Difficult Decisions Quotes

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Choosing to be with you, isn't a difficult decision, Jacqueline...It's easy. Incredibly easy.
Tammara Webber (Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1))
Yes, my mind was wandering. I wished I were there with someone who could bring peace to my heart someone with whom I could spend a little time without being afraid that i would lose him the next day. With that reassurance, the time would pass more slowly. We could be silent for a while because we'd know we had the rest of our lives together for conversation. I wouldn't have to worry about serious matters, about difficult decisions and hard words.
Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
Choosing to be with you isn't a difficult decision, Jacqueline," he breathed, pulling back one final time to stare into my eyes. "It's easy. Incredibly easy.
Tammara Webber (Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1))
The past shouldn't be forgotten. It should be used as a guide for future situations and not used as a reason to avoid making difficult decisions. There was always a choice.
Maria V. Snyder (Storm Glass (Glass, #1))
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.
Amelia Earhart
Life is filled with difficult decisions, and winners are those who make them.
Dan Brown (Deception Point)
The two important things that 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 endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision.
Robyn Davidson (Tracks)
So you've made a few bad decisions. So have I. So has Elias. So has everyone attempting to do something difficult. That doesn't mean that you give up, you fool. Do you understand?
Sabaa Tahir (A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2))
When you walk into a chocolate store, suddenly the most difficult decision you will ever have to make in your life, is which chocolates to pick! It is pure torture! Especially when you are in Belgium surrounded by Belgian chocolates!
C. JoyBell C.
Someone once said anyone can be great under rosy circumstances, but the true test of character is measured by how well a person makes decisions during difficult times.
Jack Gantos (Hole in My Life)
He loved him enough to want to die for hurting him, loved him enough to kill himself slowly for fear of losing him, loved him enough to suffer silently if he thought it was in Boyd's interest. Sin loved Boyd enough to make difficult decisions easily, as if there were no contest; he went toward Boyd as if he hadn't even considered any other choices.
Santino Hassell (Afterimage (In the Company of Shadows, #2))
Addiction is a decision. An individual wants something, whatever that something is, and makes a desicion to get it. Once they have it, they make a decision to take it. If they take it too often, that process of decision making gets out of control, and if it gets far out of control, it becomes an addiction. At that point the decision is a difficult one to make, but it is still a decision. Do I or don't I. Am I going to take or am I not going to waste my life or am I going to say no and try and stay sober and be a decent person. It is a decision. Each and every time. A decision. String enough of those decisions together and you set a course and you set a standard of living. Addict or human. Genetics do not make that call. They are just an excuse. They allow people to say it wasn't my fault I am genetically predisposed. It wasn't my fault I was programmed from day one. It wasn't my fault I didn't have any say in the matter. Bullshit. Fuck that bullshit. There is always a decision. Take responsibility for it. Addict or human. It's a fucking decision. Each and every time.
James Frey (A Million Little Pieces)
It is folly to believe that Congress and the president, on their own, will make the necessary and difficult decisions to address the impending financial debacle. After all, they and their predecessors engineered the approaching tsunami. As the situation becomes direr, the federal government's actions will grow more oppressive.
Mark R. Levin (The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic)
...You are not special. You don't get to not show up. You don't get to avoid difficult decisions. You get to climb into the muck with the rest of us. So, you want to be in charge, fine. Reach deep down, find a backbone, and handle your own shit. Otherwise, step down and make way for someone who would actually matter.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels, #7))
Life demands sacrifice and difficult decisions from us at every moment. Living does not mean passing through a void of nothingness but rather through a web of relationships among beings, each with their own weight and volume and texture.
Shin Kyung-sook (I'll Be Right There)
First, this is a great job, and i'm excited about it." "Second, i'm ambitious, but i can succeed almost everywhere." "What I can't do anywhere is be with you." "Choosing to be with you isn't a difficult decision, Jacqueline. It's easy. Incredibly easy.
