Habit Will Make Those Things Easy—Which At First Seem Very Hard.

Habit will make those things easy—which at first seem very hard. By constant practice, men become able to do astonishing works. There is a story in ancient books of a man whose strength was so great, that he could carry an ox upon his shoulders. When he was asked how he acquired such power, he said it was by this means—he took the animal when it was a young calf, and lifted it every day, until it grew to mature size. And by constant practice, his strength grew as the calf grew. You may believe the tale or not, just as you choose; but it is a good illustration of the power of constant practice.

It is much the same in learning. In arithmetic, for instance, it is astonishing how some young people will improve by practice. If you were to take a long page in a merchant’s ledger, it would take you up to fifteen minutes to add it up; but the merchant could run his finger up the row of figures, and tell you the sum in less than two minutes. This is because he is practicing it every day. I know many people who never think of using a slate for any of the common questions in arithmetic; they have the habit of working them all in their head. So also in composition. When you sit down to write a letter, it takes you a long time to think what to put down. You bite your pen, and muse and ponder, and take a great while to fill half a page. But your sister writes on, as fast as her pen will move, and never stops until she has covered the whole sheet. All these things should encourage you to be very much in earnest, and to study diligently, and acquire the habit of using every hour to the best advantage.

James Alexander