After reading these quotes, let me know, comment about what the thought of death inspires within you.
“Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.”
You lost the election.
You bet on the wrong stock.
You missed the game winning field goal.
You fell down face first into a pile of mud.
And it hurt.
It still does sometimes.
But you weren’t meant to remain in pain.
The pain – the adversity, is an opportunity to grow, to learn, to prosper, but in the moments it happens it’s almost impossible to appreciate.
Adversity doesn’t feel good, but it carries within it a gift.
The gift of experience.
“Experience is the teacher of all things.”
The gift may be hidden, but it’s there, waiting for you to find it, open it, & move forward – stronger, wiser, and ready for the next opportunity.
What does self-directed mean?
It means the belief in free will.
It means owning responsibility for YOUR life, as your life is the only one you can truly control.
Lots of people waste time in the gossip, rumors, & other mis-informed distractions.
You won’t ever find true happiness there. The only place you’ll find it is within yourself.
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
MLK jr. had a dream.
John Lennon imagined.
Jesus Christ lived a vision.
& the list goes on…
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Not only did the dreams of these greats serve as inspiration, they were necessary building blocks toward the quality of lives we live today as they continue to serve & inspire us to dream & take action toward our dreams.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho shares the dream.
Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth shares a vision.
Shakespeare said “Thoughts are but dreams till their effects be tried.”
& Einstein said “Imagination is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Your thoughts & ideas — your dreams, hold more power than you think the do.
So what’s your dream?
What do you imagine?
What vision lives within you?
You have the power to change your life by changing your thinking.
Is it easy?
No, here’s Goethe:
“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”
It may be one of the most difficult things to do, but it can be done.
Da Vinci, Einstein, Buddha, Jesus, Shakespeare, Bruce Lee, and countless others have spoken on this truth.
You have the power, but it requires responsibility:
“You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think.”
― Marianne Williamson
You may have heard “with great power comes great responsibility” but looking at the state of the world we can all see this isn’t true.
What’s true is that great responsibility leads to great power, which begins with taking responsibility for your thoughts. Da Vinci defined this truth as “Science”.
Your world won’t change until you change your thinking.
Begin by thinking about your ideal life.
What does it look like?
What’s your financial situation?
How are your relationships?
What’s your living situation like?
How is your health?
Visualizing your ideal life plants seeds into your subconscious mind, which when repeated begins to manifest in the physical world.
When a thought arises that doesn’t have to do with your ideal life, change it. This is humankind’s superpower, “giving birth to evolution” Einstein said.
Disciplining your thoughts is a practice. The more you work on it, the stronger your mind becomes, the more in control of your life you become.
The path of your best life awaits you, what are you waiting for?
Get to it.
Acting strategies can be used as tools to improve your work environment as well as your life.
If these strategies have enlightened Jim Carrey, in which you can read about below, they might be able to do the same for you. Give them a try and use what works for you!
Acting Strategies To Try At Work
1) Act “As If”
The HuffPost has a good article on Acting “As If”. Click here to read it. The article looks at both sides of this exercise and discusses its benefits. Here is an encapsulating quote from the article:
“When we choose to live with a strong faith in things not seen, not proven, and not guaranteed – we tap into the power of the possible and we supersede the literal and predicable.”
Another good quote from article:
“The question for us to ask ourselves is, ‘What am I acting as if will happen in the most important areas of my life right now?’”
So what do you want to act “as if”?
Think about specific qualities you admire and/or think about one of your role models or a leader in your industry. What would they do in this situation?
Then try it out! Don’t give up after 3 minutes, take time to really dwell in an “as if” situation.
This leads to something similar…
2) Create, then don’t leave your “Stage”
This is another type of method acting.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”
Every day people are waking up and playing a role; some do it intentionally and some don’t.
The following strategy can be used in any occupation:
Let’s say that you are a pharmacist. In this exercise this is also your “acting role”. Try going into your job pretending that you are an actor, acting as a pharmacist. View everyone you see as fellow actors, acting out their roles!
^This idea can be a trip but I love it.
Related to this strategy is the article about Jim Carrey when he used Method Acting in portraying Andy Kaufman. Check it out here.