Tammara Webber (Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1))
We assured Phelan that we were more than happy to let him have you and your menagerie,” Leo retorted. “After that, he said he needed to think.” “About what?” Beatrix demanded. “What is there to think about? Why is it taking him so long to make a decision?” “He’s a man, dear,” Amelia explained kindly. “Sustained thinking is very difficult for them.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
Ignore them. They don't know what it is to make a difficult decision." "You wouldn't have done it, I bet." "That is only because I have been taught to be cautious when I don't know all the information, and you have been taught that risks can produce great rewards.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
Closing The Cycle One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
Paulo Coelho
When you find out there is no ultimate good and evil in which you can place your faith, the world does not fall apart at the seams. It simply means that every decision is more difficult, more critical, because you are creating the good and evil yourself and they are very real.
Anne Rice (The Feast of All Saints)
Sometimes the most difficult decision is to not martyr yourself for someone, but instead to choose to live for them. Because of them.
Chuck Hogan
Should she stick with the nice, sensitive guy who treats her well (Ben Stiller), or should she roll the dice with the frustrating boho bozo who treats her like crap (Ethan Hawk)? Winona made the kind of romantic decision most people my age would have made in 1994: She pursued a path that was difficult and depressing, and she did so because it showed the slightest potential for transcendence.
Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto)
It is difficult at times to repress the thought that history is about as instructive as an abattoir; that Tacitus was right and that peace is merely the desolation left behind after the decisive operations of merciless power.
Seamus Heaney (Crediting Poetry: The Nobel Lecture)
Free will. It sucks because it means we're responsible for our actions. There is no destiny, just difficult decisions.
Shannon Delany (Destiny and Deception (13 to Life, #4))
The most difficult of decisions are often not the ones in which we cannot determine the correct course; rather the ones in which we are certain of the path but fear the journey.
Richard Paul Evans (The Locket (The Locket, #1))
Choosing to break up your family is one of the most difficult decisions you will make in a lifetime. But once you have come to it; it will be with certainty. Certainty that you are ready to embrace the changes, the challenges and the joys of starting a new life.
Lisa Thomson (The Great Escape: A Girl's Guide To Leaving a Marriage)
A change in perspective, in physical location, quite simply forces mindfulness. It forces us to reconsider the world, to look at things from a different angle. And sometimes that change in perspective can be the spark that makes a difficult decision manageable, or that engenders creativity where none existed before.
Maria Konnikova (Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes)
You have to realize it is impossible to be the shero to everyone. There comes a time when you have to make a difficult decision to say no to the ones you love. If not, you will be fighting a never-ending battle that you will lose every time. Sad but true, you have to be cruel to be kind, otherwise, you will be defeated.
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
Sometimes complex and difficult moral choices are decided less by reason and by right than by sentiment. Perhaps such decisions are paving stones on the road to Hell; if so, my route is well paved, and the welcoming committee all ready knows my name.
Dean Koontz (Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, #1))
I divide my officers into four classes as follows: The clever, the industrious, the lazy, and the stupid. Each officer always possesses two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the General Staff. Use can under certain circumstances be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy qualifies for the highest leadership posts. He has the requisite nerves and the mental clarity for difficult decisions. But whoever is stupid and industrious must be got rid of, for he is too dangerous.
Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord
You didn’t tell me living would be one decision after another, some easy, some difficult. You didn’t tell me living wasn’t a battle, but a war. You didn’t tell me that living was a choice, and that every day I choose to continue was another victory, another triumph.
S. Jae-Jones (Shadowsong (Wintersong, #2))
A woman imagines what she wants, and plans mentally for the transition. She gathers strength to prepare for the emotional challenges in her life that lie ahead. Conflicts try to break her stride but although she is filled with pain, she still walks with confidence, and with a smile on her face. When there is a world of distractions and difficult decisions to make, when a woman finds herself straying off the tracks, she will not feel defeated. She is courageous! She is victorious! She is a pioneer!
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
Tom had discovered a great law of human action, namely, that in order to make a man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.
Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions)
This is how best to effect change. If you reiterate the same fears and the same sensible measures with proper augmentation enough times, even difficult decisions will begin to seem like the only justifiable solutions.
Olli Jalonen
It is very difficult to make really big, important, life-changing decisions because we are all susceptible to a formidable array of decision biases. There are more of them than we realize, and they come to visit us more often than we like to admit.
Dan Ariely (The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home)
Whenever I’m faced with a difficult decision, I ask myself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid of making a mistake, feeling rejected, looking foolish, or being alone? I know for sure that when you remove the fear, the answer you’ve been searching for comes into focus. And as you walk into what you fear, you should know for sure that your deepest struggle can, if you’re willing and open, produce your greatest strength.
Oprah Winfrey (What I Know For Sure)
There is nothing in the world so difficult as that task of making up one's mind. Who is there that has not longed that the power and privilege of selection among alternatives should be taken away from him in some important crisis of his life, and that his conduct should be arranged for him, either this way or that, by some divine power if it were possible, - by some patriarchal power in the absence of divinity, - or by chance, even, if nothing better than chance could be found to do it? But no one dares to cast the die, and to go honestly by the hazard. There must be the actual necessity of obeying the die, before even the die can be of any use.
Anthony Trollope (Phineas Finn)
God! I hated this business of being grown-up. I hated having to make decisions where I didn't know what was behind the door. I wanted a world where heroes and villains were clearly labeled. Where ominous music comes on-screen so you can't possibly mistake him. Where someone asks you to choose between playing with the beautiful princess in the fragrant garden and being eaten by the hideous monster in the foul-smelling pit. Not exactly a difficult one, now is it? Not something that you would agonize over, or that would make you lose a night's sleep?
Marian Keyes (Watermelon (Walsh Family, #1))
The gift of life, gives you the greatest opportunity to live and chance to rise above any situation. With hopeful attitude you can overcome any struggle.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Think Great: Be Great! (Beautiful Quotes, #1))
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.
Amelia Earhart
Democracy requires active participation, and sooner or later someone ‘offers’ to take all the difficult decision-making away from you and your hectic life. But the darknet throws those decisions back onto you. It hard-codes democracy into the DNA of civilization. You upvote and downvote many times a day on things that directly affect your life and the lives of people around you—not just once every few years on things you haven’t got a chance in hell of affecting.
Daniel Suarez (Freedom™ (Daemon, #2))
Depression affects not only mood but the nature and content of thought as well. Thinking processes almost always slow down, and decisiveness is replaced by indecision and rumination. The ability to concentrate is usually greatly impaired and willful action and thought become difficult if not impossible.
Kay Redfield Jamison (Touched with Fire)
It had not seemed difficult, on a small income, to know what was right to do....Now, with so much, it was daily a decision: what was necessary, what was frivolous...It was so much gray--so little black and white; for a year she'd spent more of her time questioning herself and how she lived in Truth than she had done altogether in her life.
Laura Kinsale (Flowers from the Storm)
For a dying man it is not a difficult decision [to agree to become the world's first heart transplant] ... because he knows he is at the end. If a lion chases you to the bank of a river filled with crocodiles, you will leap into the water convinced you have a chance to swim to the other side. But you would not accept such odds if there were no lion.
Christiaan Barnard
Most people, faced with two difficult choices, prefer not to choose at all.
Kenneth Eade (Predatory Kill (Brent Marks Legal Thrillers #2))
A woman who walks away from the promise of power finds the strength to forgive – and saves her friendship, her marriage, and her sanity. The world is turned upside down.
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
Didn’t she remember that being single is more than just following your whims—that it also means having nobody to help you make difficult decisions, or comfort you at the end of a bad week?
Kate Bolick (Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own)
The fact that Ferdinand and Isabella did not choose the path of tolerance is seen as an example of the intractability and inevitability of intolerance, especially in the premodern era. But their actions may be far better understood as the failure to make the more difficult decision, to have the courage to cultivate a society that can live with its own flagrant contradictions. They chose instead to go down the modern path, the one defined by an ethic of unity and harmony, and which is largely intolerant of contradiction.
