Analyzing Character by - HTML preview
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.
|Accuracy |Patience |Attention to Detail
|Education Experience..............< Training |Previous Record Without at least fair physical fitness for his work and for his environment, no man can do efficient work in any position.
The second element is character. A man may rate well in all the six fundamentals with the exception of one, honesty, and he is not worth heat and light and floor space, to say nothing of wages. Dishonest men do not do honest work. The man who is deficient in honesty, in truthfulness, in loyalty, is not really fit for any kind of work in a world where men are interdependent--where the law of compensation is rigidly enforced. We have chosen just a few qualities under the head of character: honesty, truthfulness, loyalty, discretion, prudence, enthusiasm, courage, steadfastness, and dependability. We might go on and on, adding initiative, justice, kindness, good nature, courtesy, punctuality, etc.
The third criterion is intelligence. Intelligence, of course, relates to mental ability--ability to learn and to understand and follow instructions. Employers are slowly reaching the conclusion that unintelligent labor is the most expensive kind of labor. The man who is unintelligent cannot be taught. Employers cannot give him instructions and feel absolutely sure that he understands them, or, even if he understands them, that he will carry them out properly. Among the qualities which are included under intelligence are judgment and memory, the powers of observation, expression in speaking or in writing, imagination, reasoning power, and all other qualities which are purely intellectual. Most unintelligent people are merely mentally asleep. They need to awaken, to be on the alert, really to take the trouble to think. Many people have capacity for thought who do not use it.
The fourth element is disposition to industry. Some wag once said: "All men are lazy, but some are lazier than others." It might sound better to say that all men are industrious, but some men are more industrious than others. There is such a quality of body and mind as the quality of predisposition to action and industry.
Industry is very largely dependent upon energy. Energy depends upon oxygen. If one sits in a room that is stuffy and not well ventilated, one soon becomes stupid, sleepy, and not particularly acute mentally. In other words, he is partly starved for oxygen. Now, let him go out into the open air and breathe plenty of oxygen into his lungs. In a little while he raises his chest and brings up the crown of his head and takes the positive physical attitude. He is more energetic. He is eager for activity--for work. Some people are naturally deficient in depth, activity, and quality of lung power. They do not breathe in or use much oxygen, so they are lacking in energy. Such people are not predisposed to industry. Love of work--love of the game that causes a man to be interested in every phase of his work--is not, however, wholly dependent upon energy. It is something in the very heart and fiber of the man. Willingness to work, perseverance in work, and decision come under disposition to industry.
[Illustration: _Photo by F. Gutekunst, Phila_. FIG. 1. Jacob A. Riis, Journalist, Author and Philanthropist. A man of unusual intellectual power, observation, reason, memory, logic, and analysis, with high ideals, great love for humanity, especially the weak and helpless; good powers of expression, sense of humor, courage, and determination. Note large development of upper part of head; fairly well developed brows; high dome over temples; height and width of forehead, especially across center; full lips; well developed nose; strong chin; and alert, poised, kindly expression.]
[Illustration: _Copyright by Underwood & Underwood. New York_. FIG. 2. Dr. Booker T. Washington. Very ambitious, practical, energetic, self-reliant, persistent, determined, capable of rule. Note high head; high, sloping forehead, prominent at the brows; large nose, high in the bridge; and long, straight upper lip.]
[Illustration: FIG. 3. James H. Collins, Author. A splendid example of intellectual type with good bone and muscle. Has excellent balance of mechanical and commercial understanding, keen judgment of men, practical sense, and fine determination, with sentiment, sympathy, friendliness, and faith. Note high, medium-wide head, especially high in center above temples and wide and full through center of forehead; prominence of brows; width between eyes; full, cleanly modeled lips; strong nose and chin; and keen, pleasant, friendly, spirited expression.]
[Illustration: FIG. 4. H.G. Wells, Novelist and Economist. A man of physically frail type, with natural mechanical leanings. Inventive, creative, industrious, humanitarian. Because of his mechanical ability, he uses his creativeness for constructing novels dealing with mechanical invention. Because of his humanitarian instincts, he writes of social and economic world problems. Note large upper portion of head, especially from center of forehead to sides of head; also prominence of brows; large nose, and long head.]
[Illustration: Copyright American Press Association. FIG. 5. Mr. Henry Ford, Automobile Manufacturer and Philanthropist. Mr. Ford is of the physically frail type, with a goodly admixture of the bony and muscular element. His natural mechanical bent, therefore, took the intellectual form of invention and organization. His sentiment, responsiveness, sympathy, and idealism are shown by high, rather narrow head, fine texture, height of head just above temples, and gentle, kindly, genial expression.]
[Illustration: FIG. 6. Hugo de Vries, Botanist. An example of physically frail type. Very careful, accurate, painstaking, and patient in mental work. Also very thoughtful, mild in disposition, but determined and persistent. Note large development of upper part of head; long, narrow face; long nose; narrowness of head just above ears; slight squareness of chin, and serious, thoughtful expression.]
[Illustration: _Copyright by B.F. McMann_ FIG. 7. Dr. Henry Van Dyke, United States Minister to Holland, Author, Scholar, and Poet. A good example of physically frail type, with slight tendency to bone and muscle.
Refined, intellectual, sensitive, responsive, optimistic, but well-balanced, poised, and keenly discriminating.
Dr. Van Dyke shows his tendency to physical activity in his love for the out-of-doors. Note large development of upper portion of head; slight squareness of jaw; height of head above temples, especially in center; fine texture; excellent balance of features, and calm, poised, thoughtful, but kindly expression.]
