Archive for the ‘habit is second nature’ Category

You become a better reader (writer, runner, cook, etc) by reading (writing, running, cooking, etc)

November 4, 2007

Any art or skill is possessed by those who have formed the habit of operating according to its rules.  This is the way the artist of craftsman in any field differs from those who lack his skill.

Now there is no other way of forming a habit of operation than by operating.  That is what it means to say one learns to do by doing.  The difference between your activity before and after you have formed a habit is a difference in facility and readiness.  After practice, you can do the same thing much better than when you started.  That is what it means to say practice makes perfect.  What you do very imperfectly at first, you gradually come to do with the kind of almost automatic perfection that an instinctive performance has.  You do something as if you were born to it, as if the activity were as natural to you as walking or eating.  That is what it means to say that habit is second nature.

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles van Doren