Money Management

Money management offers a tour of research on the science of spending, explaining how you can get more money.

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Wednesday

Believe in Yourself

If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Wanting to stop a bad habit is a conscious effort, so you must exercise all means - body, soul, and mind - to battle it and succeed.

People who are successful are positive thinkers. They face life’s challenges, no matter how seemingly difficult, with a can-do attitude. To them, obstacles are not barriers to their goals, but are chances to learn something and grow. Challenges are things that must be overcome, not events that they should be hiding from.

Success is a state of mind and is only achieved by those who truly believe in themselves. And despite these successes, they remain grounded and keep their values intact, no matter how great these accomplishments are. Instead of comparing themselves to other people, they simply plod on do what they believe is best for them. Truly successful people do not bother with petty comparisons.

Always keep in mind that habits are developed. This means that you can prevent yourself from being trapped within them at the onset. By understanding the whats, hows and whys of bad habits, you will be able to stay away from them when the symptoms start to form. You may indulge your curiosity by engaging in some of them once in a while, just to sate your inquisitive mind, but you should always be vigilant and careful not to be overwhelmed by them, lest you find yourself dragged into the pit and unable to squirm out by yourself.

Also, never underestimate the healing power of affirmations. As said earlier, continuing to believe in yourself is your best tool against fighting bad habits. Learn to utilize them and work with them.

If you’re already struggling with a nasty habit, even those that haven’t been mentioned in this book, don’t be afraid to admit that you need help. Man is a social animal by nature, so asking assistance from the people around you will definitely not hurt. Why, your family and friends could even be more than willing to stick it out with you. You’d be surprised at how helpful they can be when you’re trying to quit a bad habit.

No man or woman is an island. Always remember that you are never alone.

DAILY AFFIRMATIONS
Repeat the following to yourself everyday to help you focus on the positive and fight your bad habits.

With my strength and will, I have the power to escape from and eliminate bad habits.
I will eliminate my bad habits one by one and nothing can stand in my way.
Nothing and no-one can influence me from straying from my goals.
My mind set and my will power grows each day.
No matter how many times I fall, I will rise back up and continue on.
I will succeed.
I am not my bad habits. My bad habits do not and never will control me.
Nothing will ever shake my resolve, no matter how tempting.

Every person, situation, object and event has a positive side. I will focus on the positive each time and never allow myself to think about the negative.

It is my nature to love and be compassionate. I will deal with each challenge with a good attitude and see them as opportunities to learn and grow.
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Tuesday

Replacing Bad Habits with Positive Thinking

Everyone has a mix of good and bad habits. We have only to realize that bad habits lead to unhappiness and suffering, while good habits lead to freedom and high self-esteem.

To fully understand why we do the things we do, we need to figure out how our habits form and transform us, and what triggers their development. This way, once we have identified and are able to separate the bad from the good, we are able to save enough energy and will to make the proper and better choice.

We can alter how we think and act by inviting only positive thoughts into our system. Positive doesn't just mean bodily pleasure. Positive can also mean a simple ‘good morning’ or a job done well. Anything that steers us away from any kind of negativity is positive. Such is the rule of opposites in this world.

We can stop feeding the negative thoughts that breed inside our head by simply not paying attention to them. Bad habits are like spoiled brats. The more you give pay them mind, the greater their tantrums will be until they get what they want. Simply turn a blind eye and a deaf ear on them and, eventually, they will go away. It requires some level of stubbornness on your part, too, to make this work; but, hey, it has never failed.

Focus, instead on the good side of things all the time. Set your sights always on the good habits. If you consistently do so, you will notice that they will overpower the bad. You will also notice that you feel more cheerful and lighter after you’ve done so. You’re no longer greeting each morning with “Oh, great. Another day at work.” But, instead, greet it with “Oh, great! Another chance to work and learn new things.” See the big difference?

When a problem approaches, we often try to escape having to deal with them by escaping into the pleasures brought by bad habits. However, you have to realize that bad habits only give us temporary bliss. It does not solve our problems, but only shield them for a short time and trick us into thinking that it’s not there. Oh, but they still are. And we revert back to depression mode once again with more problems (the ones that have resulted from the bad habits we just exercised).

To discover good habits, here are some tips:
1. Do constructive activities, like sports, exercise, work, etc. These will condition your mind to seek better things and activities, and distract you from having to dwell on the problems in your life. Once you've found yourself enjoying with a new good habit, you will be able to forget that your bad ones ever existed in the first place.

2. Seek the positive. There are many techniques to doing so, which include hanging out with equally positive people, reading self-help books, listening to feel-good music, watching empowering television shows and engaging in meditation and calming classes. Always see things in a good light and avoid judging people and situations.

3. Love and forgive. If you harbor negative feelings toward somebody else, the more difficult it will be for you to move on and think of positive things for yourself. Make love, not war, as the saying goes. If you’re confronted with somebody who gets on your nerves, you can wallow in your frustration for a minute and then snap back to the positive. If you maintain ill feelings about another person, this means that you are letting him or her control you. Surely you don’t want that, right?

Act now. If you’re not going to start today, then when? The best time is now. If you put it off for later or tomorrow, chances are, you won’t be able to do it at all.
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Monday

Money Management Habits

More people all over the world are finding themselves in dire financial situations, not because of the effects of poverty or sudden calamities, but because of rising debt. In the United States, in particular, where 70% of the annual gross domestic product is driven by consumer spending activity, people have been found to spend around 10% more than what they actually earn. Credit card related liabilities are also averaging at $8,500 per person. Now, isn't that a hefty number?

To think that people nowadays seem to be spending more money than usual and are easily attracted to impulse purchases, you would wonder where they get all their funds.

According to studies that have looked into the mind work of people with personal financing problems, people get into debt because of their propensity to overspend. This is particularly evident given today’s credit crazy world, where individuals tend to overlook the impact of their spending habits because credit card bills come late and, therefore, delay the thought and feeling linked with the possible consequences of owing money. The lure of having the power to delay responsibility is what most over spenders live off from.

In fact, there are some consumers who take on more than two kinds of credit cards possible, to make instant purchases and make them feel in control of their funds, without really realizing that they could end up paying for these for the rest of their lives. People with this habit only work to pay off their debts, instead of working to earn enough to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Over spenders are also referred to as compulsive debtors.

Are You A Compulsive Spender?
Overspending is a big problem because not only does it have the power to ruin your reputation and credit history, it can also prevent you from maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends, especially with those you constantly borrow from to pay your debts. Consider the following to determine whether or not you have a spending problem.

You are using one credit card to pay your debt in another.
Spending gives you a certain kind of ‘high’.
You don’t have an idea where exactly your money goes.
You don’t know a thing about balancing your accounts and budgeting.
You often find yourself short of funds and always borrowing from other people.

You buy anything that attracts your fancy, even if you've already told yourself that you’d be spending for just one item.

You feel better when you purchase items on credit than with cash.

Overspending is a bad habit that isn't really unique to a few. In fact, all of us are guilty of poor money management choices at some point. This happens, for instance, when we go to the mall thinking that we’d just get that one shirt we need for our office sports fest and find ourselves walking out the doors with more than two bags in hand. Or buying things we don’t really need now but “might be able to use at some occasion in the future.” Or making purchases “just because the salesgirl was following me around all day and I had to shut her up.” All these fall under the category of compulsive spending.

However, doing this every time can be disastrous. What if after making those purchases, we twist our ankles and need to rush to the doctor all of a sudden? Will we have enough money to pay for the bill? Or worse, will we even have money to get ourselves to the emergency room and head back home when we’re done? Just think about it.

Why Do People Tend to Overspend?
Psychologists say that people turn to money to ease or boost a certain human emotion. For example, we buy ourselves new shoes when we get promoted, as a reward. Or we go to the salon and get ourselves fully made up when we get upset at someone. Or we go on a drinking spree with our friends and order the most expensive bottle of wine on stack, just because we feel a little vengeful and rebellious.

There are many reasons why we make compulsive decisions with money. But, studies have shown that one thing is common to all these – they are linked to how we feel about our surroundings and ourselves at that particular time.

These are the most popular rationalizations to overspending.
To overcome feelings of inadequacy. Let’s say you want to purchase a second hand vehicle just so you can get to and from work without being too tired from commuting. You are already eyeing that functional blue Toyota on the line up and are ready to call it a day. However, you suddenly remember that the parking space near your office is usually flanked with fancy cars. You also suddenly remember that your workmate just recently bought himself a Mercedes. The next thing you know, you priorities being cool over being practical and functional and go get yourself a Jaguar (even if it means working your butt off to pay for the monthly bills for the next five years). You made that regrettable purchase all because you want to fit in.

1. To relieve stress and guilt. We often make impulsive buys because we want to take our feelings out on something. And since things don’t really have emotions and are unable to fight back and tell you what to do, you take your frustration out on your wallet and buy everything on sight. This usually happens with women who have just gone out of a bad relationship. They tend to go on a shopping spree or take a long vacation to ease their tantrums.

2. To feel important. We buy because we have the capacity to do so. Or we think we do. People who live on credit fall into this trap easily, because they can make purchases without having to worry about the consequences now. We overspend to make ourselves feel we are better than the next person on the cashier’s line. We overspend because we want to show that judging salesgirl that we do have money and can buy. It’s all a matter of pride really. However, at the end of the day, pride will not be able to pay the bills.

3. To go with the flow. Promotional offers like zero-percent interest on the first six months are tempting, especially to a person who keeps a full-time job and expects to receive money at regular times every month. While such offers are helpful, they still do not erase the fact that they will be putting us in debt for a significant amount of time. And it is never good to be in debt, no matter how small the bill is.

Learn To Say “No”
The word ‘no’ is a very powerful tool in making sure that we live within our means and do not overspend. Sure, certain offers are quite attractive, such as a credit card company calling to have to increase your credit limit and the like; but if you are already living fine with what you currently have, then stick with it. While it does not hurt to be ambitious, being overly optimistic about our capacity to control our finances and pay off our bills could be destructive. A lot of people have declared bankruptcy just because they couldn't say ‘no’.

Seven Helpful Tips To Get Out of Debt
Most of the reasons why people overspend are not related to satisfying basic needs, like food, water, shelter, etc. In fact, they have more to do with how we think and react to situations. This is why most advertisements try to appeal to our sympathies, instead of simply presenting us with facts on how functional and practical their products are. So, if you really want to kick the habit of overspending, you need to rein in your emotions and control them, before they control you.

