Choose the Way of Life
Leo Buscaglia


Choose the way of life.  Choose the way of love.  Choose the way of caring.  Choose the way of hope.  Choose the way of belief in tomorrow.  Choose the way of trusting.  Choose the way of goodness.  It's up to you.  It's your choice.  You can also choose despair.  You can also choose misery.  You can also choose making life uncomfortable for other people.  You can also choose bigotry.  But what for?  It doesn't make sense.  It's only self-flagellation.  But I warn you that if you decide to take full responsibility for your life, it's not going to be easy, and you're going to have to risk again.  Risk--the key to change.

I want to read you this:  "To laugh is to risk appearing the fool."  So what?  I often say that people look upon Buscaglia as being some sort of a nut.  Crazy, he is!  But I'm having a blast while the sane person is dying of boredom.

"To weep is to risk appearing sentimental."  I'm not afraid to cry.  I cry all the time.  I cry in joy, I cry in despair.  Sometimes I read my students' papers and I cry all over them.  I cry when I see people happy.  I cry when I see people loving each other.  I don't care if I appear sentimental.  That's tough.  I like it.  It cleans my eyeballs.

"To reach out to others is to risk getting involved."  What else in life is more important than becoming involved?  I don't want to stand on an island by myself.  The very fact that you and I are together means that we were meant to be that way.  Let's find ways of making it a joyous occasion.

"To show your feeling is to risk exposing your humanity."  Well, I'm glad to expose my humanity.  There would be a lot worse things to expose than my humanity.

"To place your ideas and dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss."  That's all right.  You can't win 'em all.  And you cannot be loved by everybody.  There's always going to be someone who says, "He's a jerk.  Come on, Mabel, we've heard enough of this.  Let's go home."  And you know, that's good and that's valid. You can't be loved by everybody, that's for sure.

I always tell, and I write about it, and many of you have heard this a thousand times, but I love it so much.  In Love class one night when a girl said, "I know why I'm so despairing all the time.  It's because I want to be loved by everybody, and that's a human impossibility. I could be the most delectable, the most delicious, the most wondrous peach in the world, and I could offer it to everybody.  But there are people who are allergic to peaches.  Then they may want me to be a banana."  And so often we become a banana for other people who want peaches.  What a messy fruit salad.  Isn't it all right to say to them, "I am so sorry I cannot be a banana.  I would love to be a banana if I could for you, but I'm a peach."  And you know what?  If you wait long enough, you'll find a peach lover.  And then you can live your life as a peach, and you don't have to live your life as a banana.  All the lost energy it takes to be a banana, when you're a peach!

"To love is to risk not being loved in return."  And that's all right too.  You love to love, not to get something back, or it isn't love."

"To hope is to risk pain."  And, "To try is to risk failure.  But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.  The person who risks nothing does nothing, and is nothing.  That person may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he or she simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, or love.  Chained by certitudes or addictions, that person is a slave.  He or she has forfeited our greatest trait, and that is our individual freedom.  Only the person who risks is free.

To keep you hidden, to lose you because of self-defeating ideas is to die.  Don't let that happen.  Your greatest responsibility is to become everything that you are, not only for your benefit, but for mine.

Living, Loving, and Learning
 is a delightful collection of
Dr. Buscaglia's informative
and amusing lectures, which
were delivered worldwide
between 1970 and 1981.
This inspirational treasure is
for all those eager to accept
the challenge of life and to
profit from the wonder of love.


If you want to achieve great things in life, you have to take risks.
The first risk is daring to feel deeply, to be passionate about what
you want and care about.  Enthusiasm is the key to breaking through
barriers, whether your dream is to touch one person or millions.

Ken Kragen


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