“How To Think Like A Roman Emperor” Quotes

I recently read “How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius” by Donald J. Robertson. Below are the quotes I found most interesting (via Kindle page numbers). If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

Anxiety largely consists of the belief, for example, that “something bad is going to happen,” (Location 136-136) 

CBT and Stoicism have some fundamental psychological assumptions in common, particularly the “cognitive theory of emotion,” which holds that our emotions are mainly determined by our beliefs. Anxiety largely consists of the belief, for example, that “something bad is going to happen,” (Location 134-136)

Socrates used to say that death is like some prankster in a scary mask, dressed as a bogeyman to frighten small children. The wise man carefully removes the mask and, looking behind it, he finds nothing worth fearing. (Location 242-243)

Marcus wrote that nobody is so fortunate as not to have one or two individuals standing by his deathbed who will welcome his demise. (Location 336-338)

The Stoics observed that often those who are most desperate to flee death find themselves rushing into its arms. (Location 353-354)

Zeno founded his own school in a public building overlooking the agora known as the Stoa Poikile, or “Painted Porch,” where he used to vigorously pace up and down as he discoursed on philosophy. The students who gathered there were originally known as Zenonians but later called themselves Stoics, after the stoa, or porch. It’s possible the name “Stoic” also hints at the practical, down-to-earth nature of the philosophy. (Location 418-421)

Our initial automatic feelings are to be viewed as natural and indifferent. (Location 554-554)

Epictetus, in typical Stoic fashion, continually warned his students not to confuse academic learning with wisdom. (Location 620-621)

When animals are alarmed by the appearance of danger, they take flight, but after they have escaped, their anxiety soon abates and they return to grazing in peace once again. By contrast, the human capacity for thought allows us to perpetuate our worries beyond these natural bounds. (Location 838-841)

Stoic philosophy, which teaches us to accept our involuntary emotional reactions, our flashes of anxiety, as indifferent: neither good nor bad. What matters, in other words, isn’t what we feel but how we respond to those feelings. (Location 887-889)

We usually think of rhetoric as something used to manipulate other people. We tend to forget we’re doing it to ourselves as well, not only when we speak but also when we use language to think. (Location 930-931)

Clients suffering from anxiety should write “decatastrophizing scripts” in which they describe distressing events factually, without strong value judgments or emotive language. (Location 978-979)

One day, as Agrippinus was preparing to dine with his friends, a messenger arrived announcing that the Emperor Nero had banished him from Rome as part of a political purge. “Very well,” said Agrippinus, shrugging, “we shall take our lunch in Aricia,” the first stop on the road he would have to travel into exile. (Location 1015-1017)

Anger is nothing but temporary madness. (Location 1096-1096)

One of [method] is to wait until our feelings have naturally abated and then calmly consider what someone wise would do in a similar situation. (Location 1101-1102)

One of Aesop’s fables, which says that each of us is born with two sacks suspended from our neck: one filled with the faults of others that hangs within our view and one hidden behind our back filled with our own faults. (Location 1176-1178) 

A cheerful acceptance of that hindrance is required, along with a tactful shift to doing what circumstances allow (Location 1298-1298)

Writing down the virtues possessed by a hypothetical wise man or woman, or those we aspire to ourselves, is usually a very beneficial exercise. (Location 1358-1359) 

You can ask yourself these three very simple questions: 1. What did you do badly? 2. What did you do well? 3. What could you do differently? (Location 1414-1418)

People still confuse pleasure with happiness. (Location 1544-1544) 

“Nothing that is really good and admirable,” cautioned Arete, “is granted by the gods to men without some effort and application.”(Location 1567-1568)

From the Stoic perspective Hercules remained cheerful, despite the terrible things he endured. He enjoyed a profound sense of inner satisfaction knowing that he was fulfilling his destiny and expressing his true nature. His life had something far more satisfying than pleasure: it had purpose. (Location 1594-1596) 

the goal of his life is not pleasure but action. (Location 1621-1621)

Socrates had likewise claimed, paradoxically, that those who practice self-control actually obtain more pleasure from things like food and drink than those who indulge in them to excess. (Location 1772-1773)

The same principle, that self-awareness disrupts the automatic quality of the behavior, can be very helpful when you actually want to break a bad habit. (Location 1877-1878)

Set aside ten minutes each day to write stories for your children. (Location 2001-2002)