1. Learn to budget. Most people think that budgeting is a way to curtail the satisfaction that comes with being able to purchase something. Erase this thought. A good budget plan is a lifesaver.

2. Reduce discretionary expenses. This means try not to spend on things that are not really necessary. Why don’t you stop eating out everyday and start preparing your own food from home? Or why don’t you try making less international calls and try using email, especially if what you’re discussing is not really that important to shoulder the high charges?

3. Use cash. Stop relying on your credit cards and pay your transactions in cash. If you don’t have cash to pay for it, then don’t get it at all. And avoid having to borrow, not even from family and friends. Most relationships have turned awry because of people’s failure to pay their debts.

4. Keep just one credit card. Holding more than one will only tempt you to purchase more things. Use this one credit card for emergencies only.

5. Be a wise spender. Watch out for sales and clearance offers. Scour flea markets and bargain bins for great finds. Not only will you be able to save significantly, you’ll also be able to get that much needed exercise. You never know what treasures you will find from such sales.

6. Talk to your creditors about your payment options. Most creditors would prefer working out a repayment plan that is comfortable for both parties. This will save both of you from the hassle of having to go through credit collection agencies.

7. Live within your means. If you don’t have the extra money, don’t buy. And if you have something left over, save it. Live simply. People who live less extravagantly have been found to be less depressed than those who have too many things on their plate. If you really want something, look for extra ways to earn funds. This way, you won’t have to touch your basic salary.

A Budget Is Not Your Enemy
People often cringe upon hearing the word “budgeting” because they consider it a financial diet, or as a deprivation tactic. Most would argue, “Hey, I’m working to enjoy the fruits of my labour. Why do I need to starve my happiness by budgeting?” This is a common pitfall. As said earlier, most of us associate happiness with the ability to dispense money. We must change this mindset by thinking that a budget is not a means to control us, but a tool to help us manage our funds more effectively.

There is a big difference between controlling our spending habits and managing our spending habits. And a budget is actually more of the latter – it aids us in better understanding what is truly important to us. It keeps us within range of our spending capacity and, ultimately, out of financial trouble.

You can come up with a budget plan by yourself or you could hire a professional to help you iron out your options. The latter involves some amount of spending, though, so unless you’re running a crucial multi-million dollar venture, it would be most prudent to take charge of your own activities.

There are many resources available, such as books and Internet articles, to help you get started. Information is everywhere so you won’t really have trouble finding them. All you have to do is first acknowledge that you need help. Once this is out of the way, things should follow smoothly.

For the tech-savvy and those who are always glued to the computer, you can find money management software available to aid you in your budgeting needs. The advantages of using budgeting software are:

you are constantly updated of every transaction you make,

you learn to manage financial situations depending on the time frames,

you are able to track where you've overspent,

you will be able to more effectively manage your debt and allocate earnings, and

you will be introduced to alternatives to making money and areas where you can still reduce your expenses.

Popular personal budgeting software include Moneydance, Microsoft Money and Intuit Quicken Premier. All three are easy to understand and use. They may also be customized to fit your lifestyle. Once you begin using them, you will be able get a more detailed account of your weekly, monthly and even annual transactions. They come with a fee, though, so unless you truly need the shake-up, DIY budgeting is still the way to go (if your organization skills are above-par, that is, otherwise, you’ll just be wasting paper and time).

Understanding is the Key to Quitting
Knowing what triggers your uncontrollable spending bouts is the key to overcoming this bad habit. The next time you have the urge to make a purchase, pause for a while and ask yourself why you feel compelled to buy something. Is it a necessity, or are you simply trying to pad an emotion?

If your answer is the latter, then the next thing you must do is take a step back and ask yourself again: What emotion am I trying to shield? What else can I do to address it? Continuously asking such existentialist questions, no matter how corny they made sound to you, will guarantee freedom from the lure of spending. Once you’ve mastered your spending habit’s weaknesses, the easier it will be for you to fight it.
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Sunday

Eliminate Negative Thinking: Learning to See the Bright Side of Things

There are people that inspire us to plod on through life’s challenges with a smile on our faces, urging us with encouraging words and have faith that our inner strengths will help us fight difficulties along the way.

And there are those who spend time and effort telling us not to take risks and to stay in the sidelines, instead. These are people who’d rather be on the safe side of things and, though curious about what success might bring, would rather not throw the dice.

The former are the types of people we want to associate and hang out with. The latter are the ones we should steer clear from. They are the negative thinkers.

Negative thinkers are not just the people who refuse to take the extra step forward for fear of failure. Negative thinkers can also be those who complain a lot about how sad and unfortunate their lives are, those who bear down on other people’s successes, those who like pulling people down and making others as negative as they are, and those who always make excuses for their ill behavior instead of making improvements.

Some Cheese With That Whine?
People who constantly whine about their day everyday are total downers. Statements like, “My boss always picks on me and makes me do a lot of things”, “My parents are always telling me to go get a job, when they know I’m busy with other things”, or “Why do these things have to happen to me, of all people? Why not them?” are staples in a whiners favorite dialogue book.

Imagine having a workmate who always sighs heavily in between tasks and slouches a lot, who always grumbles about not getting paid enough to do his job, not getting enough attention from the big boss, etc. Doesn't having a person like this beside you pull your mood down, too? For instance, you come into the office in a cheerful mood because you've recently found out that somebody’s going to be treating the staff to some ice cream that day. You head over to your work station and greet your workmate, “Hi, good morning!” and then this workmate responds with a deep sigh and mumbles, “There’s never anything good to my mornings.” Now isn’t that a real day damper, or what?

Negative thinkers are like Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh stories. Eeyore seems to be always seeing the wrong side of situations and have very low self-esteem. While the other characters in the story don’t really pay him no mind and just go about their usual business with their respective cheery attitudes (Tigger, in particular), it is usually not so in the real world – in our world. In the real world, when you are greeted with a damper line, you are almost always dragged down with it. In the real world, when we have friends who have nothing better to do than complain about everything, we tend to sink with them.

Crab Mentality
Negative thinkers can be like crabs in a basket. When one of them near the basket’s opening, some of them tries to drag it down so they can go up. This process can go on for all eternity. Ultimately, nobody really succeeds, unless an external force tips the basket over and every one spills out.

This is probably where the negative term ‘crabby’ came from. Crabby people don’t like seeing other people succeed or happy. They will almost always say or do something off-putting to dull down another person’s mood. Such people are the ones who tell you, “You can never do it”, “You’d be better off somewhere else, that job’s too complicated for you”, or “Somebody else can do it better than you”.

Crabby people take pride in discouraging other people from doing what they want. Not just because they are a little envious, but because if placed in a similar position, they would also back down because of fear of responsibility. Often negative thinkers fail to step up to the plate and prefer to be wallflowers because they don’t want to be held accountable for whatever outcome. While they also do anticipate a good chance of success, the mentality that failure is also very possible hounds them more.

I Know It’ll Turn Out Bad
Negative thinkers focus on the bad side of things, even if they haven’t even seen the bad side yet. They are incredible forecasters and fortune-tellers. They always assume that more dire things will come out of every situation, and that such dire things will always douse whatever good results from it.

That’s why negative thinkers rarely participate in any activity. They don’t like to draw attention to themselves because they always anticipate that events will turn sour. So when something incredibly good comes out of the situation they have been trying to wheedle themselves out of, they end up feeling more depressed and negative than before. Negative thinking is always followed by regret, whether the outcome is good or not. However, despite the knowledge of this, these types of people would still rather move where they have total control, even at the expense of a greater sense of happiness and well-being. Negative thinkers don’t plunge in because they hate blind curves.

Protecting Yourself Against Dampers
How you perceive yourself and your coping abilities are what drives you to reach for what you want out of life. Ask yourself now: “How do I approach the unfamiliar? Do I take a step closer to find out what it has to offer, or do I simply turn around and try to forget about it?” “Whenever a task is given to me, do I keep a forward-looking attitude and tell myself that I can pull through it nicely, or do I heave a sigh and tell myself to just go through with because it will turn out weak, anyway?”

If your answers lean more to the first questions of each set, good for you! Keeping the spirit alive even in tough conditions will definitely pull you through sanely and in one piece despite the outcome. However, if your answers were more of the latter, you might have a problem. If you continue being negative, you will never get anywhere.

Remember the saying “It is better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all”? This applies here. Positive thinkers continue on with the challenges, even as trials spring up along the way; because they believe that even if they do not get what they want, they will still be able to benefit from the lessons learned during the journey. On the contrary, negative thinkers already expect to fail even before starting. Some of them are forced to take a step forward, but while still harbouring negative thoughts in the process, while some never do so, at all.

Out With The Bad
Negative thinking is dangerous. While it won’t usually lead to serious medical conditions, it ruins lives and relationships. Most people do not like hanging out with such people because they bring clouds to their otherwise sunny days. As a result, negative thinkers are often loners. They go to the movies alone, they eat in restaurants by themselves and usually have nobody to talk to about their problems (because they also have the habit of not trusting others). Most negative thinkers are hermits. Instead of taking the risk and learning about others and, in turn, baring themselves, they’d prefer to just stay quiet and unnoticed.

If you find yourself manifesting any of the above behaviors, you should seek to change your ways. Man is a social animal, as Aristotle said. And by social, it is meant that you increase your participation and contribution to those around you and to society as a whole. It is not in a human being’s nature to be reclusive. Hence, thinking negatively and not taking responsibility even for the slightest things is against your natural makeup.

Here are some things you can do to overcome negative thinking.

Be aware of your propensity for thinking negatively. Single these thoughts out one by one and examine why you harbor such ideas in your head. Avoid judging yourself in the process; just let your thoughts flow and try to understand the whys. Once you become more attentive about the negative emotions they cause you and other people, the easier it will be for you to face them. The less you will become consumed by such ill thoughts, the less you become depressed.

Acknowledge that no success is too small. Be it just arriving to work 5 minutes earlier or finishing one task of a number for the day, applaud yourself. This will help motivate you to move on with the next tasks at hand with a better and more optimistic attitude. Give yourself a prize for every job done well. It doesn't have to be a major reward. A short walk around the block or a nice cup of brewed coffee is enough. The important thing is you’re focusing on the positive.