Seeing others as fellow actors can help you understand that each “actor” has a role, they have tasks, they are focused on an end goal. This can help you understand peoples’ wants:
“One of the most important keys to acting is that every single person at every single moment of their life has an objective (a want) as well as an action to get what they want. In acting, if you can identify what your character wants at any given time, then you will add a vital element of truth and direction in your work. The same applies to life.”
Knowing that each “actor” has an objective can help you react less and respond more. Reactions are quick and usually without thought whereas Responses are calm and calculated. Reactions are emotional and typically ego-based. Responses are reasonable.
“When egos act defensively (e.g. when we insist that the other person is “wrong”), our judgement becomes clouded. When we focus too much on defending ourselves, we become blocked in our own self-development.”
One of the best qualities an actor can have is active listening. Active listening lets go of the ego to completely engage and focus on the present moment, open to all possibilities(trusting improv), which is where real Joy is experienced, and isn’t that what it’s about?
Joy is contagious. Try the first method to Act “As If” joyful wherever you are and observe the people in your surroundings become more joyful too!
“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.”
Actions become habits if repeated long enough, but remember that progress is the goal, not perfection. Every day won’t shine as you’d like but you can work on shining every day.
“Joy is increased by spreading it to others.”
Robert Murray McCheyne
“Let your joy be in your journey—not in some distant goal.”
“There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha.”
There are so many ways to pronounce the sounds: “ha ha ha.”
Do you say it with emphasis?
If so, where is your emphasis?
If not, well, that’s funny too.
Try it 5-10 times in different ways & tell me you aren’t feeling a little bit better.
It’s actually Science.
More research is being done in this area but here are a few relative studies and part of their conclusions discussing how even simulated laughter increases positive feelings/endorphins.
So science shows that simulating laughter and even smiles can induce endorphins & positive feelings.
Guess who else thinks laughing is one of the most beneficial things anyone can do?
Like everyone. Literally. Well not literally, but check it out:
And after the quotes you can find a list of ways to simulate laughter into your life.
Don’t forget to laugh today! 🙂
“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.”
“As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you. Don’t bother to brush it off. Getting a comedic view of your situation gives you spiritual distance. Having a sense of humor saves you.”
“With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.”
“Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away.”
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
“I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable.”
“Frame your mind to mirth and merriment
which bars a thousand harms
and lengthens life.”
“Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”
“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”
“Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment.”
“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”
“There is little success where there is little laughter.”
“I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, ‘Ain’t that the truth.’”
“Laughter is America’s most important export.”
“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
“It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“The size of a man’s understanding can be justly measured by his mirth.”
“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all going to go insane.”
“The child in you, like all children, loves to laugh, to be around people who can laugh at themselves and life. Children instinctively know that the more laughter we have in our lives, the better.”
“A man isn’t poor if he can still laugh.”
“You have as much laughter as you have faith.”
“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”
George Bernard Shaw
“And the little prince broke into a lovely peal of laughter, which irritated me very much. I like my misfortunes to be taken seriously.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder
“My focus is to forget the pain of life. Forget the pain, mock the pain, reduce it. And laugh.”
“If you would not be laughed at, be the first to laugh at yourself.”
“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”
“It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh from the bottom of your heart.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you’re funny, if there’s something that makes you laugh, then every day’s going to be okay.”
“We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.”
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
E. E. Cummings
“A person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused.” Shirley MacClain
“Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.”
“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.”
“He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh.”
“As soon as you have made a thought, laugh at it.”
“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.”
“One can know a man from his laugh, and if you like a man’s laugh before you know anything of him, you may confidently say that he is a good man.”
“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
“To make mistakes is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity.”
William Arthur Ward
“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
“You must learn to take life less seriously and to laugh.”
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
“The greatest prayer you could ever pray is to laugh every day.”
“The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed.” Bennett Cerf
“Don’t take yourself too seriously. Know when to laugh at yourself, and find a way to laugh at obstacles that inevitably present themselves.”
“There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.”
“If you can’t laugh, you won’t make it.”
Jennifer Love Hewitt
“Fame comes and fame goes, but you have to be able to laugh about yourself and to take it with a grain of salt.”
