Quotations for Motivation #21 --- Concentration
Quotations on Concentration
Individual concentration is a mental process, one that you can learn to switch on or off at will, dependent upon your desire, your self-discipline and your determination to succeed. In itself, the ability to concentrate will not make you a success, but it will provide you with the basic tool, without which you invite frustration and disappointment each time you try to focus your attention on a new challenge. With it you can push steadily forward, functioning at your peak of efficiency, mastering the skills you need to achieve your most ambitious goals. The choice is yours to make, to set aside all competing interests and fix complete attention on becoming the best person it is within your power to become. To concentrate is to choose. This simple fact holds the key to any successful attempt at concentration--likewise success.
—Delilah H. Brown, Thoroughbred, Louisville, Ky., July 1962.
Concentration is simply the power to overcome or to command the picturing faculty in the interest of directive mental achievements.
—Ralph Tyler Flewelling, The Personalist, Los Angeles, Calif., April 1925.
Concentration is the grasping and use of the opportunities already before us.
—Paul Griffin, Fishers of Men, Hamburg, West Germany, November 1963.
Concentration is self-mastery. The one who really accomplishes is the one who holds himself hard to one achievement. Your power goes where your attention goes.
—Carlysle H. Holcomb, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Jan. 8, 1952.
Concentration means specialization. Special habits of study will give memory, attention, expression and concentration. To concentrate is to discriminate. ... Concentration means demonstration. You are in the world to demonstrate, to show that you have the goods. "Show me" is the cry everywhere and you must--in order to succeed. You demonstrate by demonstration. You learn to walk by walking, and to talk by talking. Go ahead and use your best in every place where you are and you will make yourself come to something worthwhile. Obligate your concentration to a life and not a living. This is the goal of all being.
—E.L. House, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La. Oct. 27, 1925.
Concentration of thought is like plowing–to plow deep you must have a narrower spread. Success is concentration. Give your will plenty of exercise. Weak-willed scatter-brains never force themselves to do anything they don't like to do. Ask yourself, "When was the last time I really disciplined myself?"
—Casper W. Merrill, West Central States Mission Bulletin, Billings, Mont., August 1958.
Men do not lack strength; they lack the will to concentrate.
—Elbert Hubbard, quoted in Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 29, 1905.
Success is not half so much a matter of talent as it is of concentration and dogged persistence.
---J. Marvin Nichols, Gainesville Daily Sun, Gainesville, Fla., Sept. 23, 1907.
The only man who is fitted to disseminate his thoughts is he who can concentrate them.
---Elijah Powell Brown, Duluth Evening Herald, Duluth, Minn., April 27, 1901.
Unless thought is concentrated it only drizzles.
---James Milton Racer, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Nov. 17, 1904.
Concentration comes naturally through a lifetime of habit and persevering.
‑‑‑Ernest L. Wilkinson, As a Man Thinketh, Provo, Utah, March 3, 1970.
Concentration is confidence that you what you intend to concentrate upon is worthy of the concentration.
---Jack Williams, Sr., Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., July 6, 1934.
Whatever an individual or a people concentrate upon it tends to get, because concentration is just as much of a force as is electricity. The youth who concentrate upon law, thinks law, dreams law, reads everything he can get hold of relating to law, steals into courts and listens to every chance, is sure to become a lawyer. It is the same with any other vocation or art, medicine, engineering, literature, music, any of the arts or sciences. Those who concentrate upon an idea, who continue to nurse it, to develop it in every possible way, who never lose sight of their goal, no matter how dark or forbidding the way, get what they concentrate upon. They make their minds powerful magnets to attract the thing they have concentrated upon. Sooner or later they realize their ambitions. The force of concentrated thought is dynamic, creative, just in proportion to its intensity and persistency. We are often surprised at the remarkable achievement of someone who is not distinguished by any special ability. This is because we never figured on the factor of concentration in his makeup. It is well nigh impossible to measure the dynamic force, the creative power of concentrated thought persistently applied in any particular direction. Concentration has made men of average ability seem geniuses and it has made men of great talent colossal. If you can concentrate your thought persistently and work with it along the line of your greatest ambition nothing can keep you from its realization. But spasmodic concentration, spasmodic enthusiasm, however intense, will peter out. Working by fits and starts will only waste your power. It is the persistent, concentrated endeavor that wins.
