The power of habit is a matter of common observation. The philosophy of it is perhaps not quite so well known. On this point a true word was uttered by Dr. George Thomas Dowling in a sermon published in the Churchman. "Habit," said he, "grooves a channel in our brains. That is the secret of manual dexterity; of intellectual concentration; and of most of moral righteousness. And every day we persist in any given course, whether good or evil, that channel becomes deeper. And it never alters its own direction. If that is changed it must be changed from without; it must be changed by you." And always we need the help of a higher power to break the fetters of sinful habit which hold us back and bind us down.—The Chaplain.
"The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells," says the psychologist, William James, "is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to the conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its ever so little scar.
"The drunken Rip Van Winkle, in Jefferson's play, excuses himself for every fresh dereliction by saying, 'I won't count this time!' Well! he may not count it, and a kind Heaven may not count it; but it is being counted none the less. Deep down among the nerve-cells and fibers the molecules are counting it, registering and storing it up to be used against him when the next temptation comes. Nothing we ever do is, in strict scientific literalness, wiped out."—Selected.
A young man who thinks that he can lead a reckless and profligate life until he becomes a middle-aged man, and then repent and make a good and steady citizen, is deluded by the devil. He thinks that people are fools, destitute of memory. He concludes that if he repents everybody will forget that he was a dissipated wretch. This is not the case; people remember your bad deeds and forget your good ones. Besides it is no easy thing to break up in middle age bad habits that have been formed in youth. When a horse contracts the habit of balking, he generally retains it through life. He will often perform well enough until the wheels get into a deep hole, and then he stops and holds back. Just so it is with the boys who contract bad habits. They will sometime leave off their bad tricks, and do well until they get into a tight place, and then they return to the old habit. Of those who contract the bad habit of drunkenness, hardly one in every hundred dies a sober man. The only way to break up a bad habit is to never contract it. The only way to prevent drunkenness is never to drink.—Standard.
We are all creatures of habit. Once we get the habit of doing things a certain way, it is difficult for us to change . . . since habits become so deeply rooted we should be more careful about forming them . . .
Intelligently formed habits work for us by helping us avoid the mistakes which break down our confidence and destroy our effectiveness . . . A habit, according to Aristotle, begins with the first conscious performance of an act and is strengthened by every repetition. A tendency to act in a certain way becomes ingrained in us in proportion to the frequency with which the action actually occurs.—Carl Holmes, Sunshine Magazine
There is no habit that cannot be overcome by the implanta-tion of a desire that is greater than the desire for the satisfaction of the habit. The great antidote for bad habits is good habits.—Richard Lynch, Mind Makes Men Giants
A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.—Mark Twain
Horace Mann: "Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it."—Friendly Chat
Habit is the enormous flywheel of society, its most precious conservation agent. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision. Fully half of the time of such a man goes to the deciding, or the regretting of matters which ought to be so ingrained in him as practically not to exist for his consciousness at all.—William Jones, Quote
They were honoring Lord Macauley in London for fifty years of distinguished service to the crown. Macauley began his speech of acknowledgement with these sad words: "Gentlemen, I understand that Man inherited three basic vices. I must report to you that I quit one, and one quit me—but I still smoke."
Ill habits gather by unseen degrees,
As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.—Dryden
When at first from virtue's path we stray
How shrinks the feeble heart with sad dismay;
More bold at length, by powerful habit led
Careless and seared the dreary wild we tread;
Behold the gaping gulf of sin with scorn,
And plunging deep, to endless death are borne.—J. Scott
A pin-point hole in a dyke will widen into a gap as big as a church door in ten minutes by the pressure of the flood behind it. The single acts become habits with awful rapidity.—Anonymous
Chemists tell us that a single grain of iodine will impart color to seven thousand times its weight of water. It is so in higher things: one weakness, one bad habit, may influence the whole of life and character. "Let a man examine himself."—Selected
Among the new class which came to the second-grade teacher, a young timid girl, was one Tommy, who for naughty deeds had been many times spanked by his first-grade teacher. "Send him to me any time when you want him spanked," suggested the latter; "I can manage him."
One morning, about a week after this conversation, Tommy appeared at the first-grade teacher's door. She dropped her work, seized him by the arm, dragged him to the dressing-room, turned him over her knee and did her duty.
When she had finished she said: "Well, Tommy, what have you to say?"
"Please, Miss, my teacher wants the scissors."