Laugh and Live | Douglas Fairbanks Self-Development Tips

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Today’s reading was edited adapted from the book Laugh & Live by Douglas Fairbanks, published in 1917.

There are many essentials to success, but there is one that is of such importance that without it all the others fall away. The individual who wins success is invariably compelled to do the great work allotted them by something within that tells them that they can. They may not know exactly what it is, but they know they possesses it, and are able to act on that faith, accomplishing things which seem utterly impossible to other people.

This inner determination, once firmly implanted in one’s nature, cannot be destroyed or conquered. And this element is energy — energy of mind, which rules the body. But where does this energy come from? How do great minds generate this glorious means of self-propulsion? The answer is that in a healthy body, it is inherent from birth, and proper care of the body therefore accentuates within their minds the will to do.

The successful young person must start with a positive, generous viewpoint, a good constitution, and an active mind. Energy is the natural outpouring of a healthy body. It must be directed, it must be controlled, the same as any other living force.

Not only is energy a necessity to the winner, but it must grow and become a natural quality. It does not stand after years of abuse. It does not spring up in the night after a long season of neglect and ill-health. All of us possess it in varying ways. That fact ought to convince us that we can get hold of ourselves and build up that which nature has given us, rather than allow it to die away.

We all have a certain amount of energy . . . thus shouldn’t we all be successes? We might to a certain extent, but that doesn’t mean that we shall all get rich in the money sense of the word. When I say: “Why shouldn’t we all be successes?” I do not mean that everybody in the world must be greedy for cash, nor for power and position. I do not mean that we should be selfish and eager to take everything away from the other person.

On the contrary, I mean that, with energy, we shall be successful according to our brain tendency. We must “take stock” of ourselves. Done rightly that alone will inspire success. Now, if we are a little farther along on the way towards sane living and the ability to laugh, and we know that after this struggle is over the battle is won, we then must use the powers that self-analysis gives us — to fight.

Energy is like steam — it cannot be generated under the boiling point. In other words, half-heartedness never produced it nor made it a practical working tool. We must be energetic in order to augment energy. We must have confidence along with it . . . the more the merrier. The greater the confidence in ourselves, the greater the energy which brings it about.

Some minds naturally feel confident. These are the lucky ones, the slender few who have grasped life’s meaning at the start by “taking stock” before they were threatened with defeat. Success comes to them as easily as rolling off the proverbial log. They come sweeping along, conquering, sure of themselves, confident, aspiring, true to their inner selves, ready for work, unafraid of experiences, and sure of a smile when the clouds are darkest.

READ THE ENTIRE ESSAY IN EVEREST: 50 MOTIVATIONAL LIFE LESSONS