THE DEAN'S CORNER (February 1925)

Attaining Success

Dean 0. J. Ferguson

       Perhaps this title is somewhat misleading for I do not intend to enumerate and describe the parts into which attained success may be divided for analysis. We recognize, of course, that success cannot be measured by the gold standard, and yet economic dependence is not consistent with it.
      In a certain New England village where everybody knows everybody else, and blood relationship permeates the whole region, there live two men bearing the same name, but representing two distinct lines of descent. One of these is known locally as the successful man of the community. Why not? He has a well developed trade in furn-iture. His stock is high grade and his customers are people of discernment. His accounts are paid promptly. He has money in the bank.
     His distant cousin has a simple home in which he spends the most of his time with his blind wife. He has the custom of reading aloud to her. The couple are widely informed and well read. They find great enjoyment in their humble home, their homely occupations and their simple life. But this man is not rated as a success. His neighbors all love him and respect him. But— "he—oh,—you know—he doesn't amount to much."
     Yet, these two men have a mutual respect for and appreciation of each other, which unconsciously perceives the value of the other man's achievements. Each recognizes that he himself would be more successful if he could combine with his own attainments those of his cousin, and each deprecates his own part. Are their characteristics mutually incompatible, or could they exist in the same man?
      Again, is there a moral element in success? Or should we apply the term to the burglar as well as to the preacher or the financier? Why not,—"The successful burglar," "the very successful hijacker," or "the eminently successful grafting contractor?"  Is the crooked-dealing man more successful than the man of integrity, if he makes more money?
     Such questions as confront us above, we will not attempt to answer here. Let us for the time being consider only a few of the many elements which promote success,—which are necessary precursors of it. Take, first, for example, the necessity of definition of one's objectives.
     We all laugh when the comedian says, "I don't  know where I'm going, but I'm on my way!" It is so screamingly funny to see his elaborate haste and the unending series of troubles into which he. flounders,—the gusto with which he tastes every new experience which comes his way, the eageness with which he heads his scooter down the hill, or jumps upon the top of the moving train. And yet isn't that a fair description of many and many a life, with its lack of plan, and its scurrying along the course of least resistance? So applied, the jocular sentence suddenly ceases to be funny. It becomes tragic. Can there be any deeper tragedy than that of a life going at full speed,—and aimed—nowhere?
      It is freely admitted at the outset, that the choosing of an objective is difficult. Few people are clear visioned enough in their early lives to see their probable courses. Increased definition may come with thoughtful experience and analysis of ones own powers; with maturity of ideas and with increasing responsibilities; with the lengthening of life. It is not easily discernible toward what distant object a very short line points, especially if the line wavers a bit.
     But this difficulty should not be a source of discouragement.   Hard problems are frequently worth all the effort put upon their doing. Observe the duties of men engaged in the field of work you would enter. Test their appeal to you, as to both their pleasant and unpleasant aspects. Are the grinding, monotonous tasks which form a par part of the work acceptable to you because of the delight that you would have in the sister tasks of more satisfying nature. Remember, there is no life work which is made up wholly of pleasant duties.
    Talk with men who are practising in your chosen line. If they are communicative, you will learn of their disappointments as well as their successes-- Listen to their counsel and apply it to yourself and your ambitions. Let them give you warnings,—and interpret them in terms of the lives of the men who give them.
Analyze the profession and the men therein and thereby determine what are the characteristics which one must possess in order to succeed. Must one be imitative or original? Careful or daring? Artistic or prosaically matter-of-fact? Patient with minutia and detail or interested only in the broader aspects? Should he ask himself "why" or "how?" Should he be constructive or analyliticable to install pump irrigation. With particularly favorable conditions as to energy cost and type of crops raised, this becomes a great money maker. At least a garden might well be irrigated on nearly every Nebraska farm.
      A dairy herd, stabled in the winter, with fresh water supplied continuously at a comfortable temperature, will produce more milk and cream than if the cattle are loosened twice a day to drink their fill of cold water.
     An automatic water supply for the house requires only the smallest amount of labor, as it will continue to operate for a month or more without attention.
     A motor driven force pump constitutes a very effective protection against fire.
     Several of the items could be expanded similarly.
     A general utility motor may serve many of the power applications mentioned. It may be mounted in such a way that it is easily portable, and therefore be available at any place it is needed.
     We could continue almost indefinitely to point out applications of electricity to farmers' problems and tasks, but that is not necessary in order to show that we may expect a rather rapid development of electrical equipment and practices directly aimed toward the final result of making rural life more satisfying and and rural communities more appealing. Such results will repopulate many places which are now being depopulated.         --         0. J. FERGUSON.

    Sheet steel as transparent as the clearest glass has been made by depositing an extremely fine film of the metal on a smooth surface by means of electric cur-rent. The film is then separated from the foundation on which it is fixed.