Power of Habit

The Mechanic Arts Magazine

Habit is defined as the tendency or inclination toward an action or condition, which, by repetition, has become easy, spontaneous, or even unconscious. Thought itself is governed by habit.

How is thought governed by habit? Every man has two kinds of opinions: one kind consisting of logical conclusions that are the result of thought, while the other kind consists of opinions that are merely the result of habit. The majority of our opinions are of this last character. We, ourselves, call them our "views," other people call them our "prejudices." Most of what we call "thinking" on every-day occurrences of life is little more than a mechanical adjustment of our minds to our environment. There is a strong tendency in us all to accept what seems inevitable as right. This applies to most of our ideas about the conventionalities of life, but it also applies to more important matters. Fifty years ago everybody in the South, and almost everybody in the North, defended slavery. The conviction was not a logical conclusion—it was a habit. Slavery had always existed, and our thinking was adjusted to it; it therefore seemed a part of the Divine plan. Our thinking is at present adjusted to the wide existence of poverty in the world. Some people think that this is not an intelligent conviction, but a habit of thought which we may get rid of some day.

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Among the Churches
October 26, 1899
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