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Obstacles to Happiness
[Articles] > Obstacles to Happiness
What I'm about to say will sound a bit pompous, but it's true. What is
to hurt you again. I mean that, nothing. It's like when you throw black
black. No matter what happens to you, you remain uncontaminated. You
way and that way, letting events or other people tell you how to feel. So
you proceed to feel it and you call it being vulnerable. Ha! I call it
being a puppet. So you want to be a puppet? Press a button and you're
down; do you like that? But if you refuse to identify with any of those
worried about what's going to happen to your career. A small-time
become this or that. Monkeys, all of them.
Who determines what it means to be a success? This stupid society! The
main preoccupation of society is to keep society sick! And the sooner you
nothing to do with being a success in life. Having a lot of money has
nothing to do with being a success in life. You're a success in life when
you wake up! Then you don't have to apologize to anyone, you don't have to explain anything to anyone, you don't give a damn what anybody thinks about you or what anybody says about you. You have no worries; you're
happy. That's what I call being a success. Having a good job or being
famous or having a great reputation has absolutely nothing to do with
happiness or success. Nothing! It is totally irrelevant. All he's really worried about is what his children will think about him, what the neighbors will think about him, what his wife will think about him. He should have
become famous. Our society and culture drill that into our heads day and
rest. Look at them strutting across the stage. Look how upset they get if they have a stain on their shirt. Do you call that a success? Look at how frightened they are at the prospect they might not be reelected. Do you
call that a success? They are controlled, so manipulated. They are
said to the plumber, "Hey, you're charging me two hundred dollars an
tomorrow, it's just like changing my clothes. I am untouched. Are you
your clothes? Are you your name? Are you your profession? Stop
"I." "I" is neither great nor small. "I" is neither successful nor a
happens to be talking to you right now. It has nothing to do with
Do you want to be happy? Uninterrupted happiness is uncaused. True
happiness. You say to the awakened person, "Why are you happy?" and the
children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and
contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don't have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does
you already have? Then why don't you experience it? Because you've got to drop something. You've got to drop illusions. You don't have to add
anything in order to be happy; you've got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It's only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.
Marriage
* (who said it) Love isn't about finding someone perfect; it's about learning to love an imperfect person perfectly. [comment|http://www.sathanurdam.com/radhika/index.jsp?Menuchoice=blog/2002_06_23_radhika_archive.html#78154241]
* Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, and enkindles the great. Comte DeBussy-Rabutin
* [Antoine de Saint-Exupery] : Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.
* Mignon mclaughlin : A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
* [Helen Rowland] : To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot and love him a little. To be happy with a woman you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.
!Stories
* [Qualities of a Successful Marriage|http://marriage.about.com/library/blququalsuc.htm]
* [Twelve Ways to Improve Your Marriage|http://marriage.about.com/library/blquimprmarriage.htm]
* [Four Things that Can Kill a Marriage|http://marriage.about.com/library/blqukillmarriage.htm] : sarcasm , contempt , stonewalling , an unwillingness to meet a spouse's requests
* Osho [On Marriage|http://www.otoons.de/osho/askosho38.htm]
* [Growing together as a couple]
* [The Four Keys to a Happy Marriage|http://www.marriageresource.org.uk/key-text.htm]
* [Keys to Lasting Marriage|http://www.marriageresource.org.uk/key-text.htm]
* Here are 10 Ways to Light [His|http://www.lightyourfire.com/online/advice/advice_tips_his.htm] / [Her|http://www.lightyourfire.com/online/advice/advice_tips_her.htm] Fire
* [Benjamin Alan] : [In Need of Marital Advice|http://www.benjaminalan.com/archives/000005.html] : .....My current source of bewilderment comes from this question that is frequently posed to me: "How much do you love me?".....
* [Google]'s [Society > Relationships > Marriage|http://directory.google.com/Top/Society/Relationships/Marriage/]
Three visions for India
"I have three visions for India. In 3000 years of our history people
came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this
to any other nation.
culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them.
nation. We are among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. We
falling. Our achievements are being globally recognized today. Yet we
lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a Developed nation, self-
I have a THIRD vision. India must stand up to the world. Because I
believe that unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect
My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds. Dr. Vikram
him and Dr. Brahm Prakash, father of nuclear material. I was lucky to
I see four milestones in my career:
ONE: Twenty years I spent in ISRO. I was given the opportunity to be
the project director for India's first satellite launch vehicle, SLV3.
TWO: After my ISRO years, I joined DRDO and got a chance to be the part
THREE: The Dept. of Atomic Energy and DRDO had this tremendous
tests and proving to the world that India can make it, that we are no
Sciences visited my laboratory. He lifted the material and found it so
light that he took me to his hospital and showed me his patients. There
over three Kg. each, dragging their feet around. He said to me: "Please
and took them to the orthopaedic centre. The children didn't believe
to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great
nation. We have so many mazing success stories, but we refuse to
Look at Dr. Sudarshan, he has transferred the tribal village into a
desert land into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture
that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments,
me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is: She replied:
"I want to live in a developed India." For her, you and I will have to
laws are too old. YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the
destination. YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is
Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name - YOURS. Give
roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground Links
as they are. You pay $5 (approx. Rs. 60) to drive through Orchard Road
comeback to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have
wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai. YOU would not
dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah. YOU would not dare
to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.
650) a month to, "see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to
someone else." YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in
Washington and then tell the traffic cop, "Jaanta hai sala main kaun
don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don't YOU use
examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston? We are still
talking of the same YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign
papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If
Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay Mr. Tinaikar had a point to make.
"Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent
around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty
pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom
dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan.
Will the Indian citizen do that here?" He's right. We go to the polls to
back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything
for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the
government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all
over the place nor are we going to stop to pick an up a stray piece of
paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean
bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. We
want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and
toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least
opportunity. This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on
the service to the public. When it comes to burning social issues like
those related to women, dowry, girl child and others, we make loud
drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our
excuse? "It's the whole system, which has to change, how will it matter
if I alone forego my sons' rights to a dowry." So who's going to change
fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system.
When New York becomes insecure we run to England. When England
experiences unemployment, we take the next light out to the Gulf. When
the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the
Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country.
Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to
a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too....I am
echoing John F. Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to
Indians..... "ASK WHAT WE CAN DO FOR INDIA AND DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE
TO MAKE INDIA WHAT AMERICA AND OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES ARE TODAY" Let's
do what India needs from us. Forward this mail to each Indian for a
The University of Hard Knocks
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Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
the United States and have listened to "The University of Hard
Knocks." It has been delivered to date more than twenty-five
lecture took this unconscious colloquial form before audiences. An
bringing the audiences of America together. For lecture audiences
are not drawn together, they are pushed together."
public, has encouraged the publishers to put more of Mr. Parlette's
lectures into book form, "Big Business" and "Pockets and Paradises"
sorghum barrel--Audience must have place to put lecture--Why so
into--Getting the coffee-pot--Teaching a wilful child--Bumps make
us "stop, look, listen"--Blind man learns with one bump--Going up
III. THE COLLEGE OF NEEDFUL KNOCKS, the bumps that bump into
fatal rattle--We must get ready to get--Testimonials and press
equalize--Help people to help themselves--We cannot get things till
There is no top--We make ourselves great by service--the
first step at hand--All can be greatest--Where to find great
children--The story of "Gussie" and "Bill Whackem"--Schools and
books only give better tools for service--"Hard knocks" graduates--
Children must have struggle to get strength--Not packhorse work--
Helping the turkeys killed them--the happiness of work we love--
Must save the home towns--A school of struggle--New School
the shell game--My "fool drawer"--Getting "selected to receive
lived--Singer must live songs--Successful songs written from
but stop--Few go on south--The plague of incompetents--Today our
best day, tomorrow to be better--Birthdays are promotions--I am
eighty--Too busy to bury--Sympathy for the "sob squad"--Child sees
X. GOING UP LIFE'S MOUNTAIN--The defeats that are victories--
Climbing Mount Lowe--Getting above the clouds into the sunshine--
Each day we rise to larger vision--Getting above the night into
I do not want to be seen in this lecture. I want to be heard. I am
only the delivery wagon. When the delivery wagon comes to your
sometimes delivered to you in some very poor delivery wagons.
So in this lecture, please do not pay any attention to the delivery
not pay much attention to the wrappings and strings. Get inside to
Really, I believe the goods are good. I believe I am to recite to
mother wanted to make ginger-bread or cookies, she would send me to
the woodshed to get a bucket of sorghum from that barrel.
the sorghum would fairly squirt into my bucket. Later in the fall
have to wait a long while to get a little sorghum. And on some real
I have brought a barrel of sorghum to this audience. The name of
of this audience. You can have all you want of it, but to get it to
running freely, you will have to warm up.
No matter how the sorghum runs, you have to have a bucket to get
size of the bucket he brings to get it in. A big bucket can get
Here is a great mass of words and sentences and pictures to express
growing up from the Finite to the Infinite, and that it is done by
success rule can alone solve the problem. You must average it all
and struggle up to a higher vision.
We are told that the stomach needs bulk as well as nutriment. It
lecture. You cannot confess without referring to the confesser.
