It is estimated that five out of every seven of the millionaire manufacturers began by making with their own hands the articles on which they made their fortune.
One of the greatest hindrances to advancement and promotion in life is the lack of observation and the disinclination to take pains. A keen, cultivated observation will see a fortune where others see only poverty. An observing man, the eyelets of whose shoes pulled out, but who could ill afford to get another pair, said to himself, “I will make a metallic lacing hook, which can be riveted into the leather.” He succeeded in doing so and now he is a very rich man.
An observing barber in Newark, N. J., thought he could make an improvement on shears for cutting hair, and invented “clippers” and became very rich. A Maine man was called from the hayfield to wash out the clothes for his invalid wife. He had never realized what it was to wash before. He invented the washing-machine and made a fortune. A man who was suffering terribly with toothache, said to himself, “There must be some way of filling teeth to prevent them aching;” he invented gold filling for teeth.
The great things of the world have not been done by men of large means. Want has been the great schoolmaster of the race: necessity has been the mother of all great inventions. Ericsson began the construction of a screw-propeller in a bath-room. John Harrison, the great inventor of the marine chronometer, began his career in the loft of an old barn. Parts of the first steamboat ever run in America were set up in the vestry of an old church in Philadelphia by Fitch. McCormick began to make his famous reaper in an old grist-mill. The first model dry-dock was made in an attic. Clark, the founder of Clark University of Worcester, Mass., began his great fortune by making toy wagons in a horse-shed.
Opportunities? They crowd around us. Forces of nature plead to be used in the service of man, as lightning for ages tried to attract his attention to electricity, which would do his drudgery and leave him to develop the God-given powers within him.
There is power lying latent everywhere, waiting for the observant eye to discover it.
First find out what the people need and then supply that want. An invention to make the smoke go the wrong way in a chimney might be a very ingenious thing, but it would be of no use to humanity. The patent office at Washington is full of wonderful devices, ingenious mechanism; not one in hundreds is of earthly use to the inventor or to the world, and yet how many families have been impoverished and have struggled for years mid want and woe, while the father has been working on useless inventions. These men did not study the wants of humanity. A. T. Stewart, as a boy, lost eighty-seven cents when his capital was one dollar and a half, in buying buttons and thread which people would not purchase. After that he made it a rule never to buy anything which people did not want.
The first thing a youth, entering the city to make his home there, needs to do is to make himself a necessity to the person who employs him, according to the Boston _Herald_. Whatever he may have been at home, it counts for nothing until he has done something that makes known the quality of the stuff that is in him. If he shirks work, however humble it may be, the work will soon be inclined to shirk him. But the youth who comes into a city to make his way in the world, and is not afraid of doing his best whether he is paid for it or not, is not long in finding remunerative employment. The people who seem so indifferent to employing young people from the country are eagerly watching for the newcomers, but they look for qualities of character and service in actual work before they manifest confidence or give recognition. It is the youth who is deserving that wins his way to the front, and when once he has been tested his promotion is only a question of time. It is the same with young women. There are seemingly no places for them where they can earn a decent living, but the moment they fill their places worthily there is room enough for them, and progress is rapid. What the city people desire most is to find those who have ability to take important places, and the question of gaining a position in the city resolves itself at once into the question of what the young persons have brought with them from home. It is the staying qualities that have been in-wrought from childhood which are now in requisition, and the success of the boy or girl is determined by the amount of energetic character that has been developed in the early years at home. Take up the experience of every man or woman who has made a mark in the city for the last hundred years, and it has been the sterling qualities of the home training that have constituted the success of later years.
Don’t think you have no chance in life because you have no capital to begin with. Most of the rich men of to-day began poor. The chances are you would be ruined if you had capital. You can only use to advantage what has become a part of yourself by your earning it. It is estimated that not one rich man’s son in ten thousand dies rich. God has given every man a capital to start with; we are born rich. He is rich who has good health, a sound body, good muscles; he is rich who has a good head, a good disposition, a good heart; he is rich who has two good hands, with five chances on each. Equipped? Every man is equipped as only God could equip him. What a fortune he possesses in the marvelous mechanism of his body and mind. It is individual effort that has accomplished everything worth accomplishing in this world. Money to start with is only a crutch, which, if any misfortune knocks it from under you, would only make your fall all the more certain.