Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The power of habit

Sir James Paget tells us that a practiced musician can play on the piano at the rate of twenty-four notes a second. For each note a nerve current must be transmitted from the brain to the fingers, and from the fingers to the brain. Each note requires three movements of a finger, the bending down and raising up, and at least one lateral, making no less than seventy-two motions in a second, each requiring a distinct effort of the will, and directed unerringly with a certain speed, and a certain force, to a certain place.
Some can do this easily, and be at the same time busily employed in intelligent conversation.
Thus, by obeying the law of habit until repetition has formed a second nature, we are able to pass the technique of life almost wholly over to nerve centers, leaving our minds free to act or enjoy.

Man's life-work is a masterpiece or a botch, according as each little habit has been perfectly or carelessly formed.
Orison S. Marden

1 comment:

mat said...

Great, all I need to do is leave my mind free to act or enjoy! I'm probably better off tied up trying to learn something. I wonder if anyone ever feels like they master anything entirely? With whatever I have been able to do well (not much), I have never felt at any stage that I was any good at it. With skill brought the realisation of what more there was to tackle.