Dikutip dari Majesty of Calmness : Individual Problems and Possibilities oleh William George Jordan.
Publikasi Tahun 1900. Edit Rod Mann 2011. Revised edition copyright © 2011 by Rodney W. Mann
Akses online: http://www.freedomnotes.com/Documents/WGJ/The%20Majesty%20of%20Calmness%20Full-Page.pdf
I. The Majesty of Calmness
Calmness comes ever from within. It is the peace and restfulness of the depths of our
nature. The fury of storm and of wind agitate only the surface of the sea; they can
penetrate only two or three hundred feet,―below that is the calm, unruffled deep. To be
ready for the great crises of life we must learn serenity in our daily living. Calmness is
the crown of self-control.
II. Hurry, The Scourge of America
Everything that is great in life is the product of slow growth; the newer, and greater, and
higher, and nobler the work, the slower is its growth, the surer is its lasting success.
Mushrooms attain their full power in a night; oaks require decades. A fad lives its life in a
few weeks; a philosophy lives through generations and centuries. If you are sure you are
right, do not let the voice of the world, or of friends, or of family swerve you for a
moment from your purpose. Accept slow growth if it must be slow, and know the results
must come, as you would accept the long, lonely hours of the night,―with absolute
assurance that the heavy-leaded moments must bring the morning.
III. The Power of Personal Influence
THE only responsibility that a man cannot evade in this life is the one he thinks
of least,―his personal influence. Man’s conscious influence, when he is on
dress-parade, when he is posing to impress those around him,―is woefully
small. But his unconscious influence, the silent, subtle radiation of his
personality, the effect of his words and acts, the trifles he never considers,―is
tremendous. Every moment of life he is changing to a degree the life of the whole world.
Every man has an atmosphere which is affecting every other. So silent and unconsciously
is this influence working, that man may forget that it exists.
IV. The Dignity of Self-Reliance
The man who is not self-reliant is weak, hesitating and doubting in all he does. He fears
to take a decisive step, because he dreads failure, because he is waiting for someone to
advise him or because he dare not act in accordance with his own best judgment. In his
cowardice and his conceit he sees all his non-success due to others. He is “not
appreciated,” “not recognized,” he is “kept down.” He feels that in some subtle way
“society is conspiring against him.” He grows almost vain as he thinks that no one has
had such poverty, such sorrow, such affliction, such failure as have come to him.
The wealth and prosperity of ancient Rome, relying on her slaves to do the real work of
the nation, proved the nation’s downfall. The constant dependence on the captives of war
to do the thousand details of life for them, killed self-reliance in the nation and in the
individual. Then, through weakened self-reliance and the increased opportunity for idle,
luxurious ease that came with it, Rome, a nation of fighters, became,―a nation of men
more effeminate than women. As we depend on others to do those things we should do
for ourselves, our self-reliance weakens and our powers and our control of them becomes
Man to be great must be self-reliant. Though he may not be so in all things, he must be
self-reliant in the one in which he would be great. This self-reliance is not the self-sufficiency of conceit. It is daring to stand alone. Be an oak, not a vine. Be ready to give support, but do not crave it; do not be dependent on it. To develop your true self-reliance,
you must see from the very beginning that life is a battle you must fight for
yourself,―you must be your own soldier. You cannot buy a substitute, you cannot win a
reprieve, you can never be placed on the retired list. The retired list of life is,―death. The
world is busy with its own cares, sorrows and joys,
V. Failure As A Success
IT ofttimes requires heroic courage to face fruitless effort, to take up the
broken strands of a life-work, to look bravely toward the future, and proceed
undaunted on our way. But what, to our eyes, may seem hopeless failure is
often but the dawning of a greater success. It may contain in its debris the
foundation material of a mighty purpose, or the revelation of new and higher possibilities
Failure is one of God’s educators. It is experience leading man to higher things; it is the
revelation of a way, a path hitherto unknown to us. The best men in the world, those who
have made the greatest real successes look back with serene happiness on their failures.
The turning of the face of Time shows all things in a wondrously illuminated and
VI. Doing Our Best at All Times
Edwin Booth, one of the greatest actors on the American stage, would never permit
himself to assume an ungraceful attitude, even in his hours of privacy. In this simple
thing, he ever lived his best. On the stage every move was one of unconscious grace.
Those of his company who were conscious of their motions were the awkward ones, who
were seeking in public to undo or to conceal the carelessness of the gestures and motions
of their private life. The man who is slipshod and thoughtless in his daily speech, whose
vocabulary is a collection of anaemic commonplaces, whose repetitions of phrases and
extravagance of interjections act but as feeble disguises to his lack of ideas, will never be
brilliant on an occasion when he longs to outshine the stars. Living at one’s best is
constant preparation for instant use. It can never make one over-precise, self-conscious,
affected, or priggish. Education, in its highest sense, is conscious training of mind or
body to act unconsciously. It is conscious formation of mental habits, not mere
acquisition of information.
One of the most weakening elements in the individual make-up is the surrender to the
oncoming of years. Man’s self-confidence dims and dies in the fear of age. “This new
thought,” he says of some suggestion tending to higher development, “is good; it is what
we need. I am glad to have it for my children; I would have been happy to have had some
such help when I was at school, but it is too late for me. I am a man advanced in years.”