‑‑‑Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 9, 1916.
Shrinking from the things which are painful, but which are good for us because they tend to life enlargement, is a temptation which, if yielded to, proves fatal to one's best interests, to the reaching of one's largest possibilities. There is no other way to develop than by concentrating on the doing of the things that are good for us. All human achievement is the result of concentration. There is no one thing which would mean so much to the future of a lot of people as training in the art of concentration, especially concentration on the line of their talent. There are plenty of down‑and‑outs in the great failure army today who have a lot of ability but who are failure victims, poverty victims, because they never learned to bring their ability to a force, never concentrated it on acquiring proficiency, experience, in any one thing. Concentration on the mental faculties is like the concentrating of the sun's rays in a burning glass. These rays taken separately would perform no execution in the way of force. They would not injure the skin of the most delicate babe. But concentrate them and they will burn a hole through wood, melt all sorts of metals, even melt stone. Because we cannot see this force we call concentration, because it is not tangible to our senses, we do not half appreciate what a terrific power it is. Yet we know very well that specialists in any line of human endeavor become so largely by concentrating upon their specialty. A great chemist said, "My friends laugh at me because I have but one idea, but I have discovered that if I ever expect to make a breach in the wall I must play my guns continually upon one point." Make it a life rule that in whatever you undertake, you will be all there. Don't be half there and half somewhere else.
‑‑‑Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., June 9, 1917.
Nothing great is ever done in this world without vigorous, intense concentration. It is your intense energy that creates. Registering your vow is clinging to your vision with a little greater determination.
‑‑‑Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Sept. 8, 1917.
The people who count in the great game of life learn to concentrate their all on a single great purpose. Concentration is consecration to one great goal or objective. If we can concentrate on one job and keep concentrating long enough we become consecrated to the task we have chosen. We will become masters in our profession, whatever it may be. Happy is the man with a worthy goal in life. Thrice happy he is if he will concentrate all his efforts toward reaching his goal. Our goal must become a great consecration.
---Chelsea H. “C.H.” Kelley, Williamson Daily News, Williamson, W. Va., Aug. 4, 1952.
To be able to think straight through a problem, to avoid confusion that arises when other than the germane issues are considered in any proposition, to give definite form to one's processes of thinking, to have a single‑track attention to any particular case under consideration, to shut out the noise of voices discordant to the main note, to think clearly without confusion‑‑such an ability can be secured only through patient practice and tutelage. Clear thinking must be based not only upon the orderly functioning of the intellectual process but also upon the power to give correct valuation to the materials of thought. Education not only must cultivate those processes, but it must help to evaluate the contents of thinking. Herein enters the part that judgments play in thought, and these judgments are evaluated in terms of character.
‑‑‑Albert R. Bond, Baptist Education Bulletin, Birmingham, Ala., March 1922.
When a man notices that his mental or physical powers are failing he should begin to put on the brakes—to lighten his burden a little. Do not keep too many irons in the fire. Concentrate your business so that it can be attended to easier and managed with less expenditure of nerve force. “The one principle in life is concentration; the one evil is dissipation.” Don’t spread out, but concentrate your business; let down the nerve tension, keep cool, and don’t hurry or worry. Above all, don’t allow yourself to get excited over trivial matters. If trifles disturb you, if you are irritable, if you carry your business to bed with you and are worried and unable to sleep, you may be sure that you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. There are danger signals which a man is very unwise not to heed. The average man undergoes certain retrograde changes at about 50 years of age; there is what Dr. Holmes called “a general flavor of mild decay,” and it behooves every business man to recognize this “flavor” and govern himself accordingly.
