exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
Progress & Success
"It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer." Albert Einstein
Editor's Essay: How did the ancient Greeks, a religious people, manage, almost single-handedly, to create what we call philosophy? Why is it that the beginnings of so many important modern fields of enquiry find their roots in the ancient Hellenic culture?
Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning: “Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”
Will Durant, The Story Of Civilization: Speaking of ancient Egypt, "The greatest element of this civilization was its art. Here, almost at the threshold of history, we find an art powerful and mature, superior to that of any modern nation, and equaled only by that of Greece... The whole theory of progress hesitates before Egyptian art."
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Nobel prize winner who discovered Vitamin C: "Genius is seeing what everyone else sees and thinking what no one else has thought."
Edward C. Randall: “Some there are who face the east and sincerely welcome the light; others stand with their backs to the sunrise and worship the sunset of the day before.”
Pablo de Sarasate, composer, musician: "A genius! For thirty-seven years I've practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius!"
Earl Nightingale: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
Imam Ali: “Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.”
Jim Watkins: “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”
Ryan Blair: “If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
Confucius: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Lao Tzu: “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Karen Lamb: “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
Stephen McCranie: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”
Muhammad Ali: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
Kevin Ngo: “If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a lot of time dealing with a life you don’t want.”
Karen E. Quinones Miller: “When someone tells me ‘no,’ it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it simply means I can’t do it with them.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”
Scott Belsky: “When 99% of people doubt your idea, you’re either gravely wrong or about to make history.”
Tony Gaskins: “If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.”
Sheryl Sandberg: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Susan Powter: “The habits that took years to build, do not take a day to change.”
Dalai Lama XIV: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do, and mostly, Live.”
Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
Arthur C. Clarke's three "laws" of prediction: (1) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. (2) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. (3) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.” [Editor’s note: Someone said that one can drive from NY to LA without being able to see more than 200 feet ahead of oneself at any given time; but keep on invading that 200 feet and the trip will be completed.]
Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now
a cyclical nature, an impermanence of all things in this world
Unchecked growth and "success" would eventually produce something monstrous. You have to let go in order to make room for new things to arise, for transformation to happen.
As long as you are in this dimension, you are still subject to its cyclical nature and to the law of impermanence of all things, but you no longer perceive this as "bad" - it just is.
Through allowing the "is-ness" of all things, a deeper dimension underneath the play of opposites reveals itself to you as an abiding presence, an unchanging deep stillness, an uncaused joy beyond good and bad. This is the joy of Being, the peace of God.
On the level of form, there is birth and death, creation and destruction, growth and dissolution, of seemingly separate forms. This is reflected everywhere: in the life cycle of a star or a planet, a physical body, a tree, a flower, in the rise and fall of nations, political systems, civilizations; and in the inevitable cycles of gain and loss in the life of an individual.
There are cycles of success, when things come to you and thrive, and cycles of failure, when they wither or disintegrate and you have to let them go in order to make room for new things to arise, or for transformation to happen. If you cling and resist at that point, it means you are refusing to go with the flow of life, and you will suffer.
It is not true that the up cycle is good and the down cycle bad, except in the mind's judgment. Growth is usually considered positive, but nothing can grow forever. If growth, of whatever kind, were to go on and on, it would eventually become monstrous and destructive.
Dissolution is needed for new growth to happen. One cannot exist without the other. The down cycle is absolutely essential for spiritual realization… There will be periods when you are highly active and creative, but there may also be times when everything seems stagnant, when it seems that you are not getting anywhere, not achieving anything.
A cycle can last for anything from a few hours to a few years. There are large cycles and small cycles within these large ones…
The compulsion to do...
Editor's note: This is the ego's exalting of "doing" over "being."
and the tendency to derive your sense of self-worth and identity from external factors such as achievement, is an inevitable illusion as long as you are identified with the mind…
The Buddha made this a central part of his teaching. All conditions are highly unstable and in constant flux; or, as he put it, impermanence is a characteristic of every condition, every situation you will ever encounter in your life. It will change, disappear, or no longer satisfy you. Impermanence is also central to Jesus' teaching: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal...."
