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You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Power invariably elects to go into the hands of the strong. That strength may be physical or of the heart or, if we do not fight shy of the word, of the spirit. Strength of the heart connotes soul-force. Let it be remembered that physical force is transitory, even as the body is transitory. But the power of spirit is permanent even as the spirit is everlasting.
The strength of all sciences, which consisteth in their harmony, each supporting the other, is as the strength of the old man's fagot in the band; for were it not better for a man in a fair room to set up one great light, or branching candlestick of lights, than to go about with a small watch-candle into every corner?
All human activity is prompted by desire. There is a wholly fallacious theory advanced by some earnest moralists to the effect that it is possible to resist desire in the interests of duty and moral principle. I say this is fallacious, not because no man ever acts from a sense of duty, but because duty has no hold on him unless he desires to be dutiful. If you wish to know what men will do, you must know not only, or principally, their material circumstances, but rather the whole system of their desires with their relative strengths.
A woman cannot live in the light of intellect. Society forbids it. Those conventional frivolities, which are called her 'duties', forbid it. Her 'domestic duties', high-sounding words, which, for the most part, are but bad habits (which she has not the courage to enfranchise herself from, the strength to break through), forbid it.
In short, enjoy the blessing of strength while you have it and do not bewail it when it is gone, unless, forsooth, you believe that youth must lament the loss of infancy, or early manhood the passing of youth. Life's race-course is fixed; Nature has only a single path and that path is run but once, and to each stage of existence has been allotted its own appropriate quality; so that the weakness of childhood, the impetuosity of youth, the seriousness of middle life, the maturity of old age—each bears some of Nature's fruit, which must be garnered in its own season.