Socrates, when his hair whitened with the snow of age, learned to play on instruments of
music. Cato, at fourscore, began his study of Greek, and the same age saw Plutarch
beginning, with the enthusiasm of a boy, his first lessons in Latin. The Character of Man,
Theophrastus’ greatest work, was begun on his ninetieth birthday. Chaucer’s Canterbury
Tales was the work of the poet’s declining years. Ronsard, the father of French poetry,
whose sonnets even translation cannot destroy, did not develop his poetic faculty until
nearly fifty. Benjamin Franklin at this age had just taken his really first steps of
importance in philosophic pursuits. Arnauld, the theologian and sage, translated Josephus
in his eightieth year. Winckelmann, one of the most famous writers on classic antiquities,
was the son of a shoemaker, and lived in obscurity and ignorance until the prime of life.
Hobbes, the English philosopher, published his version of the Odyssey in his eightyseventh year, and his Iliad one year later. Chevreul, the great French scientist, whose
untiring labors in the realm of color have so enriched the world, was busy, keen and
active when Death called him, at the age of 103.
VII. The Royal Road to Happiness
Happiness is the greatest paradox in Nature. It can grow in any soil, live under any
conditions. It defies environment. It comes from within; it is the revelation of the depths
of the inner life as light and heat proclaim the sun from which they radiate. Happiness
consists not of having, but of being; not of possessing, but of enjoying. It is the warm
glow of a heart at peace with itself. A martyr at the stake may have happiness that a king
on his throne might envy. Man is the creator of his own happiness; it is the aroma of a life
lived in harmony with high ideals. For what a man has, he may be dependent on others;
what he is, rests with him alone. What he obtains in life is but acquisition; what he
attains, is growth. Happiness is the soul’s joy in the possession of the intangible.
Absolute, perfect, continuous happiness in life, is impossible for the human. It would
mean the consummation of attainments, the individual consciousness of a perfectly
fulfilled destiny. Happiness is paradoxic because it may coexist with trial, sorrow and
poverty. It is the gladness of the heart,―rising superior to all conditions
The Royal Road To Happiness
There is a royal road to happiness; it lies in Consecration, Concentration, Conquest and
Consecration is dedicating the individual life to the service of others, to some noble
mission, to realizing some unselfish ideal. Life is not something to be lived through; it is
something to be lived up to. It is a privilege, not a penal servitude of so many decades on
earth. Consecration places the object of life above the mere acquisition of money, as a
finality. The man who is unselfish, kind, loving, tender, helpful, ready to lighten the
burden of those around him, to hearten the struggling ones, to forget himself sometimes
in remembering others,―is on the right road to happiness. Consecration is ever active,
bold and aggressive, fearing naught but possible disloyalty to high ideals.
Concentration makes the individual life simpler and deeper. It cuts away the shams and
pretences of modern living and limits life to its truest essentials. Worry, fear, useless
regret,―all the great wastes that sap mental, moral or physical energy must be sacrificed,
or the individual needlessly destroys half the possibilities of living. A great purpose in
life, something that unifies the strands and threads of each day’s thinking, something that
takes the sting from the petty trials, sorrows, sufferings and blunders of life, is a great aid
to Concentration. Soldiers in battle may forget their wounds, or even be unconscious of
them, in the inspiration of battling for what they believe is right. Concentration dignifies
an humble life; it makes a great life,―sublime. In morals it is a short-cut to simplicity. It
leads to right for right’s sake, without thought of policy or of reward. It brings calm and
rest to the individual,―a serenity that is but the sunlight of happiness.
Conquest is the overcoming of an evil habit, the rising superior to opposition and attack,
the spiritual exaltation that comes from resisting the invasion of the grovelling material
side of life. Sometimes when you are worn and weak with the struggle; when it seems
that justice is a dream, that honesty and loyalty and truth count for nothing, that the devil
is the only good paymaster; when hope grows dim and flickers, then is the time when you
must tower in the great sublime faith that Right must prevail, then must you throttle these
imps of doubt and despair, you must master yourself to master the world around you.
This is Conquest; this is what counts. Even a log can float with the current, it takes a man
to fight sturdily against an opposing tide that would sweep his craft out of its course.
When the jealousies, the petty intrigues and the meannesses and the misunderstandings in
life assail you,―rise above them. Be like a lighthouse that illumines and beautifies the
snarling, swashing waves of the storm that threaten it, that seek to undermine it and seek
to wash over it. This is Conquest. When the chance to win fame, wealth, success or the
attainment of your heart’s desire, by sacrifice of honor or principle, comes to you and it
does not affect you long enough even to seem a temptation, you have been the victor.
That too is Conquest. And Conquest is part of the royal road to Happiness.
Conscience, as the mentor, the guide and compass of every act, leads ever to Happiness.
When the individual can stay alone with his conscience and get its approval, without
using force or specious logic, then he begins to know what real Happiness is. But the
individual must be careful that he is not appealing to a conscience perverted or deadened
by the wrongdoing and subsequent deafness of its owner. The man who is honestly
seeking to live his life in Consecration, Concentration and Conquest, living from day to
day as best he can, by the light he has, may rely explicitly on his Conscience. He can shut
his ears to “what the world says” and find in the approval of his own conscience the
highest earthly tribune,―the voice of the Infinite communing with the Individual.
Each day there should be fresh resolution, new strength, and renewed enthusiasm. “Just
for Today” might be the daily motto of thousands of societies throughout the country,
composed of members bound together to make the world better through constant simple
acts of kindness, constant deeds of sweetness and love. And Happiness would come to
them, in its highest and best form, not because they would seek to absorb it,
but,―because they seek to radiate it.