The same condition that was good yesterday or last year has suddenly or gradually turned into bad. The same condition that made you happy, then makes you unhappy. The prosperity of today becomes the empty consumerism of tomorrow. The happy wedding and honeymoon become the unhappy divorce or the unhappy coexistence. Or a condition disappears, so its absence makes you unhappy. When a condition or situation that the mind has attached itself to and identified with changes or disappears, the mind cannot accept it. It will cling to the disappearing condition and resist the change…
The Buddha taught that even your happiness is dukkha - a Pali word meaning "suffering" or "unsatisfactoriness." It is inseparable from its opposite. This means that your happiness and unhappiness are in fact one. Only the illusion of time separates them.
Editor's note: In "The Wedding Song" Kairissi and Elenchus discuss the issue of "there is no 'bad' when viewed from a higher perspective," that of God as Singular Pervasive Reality.
George Orwell, 1984: "You will have to get used to living without results and without hope. You will work for awhile, you will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die. Those are the only results that you will ever see. There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are dead. Our only true life is in the future."
Alexander Graham Bell: "When one door closes another opens. But we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us."
Robert Browning: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
Confucious (551 - 479 BC): "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
Albert Einstein: "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."
Albert Einstein: "A problem cannot be solved on the same level that it was created."
Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Kahlil Gibran: "To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to."
Goethe: "Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game."
Terje Toftenes: “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement. This statement (worldview statement) was by Lord Kelvin in 1900, which was shattered only five years later when Einstein published his paper on special relativity. The new theories proposed by Einstein challenged the current (at that time) framework of understanding. This forced the scientific community to open up to an alternate view of the true nature of our reality. A great example of how things that once were regarded as truth have changed. Lord Kelvin’s statements bears with it the voice of paradigms past…We knew that the Earth was flat, we knew that we were the center of the universe, and we knew that a manmade heavier than air piece of machinery could not take flight. Through all stages of human history, intellectual authorities have pronounced their supremacy by ridiculing or suppressing elements of reality that simply didn’t fit within the framework of accepted knowledge. Are we really any different today? Have we really changed our acceptance towards things that won’t fit the frame? Maybe there are concepts of our reality we have yet to understand, and if we open our eyes maybe we will see that something significant has been overlooked.”
W.H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition: "Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it."
Helen Keller, Let Us Have Faith: "Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable."
Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
George Bernard Shaw: "You see things and say Why? But I dream things that never were and say Why Not?" "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying:
1) I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
2) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
3) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in... it's a habit
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
4) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
5) I walk down another street.
Henry David Thoreau: "We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the darkness to our success." "The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready." "If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured and far away."
Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Lau Tze: "A thousand mile journey begins with one step."
Isaac Newton: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
Hal Abelson: “If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders.”
Abraham Lincoln, letter to Horace Greeley, 1862: "I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views."
President Ronald Reagan, Jan. 28, 1986, addressing the nation after the space shuttle Challenger explosion: "I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's take off. I know it's hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery; it's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the faint-hearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them."
President Ronald Reagan, Jan. 11, 1989, final address to the nation from the Oval Office: "Once you begin a great movement there's no telling where it will end; we meant to change a nation and instead we changed a world."
Martin Luther King, Jr.: "If a man is called a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and Earth will pause to say, Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well."
Alberta Lee Cox: "It's not enough to be good if you have the ability to be better."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: "Change is the law. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
Chinese Proverb: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
Albert Einstein (1879-1955): "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
Galvani, discoverer of electricity: "I am attacked by two very opposite sects - the scientists and the know-nothings. Both laugh at me, calling me 'the frogs' dancing master.' Yet I know I have discovered one of the greatest forces in nature."
Carl Jung, psychologist, a lecture to the Society of Psychic Research, Collected Works, Vol. 8, 317: "I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud."
William James: "The greatest discovery of my generation, is that a human being can alter his life, by altering his attitude."
Mohandas Ghandi: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”
John Barrymore: "A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."
Elbert Hubbard: “The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it: so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it.”
Perseus: "He conquers who endures."
Gandhi: "Each of us must be the change we want to see in the world."
Martin Luther (1483-1546): “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
Confucius (551-479 BC): "It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop."
Vince Lombardi (1913-1970): "It's not whether you get knocked down. It's whether you get up again."