Stop looking for something that isn’t there. In short, if the negative is not there, it really isn’t. Focus your attention to what needs to be done and the potential success that will result from it, instead of looking for loopholes and possible ways you might fail. So when you walk into a room and people suddenly stop talking, don’t think it’s about you. They could just be talking about something they are embarrassed to let other people know.

Learn to trust people. Or at least give the benefit of the doubt. Not all people are out to sabotage you. Stop thinking that everything people around you do has something to do with you. Just go on with your business and dwell on things that YOU should do. Stop minding other people. (But don’t be indifferent.)

Look for the positive side of things. Always focus on the good on every event. If it’s raining, avoiding thinking about your nice shoes getting wet. Instead, think about how cool your room is going to be when you finally go home and rest. If your boss keeps asking you to help him out with late-night presentation cramming sessions, don’t think that he’s out to torture you again and ruin your social life. Instead, think that you must be doing something really good for him to want your opinion and assistance on crucial office matters.

Change who you hang out with. If your friends are also negative thinkers, try to avoid them for a while and notice how good it feels not to have people breathing down your neck for a change. If you hang out with like people, the more likely you will sink lower into your depressive state. However, if you go with people who look at the bright side of things, you will always be motivated to do more and always to do better. Good friends are those who encourage you to take chances on big things. Bad friends are those who tell you cannot do it even before you have even tried.

Making The Change
You’re now on your way to making one of the biggest changes in your life – being a positive person. It’s an uphill road, but the rewards will definitely overpower any negative thoughts you might have harbored along the way. Start small and start slow. This isn't a race to see who becomes happy first. The important thing is you’re starting to see the silver lining amidst the dark clouds you've created for yourself – and that you’re nearing it as the days progress.

Learn to take responsibility for your actions. Accept the fact you are your life’s driver and that you can’t point fingers at somebody or something in case something goes awry. With this mindset in place, you will be able to better cope with challenges, because you cease relying on other people to catch you. You become stronger and more prepared to face life – because you have happiness building up within and you know that with it growing inside you, you can face anything thrown at you.

Life doesn't bring us anything we can’t bear. We all have the capacity to deal with the trials hurled at us. Keep this in mind always.

Once you understand that you control how you think and act, nothing can stand in your way, not even other people’s negative thinking and discouragements. Only then will you be able to make positive changes in your life.

Smile. The world is your playground.
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Saturday

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Nobody wants to be associated with a time waster. A person who habitually shows up late or makes submissions just in the nick of time is no good to anybody. He will only cause unwanted stress and unnecessary panic to the people who are waiting for him.

Often, those with the reputation of being always late, whether it’s for something as important as a curtain call or something as relatively small as a delayed birthday greeting, are not thought of with much lauding and respect. If this were to be compared to a little league baseball team drafting, the chronically late has an equal or greater chance of being picked last as the smallest, most feeble kid in the group. Such people are considered as liabilities or reasons why others would think having them around is a handicap and could lead to failure.

Lateness: The Ultimate Annoyance
Unlike smoking and alcoholism, chronic lateness does not impair one’s health. However, it can cause extreme damage to a person’s mental and social well-being. When taken in tandem with procrastination (another nasty bad habit), perennial lateness is just about the most annoying, reputation-tainting ill habit there is. Like procrastinators, time wasters are social pariahs. They don’t outwardly exhibit their ‘monstrosities’, but they can be quite the vicious leeches they are characterized to be.

We exaggerate, yes, because we have, at least once in our lives, experienced waiting on end for somebody who has not even bothered to call or give ample warning, or somebody who has been calling to say he’s just five minutes away an hour after he’s made his first call of twenty.

Just thinking about it already makes your blood pressure rise, right? Not only did this other person waste your time, but you also neared suffering a stroke from all the anger and frustration. When the culprit finally shows up, you are too tired to argue and simply feel happy that he has finally arrived so you can move on with your business. And the other party finds himself getting away with it and manages to do it again next time. The cycle never ends.

Or this person could be you. You could be aware of how much damage you’re inflicting on the other person, but think that since you do still show up or hand in your submission anyway, things go back to normal and all your mistakes will be absolved. They don’t. People remember. They may forgive, but they don’t forget.

Although they let you off the hook without much repudiation, you can definitely count on being last on the list when picking time comes. Worse, you won’t be on the list, at all.

It’s Not A Medical Condition, But It’s a Disease
There is no cure to chronic lateness, except will. It cannot be addressed by going to the doctor or by taking pills, nor will it naturally disappear if you meditate and concentrate hard enough and hope for telekinetic powers. Lateness, although not a medical issue, can also be considered a disease – a mental and behavioural affliction.

What Causes Perennial Lateness?
No, you can’t simply say “It’s the way of the world.” That’s not how things go. Here are some common causes of chronic lateness.

People tend to underestimate time and how long it will take for them to finish things. They tend to accept too many projects and pile tasks on top of each other, and are usually overly optimistic about their capacity and speed to reach the deadline. Such individuals are normally overconfident of their multi-tasking skills.

People get a certain ‘high’ or experience a sort of euphoria when they are pressuring themselves to beat a deadline. Thus, they keep on delaying tasks to the last minute and often find themselves frantic and panicky when the real crunch time comes. This state is both painful and fulfilling for some. However, the end result is almost always dissatisfactory.

People are scared of facing responsibility, so they procrastinate. They fear either failing or succeeding and being held accountable for whatever the job’s outcome is. Hence, they put things off as long as they can and simply make up excuses or turn in sloppy work. There are people who would rather be accosted for their failure to meet schedules than for their inability to perform well.

People are easily distracted. This is not true for all and distractions are often excuses not to plod forward. A more clinical version of this is ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder. There truly are certain types of people who cannot focus on a single thing for a significant amount of time. For this case, it is usually the people around him who adjust, because he lacks the mental capacity to organize and plan.

Qualifying The Time Bandits
Have you seen the Stephen King novel-turned-movie “The Langoliers”? The creatures in the story eat time and cause surroundings to disappear. This is what perennially late people do; only they don’t literally eat buildings and concrete roads. What they do, however, is worse. They gnaw at our patience and self-control.

What Are the Usual Habits Of Time Bandits?
Most time wasters do not care if they are late. Because they already have a reputation for always being so, they expect other people to make adjustments for them. Their friends and colleagues often find themselves setting false deadlines for these people just to ensure that things continue to run smoothly. If the time waster becomes aware of this technique, beware. He is a trained saboteur.

People who are always late try to shield their rude behaviour by being very nice and apologetic. They are often aware that they have this nasty habit but will exercise all niceties to make themselves appear truly sorry and considerate. That’s why even after waiting three hours, we don’t throw tantrums at them. How could we? They instantly greet us with apologies and cutesy smiles on sight. Time wasters are frustrating and tiresome to deal with.

Time wasters do not like waiting themselves and will not buy your excuses (because they know every excuse ever blurted out in history), even if you’re only five minutes late. Most of them consider their personal time too precious even at the expense of other people’s time. They are selfish, but they do not appear to be so.

Time bandits usually have cluttered minds and are highly disorganized, even with their personal belongings. This is because they tend to squeeze in too many things into so little time. They enjoy the feeling of being ‘busy’ and important, but fail miserably at completing these tasks with flying, or even satisfying, marks. They are also prone to cancelling appointments and commitments at the last minute, usually after discovering they have bitten off more than they can chew.

Some chronically-late people are drama kings and queens. They do so because they want to elicit reactions from their targets. They just want to be talked about. This is true of individuals who enjoy making grand entrances at parties.

Always late people are quite a dangerous breed. And it would do well to set a game plan to save yourself from potential anxiety or just avoid them altogether. If you’re always late, thinking of an excuse is futile because people won’t really listen to your excuses and sob stories anymore.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Please Don’t Join ‘Em
You can’t correct a mistake by making another mistake. Hence a time waster will not be better dealt with if you decide to just jump in and be one yourself. The objective of this book is to not become a nuisance to other people and their time.

What You Can Do
Nip the nasty habit at the bud, before it becomes a full-blown rose and pricks everyone with its thorns. Thus, if you’re reflecting any of the above symptoms and mindsets, you need to be alert. You could be on your way to being everyone’s least favourite person. And, surely, you don’t want that to happen.

Remember, people have lost jobs, money and meaningful relationships because of their chronic lateness.

Here are some tips:
Start by admitting that you are a time bandit. Understanding and acknowledging that you have a nasty habit and that you need to change it is the key step in overcoming it.

1. If you sense you’re going to be late, give notice to the concerned party immediately. With the proliferation of cell phones and the advancement of communication, this should not be difficult to do. In fact, you really have no excuse.

2. Be honest about your excuses. If you’re going to be late for 30 minutes, don’t create false hopes and say you’ll be there in ten minutes. Being late is already an infraction. Lying about it magnifies the hassle tenfold.

3. Learn to say ‘no’ to certain jobs and requests for favours. The less you have on your plate, the easier it will be to finish them all at the end of the day.

4. Avoid overestimating your capacity to perform. Even superheroes have their limits. Allow enough room for changes. You never know what will happen along the way. When calculating how long it will take you to accomplish a job, add around 30% to allow a greater margin for error and unexpected events.

5. Relish in the thought of finally being early. Realize that being where you need to be beforehand causes fewer wrinkles and attracts less criticism. If you want to be respected, you have to also learn how to respect other people. Don’t be contented with being just in the nick of time.

6. Prioritize. Weed out things that are irrelevant and focus only on what really needs to be done. You have to prepare for a crucial office presentation tomorrow; do you really need to see a movie now? Qualify your choices and rank them according to importance.

7. If your chronic lateness is difficult to deal with at first, you can start by being early for an appointment or submitting your report a day before at least once a week. Gradually increase the number of such accomplishments as the weeks go by. It all has to depend on your pace. Work at a rate you’re comfortable with. The process is slow; but at least, you’re doing something about the habit.

8. Reward yourself for the positive. Keep a log of your progress so you have something to look back on and keep yourself consistently motivated to get things done on time or ahead of time.

9. Do what you can today and now. Try not to procrastinate anymore. Post reminders where you can easily see them everyday, like your bathroom mirror. Just make sure you don’t spend too much time planning that you fail to actually execute the actions. Set alarms on your watch, mobile phone, PDA, or what-have-you to keep yourself from forgetting commitments and obligations.

Wrap Up
Battling chronic lateness is not easy. In fact, it is a slow process that requires a lot of willpower and discipline on your part.