“If you can’t laugh at yourself, you don’t deserve to laugh at anybody else.”
“Nothing feels as good to me as laughing incredibly hard.”
“Life is tough; and if you have the ability to laugh at it, you have the ability to enjoy it.”
“Sometimes you almost have to laugh to keep from crying to deal with the pain associated with the hood.”
“I surround myself with people who make me laugh.”
“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”
“Wit is the key, I think, to anybody’s heart, because who doesn’t like to laugh?”
“It’s important to remember that life is a joke, and that outlook grants a lot of perspective, but I don’t think comedy should change and become political due to other things. It should just laugh at that cosmic joke that life is all the time.” John Mulaney
“Laughter is a bodily exercise, precious to health.”
“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
“He that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.”
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
“Anything with the power to make you laugh over thirty years later isn’t a waste of time. I think something like that is very close to immortality.”
“If you become silent after your laughter, one day you will hear God also laughing, you will hear the whole existence laughing — trees and stones and stars with you.”
“The point is seeing that THIS — the immediate, everyday and present experience — is IT, the entire and ultimate point for the existence of a universe. I believe that if this state of consciousness could become more universal, the pretentious nonsense which passes for the serious business of the world would dissolve in laughter… “
“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.”
Ways to create and simulate laughter
“When you are totally depressed, you should try giggling. Just make yourself laugh. Force yourself to laugh.”
**Smile for 5 minutes
**Surround yourself with positive and fun people
**Count your blessings
**Watch funny videos/Read funny stories & jokes
(Rodney Dangerfield jokes below)
**Schedule time for fun activities
**Bring humor into conversations
(Ask someone “what’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?”)
**Go to a laughter yoga class
(I went to a few of these in college and it was awesome!)
*Remember funny things that have happened recently
**Remember fun times from your childhood
**Laugh at yourself.
**Remind self to laugh
**Laugh every day! 🙂
“Whenever I want to laugh, I read a wonderful book, ‘Children’s Letters to God.’ You can open it anywhere. One I read recently said, ‘Dear God, thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.’”
Some quite funny Rodney Dangerfield’s jokes:
“I asked my old man if I could go ice-skating on the lake. He told me, ‘Wait til it gets warmer.’”
“I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.”
“Last Halloween a kid tried to rip my face off. He thought it was a mask. Now it’s different when I open the door the kids hand me candy.”
“My father carries around the picture of the kid who came with his wallet.”
“My uncle’s dying wish was to have me sitting on his lap. He was in the electric chair.”
“One night I came home. I figured, let my wife come on. I’ll play it cool. Let her make the first move. She went to Florida.”
“My wife isn’t very bright. The other day she was at the store, and just as she was heading for our car, someone stole it! I said, ‘Did you see the guy that did it?’ She said, ‘No, but I got the license plate.’”
“I tell you, with my doctor, I don’t get no respect. I told him, ‘I’ve swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills.’ He told me to have a few drinks and get some rest.”
“I had a lot of pimples too. One day I fell asleep in a library. I woke up and a blind man was reading my face.”
“A travel agent told I could spend 7 nights in HAWAII no days just nights.”
What is something that makes you laugh? 🙂
I was in my senior year of high school when I was asked for the millionth time by another “adult:” “What are you going to major in?”
I had no idea. Later that evening I was talking to my dad & I asked him what he thought I should major in. I’m sure he gave me some ideas but what I vividly remember from that conversation is him telling me that it’s also okay if I don’t know right now.
“It’s okay to not know.”
That answer seemed somewhat surprising after numerous teachers & “adults” spoke of how important it was to know what you were going to major in.
This advice gave me a huge sense of relief and I still use it today in a number of situations.
I went into college with no major, undeclared, for my first 2 years, then I actually had to decide.
I chose based off of what my interests were, not off of what would make me the most money, and I am happy with my choices. I have a degree in Sport Management, a minor in Business, and a Masters of Education degree.
I wasn’t worried about the future when I entered college undeclared.
My focus was on the day at hand. My focus was to live life to the fullest while completing everything needed to graduate.
