Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Boreham on Overcoming Handicaps

When speaking of the difficulty which black young people experience in America in competing with their white rivals, Booker Washington tells us that his own pathetic and desperate struggle taught him that ‘success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.’ There is a good deal in that.

I was once present at a meeting of a certain Borough Council, at which an engineer had to report on a certain proposal which the municipal authorities were discussing. The engineer contented himself with remarking that there were serious difficulties in the way of the execution of the plan. Whereupon the Mayor turned upon the unfortunate engineer and remarked, ‘We pay you your salary, Mr. Engineer, not to tell us that difficulties exist, but to show us how to surmount them!’ I thought it rather a severe rebuke at the time, but very often since, when I have been tempted to allow my handicaps to divert me from my duty, I have been glad that I heard the poor engineer censured.

F W Boreham, ‘The Handicap’, Mushrooms on the Moor (London: Charles H Kelly, 1915), 124-125.

Image: Booker T Washington.