- The self-made defined.
- The powers that have given him success.
- Some of his limitations.
A “self-made” man is a man who has made himself what he is. The definition of self made is something that is made by oneself or someone who has become successful through his own efforts. By his own unaided efforts, he has pushed his way up from a low position to success and even fame. He is a believer in the proverb, “God helps those who help themselves”; and he has proved the value of self-help. A good modern example of a self-made man is Morris, Lord Nuffield, the multimillionaire motor-car designer and then a cycle repairing machine, if you want more examples, you will find plenty of them is Samule Smiles’ book, “Self-Help”. Read there the life-stories of such men as James Watt, Geroge Stephenson. Josiah Wedgewood, Richard Arkwright, Palissy the Potter, and hundreds more.
How did such men achieve success, and rise to wealth, power, position of fame? It was because they possessed certain qualities, and used them to the full. Their lives exemplify the value and importance of such homely virtues as self-reliance, honesty, industry, perseverance and moral courage, and of such qualities as energy and enterprise. In his preface to his book, “Self-Help”, Dr. Smiles says: “The object of this book is to re-inculcate these old-fashioned but wholesome lessons that youth must work in order to enjoy; that nothing creditable can be accomplished without application and diligence; that the student must not be daunted by difficulties, but conquer them by patience and perseverance; and that, above all, he must seek elevation of character, without which, capacity is worthless and worldly success nought.” These words sum up the powers of the self-made man. His success is due to a single aim, energy, self-reliance, industry, perseverance, tenacity of purpose, courage and honesty.
But the self-made man has his limitations. He is rarely a man of broad culture. Generally, owing to his poor beginnings he lacks a general education. All his energies have been confined to a single practical channel of industry; and he is inclined to despise scholarship and mental culture. So he is sometimes, narrow-manded and dogmatic. He is, too, often rather blatantly proud of his success, and inclined to regard less successful men as weaklings. Disraeli neatly rebuked a man of this type who often boasted in his speeches in the House of Commons about himself. “The honourable member”, Disraeli, said “ constantly telling us that he is a self-made man; and he evidently adores his maker”.