There is seldom a line of glory written upon the earth's face but a line of suffering runs
parallel with it; and they who read the lustrous syllables of the one, and stop not to decipher
the spotted and worn inscription of the other, get the lesser half of the lesson earth has to give.
The hopelessness of any one's accomplishing anything without pluck is illustrated by an old
East Indian fable. A mouse that dwelt near the abode of a great magician was kept in such
constant distress by its fear of a cat, that the magician, taking pity on it, turned it into a cat
itself. Immediately it began to suffer from its fear of a dog, so the magician turned it into a
dog. Then it began to suffer from fear of a tiger, and the magician turned it into a tiger. Then
it began to suffer from its fear of huntsmen, and the magician, in disgust, said, "Be a mouse
again. As you have only the heart of a mouse, it is impossible to help you by giving you the
body of a nobler animal." And the poor creature again became a mouse.
It is the same with a mouse-hearted man. He may be clothed with the powers, and place in the
position of a brave man, but he will always act like a mouse; and public opinion is usually the
great magician that finally says to such a person, "Go back to your obscurity again. You have
only the heart of a mouse, and it is useless to try to make a lion of you."
Many depend on luck instead of pluck. The P left off that word makes all the difference. The
English say luck is all; "it is better to be born lucky than wise." The Spanish, "The worst pig
gets the best acorn." The French, "A good bone never falls to a good dog." The German,
"Pitch the lucky man into the Nile, and he will come up with a fish in his mouth."
Fortune, success, fame, position are never gained, but by piously, determinedly, bravely
sticking, living to a thing till it is fairly accomplished. In short, you must carry a thing through
if you want to be anybody or anything. No matter if it do cost you the pleasure, the society, the
thousand pearly gratifications, of life. No matter for these. Stick to the thing and carry it
through. Believe you were made for the matter, and that no one else can do it. Put forth your
whole energies. Be awake, electrify yourself; go forth to the task. Only once learn to carry a
thing through in all its completeness and proportion, and you will become a hero. You will
think better of yourself; others will think better of you. The world in its very heart admires
the stern, determined doer. It sees in him its best sight, its brightest object, its richest
treasure. Drive right along, then, in whatever you undertake. Consider yourself amply
sufficient for the deed, and you will succeed.
The Royal Path of Life - Aims and Aids to Success and Happiness - 1882 by T.L. Haines & L.W. Yaggy