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John Wanamaker was once asked to invest in an expedition to recover from the Spanish Main doubloons which for half a century had lain at the bottom of the sea in sunken frigates. "Young men," he replied, " I know of a better expedition than this, right here. Near your own feet lie treasures untold; you can have them all by faithful study.

" Let us not be content to mine the most coal, to make the largest locomotives, to weave the largest quantities of carpets; but, amid the sounds of the pick, the blows of the hammer, the rattle of the looms, and the roar of the machinery, take care that the immortal mechanism of God's own hand - the mind - is still full-trained for the highest and noblest service."

The uneducated man is always placed at a great disadvantage. No matter how much natural ability one may have, if he is ignorant, he is discounted. It is not enough to possess ability, it must be made available by mental discipline.

We ought to be ashamed to remain in ignorance in a land where the blind, the deaf and dumb, and even cripples and invalids, manage to obtain a good education.

Many youths throw away little opportunities for self-culture because they cannot see great ones. They let the years slip by without any special effort at self improvement, until they are shocked in middle life, or later, by waking up to the fact that they are still ignorant of what they ought to know.

Everywhere we go we see men and women, especially from twenty-five to forty years of age, who are cramped and seriously handicapped by the lack of early training. I often get letters from such people, asking if it is possible for them to educate themselves so late in life. ' Of course it is. There are so many good correspondence schools today, and institutions like Chautauqua, so many evening schools, lectures, books, libraries, and periodicals, that men and women who are determined to improve themselves have abundant opportunities to do so.

While you lament the lack of an early education and think it too late to begin, you may be sure that there are other young men and young women not very far from you who are making great strides in self-improvement, though they may not have half as good an opportunity for it as you have. The first thing to do is to make a resolution, strong, vigorous, and determined, that you are going to be an educated man or woman; that you are not going to go through life humiliated by ignorance; that, if you have been deprived of early advantages, you are going to make up for their loss. Resolve that you will no longer be handicapped and placed at a disadvantage for that which you can remedy.

You will find the whole world will change to you when you change your attitude toward it. You will be surprised to see how quickly you can very materially improve your mind after you have made a vigorous resolve to do so. Go about it with the same determination that you would to make money or to learn a trade. There is a divine hunger in every normal being for self-expansion, a yearning for growth or enlargement. Beware of stifling this craving of nature for self-unfoldment.

Man was made for growth. It is the object, the explanation, of his being. To have an ambition to grow larger and broader every day, to push the horizon of ignorance ' a little further away, to become a little richer in knowledge, a little wiser, and more of a man -that is an ambition worth while. It is not absolutely necessary that an education should be crowded into a few years of school life. The best educated people are those who are always learning, always absorbing knowledge from every possible source and at every opportunity.

I know young people who have acquired a better education, a finer culture, through a habit of observation, or of carrying a book in the pocket to read at odd moments, or by taking courses in correspondence schools, than many who have gone through college. Youths who are quick to catch at new ideas, and who are in frequent contact with superior minds, not only often acquire a personal charm, but even, to a remarkable degree, develop mental power.

The world is a great university. From the cradle to the grave we are always in God's great kindergarten, where everything is trying to teach us its lesson; to give us its great secret. Some people are always at school, always storing up precious bits of knowledge. Everything has a lesson for them. It all depends upon the eye that can see, the mind that can appropriate.

Very few people ever learn how to use their eyes. They go through the world with a superficial glance at things; their eye pictures are so faint and so dim that details are lost and no strong impression is made on the mind. Yet the eye was intended for a great educator. The brain is a prisoner, never getting out to the outside world. It depends upon its five or six servants, the senses, to bring it material, and the larger part of it comes through the eye.

The man who has learned the art of seeing things looks with his brain.

I know a father who is training his boy to develop his powers of observation. He will send him out upon a street with which he is not familiar for a certain length of time, and then question him on his return to see how many things he has observed. He sends him to the show windows of great stores, to museums and other public places to see how many of the objects he has seen the boy can recall and describe when he gets home. The father says that this practise develops in the boy a habit of seeing things, instead of merely looking at them.

When a new student went to the great naturalist, Professor Agassiz of Harvard, he would give him a fish and tell him to look it over for half an hour or an hour, and then describe to him what he saw. After the student thought he had told everything about the fish, the professor would say, " You have not really seen the fish yet. Look at it a while longer, and then tell me what you see." He would repeat this several times, until the student developed a capacity for observation. If we go through life like an interrogation point, holding an alert, inquiring mind toward everything, we can acquire great mental wealth, wisdom which is beyond all material riches.

Ruskin's mind was enriched by the observation of birds, insects, beasts, trees, rivers, mountains, pictures of sunset and landscape, and by memories of the song of the lark and of the brook. His brain held thousands of pictures-of paintings, of architecture, of sculpture, a wealth of material which he reproduced as a joy for all time. Everything gave up its lesson, its secret, to his inquiring mind.

The habit of absorbing information of all kinds from others is of untold value. A man is weak and ineffective in proportion as he secludes himself from his kind.

