This one thing I do

Here’s an important quote from William Latson:

“Concentration of the attention is one of the master keys of power.

Without it one can accomplish nothing great or significant. The most perfect perceptions, the most retentive memory, the most daring and picturesque imagination — without concentration they can effect nothing.

The principle of concentration may be well illustrated by a physical comparison. Suppose we take a football weighing four ounces and propel it through the air by means of the charge of powder generally used for a projectile of four ounces’ weight.

What effect will the impact of the football have? None whatever. But suppose we concentrate the four ounces’ weight into a sphere of lead less than half an inch in diameter and put behind it the same propulsive force — what then will happen? Now the difference between the football and the leaden bullet is the difference between diffusion and concentration — the difference between the impingement that is harmless and that which is deadly.

And so it is in the world of thought. The thoughts of some people are like a football — big, expanded by wordy wind, slow moving, ineffective; the thoughts of others are like bullets — concentrated, swift, direct, going straight to the center, without pause or hindrance.

“This one thing I do,” said that profound philosopher, Paul of Tarsus. And if we study the history of the world’s master spirits we shall find that this has been their policy. The uncouth butcher who pushed Charles I. from the throne and established a form of government based on moral principle instead of special right; the pallid, undersized French advocate who, in the hope of establishing his wild dream of democracy, sent the flower of French aristocracy walking up Dr. Guillotine’s stairway; the ignorant tinker who gave to the world what is perhaps the greatest allegory in profane literature; the undersized plebeian Corsican adventurer, who made himself master of the world — all these had for their motto the idea of concentration — “This one thing I do.””

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