Searchlights on Health/Habit
It is almost as difficult to make a man unlearn his Errors as his Knowledge.—COLTON.
There are habits contracted by bad example, or bad management, before we have judgment to discern their approaches, or because the eye of Reason is laid asleep, or has not compass of view sufficient to look around on every quarter.—TUCKER.
1. HABIT.—Our real strength in life depends upon habits formed in early life. The young man who sows his wild oats and indulges in the social cup, is fastening chains upon himself that never can be broken. The innocent youth by solitary practice of self-abuse will fasten upon himself a habit which will wreck his physical constitution and bring suffering and misery and ruin. Young man and young woman, beware of bad habits formed in early life.
2. A BUNDLE OF HABITS.—Man, it has been said, is a bundle of habits; and habit is second nature. Metastasio entertained so strong an opinion as to the power of repetition in act and thought, that he said, "All is habit in mankind, even virtue itself." Evil habits must be conquered, or they will conquer us and destroy our peace and happiness.
3. VICIOUS HABITS.—Vicious habits, when opposed, offer the most vigorous resistence on the first attack. At each successive encounter this resistence grows fainter and fainter, until finally it ceases altogether and the victory is achieved. Habit is man's best friend and worst enemy; it can exalt him to the highest pinnacle of virtue, honor and happiness, or sink him to the lowest depths of vice, shame and misery.
4. HONESTY, OR KNAVERY.—We may form habits of honesty, or knavery; truth, or falsehood; of industry, or idleness; frugality, or extravagance; of patience, or impatience; self-denial, or self-indulgence; of kindness, cruelty, politeness, rudeness, prudence, perseverance, circumspection. In short, there, is not a virtue, nor a vice; not an act of body, nor of mind, to which we may not be chained down by this despotic power.
5. BEGIN WELL.—It is a great point for young men to begin well; for it is the beginning of life that that system of conduct is adopted which soon assumes the force of habit. Begin well, and the habit of doing well will become quite easy, as easy as the habit of doing badly. Pitch upon that course of life which is the most excellent, and habit will render it the most delightful.