To Everybody in My Audience
about your present. I care much about your future for that is to
it. They do not waste the bumps. We get promoted to the next bump.
Some of us learn to go forward with a few bumps, but most of us are
"naturally bright" and have to be pulverized.
We never graduate. When we stop learning we are due for another
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
"Tongues in trees," I thought. "Trees can't talk! That man is
no running brooks. They'd get wet. And that sermons in stones! They
get preachers to preach sermons, and they build houses out of
stones."
But I am happy today that I have traveled a little farther. I am
happy that I have begun to learn the lessons from the bumps. I am
University of Adversity. I am happy that I am beginning to listen.
For as I learn to listen, I hear every tree speaking, every stone
Children, I fear you will not be greatly interested in what is to follow.
I was not interested when father and mother told me these things.
It is so hard to tell young people anything. They know better. So
they have to get bumped just where we got bumped, to learn that two
Bumps that we bump into and bumps that bump into us.
The Bumps That We Bump Into
say that. It was back at the time when I was trying to run our home
to suit myself. I sat in the highest chair in the family circle. I
was three years old and ready to graduate.
coffee-pot in my business. I reached over to get the coffee-pot.
meddlesome woman I had ever known. I had not tried to do one thing
in three years that that woman had not meddled into.
I was reaching over to get it, that woman said, "Don't touch that!"
has that woman to meddle into my affairs all the time? I have stood
this petticoat tyranny three years, and it is time to stop it!
I stopped it. I got the coffee-pot. I know I got the coffee-pot. I
You see, my mother's way was to tell me and then let me do as I
pleased. She told me not to get the coffee-pot and then let me get
Why don't mothers knit today?
that this is the way to raise children, but I insist that this was
the most kind and effective way to rear one stubborn boy I know of.
kind of an insect mother was trying to raise. Mother did know. She
Mother knew that to argue with me was to flatter me. Tell me, serve
That was the quickest and kindest way to teach me.
inflicter. Father attended to that in the laboratory behind the
"Stop, Look, Listen"
runs on the same plan. The Voice of Wisdom says to each of us,
wiser and happier." The tongues in the trees, the books in the
running brooks and the sermons in the stones all repeat it.
But we are not compelled to walk in the right path. We are free
easier and more attractive. It is so easy to go downward. We slide
downward, but we have to make effort to go upward.
upward has to be pushed.
When we are bumped, we should "stop, look, listen." "Safety first!"
One time I paid a seeress two dollars to look into my honest palm.
unlucky and it had to be.
How I had to be bumped to learn better! Now when I get bumped I try
to learn the lesson of the bump and find the right path, so that
The other day I watched a blind man go down the aisle of the car to
I looked down my nose. "Ralph Parlette," I said to myself, "when
are you going to learn to see as well as that blind man? He learns
his lesson with one bump, and you have to go bumping into the same
that go upward have to be pushed. Going upward is overcoming.
And so with our own lives. Real living is conscious effort to go
upward to larger life.
the tomorrow of communities that go upward. Majorities are not
willing to make the effort to rule themselves. They are content to
People are like sheep. The shepherd can lead them to heaven--or to
Human life is the story of the Prodigal Son. We look over the fence
of goodness into the mystery of the great unknown world beyond and
How they must be bumped to think upon their ways. Every time we do
the subject. You have pounded your soul into a jelly. You don't
How the old devil works day and night to keep people amused and
The last thing Mamma Fly said as Johnny went off to the city was,
"Remember, son, to stay away from the sticky flypaper. That is
set go over to the flypaper, he goes over, too. He gazes down at
place to skate. Just see how close I can fly over it and not get
right, of course, but she isn't up-to-date. We young set of modern
can't catch us. They were too strict with me back home."
naturally bright young life. Afterwhile, tho, he stubs his toe and
feet down in the stickiness. It is harder to pull them out. Then he
puts three down and puts down a few more trying to pull them out.
"Really," says Johnny Fly bowing to his comrades also stuck around
him, "really, boys, you'll have to excuse me now. Good-bye!" But he
flypaper. It is a fine place to stick around. All his young set of
Most of them stay. They just settle down into the stickiness
The man who goes to jail ought to congratulate himself if he is
guilty. It is the man who does not get discovered who is to be
The world loves to write resolutions of respect. How often we
write, "Whereas, it has pleased an all-wise Providence to remove,"
There is a good deal of suicide charged up to Providence.
The Bumps That Bump Into Us
BUT occasionally all of us get bumps that we do not bump into. They
bump into us. They are the guideboard knocks that point us to the
heart broken more times than I care to talk about now. Your home
more to live for.
are lessons in The College of Needful Knocks. They point upward to
is--material that needs more Needful Knocks to make it more useful
have to have the Needful Knocks to become useful. And so does
I should like to know every person in this audience. But the ones
See the piano on this stage? Good evening, Mr. Piano. I am glad to
here. This is no reflection upon the janitor. You became a piano by
There you stood in the forest, a perfectly good, green young tree.
You got your lessons, combed your hair, went to Sunday school and
man into the woods with an ax, and he looked for the best trees
there to bump. He bumped you--hit you with the ax! How it hurt you!
It is a very sad story. They took you all bumped and bleeding to
bumped here. All the beauty, harmony and value were bumped into you.
Duluth, Minnesota, and came to a hole in the ground. It was a big
until you move it--send it to college or somewhere.
the rails to what they call a blast furnace, the technological name
I watched this red mud matriculate into a great hopper with
limestone, charcoal and other textbooks. Then they corked it up and
school began. They roasted it. It is a great thing to be roasted.
When it was done roasting they stopped. Have you noticed that they
always stop when anything is done roasting? If we are yet getting
Then they pulled the plug out of the bottom of the college and held
promotion exercises. The red mud squirted out into the sand. It was
Some of the pig iron went into another department, a big teakettle,
Some of the sophomore steel went up into another grade where it was
roasted yet again and rolled thin into a junior. Some of that went
it had been roasted--they took it proudly all over the world,
If a ton of that red mud had become watch-springs or razor-blades,
the price had gone up into thousands of dollars.
red mud. The Needful Knocks are necessary to make us serviceable.
Every bump is raising our price. Every bump is disclosing a path to
same material, say the chemists. But the diamond has gone to The College
One evening when I was trying to lecture in a chautauqua tent in
Illinois, a crippled woman was wheeled into the tent and brought
right down to the foot of the platform. The subject was The
Afterwards I went to her. "Little lady, I want to thank you for
that I know sitting in this chair. I have learned to be patient and
They told me this crippled woman was the sweetest-spirited,
best-loved person in the town.
cripple into the tent. She was tall and stately. She was
had everything that money could buy. But her money seemed unable to
single thing to make her happy. I am not happy. I have not been
"Madam, I don't want to be unkind, but I really think the reason
to congratulate the patients lying there. They are learning the
sympathize. They are to become a precious part of our population.
There is no backward step in life. Whatever experiences come to us
are truly new chapters of our education if we are willing to learn
We think this is true of the good things that come to us, but we do
not want to think so of the bad things. Yet we grow more in lean
materially very prosperous, so many of us begin to say, "Is not
some handwriting on the wall and a bump to save us.
Think of what might happen to you today. Your home might burn. We
don't want your home to burn, but somebody's home is burning just
now. A conflagration might sweep your town from the map. Your
for it is not true. The old enemy of humanity wants you to believe
you are down and out. He wants you to sympathize with yourself. You
There is a silver lining to every hard knocks cloud.
we get wisdom, understanding, happiness, strength, success and
One day the train stopped at a station to take water. Beside the
big, red, fat apples on the top, and the groceryman, not desiring
to spoil his sign, had reached down under the top layer. He must
have reached to the bottom, for he gave me the worst mess of runts
the groceryman ever put the big apples on top and the little
Man of sorrows, you have been slandered. It never occurred to me
big ones on top and the little ones down underneath. He does not
need to do it. It does itself. It is the shaking of the barrel that
Shake to Their Places
and smooth that things do not shake on the road to town. But back
hauled a wagon-bed full of apples to the cider-mill over a corduroy
try to get to the top. The little, runty apples would try to hold
a mass meeting at the bottom.
how long you have to see most things before you see them? I saw
that when I played marbles. The big marbles would shake to the top
of my pocket and the little ones would rattle down to the bottom.
You children try that tomorrow. Do not wait thirty years to learn
thing shake to the place its size determines. A little larger one
before, the largest on top and the smallest at the bottom.
than thru the ear. I want to make this so vivid that you will never
forget it, and I do not want these young people to live thirty
If there are sermons in stones, there must be lectures in cans.
This is a canned lecture. Let the can talk to you awhile.
automatically goes the right way. The little ones go down and the
down in the bottom saying, "Help me! Help me! I am so unfortunate
I say, "Yes, you little bean, I'll help you." So I lift him up to
the top. See! I have boosted him. I have uplifted him.
See, the can shakes. Back to the bottom shakes the little bean. And
stay on top." So I put him back again on top.
The can shakes. The little bean again shakes back to the bottom. He
is too small to stay up. He cannot stand prosperity.
