You rush to the suburbs; you spare no toil to make yourself glorious in fine raiment; you rush back to town in another train; you keep yourself on the stretch for four hours, if not five; you take her home; you take yourself home.
You don't spend three-quarters of an hour in "thinking about" going to bed. You go. Friends and fatigue have equally been forgotten, and the evening has seemed so exquisitely long or perhaps too short! And do you remember that time when you were persuaded to sing in the chorus of the amateur operatic society, and slaved two hours every other night for three months?
Can you deny that when you have something definite to look forward to at eventide, something that is to employ all your energy--the thought of that something gives a glow and a more intense vitality to the whole day?
What I suggest is that at six o'clock you look facts in the face and admit that you are not tired because you are not, you know , and that you arrange your evening so that it is not cut in the middle by a meal. By so doing you will have a clear expanse of at least three hours.
I do not suggest that you should employ three hours every night of your life in using up your mental energy. But I do suggest that you might, for a commencement, employ an hour and a half every other evening in some important and consecutive cultivation of the mind. He's talking about how six hours melts into nothing when you aimlessly wander around, but when you've got a purpose, you can do lots of living in a short period of time. I also like this quote from the above:. But remember, at the start, those ninety nocturnal minutes thrice a week must be the most important minutes in the ten thousand and eighty.
They must be sacred, quite as sacred as a dramatic rehearsal or a tennis match. Instead of saying, "Sorry I can't see you, old chap, but I have to run off to the tennis club," you must say, " Tennis is so much more urgent than the immortal soul. That's the line I remember most from the book. How people can put off procrastination and excuse themselves to go play tennis, but not to develop themselves on the topics they think most important. That one really struck me. More time might assuredly be given to the cultivation of one's self. And in proportion as the time was longer the results would be greater.
But I prefer to begin with what looks like a trifling effort. It is not really a trifling effort, as those will discover who have yet to essay it. To "clear" even seven hours and a half from the jungle is passably difficult. For some sacrifice has to be made. One may have spent one's time badly, but one did spend it; one did do something with it, however ill-advised that something may have been. To do something else means a change of habits.
And habits are the very dickens to change! Further, any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.
[BookSummary] How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett (6 minute read) : BettermentBookClub
If you imagine that you will be able to devote seven hours and a half a week to serious, continuous effort, and still live your old life, you are mistaken. I repeat that some sacrifice, and an immense deal of volition, will be necessary. And it is because I know the difficulty, it is because I know the almost disastrous effect of failure in such an enterprise, that I earnestly advise a very humble beginning. You must safeguard your self-respect. Self-respect is at the root of all purposefulness, and a failure in an enterprise deliberately planned deals a desperate wound at one's self-respect.
Hence I iterate and reiterate: Start quietly, unostentatiously. Such an obvious observation, but something I'd never put quite that way before. You are doing something with your time.
How to live on 24 hours a day
If you wish to do something else, some of the time you were spending on something else needs to be not spent there. Very important to think about. And without the power to concentrate--that is to say, without the power to dictate to the brain its task and to ensure obedience--true life is impossible. Mind control is the first element of a full existence. When you leave your house, concentrate your mind on a subject no matter what, to begin with. You will not have gone ten yards before your mind has skipped away under your very eyes and is larking round the corner with another subject.
Bring it back by the scruff of the neck.
Ere you have reached the station you will have brought it back about forty times. Do not despair. Keep it up. You will succeed. You cannot by any chance fail if you persevere. It is idle to pretend that your mind is incapable of concentration. Do you not remember that morning when you received a disquieting letter which demanded a very carefully-worded answer? How you kept your mind steadily on the subject of the answer, without a second's intermission, until you reached your office; whereupon you instantly sat down and wrote the answer?
You would have no trifling. You insisted that its work should be done, and its work was done.
That part is about training yourself to concentrate gradually. He suggests you can do it by trying to fix your mind on any particular topic, and keep bringing yourself back around to it when your mind wanders. I haven't tried this yet - I should, it sounds like an interesting exercise. I do not care what you concentrate on, so long as you concentrate. It is the mere disciplining of the thinking machine that counts. But still, you may as well kill two birds with one stone, and concentrate on something useful. I suggest--it is only a suggestion--a little chapter of Marcus Aurelius or Epictetus.
Good stuff. I strongly recommend Marcus Aurelius, it's great stuff. Haven't read any Epictetus - I'll have to look it up. Yes, my friend, it is useless for you to try to disguise the fact.
I can hear your brain like a telephone at my ear. You are saying to yourself: "This fellow was doing pretty well up to his seventh chapter.
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He had begun to interest me faintly. But what he says about thinking in trains, and concentration, and so on, is not for me. It may be well enough for some folks, but it isn't in my line. It is for you, I passionately repeat; it is for you. Indeed, you are the very man I am aiming at. Throw away the suggestion, and you throw away the most precious suggestion that was ever offered to you.
It is not my suggestion. It is the suggestion of the most sensible, practical, hard-headed men who have walked the earth. I only give it you at second-hand. Try it.
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