I knew that it was okay to not try to know exactly how my future would pan out, but to trust it would turn out well, and I took actions based on that faith, like this quote from Alan Watts:
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”
But it can be easy to get caught up in worrying about the countless tasks you need to complete. I do that sometimes, but when I know I’m worrying I remind myself to focus on what I can do to return to peace of mind.
Worry can be a motivator to get things done, but it can be a cage as well. Uncertainty lives with all of us, every single day. It’s always there, like gravity. How will you deal with it?
“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with.”
So it’s completely okay to not know.
“The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”
But what happens when you really want to know?
You want to know the answer.
You want to know what to do.
You want to know what will happen.
You want certainty in uncertain things and there are ways to create some certainty during uncertain times.
There are ways to create some certainty during uncertain times.
—One way is to dwell in the idea that life is working out in everyone’s best interest, even during down times. And if you’re constantly hating your job then that could be life telling you to quit & find work that you enjoy.
—The second way is to focus on making progress.
If you really want to “grab life by the horns” and take control of your life, progress is key. You might feel stuck at a job you hate or lost in what you think you should do.
How can you make progress?
—Begin by asking yourself “what does my ideal life look like?”
Think about ideals in a variety of aspects in your life: Financial, relationships, career, hobbies, environment, etc.
This is the time to let go of any limiting beliefs you have and raise your standards.
Even if you don’t believe you can have your ideal life just pretend for a moment and think about what it would look like.
—Know your “why.”
Why do you want your ideal life? Think about all your reasons. It could be for your happiness, to provide for your family, to start a charity, to buy a new car, etc.
Begin taking action toward your ideal life. Your reasons for making it happen will grow stronger from here.
Uncertainty surrounds us every day.
How will you make the most of it?
“The root of suffering is resisting the certainty that no matter what the circumstances, uncertainty is all we truly have.”
“We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified — how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don’t know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.”
“There are many things of which we are completely unaware—in fact, there are things of which we are so unaware, we don’t even know we are unaware of them.”
“Suspecting and knowing are not the same.”
“People don’t know that they don’t know. Remember that before you hold it against them.”
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
“Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.”
Richard Buckminster Fuller
“Beyond all sciences, philosophies, theologies, and histories, a child’s relentless inquiry is truly all it takes to remind us that we don’t know as much as we think we know.”
“Memento Mori” means to keep in mind that you will die.
2,000 years ago it was popular for Roman generals to keep this idea in mind.
As generals paraded around their cities in horse led chariots after victorious battles, they kept aides behind them to whisper into their ears, “Memento Mori.”
Generals knew the fleetingness of life and wanted to keep the reminder close by so that their egos didn’t get the best of them. It’s easy for our ego to inflate and make us believe we are bigger than death, especially after achieving success. So it is a humble reminder to remember your death. To remember that you, and everyone around you, is going to die.
Many artists, philosophers, and rulers have used “Memento Mori” to inspire them.
Instead of letting the idea of death scare them, as many do, they used it to create urgency and a deeper perspective, seeing life as a gift and not as suffering.
You’ve probably heard of people who have experienced a near death experience and came out of it with a new inspiration for living fully. You don’t need a near death experience to change your life. “Memento Mori” can be your inspiration and guide to living a full life.
Here are some famous names of the past who were inspired by the reminder of death, Memento Mori:
“Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.”
“Every third thought shall be my grave.”
“Philosophy is “about nothing else but dying and being dead.”
“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”
Michel de Montaigne
“People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”
“So this is how a thoughtful person should await death: not with indifference, not with impatience, not with disdain, but simply viewing it as one of the things that happens to us. Now you anticipate the child’s emergence from its mother’s womb; that’s how you should await the hour when your soul will emerge from its compartment.”
“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?”
The reminder of death still inspires many modern day entrepreneurs, artists, and others:
“There’s something coming for all of us. It’s called death. Rather than fearing it, it can become one of our greatest counselors. So, if this was the last week of your life, what would you cherish most? How would you live? How would you love? What truth would you tell today?”
“It’s easy to lose track of that mortality, to forget time, to think that you’re going to live forever. The idea that you’re gonna die and that life is short is only depressing if you’re thinking about it wrong. If you’re thinking about it right it should give you a sense of priority. It should even give you a sense of meaning; it should let you know what’s important, what you’re trying to do while you’re here on this planet.”
