Brain Food #573

Little and often

Thoughts of the day

Through the endurance of their work, we still have the opportunity to encounter some of mankind’s greatest minds. But there is also a certain form of brilliance to be found in their methods, which lives on through their dedicated documentation of it. Diary-keeping is a frequent approach to observing oneself, and one’s progress through life and the work one chooses to do in it. Luckier are the ones who have a dedicated partner or observer to do this for them.

Leonard Woolf, an accomplished intellectual himself, was a believer in doing little work, but often. In the penultimate volume of his memoirs, Downhill All the Way, he wrote of his and Virginia Woolf’s routine:

“It is surprising how much one can produce in a year, whether of buns or books or pots or pictures, if one works hard and professionally for three and a half hours every day for 330 days.”

As another week starts, these words serve as yet another useful reminder to take it slow. Success is not a firework (whose impact disappears as suddenly as it emerges), it is a consistent, well-measured, and dedicated appointment with ourselves.

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