A rare speech from one of my heros, the subject
of my book, The Seven Lost Secrets of Success

Last month a man in Chicago refused a million dollars for an invention he had evolved in his spare time.

You are interested in this because it confronts you with the possibilities of your spare time. Did you ever stop to think that most of the world’s great men have achieved their true life work, not in the course of their needful occupations, but- in their spare time?

A tired-out rail-splitter crouched over his tattered books by candlelight or by fire-glow, at the day’s end: preparing for his future, instead of snoring or skylarking like his co-laborers. Lincoln cut out his pat to later immortality–in his spare time.

An underpaid and overworked telegraph clerk stole hours from sleep or from play, at night, trying to crystallize in to realities certain fantastic dreams in which he had faith. Today the whole world is benefiting by what Edison did–in his spare time.

A down-at-the-heel instructor in an obscure college varied the drudgery he hated by spending his evenings and holidays in tinkering with a queer device of his, at which his fell teachers laughed. But he invented the telephone–in his spare time.

Gentlemen, you, too, have spare time. The man who says: “I would do such and such of a great thing, if only I had time!” would do nothing if he had all the time on the calendar. There is always time–spare time–at the disposal of every human who has the energy to use it. Use it!

Published in article form in the American Magazine

Related Portfolio Items