Epictetus told his Stoic students to imagine they’re guests at a banquet being handed a sharing plate, not greedily holding on to it and scoffing the lot but politely taking an appropriate share and then handing the rest along. (Location 2016-2017)

Be grateful for external things without becoming overly attached to them. (Location 2018-2018)

By focusing instead on the limits of your pain, whether in terms of duration or severity, you can develop a mind-set that’s more oriented toward coping and less overwhelmed by worry or negative emotions about your condition. (Location 2166-2168)

Dependence on being able to escape from stressful situations just creates its own problems. (Location 2727-2728)

He asked a group of college students to spot the times during a four-week period when they began to worry about something and to respond by postponing thinking about it any further until a specified “worry time” later in the day. Using this simple technique, the subjects were able to reduce the time spent worrying by almost half, and other symptoms of anxiety were also reduced. (Location 2788-2791)

The steps to follow in worry postponement build upon the general framework that should be familiar to you by now: 1. Self-monitoring: Be constantly on the lookout for early warning signs of worry, such as frowning or fidgeting in certain ways—this awareness alone will often derail the habit of worrying. 2. If you are unable to address your anxiety immediately using Stoic techniques, postpone thinking about it until your feelings have abated naturally, returning to the problem at a specified “worry time” of your choosing. 3. Let go of the thoughts without trying to actively suppress them—instead, just tell yourself you’re setting them aside temporarily to come back to them later at a specified time and place. Cognitive distancing techniques can be helpful in this regard. On a piece of paper to remind yourself of the thing you’re worried about, then fold it up and put it in your pocket to address later. 4. Return your attention to the here and now, expanding your awareness through your body and your surroundings, and try to notice small details you’d overlooked before. Worry goes chasing after future catastrophes and therefore requires inattention to the present moment. Become grounded in the here and now instead: “Lose your mind and come to your senses!” 5. Later, when you return to the worry, if it no longer seems important, you might just leave it alone. Otherwise, visualize the worst-case scenario or feared outcome that’s making you anxious, using the technique of imaginal exposure or premeditation of adversity. 6. Use cognitive distancing by telling yourself “It’s not things that upset me but my judgments about them.” (Location 2801-2808)

Decatastrophize by describing the feared event in objective terms, without emotive language or value judgments. Remind yourself of its temporary nature by asking “What next?” and considering how things will move on over time. (Location 2808-2810) 

Stoics believed that anger is a form of desire: “a desire for revenge on one who seems to have done an injustice inappropriately,” (Location 3008-3009) 

Modern cognitive theories of anger, which typically define it as based upon the belief that a rule that is personally important to you has somehow been violated. (Location 3011-3012) 

We might say that anger typically consists in the desire to harm someone because we think they’ve done wrong and deserve to be punished. (Location 3009-3010) 

Anger stems from the idea that an injustice has been committed, or someone has done something they shouldn’t have done. (Location 3012-3013) 

1. Self-monitoring. Spot early warning signs of anger, to nip it in the bud before it escalates. For example, you might notice that your voice begins to change, or that you frown or your muscles tense, when you’re beginning to grow angry, or you may think of someone’s actions as unjust or in violation of a personal rule. (“How dare she say that to me!”) 2. Cognitive distancing. Remind yourself that the events themselves don’t make you angry, but rather your judgments about them cause the passion. (“I notice that I am how to respond to the situation. Take a breath, walk away, and come back to it a few hours later. If you still feel like you need to do something, then calmly decide upon the best response; otherwise, just let it go and forget about it. 4. Modeling virtue. Ask yourself what a wise person such as Socrates or Zeno would do. What virtues might help you to respond wisely? In your case, it might be easier to think of a role model you’re more familiar with, like Marcus Aurelius or someone you’ve encountered in your own life. (“A wiser person would try to empathize, put themselves in her shoes, and then exercise patience when they’re responding…”) 5. Functional analysis. Picture telling myself ‘How consequences of following anger versus following reason and exercising virtues such as moderation. (“If I let my anger guide me then I’ll probably just yell at her and get into another argument, and things will get a lot worse over time until we’re not speaking anymore. If I wait until I’ve calmed down and then try to listen patiently, though, it might be difficult at first but it will probably start to work better with practice, and once she’s calmed down maybe she’ll begin listening to my perspective.”) (Location 3016-3038)

One of the most common mistakes we make is trying to challenge our angry thoughts when we’re not in the best frame of mind to do so. Instead, use these thinking strategies beforehand, in advance of facing situations that might provoke anger, or after you’ve taken time to regain your composure. (Location 3039-3041) 

