What you get through your own labour gives you much more pleasure than what you inherit or get by sheer luck. The fruits of labour mean the outcome of one’s own exertions and endeavours, while the gifts of fortune imply inherited wealth, a legacy or a prize won through a lottery. There is real pleasure in honest labour.
A farmer undergoes hard toil in ploughing soil, sowing seeds. watering field, looking after young plants, weeding out unwanted growth, keeping off birds and cattle from damaging crops. But he performs all this cheerfully because he expects to receive his reward It gives him a thrill to see the harvest ready.
It refreshes his eyes to behold the ripe corn. He puts his sickle to grain and derives infinite joy by reaping harvest. His labours have borne rich fruit and his happiness is unlimited.
Similar is the case of a businessman who invests a small amount of money in a certain enterprise and by dint of hard work and sincere devotion to his business makes considerable profit. He now increases the amount of his investment as well as his industry and makes a still greater profit. By degrees he emerges into the limelight and is reckoned among the leading businessmen.
If he does not slacken his efforts, he may one day find himself a famous business magnate. He is a self-made man. He draws an indescribable pleasure from the fact that he has been richly rewarded. In the same way, a student experiences great joy when after months of the hard work he wins a scholarship. In every walk of life it holds good that a man feels intense pleasure when his labours are crowned with success.
Think of the joy of a mountaineer when, after bravingall dangers, he finds himself at the top of a mountain. Think of the glow of pleasure felt by those who after weary toil explored the North or South Pole. What a great pleasure must Columbus have felt when he reached America after months of dangerous voyaging.
Imagine Bolivar’s joy after emancipation the South American colonies and Garibaldi’s delight after liberating Italy Miss Florence Nightingale must have felt deep satisfaction after she had brought order out of the chaos prevailing in hospitals. Hundreds of examples can be given to show that sweet is the reward of industry.
On the other hand, the pleasure out of the gifts of fortune can never be genuine or deep. A man who has inherited a vast amount of wealth but has earned no money by his personal exertions may be happy, but his happiness is superficial. He is uncomfortable when he realizes that others regard him as a drone or as an enterprising fellow.
He has a secret sense of guilt in making use of the wealth that his forefathers earned. Gift of fortune tends to make a man idle. The owner of a large hereditary estate carrying a regular income feels no incentive to any hard start. On the other hand, a man who is self-made makes constant efforts to improve his position further because he knows that honest labour bears a lovely face.
The expectation of rewards always makes a man industrious. Besides, he who has earned wealth by hard labour knows its value and is therefore careful in spending it. But the possessor of inherited wealth, unable to realize how much toil is required to earn money, will squander his money recklessly.