Essay on “The Powers and Limitations of a Self-Made Man” for School, College Students, Long and Short English Essay, Speech for Class 8, 9, 10, 12 and Competitive Exams.

The Powers and Limitations of a Self-Made Man

A “self-made” man is a man who has made himself what he is. By his own unaided efforts, he has pushed his way up from a low position to success and even fame. He is a believer in the proverb, “God helps those who help themselves”; and he has proved the value of self-help. A good modern example of a self-made man is Morris, Lord Nuffield, the multimillionaire motor-car designer and manufacturer, who started life as an errand boy and then a cycle repairing mechanic. If you want more examples, you will find plenty of them in Samuel Smiles’ book, “Self-Help”. Read there the life-stories of such men as James Watt, George Stephenson, Josiah Wedgewood, Richard Arkwright, Palissy the Potter, and hundreds more.

How did such men achieve success, and rise to wealth, power, position or fame ? It was because they possessed certain qualities, and used them to the kill. Their lives exemplify the value and importance of such homely virtues as self-reliance, honesty, industry, perseverance and moral courage, and of such qualities as energy and enterprise. In his preface to his book, “Self-Help”, Dr. Smiles says: “The object of this book is to re-inculcate these old-fashioned but whole-some lessons….that youth must work in order to enjoy ; that nothing creditable can be accomplished without application and diligence ; that the student must not be daunted by difficulties, but conquer them by patience and perseverance; and that, above all, he must seek elevation of character, without which, capacity is worthless and worldly success nought.” These words sum up the powers of the self-made man. His success is due to a single aim, energy, self-reliance, industry, perseverance, tenacity of purpose, courage and honesty.

But the self-made man has his limitations. He is rarely a man of broad culture. Generally, owing to his poor beginnings, he lacks a general education. All his energies have been confined to a single practical channel of industry ; and he is inclined to despise scholarship and mental culture. So he is sometimes narrow-minded and dogmatic. He is, too, often rather blatantly proud of his success, and inclined to regard less successful men as weaklings. Disraeli neatly rebuked a man of this type who often boasted in his speeches in the House of Commons about himself : “The honourable member”, said Disraeli, “is constantly telling us that he is a self-made man and he evidently adores his maker!”

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