It’s natural to mourn—even some animals grieve the loss of their young. But there are those who go beyond the natural bounds of grief and let themselves be swept away entirely by melancholy thoughts and passions. The wise man accepts his pain, endures it, but does not add to it. (Location 3332-3334)

Leaves that the wind scatters to the ground, Such are the generations of men. (Location 3339-3340) 

Everything is different, but underneath it’s all the same: anonymous individuals marrying, raising children, falling sick, and dying. Some fight wars, feast, work the land, and trade their wares. Some flatter others or seek to be flattered, suspect their fellows of plotting against them, or hatch their own plots. Countless among them engage in intrigues, pray for the death of others, grumble at their lot, fall in love, pile up fortunes, or dream of high office or even a crown. How many individuals whose names we’ll never know, their lives extinguished, lie forgotten, as if they had never been born at all? Yet turn your thoughts to the mighty, and what difference does it make? Death comes knocking at the king’s palace and the beggar’s shack alike.(Location 3355-3360)

It’s vanity to worry about how history will record your actions. (Location 3370-3371) 

I’m surrounded by people who are overly concerned with what future generations will think of them. They might as well lament the fact that centuries ago, before their birth, their names were utterly unknown. The lips of mankind can grant you neither fame nor glory worth seeking. What matters is how I face this moment, which shall soon be gone. (Location 3371-3373)

Fear of death does us more harm than death itself because it turns us into cowards, whereas death merely returns us to Nature. (Location 3385-3386) 

To practice death in advance is to practice freedom and to prepare oneself to let go of life gracefully. (Location 3391-3392)

after darkness and ignorance come arts and sciences, then the inevitable descent once again into darkness and ignorance. (Location 3428-3428)

The universe is a single living being, with a single body and a single consciousness. Every individual mind a tiny particle of one great mind. Each living creature like a limb or organ of one great body, working together, whether they realize it or not, to bring about events in accord with one great impulse. Everything in the universe so intricately woven together, forming a single fabric and chain of events. (Location 3456-3456)

Man was meant to be like this: striving his whole life with patient endurance to cultivate the pure light of wisdom within himself and allowing it to shine forth for the benefit of others. Alone and yet at one with the community of fellow men around him, living wisely and in concord with them. (Location 3476-3478)

“Have A Little Faith” Quotes

I recently read “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

“Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.” (44)

“No matter how far they try to go the other way – to extend life, play around with the genes, clone this, clone that, live to one hundred and fifty – at some point, life is over. And then what happens? When life comes to an end?”
I shrugged.
“You see?”
He leaned back. He smiled.
“When you come to the end, that’s where God begins.” (79)

“[The doctor said, I envy you] because when you lose someone you love, you can curse God. You can yell. You can blame him. You can demand to know why. But I don’t believe in God. I’m a doctor! And I couldn’t help my brother!”
“He was near tears. ‘Who do I blame?’ he kept asking me. ‘There is no God. I can only blame myself.’”
The Reb’s face tightened, as if in pain.
“That,” he said, softly, “is a terrible self-indictment.”
Worse than an unanswered prayer?
“Oh yes. It is far more comforting to think God Listened and sadi no, than to think that nobody’s out there.” (82)

Gandhi said, “The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.” (85)

“Most religions warn against war, yet more wars have been fought over religion than perhaps anything else. Christians have killed Jews, Jews have killed Muslims, Muslims have killed Hindus, Hindus have killed Buddhists, Catholics have killed Protestants, Orthodox have killed pagans, and you could run that list backward and sideways and it would still be true. War never stops; it only pauses.” (90)

“But so many people wage wars in God’s name.
“Mitch,” the Reb said, “God does not want such killing to go on.”
Then why hasn’t it stopped?
He lifted his eyebrows.
“Because man does.” (91)

“He refused to wallow in self-pity. In fact, the worse things got for him, the more intent he seemed on making sure no one around him was saddened by it.” (97)

“I have what I need,” he said, surveying his messy shelves. “Why bother chasing more?” (117)

“We have this photograph, all of us together,” the Reb says. “Whenever I feel the spirit of death hovering, I look at that picture, the whole family smiling at the camera. And I say, ‘Al, you done okay. This is your immortality.’””

