The big late-May family Occasions behind us now, it’s time to occupy June. Break bad habits, stop sleeping in, meet the dawn again, and write that book. Habit‘s the keyword, as always. Can’t hear James’s reminder too often, it’s
the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of ordinance,… It alone prevents the hardest and most repulsive walks of life from being deserted by those brought up to tread therein. It keeps the fisherman and the deck-hand at sea through the winter; it holds the miner in his darkness, and nails the countryman to his log cabin and his lonely farm through all the months of snow… It dooms us all to fight out the battle of life upon the lines of our nurture or our early choice, and to make the best of a pursuit that disagrees, because there is no other for which we are fitted, and it is too late to begin again.
…we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague. The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.
But I’ve not deliberated my latest unproductive habits, rather I’ve simply eased into them as the path of least resistance. June’s the wake-up call.
If I forget again, the brainpicker will (I’ve developed the habit of trusting) offer yet another timely prompt. “We are what we repeatedly do,” indeed. Wake, write, walk, read… repeat…
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