María Rosa Menocal (The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain)
Whenever I’m faced with a difficult decision, I ask myself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid of making a mistake, feeling rejected, looking foolish, or being alone? I know for sure that when you remove the fear, the answer you’ve been searching for comes into focus.
Oprah Winfrey (What I Know for Sure)
cognitive illusions are difficult to overcome. That is why education of the public is doomed to fail and paternalistic strategies to maneuver people into doing the “right” things are the only viable alternative.
Gerd Gigerenzer (Risk Savvy: How To Make Good Decisions)
PROVERB: Eating meat is a difficult moral decision, because it’s stolen, that meat. You should apologize.
Joseph Fink (Mostly Void, Partially Stars (Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, #1))
We have a choice when we face difficult decisions: We can act with faith or we can act with fear. There are no guarantees except this one: If we dwell on our fears, we will definitely miss the joys of the unexpected.
Arianna Huffington (On Becoming Fearless)
Oftentimes, the most important decisions are the most difficult to make - for, your future, and the future of the generations that come after you, hinges on the outcome of those decisions.
J.E.B. Spredemann (Englisch on Purpose (Amish by Accident Trilogy #1))
Aliera said, "You are a Jhereg." Mario said, "You are the most beautiful woman who has ever lived, or ever will live, in the Empire or anywhere else." "Well," said Aliera. "I am," remarked Mario, "confronted by a difficult decision." "Life seems to be full of them," agreed Aliera. "What is yours?" "Whether to continue running for my life, or to stay here and look at you.
Steven Brust (Five Hundred Years After (Khaavren Romances, #2))
Have you ever truly, keenly felt like you don't know who you are? Do you ever do something and think, Who is at the controls? Like some mad pilot has locked you out of the cockpit? I definitely do. I feel a kind of vertigo that makes me shake afterwards. I guess we all feel it when making a difficult-seeming choice, and sometimes you seriously don't know what you want because you don't know who you're supposed to be, or who you want to be. Physics, my first and second families, my philosophy degree, had all failed to help me answer that question. The former has led me to wonder whether I am one of an infinite number of Alices in multiple universes. A quantum fuck-up, which is someone who fucks up in every one of those universes but in different ways.
Olivia Sudjic (Sympathy)
Some believe that everyone is born with a moral compass already inside them, like an appendix, or a fear of worms. Others believe that a moral compass develops over time, as a person learns about the decisions of others by observing the world and reading books. In any case, a moral compass appears to be a delicate device, and as people grow older and venture out into the world it often becomes more and more difficult to figure out which direction one's moral compass is pointing, so it is harder and harder to figure out the proper thing to do.
Lemony Snicket (The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #13))
One thing that most comic artists avoid is showing decisions. They show action, sure, and they show results, but they don’t show (because it’s difficult to show) the hero or the villain making a choice.
Seth Godin (Poke the Box)
Indeed, in many situations wisdom lies in being strategic rather than spontaneous. This is especially true when we’re dealing with a difficult person, a hot issue, or a tense situation. The enormous challenge is to make wise decisions about how and when to say what to whom, and even before that, to know what we really want to say and what we hope to accomplish by saying it.
Harriet Lerner (The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate)
The inconsistencies that haunt our relationships with animals also result from the quirks of human cognition. We like to think of ourselves as the rational species. But research in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics shows that our thinking and behavior are often completely illogical. In one study, for example, groups of people were independently asked how much they would give to prevent waterfowl from being killed in polluted oil ponds. On average, the subjects said they would pay $80 to save 2,000 birds, $78 to save 20,000 birds, and $88 to save 200,000 birds. Sometimes animals act more logically than people do; a recent study found that when picking a new home, the decisions of ant colonies were more rational than those of human house-hunters. What is it about human psychology that makes it so difficult for us to think consistently about animals? The paradoxes that plague our interactions with other species are due to the fact that much of our thinking is a mire of instinct, learning, language, culture, intuition, and our reliance on mental shortcuts.