“When everyone jumped and cheered at the baseball game, his old-world grandmother stayed seated. He turned and asked why she wasn’t clapping for the big hit. And she said to him, in yiddish, “Albert, is it good for the Jews?” (157)

“Rajchandra was the Indian poet who influenced Gandhi by teaching that no religion was superior because they all brought people closer to God.” (159)

“Napoleon once dismissed religion as “what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” (196)

“Maybe people who only get chances to do bad, always around bad things, like us, when they finally make something good out of it, God’s happy.” (207)

“When I had a disagreement with someone, and they came to talk to me, I always began by saying, ‘I’ve thought about it. And in some ways maybe you’re right.’” (211)

“You can’t work your way into heaven. Anytime you try and justify yourself with works, you disqualify yourself with works.” (221)

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“The Passion Economy” Quotes

I recently read “The Passion Economy: The New Rules For Thriving in the Twenty-First Century” by Adam Davidson. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

“Most businesses that struggle do so because they fail to understand the value they are (or should be) creating or fail to capture the value they have created.” (22)

“What are you selling? Who most wants it? Why do they want it? How do they pay for it?” (24)

“Pick your customer.” (25)

“Pick your competition.” (27)

“Aim for a product whose price is determined by the value it provides the customer, not by the raw material that is used to make it.” (67)

“For most of the twentieth century, the safest, most lucrative strategy was to be as much like others as possible. In the twenty-first century, the best strategy is to be fully yourself and to highlight your areas of difference from everyone else.” (74)

“The very act of charging considerably more ensures that the kinds of customers who won’t truly value [your company’s] offerings won’t hire them.” (120)

“You have a price, and then you find customers who understand that it is worthwhile to pay that price for the benefits they hope to receive: benefits based on very specialized knowledge.” (122)

“Price should be a bit shocking – a couple of notches higher than the prospective customer was prepared for. You want him to have an uncomfortable moment where he truly has to ask himself if this is worth the investment.” (122)

“Always use the word “investment” to signal that this is not money the client is losing but money he is spending so that he can make more money later.” (122)

“For any business to attract some group of passionate followers, it must contain elements that some people will love and others will dismiss, or even find off-putting.” (140)

“The key to success was not coming up with new things to sell; it was in the efficiency of the operation that was used to make a standard product. The victors in key market areas were not those with the most original products but the companies with the best systems for manufacturing standardized goods.” (166)

“Most (textile) companies kept doing the same, safe thing, right until they collapsed.” (180)

“Do not be a commodity. Do not be easily comparable to other people who have, roughly, the same set of skills and the same background.” (187)

“Write down what you do for a living and then circle those things that bring you real joy.” (243)

“Three core values made work more satisfying for employees and, simultaneously, made them more effective at their jobs: One: people want to feel some sense of autonomy over their work, feel that they can make choices that will have an impact. Two: they want to feel a sense of belonging to the organization they work for. Three: they want to trust their company and their bosses.” (263)

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“The Second Mountain” Quotes

I recently read “The Second Mountain: The Quest For A Moral Life” by David Brooks. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

“It usually starts with a subculture. A small group of creative individuals finds the current moral ecology oppressive and alienating. So they go back in history and update an old moral ecology that seems to provide a better way to live. They create a lifestyle that others find attractive. If you can create a social movement that people want to join, they will bend their energies and ideas to you.” (8)

“In Irish Murdoch’s words: “Man is a creature who makes pictures of himself and then comes to resemble the picture.” (8)

“America has always had a more individualistic culture than other places, which Tacqueville noticed back in the 1830s. But when individualism becomes the absolutely dominant ethos of a civilization – when it is not counterbalanced with any competing ethos – then the individuals within it may have maximum freedom, but the links between individuals slowly begin to dissolve.” (10)

“Colleges generally ask a person distinguished by fantastic career success to give a speech in which they claim that career success is not that important.” (14)

“Freedom sucks. Political freedom is great. But personal, social, and emotional freedom – when it becomes an ultimate end – absolutely sucks. It leads to a random, busy life with no discernible direction, no firm foundation, and in which, as Marx put it, all that’s solid melts to air. It turns out that freedom isn’t an ocean you want to spend your life in. Freedom is a river you want to get across so you can plant yourself on the other side – and fully commit to something.” (20)

“When you choose to work at a certain company, you are turning yourself into the sort of person who works in that company.” (22)

“The meritocracy is the most self-confident moral system in the world today. It’s so engrossing and seems so natural that we’re not even aware of how it encourages a certain economic vocabulary about non-economic things. Words change their meaning. “Character” is no longer ” (23)