[Illustration: Photo by American Press Association. FIG. 8. Dr. Beverly T. Galloway, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture. Physically frail, but mentally very active. Said to be one of the greatest living authorities on plant culture. Slight squareness of build indicates tendency to interest in out-of-door matters, which, on account of large development of mental qualities, he expresses in an intellectual way.]
The fifth criterion is natural aptitude. Everyone has observed that some people are naturally commercial. We have seen a boy take a penny to school, buy a slate pencil or a lead pencil with that penny, and trade that for an old pocket knife, the knife for something else, and keep on swapping until he had a gun, a set of chess, a CHAPTER II
bag of marbles, and several other important boys' acquisitions, all from that one penny. Another boy takes penny after penny to school and he never has anything to show for it You know such boys--and grown people, too. Every individual has some such aptitudes--either latent or developed, either mediocre or marked--and his aptitudes fit him better for some one vocation than for any other.
The sixth point to be considered is experience. One might be fitted for a vocation with all of the five points that we have enumerated, and yet not have either the education or the training for it. What shall he do?
Theoretically and ideally, every individual should be carefully and thoroughly trained, from his earliest childhood, for the vocation for which he is physically, mentally, and morally fitted. But this seldom happens--and can happen but seldom so long as parents and teachers remain ignorant of human nature and of work. A hard problem, then, confronts the young man or young woman past school days and not trained for the right calling. He or she must decide whether to compromise upon work as nearly right as possible or to make the necessary sacrifices to obtain education, training, and experience. There is much evidence in favor of choosing either horn of the dilemma. A most successful manufacturer called upon us recently. We told him that, with proper training, he would have been even more successful and far better satisfied in the legal profession. "I know you are right," he said. "I have always regretted that circumstances prevented my taking a law course as a young man. However, I have an extensive law library, do practically all the legal work for my firm, and am often consulted on obscure legal points relative to the manufacturing business by lawyers of some renown."
Abraham Lincoln, the farmhand and flatboatman, began the study of grammar at twenty-two and of law still later. Elihu Burritt, "The Learned Blacksmith," who lectured in both England and America, taught himself languages and sciences while working eleven hours a day at the forge.
We enjoy the acquaintance of a woman physician of considerable prominence who did not enter medical college until she was more than fifty years of age. Henry George was a printer who studied economics after he was twenty-seven years old. Frederick Douglass was a slave until he was twenty-one, yet secured a liberal education, so that he became a noted speaker and writer. The following from "Up from Slavery," by the late Booker T. Washington, shows what can be done by even a poor black boy, without money or influence, to win an education:
[Footnote 3: Doubleday, Page & Company, Garden City, New York.]
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON'S STORY
I determined when quite a small child that, if I accomplished nothing else in life, I would in some way get enough education to enable me to read common books and newspapers. Soon after we got settled in some manner in our new cabin in West Virginia, I induced my mother to get hold of a book for me. How or where she got it I do not know, but in some way she procured an old copy of 'Webster's Blue-back Spelling-book,'
which contained the alphabet, followed by such meaningless words as 'ab,' 'ba,' 'ca,' and 'da.' I began at once to devour this book, and I think that it was the first one I ever had in my hands. I had learned from somebody that the way to begin to read was to learn the alphabet, so I tried in all the ways I could think of to learn it--all, of course, without a teacher, for I could find no one to teach me. At that time there was not a single member of my race anywhere near us who could read, and I was too timid to approach any of the white people. In some way, within a few weeks, I mastered the greater portion of the alphabet. In all my efforts to learn to read my mother shared fully my ambition and sympathized with me and aided me in every way that she could. Though she was totally ignorant so far as mere book knowledge was concerned, she had high ambitions for her children, and a large fund of good hard common sense, which seemed to enable her to meet and master every situation. If I have done anything in life worth attention, I feel sure that I inherited the disposition from my mother.
The opening of the school in the Kanawha Valley brought to me one of the keenest disappointments that I ever experienced. I had been working in a salt-furnace for several months, and my stepfather had discovered that I had a financial value, and so, when the school opened, he decided that he could not spare me from my work. This decision seemed to cloud my every ambition. The disappointment was made all the more severe by reason of the fact that my place of work was where I could see the happy children passing to and from school morning and afternoon. Despite this disappointment, however, I determined that I would learn something anyway. I applied myself with greater earnestness than ever to the mastering of what was in the blue-back speller.
My mother sympathized with me in my disappointment and sought to comfort me in all the ways she could and to help me find a way to learn. After a while I succeeded in making arrangements with the teacher to give me some lessons at night, after the day's work was done. These night lessons were so welcome that I think I learned more at night than the other children did during the day. My own experiences in the night-school gave me faith in the night-school idea, with which, in after years, I had to do both at Hampton and Tuskegee. But my boyish heart was still set upon going to day-school and I let no opportunity slip to push my case. Finally I won, and was permitted to go to the school in the day for a few months, with the understanding that I was to rise early in the morning and work in the furnace till nine o'clock, and return immediately after school closed in the afternoon for at least two hours more of work.
