Temptation of idleness (by far the strongest)
Never surrender to the flow of time. Never put off what you have decided to do.
Temptation of the inner life
Deal only with those difficulties which actually confront you. Allow yourself only those feelings which are actually called upon for effective use or else are required by thought for the sake of inspiration. Cut away ruthlessly everything that is imaginary in your feelings.
Temptation of self-immolation
Subordinate to external affairs and people everything that is subjective, but never the subject itself — i.e. your judgement. Never promise and never give to another more than you would demand from yourself if you were he.
Temptation to dominate
Temptation of perversity
Never react to an evil in such a way as to augment it.
Refuse to be an accomplice. Don’t lie — don’t keep your eyes shut…
Two internal obstacles to be overcome:
Cowardice before the flight of time (mania for putting things off — idleness…)
Illusion that time, of itself, will bring me courage and energy…. In fact, it is usually the contrary (sleepiness). Say to yourself: And suppose I should remain always what I am at this moment? … Never put something off indefinitely, but only to a definitely fixed time. Try to do this even when it is impossible (headaches…). Exercises: decide to do something, no matter what, and do it exactly at a certain time.
You live in a dream. You are waiting to begin to live….
One must develop a habit. Training.
Distinguish between the things I can put off, and those [I cannot].
Begin the training with small things, those for which inspiration is useless…
Every day, do 2 or 3 things of no interest at some definitely appointed time.
Reach the point where punctuality is automatic and effortless. — Lack of flexibility of imagination. An obstacle to be methodically overcome. The second screen between reality and yourself. Much more difficult. What is needed is something quite different from a methodical training… But precious.
From First and Last Notebooks.