I was going to use the phrase “on putting your heart into it” but it struck me that believing in it, if perhaps less accurate in certain ways, had the advantage of minimizing the Scouts leader tone.
This is another post I do not have time to write today but it is about enthusiasm, actually believing in the value of your project and honoring your own interest in the topic. I think it is important to do these things to make progress. You can then take things more lightly and remember your connection to it — as well as its entire shape better. It also strikes me that not to do these things is also not to respect yourself or the work.
I was taught to think strategically all the time. Your field was not important and your work was not good, but if you strategized well and wrote down the right words then some first tier journal would accept your piece, which would enable you to continue living. But then again these things might not happen, so you should not commit or enjoy. That would be foolish.
That last attitude makes it very difficult to engage with anything enough to make progress on it, I have noticed.
And you do have to engage and concentrate, I have noticed. This would have gone without saying but in Reeducation it was considered problematic that I could always remember where something had left off, what the theme was, what the topic sentence had been, and so on, and that I could maintain interest in something over time and have a serious intention of deepening my understanding of that thing.
I responded that I merely had a trained mind, but this was still considered abnormal. I learned how to lose focus and interrupt concentration, and these were not good skills to have. I am in the process of shedding the last dregs of them.
The combination of not concentrating (a new skill, then, not concentrating) and the older prohibition on actual engagement with one’s project, was quite lethal to me and I do not recommend it. This is why I now say that using some non cerebral organ in addition to your mind is not only legitimate, but is also necessary.