“Acedia is the quieting of passion. It is a lack of care. It is living a life that doesn’t arouse your strong passions and therefore instills a sluggishness of the soul, like an oven set on warm. The person living in acedia may have a job and a family, but he is not entirely grabbed by his own life.” (24)

“When you have nothing but your identity and job title to res on, then you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others.” (25)

“Every age group in America is less trusting than the one before, and, as Robert Putnam of Harvard points out, that’s for a very good reason: People are less trustworthy. It’s not that perception is getting worse. It’s actual behavior.” (33)

“Individualism, taken too far, leads to tribalism.” (34)

“Once politics becomes your ethnic or moral identity, it becomes impossible to compromise, because compromise becomes dishonor.” (35)

“Suffering that is not transformed is transmitted.” (40)

“The ultimate heart’s desire… is the desire to lose yourself in something or someone.” (45)

“In Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, he tells her, “Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.” (46)

“C.S. Lewis observed, there’s never been a country where people are admired for running away in battle, or for double-crossing people who were kind to them.” (47)

“You have to be loved first so you can understand love, and you have to see yourself actively loving others so that you know you are worthy of love.” (53)

“That’s the paradox of privilege. When we are well-off we chase the temporary pleasures that actually draw us apart. We use our wealth to buy big houses with big yards that separate us and make us lonely. But in crisis we are compelled to hold closely to one another in ways that actually meet our deepest needs.” (57)

“As the theologian Tim Keller puts it, real freedom “is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones.” (58)

“Alasdair MacIntyre has pointed out, the concept of altruism was invented only in the eighteenth century. Once people decided that human nature is essentially egoist and selfish, then it was necessary to invent a word for when people weren’t driven by selfish desires. But before that, what we call altruism – living for relationships – was just how people lived. It wasn’t heroic or special.” (64)

“If you wanted to generalize a bit, you could say there are six layers of desire:
Material pleasure. Having nice food, a nice car, a nice house.
Ego pleasure. Becoming well-known or rich and successful. Winning victories and recognition.
Intellectual pleasure. Learning about things. Understanding the world around us.
Generativity. The pleasure we get in giving back to others and serving our communities.
Fulfilled love. Receiving and giving love. The rapturous union of souls.
Transcendence. The feeling we get when living in accordance with some ideal.” (67)

“Giving is the primary relationship between on person and another, not the secondary one.” (71)

“Annie Dillard once asked a friend how he knew he was meant to become a painter. “I like the smell of paint,” he replied.” (90)

“Vocations invariably have testing periods – periods when the costs outweigh the benefits – which a person must go through to reach another level of intensity. At these moments, if you were driven by a career mentality you would quit. You’re putting more into this thing than you are getting out. But a person who has found a vocation doesn’t feel she has a choice. It would be a violation of her own nature. So she pushes through when it doesn’t seem to make sense.” (91)

“Lucky is the man who does not secretly believe that every possibility is open to him,” Walker Percy observes.” (98)

“When the expert is using her practical knowledge, she isn’t thinking more, she is thinking less. She has built up a repertoire of skills through habit and has thereby extend the number of tasks she can perform without conscious awareness.” (101)

“The right question is not What am I good at? It’s the harder questions: What am I motivated to do? What activity do I love so much that I’m going to keep getting better at it for the next many decades? What do I desire so much that it captures me at the depth of my being? In choosing a vocation, it’s precisely wrong to say that talent should trump interest. Interest multiplies talent and is in most cases more important than talent.” (111)

“All vocational work, no matter how deeply it touches you, involves those moments when you are confronted by the laborious task. Sometimes, if you are going to be a professional, you just have to dig the damn ditch.” (124)

“There are (at least) two kinds of failure. In the first kind you are good, but other people can’t grasp how good you are. Melville’s Moby-Dick sold only 2,300 copies in its first eighteen months and only 5,500 copies in its first fifty years. It was savaged by reviewers. Some artists have to create the taste by which they will be judged. In the second kind, you fail because you’re not as good as you thought you were, and other people will see it.” (131)

“There’s a moment in many successful careers when the prospect of success tires to drag you away from your source, away from the daemon that incited your work in the first place. It is an act of raw moral courage to reject the voices all around and to choose what you have chosen before. It looks like you are throwing away your chance at stardom, but you are actually staying in touch with what got you there.” (133)

“People don’t become lovely by loving themselves; they become lovely by loving others, by making vows to others, by taking on the load of others and fulfilling those vows and carrying that load. All the dignity and gravity of life is in this surrender.” (143)

