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The Law of Obedience

The very first item in the creed of common sense is Obedience.

Perform your work with a whole heart.

Revolt may be sometimes necessary, but the man who tries to mix revolt and obedience is doomed to disappoint himself and everybody with whom he has dealings. To flavor work with protest is to fail absolutely.

When you revolt, why revolt--climb, hike, get out, defy--tell everybody and everything to go to hades! That disposes of the case. You thus separate yourself entirely from those you have served--no one misunderstands you--you have declared yourself.

The man who quits in disgust when ordered to perform a task which he considers menial or unjust may be a pretty good fellow, but in the wrong environment, but the malcontent who takes your order with a smile and then secretly disobeys, is a dangerous proposition. To pretend to obey, and yet carry in your heart the spirit of revolt is to do half-hearted, slipshod work. If revolt and obedience are equal in power, your engine will then stop on the center and you benefit no one, not even yourself.

The spirit of obedience is the controlling impulse that dominates the receptive mind and the hospitable heart. There are boats that mind the helm and there are boats that do not. Those that do not, get holes knocked in them sooner or later.

To keep off the rocks, obey the rudder.

Obedience is not to slavishly obey this man or that, but it is that cheerful mental state which responds to the necessity of the case, and does the thing without any back talk--unuttered or expressed.

Obedience to the institution--loyalty! The man who has not learned to obey has trouble ahead of him every step of the way. The world has it in for him continually, because he has it in for the world.

The man who does not know how to receive orders is not fit to issue them to others. But the individual who knows how to execute the orders given him is preparing the way to issue orders, and better still--to have them obeyed.


Elbert Hubbard