Whenever you feel yourself straying, pause immediately and reflect. Ask yourself, “Do I really need to do this?” Perennial lateness can be controlled if we quit rushing to agree to certain things. Asking yourself this question won’t really take more than a few seconds. It’s a good time investment, considering how much stress and frustration it will save you if you find yourself unable to perform in the future. Remember that you are only human and you are allowed to err. But deliberately making the same mistakes is another story.
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Thursday

Do Things Today and Do It Now

Procrastination is not a disease and does not require medical intervention (thank God!), but it can be a rich source of annoyance, tiredness and high-level stress. Just because it doesn't cause death (except in freak instances), it doesn't mean we should take it lightly. Procrastination is an awful habit and is destructive not only to us but also to our peers.

People have lost out on major professional and social opportunities because they put things off for another day. Procrastinators are bad team players and nobody wants to work with them. If you have a procrastinator in your group, you can be assured of angry, frustrated feelings when crunch time comes.

Delaying things is not rare. In fact, almost every person in the world has, at some point, put tasks on hold. This is fine. There truly are jobs that need to be prioritized. However, if you are a chronic procrastinator and have this as a habit, that is a big problem.

Procrastinator – a person who deliberately and habitually postpones an important job that should be done now.

Why Not Now?
There are a number of reasons why people procrastinate. Often, it is because they fear failure and disappointment, thinking that a task can be done better if more “planning” is involved. However, the problem with procrastinators is that this extended “planning” period is usually filled with mundane and irrelevant tasks that when the adjusted schedule comes still nothing has been done. Before they realize it, the real deadline has arrived and they are finally forced to work on the job. Unless that person is a genius or has superpowers, the work is almost always haphazardly done and dissatisfactory.

Procrastinators are divided into three categories:
1. Decisional procrastinators – those who can’t make up their minds. Such people put off deciding because they are afraid of being responsible for it.

2. Thrill-seekers – those who enjoy the high brought by doing things at the last minute. Most of these people are hypersensitive and high-strung.

3. Avoiders – those who delay because they are either intimidated by success or are scared of failure. They are often content with being judged for their inability to manage time than be scrutinized for their skills.

Procrastination also affects our health.
A 2000 study in Carlton University showed that people who habitually procrastinate are more susceptible to digestive ailments, colds and insomnia. They are also more likely to smoke, drink and take drugs.

Procrastinators’ Favorite Lines:
“This isn't important.”
“I perform best when I’m under pressure.”
“I’m too tired and lazy.”
“I haven’t planned well.”
“Maybe I can have somebody else do it.”

None of the above lines are valid. If something can be done today and now, it should be done today and now. Sure, some jobs can be really uninteresting, but their completion and success lies in our hands.

Remember that there is no such thing as failure. It’s either you get what you need to achieve or you benefit by learning something along the way if you don’t get to steer conditions in your direction. Some procrastinators put tasks off because the unknown turns them off. What you can do to face this is to muster the courage to take a step forward anyway and keep a positive outlook. Most “unknown” situations don’t really turn out as bad as we initially thought.

Weed Out The Procrastinator In You!
Don’t take on too many projects at the same time. You might get overwhelmed by their volume and get delayed having to deal with them. Learn to say ‘no’.

If you are given a complex job and you can’t decide when, where and how to begin, break it down into bite-size portions and face them one by one.

Don’t expect perfection. A job that passes 85% of your standards might already be 100% for its recipient. This doesn't mean that it’s okay to slack off, though.

Deal with the unpleasant jobs first. Get them out of the way earlier, so you’ll be better motivated for the succeeding ones.

If you can’t decide right now, set a deadline and stick to it.

Reward yourself for your little accomplishments.

Avoid distractions. Impose rules on yourself. You may let others know about it so they can tell you off if they catch you drifting.

It’s A Habit You Can Beat
Overcoming this habit requires a lot of mind work and mental strength. A deadline often does the trick, but this can also be met with hostility. Remember that if you are a procrastinator, you run the risk of sabotaging yourself. This alone should be enough motivation. However, if you do have trouble battling the “I’ll do this tomorrow” demons in your head, seek the help of your peers.

Procrastination is not an illness. It can be altered. But only you have the power to do so. Why not start now?
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Wednesday

Battling Alcoholism

A number of destroyed relationships, both professional and personal, have pointed to alcohol dependence as their root cause. And while alcoholism is something that may be prevented or cured, many who take to the bottle are not able to cope well because they either are not aware of their condition, or are too dependent on inebriation to admit that they have a problem and need help. Unlike most bad habits, alcoholism entails a deeper psychological issue that is relatively more challenging to face.

Alcoholism vs Alcohol Abuse
At this point, it is important to note that ‘alcoholism’ is different from ‘alcohol abuse’. These two are often confused to mean each other, but they are actually different in how they are tackled.

Alcoholism may also be referred to as alcohol dependence; that is, an obvious addiction to alcohol that is beyond a person’s control. If ignored, alcoholism could be fatal. This is what we’ll be discussing with greater depth in this chapter.

Meanwhile, alcohol abuse, while also potentially destructive is merely that – excessive drinking. Often, the person is aware of his habit and has the capacity and will to change this by himself, without drastic external intervention. It is usually just referred to as problem drinking.

Let’s focus on alcoholism.

Identifying the condition
What are the usual signs that you might be alcoholic? Here are some of the most common:

1. Persistent craving for a drink and difficulty controlling your intake; sometimes you drink alone and secretly

2. You drink to feel ‘normal’ or happy

3. Your tolerance for alcohol is increasing; that is, you find yourself drinking more to reach that certain inebriated state

4. Physical reactions when you try to decrease your intake, like agitation and sweating

5. You still find yourself reaching for a drink despite an awareness of its problematic effects on yourself; blatant disregard of consequences

6. You feel irritated and cranky when you reach for a drink and it’s not available When you notice any of the above while you’re on the bottle, seek help immediately. However, since most alcoholics deny that they are, admitting that you need intervention is the best gift you can give yourself. If you’re not one but know somebody who might be, don’t waste time doing nothing. Offer assistance at once, even if you meet resistance (because you most certainly will).

*In the U.S., around 7.4% either abuse alcohol or are already alcoholics.

What “Just One More Drink” Can Do To You
Alcoholism is a serious condition and should not be taken lightly. Sure, a lot of people get intoxicated at parties and this seems tolerable, even fun, at times; but we must realize that alcohol dependence is not something that is simply a product of a night’s good time. It is chronic and often close to irreparable.

Alcohol freezes our rational faculties, making us incapable to controlling our inhibitions and good judgment. When taken in excess, it directly attacks the gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) in our brains and excites the nervous system. That’s why intoxicated persons find themselves blurting out words or doing actions they would otherwise not do when sober.

It also impairs our bodily functions, resulting in muddled speech, loss of balance, blurred vision, and coordination problems. Drunk driving causes majority of vehicular accidents. Cases of domestic violence, rape and assault have also pointed to intoxication.

In the longer term, alcoholism can lead to severe health problems, such as liver failure, cancer, high blood pressure, ulcer and other gastrointestinal illnesses, impaired mental capacity, bone thinning and death. Pregnant women who’ve also an alcohol addiction are more likely to cause birth defects on their unborn children. In other cases, dependence has been linked with obesity, muscle stress and infertility.

How To Quit
First, you need to admit that you have a drinking problem in order for the treatments to work. Otherwise, you’ll just be defeating the purpose of quitting. Second, you have to acknowledge within yourself and declare that you do want to quit and are willing to undergo all methods necessary. Understanding the problem is crucial at the initial stage. But you still need a very determined follow-through to succeed.

There are various types of interventions. You can do them yourself by reading self-help literature, like this report. Or you can hook up with a group (i.e. Alcoholics Anonymous) or a treatment center for counseling. Most alcoholics find that working with a group whose members go through the same battle is easier and more motivational and effective. In the UK, you can also call Drinkline at 0800 917 8282 for free advice.

Those who seek counseling can expect either aversion therapy or cognitive behavior therapy.

Aversion therapy involves a method that psychologically links alcohol with something unpleasant, causing the patient to stay away from it, while cognitive behavior therapy delves into the deeper reasons why you’re reaching for the bottle and tackles each of them with greater depth. The latter is more personal and emotional.

Certain medications can also help. Disulfiram causes a person to vomit or feel nauseated whenever he takes alcohol. While it doesn’t cure the condition, it helps in keeping you away. Drugs like Naltrexone and Acamprosate help control the urge by blocking craving calls to the brain. A newly-approved treatment called Vivitrol, which is injected into the buttocks, achieves the same effect.

Staying Sober
Of course, all the effort put into eliminating alcohol addiction would be futile if you do not have continuous support. This is what AA groups can do for you. You can track each others’ progress to make sure all of you reach the finish line and beyond. Battling alcoholism is a lifetime task. Hence, you must always exercise constant vigilance and discipline. You’re not just doing this for yourself, but also for the people around you, who, you will find, are more than willing to support you all the way. If you will it, you can do it.
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Tuesday

The Nature of a Bad Habit

Have you ever done something so painfully repetitive and monotonous that you sometimes find yourself wanting to just bang your head against the wall several times to break the pattern?

Have you ever felt that something you have been accustomed to doing for the past several years is becoming all too daunting and boring, even annoying, not just for you, but also for others? Has anyone ever told you at any point in your life that you need to make a change or else get left with nothing? Sure, you have. These things happen to you every single day, right?

Waking up at the same time each morning and taking the same bus routes to work or school are some of the basic ingredients to a ho-hum day. To make things worse, this daily waking-up routine also precedes always being barely a minute into the "late" situation, leaving you with a start that is equally as fussy as the previous mornings. However, despite realizing how much of a hassle it has been, you simply shrug your shoulders and tell yourself, "Hey, maybe tomorrow I'll be able to beat a record." And then you end up doing the exact same thing the next day.

The "That's Just The Way Things Are" Excuse
No matter how often you realize that your routine is what's making your mornings stressful, you still don't try to change things. You simply leave the next day to chance and hope that some magic powder appears on your doorstep and help you arrive at your destination before the bell rings. "This is just the way things are," you would say, and simply leave it at that.

A lot of us are guilty of saying "These are the cards I am dealt with so I just have to cope." We make excuses for things we think we cannot change or improve on. We point fingers at others, at our surroundings, at time, or at existing circumstances to justify our behaviours and linear ways of thinking. We hardly ever blame ourselves.

