Monday, September 28, 2009


Originally Emerson's thought, this was Heber J. Grant's motto: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased."

I nabbed it from the Gospel Principles book. Most often, I've encountered this quote in lessons at church designed to motivate us to be persistent in strengthening weaknesses. And it has been motivating to me. I see it when I practice the piano, or exercise or speak eSpanish -- we really do gain ability in the things in which we persist.

But this last week, I realized that the idea works in the negative sense, too. To rephrase: "If we persist in being a jerk, being a jerk becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of jerkitude has changed, but our power to be a jerk is increased." Same goes for lying, sleeping too much, plucking the heads off of flowers, not doing dishes, petting cats up their spine instead of down, watching TV, being critical of others, eating chocolate oranges, etc...

I'm not sure I've concluded anything yet from this thought, other than to take pleasure in the little victories of agency well used. In what do you persist?

Unrelatedly, I found this snippet from Ralph whilst searching for the quote up top:

"I hate quotation. Tell me what you know." - Emerson, Journals (May 1849)

To borrow from the Bible: "Amen!"