Listen to episode 160 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Industrious Spirit (Self-Development). Edited & adapted from the lecture Self-Made Men by Frederick Douglass.
Self-Development Podcast Excerpt: My theory of success is simply this: that successful people are men and women of work. But in awarding praise to industry as the main agency in the production and culture of success, I do not exclude other factors. I only make them subordinate. Other agencies co-operate, but industry is the principal one and the one without which all others would fail.
Indolence and failure can give a thousand excuses for themselves. How often do we hear people say, "If I had the mind of this person, or the talent of that person; the health of this one, or the strength of that one; the opportunities of this or of that one, I might have been this, that, or the other," and much more of the same kind of self-defeating talk.
Sound bodily health and mental faculties are indeed very desirable, if not absolutely indispensable. But you need not be a physical giant or an intellectual prodigy, in order to make a successful way in the world. The health and strength of the soul is of far more importance than is that of the body, even when viewed as a means of mundane results. The soul is the main thing.
Each one of us can do a great many things; some easily and some with difficulty, but we cannot build a sound ship with rotten timber. The ship’s design may be faultless; and her canvas sail the whitest, but she will go down in the first storm. So it is with the soul. Whatever its assumptions, if it be lacking in the principles of honor, integrity and affection, it, too, will go down in the first storm. And when the soul is lost, all is lost.
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