Then I hear Little Bean say, "Well, if I cannot get to the top, you
So I say, "Yes, sir, Little Bean. Here, you big ones on top, get
But I shake the can, and the big ones go right back to the top with
the same shakes that send the little ones back to the bottom.
There is only one way for those objects to change their place in
way to the market place of the future. It is a corduroy road and
stores, the schools, the pulpits, the homes--every place where we
in that can is shaking every person to the place he fits in the
And do you not see that we are very foolish when we want to be
lifted up to some big place, or when we want some big person to be
put down to some little place? We are foolishly trying to overturn
We shake right back to the places our size determines. We must get
The very worst thing that can happen to anybody is to be
artificially boosted up into some place where he rattles.
I hear a good deal about destiny. Some people seem to think destiny
is something like a train and if we do not get to the depot in time
creatures of chance. We have it in our hands to decide our destiny
as we grow or refuse to grow.
If we wish to change our place, we must first change our size. If
we wish to go down, we must grow smaller and we shall shake down.
If we wish to go up, we must grow greater, and we shall shake up.
In order to hold his place he must hold his size. He must fill the
he rattles. Nature abhors a rattler. He shakes down to a smaller place.
In order to stay the same size he must grow enough each day to supply
So you young people should keep in mind that you will shake into
the places you fit. And when you are in your places--in stores,
shops, offices or elsewhere, if you want to hold your place you
must keep growing enough to keep it tightly filled.
capabilities, do more than you are paid to do--overfill your place,
and you shake up to a greater place.
I believe if I were so fortunate or unfortunate as to have a number
with various sizes of objects. When an employee would come into the
raised. As you grow greater you won't need to ask to be promoted.
shook down and the big ones shook up. The bump that was bad luck to
the little ones was good luck to the big ones. The same bump was
to size. Every business concern can tell you stories like that of
got the bottom job.
"Is not she the limit?" they oft spake one to another. She was. She
same blunder twice. She learned the lesson with one helping to the
to be done, and she would go right on working, contrary to the
rules of the union! Without being told, mind you. She had that rare
wait--to be told what to do next.
The barrel did the rest. Today she is giving orders to all of them,
was nothing fair about it. Jennie ought to have been made
desire to know anything about anything.
man over there at the supercalendered machine?" pointing to the man
The foreman's face clouded. "I hate to talk to you about that man.
we've got to let him go. We're afraid he'll break the machine. He
isn't interested, does not learn, doesn't try to learn."
So he had begun to rattle. Nobody can stay where he rattles. It is
So books could be filled with just such stories of how people have
Some of us begin life on the top branches, right in the sunshine of
Some of us begin down in the shade on the bottom branches, and we
the top-branchers, and we say, "O, if I only had his chance! If I
were only up there I might amount to something. But I am too low
enough to fill this place?"
appear to have about the same round of duties.
our eyes glued to precedents--just turning round and round in our places
The success, joy and glory of life are in learning, growing, going
forward and upward. That is the only way to hold our place.
The farmer must be learning new things about farming to hold his
growing into a greater, wiser merchant to hold his place among his
competitors. The minister must be getting larger visions of the
ministry as he goes back into the same old pulpit to keep on
journals labeled "Finishing Schools," and "A Place to Finish Your
I am sorry for the one who says, "I know all there is to know about
The greater and wiser the man, the more anxious he is to be told.
ready to get along without him. That noise you hear is the
For it is mostly rattle. The live one's "my day" is today and
tomorrow. The dead one's is yesterday.
We Must Get Ready to Get
We young people come up into life wanting great places. I would not
look forward to greater and better things tomorrow.
We often think the way to get a great place is just to go after it
We think if we could only get into a great place we would be great.
We do not become great by getting into a great place, any more than
a boy becomes a man by getting into his father's boots. He is in
Moses was eighty years getting ready to do forty years work. The
Master was thirty years getting ready to do three years work. So
many of us expect to get ready in "four easy lessons by mail."
the most testimonials generally needs them most to keep him from
Many a man writes a testimonial to get rid of somebody. "Well, I
hands." I heard a Chicago superintendent say to his foreman, "Give
It is dangerous to overboost people, for the higher you boost them
to introduce a stranger. A letter of introduction is useful. A
The danger is that the hero of them may get to leaning upon them.
Then they become a mirror for his vanity instead of a monitor
progress by reading my press-notices instead of listening to the
to contain the crowd."
was filled before was entirely too big for the audience! The
editors of America--God bless them! They are always trying to boost
When you get to the place where you can stand aside and "see
rejoice, for the kingdom of success is yours.
in the land. They spring up, fail, wail, disappear, only to be
having the barrel do the uplifting, they try to do it with a
not helping them, that is propping them. The beggar who asks you to
help him does not want to be helped. He wants to be propped. He
wants you to license him and professionalize him as a beggar.
You can only help a man to help himself. Help him to grow. You
cannot help many people, for there are not many people willing to
be helped on the inside. Not many willing to grow up.
When Peter and John went up to the temple they found the lame
And so every day that beggar got to be more of a beggar. The public
"helped" him to be poorer in spirit, more helpless and a more
"helping" to the Jerusalem Beggars' Union and carried his card.
I used to say, "Nobody uses me right. Nobody gives me a chance."
I used to work on the "section" and get a dollar and fifteen cents
to see how little I could do and look like I was working. I was the
I used to wonder as I passed Bill Barlow's bank on the way down to
pumping a handcar. I was naturally bright. I used to say "If the
I am so glad now that I did not get to be president of the bank.
They are glad, too! I would have rattled down in about fifteen
minutes, down to the peanut row, for I was only a peanut. Remember,
The fairy books love to tell about some clodhopper suddenly
enchanted up into a king. But life's good fairies see to it that
the clodhopper is enchanted into readiness for kingship before he
The only way to rule others is to learn to rule ourself.
I used to say, "Just wait till I get to Congress." I think they are
to be the same size. Yes, I'll pass laws to turn the barrel upside
down, so the little ones will be on the top and the big ones will
be at the bottom."
But I had not seen that it wouldn't matter which end was the top,
the big ones would shake right up to it and the little ones would
shake down to the bottom.
Have you ever noticed that the man who is not willing to fix
himself, is the one who wants to get the most laws passed to fix
do not get the coffee-pot until we are ready to handle it.
Today you and I have things we couldn't have yesterday. We just
would not let us have them. Today we have them. They come to us as
naturally today, and we see it is because we have grown ready for
them, and the barrel has shaken us up to them.
Today you and I want things beyond our reach. O, how we want them!
today all we can stand today. More would wreck us. More would start
us to rattling.
And this blessed old barrel of life is just waiting and anxious to
many are trying to grow great on the outside without growing great
We go up from selfishness to unselfishness.
We go up from impurity to purity.
We go up from unhappiness to happiness.
We go up from weakness to strength.
We go up from low ideals to high ideals.
We go up from little vision to greater vision.
We go up from foolishness to wisdom.
We go up from fear to faith.
We go up from ignorance to understanding.
rise above our own obstacles. We learn to see, hear, hold and
"Getting to the Top"
"Getting to the top" is the world's pet delusion. There is no top.
the going up from the Finite to the Infinite.
The world says that to get greatness means to get great things. So
I weary of the world's pink-sheet extras about "Getting to the Top"
and "Forging to the Front." Too often they are the sordid story of
are the story of one pig crowding the other pigs out of the trough
Christ Jesus was a great Teacher. His mission was to educate
There came to him those two disciples who wanted to "get to the
top." Those two sons of Zebedee wanted to have the greatest places
"Are ye able to drink of the cup?" Then he gave the only definition
inside--developing ability to minister and to serve.
Everybody's privilege and duty is to become great. And the joy of
to go off to New York or Chicago or go chasing around the world to
We must take the first step now. Most of us want to take the
hundredth step or the thousandth step now. We want to make some
We must go right back to our old place--into our kitchen or our
solve and dissolve the difficulties and turn our burdens into
of earth are born; they rush in from the cold lands to the warm
currents set upward, the world is drawn toward us with its
of power. We find the world around us rising up to call us blessed.
begin to see them. They are around us all the time, but we must get
greater eyes to see them.
greater our vision, the more we see what is yet to be accomplished.
small head could contain it all. It was Newton after giving the
world a new science who looked back over it and said, "I seem to
The great Teacher pointed to the widow who cast her two mites into
the treasury, and then to the rich men who had cast in much more.
have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she
treasury. That is not why we give. We give to become great. The
upon what we do, whether peeling potatoes or ruling a nation, but
upon the percentage of our output to our resources. Upon doing with
our might what our hands find to do. Quit worrying about what you
cannot get to do. Rejoice in doing the things you can get to do.
And as you are faithful over a few things you go up to be ruler
gifts. But when we cast them all into the treasury of right
service, there is an alchemy that transmutes every gift into gold.
I do not know who fitted the boards into the floor I stand upon. I
We have to look farther than the "Who's Who" and Dun and Bradstreet
to make a roster of the great people of a community. You will find
tomorrow. They are the faithful few who get behind the churches,
They are the ones who are "always trying to run things." They are
thanking them until it comes time to draft the "resolutions of
I had to go to the mouth of a coal-mine in a little Illinois town,
to find the man the bureau had given as lyceum committeeman there.
miner's lamp in his cap, could possibly have to do with the lyceum
course. But I learned that he had all to do with it. He had sold
the Sunday school. He was the storm-center of every altruistic
effort in the town--the greatest man there, because the most
The great people are so busy serving that they have little time to
attend to such things.
