Inspirational Living: Life Lessons for Success & Happiness

The Courage to Be | Charles Wagner Life Lessons

May 16, 2018

Listen to episode 273 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Courage to Be | Charles Wagner Life Lessons. Edited and adapted from “Courage” by Charles Wagner.

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To learn more, please visit: To get 30% off your purchase, use the coupon code: inspiration. Now, on to today’s reading, which was edited and adapted from the book Courage by Charles Wagner, published in 1903.

These lines are not written for any particular class of people. I seek to speak of those things which are common to all, being day by day more convinced that the nature of humanity is everywhere identical. However, I have not been able to avoid thinking more especially of those whose morning is gloomy and whose youth was hard.

Goethe declares in his history of his life that "what we desire in our youth we possess abundantly in our old age." An astonishing saying, and one which seems inconsistent with truth; but if we look at it more closely, such is not the case. We do, indeed, apply ourselves with ardor to the pursuit of that which we desire; and, whether our ambition be noble or the reverse, it is seldom that we do not end by fulfilling it, in part at least.

Our life is eventually stamped by our ideal. No one, therefore, can watch the tendency of their desires too carefully. What we most often lack in youth is the knowledge of what it is wisest to desire. To wish for vain things is to take a will-o'-the-wisp for our guide along the road. How many of us have wandered in this way after these uncertain lanterns of light, which promised happiness but led us into the swamps.

I should like to make you desire the things that are real, that are worth being loved and acquired by stress and toil; and among all these things there is nothing to be compared with force. Force is itself a virtue; and by virtue I understand every power that excites in us an intenser life, and joy, and hope.