Alfred Milner

From many points of view we live in a glorious time. I have little sympathy with those who wish they had been born at any, even the most brilliant epoch, in the past of the human race. The Many have now opportunities of study, opportunities of travel, opportunities of healthy enjoyment, which of old were denied to all but the Few. Human activity is expanding in all directions. Life is infinitely fuller, more varied, more interesting than it ever was. But on the other hand it requires more judgment, more balance of mind, more strength of character to make the best of it. Where one can do so many things there is a real danger of trying to do too many, and the end of that is that one does nothing well. Every age has its own special difficulties and dangers. The disease which specially threatens this generation is restlessness, distraction, dissipation of intellectual and moral power. […]

Success will rest with those who can preserve a calm judgement, who will not be bewildered by the multitude of things offered to them, but select with tremendous rigour, and who finally, having selected, will give themselves time to enjoy what they have chosen, and not let themselves be flurried out of the enjoyment and the benefit of it by the thought of all that they have been obliged to pass by.

Alfred Milner, Bustle, Oxford, 1897