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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsHow To Live On 24 Hours A Day - Chapter VI - REMEMBER HUMAN NATURE, 56
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How To Live On 24 Hours A Day - Chapter VI - REMEMBER HUMAN NATURE, 56 Post by :desertfox Category :Nonfictions Author :Arnold Bennett Date :March 2011 Read :2100

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How To Live On 24 Hours A Day - Chapter VI - REMEMBER HUMAN NATURE, 56

I have incidentally mentioned the vast expanse of forty-four hours between
leaving business at 2 p.m. on Saturday and returning to business at 10 a.m.
on Monday. And here I must touch on the point whether the week should
consist of six days or of seven. For many years--in fact, until I was approaching
forty--my own week consisted of seven days. I was constantly being informed
by older and wiser people that more work, more genuine living, could be got
out of six days than out of seven.

And it is certainly true that now, with one day in seven in which I follow no
programme and make no effort save what the caprice of the moment dictates,
I appreciate intensely the moral value of a weekly rest. Nevertheless, had I
my life to arrange over again, I would do again as I have done. Only those
who have lived at the full stretch seven days a week for a long time can
appreciate the full beauty of a regular recurring idleness. Moreover, I am
ageing. And it is a question of age. In cases of abounding youth and
exceptional energy and desire for effort I should say unhesitatingly: Keep
going, day in, day out.

But in the average case I should say: Confine your formal programme
(super-programme, I mean) to six days a week. If you find yourself
wishing to extend it, extend it, but only in proportion to your wish; and
count the time extra as a windfall, not as regular income, so that you can
return to a six-day programme without the sensation of being poorer, of
being a backslider.

Let us now see where we stand. So far we have marked for saving
out of the waste of days, half an hour at least on six mornings a
week, and one hour and a half on three evenings a week. Total,
seven hours and a half a week.


I propose to be content with that seven hours and a half for the
present. "What?" you cry. "You pretend to show us how to live,
and you only deal with seven hours and a half out of a hundred
and sixty-eight! Are you going to perform a miracle with your
seven hours and a half?" Well, not to mince the matter, I am--if
you will kindly let me! That is to say, I am going to ask you to
attempt an experience which, while perfectly natural and explicable,
has all the air of a miracle. My contention is that the full use of those
seven-and-a-half hours will quicken the whole life of the week, add
zest to it, and increase the interest which you feel in even the most
banal occupations. You practise physical exercises for a mere ten
minutes morning and evening, and yet you are not astonished when
your physical health and strength are beneficially affected every hour
of the day, and your whole physical outlook changed. Why should
you be astonished that an average of over an hour a day given to the
mind should permanently and completely enliven the whole activity
of the mind?

More time might assuredly be given to the cultivation of one's self.
And in proportion as the time was longer the results would be greater.
But I prefer to begin with what looks like a trifling effort.

It is not really a trifling effort, as those will discover who have yet
to essay it. To "clear" even seven hours and a half from the jungle is
passably difficult. For some sacrifice has to be made. One may have
spent one's time badly, but one did spend it; one did do something
with it, however ill-advised that something may have been. To do
something else means a change of habits.

And habits are the very dickens to change! Further, any change, even
a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and
discomforts. If you imagine that you will be able to devote seven
hours and a half a week to serious, continuous effort, and still live
your old life, you are mistaken. I repeat that some sacrifice, and an
immense deal of volition, will be necessary. And it is because I know
the difficulty, it is because I know the almost disastrous effect of failure
in such an enterprise, that I earnestly advise a very humble beginning.
You must safeguard your self-respect. Self-respect is at the root of all
purposefulness, and a failure in an enterprise deliberately planned deals
a desperate wound at one's self-respect. Hence I iterate and reiterate:
Start quietly, unostentatiously.


When you have conscientiously given seven hours and a half a week
to the cultivation of your vitality for three months--then you may
begin to sing louder and tell yourself what wondrous things you are
capable of doing.

Before coming to the method of using the indicated hours, I have one
final suggestion to make. That is, as regards the evenings, to allow
much more than an hour and a half in which to do the work of an hour
and a half. Remember the chance of accidents. Remember human nature.
And give yourself, say, from 9 to 11.30 for your task of ninety minutes.

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