This maxim means in plain English that the fortune of a man depends upon his own self; he can make or mar according to as he wishes. In other words, the destiny of a man lies in his own hands, and he can be successful if he only wills it. Man has been sent out to this world by God endowed with all those qualities which are essential for greatness. It is up to man to utilize these qualities. If he puts his whole heart into his work and makes the best use of his talents, he cannot but be succeeded in life. He only courts failure, if he does not do this.
A man who possesses a strong will and a firm determination finds all difficulties solved. To him there are a thousand ways open to steer clear of all dangers and difficulties. Such a man goes on working hard, and even if he fails he is never downcast. Failures make him all the more determined and he persists in his task, till he attains the desired success. It is, therefore, the man, who labours hard with a strong resolution and an unshaken will, who achieves success and makes his fortune. It is the height of folly to suppose that wealth, fame or power comes to a man by his sitting at home and only asking for it. A person must be persevering and must exert himself, if he wants to shape out his destiny. He who fails to bring strength of mind and industry to hear upon his work in life has nothing but suffering and troubles as his lot. If a man cannot achieve wealth and fortune unless he works hard and unless he has a powerful will, it follows that he is the builder of his own fortune. He can make his fortune if he wishes to do so, by being industrious and persevering. He can also bring misery and suffering upon him-self if he has not the wish to labor.
The well-known story of the carpenter-boy shows how even impossible things are made possible. A carpenter-boy was one day found hard at work in repairing a chair and polishing it. One of his neighbours, who was watching him at his work, ridiculed him for his taking so many pains. The boy replied to his neighbor’s ridicule by saying that there was a motive behind his action. He was – polishing it so carefully because he would one day sit upon it. The neighbour laughed at his idea, but what was his surprise when he found that the boy. by dint of perseverance and strength of will, rose to be a magistrate and actually sat upon the chair, which he had himself mended. The carpenter-boy, by his own efforts, changed his destiny of remaining a poor carpenter all his life.
Every man reaps the result of his own actions. If he is active, he will be rewarded for his activity and if he is idle, he will have to suffer for his idleness.
Many men have a tendency to sit idle, for they say it is impossible to do anything against Fate. But there can be nothing so foolish as to believe that luck or destiny makes one’s fortune. We all know that “Fortune favors the brave,” and there is no exaggeration in this. Fortune comes only to those who have the capacity to face dangers without shrinking and who are not disheartened by failure. In other words, those who are active and work with a determination can only come by fortune. This is the · same as saying that only those who have a strong desire to win fortune can be favoured by it. To trust to fate and remain inactive is nothing but cowardice, and it is idle to expect that fortune will never favour such cowards. To suppose that other persons or powers can be of help to promote one’s well-being or give one a fortune only proves one’s weakness. This is never possible. It rests entirely with every individual to shape his own ends.