It's very humbling when this happens, and very enlightening.
The rude and the angry and the obnoxious also have much to teach,
but we have to search harder to find it in their words and
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexations to the
they are, but the hard part is balancing the idea that they're
also human beings who deserve our love. They can bring us
down and keep us down, but the important thing to keep in mind is
that they tend to need love and acceptance more than anyone
else. Which always results in the "what do I do?"
dilemma. . . .
If you compare yourself with others, you may
become vain or
bitter, for always there will
be greater and lesser persons than
don't do it; you are you, and that's fine. If you want to
improve something about yourself, do so, but don't do it on anyone
else's terms. You may be pursuing something that isn't one
of your greatest strengths, and then your own strengths will
suffer from neglect. There are many better writers than I,
and many worse, but I don't worry about either group--I do my
thing, and I try to improve it as I can, but I will never compare
myself to Dickens or Tolstoy, for I'm not Dickens or
Tolstoy. I'm me, and unless I say what I want to say instead
of what I think people want me to say, I'm not speaking my truth.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
yourself credit--you've achieved many things. Move on and
work on other things, and don't fall into the "Glory
Days" trap, but also keep in mind that you have done some
pretty cool stuff.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real
possession in the changing fortunes of time.
if you keep interested in it, you'll strive to become better at
it. And the better you become at it, the more satisfaction
you'll get from what you do. And the more satisfaction you
get, the more positive about your work you'll become. And
the more positive you become, the more interested in it you'll be.
. . .
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full
great to trust people, but we must keep in mind that not everyone
is trustworthy. If we're cheated or swindled, let it be a
lesson to us, and let us try not to let it happen again.
Yes, the world is full of people who want to hurt others and who
want to trick others,
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
strive for high ideals and
everywhere life is full of heroism.
are many more people in the world who love and who want to help
others than people who hate and want to hurt others. If you
watch the news, you'll find this hard to believe. If you
keep your eyes and mind and heart open to the people around you
every day, you'll find this an undeniable truth of life.
yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
yourself is one of the hardest things we can do, for we all want
acceptance, yet being ourselves means that we risk not being
accepted. And sometimes we don't want to hurt someone, or we
want something from someone, so it becomes very easy for us to
pretend that we feel an affection that simply isn't there.
But then we get back to the truth, and to keeping to the truth;
when we feign affection, we diminish our selves, and we set the
other person up for great disappointment when he or she finds out
just what we've done.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all
disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
is the ruling force of humanity, but until we accept this fact and
live our lives as if it were true, love tends to be weak and
impotent; once we live our lives with love as our most important
focus, our lives and the lives of those around us are greatly
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the
things of youth.
we're all going to get old. There is such a thing as aging
gracefully, and people who allow themselves to age tend to age the
most gracefully, but those who try to hold on to their youth tend
to come across as vain, sad, and a bit ridiculous--an unfortunate
word, but very true. Age gracefully by keeping active and
taking care of yourself, but don't buy the fashions that
21-year-olds are wearing; buy what you like, and enjoy it.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield
you in sudden
your spirit is strong, you can make it through everything, and
even more importantly, you can help others to get through their
misfortunes. Nurture your strength of spirit--work on it,
search it out, exercise it, in the ways that you see as best for
you. Read. Spend quiet time. Listen to tape
programs and good music. Strength of spirit doesn't just
happen--it has to be cultivated.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born
of fatigue and loneliness.
am an old man and I have known a great many troubles," said Mark
Twain, "but most of them have never happened."
Isn't that the way it is with most of our imaginings--all the
things we think are going to turn out badly or hurt us or ruin us,
that turn out to be very positive or even completely neutral, not
affecting us one bit for bad or for good. I wish I could
have back some of the energy that I've spent worrying or fretting
about some horrible problem of mine that turned out to be
Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself.
have met the enemy, and he is I." That's a paraphrase
of a line of Walt Kelly's in Pogo, and it's a truism that
consistently hurts people. We tend to hurt ourselves by
being very harsh with ourselves, by judging ourselves by much
higher standards than we would judge others with. The trick
I use to deal with this tendency in myself is to ask myself how I
would react to someone else in the same situation--would I be
harsh with judgment, or would I be encouraging and helpful?
And why would I treat myself worse than I would treat
others? It makes no sense at all to do so.
You are a child of the universe; no less than
the trees and the
stars, you have a right to be here.
of my favorite lines in all of literature. I am a child of
the universe--what an awesome thought, and how true. I belong
here--this is my world to share with you and with everyone
else. I shouldn't feel out of place anywhere, and I know
that everyone else has just as much a right to be here as I
do. I belong here, you belong here, the trees and the stars
belong here, so let's make ourselves at home and go about making
our home a wonderful place, to the best of our abilities. . . .
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt
the universe is
unfolding as it should.
of my favorite lines--how much energy do we spend trying to make
things unfold as we want them to unfold, because we think we see
the best way for things to unfold. Relax! You don't
know the best way, I don't, the politicians and religious leaders
don't--the universe got along fine for billions of years without
us here, so let's let it go about doing its thing, and we can
focus on ours.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to
peace. Peace with God is a great thing, something that can
shelter us against any storm, that can hold us up in our weakest
times, that can give us light in our darkest hours. Don't
look at God as an enemy or a judge or a boss--God is God, and He
loves you, and he wants you to have peace in your hearts and minds
and souls. Let Him help you, and He will; fight against His
help, and you'll reject it, but He won't stop trying to give you
peace. Relax, and take the peace. That peace will help
you more in life than anything else we have.
And whatever your labours and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion
of life, keep peace with your soul.
Worth repeating. Over and over. A peaceful soul is a
soul that can help others; a soul in turmoil is a soul that cannot
help others. Let life be confusing and noisy, but look at it
as something that you don't need to be a part of. Emerson
said that a great man is a man who can keep "with perfect
sweetness the independence of solitude" in the midst of a
crowd, and these words are among his most powerful. Keep
your peace--don't let the world steal it from you.
all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful
it is--a very beautiful world full of very beautiful people.
Never, ever forget that--there's so much more beauty than
ugliness, and it's such a shame that our media focus on the
ugliness so much. The world is an awesome place, a marvelous
place, an incredible place, though sometimes we look at it through
filters of our own creation that tarnish it and make it look bland
and dull and harmful. It is a beautiful world, full of
beautiful people. Never doubt that, and your life will be
versions have this as "Be cheerful," but I prefer the
"be careful" version. It's not nearly as important
to be cheerful as it is to be careful, as we're not all
cheerful people by nature. "Careful," though,
implies full of care, and that can be taken in more than one
way. I would rather be full of care in a sincere way than
full of cheer if I'm not by nature a cheerful sort.
Strive to be happy.
all we can do, and if we keep our minds and hearts focused on
this, we can accomplish this. We can also learn how to help
others to be happy. The important word here, though, isn't
the "happy," but the "strive." Life is
striving, for that keeps us busy with an objective in mind.
Strive to be happy, but remember how many people have told us that
happiness is not a goal, but a by-product. Strive to be
happy by striving to be helpful to others, productive, and caring,
and you'll find your happiness.