“The reason I believe in it(death as motivation) is because it’s ultimately practical. It’s the guiding light and the fire and ambition that drives me toward legacy and living my best life.”
Will you look death in the face?
Are you ready to let death inspire you?
Do it and see how your life changes for the better…
“Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique.”
And yes. They wrote a little different in the 1800’s. Many of these quotes I had to read multiple times to truly comprehend.
“Self-Reliance” is a soul touching essay. I continually felt profound connections as I engulfed myself in this essay.
After being so touched by this work I felt the need to share its most essential messages with you.
A few of the many words I would describe this text are: Insightful. Life-Changing. Thought-Provoking. Soul Touching. Truly. Incredible.
Before diving into all 30 Essential Messages, here is a brief overview of some of the things you will be hearing:
9 Overviewing Ideas
(1)-Seeking & Becoming more of your True Self
“I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you…If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions…”
“Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse.”
(2)-Following paths that brings you joy in life, trusting it & continuing regardless of numerous failures
“…A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls…
…He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not `studying a profession,’ for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances…”
(3)-Experiencing Genuine Peace, which does not come from anything outside of you, but begins within
“A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it…
…Nothing can bring you peace but yourself…”
(4)-Recognizing the facade of societal ways
“…It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it…”
“…This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars.Their every truth is not quite true…”
(5)-The people in power hate nonconformity & encourage the general population to oppose those people
“For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.”
“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
(6)-Understanding the connectedness & importance of everything; that all things are of equal importance
“…Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fulness and completion? Is the parent better than the child into whom he has cast his ripened being?”
(7)-Wherever you go there you are
“The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still.”
“Henceforward I am the truth’s. Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law…
…if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.– But so you may give these friends pain. Yes, but I cannot sell my liberty and my power, to save their sensibility…”
(9)-Life(Your Ego) is Fleeting
“This one fact the world hates, that the soul becomes; for that for ever degrades the past, turns all riches to poverty, all reputation to a shame, confounds the saint with the rogue, shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside.”
30 Essential Messages
The following 30 messages are all significant but I highlighted the elemental concepts in Blue and Bolded succeeding elements. Each message holds high value but I also ordered them beginning with what I believe to be the most moving.
“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think…
…This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness…
…It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it…
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
“Phocion, Socrates, Anaxagoras, Diogenes, are great men, but they leave no class. He who is really of their class will not be called by their name, but will be his own man, and, in his turn, the founder of a sect.”
“A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it…
…Nothing can bring you peace but yourself….
…Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
“Well, most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion…
…This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars.Their every truth is not quite true…
…Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four; so that every word they say chagrins us, and we know not where to begin to set them right.”
“But do your work, and I shall know you. Do you work, and you shall reinforce yourself. A man must consider what a blindman’s-buff is this game of conformity”
“At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door, and say,–‘Come out unto us.’ But keep thy state; come not into their confusion…
…The power men possess to annoy me, I give them by a weak curiosity. No man can come near me but through my act. What we love that we have, but by desire we bereave ourselves of the love.”
“And truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity, and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster. High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in good earnest be doctrine, society, law, to himself, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others!”
“Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say ‘I think,’ ‘I am,’ but quotes some saint or sage…
…He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them.There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike…
…But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future…
…He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.”
“The soul raised over passion beholds identity and eternal causation, perceives the self-existence of Truth and Right, and calms itself with knowing that all things go well.”
“If we live truly, we shall see truly. It is as easy for the strong man to be strong, as it is for the weak to be weak…
…When we have new perception, we shall gladly disburden the memory of its hoarded treasures as old rubbish…
…When a man lives with God, his voice shall be as sweet as the murmur of the brook and the rustle of the corn.”
“For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face.”
This youtube talk, titled Don’t Take Life Too Seriously, by Alan Watts reminded me of the quote above.
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day…
…—‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’—Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
“I hope in these days we have heard the last of conformity and consistency…
…That a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the centre of things. Where he is, there is nature. He measures you, and all men, and all events…
…The man must be so much, that he must make all circumstances indifferent. Every true man is a cause, a country, and an age; requires infinite spaces and numbers and time fully to accomplish his design;–and posterity seem to follow his steps as a train of clients.”
