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At the same time that we seek superiority we seek to be liked, to be esteemed, to be respected. These are not
the same things, but are sufficiently alike in principle to be classed together. With some the desire to be liked
becomes a motive that ruins firmness of purpose and success, as in the well-known "good
fellow,"--accommodating, obliging and friendly, who sacrifices achievement to this minor form of fellowship.
On a larger plane there is the writer or artist who sacrifices his best capacities in order to please the popular
fancy, seeks popularity rather than greatness, for it is seldom that the two coincide. Back of many a man's
"respectability" is the fear of being disliked or discredited by his group. TO BE RESPECTABLE, TO LIVE
SO THAT NEITHER THE NEIGHBORS NOR ONE'S OWN RATHER UNCRITICAL CONSCIENCE
CAN CRITICIZE, IS PERHAPS THE MOST COMMON AIM IN LIFE. There are some who are all things to
all men, merely out of the desire to be agreeable, who find it easy to agree with any opinion, because they
have not the courage to be disliked. Even the greatest men yield to the desire to be admired and liked, though
the test of greatness is unpopularity.
For there never can be a real and lasting democ-racy in belief, opinion and ideal. The mass must always lag
behind the leaders, since it takes a generation or two for the ideas of the old leaders to permeate any society.
Now and then a great leader finds a great following in his own lifetime, but his leadership rarely involves a
new principle. There will always be a few ground breakers, behind them a few straggling followers, and far,
far behind, the great mass of mankind. CHAPTER XI. 97 This digression aside, to be popular, agreeable and entertaining are both aims and weapons. Most of us would
infinitely rather be liked than disliked, and with some it is a passion and a weakness. But to be popular, to be a
good fellow, is an extraordinarily useful trait when combined with firm purposes and good intelligence. The
art of life is to please, though its business is achievement and success, and here the art may further the
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- Spring '11