It is no mean contest.

Each one of these quotes contains some truth about our humanity and this way we have of creating strong predispositions  in ourselves. If we have any good habits, of course we don’t worry about them being too strong, or try to fight against them. But most of the thoughts I’ve collected seem only to apply to the habits we feel are “bad,” or at least not promoting our goals. From what I’ve seen, the majority of us fallen humans are all too prone to lay aside what appear to be the bonds of good character in what is known as The Moment of Weakness. Don’t trust in these habits! Pray and seek God, and live.

Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.  – Spanish proverb

Every grown-up man consists wholly of habits, although he is often unaware of it and even denies having any habits at all.  – Georges Gurdjieff

The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts. – Blaise Pascal

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
– Samuel Johnson

It is no mean contest to overcome one’s bad habits, for custom, strengthened by enduring a long time, takes on the force of [second] nature.
– St. Basil the Great

Man is not imprisoned by habit. Great changes in him can be wrought by crisis – once that crisis can be recognized and understood.  – Norman Cousins

Lord, have mercy on us!

8 thoughts on “It is no mean contest.

  1. I like the Blaise Pascal quote best. So often I think I have “really done something” because of my special exertion, but it’s the habits, the day-to-day, that make us who we are, I think.


  2. You got me thinking about a habit of my own that I don’t like : writing down passages, or sentences, from books that inspire me, and then never looking at them again. A related habit is stopping on a page for a minute to smile, or question, or remember, or wonder–but not writing anything down. I am glad, however, that you are so faithful to your weblog project. It’s a great resource for me. It helps keep me alert mentally and spiritually.

    Just now I went to the 2012 entry on the art of travel and was reminded of how much I liked that book–and had forgotten completely until I read your comments. Next t I plan to check out the other two “related” posts pictured and titled there at the bottom right after “Lord have mercy!” The images got me interested even before I read the titles.

    Great work here! It’s like a little coffee house/book store/:gallery/library that’s open 24/7.


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