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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

17. Following

The Lines

Bottom. [9] Times change, and a man must adapt to changing times, though always maintaining his principles based on what is right. He who does not change and adapt with the times soon finds his circle of followers growing smaller and smaller and his prospects growing less and less. Hence, it is important that the man not surround himself with just followers who agree with him, but that he go outside his own circle and listen to the views of all kinds of men, even those who disagree with him or consider themselves his enemy. He remains in touch with his followers, but he also remains willing to reach out to others and to know and understand them in order to maintain the broadest of views.
2. [6] A man must choose carefully those he associates with. If he wastes time with unworthy characters, he will not have time for more worthy companions. Moreover, unworthy associates tend to drive away those more worthwhile, who may be more discerning and particular than is the man and find such persons distasteful. Since unworthy companions tend to distract a man and lead him into unworthy actions, his inattention to the quality of his associates will mean that his efforts will come to naught.
3. [6] Association with persons of high quality improves a man's character and his fortunes. Though he may lose some companions who are uncomfortable with those who are more worthy, the loss is not significant and is more than made up for by the advantages he gains to his life and work from persons who have more to contribute. The right choice is clear, but still the man must decide: does he want to improve himself and better his opportunities, or does he want to waste his time and substance with persons who are unworthy and fritter away things that are important?
4. [9] A man in a prominent position may attract unworthy associates who recognize his good qualities, and he allows this merely because he chooses to overlook their inferior qualities. Such people, however, are only using him for whatever advantage it may bring them, and will do whatever it takes to win his favor. If the man surrounds himself with those kinds of parasites, he will surely meet with misfortune. It is necessary that he ignore their flattery and look beyond the feeling of importance such people give him. If he can focus clearly on his goals and the principles he knows to be important, he will be able to see these people as they are and not be distracted from what it is he wishes to accomplish.
5. [9] Every person stands for something, whether he has articulated it clearly or not. This is what defines his character, determines his choices, and forms his destiny. If he devotes himself to that which is honest and true, that which is just and right, and that which is beautiful and uplifting, his life will be enhanced, and he will find success and satisfaction on his path.
Top. [6] A man may have lived a productive life of service to mankind, he may have struggled with difficulties and improved himself until he now occupies a place of respect, and he may feel that the time has come to withdraw from the world of men and enjoy a time of repose. But if a person who fully appreciates the man comes forth and entreats him to take on yet another worthy effort, he may do so, and he and his follower will both benefit from the effort. The result will be a worthy contribution to mankind, together with well-deserved honors and recognition to the man.
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