The schoolhouse was some distance from the furnace, and as I had to work till nine o'clock, and the school opened at nine, I found myself in a difficulty. School would always be begun before I reached it, and sometimes my class had recited. To get around this difficulty I yielded to a temptation for which most people, I suppose, will condemn me; but since it is a fact, I might as well state it. I have great faith in the power and influence of facts. It is seldom that anything is permanently gained by holding back a fact. There was a large clock in a little office in the furnace. This clock, of course, all the hundred or more workmen depended upon to regulate their hours of beginning and ending the day's work. I got the idea that the way for me to reach school on time was to move the hands from half-past eight up to the nine o'clock mark. This I found myself doing morning after morning, till the furnace 'boss' discovered that something was wrong, and locked the clock in a case. I did not mean to inconvenience anybody. I simply meant to reach that schoolhouse on time.
When, however, I found myself at the school for the first time, I also found myself confronted with two other difficulties. In the first place, I found that all of the other children wore hats or caps on their heads, and I had neither hat nor cap. In fact, I do not remember that, up to the time of going to school, I had ever worn any kind of covering upon my head, nor do I recall that either I or anybody else had even thought anything about the need of covering for my head. But, of course, when I saw how all the other boys were dressed, I began to feel quite uncomfortable. As usual, I put the case before my mother, and she explained to me that she had no money with which to buy a 'store hat,' which was a rather new institution at that time among the members of my race and was considered quite the thing for young and old to own, but that she would find a way to help me out of the difficulty. She accordingly got two pieces of 'homespun' (jeans) and sewed them together, and I was soon the proud possessor of my first cap.
My second difficulty was with regard to my name, or rather, a name. From the time when I could remember anything I had been called simply 'Booker.' Before going to school it had never occurred to me that it was needful or appropriate to have an additional name. When I heard the school roll called, I noticed that all of the children had at least two names, and some of them indulged in what seemed to me the extravagance of having three. I was in deep perplexity, because I knew the teacher would demand of me at least two names, and I had only one. By the time the occasion came for the enrolling of my name, an idea occurred to me which I thought would make me equal to the situation; and so, when the teacher asked me what my full name was, I calmly told him 'Booker Washington,' as if I had been called by that name all my life; and by that name I have since been known. Later in my life I found that my mother had given me the name of 'Booker Taliaferro' soon after I was born, but in some way that part of my name seemed to disappear and for a long while was forgotten, but as soon as I found out about it I revived it, and made my full name, 'Booker Taliaferro Washington.' I think CHAPTER II
there are not many men in our country who have had the privilege of naming themselves in the way that I have.
The time that I was permitted to attend school during the day was short, and my attendance was irregular. It was not long before I had to stop attending day-school altogether, and devote all of my time again to work. I resorted to the night-school again. In fact, the greater part of the education I secured in my boyhood was gathered through the night-school after my day's work was done. I had difficulty often in securing a satisfactory teacher. Sometimes, after I had secured someone to teach me at night, I would find, much to my disappointment, that the teacher knew but little more than I did. Often I would have to walk several miles at night in order to recite my night-school lessons. There was never a time in my youth, no matter how dark and discouraging the days might be, when one resolve did not continually remain with me, and that was a determination to secure an education at any cost....
After I had worked in the salt-furnace for some time, work was secured for me in a coal mine, which was operated mainly for the purpose of securing fuel for the salt-furnace.
In those days, and later, as a young man, I used to try to picture in my imagination the feelings and ambitions of a white boy with absolutely no limit placed upon his aspirations and activities. I used to envy the white boy who had no obstacle placed in the way of his becoming a Congressman, Governor, Bishop, or President by reason of the accident of his birth or race. I used to picture the way that I would act under such circumstances; how I would begin at the bottom and keep rising until I reached the highest round of success.
One day, while at work in the coal mine, I happened to overhear two miners talking about a great school for colored people somewhere in Virginia. This was the first time that I had ever heard anything about any kind of school or college that was more pretentious than the little colored school in our town.
In the darkness of the mine I noiselessly crept as close as I could to the two men talking. I heard one tell the other that not only was the school established for the members of my race, but that opportunities were provided by which poor but worthy students could work out all or a part of the cost of board, and at the same time be taught some trade or industry.
As they went on describing the school, it seemed to me that it must be the greatest place on earth, and not even Heaven presented more attractions for me at that time than did the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute of Virginia, about which these men were talking. I resolved at once to go to that school, although I had no idea where it was, or how many miles away, or how I was going to reach it; I remembered only that I was on fire constantly with one ambition, and that was to go to Hampton. This thought was with me day and night.
In the fall of 1872, I determined to make an effort to get there, although, as I have stated, I had no definite idea of the direction in which Hampton was, or of what it would cost to go there. I do not think that anyone thoroughly sympathized with me in my ambition to go to Hampton, unless it was my mother, and she was troubled with a grave fear that I was starting out on a wild-goose chase. At any rate, I got only a half-hearted consent from her that I might start. The small amount of money that I had earned had been consumed by my step-father and the remainder of the family, with the exception of a very few dollars, and so I had very little with which to buy clothes and pay my traveling expenses.
Finally, the great day came and I started for Hampton. I had only a small, cheap satchel that contained what few articles of clothing I could get. My mother, at the time, was rather weak and broken in health. I hardly expected to see her again, and thus our parting was all the more sad. She, however, was very brave through it all. At that time there were no through trains connecting that part of West Virginia with eastern Virginia.
Trains ran only a portion of the way, and the remainder of the distance was traveled by stage-coaches.
The distance from Malden to Hampton is about five hundred miles. I had not been away from home many hours before it began to grow painfully evident that I did not have enough money to pay my fare to Hampton.
