Here’s an interesting quote by William Walker Atkinson:
“To choose intelligently, one must needs exercise the intellect. One must think. But thinking is not such an easy matter as it might seem at first consideration. People, as a rule, do not like to think in earnest. They are mentally lazy. They prefer to let other people think and decide for them. They accept the opinions and decisions of others, and imagine that they themselves, are thinking. They only think that they think. To think properly requires the exercise of the attention under the direction of the Will. As a writer in a philosophical magazine once said:
“Something more reliable than a mere impulse is needed to make a strong mind. Back of all must stand a strong Will, with the ability and disposition to use it. M. Marcel well says: ‘The great secret of education lies in exciting and directing the Will.’ Nothing takes its place until we discover that attention is under the control of the Will, and until, by perseverance, we acquire the power of thus controlling it.”
We are very apt to be moved almost entirely by our own feelings, desires and emotions, rather than by our judgment. We are in the habit of inventing reasons for our actions, after we have decided to act. In other words, we use
our reason to excuse and justify our actions, rather than to lead and guide them. Many persons rush into action either from their own desires, or from the suggestions of others, and then hatch out a goodly array of reasons for the action or decision, none of which reasons ever entered their minds before the decision or action.
Halleck says: “A habit of deliberation in cases of violent emotion is a difficult one to form. When one feels strongly, the motor idea is often followed immediately by motor action. A fit of anger has escaped us before we were aware. We have said something that we shall regret all our lives before we could seem to apply the brakes to speech. The only safeguard against these sudden motor outbreaks is to be continually on the lookout for the provoking causes, and to have the brakes of repression half applied before the cause is operative. The habit of being watchful and of applying motor inhibition will soon begin to form, and the task will grow constantly easier. In other cases, where the emotion is of slower growth, the attention must be drawn away from the emotion‑provoking idea before it grows too strong. The truth is important, that one must learn to think in order to cultivate Will‑Power correctly. Man has improved faster than the beasts, because his voluntary acts have been guided by progressive thought toward higher ends.”