There is a constant stream of power, a current of forces running to and fro between individuals who come in contact with one another, if they have inquiring minds. We are all giving and taking perpetually when we associate together. The achiever today must keep in touch with the society around him; he must put his finger on the pulse of the great busy world and feel its throbbing life. He must be a part of it, or there will be some lack in his life.

A single talent which one can use effectively is worth more than ten talents imprisoned by ignorance. Education means that knowledge has been assimilated and become a part of the person. It is the ability to express the power within one, to give out what one knows, that measures efficiency and achievement. Pent-up knowledge is useless. People who feel their lack of education, and who can afford the outlay, can make wonderful strides in a year by putting themselves under good tutors, who will direct their reading and study along different lines.

The danger of trying to educate oneself lies in desultory, disconnected, aimless studying which does not give anything like the benefit to be derived from the pursuit of a definite program for self-improvement. A person who wishes to educate himself at home should get some competent, well-trained person to lay out a plan for him, which can only be effectively done when the adviser knows the vocation, the tastes, and the needs of the would-be student. Anyone who aspires to an education, whether in country or city, can find someone to at least guide his studies; some teacher, clergyman, lawyer, or other educated person in the community to help him.

There is one special advantage in self-education,you can adapt your studies to your own particular needs better than you could in school or college.

Everyone who reaches middle life without an education should first read and study along the line of his own vocation, and then broaden himself as much as possible by reading on other lines.

One can take up, alone, many studies, such as history, English literature, rhetoric, drawing, mathematics, and can also acquire by oneself, almost as effectively as with a teacher, a reading knowledge of foreign languages. The daily storing up of valuable information for use later in life, the reading of books that will inspire and stimulate to greater endeavor, the constant effort to try to improve oneself and one's condition in the world, are worth far more than a bank account to a youth.

How many girls there are in this country who feel crippled by the fact that they have not been able to go to college. And yet they have the time and the material close at hand for obtaining a splendid education, but they waste their talents and opportunities in frivolous amusements and things which do not count in forceful character-building.

It is not such a very great undertaking to get all the essentials of a college course at home, or at least a fair substitute for it. Every hour in which one focuses his mind vigorously upon his studies at home may be as beneficial as the same time spent in college.

Every well-ordered household ought to protect the time of those who desire to study at home. At a fixed hour every evening during the long winter there should be by common consent a quiet period for mental concentration, for what is worth while in mental discipline, a quiet hour uninterrupted by time-thief callers.

In thousands of homes where the members are devoted to each other, and should encourage and help each other along, it is made almost impossible for anyone to take up reading, studying, or any exercise for self-improvement. Perhaps someone is thoughtless and keeps interrupting the others so that they can not concentrate their minds; or those who have nothing in common with your aims or your earnest life drop in to spend an evening in idle chatter. They have no ideals outside of the bread-and-butter and amusement questions, and do not realize how they are hindering you.

There is constant temptation to waste one's evenings and it takes a stout ambition and a firm resolution to separate oneself from a jolly, fun-loving, and congenial family circle, or happy-hearted youthful callers, in order to try to rise above the common herd of unambitious persons who are content to slide along, totally ignorant of everything but the requirements of their particular vocations.

A habit of forcing yourself to fix your mind steadfastly and systematically upon certain studies, even if only for periods of a, few minutes at a time, is, of itself, of the greatest value. This habit helps one to utilize the odds and ends of time which are unavailable to most people because they have never been trained to concentrate the mind at regular intervals. A good understanding of the possibilities that live in spare moments is a great success asset.

The very reputation of always trying to improve yourself, of seizing every opportunity to fit yourself for something better, the reputation of being dead-in-earnest, determined to be somebody and to do something in the world, would be of untold assistance to you. People like to help those who are trying to help themselves. They will throw opportunities in their way. Such a reputation is the best kind of capital to start with.

One trouble with people who are smarting under the consciousness of deficient education is that they do not realize the immense value of utilizing spare minutes. Like many boys who will not save their pennies and small change because they can not see how a fortune could ever grow by the saving, they can not see how a little studying here and there each day will ever amount to a good, substitute for a college education.

I know a young man who never even attended a high school, and yet educated himself so superbly that he has been offered a professorship in a college. Most of his knowledge was gained during his odds and ends of time, while working hard at his vocation. Spare time meant something to him. The correspondence schools deserve very great credit for inducing hundreds of thousands of people, including clerks, mill operatives, and employees of all kinds, to take their courses, and thus save for study the odds and ends of time which otherwise would probably be thrown away. We have heard of some most remarkable instances of rapid advancement which these correspondence school students have made by reason of the improvement in their education. Many students have reaped a thousand per cent on their educational investment. It has saved them years of drudgery and has shortened wonderfully the road to their goal.

Wisdom will not open her doors to those who are not willing to pay the price in self-sacrifice, in hard work. Her jewels are too precious to scatter before the idle, the ambitionless. The very resolution to redeem yourself from ignorance at any cost is the first great step toward gaining an education.

Charles Wagner once wrote to an American regarding his little boy, " May he know the price of the hours. God bless the rising boy who will do his best, for never losing a bit of the precious and God-given time."

There is untold wealth locked up in the long winter evenings and odd moments ahead of you. A great opportunity confronts you. What will you do with it ?


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