Reprinted from the October 1935 issue of Doc Savage Magazine
THE whole world lives by example, in one way or another. There is nothing like extreme and complete individualism. Whatever we do we copy from some one else, whether intentionally or merely by instinct, or through our inherent training. This does not infer that we are a world of "copy cats," but it does mean that every act of ours means more than its own result; it means that it sets an example for some one else to follow, and therefore we should do our best to make the example worth following.
If you knew that everything you did was followed by some particular individual and used as a guide, the chances are all that you would do the very best you could; that nothing unkind or unworthy would bear your mark. Feeling that what you do is of no account to any one, you are not as careful, not as sincere, in all your actions. The result is that you hurt yourself as much as any one else, for you, yourself, are your own closest copyist; what you do one time you will tend to do another, and again and again, until it has become a habit which you can not break, and a habit which succeeds in doing most harm to yourself.
If it is hard for you to realize this, just look over the things you usua]ly do, and see if they are not the result of some inconsiderate action long ago. As a child, it might have been the biting of your fingernails; grown up, it is probably something else; some little thing which you do unconsciously but which is nerve-racking to your associates.
Not only that, but other habits of yours, more serious in their consequences, and the very method of your life, are the result of those little things which came up, years ago, and little by little increased in importance until now they are so tremendous that they rule you, instead of you ruling them.
Would it not be much better if you could say that you were your own master in all things, and that if you were a creature of habit, your habits tended toward the good of man, instead of tending to be harmful to any one?
It would be much better for all concerned if we should resolve to watch our every action, and try to do things in such a way that they could be imitated by any one with benefit. It would be much better if we should hold up such a guide as is the Code of Doc Savage, and try at all times to improve ourselves, to do everything possible to make this world a better place for all our fellow men.
Why not try, each time we do something, to see if it cannot be done in a way which will make it most enjoyable for others? Even in the most routine things of life, let us attempt to do things that way. From the minute you get out of bed in the morning, until you go back beneatih the covers again at night, let us show consideration and regard for every one, at home, at work, on the street, or at play.
If we do everything in that way, with such regard for others, then we need have no fear of the consequence of our example. Whoever wishes to follow in the footsteps of an individual who so lives his life will be patterning existence after the finest possible mould we know. There is nothing that can be said against the man or woman who earnestly and sincerely does the best he can. No matter what the result; no matter how large or small the accomplishment in the end, the greatest thing is the fact that everything was done in the ideal way. Possibly success will not be as great as if some other method had been adopted, but success will be much sweeter, much more enjoyable, and many more people will have been started on the right way by that example.
There is no way to guide our existence except by the good it does. The only success that counts is the success that gives the fullest satisfaction, not necessarily the greatest money.
We have on our rolls tens of thousands of members, all of whom have found that following the example of Doc Savage, living as best they could according to the Code of Doc Savage, has given them a much better life than they have had before. Their example has led thousands of others to our ranks, who in their turn have added others. All of which proves that example is the most potent thing in our existence, and that a good example is necessary to proper living.
Why not follow the example of these other thousands to-day by clipping the coupon, and becoming a member of the Doc Savage Club? The Code of Doc Savage will help you live a better life. The experiences of other members will encourage you, and this department will give you the opportunity to express your opinion.
There is no charge whatever. Membership, and your membership card, come to you absolutely free. Just send in the coupon; you need not even enclose return postage. But if you wish to have the bronze emblem of our club, we must make a charge to meet part of its cost. Since we have no commercial phase of our club, we can cover only part of this cost, and ask our members to cover the rest. But your membership card is sufficient; the emblem is only an accessory which you might enjoy.