“Your personality is the hidden history of the places where love entered your life or was withdrawn from your life. It is shaped by the ways your parents loved you, the ways they did not love you.” (151)

“If the love is to bloom, they have to get to, “This is how I’m crazy.”” (152)

“Society is a massive conspiracy to distract you from the important choices of life in order to help you fixate on the unimportant ones.” (166)

[Frankl says] “Human beings’ primary motivation is not for money or even happiness, but for meaning. We are driven above all to understand the purpose of our lives. Once that is understood even the most miserable conditions cannot upend inner peace.” (208)

“Thomas Merton once wrote that ‘trying to solve the problem of God is like trying to see your own eyeballs.’” (234)

“When people talk about dying to self, they are really talking about dying to old desires and coming alive to a new and better set of desires.” (255)

“Willfulness is the desire to be captain of your own ship. Willingness is the desire to answer a call with a strong response.” (255)

”Pretty soon you end up with what Rabbi Sacks calls ‘pathological dualism,’ a mentality that divides the world between those who are unimpeachably good and those who are irredeemably bad.” (256)

“T.S. Eliot observed, the chief illusion of modern political activity is the belief that you can build a system so perfect that the people in it do not have to be good.” (308)

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“Stillness Is The Key” Quotes

I recently read “Stillness Is The Key” by Ryan Holiday. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

“All outdoors may be bedlam, provided that there is no disturbance within.” -Seneca (xiv)

“Buddhism. Stoicism. Epicureanism. Christianity. Hinduism. It’s all but impossible to find a philosophical school or religion that does not venerate this inner peace – this stillness – as the highest good and as the key to elite performance and a happy life. And when basically all the wisdom of the ancient world agrees on something, only a fool would decline to listen.” (xvi)

“The goal of Zen, his master taught him, was to “achieve a void… noiseless, colorless, heatless void” – to get to that state of emptiness, whether it was on the mound or in the batter’s box or at practice.” (42)

“Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward. Work not for the reward; but never cease to do thy work.” -The Bhagavad Gita (75)

“Each of us must break the link in the chain of what the Buddhists call samsara, the continuation of life’s suffering from generation to generation.” (110)

“Give more. Give what you didn’t get. Love more. Drop the old story.” -Gary Shandling (111)

“Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.” -Joseph Epstein (114

“To have blessings and to prize them is to be in Heaven; to have them and not to prize them is to be in Hell… To prize them and not to have them is to be in Hell.” Thomas Traherne (122)

“If you believe there is ever some point where you will feel like you’ve “made it,” when you’ll finally be good, you are in for an unpleasant surprise… just as that feeling appears to be within reach, the goal is moved just a little bit farther up the mountain and out of reach.” (124)

“What do we want more of in life? That’s the question. It’s not accomplishments. It’s not popularity. It’s moments when we feel like we are enough.” (126)

“The Japanese have a concept, shinrin yoku – forest bathing – which is a form of therapy that uses nature as a treatment for mental and spiritual issues.” (132)

“There is no stillness to the mind that thinks of nothing but itself, nor will there ever be peace for the body and spirit that follow their every urge and value nothing but themselves.” (137)

“The nihilist is forced to wrestle with the immense complexity and difficulty and potential emptiness of life (and death) with nothing but their own mind. This is a comically unfair mismatch.” (140)

“It’s not that we need to believe that God is great, only that God is greater than us.” -Nassim Taleb (141)

“Anyone can be rich or famous. Only you can be Dad or Mom or Daughter or Son or Soul Mate to the people in your life.” (144)

“Your house might be quieter without kids and it might be easier to work longer hours without someone waiting for you at the dinner table, but it is a hollow quiet and an empty ease.” (148)

“Around noon Winston Churchill would stop in to say hello to his wife for the first time – believing all his life that the secret to a happy marriage was that spouses should not see each other before noon.” (173)

“The greats know that complete freedom is a nightmare. They know that order is a prerequisite of excellence and that in an unpredictable world, good habits are a safe haven of certainty.” (201)

“When the body is busy with the familiar, the mind can relax. The monotony becomes muscle memory.” (203)

“Everywhere I have sought peace and not found it, except in a corner with a book.” -Thomas a Kempis (217)

“Leisure is not the absence of activity, it is activity. What is absent is any eternal justification – you can’t do leisure for pay, you can’t do it to impress people. You have to do it for you.” (237)

“There is nourishment in pursuits that have no purpose – that is their purpose.” (241)

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