The Science of Being Great
Chapter 21 - A Mental Exercise
THE purpose of mental exercises must not be
There is no virtue in charms or formulated strings of words;
there is no short cut to development by repeating prayers or
A mental exercise is an exercise, not in repeating words, but
in the thinking of certain thoughts.
The phrases that we repeatedly hear become convictions, as
Goethe says; and the thoughts that we repeatedly think
become habitual, and make us what we are.
The purpose in taking a mental exercise is that you may
think certain thoughts repeatedly until you form a habit of
thinking them; then they will be your thoughts all the time.
Taken in the right way and with an understanding of their
purpose, mental exercises are of great value; but taken as
most people take them they are worse than useless.
The thoughts embodied in the following exercise are the
ones you want to think.
You should take the exercise once or twice daily, but you
should think the thoughts continuously.
That is, do not think them twice a day for a stated time and
then forget them until it is time to take the exercise again.
The exercise is to impress you with the material for
Take a time when you can have from twenty minutes to half
an hour secure from interruption, and proceed first to make
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