One of the most common forms of lying, and the most destructive to right character building, is trying to appear what we are not, to be accounted more learned, more virtuous, more noble, better in every sense than we are, without any effort to be what we would seem to be. This adds the vice of hypocrisy to the sin of lying, and effectually prevents growth in any direction, while it absolutely fails in its purpose, for no one is deceived by pretense except the pretender.
Success, Feb., 1902. p. 106.
Thousands of worthy young people have failed to obtain situations simply because they have not learned the art of carrying themselves properly, of appearing to advantage. A youth who drags his feet when he walks, who slouches, whose arms, lacking energy, dangle like strings from his shoulders, does not make a favorable impression upon a proprietor or manager, who looks a boy over from head to foot, notices his gait when approaching his desk or office, his carriage or manner, and by every little thing is influenced in his decision.
If a boy could only read an employer's mind while he is talking to him, he would learn a useful lesson; but, unfortunately, he usually goes away ignorant of the things which barred him from the coveted place. This may be a sly, furtive glance of the eye, which indicates lack of self-control or a vicious habit, it may be a failure to look one straight in the eye; it may be twirling the fingers or playing with his cap while talking; it may be a soiled collar or cuff; it may be unkempt hair or soiled finger nails; it may be an ill fitting, slouchy suit; it may be a cigarette; or any one of a score of other little things which influence the decision, -none of which is small when one's whole career, or success in life, may hang in the balance.
A slouchy appearance, dull dawdling, or dragging of the feet, often indicates slouchy morals and slipshod habits. Employers like a boy who walks briskly, speaks promptly, and is quick and clean cut in his replies to questions. Such acts indicate a bright, alert, quick mind. Employers are not desirous of having in their service people with slow, irresponsive minds or slovenly bodies.
Brightness, cheerfulness, alertness, promptness and energy of attitude and bearing are things which attract attention very quickly, and secure situations where dullness and carelessness of attire, though joined, as they sometimes are, with unusual intelligence and wisdom, make undesirable employees.
Success, March, 1902.
During the Civil War, certain manufacturers who tried to get rich out of the misfortunes of the country, and at the expense of soldiers who were fighting their battles for thirteen dollars a month, made shoddy clothing that looked all right when new, but which, when the poor soldiers were Lying in the wet trenches, or tramping through the rain and snow, fell to pieces. It had no wearing quality. The rain and wet unmasked the shoddy. Shoe manufacturers put paper or pasteboard soles and poor leather into shoes for the soldiers. The shoes looked all right when they were new and dry, but a few days of rain and mud ruined them, and the poor soldiers suffered pain, exposure, and disease through the fraud.
A counterfeit coin may pass for genuine for some time, until some observing person detects the cheat, or the dull, leaden thud betrays the lie; then the condemned coin's career is ended, and the unfortunate holder suffers loss.
Shoddy character and counterfeit worth can impose on the world for a time. People have found this out. Many young men, to day, are trying to make ``bluff" do their work, and accomplish the results of honest training and solid education. Strangely enough, they sometimes seem to succeed in keeping up the deception for years. So long as their boasts are not questioned, so long as they can load the work or the responsibility upon more competent shoulders, they impose on the world, and are apt to get higher reputations and larder salaries than more worthy and more modest men But bad work will not always be accepted, cheap expedients will not always avail, props and crutches will not always be at hand, and mere boasting will not always be accepted as ability. Some day, in the midst of a panic or an emergency, the pretender is found out, and shame and disaster are his only portion. All his undeserved triumphs are forgotten Scoffers cry that they ' thought all the time he did not know so much as he said he did. The lion skin is stripped off, and the stupid donkey is a laughingstock.
Great occasions, which, like lightning-flashes reveal unsuspected heroes, just as surely reveal the unworthy, the bluffers, the sham workers. Luck that makes the fortune or the reputation of the man who is prepared in character and knowledge for emergencies is only bad luck for the shoddy character and the untrained workman.
Success, September 1903, p. 534