This I Believe
Mann, Edward M.
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And now, This I Believe. A series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. The standard, if somewhat whimsical, characterization of a banker is that of a man with fleshy jowls and a heart of stone and a bachelor is invariably expected to be an irascible individual growing more crotchety with age. So a banker, who is also a bachelor, entering his sixties should be by all the rules a forbidding citizen indeed. But Edward M. Mann, vice-president of the Philadelphia National Bank, defies that description just as he has defied the sometimes stuffy protocol of the financial world. Vice-presidents, he says, should never take themselves too seriously, there are
too many of them. He has known bootblacks to be more interesting than brokers. But Edward Mann’s view of life is far from flippant. He lives it fully and with dedication. He gives himself tirelessly to such enterprises as the YMCA. His passion is education and he has helped many earnest young men to pursue it. Now he reveals his philosophy.
It is not easy to express the thoughts that are deep within one’s soul, in public, without a bit of shyness. My life and career have not been outstanding, but I believe that if, perchance, my words may be of help to others, I should have the courage to speak them.
On my journey through life, I have observed that those people who live by the simple truths achieve the
greatest happiness. Therefore, I have arrived at a philosophy which sustains me at all times. Foremost is an unshakable faith in God and the belief of the ultimate triumph of His plan for mankind and the world.
There comes to my mind an occasion in France during the First World War. One beautiful spring night, I was walking my post on guard duty, over a hundred miles back from the fighting and out of all danger. Everything was so quiet and beautiful; it made one feel glad to be alive. My thoughts turned to the front, and it was hard to believe that, there, men were destroying each other. I was disturbed and confused. It was not possible to reason it out.
There was only one answer to it: God knows and man must not question it. That was my conclusion. We are all selfish and self-concerned, but by submission to His will and believing that all trials and tribulations which beset us are part of His scheme, I believe one can achieve contentment. Aesop said, “The Gods help them that help themselves.” I believe God helps them that help others. To me, there has been no greater satisfaction in life than the happiness which results from the feeling that someone has been benefited by some thought or act on my part.
One of the simple truths that early in my life impressed itself upon me was that among my friends, there were none who were free from faults, and I learned to like them in spite of that, hoping that
they would feel the same way toward me. One of the most interesting parts of life, to me, is the surprises that one meets with in human contacts. Some of the finest and happiest characters I have known possess neither social position nor material wealth. However, they were rich in gems of philosophy and understanding.
Therefore, I believe that part of my happiness results from the friends in all walks of life whom I have met, and with whom I have exchanged ideas, appreciation, and understanding. It is surprising how alike we all are when we get deep down under the skin, and what common worries afflict us. It seems to me that most people I have met want to do the right thing by one another, so I believe that despite the
disturbances of the day, the world is growing better and that gives, to me, a feeling of hope and optimism.
A financier who is also an optimist is supposed to be something of a rarity these days but Edward M. Mann, vice-president of the Philadelphia National Bank, whose creed you have just heard, is a rare person in more ways than one. A man who has devised a design for living and then lived it.