Judgment can be acquired only by acute observation, by actual experience in the school of life, by ceaseless alertness to learn from others, by study of the activities of men who have made notable marks, by striving to analyze the everyday play of causes and effects, by constant study of human nature.
The Christmas spirit brings home to us-or should bring home to us-the profound Biblical truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Anything which inspires unselfishness makes for our ennoblement. Christmas does that. I am all for Christmas.
If the United States is to produce a nation of investors-as we must if we are to gain financial world-leadership-it is imperative that boards of directors be so constituted as to adequately represent the interests and inspire the complete confidence of investors of moderate substance.
Whenever possible, I like to have the supreme head of a company show me over the works. It is extremely illuminating to note the attitude of workers towards their boss, and equally interesting to note the attitude towards the workers. It is tragic to notice how many chief executives of large concerns are absolutely unknown, even by sight, to the rank and file of their workers.
America, in the eyes of the world, typifies above all else this quality of initiative. The greatest successes are nearly all the fruit of initiative. Why do we hold in such high esteem the achievements of the Wright brothers? Because they were illustrious examples of initiative and tenacity. And ideas are born of initiative, the children of men and women of initiative. Advancement is applied initiative. Don't imitate. Initiate.
Many a man has walked up to the opportunity for which he has long been preparing himself, looked it full in the face, and then begun to get cold feet... when it comes to betting on yourself and your power to do the thing you know you must do or write yourself down a failure, you're a chicken-livered coward if you hesitate.
How many men I know who are earning dollars aplenty, but who are really earning little of what counts. They are so overwhelmingly engrossed in business that they get nothing from their dollars. The Juggernaut of dollar-making has crushed out of them every capacity for genuine enjoyment, every grace, every unselfish sentiment and instinct.
Inflationary trends are under way. Wage increases, through strikes or threatened strikes, are rampant. Government expenditures are ballooning ominously. Hoarding has contributed unconscionably to price-boosting. The Government should institute measures calculated to arrest inflation. America's commitments are already so mountainous, international and domestic, that the pruning knife should be applied. You and I, all American taxpayers, don't possess limitless resources-our pockets are not bottomless. Curb inflation at every turn!
I don't feel myself that I Know it all, but I have enough conceit to be successful. That observation was made by a businessman in his 30s who was making notable headway, although his path bristled with difficulties. Business places no premiums on shrinking violets. Employers prefer men who have self-assurance, forcefulness, go-aheadness, men who know their jobs and know that they know it.
There are two brands of discontent: the brand that merely fosters greed and snarling and back-biting, and the brand that inspires greater and greater effort to reach the desired goal. Which is your brand?
Call the roll in your memory of conspicuously successful [business] giants and, if you know anything about their careers, you will be struck by the fact that almost every one of them encountered inordinate difficulties sufficient to crush all but the gamest of spirits. Edison went hungry many times before he became famous.
The bell of public opinion is today making the Morgan-Rockefeller-Vanderbilt class jump. Nor are the strongest of our corporations immune. The railroads have had to jump pretty lively, and certain gigantic industrial combinations are also being put through their paces.