---George F. Butler, Mahoning Dispatch, Canfield, Ohio, Dec. 3, 1909.
Of all the failings which beset the human family, perhaps the most apparent is a lack of consistency, or if you prefer it, a lack of concentration. Something nearly always happens to our high resolves. They begin with such zeal and purpose, and dissipate so noiselessly, that we are hardly aware that the great ideal (whatever it was) has died. New Year resolutions come and go within the space of a few weeks, providing ample evidence of a general weakness somewhere in the scheme of human endeavor. Every lad coming out of high school has some plan in his life, but ask him 20 years afterwards whether or not he fulfilled it, and most of the time he will give a reluctant negative. The goal he had set for himself gets lost. The young man’s vision becomes, with the passing of time, the old man’s dream of something that never happened. Many of us are forced to become content with second best, and nobody suffers much but ourselves and our families. Put the “I” back into [our] effort[s]. We use the first-person enough in all conscience; now is the time to use it without selfish intent. Let the slogan be for all of us: “I resolve to rededicate myself to high endeavor, and go in in increasing strength unto the end.”
---Dudley F. Kemp, The Calgary Herald, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Sept. 13, 1941.
You must have noticed, on visiting your public library, the sign in the reading room: “Silence is expected of all using this room.” Has it ever occurred to you that this sign proffers a hint invaluable for personal application outside the public library? In the reading room silence is required so that all in the room may have a maximum of opportunity for mental concentration. Theoretically, people ought to be able to concentrate, however noisy their surroundings. And as a matter of fact some people train themselves to concentrate amid much noise. But noise always tends to distract the mind, and usually does. The quieter the environment the easier it is to think. At some set time every day—perhaps after the other members of your family have gone to bed, or, better, in the early morning, when you are fresh—find a place where you can have absolute quite for half an hour. Spend that half hour in practicing mental concentration. Take some specific problem of personal significance to you. Look at it from every angle. Make a mental study with a view of determining the wisest method of approach. Keep your mind fixed on this problem. Cling to it as your dog clings to his bone.Because you are not used to concentration you will at first find this no easy matter. But also, because you have surrounded yourself with silence, you will soon find it becoming much easier. And soon your silence-aided concentration will begin to bring definite results. After a while you will find yourself thinking with unusual effectiveness in no matter how noisy surroundings. This because you have unconsciously developed your concentration power as a whole. Make an honest trial of this plan, if you feel the need of it. It will help you, it is bound to help you, in your efforts to win success.
---H. Addington Bruce, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., May 3, 1918.
He who would make a success in life must cultivate the power of concentration, strive against absentmindedness, concentrate the mind upon the subject under consideration, never allow the energies to relax but earnestly labor for the ultimate object. A person’s progress also depends largely on obedience to the laws of health, both moral and natural. Manifold benefits are derived from complying with such a course. Life in its truest sense will be realized, the spirit of progressive man will come down upon him and good moral habits will become second nature, a healthy body and strong mind will be the result and force of character be secured. By complying with these rules, people can accomplish a work that will be a credit to themselves, and become useful members in society, in eliminating error and vice from the human family and sowing seeds of happiness and progressive intelligence in their stead. Let our progress be marked by patient and persevering efforts, even though difficulties meet us at every step. Remember that “diligence is the mother of good fortune.” Let us overcome all obstacles until we reach the viewpoint where we shall be best fitted for our life work, and we will have no reason to regret the course we have pursued.
—Edward Hinckley Daily Enquirer, Provo, Utah, May 23, 1890.
