Mind you, I have had in my sojourn on earth as good a time of it as any man, so I can speak with some knowledge. A writer in the Manchester Guardian who is unknown to me lately described me as "the richest man in the world." That sounds a pretty big order, but when I come to think it out I believe he is not far wrong. A rich man is not necessarily a man with a whole pot of money but a man who is really happy. And I am that.
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The great thing that strikes you on looking back is how quickly you have come-how very brief is the span of life on this earth. The warning that one would give, therefore, is that it is well not to fritter it away on things that don't count in the end; nor on the other hand is it good to take life too seriously as some seem to do. Make it a happy life while you have it. That is where success is possible to every man.
Possibly the best suggestion in condensed form, as to how to live, was given by my old Headmaster, Dr. Haig Brown, in 1904, when he wrote his Recipe for Old Age. A diet moderate and spare, Freedom from base financial care, Abundant work and little leisure, A love of duty more than pleasure, An even and contented mind In charity with all mankind, Some thoughts too sacred for display In the broad light of common day, A peaceful home, a loving wife, Children, who are a crown of life; These lengthen out the years of man Beyond the Psalmist's narrow span.
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The Scoutmaster guides the boy in the spirit of an older brother.... He has simply to be a boy-man, that is: (1) He must have the boy spirit in him: and must be able to place himself in the right plane with his boys as a first step. (2) He must realise the needs, outlooks and desires of the different ages of boy life. (3) He must deal with the individual boy rather than with the mass. (4) He then needs to promote a corporate spirit among his individuals to gain the best results.
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We should take care, in inculcating patriotism into our boys and girls, that is a patriotism above the narrow sentiment which usually stops at one's country, and thus inspires jealousy and enmity in dealing with others... Our patriotism should be of the wider, nobler kind which recognises justice and reasonableness in the claims of others and which lead our country into comradeship with...the other nations of the world.
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The first step to this end is to develop peace and goodwill within our borders, by training our youth of both sexes to its practice as their habit of life, so that the jealousies of town against town, class against class and sect against sect no longer exist; and then to extend this good feeling beyond our frontiers towards our neighbours.
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I have over and over again explained that the purpose of the Boy Scout and Girl Guide Movement is to build men and women as citizens endowed with the three H's namely, Health, Happiness and Helpfulness. The man or woman who succeeds in developing these three attributes has secured the main steps to success this Life.
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I have known lots of millionaires who were not happy men; they had not got all they wanted and therefore had failed to find success in life. A Singalese proverb says: "He who is happy is rich, but it does not follow that he who is rich is happy." The really rich man is the man who has fewest wants.
Always do I recall the parting words uttered by my old governor: "My boy, never . . ." I won't set 'em down. I disregarded them fool-like and paid, and paid; had I a son I'd hand 'em on and ram 'em home. What fools we be when young. We fancy we be wise, forgetting that the old boys have graduated in the 'varsity of the world, the greatest 'varsity of all, and each day we should learn from they.
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Young men, of course, don't want to be guided by old back numbers, but at the same time I know that in my own case I gained a lot by studying the characters of the chiefs under whom I served from time to time. Lord Wolseley, for instance, said: "Use your common sense rather than book instructions."
Commemorative stone in the floor of the Chapel of St. George in Westminster Abbey, London, dedicated in 1947: TO THE MEMORY OF ROBERT Baden-Powell CHIEF SCOUT OF THE WORLD 1857-1941 Upon one side of the stone was the badge of the Boy Scouts, the arrow-head to point the true way as it had pointed the way for sailors and navigators from the time of the earliest maps; and on the other the badge of the Girl Guides-the three-leafed clover.
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I have often urged my young friends, when faced with an adversary, to "play polo" with him; i.e., not to go at him bald-headed but to ride side by side with him and gradually edge him off your track. Never lose your temper with him. If you are in the right there is no need to, if you are in the wrong you can't afford to.
My belief is that we were put into this world of wonders and beauty with a special ability to appreciate them, in some cases to have the fun of taking a hand in developing them, and also in being able to help other people instead of overreaching them and, through it all, to enjoy life - that is, to be happy.
Living indoors without fresh air quickly poisons the blood and makes people feel tired and seedy when they don't know why. For myself, I sleep out of doors in winter as well as summer. I only feel tired or seedy when I have been indoors a lot. I only catch cold when I sleep in a room.