Chicago on Sundays to thousands. He writes books and runs a college
uplift movements that his name gets into the papers about every day,
He had broken away from Chicago to have a vacation. Many people
preacher went from one chautauqua town to another, and took his
vacation going up and down the streets. He dug into the local
history of each place, and before dinner he knew more about the
went to see people who were doing things. He went to see people who
were doing nothing. In every town he would discover somebody of
unusual attainment. He made every town an unusual town. He turned
the humdrum travel map into a wonderland. He scolded lazy towns and
praised enterprising ones. He stopped young fellows on the streets.
"What are you going to do in life?" Perhaps the young man would
say, "I have no chance." "You come to Chicago and I'll give you a
for himself, but every day he was trying to make an investment in
doesn't the doctor take care of himself, instead of taking care of
hasn't strength enough left to lecture and do his own work."
life in loving service finds it returning to him great and
This Chicago man gives his life into the service of humanity, and
it becomes the fuel to make the steam to accomplish the wonderful
things he does. Let him stop and "take care of himself," and his
career would stop.
for number one," stipulating in advance every cent he was to get
yourself that afterwhile you are going to give great things and do
thousands afterwhile. You need to give it now, and the world needs
to get it now."
Preparing Children to Live
for life. All other kinds of "preparedness" fade into
insignificance before this. The history of nations shows that their
But when the struggle stopped, the strength waned, for the strength
and surrendered to ease and indulgence, they became fat, stall-fed weaklings.
Then they fell a prey to younger, hardier peoples.
living for our children. We are going to give them the best
Then, forgetful of how they became strong, they plan to take away
from their children their birthright--their opportunity to become
forced to sink or swim. Thus he learned to swim.
"We are going to give our children the best education our money can buy."
understanding, and give it to them C. O. D! They seem to think they
else send off to New York or Paris or to "Sears Roebuck," and get
maybe they will have a private pipeline of education laid to their
home. They are going to force this education into them regularly
until they get them full of education. They are going to get them
Toll the bell! There's going to be a "blow out." Those inflated
children are going to have to run on "flat tires."
do is to buy them some tools, perhaps, and open the gate and say,
acquired in a life of struggle." As well expect the athlete to give
As well expect the musician to give them the technic he has
acquired in years of practice. As well expect the scholar to give
them the ability to think he has developed in years of study. As
well expect Moses to give them his spiritual understanding acquired
The Story of "Gussie"
There was a factory town back East. Not a pretty town, but just a
The little old man often said, "I'm going to give that boy the best
He began to buy it. He began to polish and sandpaper Gussie from
He sent him to the astrologer, the phrenologer and all other
"ologers" they had around there. When Gussie was old enough to
export, he sent the boy to one of the greatest universities in the
Gussie had no chance to serve. Everything was handed to him on a
Chicago. Did you ever go over into Packingtown and see a steer
grand bump, said steer does not have to do another thing. His
goes riding thru on that endless cable from his A-B-C's to his
eternal cold storage, each professor hits him a dab. He rides along
from department to department until he is canned.
They "canned" Gussie. He had a man hired to study for him. He rode
from department to department. They upholstered him, enameled him,
the first time in its history. The hands marched down to the depot,
and when the young lord alighted, the factory band played, "See,
crape hanging on the office door. Men and women stood weeping in
Poor little peanut! He rattled. He had never grown great enough to
had a new kind of boss. If I were to give the new boss a
day. But he seemed to fatten on bumps. Every time he was bumped he
got to looking up to him to start and run things.
So when the courts were looking for somebody big enough to take charge
of the wrecked mill, they simply had to appoint Hon. William Whackem.
It was Hon. William Whackem who put the wreckage together and made
the wheels go round, and finally got the hungry town back to work.
Colleges Give Us Tools
went to one of "them highbrow schools." I am sorry to say I thought
say to the book and the college, "Give us an education." They cannot
any more than you can get to New York by reading a travelers' guide.
furnish you finer working tools. But the real education is the
with these instruments and tools.
tools and no experience in using them. Bill was the man with the
poor, homemade, crude tools, but with the energy, vision and
poor, crude tools at their command.
graduates"--people who have never been to college nor have studied
many or any books. Yet they are educated to the degree they have
They realized how they have been handicapped by their poor mental tools.
proper preparation. Don't make my mistake, children, go to school."
machine from a few bits of junk. But send him to Westinghouse and
Get the best tools you can. But remember diplomas, degrees are not
Go out with your fine equipment from your commencements into the
The story of Gussie and Bill Whackem is being written in every
tragedy of our American civilization today.
These fathers and mothers who toil and save, who get great farms,
greatness to their children--they can make great places for them in
life and put them into them.
to grow great enough for the places. The child gets the blame for
A man heard me telling the story of Gussie and Bill Whackem, and he
his boy was not there to hear it. But that good, deluded father now
somebody does not take me aside and tell me a story just as sad
depravity. He seems never to have had a fighting chance to become
a man. He seems to have been robbed of his birthright from the
generals of the Keystone state. He could plat great coal empires
and command armies of men, but he seems to have been pitifully
But Nature's eliminating process is kind to the race in the barrel
generations from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves.
and mother love you and give you everything you need. You get to
thinking, "I won't have to turn my hand over. Papa and mamma will
to rattle. Father and mother can be great and you can be a peanut.
You must solve your own problems and carry your own loads to have
and food in your stomach, but you cannot own it save as you digest
it--put it into your life.
insect struggling inside the cocoon. It was trying to get out of
killing it. He took away from it the very thing it had to have--the
that envelope that was needed to reduce its body and develop its
somewhere. Just work that gets us three meals a day and a place to
lie down to sleep, then another day of the same grind, then a year
Such a worker is like the packhorse who goes forward to keep ahead
of the whip. Such a worker is the horse we used to have hitched to
hearing nothing, his head down, without ambition enough to prick up
But getting a vision of life, and working to grow upward to it,
enables us to travel upward.
"Helping" the Turkeys
by day for them to hatch. And sure enough, one day the eggs began
to crack and the little turkeys began to stick their heads out of
the shells. Some of the little turkeys came out from the shells all
"Shell out, little turkeys, shell out," I urged, "for Thanksgiving
But they stuck to the shells.
"Little turkeys, I'll have to help you. I'll have to shell you by
hand." So I picked the shells off. "Little turkeys, you will never
know how fortunate you are. Ordinary turkeys do not have these
advantages. Ordinary turkeys do not get shelled by hand."
Did I help them? I killed them, or stunted them. Not one of the turkeys
Harry Thaw turkey. They had too many silk socks. Too many "advantages."
own obstacles to develop your own powers.
I am pleading for you to get a great arm, a great mind, a great
you to know the joy of overcoming and having the angels come and
minister to you.
Children, I am pleading with you to find happiness. All the world
work that fits your talents, and stop watching the clock and
Loving friends used to warn me against "breaking down." They scared
me into "taking care" of myself. And I got to taking such good care
of myself and watching for symptoms that I became a physical wreck.
I saved myself by getting busier. I plunged into work I love. I
a skinny, fretful, nervous wreck into a hearty, happy man. This has
been a great surprise to my friends and a great disappointment to
the undertaker. I am an editor in the daytime and a lecturer at
one round of joy, and I ought to pay people for the privilege of
speaking and writing to them instead of them paying me!
You see, I have no time nowadays to break down. I have no time to
to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord." Thus this
To worry is to doubt God.
To work at the things you love, or for those you love, is to turn
work into play and duty into privilege.
The world is trying to find happiness in being amused. The world is
for these places keep just what the people want to buy. What a lot
There are ten literary drunkards to one alcoholic drunkard. There
are a hundred amusement drunkards to one victim of strong drink.
And all just as hard to cure.
We have to have amusement, but if we fill our lives with nothing
Almost every day as I go along the street to some hall to lecture,
I hear somebody asking, "What are they going to have in the hall
tonight?"
"Going to have a lecture."
The speaker is perfectly honest. He has no place to put a lecture.
at what underlies his remark. He does not want to think. He wants
to follow his nose around. Other people generally lead his nose.
The man who will not make the effort to think is the great menace
to the nation. The crowd that drifts and lives for amusement is the
want to start a new party to reform the government.
jam of people, most of them imitations--most of them trying to look
white way they go chasing amusement to find happiness. They must be
amused every moment, even when they eat, or they will have to be
The Prodigal Son came to himself afterwhile and thought upon his
ways. Then he arose and went to his father's house. Whenever one
will stop chasing amusements long enough to think upon his ways, he
will arise and go to his father's house of wisdom. But there is no
hope for the person who will not stop and think. And the devil
over to contracting another set of muscles.
Go to the bank president's office, go to the railroad magnate's
office, go to the great pulpit, to the college chair--go to any
The reply is almost a monotony. "I born in this city? No, I was
born in Poseyville, Indiana, and I came to this city forty years
ago and went to work at the bottom."
