To live content with small means
This means to realize to the full the possibilities of life. Contentment means ABSENCE OF WORRY. It is only when free from worry that the brain can act normally, up to its highest standard. The man content with small means does his best work, devotes his energies to that which is worth while, and not to acquiring that which has no value.
To seek elegance rather than luxury
The difference between elegance and luxury is the difference between the thin, graceful deer, browsing on the scanty but sufficient forest pasture, and the fat swine revelling in plentiful garbage.
Refinement rather than fashion
The difference between refinement and fashion is the difference between brains and clothing, the difference between an Emerson or a Huxley and a Beau Brummel or other worthless but elaborately decked carcass.
To be worthy, not respectable
In other words, to be like Henry George, and not like the owner of a trust.
Wealthy, not rich
The man who has a good wife and good children, enough to take care of them, but not enough to spoil them, is WEALTHY. He is happier than the man who is RICH enough to be worried, rich enough to make it certain that his children will be ruined by extravagance, and perhaps live to be ashamed of him.
To study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly
To exercise in this way the brain that is given to us is to lead the life of a MAN, a life of self-control, a life that is worth while, that leads to something and helps forward the improvement of the race.
To listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart
This means to enjoy the noblest gifts that God has given to man. He is happy who takes more pleasure in a beautiful sunset than in the sight of a flunky with powdered hair, artificial calves and lofty manners, handing him something indigestible on a plate of gold.
Written by: William Henry Channing