“Do Ye Next Thinge.”
”Lose this day loitering, and ’twill be the same story
To-morrow; and the next, more dilatory:
The indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost, lamenting o’er lost days,”says Marlowe, who, like many of us, knew the misery of the intellectual indolence which cannot brace itself to “Do ye next thinge.”No question concerning the bringing up of children can, conceivably, be trivial, but this, of dilatoriness, is very important. The effort of decision, we have seen, is the greatest effort of life; not the doing of the thing, but the making up of one’s mind as to which thing to do first. It is commonly this sort of mental indolence, born of indecision, which leads to dawdling habits. How is the dilatory child to be cured? Time? She will know better as she grows older? Not a bit of it: “And the next, more dilatory” will be the story of her days, except for occasional spurts. Punishments? No; your dilatory person is a fatalist. ‘What can’t be cured must be endured,’ he says, but he will endure without any effort to cure. Rewards? No; to him a reward is a punishment presented under another aspect: the possible reward he realises as actual; there it is, within his grasp, so to say; in foregoing the reward he is punished; and he bears the punishment. What remains to be tried when neither time, reward, nor punishment is effectual? That panacea of the educationist: ‘One custom overcometh another.’This inveterate dawdling is a habit to be supplanted only by the contrary habit, and the mother must devote herself for a few weeks to this cure as steadily and untiringly as she would to the nursing of her child through measles. Having in a few––the fewer the better––earnest words pointed out the miseries that must arise from this fault, and the duty of overcoming it, and having so got the (sadly feeble) will of the child on the side of right-doing, she simply sees that for weeks together the fault does not recur.
It's quoted in the book It Can Be Done, Poems of Inspiration, compiled by Joseph Morris
and available online at Gutenberg. Mr. Morris introduces it this way:
Anything is hard to begin, whether it be taking a cold bath, writing aletter, clearing up a misunderstanding, or falling to on the day’s work.Yet “a thing begun is half done.” No matter how unpleasant a thing is todo, begin it and immediately it becomes less unpleasant. Form theexcellent habit of making a start.Lose the day loitering, ’twill be the same story
To-morrow, and the next more dilatory,
For indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute!
What you can do, or think you can, begin it!
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated;
Begin it, and the work will be completed.
_Johann Wolfgang von Goethe._
“When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.” ~ Isak Dinesen“Wisdom consists not so much in knowing what to do in the ultimate as knowing what to do next.” ~ Herbert Hoover
DO THE NEXT THINGAt an old English parsonage down by the sea,There came in the twilight a message to me.Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engravenThat, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.And all through the hours the quiet words ring,Like a low inspiration, do the next thing.Many a questioning, many a fear,Many a doubt hath its quieting here.Moment by moment, let down from heaven,Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.Do it immediately, do it with prayer;Do it reliantly, casting all care.Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,Who placed it before thee with earnest command.Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,Leave all results, do the next thing.Looking to Jesus, ever serener,Working or suffering be thy demeanor;In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,The light of His countenance, be thy psalm,Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.Then, as He beckons, do the next thing.Author unknown
Along with doing the next thing comes ‘do what you are doing.’
All this rummaging about in the rag bag of my mind for snatches of snatches of quotes, scraps of poems, and the flotsam and jetsam of my reading prompted by this post at Beauty and Bedlam. Check it out.
This post linked at Spiritual Sundays