Give us steam heat and push-buttons. There is no virtue in a
that young person comes to the city and shakes in the barrel among
from the country year by year into the national arteries, else
"Hep" and "Pep" for the Home Town
But so many of the home towns of America are sick. Many are dying.
The town the young people leave is the town the young people ought
to leave. Somebody says, "The reason so many young people go to
hell is because they have no other place to go."
What is the matter with the small town? Do not blame it all upon
telephones, centralized schools, automobiles and good roads, there
are no more delightful places in the world to live than in the
country or in the small town. They have the city advantages plus
Weston, West Virginia, "You say you have nearly two thousand insane
people in this institution and only a score of guards to keep them
in. Aren't you in danger? What is to hinder these insane people
from getting together, organizing, overpowering the few guards and
could get together they wouldn't be in this asylum. They are
insane. No two of them can agree upon how to get together and how
to break out. So a few of us can hold them."
It would be almost unkind to carry this further, but I have been
thinking ever since that about three-fourths of the small towns of
get together. They cannot organize for the public good. They break
up into little antagonistic social, business and even religious
So the home towns stagnate and the young people with visions go
away to the cities where opportunity seems to beckon. Ninety-nine
opportunity right back in the home town, had the town been awake
We must make the home town the brightest, most attractive, most
promising place for the young people. No home town can afford to
coming back. That is the drain that devitalizes the home towns more
America is to be great, not in the greatness of a few crowded
cities, but in the greatness of innumerable home towns.
The slogan today should be, For God and Home and the Home Town!
Ada, Ohio, one of Ohio's greatest educators, used to say with
pride, "Our students come to school; they are not sent."
He encouraged his students to be self-supporting, and most of them
courses elastic to accommodate them. He saw the need of combining
school into competing groups, so that the student who had no
struggle in his life would at least have to struggle with the
debating societies to compete with each other. He arranged contests
that he was initiating an individual or class effort to win. The
getting new members, going every term to unbelievable efforts to
win over the others. They would go miles out on the trains to
intercept new students, even to their homes in other states. Each
companies turned the school into a military camp for weeks each
Those students went out into the world trained to struggle. I do
I believe the most useful schools today are schools of struggle
schools offering encouragement and facilities for young people to
work their way thru and to act upon their own initiative.
We are trying a new educational experiment today.
Today we are building wonderful public schools with equally
wonderful equipment. Today we are replacing the many small colleges
universities. We are spending millions upon them in laboratories,
equipment and maintenance. Today we scour the earth for specialists
to sit in the chairs and speak the last word in every department of
O, how the students of the "dark ages" would have rejoiced to see
But each student has the same definite effort to make in
assimilation today as then. Knowing and growing demand the same
equipment demanded to serve the present age. But I am more anxious
that each student come in vital touch with great men. We get life
from life, not from laboratories, and we have life more abundantly
as our lives touch greater lives.
Many a small school struggling to live thinks that all it needs is
fatty degeneration. Some schools seem to have been visited by
HOW long it takes to learn things! I think I was thirty-four years
One day a manufacturer took me thru his factory where he makes
I have had the feeling ever since that you and I come into this
world like the fiddle comes from the factory. We have a body and a
neck. That is about all there is either to us or to the fiddle. We
When the human fiddles are about six years old they go into the
fiddles think they are an orchestra right away. They want to quit
We must show these little fiddles they must go back into school and
go up thru all the departments and institutions necessary to give
Why is a violin? To wear strings? Gussie got that far and gave a
lot of discord. The violin is to give music.
So there is much yet to do after getting the strings. All the book
and college can do is to give the strings--the tools. After that
the violin must go into the great tuning school of life. Here the
All of us are Christopher Columbuses, discovering the same new-old
crystallizes into a flashing jewel to delight and enrich our
I used to stand in the row of blessed little rascals in the
play with the fire I will get my fingers burned. I had to slap my
hands upon hot stoves and coffee-pots, and had to get many kinds of
blisters in order to learn it.
Then I had to go around showing the blisters, boring my friends and
This is not a lecture. It is a confession! It seems to me if you in
took me so long because I was naturally bright. It takes that kind
with a few bumps. They have to be pulverized.
That sentence takes me back to the days when I was a "hired man" on
you might not believe that I had ever trained an orphan calf to
you may remember that at the county fair all the people sort out to
their own departments. Some people go to the canned fruit
department. Some go to the fancywork department. Some go to the
swine department. Everybody goes to his own department. Even the
went--to the "trimming department."
I was in the "trimming department" in five minutes. Nobody told me
where it was. I didn't need to be told. I gravitated there. The
barrel always shakes all of one size to one place. You notice
that--in a city all of one size get together.
Right at the entrance to the "local Midway" I met a gentleman. I
became too sultry he would move to greener pastures. On that table
I had saved up my money for weeks to attend the fair. I bet it all
family to keep. But I would teach him a lesson not to "monkey" with
I went over to the other side of the fairgrounds and sat down. That
was all I had to do now--just go, sit down. I couldn't see the
mermaid now or get into the grandstand.
to learn the lesson from the bump. I said, "Next time I shall be
another gentleman drove into town. He stopped on the public square
and stood up in his buggy. "Let the prominent citizens gather
around me, for I am going to give away dollars."
diseases humanity is heir to. Now just to introduce and advertise,
wrapping a ten-dollar bill around one cake and throwing it into the
And right on top of the pile was the cake with the ten wrapped
around it! I jumped over the rest to shove my five (two weeks' farm
I grew older and people began to notice that I was naturally bright
and therefore good picking. They began to let me in on the ground
I used to have a drawer in my desk I called my "fool drawer." I
to lock up. You get the pathos of that--the investments nobody
wanted to steal. And whenever I would get unduly inflated I would
I had in that drawer the deed to my Oklahoma corner-lots. Those
lots were going to double next week. But they did not double I
I had in that drawer my deed to my rubber plantation. Did you ever
I used to wonder how I ever could spend my income. I do not wonder now.
"Everglades"? I have an alligator ranch there. It is below the
I had also a bale of mining stock. I had stock in gold mines and
silver mines. Nobody knows how much mining stock I have owned.
my gold and silver mine stock, I often noticed that it was printed
in green. I used to wonder why they printed it in green--wonder if
they wanted it to harmonize with me! And I would realize I had so
much to live for--the dividends. I have been so near the dividends
retired ministers would come periodically and sell me stock in some
was selling it on his reputation. Favorite dodge of the promoter to
get the ministers to sell his shares.
stock. That was doubling and trebling my money over night. An old
banker once said to me, "Why don't you invest in something that
savings into the bottom of the sea.
never met. His name was Thomas A. Cleage, and he was in the Rialto
You are a natural leader and everybody looks up to you."
He knew me! He was the only man who did know me. So I took the
"Because of your tremendous influence you have been selected to go
Did you get that? I hope you did. I did not! But I took a night
I waited till next day. I sat up all night in a day coach to save
money for Tom, the friend of our family. But I see now I need not
sheep-shears ready. Lambie, lambie, lambie, come to St. Louis!
respect not my feelings. I am not going to tell you a thing that
O, I am so glad I went to St. Louis. Being naturally bright, I
could not learn it at home, back in Ohio. I had to go clear down to
St. Louis to Tom Cleage's bucket-shop and pay him eleven hundred
dollars to corner the wheat market of the world. That is all I paid
That bump set me to thinking. My fever began to reduce. I got the
I have always regarded Tom as one of my great school teachers. I
had made up to that time, for I got the most out of it. I do not
feel hard toward goldbrick men and "blue sky" venders. I sometimes
better. You simply have to trim him till he bleeds.
It is worth eleven hundred dollars every day to know that one
sentence, You cannot get something for nothing. Life just begins to
get juicy when you know it. Today when I open a newspaper and see
a big ad, "Grasp a Fortune Now!" I will not do it! I stop my
subscription to that paper. I simply will not take a paper with
Today when somebody offers me much more than the legal rate of
Today when I get a confidential letter that starts out, "You have
will have to be "selected." There is no other way for you, because
selected to receive a thousand per cent. dividends," it means you
have been selected to receive this bunch of blisters because you
The other night in a little town of perhaps a thousand, a banker
took me up into his office after the lecture in which I had related
thought it very funny," said he. "I couldn't laugh. It was too
community year after year. I wish you could see what I have to see.
out of our community every year into just such wildcat enterprises
to lose it."
hundred dollars to tell you this one thing, and you get it for a
it. We only own what we have rendered definite service to bound.
have earned and stored in your life, not merely in your pocket,
stomach or mind.
I often think if it takes me thirty-four years to begin to learn
To me that is one of the great arguments for eternal life--how slowly
I learn, and how much there is to learn. It will take an eternity!
they think. This is not to sneer, but to cheer. Isn't it glorious
that life is one infinite succession of commencements and
I love to attend commencements. The stage is so beautifully
"Beyond the Alps (sweep arms forward to the left, left arm leading)
How embarrassing at a commencement for the fingers not to follow
the wrist! It is always a shock to the audience when the wrist
them. It is a grand thing to say, "Beyond the Alps lieth Italy,"
victory beyond. It is fine to say, "We are rowing and not
Did you ever hear a young preacher, just captured, just out of a factory?
was "short-circuited." The "brethren" waited upon me and told me I had
They gave me six weeks in which to load the gospel gun and get
ready for my try-out. I certainly loaded it to the muzzle.
