Story type: Essay
The Rev. David James Burrell, in “A Quiver of Arrows,” presents a very interesting parable on the benefit of trials.
Here is the parable:
Trials are profitable.
The rough diamond cried out under the blow of the lapidary: “I am content; let me alone.”
But the artisan said, as he struck another blow:
“There is the making of a glorious thing in thee.”
“But every blow pierces my heart.”
“Ay; but after a little it shall work for thee a far more exceeding weight of glory.”
“I cannot understand,” as blow fell upon blow, “why I should suffer in this way.”
“Wait; what thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter.”
And out of all this came the famous Koh-i-noor to sparkle in the monarch’s crown. —-
There is a lesson in the story of the diamond for every man, and there is an ESPECIALLY good lesson for the young man who is succeeding too fast.
That diamond became the extraordinarily beautiful stone that we read about, and that many of us would foolishly like to own, because of the trials through which it passed.
We do not mean to suggest that men, to succeed, should NECESSARILY undergo repeated poundings and hammerings, although, as a matter of fact, the really great men of the world have undergone such grinding and polishing and hard knocks as no diamond was ever submitted to. But we do say distinctly that almost every man needs in the course of his life a FIRST-CLASS FAILURE.
No man is more unfortunate than he who succeeds too quickly and too easily. His success makes him exaggerate his own importance and ability. It makes him underestimate the strength of those who compete with him, and the difficulty of winning in the long run.
The world is full of all kinds of disappointed beings–artists, writers, business men–workers of all sorts, who lead disappointed lives.
Of these men, a great many started out hopefully and promisingly.
But fate failed to do for them the work of the polishing lapidary that we all need.
They succeeded too soon, they made money too easily, they rose too suddenly.
Failure at the right time would have made them think, work and do better. But failure came too late, and when the energy to fight and overcome was no longer there.
If every young man who thinks well of himself will realize that he mistakes good fortune for great ability, and that the failure that has been put off will come sooner or later, unless he thinks of it and struggles to improve himself in spite of success, many disappointments will be saved in the future.
Discount your failure. Don’t wait for it to discount you.
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