THE men and women who are successful in the affairs of this world are those who take advantage of and improve their opportunities. Herein lies the difference between success and failure. The successful person is awake to his opportunities and makes the most of them, while the unsuccessful fails to recognize his opportunities, or, recognizing them, neglects to improve them because he cannot see wherein they would contribute in any large degree to the success he desires.

There are too many people in this world who aspire to do great things, but are unwilling to devote themselves to the best accomplishment of the many comparatively insignificant things which are an important part of the life-work of all individuals. All who have been truly successful for good have laid the foundation of their success in the well doing of things which the great majority of persons have had the opportunity to do, and many of them under more favorable conditions. It has been truly said that "we learn how to do by doing," and no man has ever learned to do the big things who has not first been faithful in the performance of the little things. If today's opportunities are not improved, whence can come the ability to take advantage of the greater opportunities the future may afford? Mrs. Eddy says, "Unimproved opportunities will rebuke us when we attempt to claim the benefits of an experience we have not made our own" (Science and Health, p. 238).

The successful person is oftentimes the object of envy. There are those who believe they could do fully as well, or even better, if they "only had the chance." This may or it may not be true. In either case there is no occasion for envy. One is not called upon to bear the burden of the responsibility of the work that is not required of him, even though he could accomplish it with ease; on the other hand, he is spared the humility of the defeat which would be his if he has overestimated his abilities. No doubt there are abundant opportunities within reach which would enable him to accomplish even more for the universal good, if he would only improve them as he might, than would result if he had been called to the greater work. To desire to succeed in a good work is a worthy ambition, not because of the personal recognition and esteem that would be bestowed, but because of the lasting benefits conferred upon mankind in general, the great majority of whom may not even know who is their benefactor, while comparatively few of those who do know may bestow the justly deserved recognition.

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July 29, 1911

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