A Way of Life - by William Osler

"Life is a habit," a succession of actions that become more or less automatic. This great truth, which lies at the basis of all actions, muscular or psychic, is the key stone of the teaching of Aristotle, to whom the formation of habits was the basis of moral excellence.

Now the way of life that I preach is a habit to be acquired gradually by long and steady repetition. It is the practice of living for the day only, and for the day's work, in day-tight compartments.

"Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."

Many a man is handicapped in his course by a cursed combination of retro- and introspection, the mistakes of yesterday paralysing the efforts of today, the worries of the past hugged to his destruction, and the worm Regret allowed to canker the very heart of his life. To die daily, after the manner of St. Paul, ensures the resurrection of a new man, who makes each day the epitome of a life.

The future is today,--there is no to-morrow! The day of a man's salvation is now-- the life of the present, of today, lived earnestly, intently, without a forward-looking thought, is the only insurance for the future. Let the limit of your horizon be a twenty-four hour circle.

Control of the mind as a working machine, the adaptation in it of habit, so that its action becomes almost as automatic as walking, is the end of education--and yet how rarely reached! It can be accomplished with deliberation and repose, never with hurry and worry. Realise how much time there is, how long the day is. Realise that you have sixteen waking hours, three or four of which at least should be devoted to making a silent conquest of your mental machinery. Concentration, by which is grown gradually the power to wrestle successfully with any subject, is the secret of successful study. No mind however dull can escape the brightness that comes from steady application.