By walking, begging rides, both in wagons and in the cars, in some way, after a number of days, I reached the city of Richmond, Virginia, about eighty-two miles from Hampton. When I reached there, tired, hungry, and dirty, it was late in the night. I had never been in a large city before, and this rather added to my misery. When I reached Richmond I was completely out of money. I had not a single acquaintance in the place, and, being unused to city ways, I did not know where to go. I applied at several places for lodging, but they all wanted money, and that was what I did not have. Knowing nothing else better to do, I walked the streets. In doing this I passed by many food-stands, where fried chicken and half-moon apple pies were piled high and made to present a most tempting appearance. At that time it seemed to me that I would have promised all that I expected to possess in the future to have gotten hold of one of those chicken legs or one of those pies. But I could not get either of these, nor anything else to eat.
I must have walked the streets till after midnight. At last I became so exhausted that I could walk no longer. I was tired; I was hungry; I was everything but discouraged. Just about the time when I reached extreme physical exhaustion, I came upon a portion of a street where the board sidewalk was considerably elevated. I waited for a few minutes, till I was sure that no passers-by could see me, and then crept under the sidewalk and lay for the night upon the ground, with my satchel of clothing for a pillow. Nearly all night I could hear the tramp of feet above my head. The next morning I found myself somewhat refreshed, but I was extremely hungry, because it had been a long time since I had had sufficient food. As soon as it became light enough for me to see my surroundings I noticed that I was near a large ship, and that this ship seemed to be unloading a cargo of pig iron. I went at once to the vessel and asked the captain to permit me to help unload the vessel in order to get money for food. The captain, a white man, who seemed to be kind-hearted, consented. I worked long enough to earn money for my breakfast, and it seems to me, as I remember it now, to have been about the best breakfast that I have ever eaten.
"My work pleased the captain so well that he told me if I desired, I could continue working for a small amount per day. This I was very glad to do. I continued working on this vessel for a number of days. After buying food with the small wages I received there was not much left to add to the amount I must get to pay my way to Hampton. In order to economize in every way possible, so as to be sure to reach Hampton in a reasonable time, I continued to sleep under the same sidewalk that gave me shelter the first night I was in Richmond.
"When I had saved what I considered enough money with which to reach Hampton, I thanked the captain of the vessel for his kindness and started again. Without any unusual occurrence I reached Hampton, with a surplus of exactly fifty cents with which to begin my education. To me it had been a long, eventful journey, but the first sight of the large, three-story, brick school building seemed to have rewarded me for all that I had undergone in order to reach the place.
"It seemed to me to be the largest and most beautiful building I had ever seen. The sight of it seemed to give me new life. I felt that a new kind of existence had now begun--that life would now have a new meaning. I felt that I had reached the promised land, and I resolved to let no obstacle prevent me from putting forth the highest effort to fit myself to accomplish the most good in the world.
"As soon as possible after reaching the grounds of the Hampton Institute, I presented myself before the head teacher for assignment to a class. Having been so long without proper food, a bath, and change of clothing, I did not, of course, make a very favorable impression upon her, and I could see at once that there were doubts in her mind about the wisdom of admitting me as a student. I felt that I could hardly blame her if she got the idea that I was a worthless loafer or tramp. For some time she did not refuse to admit me; neither did she decide in my favor, and I continued to linger about her, and to impress her in all the ways I could with my worthiness. In the meantime, I saw her admitting other students, and that added greatly to my discomfort, for I felt, deep down in my heart, that I could do as well as they, if I could only get a chance to show her what was CHAPTER II
"After some hours had passed, the head teacher said to me: 'The adjoining recitation room needs sweeping.
Take the broom and sweep it,'
"It occurred to me at once that here was my chance. Never did I receive an order with more delight. I knew that I could sweep, for Mrs. Ruffner had thoroughly taught me how to do that when I lived with her.
" I swept the recitation room three times. Then I got a dusting cloth and I dusted it four times. All the woodwork around the walls, every bench, table, and desk, I went over four times with my dusting cloth.
Besides, every piece of furniture had been moved and every closet and corner of the room had been thoroughly cleaned. I had the feeling that, in a large measure, my future depended upon the impression I made upon the teacher in the cleaning of that room. When I was through, I reported to the head teacher. She was a Yankee woman, who knew just where to look for dirt. She went into the room and inspected the floor and closets; then she took her handkerchief and rubbed it on the woodwork, about the walls, and over the table and benches. When she was unable to find one bit of dirt on the floor, or a particle of dust on any of the furniture, she quietly remarked: 'I guess you will do to enter this institution.'
"I was one of the happiest souls on earth. The sweeping of that room was my college examination, and never did any youth pass an examination for entrance into Harvard or Yale that gave him more genuine satisfaction.
I have passed several examinations since then, but I have always felt that this was the best one I ever passed."
If Lincoln, Burritt, Booker T. Washington, and thousands of others, with all their handicaps, could secure needed education for their life work, why should any man remain in an uncongenial calling? There is danger that we may give our boys and girls too much help; that life be made too easy for them; that their moral backbones may grow flabby by reason of too much support. Normal young people do not need aid and support. They need guidance and direction--and the majority of them, either the sharp spur of necessity or the relentless urge of an ambition which will not be denied. Almost without exception we have found that the only difference between genius or millionaire and dunce or tramp is a willingness to pay the price.
THE PRICE OF SUCCESS
From an unknown author comes the all-important question to every seeker for success:
"You want success. Are you willing to pay the price for it?
"How much discouragement can you stand?
"How much bruising can you take?
"How long can you hang on in the face of obstacles?
"Have you the grit to try to do what others have failed to do?
