Having already discussed the proper allotment of time to the aspects of our life, and the need for and importance of action in earlier Musings, I must now dwell upon the benefit of repetition. My first recommendation for a book where you can direct your attention for deeper thoughts on the benefits of repetitious behaviour is, once more, James Clear’s “Atomic Habits.” The idea is not lost on me that the book I look to, when I think of perseverance and repetition, is the same book I think of when I think of action. However, as I wish to provide different books for your consideration with each Musing, I will focus on “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. Similar to “Atomic Habits,” Darren Hardy’s “The Compound Effect” focuses the reader’s attention on consistent, small, yet meaningful actions. The author compares these consistent actions to the interest one can earn in a compounding savings account. However, the author once more uses the time we are allotted in our daily lives as the currency which will yield that compounded effect we are searching for.
In his book, the author outlines a story where three men, Mark, Robert, and William, join each other for lunch every day. At the beginning of his allegory, all three men are heavier than they wish to be. All could stand to lose a few pounds. They all decide to participate in a diet, and to meet each other again one year later to see the results. Mark loses faith in the program and decides he will eat one extra candy bar at lunch and supper each day to help himself manage the stress of his job. Robert abandons the program, yet keeps his diet the same each day, hoping to at least not gain any more weight. However, William simply cuts back on his dessert after each meal for the year. When they meet up again at the end of the year, they are all surprised by the results. Mark has eaten an additional 182,500 calories during this year, which has increased his weight by nearly 50 pounds and Robert who has made zero changes has remained at the same weight. However, William has lost nearly 50 pounds in that same time frame by simply repeating the very small actions of skipping his dessert at his meals.
When I read this story, my thoughts turned to a brother who has now passed to the Grand Lodge above. This brother was renowned for his memory work. So much so that my Mother Lodge would reach out to him for assistance, sometimes with little notice, and he would happily assist us in our labours. I have never met a Mason who did not hold this brother in the highest esteem. Not only did he know the Work, he lived it.
When I asked him what the secret was to his memory work being of such strong stature. He told me that he would practice it every day, as he walked to and from work. That simple statement was so deep and profound. In that simple statement he not only told me how he practiced, he also told me how important it was to him. Not only did he listen to his first degree charge, to try to make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge, but he did so by practicing the working tools of the first degree. He allotted his time, knowing that he could practice as he walked to and from work. He took the action of practicing during that time frame, and he did so with unshaken fidelity and indefatigable exertion.
This is one of the greatest lessons in Masonry. We may achieve what we wish if we simply work at our objective. A clearly de-fined goal, a plan of action, and unrelenting commitment to the end of the Master’s design. Brethren such as RW Bro. Ron Heal of King Hiram Lodge No. 104 embodied perseverance, like many can only dream too. To that end, I will state that what one man can do, another can do with the proper plan, action, and discipline.
I once more end with a quote:
"The only thing standing between you and outrageous success is continuous progress." — Dan Waldschmidt, Business Strategist
Thank you to all who are doing that which needs to be done. Freemasonry shows us the way and we must simply perform our allotted tasks while it is still yet day.
Please, Continue the Work!
MW Bro. Jonas Cossette, Grand Master, 2023-24