Story type: Essay
ASK YOUR FRIEND WHAT HE WOULD DO IF HE HAD A MILLION
A majority of men long for a great deal of money.
Each man will tell you that he is struggling along in uncongenial employment; that if he had his way his life would be arranged very differently.
Put to any friend this question:
“What would you do if you had a million dollars?”
You will learn that, first of all, he would get rid of the useful daily plodding that occupies him. Instead of living to work he would live to enjoy himself.
A majority of men are usefully employed because they must work to live.
If we all had our way we should do as we chose, and there would be no progress. Fortunately, the wisdom of Providence keeps the great majority of men poor and usefully busy. —-
This writer asked an able business man, who manages the material success of a great newspaper, what he would do if he had a million dollars. He replied without hesitation: “I would go abroad and spend the rest of my life collecting artistic things and enjoying them.”
By his newspaper work, which helps to disseminate truth and to fight privilege, this man renders the greatest possible service to the world. He is head of the commissariat department of an army of righteousness. How fortunate that he cannot abandon his useful work to collect artistic trash that would only make him useless and enrich a few unscrupulous dealers! —-
Joseph Jefferson as an actor has done great good for the world. He has filled hundreds of thousands of young and old hearts with kindly sympathy. He has set a good example to all the actors of the world. He is truly a public benefactor.
If Joseph Jefferson had had a great fortune he would have spent his life painting pictures, for he believes that he was meant to be a painter.
He was not meant to be a painter; if his life had been devoted to painting it would have been wasted.
How lucky that he was not rich enough to be able to waste his life! —-
Often the world marvels that the sons of great and successful men accomplish so little.
The world is foolish. It should marvel that the sons of the rich accomplish anything at all.
For genius has truly been called the capacity to take infinite pains. It is the splendid fruit that grows on the tree of HARD WORK.
Infinite pains and hard work are distasteful to human beings. They are avoided by those who can avoid them. It is lucky for the world that the number of those who can shirk is limited. —-
Dryden tells you in four lines what the actual man would amount to if he had his way.
“My next desire is, void of care and strife,
To lead a soft, secure, inglorious life.
A country cottage near a crystal flood,
A winding valley and a lofty wood.”
Every man who could afford it would live for himself, to indulge some useless little tenth-rate part of his brain activity. —-
The world progresses because the wisdom of the universe compels every man to work directly or indirectly for every other man.
If we had our way, if hard necessity did not compel us to do the disagreeable work for which we are fitted, we should all live for ourselves; we should all be mere human sponges, absorbing personal gratification–the progress of the human race would stop.
Let this fact console you when you contemplate with bitterness the few who accumulate great fortunes.
You are a disappointed drop in a great ocean of useful human beings. The interest of the whole ocean demands that you and the vast majority of all other drops should fail to get what you crave–
THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE USELESS.