It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.
The message of modern culture often centers around doing more: getting more likes, buying more things, consuming more content, making more money. But for Bruce Lee, less was more. In his book “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” which outlines his philosophy on martial arts (published posthumously in 1975), the actor and martial artist recommended simplifying our daily lives. By stripping away unnecessary distractions, we make room for the objects, experiences, and people that are essential to our happiness and peace.
See all human behavior as one of two things: either love, or a call for love
With these simple words, author, activist, and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson exposes the very heart of empathy and compassion. It’s easy to let feelings of anger, blame, or judgment cause animosity with others. But if we take a moment to analyze the behavior of those around us, Williamson suggests, we’re likely to notice that they are either acting out of love or the deeply human fear of living without it. We can always shift perspective and choose to view each other empathetically, recognizing that all human beings are searching for love and belonging.
In 218 BCE, during the Second Punic War, the great Carthaginian general Hannibal led his army from modern-day Spain all the way to Italy and toward Rome, in one of the most famous military achievements in history. As the troops neared the daunting peaks of the Alps, Hannibal’s generals warned him they would not be able to cross the mountain range with the horses and elephants they brought with them. Refusing to be deterred, Hannibal responded with the quote above: “Aut inveniam viam aut faciam.” He and his troops forged their own path across the mountains, and continued their march through Italy.
Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.
As Alice makes her journey through Wonderland in Lewis Carroll’s beloved 1865 children’s story “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,” the young girl comes upon an unpleasant Duchess, described as having a sharp and pointy chin. To Alice’s discomfort, the Duchess rests her chin on the child’s shoulder and shares this bit of wisdom. If a bizarre old Duchess can uncover lessons and meaning in the topsy-turvy world of Wonderland, we’re sure to find them in our own lives, too, on this side of the looking glass.
One of the greatest tennis players of all time, as well as an advocate for women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, Billie Jean King is no stranger to the champion mentality, both on and off the court. This quote speaks to her characteristic tenacity, courage, and dedication, which led her to 39 Grand Slam titles, a record 20 Wimbledon titles, a spot in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and a career that broke barriers for generations of women athletes.
Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Even for one of the most influential scientific geniuses in history, knowledge was not the ultimate end goal. In Albert Einstein’s 1931 collection of essays titled “Cosmic Religion: With Other Opinions and Aphorisms,” he argued that the apparent dualities of science and religion, knowledge and imagination, and logic and wonder are in fact compatible, and together they enrich the human experience. Einstein spoke frequently about imagination, which he believed was a crucial component of scientific progress. "Logic will get you from A to B," he said. "Imagination will take you everywhere." The famed physicist reminds us that it is imagination that gives wings to knowledge, by pointing the way to new possibilities.
Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.
Pope John Paul II
While visiting the U.S. in 1995, Pope John Paul II gave a moving homily to the crowds gathered at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. In it, he referenced Abraham Lincoln and his dedication to freedom and equality for all people. Having grown up in Poland during the rise of the Nazi party, Pope John Paul II shared an urgent passion for human rights. During the homily, the pope asserted that a true expression of freedom is not acting on selfish impulse, but committing our lives to serving the greater good and standing up for what is right.
Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
Author of such modernist works as “Tropic of Capricorn” and “The Rosy Crucifixion,” Henry Miller was a creative iconoclast in the early 20th century. He broke with many literary traditions in favor of stream-of-consciousness, surrealist, and even mystical writings. Miller’s spirited approach was outlined by the “11 Commandments for Writing” he devised in the 1930s while working on “Tropic of Cancer.” Commandment number three banished anxiety and worry, and Miller gave himself permission to invest fully and passionately in whatever task was before him.
Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.
Today, Stephen King is one of the most successful authors in history: The horror king has more than 50 bestselling novels under his belt, several of which have been adapted into classic films such as "Carrie" and "The Shining.” Yet for many years, King struggled with addiction while enduring repeated rejection of his written works. In his 2000 book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” King reminds readers that hope and positive thinking are the only productive responses to failure. "The nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it," he recalled in his memoir. "I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing."
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
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