But I made the mistake I am trying to warn you against. Instead of
going to the one book where I might have gotten a sermon--the book
of my experience, I went to the books in my father's library. "As
the poet Shakespeare has so beautifully said," and then I took a
to the poet Tennyson." Come here, Lord Alfred. So I soldered these
fragments from the books together with my own native genius. I
worked that sermon up into the most beautiful splurges and spasms.
"cry here." This was the spilling-point of the wet climax. I was to
I committed it all to memory, and then went to a lady who taught
expression, to get it expressed. You have to get it expressed.
I got the most beautiful gestures nailed into almost every page.
life is expression. But you have to get something to express. Here
necktie, but failed to get any man to hang it upon. I got up before
a mirror for six weeks, day by day, and said the sermon to the
glass. It got so it would run itself. I could have gone to sleep
Then came the grand day. The boy wonder stood forth and before his
grandly than ever to a mirror. Every gesture went off the bat
according to the blueprint. I cried on page fourteen! I never knew
out--all nine of them. When I went out the door, the old sexton
said as he jiggled the key in the door to hurry me, "Don't feel
I cried all the way to town. If he had plunged a dagger into me he
would not have hurt me so much. It has taken some years to learn
about peeling potatoes than about anything else, write about
"Peeling Potatoes," and you are most likely to hear the applause
peal from that part of your audience unrelated to you.
do not sell enough to pay the cost of printing them. As you study
and irrigation and gargling of the throat are merely symptoms of
beautiful voice, and she has been away to "Ber-leen" to have it
attended to. She sang that afternoon in the tent, "The Last Rose of
the same tent "The Last Rose of Summer." She had never been to
All this was gall and wormwood to Jessie. "Child," I said to her,
to sing the songs you have lived."
Why do singers try to execute songs beyond the horizon of their
The Success of a Song-Writer
good fortune to be sitting at table with her I wanted to ask her,
songs the people want to sing?"
found the answer to every question. "Isn't it good to be here?
Isn't it great to have friends and a fine home and money?" she
know what it is to be left alone in the world upon my own
only home I had, that I began to write songs. I wrote them for my
surprised and grateful that the world seems to love my songs and
No. Books of theory and harmony and expression only teach us how to
write the words and where to place the notes. These are not the
song, but only the skeleton into which our own life must breathe
face crowned with silvery hair, had learned to write her songs in
she is today. Her defeats were her victories. If Carrie Jacobs-Bond
loneliness, she never would have been able to write the songs that
appeal to the multitudes who have the same battles.
it is a tribute to the good elements in humanity that the
continue to hold their popularity.
ever know real success in any line of human endeavor until that
success flows from the fullness of our experience just as the songs
have worthy visions but are not able to translate them into
ideas must be forged into usefulness available for this day upon
things to one person who can give you a practical way to fix them.
I used to have respect amounting to reverence for great readers and
book men. I used to know a man who could tell in what book almost
practical life. He seemed to be unable to think and reason for
a misfit on earth. He was liable to put the gravy in his coffee
and the gasoline in the fire. He seemed never to have digested any
of that man as an intellectual cold storage plant.
the Book of Human Experience the "sermons in stones" and the "books
in running brooks." Most fortunate is he who has learned to read
wholesale statements we have not proved, to the cautious, specific
Many audiences are gathered into this one audience. Each person
of Human Experience. Each has a different fight to make and a
different burden to carry. Each one of us has more trouble than
ones. You have cried yourselves to sleep, some of you, and walked
A good many of you were bumped today or yesterday, or maybe years
man talking about? I haven't had these things and I'm not going to
You are going to be bumped. You are going to cry yourselves to
sleep. You are going to walk the floor when you cannot sleep. Some
of you are going to know the keen sorrow of having the one you
You will see all that seems to make life livable lost out of your
to live for."
For all lives have about the same elements. Your life is going to
And you are going to learn the wonderful lesson thru the years, the
bumps and the tears, that all these things somehow are necessary to
soul tighter and tighter, nearer and nearer to God's great concert
and understanding come into our lives.
father being a country preacher, we had tin spoons. We never had to
several miles into the country those old reaper days and gathered
head and said, "You are the best boy to work, I ever saw." Then the
Yet I was years learning it is much easier to make money than to
the time, to save money. I think I had all teaching methods in use.
With the small fry I used a small paddle to win their confidence and
day came from all over the township. They were so glad our school
was closing they all turned out to make it a success. They brought
to literature in District No. 1, Jackson Township, that day. I can
shut my eyes and see it yet. I can see my pupils coming forward to
back of the ears! And into them! So many of them wore collars that
stood on the burning deck, whence all but he had fled." I can see
tow-headed patriot in "Give me liberty or give me death." I feel
act on the bill to say farewell. It was customary to cry. I wanted
to yell. Tomorrow I would get my money! I had a speech I had been
friends. I am going away, but I am coming back." I thought to cheer
was "such a good man" and a "pillar of the church." I used to wonder,
tho, why he didn't take a pillow to church. I took his note for $240,
Deacon K has gone from earth. He has gone to his eternal reward. I
scarcely know whether to look up or down as I say that. He never
thirteen-mile-a-day dollars to learn one thing I could not learn
from the books, that it takes less wisdom to make money, than it
does to intelligently handle it afterwards. Incidentally I learned
it may be safer to do business with a first-class sinner than with
A lyceum bureau once sent me back to my home town to lecture. I
imagine most lecturers have a hard time lecturing in the home town.
Their schoolmates and playmates are apt to be down there in the
And he has gotten his lecture out of that home town. The heroes and
come to hear him. "Is not this the carpenter's son?" Perhaps this
town until several generations pass.
I went back to the same hall to speak, and stood upon the same platform
where twenty-one years before I had stood to deliver my graduating oration,
when in impassioned and well modulated tones I had exclaimed,
for I will sa-a-a-a-ave you!" or words to that effect.
Then I went back to the little hotel and sat up alone in my room
a picture of the school in that town that had been taken twenty-one
these twenty-one years, for I could not then afford to buy one. The
A class of brilliant and gifted young people went out to take
on them. They were so willing to take charge of the world. They
were going to be presidents and senators and authors and
no brilliant career in view. He was dull and seemed to lack
intellect. He was "conditioned" into the senior class. We all felt
appointed for that purpose took Jim back of the schoolhouse and
broke the news to him that they were going to let him graduate, but
they were not going to let him speak, because he couldn't make a
speech that would do credit to such a brilliant class. They hid Jim
The girl who was to become the authoress became the helloess in the
home telephone exchange, and had become absolutely indispensable to
the community. The girl who was to become the poetess became the
stamp-licking department of the home postoffice. The boy who was
going to Confess was raising the best corn in the county, and his
a lot of men working for him. The committee that took him out
behind the schoolhouse to inform him he could not speak at
commencement, would now have to wait in line before a frosted door
marked, "Mr. Lambert, Private." They would have to send up their
it short, he's busy!" before they could break any news to him
today.
stood that night.
you do not seem to learn like some in your classes can you not get
a bit of cheer from the story of Jim?
I expected to go up had shaken down and some that I expected to
Out of that fifty-four, one had gone to a pulpit, one had gone to
Congress and one had gone to the penitentiary. Some had gone to
brilliant success and some had gone down to sad failure. Some had
yet most of them seemed already to have decided their destinies.
The only changes had come where God had come into a life to uplift
it, or where Mammon had entered to pull it down. And I saw better
that the foolish dreams of success faded before the natural
unfolding of talents, which is the real success. I saw better that
"the boy is father to the man."
work as a man. The boy who went to the bottom of things in school
was going to the bottom of things in manhood. Which had helped him
to go to the top of things!
The boy who traded knives with me and beat me--how I used to envy
didn't whisper, who never got into trouble, who always had his hair
combed, and said, "If you please," used to hurt me. He was the
teacher's model boy. All the mothers of the community used to say
to their own reprobate offspring, "Why can't you be like Harry?
real thing. Harry certainly was a successful model. He became a
because he hadn't the energy to be anything else. It was the boys
age I didn't pay much attention to them. I regarded them as in the
seemed like she was all out-shine and no in-shine. She mistook
popularity for success. The boys voted for her, but did not marry
But as I looked into the face of Jim Lambert in the picture, my
heart warmed at the sight of another great success--a sweet-faced
these years to support a home and care for her family. She had kept
the town proud of him.
I was the janitor of the schoolhouse. Some of my classmates will
carried in the coal. After commencement my career seemed to end and
the careers of Frank and the rest of them seemed to begin. They
were going off to college and going to do so many wonderful things.
But the week after commencement I had to go into a printing office,
roll up my sleeves and go to work in the "devil's corner" to earn
my daily bread. Seemed like it took so much bread!
How easy it is to see as you look backward. But how hard it is to
Twenty-one years afterward as I got off the train in the home town,
I asked, "Where is he?" We went out to the cemetery, where I stood
at a grave and read on the headstone, "Frank."