"Have you the nerve to attempt things that the average man would never dream of tackling?
"Have you the persistence to keep on trying after repeated failures?
"Can you cut out luxuries? Can you do without things that others consider necessities?
"Can you go up against skepticism, ridicule, friendly advice to quit, without flinching?
"Can you keep your mind steadily on the single object you are pursuing, resisting all temptations to divide your attention?
"Have you the patience to plan all the work you attempt; the energy to wade through masses of detail; the accuracy to overlook no point, however small, in planning or executing?
"Are you strong on the finish as well as quick at the start?
"Success is sold in the open market. You can buy it--I can buy it--any man can buy it who is willing to pay the price for it."
CLASSES OF MISFITS
To the casual observer, humanity seems to be divided into countless different kinds of people. In fact, it is often said that of all the millions of people on the earth, no two are just alike. Some writers on vocational guidance, indeed, express discouragement. They see humanity in such infinite variety that it is impossible ever to classify types. Therefore, they mourn, the vocational expert cannot judge of aptitudes except by trial in various kinds of work until, finally, real native talents appear in actual accomplishment. The anthropologist, however, easily divides mankind by means of several broad classifications, A few distinct variations, easily recognizable by the anthropological expert, put every one of the billion and one-half people on the face of the earth in his particular class.
In the same way, to the casual observer, it no doubt seems that the number and kind of misfits is so great that any attempt to analyze them and classify them must meet with failure. Those, however, who have studied the problem and have met and talked with thousands of those struggling against the handicap of unloved and difficult work, find a few classes which include nearly all of them. Just as there are two fundamental reasons why men and women select wrong vocations, and a few common variations upon these two reasons, so there are just a few general ways in which people select the wrong vocations. An examination of some of these will be illuminating to the reader.
THE PHYSICALLY FRAIL
In the beginning of the life of the race all men hunted, fished, fought, danced, sang, and loafed. These were the only manly vocations. There were no clerks, no doctors, and, perhaps, no priests. In some races and under some conditions to-day, all of the men are hunters and fishers, or shepherds and stock-raisers, or all the men till the field. Some years ago, in our country, practically all the male population worked at the trade of agriculture, there being only a few preachers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, and clerks.
In the nations of Europe to-day people are born to certain professions or born to a certain narrow circle of vocations; some people are born to manual labor, and, having once performed manual labor, are thereby firmly fixed in the class of those who earn their living by their hands; others are born in a class above that, and will suffer almost any privation rather than earn their living by manual labor. In the United States this same feeling is becoming more and more prevalent. Our physical work is nearly all of it done by those who came to us from across the sea, and native-born Americans seek vocations in some other sphere.
The common school is everywhere, and education is compulsory. The high school is also to be found in all parts of the country. There are also business colleges, technical schools, academies, universities, colleges, professional schools, correspondence schools, and other educational institutions of every possible kind. These are patronized by the native-born population as well as by many of those who come to us from foreign lands.
The result is that, of the first great class which we shall treat, there are comparatively few in relation to the whole population. Even though this is true, there are all too many.
The first class of misfits is composed of those who are too frail for physical labor and who are not well enough educated to take their places amongst clerical or professional workers. These unfortunates do not like hard, manual work; they cannot do it well; they are outclassed in it. They do not hold any position long; they are frequently unemployed; and they are often compelled to live by their wits. As a general rule, those in this class are well equipped intellectually by nature, and would have responded splendidly to educative efforts if they had been given an opportunity. People of this class lack physical courage. They shrink from hardship and will do almost anything to escape physical suffering. It is this lack of courage, as well as their inability to make a decent living out of their hands and muscles, that leads them, in so many cases, to unlawful means.
As a general rule, people of this type have considerable natural refinement, and refinement is always expensive. They are the kind of people of whom it is often said that they have "champagne tastes and beer incomes." It is difficult for them to finance themselves, with any degree of frugality or economy, upon the small and precarious income they earn at manual labor. This is the class of people who sometimes become counterfeiters, sneak thieves, pickpockets, forgers, gamblers, stool pigeons, second-story workers, and petty criminals along other lines which do not require physical courage, strength, and force. Of course, the great majority of these misfits do not enter upon a life of crime. They are, however, poor, often in need, sometimes pauperized, and, as a general rule, their lives are short and miserable. There are those, also, whose cases are not so extreme. Unfitness for manual labor results merely in bare living, a life of comparative poverty, and general lack of success.
THE FAT MAN
Another class of those who are physically unfit for hard, manual labor are those who are too stout. The fat man is, by nature, fitted to sit in a large, luxurious chair and direct the work of others. He is too heavy on his feet for physical work, as a general rule, and is also too much disinclined to physical effort. It is a well-known fact that, almost without exception, fat men are physically lazy. The natural work, therefore, of the stout man is executive work, banking, finance, merchandising, handling of food products, and the arbitration of differences between his fellow men. Fat men are natural bankers, financiers, lawyers, judges, politicians, managers, bakers, butchers, grocers, restaurant owners, preachers, and orators. If, however, the man of this type does not secure sufficient education and training to enable him to undertake one of these professions, but grows up with no other ways to satisfy his wants than by the exercise of his muscles, he is greatly handicapped in the race for success. It is not usual, however, to find a man of this type amongst the ranks of the poor. Most of them are fairly well supplied with means, and usually have plenty to eat, plenty to wear, and a good place to sleep.