When you have a particularly hard job to do, first you must have a correct conception of it as a whole, but in the doing it should be divided into parts. By doing in parts apparent difficulties, when viewed as a whole, vanish. To be sure you must think ahead, so as to not waste a count or a moment in going from one part to the next, but concentrating on one part at a time. And don't carry over difficulties of one part into the next part. Find a real‑‑an actual‑‑relief at the accomplishment of each part in its natural sequence and proceed steadily. Steady‑‑that is the trick‑‑not jumping over the traces in your extreme joy at results accomplished as you go along. Your failures have been through trying to whirlwind things into shape. Nothing was done well, or you saw things as gigantic, and lost your nerve. You should be afraid of nothing within human personality if along a line in which you have had experience. Then go ahead, step by step, forgetting what is ahead in doing what is at hand, except to be ready for the next step when it comes‑‑forgetting what is behind in the steps of your future work. One thing at a time, don't overlap worry either way, steady, and here you are."
‑‑‑J.J. Mundy, Kansas City Post, Kansas City, Mo., Jan. 1, 1919.
What the average man needs is more concentration and less dissipation.
‑‑‑Phil H. Armstrong, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 19, 1925.
Concentrate, and you will accentuate.
—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Oct. 8, 1925.
That work should play such an important part in a man's success is not surprising because it has a surprising effect on him who really labors. Conscientious effort requires concentration, and concentration makes one forget annoying trivialities which in themselves might and do frequently divert the expenditure of energy into other channels.
—J.J. Metz, Industrial Arts and Vocational Education, Milwaukee, Wis., August 1931.
Time is a poor measuring rod. It means little to say you spend ten hours a day at the office. It means little to say you have lived fifty years. Some men do not spend more than four hours a day at the office, and do more than others who are there eight. Some men at 35 or 40 have accomplished more than old men who die at 90. Time is nothing. Concentration is everything.
—Grove H. Patterson, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 3, 1930.
It doesn’t take so much time or a great deal of energy to do a great deal of work. The time and the energy are mostly consumed in stalling around before we start to do what there is to be done. We use much time and effort in doing a number of trifling things that are quite unnecessary in order to delay the beginning of the real job we know we have to begin sooner or later. Usually later. Probably the one thing above all others that most people need on every kind of job is concentration.
---Grove H. Patterson, Meriden Record, Meriden, Conn, Aug. 13, 1929.
The human mind to be healthy must have a certain amount of practice in concentration. If vitally, enthusiastically, youthfully interested in something, get interested in something‑‑even if it's only some kind of play. If you can become vitally concerned about some particular work‑‑that is best of all. If you prefer to concentrate on a hobby, that is better than nothing. But the mind cannot be healthy without the exercise of concentration. An idle mind keeps the door constantly open to all sorts of destructive thoughts. And destructive thoughts help tear down both mind and body.
‑‑‑Grove Patterson, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., April 9, 1930.
To know exactly what you want to do is to be about 50 percent along the way. Most of us fail because we have vague ideas of what we want to do. We do fuzzy thinking. We think we may do this, that, or something else one of these days but we are indefinite about it. Fuzzy thinking accounts for jobs only half done and near‑successes.
‑‑‑Grove Patterson, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Nov. 24, 1930.
Mental balance means, first of all, the removal of fear, lack of confidence, uncertainty. Its main basis is a clear, cool head, a stout heart, a serenity of mind and a concentration on the job. It means that the brain must be in shape to send a decisive message to the muscles through steady nerves. It means the ability to think through, clean through, straight through, without wavering. This can't happen when the brain is bogged by worry, fear, rate or uncertainty, or where the mind is trying to think of outside matters. Try sometime to write a letter while talking on the phone on an entirely different matter. Mental balance means determination plus concentration plus experience. "So-and-so loses his head." That means losing his mental balance. Decide definitely–and then go through with it. Your judgment will improve with experience, and in the meanwhile you will have a winning habit ready to back this judgment up–the habit of thinking on through. There can be little mental balance in times of stress without experience. It is impossible to keep concentration going when you have no knowledge of the next move to make.
—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., April 1, 1924.
