More Thoughts


More Thoughts for your reading pleasure

Whatever your occupation is, you should work hard at it and enjoy it.
Take it just as though it was, as it is, an earnest, vital, and important affair.  Take it as though you were born to the task of performing a merry part of it, as though the world awaited your coming.  Take it as though it was a grand opportunity to do and achieve, to carry forward great and good schemes, to help and cheer the suffering, the weary, the heartbroken.
Now and then someone stands aside from the crowd, labors earnestly, steadfastly, and confidently, and straightaway becomes famous for wisdom, intellect, skill, or greatness of some sort.  The world wonders, admires, idolizes, and it only illustrates what others may do if they take hold of life with a purpose.  The miracle or the power that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the inner promptings of a brave and determined spirit."
       -- Mark Twain


One of the best-known epitaphs ever written is the one Franklin composed for himself when still a young man: "The Body of B. Franklin, Printer, Like the Cover of an Old Book, its Contents torn out, and stript of its Lettering and Gilding, lies here, Food for Worms.  But the work shall not be wholly lost:  for it will, as he believed, appear once more, in a new & more perfect Edition, corrected and amended by the Author."
      -- Benjamin Franklin

One day when John Quincy Adams was 80 years of age a friend met him on the streets of Boston.  "How is John Quincy Adams?" this friend asked gaily.  The old man's eyes began to twinkle, and then he spoke slowly: "John Quincy Adams himself is very well, thank you.  But the house he lives in is sadly dilapidated.  It is tottering on its foundations.  The walls are badly shattered, and the roof is worn.  The building trembles with every wind, and I think John Quincy Adams will have to move out before very long.  But he himself is very well."  And with a wave of his hand the old man walked on. 
      -- James G. Gilkey

Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.
      -- Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, had some trouble with a major general who accused him, in abusive terms, of favoritism.  Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that he write the officer a sharp letter.  Stanton did so, and showed the strongly worded missive to the president, who applauded its powerful language:  "What are you going to do with it?" he asked.  Surprised at the question, Stanton said,  "Send it."  Lincoln shook his head.  "You don't want to send that letter," he said.  "Put it in the stove.  That's what I do when I have written a letter while I am angry.  It's a good letter and you had a good time writing it and feel better.  Now, burn it, and write another." 
      -- The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
     -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What is happening to our young people?  They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents.  They ignore the law.  They riot in the streets inflamed with crazy ideas.  What is to become of them?
      -- Plato (Lived from 428/427 bce to 348/347 bce)

He who is in possession of the truth must not expose himself to the blindness and folly of those whom it has pleased God to place and maintain in error.
~ From the Quran (also Koran and many other spellings)

Nothing means anything. ~ Course in Miracles

Our earth is degenerate in these latter days;
bribery and corruption are commom;
children no longer obey their parents;
every man wants to write a book,
and the end of the world is evidently approaching.
               -- An Assyrian writing tablet, 3000 years old.

Aldous Huxley's fame rested largely upon his novels, such as Brave New World, in which he examined humanity's choice between a fully human life and the mechanized servitude of the anthill.  In his sixties he admitted, "It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder.'"
      -- The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes

A counselor was talking about God with an eight-year-old boy.  The boy said he wasn't too conversant with God, but he did know a little about physics.  It fascinated him that, in the expanding universe, whatever force you exert in one direction is precisely what comes back from another.  The counselor said he was glad that the camp was different than the rest of the universe because he got back a good deal more than he put into it.  The kid wrestled with that one awhile and said, "Well, maybe that's God."
        -- Paul Newman, in a speech at Sarah Lawrence College about his Hole in the
            Wall Gang Camp for children with catastrophic diseases