In order to obtain the things he desires, the man who has no aptitude for physical labor on account of his great bulk sometimes turns his attention to crime. This type of man may be a gambler, a grafting politician, a confidence man, a promoter of wild-cat stocks or bonds, the man who sits behind the scenes and directs a band of criminals or, perhaps, a whole community of them, or in some other way preys upon the gullibility of the public.
Naturally, there are fat men, also, who are honest and high-principled in their intentions and who still have not fitted themselves for their true vocation in life. Such men, like those who are physically frail and honest, drag through a miserable existence, never fully realizing their possibilities, or expressing themselves; never finding an outlet for their real talents; never making the success of life which they might have made with sufficient CHAPTER III
training and in their true vocations.
THE MAN OF BONE AND MUSCLE
Just as there were, doubtless, thousands of men too frail or too corpulent for physical work who were compelled to do it in the days when practically all men were either farmers or carpenters and builders, so to-day there are thousands of men far too active for clerical work who are compelled to do it because certain circles in society have a prejudice against manual labor. There is a type of man whose bony and muscular system predominates in his organization. This type of man loves the out-of-doors; freedom is to him a physical and moral necessity. He hates, and even grows irritable under, restraint. He demands physical activity; his muscles call for exercise; his whole physical being is keen for life in the open, with plenty of activity. Yet this type of man, by thousands, is sentenced to spend his life behind the counter or chained to a desk. He is as unhappy there, and almost as badly placed, as if he were, indeed, in prison. Look around the parks, the roads, the athletic fields, the lakes and streams, the woods, and all out-of-door places in this country and you will find this man taking a brief rest from his prison cell, engaged in strenuous forms of muscular activity--tennis, golf, baseball, football, lacrosse, cross-country running, boating, swimming, yachting, motoring, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, exploring, mountain climbing, ranching--in many ways seeking to find an outlet for his stored-up physical energy.
WORK FOR THE ACTIVE MAN
There is plenty of room for the mental capacity, the executive ability, and the splendid organizing genius of this type of man in outdoor work. Our great forests and fields are not producing twenty-five per cent of the amount of wealth that they should produce, under even such scientific methods as are known at present. But these are only the beginning. There is an opportunity for those with both mental and physical aptitudes to undertake the solution of the problem. The resources of the universe are infinite. There is no parsimony in Nature. There is plenty and to spare for all.
Recently there has been a great deal said about the fact that all of the land on the surface of the earth has now been occupied by mankind; that hereafter, food products will become higher and higher in price; that each of us will have to be satisfied with a little less wealth than formerly; that rents will be higher; that the price of land will steadily increase--that, already, there is not enough of the bare necessities of life to go around. This is cited as the cause of pauperism and given as an excuse for war. May not this attitude be mistaken? We have not yet scratched the surface of the possibilities. These out-of-door men are fitted by nature to take the scientific truths discovered by those better fitted to sit indoors, and make practical application of them to the problems of increasing the wealth of the race. If a boy in Alabama can grow 232 bushels of corn on one acre of ground, then farmers all over the country can grow at least 100 bushels of corn on an acre which now yields an average of 25 to 30 bushels. By scientific methods, Eugene Grubb has grown a thousand bushels of potatoes upon an acre of Wyoming land. A considerable addition will be made to the wealth of the race when a thousand other Eugene Grubbs arise and increase the productivity of thousands of other acres of potatoes.
THE BORN LEADER OF MEN
In his excellent little book, "The Art of Handling Men," Mr. James H. Collins says: Broadly speaking, the personal equation is that Something in a man that makes him effective in managing other men.
It is the difference between the fellow who lets a political club, a military company or a factory force go all to pieces, and some other fellow who can put the pieces together again, or rather, draw them together instantly.
For the man who reorganizes without this Something is like the chap who cleans his own clock--he usually has a few pieces of the organization left over because they wouldn't fit in anywhere. The personal equation is CHAPTER III
magnetic. It comes along and acts, and every part falls into place, and the organization is capable of performing a lot of new functions.
Not one person in five hundred possesses the faculty. Those who don't, like to comfort themselves with the assurance that it is a gift which Providence forgot to hand out to them. Innumerable stories grow up around the man who does possess it. One glance from his eagle eye, people say, and he reads you through. One word, and he enforces instant obedience. Thus the personal equation is glorified and mystified. But men who really have this valuable Something seldom make much mystery about it. They insist it is largely a matter of common sense, which everyone ought to have at their disposal.
[Footnote 4: Henry Altemus Company, Philadelphia.]
The personal equation has an interesting way of raising moral issues.
One morning in August, 1863, a young clergyman was called out of bed in a hotel at Lawrence, Kansas. The man who called him was one of Quantrell's guerrillas, and he wanted him to hurry downstairs, and be shot.
All over the border town that morning people were being murdered. A band of raiders had ridden in early to perpetrate the Lawrence massacre.
The guerrilla who called the clergyman was impatient. The latter, when fully awake, was horrified by what he saw going on through his window. As he came downstairs the guerrilla demanded his watch and money, and then wanted to know if he was an abolitionist. The clergyman was trembling. But he decided that if he was to die then and there, it would not be with a lie on his lips. So he said, yes, he was, and followed up the admission with a remark that immediately turned the whole affair into another channel.
He and the guerrilla sat down on the porch, while people were being killed through the town, and had a long talk. It lasted until the raiders were ready to leave. When the clergyman's guerrilla mounted to join his confederates he was strictly on the defensive. He handed back the New Englander's valuables and apologized for disturbing him, and asked to be thought well of.