“We pass for what we are. Character teaches above our wills…
…Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment.”
“Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. Act singly, and what you have already done singly will justify you now.”
“Insist on yourself; never imitate…
…Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession…
…That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him…
…No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it…
*Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique.*
The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow…
…Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare…
…Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. There is at this moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses, or Dante, but different from all these. Not possibly will the soul all rich, all eloquent, with thousand-cloven tongue, deign to repeat itself; but if you can hear what these patriarchs say, surely you can reply to them in the same pitch of voice; for the ear and the tongue are two organs of one nature. Abide in the simple and noble regions of thy life, obey thy heart, and thou shalt reproduce the Foreworld again.”
“Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse.”
“And so the reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance.
Men have looked away from themselves and at things so long, that they have come to esteem the religious, learned, and civil institutions as guards of property, and they deprecate assaults on these, because they feel them to be assaults on property.
…They measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is…
…But a cultivated man becomes ashamed of his property, out of new respect for his nature Especially he hates what he has, if he see that it is accidental, — came to him by inheritance, or gift, or crime; then he feels that it is not having; it does not belong to him, has no root in him, and merely lies there, because no revolution or no robber takes it away.”
“If our young men miscarry in their first enterprises, they lose all heart. If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life…
…A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls…
…He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not `studying a profession,’ for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances…
…Let a Stoic open the resources of man, and tell men they are not leaning willows, but can and must detach themselves; that with the exercise of self-trust, new powers shall appear; that a man is the word made flesh, born to shed healing to the nations, that he should be ashamed of our compassion, and that the moment he acts from himself, tossing the laws, the books, idolatries, and customs out of the window, we pity him no more, but thank and revere him,–and that teacher shall restore the life of man to splendor, and make his name dear to all history.”
“Another sort of false prayers are our regrets. Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. Regret calamities, if you can thereby help the sufferer; if not, attend your own work, and already the evil begins to be repaired. Our sympathy is just as base. We come to them who weep foolishly, and sit down and cry for company, instead of imparting to them truth and health in rough electric shocks, putting them once more in communication with their own reason…
…The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire. Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it. We solicitously and apologetically caress and celebrate him, because he held on his way and scorned our disapprobation. The gods love him because men hated him. “To the persevering mortal,” said Zoroaster, “the blessed Immortals are swift.”
“Henceforward I am the truth’s. Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law. I will have no covenants but proximities. I shall endeavour to nourish my parents, to support my family, to be the chaste husband of one wife,–but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from your customs…
…I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions…
…I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly…
…It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men’s, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth. Does this sound harsh to-day? You will soon love what is dictated by your nature as well as mine, and, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.– But so you may give these friends pain. Yes, but I cannot sell my liberty and my power, to save their sensibility…
…Besides, all persons have their moments of reason, when they look out into the region of absolute truth; then will they justify me, and do the same thing.”
“The magnetism which all original action exerts is explained when we inquire the reason of self-trust. Who is the Trustee?
…What is the aboriginal Self on which a universal reliance may be grounded? What is the nature and power of that science-baffling star, without parallax, without calculable elements, which shoots a ray of beauty even into trivial and impure actions, if the least mark of independence appear?
…The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity or Instinct.We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst all later teachings are tuitions. In that deep force, the last fact behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their common origin…
…For, the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them, and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceed…
…We first share the life by which things exist, and afterwards see them as appearances in nature, and forget that we have shared their cause. Here is the fountain of action and of thought. Here are the lungs of that inspiration which giveth man wisdom, and which cannot be denied without impiety and atheism…
…We lie in the lap of immense intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity. When we discern justice, when we discern truth, we do nothing of ourselves, but allow a passage to its beams. If we ask whence this comes, if we seek to pry into the soul that causes, all philosophy is at fault. Its presence or its absence is all we can affirm. Every man discriminates between the voluntary acts of his mind, and his involuntary perceptions, and knows that to his involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due. He may err in the expression of them, but he knows that these things are so, like day and night, not to be disputed. My wilful actions and acquisitions are but roving;–the idlest reverie, the faintest native emotion, command my curiosity and respect…
…Thoughtless people contradict as readily the statement of perceptions as of opinions, or rather much more readily; for, they do not distinguish between perception and notion…
…They fancy that I choose to see this or that thing. But perception is not whimsical, but fatal. If I see a trait, my children will see it after me, and in course of time, all mankind,–although it may chance that no one has seen it before me. For my perception of it is as much a fact as the sun.”
