Touchstones of Success: Overcome Adversity

by J.D. on 17 April 2010

In 1920, the Vir Publishing Company printed Touchstones of Success, a book of inspiration for young men (this was 1920, remember, and women had only just begun to push against traditional roles) in which 160 “present-day men of achievement” shared their secrets. Today’s “touchstone of success” comes from Hudson Maxim, an inventor and mechanical engineer from Brooklyn.

From my parents I inherited an iron constitution and great physical strength, with energy, ambition and a creative imagination. I was able, therefore, to plow through a great deal of hardship and adversity to get a start in the world.

When I was a boy [Maxim was born 03 Feb 1853], half fed and scantily clothed, down in old inclement Maine, I had the toughest kind of a time. I had neither hat nor shoes, even in winter, until I was thirteen years of age.

I had no opportunity of learning my letters until I was nine years old. In my youth I worked for two things — existence and education.

Whatever impedes a man, if it does not actually stop him, aids his Whatever hits a man helps him unless it hits him hard enough to break him or kill him. Cuts and bruises may bleed, but they build.

My father once said to me that the best safe-guard against wrong-doing is right work. At the age of twelve I made the resolution to make of myself all that I could, and to keep at it until I died, and I have never swerved from that resolution.

A man must always live with the man that he makes of himself, for all his actions keep him company. Therefore one should so live that he may be as good company for himself as possible. Every man is known to himself by the company that he keeps himself.

Every man who has done big things serves as a pace-maker to every young man with ambition to do big things. I have always been greatly influenced by the example of successful men.

I always realized , and every young man should realize, that the world owes nobody anything except what he earns. The only true estimate of a man is based on the use he is.

Every Saturday, Success Daily reprints one touchstone of success. Next week, Champ Clark, a congressman from Missouri, gives advice about hard work.

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