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The knights laid great stress on never being out of temper. They thought it bad form to lose their temper and to show anger.

Captain John Smith was himself a cheerful man. In fact, towards the end of his life two boys to whom he told his adventures, wrote them down in a book, but said that they found great difficulty in hearing all that he said, because he roared with laughter at his own descriptions of his troubles. But it is very certain that had he not been a cheery man, he never could have come through half the dangers with which he was faced at different times in his career.

Over and over again he was made prisoner by his enemies - sometimes savage enemies - but he managed always to captivate them with his pleasant manner, and become friends with them, so that they let him go, or did not trouble to catch him when he made his escape.

If you do your work cheerfully, your work becomes much more of a pleasure to you. And also, if you are cheerful it makes other people cheerful as well, which is part of your duty as a Scout. Sir J. M. Barrie wrote: "Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep happiness from themselves." If you make other people happy, you make yourself happy.

And I'll tell you a secret about making your work easy, whatever it is. If your work is lessons in school, or doing jobs for an employer, or in a workshop, or an office, you can, if you like, get very bored and tired of it. If you keep thinking of what you will do to enjoy yourself when you get out and how much better off other fellows are who don't have to work, then you will get to hate your work-it will hang on you all the time, you will do it badly, and you won't get on. But if you take the other line and see what your work will lead to in the end and the good it will bring to yourself or others for whom you are making things, then you will go at it eagerly, and very soon you will find that instead of hating it you will love it, and keep doing it better and better all the time.

If you are in the habit of taking things cheerfully, you will very seldom find yourself in serious trouble, because if a difficulty or annoyance or danger seems great, you will, if you are wise, force yourself to laugh at it-although I will allow it is very difficult to do so at first. Still, the moment you do laugh, most of the difficulty seems to disappear at once, and you can tackle it quite easily.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: Good Temper

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: Fortitude

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