Hal Herzog (Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals)
I am facing the most difficult thing of my life, my own greatest failure.
Richard Paul Evans (Lost December)
I mean that if you are not absolutely sure of a thing, it is so difficult to commit yourself to a definite course of action.
Agatha Christie (Murder Is Easy (Superintendent Battle, #4))
Don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions, the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones that do.
George Ilian (Steve Jobs: 50 Life and Business Lessons from Steve Jobs)
STEP 1. Identify the system’s bottlenecks. (After all it wasn’t too difficult to identify the oven and the NCX10 as the bottlenecks of the plant.) STEP 2. Decide how to exploit the bottlenecks. (That was fun. Realizing that those machines should not take a lunch break, etc.) STEP 3. Subordinate everything else to the above decision. (Making sure that everything marches to the tune of the constraints. The red and green tags.) STEP 4. Elevate the system’s bottlenecks. (Bringing back the old Zmegma, switching back to old, less “effective” routings. . . .) STEP 5. If, in a previous step, a bottleneck has been broken go back to step 1.
Eliyahu M. Goldratt (The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement)
...The Presidential election has given me less anxiety than I myself could have imagined. The next administration will be a troublesome one, to whomsoever it falls, and our John has been too much worn to contend much longer with conflicting factions. I call him our John, because, when you were at the Cul de sac at Paris, he appeared to me to be almost as much your boy as mine. ...As to the decision of your author, though I wish to see the book {Flourens’s Experiments on the functions of the nervous system in vertebrated animals}, I look upon it as a mere game at push-pin. Incision-knives will never discover the distinction between matter and spirit, or whether there is any or not. That there is an active principle of power in the universe, is apparent; but in what substance that active principle resides, is past our investigation. The faculties of our understanding are not adequate to penetrate the universe. Let us do our duty, which is to do as we would be done by; and that, one would think, could not be difficult, if we honestly aim at it. Your university is a noble employment in your old age, and your ardor for its success does you honor; but I do not approve of your sending to Europe for tutors and professors. I do believe there are sufficient scholars in America, to fill your professorships and tutorships with more active ingenuity and independent minds than you can bring from Europe. The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices, both ecclesiastical and temporal, which they can never get rid of. They are all infected with episcopal and presbyterian creeds, and confessions of faith. They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton’s universe and Herschel’s universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews. And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world. I salute your fireside with best wishes and best affections for their health, wealth and prosperity. {Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 22 January, 1825}
John Adams (The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams)
How was it possible to be with someone and yet feel so utterly alone? How was it possible to be with someone as wonderful, warm and kind as Andrew and yet still wonder if love would ever find you?
Chris Manby (Getting Personal)
So I had made a decision which carried with it things that I could not articulate at the time. I had made the choice instinctively, and only later had given it meaning. The trip had never been billed in my mind as an adventure in the sense of something to be proved. And it struck me then that the most difficult things has been the decision to act, the rest had been merely tenacity -- and the fears were paper tigers. One really could do anything one had decided to do whether it were changing a job, moving to a new place, divorcing a husband or whatever,m one really cold act to change and control one's life;and the procedure, the process, was its own reward.
Robyn Davidson (Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback)
Going public was a difficult decision, and I had misgivings. My subjective experience was now an objective fact in the wider world. It didn't belong to just me anymore - though I quickly learned that it hadn't belonged to just me in the first place. More than a million Americans and their families were going through the same thing; some openly, some in secret due to concerns of being misunderstood and marginalized.
Michael J. Fox (Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist)
I hope that you will be faced with difficult choices and decisions, trials that won’t undo you, but that will drive you toward reflection and understanding. Trust that your fears will sometimes tell you about your desires. You will see that you can survive the terror that comes with growth and change, with vulnerability and risk.