This is how our bad habits are formed -- by simply not acknowledging that certain attitudes and situations can be modified; by refusing to take that extra step because it's too fussy or takes up too much effort to achieve; by making excuses for every bit of improvement that needs to be implemented, because you've been "doing it this way for years" and you've received no major complaints from anyone else.

That's what you think. Often, our bad habits are more destructive to ourselves than to other people. Sure, others find your chronic lateness and chain smoking annoying and bothersome. However, whatever negative effect our bad habits have on other people is always magnified when applied to ourselves -- only that we refuse to see it.

Perhaps you do find yourself wanting to make changes in your life, particularly on eliminating your bad habits. Good for you! However, nothing would really come out of plans if they remain plans. Action has to be done. And this is what this report will help you achieve.

What Is A Habit?
Habit is defined as an involuntary tendency to perform a particular action, and is often done so due to frequent repetition, as if it's second nature.

Recognizing The Bad Habit
Bad habits are normally recognized simply as 'habits' until the performer or the observer realizes that it is detrimental. This is not to say that bad habits are relative to a person's perception of them. As long as they bring harm or discomfort to you or others, in whatever magnitude and size, they are considered bad.

For instance, parking a gum inside your mouth might not be initially seen as bad because no one else really gets affected by it. Thus, you continue doing so and eventually find yourself enjoying the feeling of having something ready to chew on. Before you know it, you're doing it everyday. It becomes a routine.

However, through careful introspection, you might see that not disposing it after sucking out all the flavor is bad for your teeth and eventually causes bad breath. You will also notice that your speech is a little obstructed. Someone else who hates seeing gum inside other people's mouths while talking to them might get offended. You might get asked to leave the room because of it. It has become a bad habit.

A bad habit is an unfavorable or destructive act or attitude that a person subconsciously or consciously performs at regular periods, often in a highly predictable manner.

You might not notice it, but you might already be nursing a number of bad habits. Their repetitive nature has made them commonplace, like smoking three sticks of cigarettes after every meal, cursing every time you are startled, or gossiping about a workmate's personal life. In fact, chances are, you have gotten so used to doing them that they don't really "feel" bad.

It's high time you realize that they are. And your best course of action is to acknowledge their nature and seek ways to get them out of your life.

Bad Habits: Persistent Offenders
A regular survey would name the following bad habits as the most persistent offenders:

smoking
drinking too much (alcoholism)
procrastinating
over-eating,
chronic lateness
compulsive gambling
negative thinking, and overspending.

We will be discussing these in greater detail in the next chapters.

Of course, the list of bad habits can go on to infinity. Anything that extends to misuse, detriment, addiction and abuse can fall under this category. They include cursing or blurting out dirty words, whining, gossiping, nail biting, lying, spitting in public, taking too many medications (characteristic of a hypochondriac), name dropping, interrupting, kissing and telling, etc. Addiction to illegal substances also makes the list, but its gravity requires an entirely new discussion altogether.

If you think you have all the above bad habits and more, it's not the end of the world. There also are habits that are good. Examples, of good habits are saying 'Thank You' when we receive something or somebody does nice things for us, keeping to an exercise routine, drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, and wishing the doorman a good day. Good habits do not have to be monumental.

If we wish to eliminate our bad habits, we need to concentrate on the good that we do and place them at the forefront of our lives. Keeping a positive and disciplined attitude toward replacing the bad with the good requires some effort, especially when we've become so accustomed to the bad, but doing so would bring greater benefits for the longer term.

A bad habit usually fulfills a short-term craving, while a good habit stretches and stays for the long haul.

Facing The Inner Monster
Deciding to give up our bad habits is probably the biggest step we're going to take towards success. However, facing them and actually telling them upfront that we don't want them in our lives anymore is another challenge.

So, how do we stand up against our bad habits? It can be done through persistence and discipline.

Bad habits are stubborn. The key is to equal or surpass them in stubbornness. It sounds difficult at first, but it's actually easier than it looks. After all, you are your own master. You govern your behaviors. Habits, no matter how deeply ingrained they are, do not govern you.

Others have tried different methods to battling the bad-habit monster. Some have sought the support of their family and friends, some sought professional help, some tried hypnosis and alternative medication and meditation techniques, while others simply went cold turkey on their destructive habits (which often ended in vain).

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day
We must realize that conquering bad habits requires time and patience. It does not happen during your first, second, third try. Bad habits need to be faced little by little, cunningly, until your positive and let-go attitude has them surrounded.

If you suddenly stop, the chances of them coming back to haunt you increase. However, if you take baby steps and learn to pace yourself at a rate that is comfortable for you, the more likely your offensive and defensive methods will work. Remember that a bad habit has embedded itself into your life -- so extracting it will predictably be quite a task.

Take Cathy's story.

Cathy needs to lose weight because diabetes runs in her family. In order to prevent herself from being diagnosed with the same illness, she decided that she has to let go of her constant cravings for sweets. Going cold turkey was her strategy.

During the first week, she gave up everything that contained sugar. She succeeded. However, in the second week, her cravings started to kick in. Her mind began telling her to take just one bite off that delicious chocolate fudge cake in the refrigerator. It even had her convinced that the headache she was feeling during her 'cold turkey' session was connected to the absence of sweets.

The struggle goes on for two more days and, eventually, she throws up her hands and gives in. "One bite won't hurt," she told herself. She was dead wrong. Before she realized what had happened, she had finished up the entire slice and was reaching for another one. Eventually, she resolved to give up wanting to give up sweets. Her mission had failed.

We might be able to convince ourselves that taking the cold turkey method would work. Well, it does -- but only at the beginning. Our defenses eventually crumble. In the end, we become content with saying, "Well, this is how I really am, then." We are not. If we will it, we change.

"I can change. I can improve. I can grow toward anything I want to be, if I am willing to work. I can follow the path and awaken." -- excerpt from "What Would Buddha Do At Work?"

Answer the following questions (better if you write them down):

What are my good and bad habits?
Which of these would I like to change now?
What is keeping me from changing the bad ones?
What can I do to divert my attention from my bad habits?

Your answers to the above will help you pinpoint what your bad habits are and give you a better understanding on why they keep recurring. Keep a log of your responses and carefully monitor your progress. You can even give yourself little rewards for your successes. If you face a blank wall, seek the support of others. The more people are aware of your goals, the easier it will be to achieve them and the stronger your motivations will be.
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Monday

A Religious Slot Machine

Some people expect tremendous things of their Creator. They expect God to be liberal, and pray for abundance of health, and ask Him to pour material blessings and all good without stint. Yet they are very mean and stingy in everything that relates to their religion, contemptible in their charities, in their assistance of others, in their help of the church.

Did you ever think that your attitude towards your fellow man, towards the poor, the unfortunate, your treatment of the Creator's institutions here on earth, your treatment of His children, constitute your treatment of Him? "In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

Many people seem to think that the Creator is some power entirely separate from human beings, and that their dealings must be directly with Him.

I knew of a man who said he thanked God that there was one good thing in the world that was cheap.—that he did not believe his religion cost him over twenty-five cents a year. He got just about twenty-five cents worth out of his religion annually. Our religions are slot machines, and if we put in a quarter, we get out only a quarter's worth.

We get out of a thing what we put into it. If we are stingy with God, he will necessarily be stingy with us, because it is our acts that open or close the gates of our minds,—the gates of appreciation and of happiness.

The farmer who is stingy with his seed corn gets a stingy harvest. The Creator does not crowd our lives with rich things when we are mean with Him. We limit our receptive capacity by what we give out.

We get a stingy education, if we are stingy in study. We must give liberally before we get, in every department of life. I have never known a person who is mean in giving time, sympathy, and money to the church, who ever got much out of it.

The Creator will not flood your life with good things, with fat things, when you are so mean that you will not give up a cent if you can possible avoid it, or give time and helpfulness.

We limit out receipts. The Creator cannot give us more than we will allow Him. What we get must come through our mental avenues, and, if these are closed by ourselves, even the Almighty cannot reach us with abundance.

Have you not known people too contemptible to get very much out of life, anyway? It pains them to give up anything. They think every dollar they get is theirs. They do not look upon themselves as trustees for the general benefit of their fellow man.

It is the large-hearted, generous, magnanimous man and woman that gets the blessings. He who gives out gets back; our own acts determine our harvest. If we are liberal and open-handed, our harvest will be rich and abundant.

Small souls cut off their own supply. They limit what they get by their narrowness, pinchiness.

The Good Book gives us the recipe for getting. "Give and it shall be given unto thee." "To him that hath shall be given."

It ought to make you feel mean to slip a nickel, or less, into the contribution box of your church, which you pretend means so much to you.

Others may not see, or know of your stingy gift. But you know that such a thing would be considered mean and contemptible between businessmen. And what shall we say of such a transaction between yourself and your God?

I have seen people who were well fixed in life put coppers into the contribution box, just because they thought others would not know how much they gave.

What stories of lying, of deception, the church contribution box could tell! How mortified, humiliated, disgraced many men and women would be if these boxes could tell the truth to the congregation!

Some people who would be liberal on a subscription paper, because other people would know what they gave, would cheat their God when the contribution box was passed.

If you cannot be conscientious in your giving to your Maker, can there be any conscientiousness in your character? If you are not true to your God, will you be true to your fellow man or true to yourself?
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Sunday

Self Improvement As An Investment

It is not by leaps or bounds, but by steady, persistent growth that strong characters are made.

The trouble with most of us is that we are too ambitious to do great things at once. It is the persistent crying to make ourselves a little larger, a little broader, the continual effort to push the horizon of ignorance a little further away by good reading or study, that counts.

We cannot help believing in the youth who is always trying to improve themselves, who takes advantage of every opportunity to make themselves a little better informed, who always has some good reading on hand for his or her leisure moments, and who is always asking questions, observing, and trying to get an education.

Such eagerness to improve oneself is an indication of a mark of superiority, the genius that wins. Ambitionless, lazy, indifferent youth prefer a good time to acquiring knowledge. They are not willing to give up their pleasure, ease and comfort for the sake of improving themselves. Our opportunities for self-improvement, for mind training and heart training in everyday life are not well appreciated. No matter what our occupation may be, we can always be in the best kind of a school. It is a question of holding the mind alert. Those who form the habit of gaining the best from books, the best from conversation, the best from every experience in life, know the secret of perpetual growth.