That clergyman lived many years after the Lawrence massacre. What did he say to the guerrilla? What was there in his personality that led the latter to sit down and talk? What did they talk about?
'Are you a Yankee abolitionist?' the guerrilla had asked.
'Yes--I am,' was the reply, 'and you know very well that you ought to be ashamed of what you're doing.'
This drew the matter directly to a moral issue. It brought the guerrilla up roundly. The clergyman was only a stripling beside this seasoned border ruffian. But he threw a burden of moral proof on to the raider, and in a moment the latter was trying to demonstrate that he might be a better fellow than circumstances would seem to indicate.
After waking this New Englander to kill him on account of his politics, he spent twenty minutes on the witness stand trying to prove an alibi. He went into his personal history at length. He explained matters from the time when he had been a tough little kid who wouldn't say his prayers, and became quite sentimental in recalling how one thing had led to another, and that to something worse, and so on, until--well, here he was, and a mighty bad business to be in, pardner. His last request, in riding away, was: 'Now, pardner, don't think too hard of me, will you?'
The personal equation is eternally throwing the burden of proof on the people it controls, and forever raising moral issues. The man who has it may operate by no definite plan, just as this clergyman had none for saving his own life. But he will be a confidence man of the most subtle character. His capacity for expecting things of CHAPTER III
those under him will be tremendous. Subordinates may never have demanded much of themselves. But for him they will accomplish wonders, just because he expects them to.
Three men were placed at the foreman's desk of a growing factory. Each had technical knowledge enough to run a plant three times the size. But all failed. The first was an autocrat, who tried to boss from a pedestal, and the men didn't like him. The next was a politician, whom the men liked thoroughly--which was his shortcoming, for he tried to run the place as they thought it should be run. As for the third, he tried to run it on nerves, to do everything himself, to be everywhere at once. He didn't fail, really--he snapped like a fiddle-string. By that time working tension was relaxed and production wabbling on the down-peak. Nobody knew who was in charge, or what would happen.
Then along came a fourth candidate, with an abnormally developed bump of expectation. He knew how to approve and encourage. Sometimes he said pleasantly: 'I knew you could do that, Bill,' Again, he put it ironically: 'I didn't think you had it in you.' But his strong point was expectation. With apparent recklessness he gave out work two sizes too large for everybody. If a subordinate was a No. 7 man he handed him a No. 9
job as a matter of course, and usually the latter grew up to it. The politician had tried this same scheme, but introduced it backward. Taking a No. 7 man into a corner, he told him impressively that he was a No. 9 and promoted him on the spot, and warned him to say nothing about it to anybody else. Then the man tried to swell to fit the office instead of growing to fit the work. But this fourth candidate made everybody see that doing No. 9 was more creditable than just being it. So everybody became interested in the work, and nothing else.
There was another suggestive point. Taking charge after three foremen had failed, the factory was naturally full of nasty cliques, each with its unhealthy private interest. The new man broke up these cliques by introducing a new interest so big that it swallowed all the little interests, like Aaron's rod. That interest was to turn out work of such quality and in such quantities that the factory could get contracts in competition with an older rival, and provide steady employment.
That this faculty for putting people under obligation is more the man than a method, however, is shown in one of Daudet's delightful little sketches, the story of a head clerk in a French Government bureau who, on getting a fine promotion, wrote home to his father describing his new chief's homely appearance with light-hearted raillery. Next morning on his desk lay his own letter, initialed by his chief. It had been intercepted by the secret service. The chief allowed him to suffer in apprehension one day, and then told him that his indiscretion should rest between themselves. 'Try to make me forget it,' he said, and the incident hung like a dagger over the clerk's head.
Some time after, the latter caught one of his own subordinates stealing from the cash box, and repeated his superior's tactics, even to the formula, 'Try to make me forget it.' With tears in his eyes the subordinate thanked him for his clemency--and a few days later, rifled the safe and fled! The moral of which seems to be that, if the clerk had been enough of a judge of men to use his chief's method effectively, he would never have fallen into the asininity of writing such a letter.
"Those who complain that it is impossible to win the confidence of subordinates might observe the extremely simple fashion in which the man with this Something does the trick--by giving people his own confidence first.
"He has the knack, not only of interesting others, but of keeping up his own interest; in fact, he is often so absorbed in his existence, his work, and the people around him that he is not aware that there is such a malady as lack of interest.
"He has a heartiness and vitality and geniality quite characteristic, or a misanthropy that is hearty, vital, and optimistic--geniality inside out. The milk of human kindness sometimes comes in a dry form."
THE MAN OF SUPREME ABILITY
In his valuable treatise on "The Twelve Principles of Efficiency," Mr. Harrington Emerson says: Industrial plants remind me of automobiles. The plants themselves may be more or less good, but on what kind of roads are they running? The philosophy of efficiency is for an industrial plant--for any enterprise, activity, or undertaking--what a network of good roads is for automobiles. Undoubtedly, even on poor roads, automobiles may make some progress, but the worse the road, the more elementary must be the means of locomotion.
[Footnote 5: The Engineering Magazine Company, New York.]
Railroads, high-roads, by-roads, bridle-paths, footpaths, mountain climbs! The unlettered mountaineer of all countries is the best man for the last, and it takes the best kind of trained climbing expert to emulate him; but as the road is improved shoes are exchanged for horses, horses for bicycles, a change from one kind of muscular effort to another; bicycles for automobiles, automobiles for railroad trains, both these latter using incarnate energy instead of muscular or incarnate energy. The all-round skill of the mountaineer becomes the subdivided, specialized skill of many different men, who are supplemented with increasingly complex equipment.