Mother Teresa: "God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try."
Mark Twain: "All you need in life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure."
Harriet Woods: "You can be a victor without having victims."
Johnny Hart: "Cutting the space budget really restores my faith in humanity. It eliminates dreams, goals, and ideals and lets us get straight to the business of hate, debauchery, and self-annihilation."
Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926): "When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. The minority are right."
Alfred North Whitehead: "Fundamental progress has to do with the reinterpretation of basic ideas."
Johann von Schiller: "Keep true to the dreams of thy youth."
Werner Von Braun: "I have learned to use the word impossible with the greatest caution."
E. Jean Carroll: "To achieve the marvelous, you must do the unthinkable ... the answer will hit, like a big psychic orgasm, if you listen to your dreams. They never lie."
Mike Huber on Techwr-L: "I never, ever say I can't about anything. I might say I don't have the authority to make that decision or Building A is too heavy for me to lift or I will need training before I pilot that space shuttle."
W.H. Murray: "The moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred."
Dick Sutphen: "Most people diffuse their psychic energy (attention) in hundreds of random ways. Those who flow focus their psychic energy intentionally upon the task at hand. It really boils down to knowing your goal, concentrating upon it, remaining determined and having the self-discipline to complete what you are doing."
Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience: "The happiest people spend much time in a state of flow - the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost , for the sheer sake of doing it."
Stewart B. Johnson: "Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves - to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today."
Aldous Huxley: "If we evolved a race of Isaac Newtons, that would not be progress. For the price Newton had to pay for being a supreme intellect was that he was incapable of friendship, love, fatherhood, and many other desirable things. As a man he was a failure; as a monster he was superb."
Ransom K. Ferm: "With every passing hour our solar system comes forty-three thousand miles closer to globular cluster 13 in the constellation Hercules, and still there are some misfits who continue to insist that there is no such thing as progress."
George Bernard Shaw: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
Albert Einstein: "My intellectual development was retarded, as a result of which I began to wonder about space and time only when I had already grown up."
Michelangelo: "Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."
D'Angelo, Anthony: "The people who oppose your ideas the most are those who represent the establishment that your ideas will upset."
Leonardo da Vinci: "For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."
Robyn Davidson: "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward... The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision."
Marquise du Deffand: "The distance is nothing; it's only the first step that is difficult."
Belva Davis: "Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so."
Gerald Horton Bath: "We ought to spend more time 'wondering' than 'doubting whether.' Wondering is the key to progress."
Alfred North Whitehead: "Fundamental progress has to do with the reinterpretation of basic ideas."
Denis Waitley: "Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer."
Arthur Schopenhauer: "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
Henry Ford: "Failure is the opportunity to begin something again more intelligently."
Auguste Rodin: "Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely."
Psalm 37: 1, 3-5, 7-8, 11: "Fret not thyself... Trust in the Lord, and do good... Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil... the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."
Psalm 16: 11: "At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
William James: "I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of pride."
Unknown: "You are successful the moment you start moving toward a worthwhile goal."
Lady Margaret Thatcher: in a speech delivered 2-19-01, quoting her Principal of Somerville College, Oxford, as he addressed the new class in 1944 during WWII: "All beginnings are hopeful."
Unknown: "The richness and variety, and indeed the advance, of our culture depend upon the continuation of this conflict [between conservatives and radicals], which is deeply rooted in human nature."
Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step."
Michelangelo: "If people knew how hard I work to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all."
Warren Buffett: "If you can tell me who your heroes are, I can tell you how you're going to turn out in life."
George Washington, Letter of Instructions to the Captains of Virginia Regiments, 1759: "Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable, procures success to the weak, and esteem to all."
Thomas Reed, Speaker of the House, 1885: "One, with God, is always a majority, but many a martyr has been burned at the stake while the votes were being counted."
Groucho Marx: "Horatio Alger's books conveyed a powerful message to me and many of my young friends - that if you worked hard at your trade, the big chance would eventually come. As a child I didn't regard it as a myth, and as an old man I think of it as the story of my life."
