On Achieving Success Ernest Hemingway
We cannot travel every path. Success must be won along one line. We must make our business the one life purpose to which every other must be subordinate.
I hate a thing done by halves. If it be right, do it boldly. If it be wrong, leave it undone.
The men of history were not perpetually looking into the mirror to make sure of their own size. Absorbed in their work they did it. They did it so well that the wondering world sees them to be great, and labeled them accordingly.
To live with a high ideal is a successful life. It is not what one does, but what one tries to do, that makes a man strong. "Eternal vigilance," it has been said, "is the price of liberty." With equal truth it may be said, "Unceasing effort is the price of success." If we do not work with our might, others will; and they will outstrip us in the race, and pluck the prize from our grasp.
Success grows less and less dependent on luck and chance. Self-distrust is the cause of most of our failures.
The great and indispensable help to success is character. Character is a crystallized habit, the result of training and conviction. Every character is influenced by heredity, environment and education. But the architect of his own character, he would be a fatalist, and irresponsible creature of circumstances.
Instead of saying that man is a creature of circumstance, it would be nearer the mark to say that man is the architect of circumstance. From the same materials one man builds palaces, another hovel. Bricks and mortar are mortar and bricks, until the architect can make them something else.
The true way to gain much is never to desire to gain too much.
Wise men don't care for what they can't have.