Concentration is keeping your mind on the actual performance–not on the result. "Think of the right thing at the right time and think on through," advised Jim Barnes. You can't beat that for sound advice. One of the favorite human customs is to think part of the way through and then suddenly to switch to something else. Whereupon melancholy astonishment is expressed at the big collapse which follows.
—Grantland Rice, New York Herald Tribune, New York, N.Y., Sept. 3, 1924.
Concentrate upon the main job at hand, the next play to make, without indulging yourself in any vain regrets for past mistakes.
---Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., July 26, 1921.
The winning temperament in sport is determination plus concentration.
---Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., Sept. 22, 1921.
What is the correct concentration in sport? It is all the same, in its main details, whether a man is playing golf, tennis, football or baseball. It shouldn't be, as many seem to think, an intense, high-powered affair. It merely means fixing one's mind on the game and keeping it there until the main business at hand is completed. One can think too hard or over-concentrate, just as one can over-try in a physical way. There should be mental rhythm as well as physical rhythm. One can get wrought up to such an extent mentally that his nervous system can't carry the burden. It is always possible to concentrate successfully without tying a knot in the brain.
---Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., Dec. 27, 1921.
There are certain qualities which count for all; and in the main they are determination, concentration and application. These are three winners, where one has the knack to start with. Minus any one of these three qualities, there is no chance to be a champion.
---Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., May 9, 1923.
One of the most important features of mental balance is the action of the subconscious mind, instinct developed through long habit. The right habit of doing a thing carries a long way in an emergency.
---Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., April 2, 1924.
There is one pattern that few learn in sport--and that is the process of thinking of the right thing at the right time--and thinking all the way through.
---Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., April 5, 1924.
What one thing is most important of all in the making of a champion? We should say it is "thinking through the job." The champion realizes what his deficiencies are, how far away the goal is, and the hard work he needs to build himself up. He doesn't think part of the way through--and then take the rest for granted. He first builds a foundation--and then develops the scoring play.
---Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., May 20, 1924.
Enthusiasm is concentration under another name. You cannot be enthusiastic over anything without concentrating upon it, and how can you concentrate upon a thing with vigor without enthusiasm? They are twins and are never found apart.
—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., May 22, 1918.
The clock ticks just one little tick at a time as it ticks off the seconds, minutes and hours of the day. Suppose it undertook to tick off all the seconds in a day at one time, what sort of clock would it be? Why it would be a very unsuccessful clock. No such clock could be invented. It would be an impossible thing. Just so it is with the individual who does not concentrate upon each moment as he performs his work and daily tasks. Too many people try to do it all in the same moment instead of utilizing each little moment patiently, carefully and intelligently. We see every day men and women who have never yet learned to work effectively. They go to their respective places of business in the morning with the day full of tasks before them. They dawdle away the morning hours and noon comes with little or nothing done. They have no system to their work, and yet they have worried enough, even too much. Perhaps the afternoon will go the same way, and in this manner day after day slips by them, bringing no results as to practicability. They work at about ten per cent efficiency. They have not learned the simple thing of concentration on each little duty to be performed, one at a time, cutting out worry and friction. They have not yet learned that the efficient worker is the worker that tackles one task, one duty at a time and with that before him, concentrates all his energy and thought upon it until it is out of the way, and then turns to another task. He is happily constituted and well regulated in his daily life who has his daily tasks methodized in this manner. He will live longer and do more and better.
—Emmett J. Lee, The Gazette, Farmerville, La., April 24, 1929.