Stefan Kanfer on Horatio Alger: "Horatio Alger Jr. was the biggest American media star of his day. Though nineteenth-century best-seller lists were impressionistic - and the sale of 10,000 volumes was deemed a publishing triumph in those days - readers bought at least 200 million copies of his books, placing him in the Stephen King category... Alger was at the forefront of a phenomenally successful experiment in social reform and improvement, a broad movement that inspired poor kids to take advantage of America's social mobility and that led tens of thousands of New York's post-Civil War juvenile delinquents into productive lives. Those who care about the future of the city's poor should re-examine Alger's message: it worked once, and could work again... Why, Alger pondered, did individuals subjected to the same conditions turn out very differently? One boy might become a thief, a sociopath, even a killer. His neighbor, subjected to the same poverty and broken home, might aim to be a decent, upright citizen. What was the difference between them? What saved certain boys, he came to believe, was character - a quality that gave them the strength to resist sloth and temptation. But was this inborn? In that case determinism won the day, and change was out of the question. Or, given the right opportunity, could a dispossessed lad win his share of the American dream simply by willing the change? The latter, Alger thought - but only if the boy stopped viewing himself as a victim and instead sought the proper advice... Horatio came to tutor Benjamin Cardozo, later a Supreme Court justice. It is not much of a stretch to imagine that many of the moral lessons Cardozo learned as an apt pupil were to affect his decisions on the bench... The influence Alger had on American youth was incalculable. Men as different as journalist Heywood Broun, comedian Groucho Marx, and novelist Ernest Hemingway were fans. To Broun, Alger's books were inspiring, 'simple tales of honesty triumphant.' Marx remarked, 'Horatio Alger's books conveyed a powerful message to me and many of my young friends - that if you worked hard at your trade, the big chance would eventually come. As a child I didn't regard it as a myth, and as an old man I think of it as the story of my life.' Hemingway's sister Marcelline recalled that during their childhood, 'There was one summer when Ernest couldn't get enough of Horatio Alger.' Not that Alger's didacticism influenced Papa's prose style. But there must have been something in the writer's stress on grit and self-reliance that affected young Ernest, as it did so many of his contemporaries... Browsing the Internet one afternoon, I found many old and well-read Horatio Alger novels for sale, most priced under $15. Some weeks later, I began reading the novels aloud to my children. We found them well-plotted, entertaining, and instructive, not at all the righteous antiques that I had been led to believe. Almost every chapter ends with a cliff-hanger, and all of us could hardly wait for the next night to find out what happened. The conclusions never failed to produce an emotional satisfaction and a feeling that what the author was selling - independence, forbearance, square dealing - was well worth buying. In the Clinton era, when shame and remorse have almost lost their meaning, the turnaround of Horatio Alger's personal life is instructive, and the message of his work invaluable."
Star Wars: The Empire Srikes Back: Luke Skywalker: "All right. I'll give it a try." Yoda: "No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try."
Disraeli: "Success is the child of audacity."
Rev. Endicott Peabody, headmaster, Groton: Quoted by his former student, FDR, in his last inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1945: "Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights -- then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend."
Professor C.J. Ducasse: "Assertions of impossibility are based on the metaphysical creeds of the scientists of the day."
Andrew Carnegie: "Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!"
Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers: "Your success in life will be determined more by the depth of your commitment to excellence than by any other factor."
Howard Whitman, Success Is Within You: "Success has the intrinsic character of a batting average... a successful life will have its days or even years of failure. It will certainly have its moments of utter washout. These are not blights upon such a life but merely the inevitable failings which bear testimony to the fact that success isn't easy."
