by Napoleon Hill
Life, you can’t subdue me because I refuse to take your discipline too seriously. When you try to hurt me, I laugh — and the laughter knows no pain. I appreciate your joys wherever I find them; your sorrows neither frighten nor discourage me, for there is laughter in my soul.
Temporary defeat does not make me sad. I simply set music to the words of defeat and turn it into a song. Your tears are not for me, for I like laughter much better, and because I like it, I use it as a substitute for grief and sorrow and pain and disappointment.
Life, you are a fickle trickster — don’t deny it. You slipped the emotion of love into my heart so that you might use it as a thorn with which to prick my soul — but I learned to dodge your trap with laughter. You tried to lure me with the desire for gold, but I have fooled you by following the trail which leads to knowledge instead. You induced me to build beautiful friendships — then converted my friends to enemies so you may harden my heart, but I sidestepped your figure on this by laughing off your attempts and selecting new friends in my own way.
You caused men to cheat me at trade so I will become distrustful, but I won again because I possess one precious asset which no man can steal — it is the power to think my own thoughts and to be myself. You threaten me with death, but to me death is nothing worse than a long peaceful sleep, and sleep is the sweetest of human experiences — excepting laughter. You build a fire of hope in my heart, then sprinkle water on the flames, but I can go you one better by rekindling the fire — and I laugh at you once more.
You have nothing that can lure me away from laughter, and you are powerless to scare me into submission. To a life of laughter, then, I raise my cup of cheer!