I had the story of a tragedy--the tragedy of modern unpreparedness.
It was the story of the boy who had every opportunity, but who had
It revived the memory of the story of Ben Hur.
Do you remember it? The Jewish boy is torn from his home in
disgrace. He is haled into court and tried for a crime he never
Then they condemn him. They lead him away to the galleys. They
chain him to the bench and to the oar. There follow the days and
That seems to be your life and my life. In the kitchen or the
office, or wherever we work we seem so often like slaves bound to
That one is chained to no oar. See what a fine time they all have.
they, too, pull on the oar and feel the lash. Most likely they are
forearms of Ben Hur. They swing those flying Arabians into the
Sooner or later you and I are to learn that Providence makes no
on--when we win the victory, strike the deciding blow, stand while
That is why I thanked God as I stood at the grave of my classmate.
I am not an example of success.
So even the Father of Waters has to begin as a creek. We are at the
to the place where all of us get sooner or later. The place where
Paul came on the road to Damascus. The place of the "heavenly vision."
want to grow? Then you will have to go south."
The little Mississippi starts south. He says to the people,
"Why, Mississippi, you are foolish. You hain't got water enough to
get out of the county." That is a fact, but he is not trying to get
out of the county. The Mississippi is only trying to go south.
know that he has to go hundreds of miles south. He is only trying
to go south. He has not much water, but he does not wait for a
relative to die and bequeath him some water. That is a beautiful
thought! He has water enough to start south, and he does that.
of what it seems to me our lives should be. I hear a great many
We do not have to figure out how far we have to go, nor how many
supplies we will need along the way. All we have to do is to start
Success is not tomorrow or next year. Success is now. Success is
not at the end of the journey, for there is no end. Success is
every day in flowing and growing. The Mississippi is a success in
haven't heard it, let us keep our ear to the receiver and live a
It is a divine call--the call of our unfolding talents to be used.
The Mississippi gets to St. Paul and Minneapolis. He is a great
river now--the most successful river in the state. But he does not
goes on south to St. Louis. He is a wonderful river now. But he
does not stop. He goes on south and grows greater.
Do you know why the Mississippi goes on south? To continue to be
the Mississippi. If he should stop and stagnate, he would not be
they stop and stagnate, they die.
knee-pants achievement, some kindergarten touchdown, succumb to
their press notices. Their friends crowd around them to congratulate
them. "I must congratulate you upon your success. You have arrived."
canned. They think they have gotten to the Gulf of Mexico when they
Success is so hard to endure. We can endure ten defeats better than
one victory. Success goes to the head and defeat goes to "de feet."
Civilization is mostly a conspiracy to keep us from going very far south.
The one who keeps on going south defies custom and becomes unorthodox.
The mass of the human family never go on south far enough to
smattering and squeeze into the bottom position and never go on
south to efficiency and promotion. They wonder why their genius is
think that is being a stenographer, when it is merely a symptom of
Nine out of ten workmen cannot be trusted to do what they advertise
to do, because they have never gone south far enough to become
Half of our life is spent in getting competents to repair the
if you are contented to do today just what you did yesterday.
Contented to think today what you thought yesterday.
You must go on south to be safe.
I used to know a violinist who would say, "If I were not a genius,
is the opiate that Nature administers to deaden the pains of mediocrity.
Just because our hair gets frosty or begins to rub off in spots, we
are so prone to say, "I am aging rapidly." It pays to advertise. We
so far, and tomorrow is going to be better on south.
best. I hope he says, "I am just beginning. Just beginning to
understand. Just beginning to know about life."
We are not going on south to old age, we are going on south to
eternal youth. It is the one who stops who "ages rapidly." Each day
to employ gray-headed men? They have found that so many of them
These same corporations send out Pinkertons and pay any price for
whole world going to that person for direction, advice, vision,
I am happy today as I look back over my life. I have been trying to
lecture a good while. I am almost ashamed to tell you how long, for
I ought to know more about it by this time. But when anybody says,
"I heard you lecture twenty years ago over at----" I stop him.
"Please don't throw it up to me now. I am just as ashamed of it as
you are. I am trying to do better now."
O, I want to forget all the past, save its lessons. I am just
beginning to live. If anybody wants to be my best friend, let him
come to me and tell me how to improve--what to do and what not to
do. Tell me how to give a better lecture.
Years ago a bureau representative who booked me told me my lectures
were good enough. I told him I wanted to get better lectures, for
I was so dissatisfied with what little I knew. He told me I could
the "limit." I shiver as I think what I was saying then. I want to
were not trying to improve them, and were lost in admiration of
have a new birth. The days when we go on south to larger visions.
Some people seem to string out to near a hundred years with mighty
few birthdays. Some people spin up to Methuselahs in a few years.
From what I can learn of Methuselah, he never grew past copper-toed
years are nothing to me."
Senator Henry Gassaway Davis, West Virginia's Grand Old Man, at
at ninety-two--just a short time before his passing--he went out to
the home was a row of old men inmates. The senator shook hands with
these men and one by one they rose from the bench to return his
the senator and said, "Senator, you'll have to excuse me from
getting up. I'm too old. When you get as old as I am, you'll not
"Senator, I'm old in body and old in spirit. I'm past sixty."
"My boy," laughed Senator Davis, "I was an Odd Fellow before
The senator at ninety-two was younger than the man "past sixty,"
Mr. Edison invented into the meeting at Lakeside, Ohio. The people
You would laugh at it today. It had a tinfoil cylinder, it
screeched and stuttered. You would not have it in your barn today
to play to your ford!
Thomas Alva Edison. He had gotten to St. Paul, and he went on
south. A million people would have stopped there and said, "I have
Mr. Edison has said that his genius is mainly his ability to keep
on south. A young lady succeeded in getting into his laboratory the
other day, and she wrote me that the great inventor showed her one
the face of seven thousand failures. Today he brings forth a
to this platform and ask him, "Have you succeeded?" he would say
what he has said to reporters and what he said to the young lady,
me how much there is yet to do."
That is success supreme. Not "succeeded" but "succeeding."
started south. It took him eighty years to get ready. Moses did not
eighty. He went on south into the extra editions after that!
If Moses had retired to a checkerboard in the grocery store or to
Imagine Moses living today amidst the din of the high school
what is this we hear? You going to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land?
You are liable to drop off any minute. Here is a pair of slippers.
I think I would hear Moses say, "No, no, I am just beginning to see
what to do. Watch things happen from now on. Children of
"Well, he ought to be dead, for he is old enough."
They appoint a committee to bury Moses. You cannot do anything in
to General Moses' private office. It is his busy day. They have to
stand in line and wait their turn. When they get up to Moses' desk,
The committee begins to weep. "General Moses, you are a very old
committee duly authorized to give you gorgeous burial. The funeral
is to be next Thursday. Kindly die."
who is too busy to attend his own funeral! You cannot bury anybody
to hold that funeral until I get this work pushed off so I can
attend it. I haven't even time to think about getting old."
nor his natural force abated." He had not time to stop and abate.
irreverence. It is joyful reverence. It is the message to all of
us, Go on south to the greater things, and get so enthused and
They were afraid to go on south. Only two of them went on south--
The Indians once owned America. But they failed to go on south.
So another crop of Americans came into the limelight. If we modern
They generally discover the world is "going to the dogs." They cry
not time to look back and see how anybody uses him.
Wake up! Your clock has run down. Anybody who wants to be a child
the horrors of childhood could not be hired to live it over again.
my chances living it thru again. I am not ungrateful to my parents.
about all there was to inherit. I cannot remember when I was not
hungry. I used to go around feeling like the Mammoth Cave, never
children going sadly into the next room to "wait till the second
that my heart does not go out to them. I remember when I did that.
to get to stay for dinner I ever saw.
Mother would stay home from "quart'ly meeting" to get the big
jelly tremble? I used to think it ought to tremble, for Elder Berry
I would see mother put on the tallest pile of mashed potatoes you
ever saw. She would make a hollow in the top and fill it with
would say, "Hurry, mother, it is going to spill!" O, how I wanted
to spill it! I could hardly hold out faithful.
nearest the fried chicken. The "company" would sit down. I used to
"company" had to come and gobble it up. They would fill the table
me to sit. Father would say, "You go into the next room, my boy,
The hungriest one of that assemblage would have to go in the next
you felt like the Mammoth Cave? I used to think as I would sit in
to another piece of the chicken?"
Many a time after that, Elder Berry would come into the room where
boy?" He would come over to the remains of Brother Parlette's boy.
He would say, "My boy, I want you to have a good time now." Now!
and today is the best day of all. Go on south!
Afterwhile this old world gets too small for us and we go on south
into a larger one.
So we cannot grow old. Our life never stops. It goes on and on
forever. Anything that does not stop cannot grow old or have age.
Material things will grow old. This stage will grow old and stop.
This hall will grow old and stop. This house we live in will grow
old and stop. This flesh and blood house we live in will grow old
and stop. This lecture even will grow old--and stop! But you and I
I am not worried today over what I do not know. I used to be
worried. I used to say, "I have not time to answer you now!" But
today it is such a relief to look people in the face and say,
And I have to say that to many questions, "I do not know." I often
would not stay to hear me.
day brings the answer to something I could not answer yesterday.