Donald Antrim
As I look back on the trip now, as I try to sort out fact from fiction, try to remember how I felt at that particular time, or during that particular incident, try to relive those memories that have been buried so deep, and distorted so ruthlessly, there is one clear fact that emerges from the quagmire. The trip was easy. It was no more dangerous than crossing the street, or driving to the beach, or eating peanuts. The two important things that 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. And I knew even then that I would forget them time and time again and would have to go back and repeat those words that had become meaningless and try to remember. I knew even then that, instead of remembering the truth of it, I would lapse into a useless nostalgia. Camel trips, as I suspected all a long, and as I was about to have confirmed, do not begin or end, they merely change form.
Robyn Davidson (Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback)
How different the world would be if each parent could say to the child: “Who you are is terrific, all you are meant to be. And who you are, as you are, is loved by all of us. You have a source within, which is the soul, and it will express itself to you through what we call desire. Always respect the well-being of the other, but live your own journey, serve that desire, risk being that which wishes to enter the world through you, and you will always have our love, even if your path takes you away from us.” Such persons would then have a powerful tool to enable them to change their lives when it was not working out for them. Such persons would be able to make difficult decisions, mindful always of the impact on others, but also determined to live the life intended by the gods who brought us here.
James Hollis (Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives)
If there is no way to compel those who find a majority decision distasteful to go along with it, then the last thing one would want to do is to hold a vote: a public contest which someone will be seen to lose. Voting would be the most likely means to guarantee humiliations, resentments, hatreds, in the end, the destruction of communities. What is seen as an elaborate and difficult process of finding consensus is, in fact, a long process of making sure no one walks away feeling that their views have been totally ignored.
David Graeber (Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology)
...one of the more sophisticated and accepting things about Europe, when it came to difficult decisions regarding sexual identity, was that the Europeans were so used to sexual differences that they had already begun to make fun of them.
John Irving (In One Person)
The difficulties in life are vital for our personal growth and well-being.
Lailah Gifty Akita
don't think so deeply ... so taking decisions will be difficult.....
Raheel Habib
In any given situation, the most difficult step is to reach a decision. Once a decision is made, control can be asserted.
John Connolly (A Song of Shadows (Charlie Parker, #13))
The doing is the easy part. It’s the deciding to do that is difficult. I most regret the decisions never made.
Michael R. Fletcher (Beyond Redemption (Manifest Delusions, #1))
People also have a greater capacity when they aren’t worn down by work and worry. When people get enough sleep, they are more adept at difficult tasks, are more interpersonally sensitive, make better decisions, and are less likely to turn nasty.
Robert I. Sutton (Scaling Up Excellence: Getting To More Without Settling For Less)
Every decision you make in life sends you off down a path that could turn out to be a wrong one. A couple of careless decisions somewhere along the line, that’s all it takes to waste years – but then you can’t creep along being so cautious that you don’t have adventures. It’s difficult to get the balance right
Viv Albertine (To Throw Away Unopened)
I was going to say 'my friend Stuart', but I suppose he's not a friend any more. I seem to have lost a number of friends in the last few years. I don't mean that I've fallen out with them, in any dramatic way. We've just decided not to stay in touch. And that's what it's been: a decision, a conscious decision, because it's not difficult to stay in touch with people nowadays, there are so many different ways of doing it. But as you get older, I think that some friendships start to feel increasingly redundant. You just find yourself asking, "What's the point?" And then you stop.
Jonathan Coe (The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim)
What most people want in a leader is something that's very difficult to find: we want someone who listens...The secret, Reagan's secret, is to listen, to value what you hear, and then to make a decision even if it contradicts the very people you are listening to. Reagan impressed his advisers, his adversaries, and his voters by actively listening. People want to be sure you hear what they said - they're less focused on whether or not you do what they said.
Seth Godin (Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us)
We came to the question: How is it with the women and children? I decided to find a clear solution here as well. I did not consider myself justified to exterminate the men – in other words, to kill them or have them killed – and allow the avengers of our sons and grandsons in the form of their children to grow up. The difficult decision had to be taken to make this people disappear from the earth.