Dorothea Brande, Wake Up and Live!: published in 1936, during the dark days of the Great Depression, Brande eloquently preaches to a nation drowning in self-pity: "... the Will to Fail, the Will to Death... Nature prepares us for each new phase of life by closing off old desires [and death at the end of a good life is a natural example of this]... But when it appears in youth or full maturity it is as symptomatic of something wrong... Most of us disguise our failure in public... most successfully from ourselves... we seem silently to enter into a sort of gentleman's agreement with our friends... 'Don't mention my failure to me [and I will do the same for you]'... So we slip through the world without making our contribution, without discovering all that there was in us to do... All those in the grip of the Will to Fail act as if they had a thousand years before them... the solitaire-players, the pathological bookworms, the endless crossword puzzlers... the line between recreation and obsession is not hard to see... [ones] crying that one must have recreation give themselves dead away as setting an abnormal value on release... [the] aimless conversationalists... the Universal Charmers. When you find yourself in the presence of more charm than the situation calls for, you are safe in saying to yourself, 'Ah, a failure!' ... [one] who insists on being accepted as just a great, big, delightful child... so exceedingly lovable, even to strangers... A healthy adult does not need the tenderness or indulgence of every casual acquaintance... they must go on being more and more charming... or face the truth -- admit that they have not adequately discharged their responsibilities... a falsely purposeful routine [represents] activities [which] are only apparently purposeless. There is in every case a deep intention, which may be stated in many ways. We may say that the most obvious intention is to beguile the world into believing that we are living up to our fullest capacity... In the long run in makes little difference how cleverly others are deceived; if we are not doing what we are best equipped to do ... there will be a core of unhappiness in our lives which will be more and more difficult to ignore as the years pass... these victims present a dreadful spectacle... insane misers, stuffing a senseless accumulation of trash, odds and ends of sensations, experiences, fads and enthusiasms, synthetic emotions, into the priceless coffer of their one irreplaceable lifetime. Whatever the ostensible purpose may be, it is plain that one motive is at work in all these cases: the intention, often unconscious, to fill life so full of secondary activities or substitute activities that there will be no time in which to perform the best work of which one is capable. The intention, in short, is to fail."
Unknown: "If you want something in your life that you never had, you must do something that you have never done."
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great wonderful world.”
Emerson: "No one can cheat you out of your ultimate success but yourself."
Nathaniel Hawthorne: Hester, chiding her dispirited lover: "Exchange this false life of thine for a true one. Be, if thy spirit summon thee to such a mission, the teacher and apostle of the red men. Or, as is more thy nature, be a scholar and a sage among the wisest and the most renowned of the cultivated world. Preach! Write! Act! Do anything, save to lie down and die! Give up this name of Arthur Dimmesdale, and make thyself another, and a high one..."
Abigail Adams: To her husband, John: "You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you, an inactive spectator ... We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them."
Sir Isaiah Berlin, Winston Churchill in 1940: "Churchill ... does not fear the future... But whereas Roosevelt, like all great innovators, had a half-conscious premonitory awareness of the coming shape of a society ... Churchill, for all his extrovert air, looks within, and his strongest sense is the sense of the past... The clear, brightly coloured vision of history, in terms which he conceived both the present and the future, is the inexhaustible source from which he draws the primary stuff out of which his universe is so solidly built, so richly and elaborately ornamented. So firm and so embracing an edifice could not be constructed by anyone liable to react and respond like a sensitive instrument to the perpetually changing moods and directions of other persons or institutions or peoples. And, indeed, Churchill's strength ... he does not reflect a contemporary social or moral world in an intense and concentrated fashion; rather he creates one of such power and coherence that it becomes reality and alters the external world by being imposed on it with irresistible force. As his history of the war shows, he has an immense capacity for absorbing facts, but they emerge transformed by the categories which he powerfully imposes on the raw material into something which he can use to build his own massive, simply, impregnably fortified inner world..."
Unknown: "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
Alexis de Tocqueville: "I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all."
Charles Van Doren: "With all its stress, anxiety, and threat of dangers never before known, it is modern life that is simpler and easier, not the life of the past."
Maxwell Maltz, The Search For Self-Respect: "What is opportunity, and when does it knock? It never knocks. You can wait a whole lifetime ... and you will hear no knocking... You are opportunity, and you must knock on the door leading to your destiny. You prepare yourself to recognize opportunity ... as you develop the strength of your personality."
Anais Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." (from Sharon, 9-07-09)
Arthur C. Clarke: "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."
Michael Faraday: "Nothing is too wonderful to be true!"
Carl Sagan: "From when I was a little kid, the only thing I really wanted to be was a scientist, to actually do the science, to interrogate nature, to find out how things work. That's where the fun is. If you're in love, you want to tell the world!"
Mark Twain: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”
Dr. Robert Goddard: "Just remember - when you think all is lost, the future remains."