Website owner: James Miller
Why the big differences between the way children do in school? Some do very well and others do very poorly. One can attribute it to interest, motivation, ability to concentrate, etc., and no doubt these things are involved. But perhaps there may be a deeper reason. I ask myself: "Why did I study when I was in school? What was the primary reason I studied? Interest in the subject?" No, that was not the primary reason. Was it because I enjoyed studying? No, that was not the main reason. The reason I studied was because of a feeling deep down inside me that I should, that I "ought to" (a sense of moral obligation, duty). I studied because I knew I should study. I studied hard and seriously. Why did I study hard and seriously? Because of interest or enjoyment? No. Because I knew I should. It was a voice inside me. I, by habit, obeyed the voice. I may have developed an interest in the subject after getting started. I may have found it enjoyable after getting started. But the reason I did it was from a sense of duty, a sense of "ought to". It was that feeling that propelled me in the most of the things that I did then. And it is the same feeling that still propels me in the most of the things that I do now. If I ask myself, "What is the underlying reason that I do the most of the things that I do each day in the daily routine of life?", the answer must be: "I do 90% of the things that I do each day, not from interest in doing them, or enjoyment from doing them, but because I know I should do them, because I know I 'ought to' do them." When there are things that need to be done at home or at work I do them, I do them promptly, and I do them well. Why? The feeling that "I ought to". I just do what I feel I ought to do. Generally, I have no interest in them. I often obtain little pleasure in doing them. And if I do find interest or pleasure in doing them it is pleasure or interest that is generated after I have started them. I keep things tidy and in order at home and at work. Why? The feeling that I "ought to". It is a mental habit. And I must wonder if this habit of doing those things that I feel I should do is not the thing most responsible for my accomplishments and achievements down through the years. And I also wonder if lack of it is not the main reason for the lack of achievement in many people. There are many people who habitually procrastinate, who only do those things they enjoy doing or feel like doing. The interior of their house becomes a mess because they don't pick things up and keep it clean. The exterior falls into disrepair because of many outside jobs going undone. Many people live surrounded by many things that they ought to do but don't do. Why? Either they don't have this feeling of "ought to" or they have it and don't obey it. Why might a person know he should do a thing but not do it? I can think of one reason. Laziness. If one only does those things in life that he finds pleasure in doing, or only does what interests him, he will do badly. Life requires that we do much that is tedious and boring, much that gives no pleasure. Those who live only by their feelings and whims do badly. Going back to the subject of children's performance in school, I suspect that the main reason many children do poorly in school is either that they don't have this feeling of "ought to" or they have it, but don't obey it. Where does this feeling of duty or moral obligation come from? What is its source? Isn't it that voice of prudence, wisdom, good sense deep within us? The voice of reason. Or that voice of knowledge of right and wrong, of conscience? Are there people who don't have these voices within them? Or does everyone have them but some people don't hear them because they have gotten into the habit of ignoring them? And others hear them because they are in the habit of listening to them and obeying them. Aug 1977 More from SolitaryRoad.com:
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