Skepticism of the Younger Generation Essay

Outline:

  • The ability of determination
  • A vacillator can never be a leader
  • Most pitiable object in the world, a wavering person
  • Reflection of our youth
  • Example of a vacillating soul
  • Our judgment must dwell in the depths of our nature
  • Young people wrecking their life by hesitation
  • Need to be decisive
  • Cultivation of the decision-making habit

The great demand of today is for the strong, vigorous, positive man. The man who not only makes up his mind but does so with firmness. Such a man usually has superior executive ability. He cannot only make a program but he can also carry it out. He cannot only decide upon a course, but he can also execute it to a finish.

There is only one of these great leaders to thousand of followers. It is easy to lean or to hang on to the one who leads, but it takes courage, grit and stamina to be original, prompt and decisive, to stand squarely on one’s own feet and to trust entirely to one’s own judgment.

If you are a vacillator, if you have acquired a habit of hesitating or of weighing any considering and reconsidering never quite knowing what you want, you will never be a leader. This is not the stuff of which leaders are made, for, whatever else a leader may lack, he knows his own mind. He knows what he wants and makes straight for it he may make a mistake. He may fall down now and then but he always gets up promptly and pushes on.

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The man who decides quickly can afford to make mistakes. For, no matter, how many mistakes he makes he will get on faster than the one who is timid, vacillating, and so afraid of taking a wrong course that he does not start out to do any thing. Those who wait for certainties, who stand on they never, reach the other shore.

One of the most pitiable objects in the world is the man who is forever hanging trembling in the balance. The man who never knows which way to turn. The man who is the prey of conflicting opinions and the victim of the greatest pleasure. The man who follows the counsel of the last man who advises him. The man who moves along the line of least resistance and who does not feel within himself the power to decide things. The very reputation of being easily moved from your conviction, or being unstable in your opinions is fatal to all confidence to credit.

Let us see the reflections of our youth in the mirror of the above lines. Our youths ape and not shape their own way. They are imitators and not creators. A great many people seem to have a mortal dread of deciding things. They do not dare to take responsibility, because they do not know what it may lead to. They are afraid that if they should decide up on one thing today, something better may come up tomorrow and cause them to regret their first decision. These habitual wavers so completely lose their self-confidence that they do not dare to trust themselves to decide anything of importance. Many of them ruin naturally fine minds by nursing the fatal habit of indecision.

I know a man who never closes anything of any importance if he can possibly avoid it. Every thing is left open for further evidence. He will not seal his letters until the very last minute lest he may want to change something. Time and again I have seen him tear open the seal of an envelope after it was stamped and ready to mail, in order to make some change, He has ever been known to telegraph to people to return his letters without opening them. Although this man is a great worker, a man of fine character, yet he has never won the confidence of businessmen because he is whimsical and uncertain in his judgment. Everybody who knows him feels sorry for his weakness, but does not want to trust him with anything of importance.

Your judgment must dwell in the depths of your nature. It must be out of the waves of emotion, passion or moods. It must be within the light of the permanent principles. This is the kind of judgment that is always sought in any matter of importance. One of the tragedies of life is to see magnificent ability held down by some little weakness, when, perhaps, most of the faculties are strong and vigorous. Thousands of people today are struggling along in mediocrity with ability enough to have taken them to the heights where excellence dwells, but for one lack in their nature ability to decide quickly and finally. The tragedies of untrusted judgments have given the world more failure than actual incompetence.

An engineer who starts to build and then peeps finding better places to put his piers. He is wondering whether or not he has selected the best location, will never get the bridge across the river. He must decide, then go ahead and build the bridge, no matter what obstacles he may strike. So it is with the builder of character, he must decide finally what he will do and then make for his goal. He must refuse to look back or be moved from his course.

Many thousands of young people with good health, good education, and good ability are standing on the end of a bridge at life’s crossing. They hope they are on the right way. They think they are doing the right thing, and yet they do not dare to turn the bridge they have made a mistake. They cannot bear the thought of cutting off all possibility of turning back. They lack the power to decide conclusively what course they will take.

The young people are in danger of wrecking their lives by their hesitation. If they would only make up their minds to burn their bridges behind them and thus concentrate their powers on the definite point, they would immeasurably strengthen their chances of success. All of their resources would then rush to their assistance. They would buttress them against obstacles and make their victory certain. But while there is a doubt in their minds, and they hold the path of retreat open, they will never amount to much.

If indecision runs in your blood, arouse yourself and strangle this insidious foe to your achievement before it saps energy and ruins your life chance. Do not wait until tomorrow, but begin today. Compel yourself to develop the opposite quality by the constant practice of firm decision. No matter how simple the thing you are called upon to decide, be it the choice of a hat or the color or style of a garment, do not vacillate. Throw all the light possible on whatever you have in hand for decision, weight and consider it from every point of view. Then your common sense and best judgment to your aid before reaching a conclusion, and then, when you have once made your decision, let it be final. Let there be no reconsidering and no opening the matter up for further discussion. Be firm and positive.

Persist in this course until the habit of firm decision becomes fixed and you will be surprised to see what it will do for you. It will increase your confidence in yourself and that of others in you. You may make mistakes in the beginning but you will gain strength and reliance in your judgment. The power to decide firmly strikes at the very marrow of ability. If you cannot do this, your life ship will always be adrift, you will never be anchored. You drift about on the seas at the mercy of storms and tempests and will never make your port.

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