Excerpted from here’s how by who’s who, a compilation of messages from successful men. The following article was written by J. Edgar Hoover in 1965.
We do not think of Special Agents as working for the FBI. We consider that they are the FBI. Before we begin training men to become Agents, therefore, we strive to know the kind of men they are. To do this, we have to know what each was like as a boy. We study their backgrounds to see if they are men of honor on whom we can depend. We look for decent, intelligent, selfless, manly men.
What is it that makes a man a real man?
There are many things, but perhaps the inner voice he listened to as a young boy was most important of all. That voice we call conscience, and it directs one’s thoughts. What one thinks may find expression in actions. Since repeated actions form habits, the thoughts you are thinking and the things you are doing at this moment tend to reveal the kind of man you will be.
Were I asked what a boy needs to do today in order to be a man worthy of the name tomorrow, I would say:
1. Never lie and never cheat. A liar is a weakling. A cheat is both a weakling and a thief. In finding the courage to honor truth in all things, you are on the way to self-mastery.
2. Work hard. Your mind is a storehouse and you stock the shelves. Stock them with quality goods. Remember that the habits of work and study you form today are the ones you will live with tomorrow.
3. Have fun. Play active games which require stamina and sportsmanship. Abide by the rules yourself. Demand that others do likewise.
4. Honor your Creator. God is the source of all good. The ideals on which our Nation is founded stem from Him who is Author of Liberty. Americans above all others have much for which to be grateful. You can express appreciation for your priceless heritage best by living according to the code of “Duty, Honor, Country.”
If you do these, and in all things do your best, the mind and heart and soul you develop will one day be those of a man.