There is nothing else that will give you greater satisfaction in after years than the forming of such systematic habits of self-culture early in life as to make your self-improvement processes automatic. In this way it becomes just as natural for you to seize every bit of leisure for the reading of something helpful or useful, or for storing up valuable knowledge from your observation, as it is for you to breathe.

I am acquainted with a young man who travels a great deal by rail and water, who always carries with him wherever he goes some good reading matter in as condensed a form as possible — miniature classics or the lesson papers of a correspondence school. He is always doing something to improve himself in the odds and ends of time which most people throw away.

The result is, he is well informed upon a great variety of subjects, he is very widely read in history, in English literature, in the sciences, and in other important branches of knowledge. What this man has accomplished in the odds and ends of time is a constant rebuke to those who waste all their time in doing nothing, or in doing that which is infinitely worse than nothing.

You perhaps do not half realize the inestimable value of time spent in good reading or some other form of self-improvement. You perhaps do not half realize, if you only had opportunities like some others, you could have done much better than you are now doing.

But did you ever think that scores of people have given themselves the equivalent of a college education in their spare moments, and long winter evenings?

A person might as well say that there is no use in trying to save anything from their small salary or

income, because the amount would never make them rich, so they might as well spend it as they go along, as to say they never can get a liberal education by studying during their spare time.

The more one saves, the nearer one comes to being rich. The more you know, the better educated you are. Every bit of knowledge you store up enriches your life by so much. All these little self-investments make you so much better off, — make you so much larger, fuller, so much better able to cope with life.

You can never make a better investment than by forming the good reading habit. It will multiply your efficiency, give you so much more power to break away from your iron environment, to throw off the yoke of dependence which galls you. It will make you more independent and self-reliant. The increased knowledge will increase your confidence in yourself. And, in addition to all this, if your knowledge is practical and you use it wisely, it will make you think more of yourself, make you more of a person.

There never was a time in the history of the world when education was worth so much as today, when added knowledge adds so much power.

Competition has become so terrific, and life so strenuous that you need to be armed with every particle of mental culture possible. The greatest work you can do in the world is that of raising your own value. There is no gift which you can ever make to the world like that of a superb manhood, or a beautiful womanhood. You can do nothing higher than this.

What a golden opportunity confronts you for coining your bits of leisure into knowledge that will mean growth of character, promotion, advancement, power, riches that no accident can take from you, no disaster annihilate. Will you throw away the opportunity, as so many others are thoughtlessly doing?

Within the last ten years our great railroads have spent many millions of dollars straightening curves on their lines, to save a few minutes' time. The late Mr. Harriman spent vast sums for this purpose. In early railroad days the great object was to avoid expense. The railroads often took a serpentine direction, winding around mountains, hills, and long distances to avoid heavy cuts, fillings, or bridges. Time was not so valuable then as now, but, as life became more strenuous, competition keener, and men's time of more worth, the roads were shortened and better bends, heavier cars, and heavier rails came.

Modern businessmen consider it great economy to take short routes and fast trains because of the rapidly increasing value of time. Speed, safety, and economy are the great mottoes of today.

Everything possible is now done to save time, ensure speed, safety, and economy of energy. Any railroad today which could cut the traveling time between New York and Chicago half an hour would very quickly put the present railroad company out of business, unless it also could increase speed. This is an age of bee-line short cuts and quick methods in everything.

Businessmen will pay more for any device or facility which will save time than for almost anything else. No expense or ingenuity is spared, especially by the great railroads which run competing lines, to accomplish shortened routes, to quicken service.

In the pioneer stage days of our history, before competition had become so fierce, a liberal education and special training were not so necessary as they are today. Now the youth must be a specialist, must spend years in training for his specialty. He must lay a larger and firmer foundation for preparation than formerly if he expects to get anywhere near the top of his vocation, he must remove all possible obstructions, must have a better training, better equipment, and more scientific outfit in every way, or he cannot hope to succeed.

As the railroad today which will persist in winding about hills and meandering long distances to avoid a river crossing or tunneling hills or mountains has no chance in competition with up-to-date roads, so the young man who expects to get on cannot afford any handicap which will retard his progress or reduce his chances of success.

The trouble with most youths is that they do not pay enough attention to straightening their tracks and reducing grades. They try to speed on crooked, ill-made roads and dangerous grades, with light rails, poor equipment, and the result is thousands of wrecks.

Every man should lay out a clean, straight, level track to his goal. All obstructions should be removed, all dangers and risks reduced to a minimum, making his road straight, firm, solid and safe.

When great railroads make test trails in competing for the transcontinental mails, they not only see that the tracks, the cars, and the engines are in perfect condition; they even pick out the finest pieces of coal, those containing the greatest possible amount of energy, and which leave the smallest amount of clinkers or ashes. The utmost care is exercised in lubricating bearings. Tracks are kept clear, and everything possible is done to secure speed and safety.

Yet everywhere we see people making their great life race in poor, broken down cars, on crooked tracks, light loose rails, over heavy grades. They are always losing time by reason of hot boxes and accidents of all kinds, yet they wonder why they cannot complete with those who are better equipped. They took little or no precaution to insure success when they started out on their trip; little regard was paid to the condition of their roads or cars, to the fuel as to its energy and bulk, or to any of the essential things on which success depends. Yet they wonder why they do no twin in the race.

Education is power. No matter how small your salary may be, every bit of valuable information you pick up, every bit of good reading or thinking you do, in fact everything you do to make yourself a larger and completer person, will also help you to advance. I have known boys who were working very hard for very little money to do more for their advancement in their spare time, their half-holidays, by improving their minds, than by the actual work they did. Their salaries were insignificant in comparison with their growth of mind.

I know a young man who jumped in one bound from a salary of five thousand to ten thousand dollars, largely because of his insatiable effort at self-improvement. His great passion seemed to be to make the largest and completest man possible. This young man is a good example of the possibility of reputation to help one on in the world. Everybody who knew him, knew that he was determined to make something of himself. It did not make any difference if his fellow employees wanted to throw their time away, he didn't.

They soon found that it was of no use to try to cast him away from his reading or studying, for he had set his mind toward the future. He had no idea of being a little, small, picayune man. He had a passion for enlargement, for growth. Those who worked with him were very much surprised at his rapid advancement; but there was a good reason for every bit of it. While they were spending their evenings and money trying to have a good time, he was trying to educate himself by a rigid course of self-improvement.

Everywhere we see young men and young women tied to very ordinary positions all their lives simply because, though they had good brains, they were never cultivated, never developed. They have never tried to improve themselves by reading good literature.

Their salaries on a Saturday night, and a good time, are about all they see; and the result is the narrow the contracted, the pinched career. Men and women who have utilized only a very small percentage of their ability, not made it available by discipline and education, — always work at a great disadvantage. A man capable, by nature, of being an employer is often compelled to be a very ordinary employee because his mind is totally untrained.

One of the greatest questions that confronts this age is that of adult education. The commercial prizes and the opportunities are so great in this country that the youth early catch the moneymaking contagion, and they are impatient to get jobs and to get a start in life.

Many of them cannot see the use of so many years of drudgery in school and college. And their judgment is not sufficiently developed. They have neither had the experience, nor have they the judgment to realize the infinite value of a well-stored mind.

They are not old enough to realize the tremendous handicap of ignorance in their later careers when they come to wrestle with men and women who have had a superb mental training.

The result is that unless the youths are fortunate enough to have parents who appreciate the situation, and who can hold them to their task until they are fitted to enter the battle of the strong, or, unless they have advisors who can control them, they quit school and start out in life half prepared, only to see their terrible mistake when they get right into the fight with commercial giants who are superbly trained.

Later they see their mistake, and continue to regret it, without making any special effort to compensate for their loss.

Unfortunately most adults have the impression that if they have once passed the youthful, impressionable period, they can never make up for it, can never get an education, can never compensate for their loss.

Now, there certainly has be devised a perfectly practical educational system by which adults can, even while carrying on their vocations, get a very fair equivalent for a good education, even a college course.

The misconception rests largely upon the fact that it is not so easy to commit to memory later in life, hence not so easy to learn the rudimentary rules of grammar, of mathematics, and other elementary branches.

On the other hand, most of the other faculties are just as susceptible, and some of them very much stronger, in a much better condition to take advantage of an education.

The young person does not realize what an education will really mean to them. Their judgment is not mature, they have not had the experience, while the adult realizes his or her loss and is more eager to make up for it. An adult can work harder, is generally willing to make sacrifices if they are only sure that they can still compensate for their loss.

An adult will know better what will be of great value and what of little value to them. They will be very much more practical in gaining their knowledge. They will be more eager to learn, especially after they get far enough to see the great advantage of what they are getting.

There never was a time in the world's history when leaders in adult education were so much needed as today. There are millions of people waiting for it, eager for it, hungry for it; but they do not know how to begin.

The inventor of a fair substitute for a literary education for the adult,—an education that will be practical and comparatively easy to obtain, especially one that can be obtained in spare time, in odd minutes, in long winter evenings, without being too hard or too exacting or too disagreeable, will render a greater service to the world than has almost any inventor.

Most adults, even when they realize their great loss of an early education, and are eager to compensate for it, do not know how to go to work to do it.

They do not realize how much of this can be done by systematic reading, even a little at a time.

Most of these people are incapable of self-direction or systematic study. They need leaders who will direct them and encourage them, and hold them to their task until they have acquired the absorption habit, the reading habit, the study habit, the thinking habit.

I am constantly coming in contact with people who tell me that it is the regret of their lives that they left school so early, or that they did not go to college, but who say that the time has gone by now, that it is too late to make up for their loss and they must do the best they can.

Getting an education is like getting a fortune. Most people do not think that little savings amount to much. They spend all their loose change because saving it would not amount to much towards making up a fortune. And so they keep spending and do not get the fortune.

Multitudes of adults who feel the need of making up for their early educational losses, do not think that a few minutes of reading during their spare time, or a little study during the evenings or half-holidays, would go very far towards acquiring an education. And yet thousands of people have gotten a splendid substitute for a college course just in this way.

I know some very able men who have obtained most of their education by reading alone. They went to school but very little, but, by the persistent reading habit, they have become well-educated in history, in politics and literature, in philosophy, and well-posted in all sorts of things. And they have achieved all of this during their evenings and odd moments, which most people either throw away or spend in hunting for pleasure.

The pursuit of education by a soul hungry for knowledge, yearning for mental enlargement, is the highest kind of pleasure, because it gives infinite satisfaction and infinite advantage.