“But the rage of travelling is a symptom of a deeper unsoundness affecting the whole intellectual action. The intellect is vagabond, and our system of education fosters restlessness. Our minds travel when our bodies are forced to stay at home…
…We imitate; and what is imitation but the travelling of the mind?
Our houses are built with foreign taste; our shelves are garnished with foreign ornaments; our opinions, our tastes, our faculties, lean, and follow the Past and the Distant. The soul created the arts wherever they have flourished…
…It was in his own mind that the artist sought his model. It was an application of his own thought to the thing to be done and the conditions to be observed. And why need we copy the Doric or the Gothic model? Beauty, convenience, grandeur of thought, and quaint expression are as near to us as to any, and if the American artist will study with hope and love the precise thing to be done by him, considering the climate, the soil, the length of the day, the wants of the people, the habit and form of the government, he will create a house in which all these will find themselves fitted, and taste and sentiment will be satisfied also.”
“In manly hours, we feel that duty is our place. The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still, and shall make men sensible by the expression of his countenance, that he goes the missionary of wisdom and virtue, and visits cities and men like a sovereign, and not like an interloper or a valet.”
(Although I still love traveling, I think there’s wisdom in this quote below & reminds me of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Wherever You Go, There You Are)
“Travelling is a fool’s paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.”
“The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure, that it is profane to seek to interpose helps. It must be that when God speaketh he should communicate, not one thing, but all things; should fill the world with his voice; should scatter forth light, nature, time, souls, from the centre of the present thought; and new date and new create the whole…
…Whenever a mind is simple, and receives a divine wisdom, old things pass away,—means, teachers, texts, temples fall; it lives now, and absorbs past and future into the present hour. All things are made sacred by relation to it,–one as much as another…
…All things are dissolved to their centre by their cause, and, in the universal miracle, petty and particular miracles disappear. If, therefore, a man claims to know and speak of God, and carries you backward to the phraseology of some old mouldered nation in another country, in another world, believe him not…
…Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fulness and completion? Is the parent better than the child into whom he has cast his ripened being? Whence, then, this worship of the past? The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and authority of the soul. Time and space are but physiological colors which the eye makes, but the soul is light; where it is, is day; where it was, is night; and history is an impertinence and an injury, if it be any thing more than a cheerful apologue or parable of my being and becoming.”
“In what prayers do men allow themselves! That which they call a holy office is not so much as brave and manly. Prayer looks abroad and asks for some foreign addition to come through some foreign virtue, and loses itself in endless mazes of natural and supernatural, and mediatorial and miraculous…
…Prayer that craves a particular commodity,–any thing less than all good,–is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg…
…He will then see prayer in all action.The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends. Caratach, in Fletcher’s Bonduca, when admonished to inquire the mind of the god Audate, replies, — “His hidden meaning lies in our endeavours; Our valors are our best gods.”
“The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loathe to disappoint them.”
“As great a stake depends on your private act to-day, as followed their public and renowned steps. When private men shall act with original views, the lustre will be transferred from the actions of kings to those of gentlemen.
“Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim. This one fact the world hates, that the soul becomes; for that for ever degrades the past, turns all riches to poverty, all reputation to a shame, confounds the saint with the rogue, shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside.”
Here are some considerable(still super incredible) quotes:
“His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents.”
“Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the ridge. Its unity is only phenomenal. The persons who make up a nation to-day, next year die, and their experience with them.”
“These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.”
“It is only as a man puts off all foreign support, and stands alone, that I see him to be strong and to prevail. He who knows that power is inborn, that he is weak because he has looked for good out of him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, works miracles; just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head.”
For more relative quotes, here are some quotes from Thoreau to ponder.