Suffering from terminal spinal cancer at the age of 47, former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano spoke with a reporter earlier this year.  He looked back on his life and told a story about himself as a 23-year-old coach of a small college team.  "Why is winning so important to you?" the players asked Valvano.
     "Because the final score defines you" he said.  "You lose, ergo, you're a loser.  You win, ergo, you're a winner."
    "No,"  the players insisted.  "Participation is what matters.  Trying your best, regardless of whether you win or lose -- that's what defines you."
    It took 24 more years of living.  It took the coach bolting up from the mattress three or four times a night with his T-shirt soaked with sweat and his teeth rattling from the fever chill of chemotherapy and the terror of seeing himself die repeatedly in his dreams.  It took all that for him to say it:  "Those kids were right.  It's effort, not result.  It's trying.  God, what a great human being I could have been if I'd had this awareness back then?
      -- Gary Smith  R/D June 1993

An emissary from a learned society came to invite naturalist Louis Agassiz to address its members.  Agassiz refused on the grounds that lectures of this sort took up too much time that should be devoted to research and writing.  The man persisted, saying they were prepared to pay handsomely for the talk.  "That's no inducement to me," Agassiz replied.  "I can't afford to waste my time making money."
      -- The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes

I once had a brilliant student, now a well-known professor, who wrote a highly technical thesis.  I asked him to assume that I was an ordinary corporate manager.  Would he explain his thesis briefly?
He went to the blackboard and began to cover it with mathematical symbols.  I stopped him to remind him that I was an ordinary manager, not a mathematician.  After a long pause he said, "I don't understand what I've done well enough to explain it in nontechnical language."
Unless people can express themselves well in ordinary English, they don't know what they are talking about.
     --  Russel L. Ackoff - Management in Small Doses,  Reader's Digest 7/93

The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves:  we do unto others as we do unto ourselves.  We hate others when we hate ourselves.  We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves.  We forgive others when we forgive ourselves.  It is not love of self but hatred of self which is at the root of the troubles that afflict our world.
      -- Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind,  Reader's Digest, 7/93

"Father, what is sex sin?"
My father turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing.  At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
"Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?" he said.  I stood up and tugged at it.  It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
"It's too heavy," I said.
"Yes," he said.  "And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load.  It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge.  Some knowledge is too heavy for children.  When you are older and stronger you can bear it.  For now you must trust me to carry it for you."
And I was satisfied.  More than satisfied -- wonderfully at peace.  There were answers to this and all my hard questions -- but now I was content to leave them in my father's keeping.
     -- Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place, Reader's Digest 7/93

We listen to every voice and to everybody but not ourselves.  We are constantly exposed to the noise of opinions and ideas hammering at us from everywhere  ...  motion pictures, newspapers, radio, idle chatter.  If we had planned intentionally to prevent ourselves from ever listening to ourselves, we could have done no better.
     -- Erich Fromm

The things you learn in maturity aren't simple things such as acquiring information and skills.  You learn not to engage in self-destructive behavior.  You learn not to burn up energy in anxiety.  You discover how to manage your tensions.  Your learn that self-pity and resentment are among the most toxic of drugs.  You find that the world loves talent but pays off on character.  You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you; they are thinking about themselves.  You learn that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you -- a lesson that is at first troubling and then really quite relaxing.
     -- John W. Gardner From a Speech  Reader's Digest 10/92


If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don't bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, or seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you'll get better results if you just watch him laugh.  If he laughs well, he's a good man.
       -- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days.  I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell.  The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, "Light, bearing on the starboard bow."
"Is it steady or moving astern?"  the captain called out.
Lookout replied, "Steady, captain," which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman, "Signal that ship:  We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees."
Back came a signal, "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees."
The captain said, "Send, I'm a captain, change course 20 degrees."
"I'm  a seaman second class," came the reply.  "You had better change course 20 degrees."
By that time, the captain was furious.  He spat out, "Send, I'm a battleship.  Change course 20 degrees."
Back came the flashing light, "I'm a lighthouse."
We changed course.
       -- Frank Koch in Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institution

A Chinese general put it this way:  If the world is to be brought to order, my nation must first be changed.  If my nation is to be changed, my hometown must be made over.  If my hometown is to be reordered, my family must first be set right.  If my family is to be regenerated, I myself must first be.
       -- A. Purnell Bailey

Added November 13, 1999

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