“There are three kinds of people in the world, says a recent writer, “the wills, the won’ts, and the can’ts. The first accomplish everything; the second oppose everything; the third fail in everything.”
The shores of fortune, as Foster says, are covered with the stranded wrecks of men and women of brilliant ability, but who have wanted courage, faith, and decision, and have therefore perished in sight of more resolute but less capable adventures, who succeeded in making port.
Were I called upon to express in a word the secret of so many failures among those who started out with high hopes, I should say they lacked will-power. They could not half will: and what is a man or woman without a will? They are like an engine without steam. Genius unexecuted is no more genius than a bushel of acorns is a forest of oaks.
Will has been called the spinal column of personality. “The will in it relation to life,” says an English writer, “may be compared at once to the rudder and to the steam engine of a vessel, on the confined and related action of which it depends entirely for the direction of its course and the vigor of its movement.”
Strength of will is the test of a young person’s possibilities. Can they will strong enough, and hold whatever they undertake with an iron grip? It is the iron grip that takes and holds. What chance is there in the crowding, pushing, selfish, greed world, where everything is pusher or pushed, for a young woman or man with no will, no grip on life? The woman or man who would forge to the front in the competitive age must be a person of prompt and determined decision.
(This is an excerpt written 1934 that is still relevant in 2020!)