It will take an eternity to know an infinity!
What a wonderful happiness to go on south to it!
Go to Keokuk, Iowa, for your answer.
power to vitalize the valley. A hundred towns and cities radiate
many miles away, throbs with the victory.
So that is why they spent the millions to build the obstacle--to
the river, but it took the obstacle and the overcoming to develop
And where the most obstacles are, there you find the most power to
of light and power in you to be developed. If you see no obstacles,
you are confessing to blindness.
shall have no more obstacles to overcome!" When that time comes,
along the street in almost any town and see the dead ones. There
they are decorating the hitching-racks and festooning the
storeboxes. There they are blocking traffic at the postoffice and
have quit work and moved to town to block improvements and die. But
Usually the deadest loafer is married to the livest woman. Nature
tries to maintain an equilibrium.
trying to go on south. They say of the people trying to do things.
"Aw, he's always tryin' to run things."
They do not join in to promote the churches and schools and big
because they "take money outa town." They do not take any of their
money "outa town." Ringling and Barnum & Bailey get theirs.
I do not smile as I refer to the dead. I weep. I wish I could
squirt some "pep" into them and start them on south.
But all this lecture has been discussing this, so I hurry on to the
Here we come to the most wonderful and difficult thing in life. It
its foul, muddy, poisonous streams back upon the Mississippi to
all the prosperity they have, gives them power to turn their mills.
benefactor.
does not say, "I am not appreciated. My genius is not understood.
I am not going a step farther south. I am going right back to Lake
Itasca." No, he does not even go to live with his father-in-law.
Civilization conspires to defeat the Mississippi. Chicago's
those streams that unite to form the treacherous, sinful,
the Red, the black and the blue floods--all these pour into the
us, that sometimes we are bank to bank full of poison and a menace
to those around us. We say, "I can forgive, but I cannot forget."
sweet again. We forget what we ought to remember and remember what
we ought to forget. We need schools of memory, but we need schools
Don't wait to be thanked. Hurry on to avoid the kick! Do good to
others because that is the way to be happy, but do not wait for a
There is nobody who does not have that to meet. The preacher, the
teacher, the editor, the man in office, the business man, the
father and mother--every one who tries to carry on the work of the
We fail to see what we are doing or why we are doing it. Sometimes
we sit down completely discouraged and say, "I'm done. I'm going to
Stop! You are not saying that. The evil one is whispering that into
your heart. His business is to stop you from going south. His most
successful tool is discouragement, which is a wedge, and if he can
get the sharp edge started into your thought, he is going to drive
it to live. You do it to remain a living river and not a stagnant,
ourselves that we are working to do good, when as we do the good,
us a medal or resolutions, we want to quit. That is why there are
for outside thanks instead of inside thanks. They were trying to
O, how easy it is to say these things, and how hard it is to do them!
was riding stopped in Louisiana. We had come to a river so great
science has not yet been able to put a bridge across it.
ferry-boat, I could look down into the lordly river and then far
north perhaps fifteen hundred miles to the little struggling
knocks, and saw that you never stopped going southward.
And may we read it into our own lives. May we get the vision of
which way to go, and then keep on going south--on and on, overcoming,
Where shall we stop going south? At the Gulf of Mexico?
until he reaches the gulf. Then he pushes right on into the gulf as
many miles right out into the gulf.
And when he comes to the end of his physical banks, he pushes on
south into the gulf, and goes on south round and round the globe.
When you and I come to our Gulf of Mexico, we must push right on
south. So we push our physical banks years farther into the gulf.
into the great Gulf of the Beyond, to go on south unfolding thru eternity.
WE NEVER STOP GOING SOUTH.
The Defeats that are Victories
lazy, selfish and unhappy. Perhaps we would go around giving it to
other people to make them lazy, selfish and unhappy.
O, the problem is not how to get money, but how to get rid of
money with the least injury to the race!
itself and the tabby cat has its million. So the tabby cat has to
be doctored by specialists.
If the burden were lifted from most of us we would go to wreck.
When you hear the orator speak and you note the ease and power of
preparing? Do you ever think of the times that orator tried to
speak when he failed and went back to his room in disgrace,
necessary to produce that finish and grace? That is the story of
the actor, the author and every other one of attainment.
blessings in disguise. People go to the devil with full pockets;
they turn to God when hunger hits them. "Is not this Babylon that
drinks to his gods. Then must come the Needful and Needless Knocks
handwriting upon the wall to save him.
You have to shoot many men's eyes out before they can see. You have
to crack their heads before they can think, knock them down before
Do you remember that they had to lock John Bunyan in Bedford jail
that some of us will have to go to jail to do our best work.
to be blinded before he could see the way to real success. He had
to be scourged and fettered to become the Apostle to the Gentiles.
He, too, had to be sent to prison to write his immortal messages to
Do you not see all around you that success is ever the phoenix
relatives and friends say, "Success to you!" I shall take your hand
and say, "Defeat to you! And struggles to you! And bumps to you!"
For that is the only way to say, "Success to you!"
O UNIVERSITY OF HARD KNOCKS, we learn to love you more with each
passing year. We learn that you are cruel only to be kind. We learn
be bumped to see this!
I know no better way to close this lecture than to tell you of a
why I was living. I thought I had nothing more to live for. When a
dog is wounded he crawls away alone to lick his wounds. I felt like
the wounded dog. I wanted to crawl away to lick my wounds.
That is why I climbed Mount Lowe that day. I wanted to get alone.
It is a wonderful experience to climb Mount Lowe. The tourists go
up half a mile into Rubio Canyon, to the engineering miracle, the
hundred feet up the side of a granite cliff, to the top of Echo Mountain.
towards the sky. There is hardly a straight rail in the track.
There are places where the tourist wants to grasp his seat and
lift. There is a wooden shelf nailed to the side of the perpendicular
He looks over the edge of the shelf downward, and then turns to the other
side to look at the face of the cliff they are hugging, and discovers
there is no place to resign!
The car is five thousand feet high where it stops on that last shelf,
upward from Alpine Tavern to the summit. It is three miles long
To go up that last eleven hundred feet and stand upon the flat rock
at the summit of Mount Lowe is to get a picture so wonderful it
feet, more than a mile, into the orange belt of Southern California.
Just below is Pasadena and Los Angeles. To the westward perhaps
one could throw a pebble over into it. How a mountain does reduce
distances. You throw the pebble and it falls upon your toes!
The granite mountains rise higher to the northward, and to the east
All alone I scrambled up that three-mile trail to the summit. All
alone I stood upon the flat rock at the summit and looked down into
the swimming distances. I did not know why I had struggled up into
A great light seemed to break over my stormswept soul. I am under
the clouds of trouble today, BUT THE SUN IS SHINING!
I must go on up the mountain to see it.
The years have been passing, the stormclouds have many times hidden
matter how black and sunless today, when I have struggled on up the
struggles fit into a divine engineering plan to soften the
so important down in the smudgy, stormswept valley, seem so
unimportant as we go higher up the mountain to more important
Today I look back to the bump that sent me up Mount Lowe. I did not
gate, but it opened another gate to a better pathway up the mountain.
the valley below me I saw shadows. Then I looked over into the
where I stood. I was farther up the mountain. I turned and looked
up to the summit. The beams of the setting sun were yet gilding
day on the mountain top!
Child of humanity, are you in the storm? Go on upward. Are you in
For the peace and the light are always above the storm and the
I am going on upward. Take my hand and let us go together. Mount Lowe
showed the way that dark day. There I heard the "sermons in stones."
material things where the storms have raged.
But I shall be on the mountain top. I shall look down upon the
night, as I am learning to climb and look down upon the storms. I
shall be in the new day of the mountain-top, forever above the night.
I shall find this mountain-top just another shelf on the side of
the first mile. I shall have millions of miles yet to rise.
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
We are not growing old. We are going up to Eternal Life.
Turning work Into Play
happiness now in our work, and not tomorrow for our work.
ought to buy them by the gross and send them to their friends."
"The Big Business of Life is a real joy to read. It is big and
ought to be read today and tomorrow and forevermore every
that it is everyone's business to abolish work and turn this
world into a playground. Who will not confess that many
mortals take their work too seriously, and that to them it is a
joyless, cheerless thing? To be able to find happiness, and to
find it when we are bending to our duties is to possess the
secret of living to the full. And happiness is to be sought
a world of good to learn. It recalls the saying of the wise man
mighty hard to beat.
It's Up To You!
The Best is Yet to Come
These booklets by Ralph Parlette are short stories adapted from
bought 1000 copies of the booklet "It's Up to You!" and of it he
says. "Parlette's Beans and Nuts is just as good as the Message to
to business men, to young fellows, bond salesmen and such, to our
own vice president, and they all want another copy to send to some
Up to You!" for their workers.
one of the great stories of the day."
Mississippi River story together and we were thoroly delighted."
Instruct us to send one of these booklets to your friends. It will
Og Mandino
[Keys to Success]
Keys to Success
[2do] > Keys to Success
http://www.ogmandino.com/scrolls/keys.htm

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