To be a pronounced success in life, you must know what you wish to do, and strive incessantly to that direct You must concentrate your attention and all your energy in the subject you wish to accomplish--you must not let other ideas distract your attention from your main object, or your power will scatter and you will not succeed. There are times when your thoughts are not as clear as at other times, and your mind does not seem to work so freely--that is probably from your mind being 'overloaded'--too many hours of continuous mental effort--worry, vexation, fear or distracting thoughts or desires. Concentrate your mind on something you extremely desire--and you will find your mental ability as good as ever. If you are frittering away your mental power by directing it in a hundred ways, stop. Exercise your powers in concentration upon ONE main object--to the exclusion of all others; and your success will be phenomenal. The successful man is one who never hurries, is never in haste, but who moves methodically and regularly, who knows just what he intends to do--and does it systematically. The man of RUSH and HURRY and BUSTLE is the man of small caliber, who makes a big show with little results. The successful man attends to business in business hours, and the pleasure after business hours. He does not mix his vocations. ... You can greatly assist your mental powers by remembering that the three keys to success are C.C.C. CONFIDENCE in your ability to do what you wish. CONCENTRATION of all your ability in your efforts. CONSTANCY in all your efforts.
—Paul McCombs, The Llano Colonist, New Llano, La., May 4, 1929.
Intense concentration will cause you to persevere in the pursuit of what you are after, until your end is gained. Decide upon some ONE single thing as your main object in life; concentrate all your attention and energy upon it, and you have an ideal for which you will give your life to the exclusion of all other things. Concentration in its highest meaning, is absorbing, passionate devotion to an ideal. Absolute concentration is the supreme effort of efficiency--it cannot fail. Concentrate upon your ONE purpose and object, and you will have an unfailing measure with which to judge the opportunities of life--as to whether they are to your benefit or not. You will choose those things that will aid you to attain your ends; you will cast aside those things that will not aid you. You ask, "How can I concentrate?" You can learn ONLY by practice coupled with a sincere desire and a persevering will.
—Paul McCombs, The Llano Colonist, New Llano, La., May 25, 1929.
Success will depend upon your ability to control your mental processes; and when you concentrate your attention upon a single idea, it tends to stimulate impellent energies to transfer that ideal into bodily shape. When you have centered your attention exclusively on one single idea you have become so wrapped up in that idea that you have inhibited your senses to all other ideas‑‑shut them out. Visualization is one of the most potent auto‑suggestions that we know of, and should be used constantly by those who are struggling for success. When you come to a difficulty that seems unsurmountable, give yourself up to visualization, and with a little practice, you will soon be able to work out the details of your difficulty to your entire satisfaction. Visualization is the key to Realization, and the more earnest and consistent you are in practicing this, the greater will be your ultimate success. You must not expect to succeed in your Visualization at first‑‑it is an art; and it must be cultivated by incessant practice. Not only must you vision yourself in the act of success, you must also see the ways, and means and methods of action to make the success complete. Keep before your mind the eternal question, "How can this be done?" and your subconscious will furnish the answer. You must have confidence in your ability to do what you desire. Let me tell you how to get this self‑confidence. Words are powerful‑‑use them. When you go into the silence to visualize, talk out loud to yourself‑‑a splendid auto‑suggestion‑‑say: "I can and I will do what I desire. I have the ability, and nothing can prevent me. I know that I can do it. Keep making asserting FACTS of this kind about yourself; and in the end you will have abundant confidence in your ability to succeed. All timidity and self‑depreciation will leave you; and you will be a person of energy and ability. You will build character. This character will generate creative thought, which will produce efficient work, which will in the end‑‑WIN. Let me warn you‑‑NOT TO EXPECT IMMEDIATE RESULTS. It has taken many a man long, tedious years to accomplish that which you can do in a short time‑‑according to the earnestness of your efforts.
‑‑‑Paul McCombs, The Llano Colonist, New Llano, La., June 1, 1929.
Concentration is the life of work.
—Carson City News, Carson City, Nev., Dec. 24, 1922.
Concentration is the best culture medium for the germ of a new idea.
—Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho, Aug. 29, 1926.
Concentrate. No man ever put her over the fence while his eye was off the ball.
—Utah Payroll BuiIder, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 1914.
Concentration comes only when one wills–that is, intensely wishes–to concentrate.