One of the grandest sights in the world is that of an adult seizing every opportunity to make up for the loss of early educational advantages, pouring their very soul into their spare moments and evenings, trying to make themselves a larger, fuller, completer person.
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The Home As a School of Good Manners

Not long ago I visited a home where such exceptionally good breeding prevailed and such fine manners were practiced by all the members of the family, that it made a great impression upon me.

This home is the most remarkable school of good manners, refinement, and culture generally, I have ever been in. The parents are bringing up their children to praxes their best manners on all occasions. They do not know what company manners mean.

The boys have been taught to treat their sisters with as much deference as though they were stranger guests. The politeness, courtesy, and consideration which the members of this family show toward one another are most refreshing and beautiful. Coarseness, gruffness, lack of delicacy find no place there.

Both boys and girls have been trained from infancy to make themselves interesting, and to entertain and try to make others happy.

The entire family make it a rule to dress before dinner in the evening, just as they would if special company were expected.

Their table manners are specially marked. At table everyone is supposed to be at their best, not to bring any grouse, or a long or sad face to it, but to contribute their best thought, their wittiest sayings, to the conversation. Every member of the family is expected to do their best to make the meal a really happy occasion. There is a sort of rivalry to see who can be the most entertaining, or contribute the spiciest bits of conversation.

There is no indication of dyspepsia in this family, because everyone is trained to laugh and be happy generally and laughter is a fatal enemy of indigestion. The etiquette of the table is also strictly observed. Every member of the family tries to do just the proper thing and always to be mindful of others' rights. Kindness seems to be practiced for the joy of it, not for the sake of creating a good impression on friends or acquaintances.

There is in this home an air of peculiar refinement which is very charming. The children are early taught to greet callers and guests cordially, heartily, in real Southern, hospitable fashion, and to make them feel that they are very welcome. They are taught to make everyone feel comfortable and at home, so that there will be no sense of restraint.

As a result of this training the children have formed a habit of good behavior and are considered an acquisition to any gathering. They are not embarrassed by the awkward slips and breaks which are so mortifying to those who only wear their company manners on special occasions.

A stranger would almost think this home was a school of good breeding, and it is a real treat to visit these people. It is true the parents in this family have the advantage of generations of fine breeding and Southern hospitality back of them, which gives the children a great natural advantage. There is an atmosphere of chivalry and cordiality in this household which is really refreshing.

Many parents seem to expect that their children will pick up their good manners outside of the home, in school, or while visiting. This is a fatal mistake. Every home should be a school of good manners and good breeding. The children should be taught that there is nothing more important than the development of an interesting personality, an attractive presence, and an ability to entertain with grace and ease. They should be taught that the great object of life is to develop a superb personality, a noble manhood and womanhood.

There is no art like that of a beautiful behavior, a fine manner, no wealth greater than that of a pleasing personality.
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Saturday

Mother

"All that I am or hope to be," said Lincoln , after, he had become President, "I owe to my angel mother."

"My mother was the making of me," said Thomas Edison, recently. "She was so true so sure of me; and I felt that I had someone to live for; someone I must not disappoint."

"All that I have ever accomplished in life", declared Dwight L. Moody, the great evangelist, "I owe to my mother."

"To the man who has had a good mother, all women are sacred for her sake," said Jean Paul Richer.

The testimony of great men in acknowledgment of the boundless debt they owe to their mothers would make a record stretching from the dawn of history to today. Few men, indeed, become great who do not owe their greatness to a mother's love and inspiration.

How often we hear people in every walk of life say, "I never could have done this thing but for my mother. She believed in me, encouraged me, when others saw nothing in me.

"A kiss from my mother made me a painter," said Benjamin West.

A distinguished man of today says: "I never could have reached my present position had I not known that my mother expected me to reach it. From a child she made me feel that this was the position she expected me to fill; and her faith spurred me on and gave me the power to attain it."

Many a man is enjoying a fame which is really due to a self-effacing, sacrificing mother. People hurrah for the governor, or mayor, or congressmen, but the real secret of his success is often tucked away in that little, unknown, unappreciated, unheralded mother. His education and his chance to rise may have been due to her sacrifices.

It is a strange fact that our mothers, the molders of this world, should get so little credit and should be so seldom mentioned among the world's achievers. The world sees only the successful son; the mother is but a round in the ladder upon which he had climbed. Her name or face is never seen in the papers; only her son is lauded and held up to our admiration. Yet it was that sweet, pathetic figure in the background that made his success possible.

The very atmosphere that radiates from and surrounds the mother is the inspiration and constitutes the holy of holies of family life.

"In my mother's presence." said a prominent man, "I become for the time transformed into another person".

How many of us have felt the truth of this statement! How ashamed we feel when we meet her eyes, that we have ever harbored an unholy thought, or dishonorable suggestion! It seems impossible to do wrong while under that magic influence. What revengeful plans, what thoughts of hatred and jealousy, have been scattered to the four winds while in the mother's presence! Her children go out from communion with her resolve to be better men, nobler women, truer citizens.

The greatest heroine in the world is the mother. No one else makes such sacrifices, or endures anything like the suffering that she uncomplainingly endures for her children.

I know a mother who brought up a large family of children under conditions which, I believe, no man living could possibly have survived. She had a lazy, worthless husband with no ambition, no force of character; a man extremely selfish and exacting, who not only did practically nothing to help his wife carry her terrible burden, but also insisted upon her waiting upon him hand and foot.

They were too poor to afford a servant, and the good-for-nothing husband would not lift a finger to help his wife if he could avoid it; yet he was cross, crabbed, and abusive if meals were not on time, and if they were lacking in any respect, or if the children annoyed him or interfered with his comfort.

Although the mother worked like a slave to keep her little family together and to make a living for them, her husband would never even look after the children while she was working, if he could sneak out of it. When the children were sick, he would retire without the slightest concern, and leave the jaded mother, who had worked all day like a galley salve, to nurse them.

This man never seemed to think that his wife needed much sleep or rest, a vacation, holiday, or any change; he seldom took her anywhere, and was never known to bring her home a flower or a nickel's worth of anything. He thought that anything was good enough for his wife.

She wore her clothes over and over again, until they were worn out, but he always had to have a natty suit, which his wife must keep pressed, he insisted upon having his tobacco and toddy, and would always take the best of everything for himself, no matter who else went without.

Yet, in spite of the never-ending drudgery, the lack of comforts and conveniences in her home, and the fact that her health was never good; no matter how much her rest was broken by attendance upon the sick children, or how ill she might be, this woman never complained. She was always cheerful, always ready to give a helping hand and an encouraging word, even to her ungrateful husband. Calm, patient, and reassuring, she never failed to furnish the balm for the hurts of all her family.

This woman saw her beauty fade, and the ugly lines of care anxiety, and suffering come into her face. She saw no prospects of relief from care for herself in the future; nothing but increasing poverty, homelessness, and not a cent in the savings-bank. Yet she never complained. No one heard her denounce her shiftless husband, the real cause of all her sufferings. She literally gave up her life to her family, until there was nothing left but the ashes of a burned-out existence, nothing but the shell of a once enchantingly beautiful and noble woman.

Ah, this is heroism — to see all the dreams of girlhood fade away, nearly everything of value go out of the life, and yet to bear up under it all with sublime courage, heavenly patience, superb dignity, a wonderful mental poise and optimism. If this is not heroism, there is none on this earth. What is the giving of one's life in battle or in a wreck at sea to save another, in comparison with the perpetual sacrifice of a living death lasting for half a century or more? How the world's heroes dwindle in comparison with the mother heroine!

Who but a mother would make such sacrifices drain her very life-blood, all her energy, everything, for her children, and yet never ask for or expect compensation?

There is no one in the average family, the value of whose services begins to compare with those of the mother, and yet there is no one who is more generally neglected or taken advantage of. She must always remain at home evenings and look after the children when the others are out having a good time.

Her cares never cease. She is responsible for the housework, for the preparation of meals; she has the children's clothes to make or mend, there is company to be entertained, darning to be done, and a score of little duties which must often be attended to at odd moments, snatched from her busy days, and she is often up working long after everyone else in the house is asleep.

Not matter how loving or thoughtful the father may be, the heavier burdens, the greater anxieties, the weightier responsibilities of the home, of the children, always fall on the mother. Indeed, the very virtues of the good mother are a constant temptation to the other members of the family, especially the selfish ones, to take advantage of her.

If she were not so kind, so affectionate and tender, so considerate, so generous and ever-ready to make all sorts of sacrifices for others; if she were not so willing to efface herself; if she were more self-assertive; if she stood up for and demanded her rights, she would have a much easier time.

But the members of the average family seem to take it for granted that they can put all their burdens on the patient, uncomplaining mother; that she will always do anything to help out, and to enable the children to have a good time; and in many homes, sad to say, the mother, just because of her goodness, is shamefully imposed upon and neglected. "Oh, mother won't mind, mother will stay at home." How often we hear remarks like this from thoughtless children!

It is always the poor mother on whom the burden falls; and the pathetic thing is that she rarely gets much credit or praise.

Many mothers in the poor and working classes practically sacrifice all that most people hold dearest in life for their children. They deliberately impair their health, wear themselves out, make all sorts of sacrifices, to send a worthless boy to college. They take in washing, go out housecleaning, do the hardest and most menial work, in order to give their boys and girls an education and the benefit of priceless opportunities that they never had; yet, how often they are rewarded only with total indifference and neglect!

Some time ago I heard of a young girl, beautiful, gay full of spirit and vigor, who married and had four children. Her husband died penniless, and the mother made the most heroic efforts to educate the children. By dint of unremitting toil and unheard of sacrifices and privations she succeeded in sending the boys to college and the girls to a boarding-school. "When they came home, pretty, refined girls and strong young men, abreast with all the new ideas and tastes of their times, she was a worn-out commonplace old woman.

They had their own pursuits and companions. She lingered among them for two or three years, and then died, of some sudden failure of the brain. The shock woke them to consciousness of the truth. They hung over her, as she lay unconscious, in an agony of grief. The oldest son, as he held her in his arms, cried; "You have been a good mother to us!" Her face colored again, her eyes kindled into a smile and she whispered: "You never said so before, John." Then the light died out, and she was gone.

Who can ever depict the tragedies that have been enacted in the hearts of American mothers, who have suffered untold tortures from neglect, indifference, and lack of appreciation?