The philosophy of efficiency is to be used to build roads along which any organization can travel with the least friction and the greatest advantage, and the more ramified and involved the business, the more is the philosophy needed.
However, no highly complex automobile, even with the best network of roads, can make any great progress unless in the hands of a skilled directing intelligence; no highly complex human enterprise, though it uses all the principles of efficiency, can make any great progress unless guided by a skilled intelligence.
On personality, on the wisdom of the individual, whether locomotive engineer or von Moltke, whether the manager of a plant employing ten men or Judge Gary, chairman of the board of the gigantic Steel Corporation, will depend the ultimate value of all that creative physical or philosophical ability has brought together.
Recently there was submitted to me in the office of one of Chicago's greatest businesses the draft of its organization. No man can pass on the merits of the details of a complicated organization without long and intimate acquaintance with its workings. Seeing the plan of the Chicago plant, pressed for a suggestion, I said:
'Your chart is upside down; the president belongs at the bottom, sustaining and carrying, through his organization, all the operations of the plant. Because he is in supreme authority he has the responsibility of making available for everyone, down to the tool, all the wisdom in the universe in order that each may fulfil perfectly its special duty and task.'
Whether on the grounds of Long Branch, on the desert trail, in a section, department, division, or plant of a great manufacturing concern or railroad; whether on the deck of a battleship or on a battlefield, what is wanted is a leader who can swing and manage what has been entrusted to him.
It has become the fashion in history to decry the strong-man theory, to turn for understanding to evolution, to explain the strong man as the inevitable accident of the moment. There is evolution; there comes, at last, opportunity, but only rarely does the strong man arise; hence we have England, not Norway or Sweden or Holland; hence we have Prussia, not Saxony; Germany, not Russia; Italy, not Portugal; France, not Spain; Japan, not Siam or Korea.
In 1536 was born in Japan an undersized, monkey-faced boy of good but poor parentage, who, at the age of thirteen, resolved to make himself the chief power in the distracted kingdom. For 200 years the militant CHAPTER III
barons had warred against each other, each trying to grab, annex, and hold what he could.
The boy, Hideyoshi, deliberately visited the different courts, picked out the baron he thought most endowed with suitable character, succeeded with great difficulty in entering his service in the humblest position, and then steadily and inevitably rose, firstly because he could read human character and always knew almost as soon as they did themselves what his and his lord's enemies were plotting, and secondly, because he was always prepared in advance for any undertaking and skilled in carrying out. Thus, when scarcely more than a child, he reduced the cost of firewood used in the palace to less than one-half; a little later he rebuilt the castle walls in three days, a task estimated as requiring sixty days; again, single-handed, he secured provinces that armies had failed to conquer.
By gifts of tact, of insight, of diligence, of readiness, that each one of us thinks he possesses, that any one of Nippon's 30,000,000 inhabitants might have possessed and exercised, Hideyoshi rose, step by step, until he directed and guided the whole country, his general, Iyeyasu, becoming the first of the Tokugawa dynasty, which lasted from 1603 to 1867, with headquarters at Yeddo (Tokyo).
Temuchin, Jenghis Khan, born in a tent in 1162, son of a petty Mongolian chieftain, succeeded his father when only thirteen years old. Many of the tribes immediately rebelled, but Temuchin held his own in battle and in counsel against open enemies and insidious traitors, until his empire extended from the China Sea to the frontier of Poland--an empire larger than modern Russia, the largest the world has ever seen.
The man of supreme ability is the one who has supernal ideals, who recognizes and uses those underlying principles without which human effort is futile, its results ephemeral. The man of supreme ability is the one who can create and control an organization founded on and using principles to attain and maintain ideals, who then is able to assemble for the use of his organization the incidentals of land, of men and money (Labor and Capital), of buildings and equipment, of methods and devices. All these incidentals make for volume, for quantity, for man's work instead of woman's work, but they do not make for the spirit, nor for the quality, nor for the excellence of work.
THE ELEMENTS OF EXECUTIVE ABILITY
We have quoted thus at length from Mr. Collins and Mr. Emerson to show the inbornness, so to speak, of real executive ability. The art of handling men depends upon certain inherent aptitudes plus a certain amount of the right kind of training. A very large class of executives lacks the aptitude; a still larger class lacks the right kind of training. It is possible, of course, to give training to those who have the aptitude. It is impossible to give training which will make efficient executives of those who are deficient in the natural aptitudes. The result of all this is that we have a very large class of misfits; men who, for some reason or other, have been promoted into executive positions and who do not have the proper qualifications. These men suffer; those under them suffer; those who employ them suffer.
Some men are too active themselves ever to be good directors of the activities of other men. They cannot sit back quietly and direct others. They demand expression in action. They are, therefore, always thrusting aside their subordinates and doing the thing themselves, because they lack the ability to teach others to do the work and to do it correctly. When such men are compelled to wait for others to accomplish things, they grow irritable, impatient, and lose control of themselves and, therefore, of the situation. They are not ideal executives and do not, as a general rule, rise to very high executive positions. They ought not to attempt to do executive work.
There are others who are too easy-going to command men. They permit their men to get too close to them, and they feel too sympathetic toward them. They are likely, also, to be partial, not to demand or exact enough, and, therefore, their departments are always behind, never quite coming up to quota.
TWO TYPES OF EXECUTIVES
There are two distinct types of executives. There is the impatient, driving, quick, keen, positive, irritable type.