—H. Addington Bruce, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Nov. 24, 1920.
As self-discipline leads to concentration so does concentration increase one's ability to make decisions.
—Daryl K. DeSpain, California Mission, Los Angeles, Calif., August 1960.
To excel in anything calls for concentration. You cannot be a smatterer and expect to hold more than a mediocre place. In other words, until you begin to live intensely, you will remain among the unclassified.
—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, June 15, 1925.
Concentration is the microscope which reveals the germs of thought.
—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 28, 1922.
If a man will use will power and concentration, he can become anything in life except an infant prodigy.
—James L. Dilley, Life, New York, N.Y., Feb. 14, 1930.
The most successful people are those who have acquired the habit of concentrating upon a single thing at a time instead of spreading their efforts over many fields. If the person who meets failure would concentrate on the search for its cause, facing facts honestly, he would insure himself against a repetition of the cause. But many concentrate instead upon creating an alibi to escape responsibility for failure, or upon trying to shift the blame to someone else. This has precisely the same result as a prayer for failure--because the subject is laying himself open to a return visit. Concentration also will help you acquire another valuable asset, a dependable memory. ... The habit of concentration helps one not only to listen well but to remember what he hears and sees. The main reason we often find it hard to recall a person's name two minutes after being introduced lies in our failure to concentrate our attention when the name is first given us. ... Any person who attains a high degree of success usually starts off by putting everything he has behind a single objective. Such people stay on a single track until they get to their destination. After that, they may branch out by setting new goals for themselves. A postage stamp has two interesting peculiarities--the tremendous load it carries at so little cost, and the way it sticks to its job until it reaches its destination. What about your own habits of concentration? Do you know exactly what you want from life? Have you a definite plan for getting it? Then your next step is to concentrate on the goal and the plan with such determination that no obstacle can block your way. Remember, your only limitations are those you set up in your own mind. Concentrate on overcoming them and nothing can stop you.
—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Sept. 11, 1956.
Mental dawdling is a common human weakness. But it us a costly one, preventing myriads of people from attaining the success that might otherwise be there. It may be described as a bad habit found in all who, when required to concentrate on anything, do so feebly. There may be no wandering of the attention to other things, but there is no thinking about the task in hand with real energy. Or, as George Herbert Betts has more elaborately put it: "We do not gather up our mental forces and mass them on the subject before us in a way that means victory. Our thoughts may be sufficiently focused, but they fail to 'set fire.' "It is like focusing the sun's rays while an eclipse is on. They lack energy. They will not kindle the paper after they have passed through the lens. "'This kind of attention means mental dawdling. It means inefficiency. For the individual it means defeat in life's battled. For the nation it means mediocrity and stagnation." Stated still otherwise, the mental dawdler takes twice as much time--or more--to absorb information and form conclusions as the energetic thinker. And because of the fatigue which his time consuming mode of thinking creates he is far less fit than the energetic thinker to turn to practical account the knowledge he has gained. Thinking feebly and slowly, he acts feebly and slowly. ... Now, there are several factors which enter into the formation of the habit of mental dawdling. But the dominant factor is always a lack of real interest in the information to be acquired or the problem to be solved. Many men, unfortunately, have their interest centered on the rewards of learning and acting, not on the learning and the acting. Money is to them the supremely important thing, or fame, or leisure. Their word is of quite secondary importance. Naturally they do not "enthuse" about it. And because of this they go at it in a halfhearted way. Hence they dawdle in their thinking, so far as their work is concerned. This is inevitable. Hence, also, to their bitter disappointment they find themselves cheated of the money or the fame or the leisure they have craved. To be enthusiastic about one's job, always that is the indispensable to doing one's job well. And those who refuse to take this truth to heart will ever find themselves in the ranks of the obscure, the mediocre and the poverty stricken.
—H. Addington Bruce, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Jan. 2, 1920.