What a pathetic story of neglect many a mother's letters from her grown-up children could tell! A few scraggy lines, a few sentences now and then, hurriedly written and mailed—often to ease a troubled conscience—mere apologies for letters, which chill the mother heart.

There are plenty of wealthy men in this country who owe everything to the mothers who made all sorts of sacrifices for their rearing and education. When they became prosperous, these men neglected their disabled mothers, but came to their sense at their funerals. Then they spent more money on expensive caskets, flowers, and emblems of mourning than they had spent on their poor, loving, self-sacrificing mothers for many years while alive.

Men who, perhaps never thought of carrying flowers to their mothers in life, pile them high on their coffins. There is nothing which pains a mother so much as ingratitude from the children for whom she has risked her life, and to whose care and training she has given her best years.

I know men who owe their success in life to their mother; who have become prosperous and influential, because of the splendid training of the self-sacrificing mother, and whose education was secured at an inestimable cost to her, and yet they seldom think of taking her flowers, confectionery, little delicacies, or taking her to a place of amusement, or of giving her a vacation, or bestowing upon her any of the little attentions and favors so dear to a woman's heart. They seem to think she is past the age for these things, that she no longer cares for them, that about all she expects is enough to eat and drink, and the simplest kind of raiment.

These men do not know the feminine heart which never changes in these respects, except to grow more appreciative of the little attentions the little considerations, and thoughtful acts which meant so much to them in their younger days.

Not long ago I heard a mother, whose sufferings and sacrifices for her children during a long and terrible struggle with poverty should have given her a monument, say, that she guessed she'd better go to the old ladies' home and end her days there. What a picture that was! An old lady with white hair and a sweet, beautiful face; with a wonderful light in her eye; calm, serene, and patient, yet dignified, whose children, all of whom are married and successful, made her feel as if she were a burden. She had no home of her own, not a single piece of furniture, or any of the things which are so dear to the feminine heart.

Think of this old woman, who, in order to bring up and educate and fit for successful careers half a dozen ungrateful, selfish children, had made sacrifices that were simply heart-rending, receiving, in her old age, only a stingy monthly allowance from her prosperous sons! They live in luxurious homes, but have never offered to provide a home for the poor, old rheumatic, broken-down mother, who for so many years slaved for them.

They put their own homes, stocks, and other property in their wives, names, and while they pay the rent of their mother's meagerly furnished rooms and provide for her actual needs, they apparently never think what joy it would give her to own her own home, and to possess some pretty furnishings, and a few pictures.

I know a mother whose children are in easy circumstances who is obliged to ask them for everything she has in the way of clothing. She is so sensitive, and feels so humiliated because of her dependence, that she waits just as long as she can before she asks for anything; waits until her own sense of decency and self-respect forces her practically to beg from her children.

In many cases men through thoughtlessness do not provide generously for their mothers even when well able to. They seem to think that a mother can live most anywhere, and most anyway; that if she has enough to supply her necessities she is satisfied. Just think, you prosperous businessmen, how you would feel if the conditions were reversed; if you were obliged to take the dependent, humiliating position of your mother!

Whatever else you are obliged to neglect, take no chances of giving your mother pain by neglecting her, and of thus making yourself miserable in the future.

The time may come when you will stand by her beside, in her last sickness, or by her coffin, and wish that you had exchanged a little of your money for more visits and more attentions and more little presents to your mother; when you will wish that you had cultivated her more, even at the cost of making a little less money.

There is no one else in this world who can take your mother's place in your life. And there is no remorse like that which comes from the remembrance of ill-treating, abusing, or being unkind to one's mother. These things stand out with awful vividness and terrible clearness when the mother is gone forever from sight, and you have time to contrast your treatment with her long suffering, tenderness, and love and her years of sacrifice for you.

One of the most painful things I have ever witnessed was the anguish of a son who had become wealthy and in his prosperity neglected the mother, whose sacrifices alone had made his success possible. He did not take the time to write to her more than twice a year, and then only a brief letter. He was too busy to send a good long letter to the poor old lonely mother back in the country, who had risked her life and toiled and sacrificed for years for him!

Finally, when he was summoned to her bedside in the country, in her last sickness, and realized that his mother had been for years without the ordinary comforts of life, while he had been living in luxury, he broke down completely. And while he did everything possible to alleviate her suffering, in the few last days that remained to her on earth, and gave her an imposing burial, what torture he must have suffered at this pitiful picture of his mother who had sacrificed everything for him!

No man worthy of the name ever neglects or forgets his mother.

I have an acquaintance, of very poor parentage, who had a hard struggle to get a start in the world; but when he became prosperous and built his beautiful home, he finished a suite of rooms in it especially for his mother, furnished them with all conveniences and comforts possible and insisted upon keeping a maid especially for her. Although she lives with her son's family she is made to feel that this part of the great home is her own, and that she is as independent as though she lived in her own house. Every son should be ambitious to see his mother as well provided for as his wife.

Really great men have always reverenced and cared tenderly for their mothers. President McKinely provided in his will that, first of all, his mother should be made comfortable for life.

The first act of Garfield, after he was inaugurated president, was to kiss his aged mother, who sat near him, and who said this was the proudest and happiest moment of her life.

Ex-president Loub├ęt of France, even after his elevation to the presidency, took great pride in visiting his mother, who was a humble market gardener in a little French village. A writer on one occasion, describing a meeting between this mother and her son, says: "Her noted son awaited her in the market-place, as she drove up in her little cart loaded with vegetables. Assisting his mother, the French president gave her his arm and escorted her to her accustomed seat. Then holding over her a large umbrella, to shield her from the threatening weather, he seated himself at her side, and mother and son enjoyed a long talk together."

I once saw a splendid young college graduate introduce his poor, plainly dressed old mother to his classmates with as much pride and dignity as though she was a queen. Her form was bent, her hands were calloused, she was prematurely old, and much of this deterioration was caused by all sorts of drudgery to help her boy to pay his college expenses.

I have seen other college men whose mothers had made similar sacrifices, and who were ashamed to have them attend their graduating exercises, ashamed to introduce them to their classmates.

I know of one peculiarly ungrateful son whose mother slaved for him for years, taking in washing, and going out to work by the day in order to send him to college, and who looked forward as a reward for all her labors to seeing him graduated. When the time came, just before commencement she told her son how she longed to hear his commencement address, but he said that that would be impossible, because she did not have proper clothes to wear; that everybody at that fashionable college commencement would be elegantly dressed.

In other words, he tried to discourage her from going because he was ashamed of her and did not want to introduce her to his classmates and teachers. But she was determined to go, and, keeping carefully out of her son's sight, she gained entrance to the rear of the hall. The young man's address was a good one; and so proud of her son was the poor old woman and so overjoyed at his success that when he finished speaking, in the very midst of the applause, she rushed up to the platform and tried to throw her arms around his neck. He repulsed her, and afterwards told her that he was ashamed that at his graduation she should have made such a scene!

That was all the mother got for years of sacrifice and effort to help her ungrateful son and she went home alone and broken-hearted.

I have never known a man who was ashamed of his mother to make a real man. Such men are invariably selfish and mean.

Think of the humiliation and suffering of the slave mother; who has given all the best of her life to a large family, battling with poverty in her efforts to dignity her little home, and to give her

children an education, when she realizes that she is losing ground intellectually, yet has not time or strength for reading, or self-culture, no opportunity for broadening her mental outlook by traveling or mingling with the world! But this is nothing compared to the anguish she endures, when, after the flower of her youth is gone and there is nothing left of her but the ashes of a burned out existence, the shreds of a former superb womanhood, she awakes to the consciousness that her children are ashamed of her ignorance and desire to keep her in the background.

But no matter how callous or ungrateful a son may be, no matter how low he may sink in vice or crime, he is always sure of his mother's love, always sure of one who will follow him even to his grave, if she is alive and can get there; of one who will cling to him when all others have fled.

One of the saddest sights I have ever seen was that of a poor, old broken-down mother, whose life had been poured into her children, making a long journey to the penitentiary to visit her boy, who had been abandoned by everybody but herself. Poor old mother! It did not matter that he was a criminal, that he had disgraced his family, that everybody else had forsaken him, that he had been unkind to her— the mother's heart went out to him just the same. She did not see the hideous human wreck that crime had made. She saw only her darling boy, the child that God had given her, pure and innocent as in his childhood.

Oh, there is no other human love like this, which follows the child from the cradle to the grave, never once abandons, never once forsakes it, not matter how unfortunate or degenerate it may become.

"So your best girl is dead." sneeringly said a New York magistrate to a young man who was arrested for attempting suicide. "Who was she?" Without raising his eyes, the unfortunate victim burst into tears and replied, “She was my mother!" The smile vanished from the magistrate's face and, with tears in his eyes, he said, "Young man go and try to be a good man for your mother's sake." How little we realize what tragedy may be going on in the hearts of those whom we sneeringly condemn!

What movement set on foot in recent years, deserved heartier support than that for the establishment of a national Mothers' Day?

The day set apart as Mothers' Day by those who have inaugurated this movement is the second Sunday in May. Let us unite in doing all we can to make it a real Mothers' Day, by especially honoring our mothers, in the flesh, those of us who are so fortunate as to have our mothers with us, in the spirit, those who are not so fortunate.

If away from her, write a good, loving letter, or telephone or telegraph to the best mother who ever lived — your mother. Send her some flowers, and appropriate present; go and spend the day with her, or in some other way make her heart glad. Show her that you appreciate her, and that you give her credit for a large part of your success.

Let us do all we can to make up for past neglect of the little-known, half appreciated, unheralded mothers who have had so little credit in the past and are so seldom mentioned among the world's achievers, by openly, and especially in our hearts, paying our own mothers every tribute of honor, respect, devotion, and gratitude that love and a sense of duty can suggest. Let us acknowledge to the world the great debt we owe them by wearing, every one of us, boy and girl, man and woman, on Mother s Day, a white carnation — the flower chosen as the symbol and emblem of motherhood.

Happily chosen emblem! What could more fittingly represent motherhood, with its whiteness symbolizing purity; its lasting qualities faithfulness; its fragrance, love; its wide field of growth, charity its form, beauty!

What an impressive and beautiful tribute to motherhood it would be for a whole nation to unite one day in wearing its chosen emblem, and in song and speech, and other appropriate exercises, to honor its mothers!
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