The Majesty of Calmness
By William George Jordan
Published in 1898
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Calmness is the rarest quality in human life. It is the poise of a great nature, in harmony with itself and its ideals. It is the moral atmosphere of a life self-centered, self-reliant, and self-controlled. Calmness is singleness of purpose, absolute confidence, and conscious power, ready to be focused in an instant to meet any crisis. When the worries and cares of the day fret you and begin to wear upon you, and you chafe under the friction be calm.
Stop, rest for a moment, and let calmness and peace assert themselves. If you let these irritating outside influences get the better of you, you are confessing your inferiority to them, by permitting them to dominate you. Study the disturbing elements, each by itself, bring all the will power of your nature to bear upon them, and you will find that they will, one by one, melt into nothingness, like vapors fading before the sun. The glow of calmness that will then pervade your mind, the tingling sensation of an inflow of new strength, maybe to you the beginning of the revelation of the supreme calmness that is possible for you.
No man in the world ever attempted to wrong another without being injured in return someway, somehow, sometime. The only weapon of offense that Nature seems to recognize is the boomerang. Nature keeps her books admirably; she puts down every item, she closes all accounts finally, but she does not always balance them at the end of the month. To the man who is calm, revenge is so far beneath him that he cannot reach it even by stooping. When injured, he does not retaliate; he wraps around him the royal robes of Calmness, and he goes quietly on his way.
Nature is very unAmerican. Nature never hurries. Every phase of her working shows plan, calmness, reliability, and the absence of hurry. Hurry always implies a lack of definite method, confusion, impatience of slow growth. Hurry never realizes that slow, careful foundation work is the quickest in the end.
Hurry has ruined more Americans than has any other word in the vocabulary of life. It is the scourge of America and is both a cause and a result of our high-pressure civilization. Hurry adroitly assumes so many masquerades of disguise that its identity is not always recognized. Hurry always pays the highest price for everything, and, usually, the goods are not delivered.
In the race for wealth, men often sacrifice time, energy, health, home, happiness, and honor, everything that money cannot buy, the very things that money can never bring back. The man who is self-reliant seeks ever to discover and conquer the weakness within him that keeps him from the attainment of what he holds dearest; he seeks within himself the power to battle against all outside influences.
He realizes that all the greatest men in history, in every phase of human effort, have been those who have had to fight against the odds of sickness, suffering, sorrow. To him, defeat is no more than passing through a tunnel is to a traveler, he knows he must emerge again into the sunlight.