. The balance is achieved when an open mind develops reason and judgement: “Any man who could attain this perfect balance between these two parallel sides of his mind would have attained, at a single stroke, all that is required to make him eminent in any walk of life.”
“Panic is the fear which makes great masses of men rush into the abyss without due reason. It is, in fact, a mass sentiment with which there is no reasoning. Yet at one time or another in his career every man in business will be confronted with a stampede of this character, and if he does not understand how to deal with it, he will be trampled in the mud.”
Sometimes fear can be totally irrational. But that doesn’t make its effects any less real. That’s because “the atmosphere of the business world is a reality even when the views which produce it are wrong”. Ultimately, the real panic is in our minds. We can spend our lives fearing some imagined disaster that will probably never come. Doing so will make our actions impulsive and irrational. It’s the death of sensible judgement.
The best thing to do is delay all major decisions until you’ve thought things out rationally. You could also think of the worst anxiety you’ve ever had in the past in order to put what you’re experiencing now in perspective: “If a man can still the panic of his own heart, he will need to fear very little all the storms which may rage against him from outside.”
“Depression is the purge of business. The lean years abolish the adipose deposit of prosperity. The athlete is once more trained down fine for the battle.”
Unlike panic, which is sudden and irrational, depression can and should be foreseen. It restores balance in both personal and business affairs: “The high-spirited man pays for his hours of elation and optimism, when every prospect seems to be open to him and the sunshine of life a thing which will last for ever, by corresponding states of reaction and gloom, when the whole universe seems to be involved in a conspiracy against his welfare.”
Understanding this means there’s no reason to be upset when times are bad. We should simply see them as inevitable seasons that won’t last (much like the good times are bound to come and won’t last either): “In this respect, free will makes the individual superior to the alternations of the market. He, at least, is not compelled to be always either exalted or depressed. If he cannot be the master of the market, he is, at least, master of his own fate.”
“Do not despair over initial failure. Seek a new opening more suited to your talents. Fight on in the certain hope that a career waits for every man.”
Failure is painful, especially because most if it comes from avoidable mistakes. But there’s no need for us to fail (unless we’re criminals or loafs). The goal is to discover what we’re good at (which admittedly takes time) so we don’t pursue careers that are bound to fail. We shouldn’t believe the false doctrine of “general ability” that assumes being good at one thing makes you good at all things: “The mind of man is shut off into separate compartments, often capable of acting quite independently of each other.”
“The man who is consistent must be out of touch with reality. There is no consistency in the course of events, in history, in the weather, or in the mental attitude of one’s fellow-men.”
It’s been said that the only constant is change. But attacking consistency doesn’t mean we are embracing the alternative: “The man who was proud of being inconsistent, not from necessity but from choice, would be as much of a fool as his opposite.” Like with depression, we need to recognise that “a policy which is right in one stage of the process must necessarily be wrong in the other”. A stubborn mental attitude is a recipe for trouble.
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