One of the most necessary as well as beneficial practices a woman can have is to take fifteen minutes to an hour each day and devote the time to sizing up things, to planning the day's work for the morrow, to threshing the wheat from the chaff, to reviewing the accomplishments of the day.
Sizing up things can only be well done in solitude. The benefits of sizing up things in solitude are so great it is a wonder more has not been written on the subject.
Plants grow in darkness, yet the common understanding is they grow in sunshine. The sunshine is absolutely necessary for the growth of the plant but the real growth is done in the quiet darkness.
A woman's brain develops in solitude, yet bustle and crowds and business activity are as necessary to the woman as sunshine is to the plant. The real brain and moral growth takes place in solitude.
Here again we must remember the law of compensation, for if a plant had all sunshine and no shadow, and if a woman had all hustle and bustle and no solitude, it would be like a machine without a governor; the woman and the plant would run so fast something would have to give way.
On the other hand compensation says that if a woman is too much in solitude, or the plant too much in darkness, they will wither and die.
Woman has always had strong admiration for the strong individual, whether bird, beast, fish, plant or human.
There are two kinds of birds, the kind that lives in flocks, like the blackbird and the wild duck, and the kind that lives by itself, like the eagle. Amongst birds the eagle is chosen as an emblem for the flag, and never the duck or blackbird.
Amongst beasts there are two classes, the herd kind like sheep, and the strong individual, like the lion.
The lion is the symbol of strength and courage, the sheep the symbol of innocence and simplicity. The lion appears on coat of arms but not the sheep.
In the fish family there are two classes, the kind that lives in schools, like the mackerel, and the kind that lives by itself like the whale.
When first the savage drew a rude picture of a fish on his hut it was a whale, and not a mackerel.
We do not find the mackerel's picture excepting at the fish dealers and on the menu, and then only because the mackerel is good to eat.
Among trees the one that attains great proportions and beautiful symmetry is yonder giant oak or elm that grows in the open. It needs room to breathe and grow. It grows better if it is segregated from the crowded forest. The giant tree is not the one that grows in the dense forest.
There are two kinds of women, the kind that lives in the herd and the kind that has strong individuality that needs room to grow. The herd woman exists in infinitely greater numbers than the individual woman.
We cannot imagine Lincoln, Bismarck, Webster, Clay, Edison or Burbank living in the herd, or spending their time in the boulevard cafes.
The woman who lives in a herd, who is ever present where the lights are bright, where gaiety abounds, where excitement reigns, where feasting is present, soon gets herself into the habit of cultivating this excitement. She is never happy when alone.
The brain never sleeps and something must occupy it. The herd woman fills her brain with frivolous things, she seeks constant excitement. She is like the plant always in the sun, she burns herself out.
The great woman with the individuality is great because she has always spent plenty of time by herself, sizing up things in solitude.
Sizing up things makes the brain grow and makes it stronger.
The universities of this country tend in a great measure to produce the herd woman. The students dress alike. All have the same mannerisms, all have the same tilt to their hats, and all the same turned up trousers. They feed at certain restaurants and crowd in flocks. Very few college women learn the benefits of sizing up things in solitude until in after years.
On the other hand the student in the school of practical experience does not copy her fellow students. That is why in this great practical experience school we find Lincolns, Edisons, Jim Hills and Carnegies. Those men have to wrestle with the problems for themselves. They had to size up things in solitude instead of reading the sizing up from text books, as is done in the regular university.
Every woman before retiring at night, or even during the day, should take a few minutes to herself and carefully analyze the doings of the day.
She should weigh the positive and negative acts, the good and the bad, the wise and the foolish, the right and the wrong impulses, the gain and loss in achievement. She should strike a balance, and if she sees that the bad, deterrent and backward things in the lead she should resolve to get a move on herself.
The woman who goes along without this sizing up things in solitude is like the merchant who keeps no record, who pays her bills from the cash-drawer and takes what is left for profit.
She will still be running a little shop in twenty years, while her competitor who sized things up each day will be in the wholesale business or will have retired with a competency.
Try this sizing up things for two weeks, and the benefits you will receive will be so manifest it will need no further suggestion to make you keep up the practice.
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