Heinrich Himmler
It didn't matter how wonderful Andrew was and how much effort he was prepared to put into their relationship. While Lou didn't feel the same way, his love was only building a tower without foundations.
Chris Manby (Getting Personal)
The right thing was confusing, and difficult, and sometimes Jason wondered if it was in fact a nonexistent ideal, like heaven or the American dream. There was no right thing. You did what you did for whatever reasons occurred to you at the time, depending on whichever emotion was running thickest in your blood. Your desire and fear and adrenaline and longing. You made your choice and came up with the reasons later.
Thomas Mullen (The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers)
He’s a man, dear,” Amelia explained kindly. “Sustained thinking is very difficult for them.” “As opposed to women,” Leo retorted, “who have the remarkable ability to make decisions without doing any thinking at all.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
There are any number of reasons to want novels to survive. The way [Jonathan] Franzen thinks about it is that books can do things, socially useful things, that other media can't. He cites -- as one does -- the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard and his idea of busyness: that state of constant distraction that allows people to avoid difficult realities and maintain self-deceptions. With the help of cell phones, e-mail and handheld games, it's easier to stay busy, in the Kierkegaardian sense, than it's ever been. Reading, in its quietness and sustained concentration, is the opposite of busyness. "We are so distracted by and engulfed by the technologies we've created, and by the constant barrage of so-called information that comes our way, that more than ever to immerse yourself in an involving book seems socially useful," Franzen says. "The place of stillness that you have to go to to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world.
Lev Grossman
We all have a certain knowledge about how the universe works. And when someone comes along and challenges that knowledge, we don’t know how to deal with it. We aren’t hardwired that way. It’s difficult to question everything you’ve ever thought to be true. So, like I said, it’s not your fault. You can believe me or not, but whichever you choose, you’re the one who has to deal with the consequences. So make your decision wisely, grasshopper,
Darynda Jones (First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1))
As the world confronts the challenges of globalisation, the entertainment Industry and a web saturated with explicit sexual content, is increasingly making it difficult for young people to make informed decisions about sex
Oche Otorkpa (The Unseen Terrorist)
Things happen. The only thing that matters is how we deal with the now. Either we face the difficult moral decisions with ever-stronger responses, or we do not. This is what separates the mensch from the asshole. Full stop.
Olen Steinhauer (All the Old Knives: A Novel)
We all have a tendency to surrender our moral authority to “the group,” to still our own voices and assume that the group will handle whatever difficult issue we face. We imagine that the group is making thoughtful decisions, and if the crowd is moving in a certain direction, we follow, as if the group is some moral entity larger than ourselves. In the face of the herd, our tendency is to go quiet and let the group’s brain and soul handle things. Of course, the group has no brain or soul separate from each of ours. But by imagining that the group has these centers, we abdicate responsibility, which allows all groups to be hijacked by the loudest voice, the person who knows how brainless groups really are and uses that to his advantage.
James Comey (A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership)
The call to love our enemies is, without a doubt, the most difficult thing Jesus invited us to do. . . For gang members, the decision to not retaliate can be a life and death decision. It is a ridiculous call, and yet, as the cycle of violence is broken and Love spreads, the ripples of Love change the world.
Jamie West Zumwalt (Beloved Chaos: moving from religion to Love in a red light district)
So one way to create an attractive risk/reward situation is to limit downside risk severely by investing in situations that have a large margin of safety. The upside, while still difficult to quantify, will usually take care of itself. In other words, look down, not up, when making your initial investment decision. If you don’t lose money, most of the remaining alternatives are good ones.
Joel Greenblatt (You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits)
The tyranny of the quantifiable is partly the failure of language and discourse to describe more complex, subtle, and fluid phenomena, as well as the failure of those who shape opinions and make decisions to understand and value these slipperier things. It is difficult, sometimes even impossible, to value what cannot be named or described, and so the task of naming and describing is an essential one in any revolt against the status quo of capitalism and consumerism.
Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me)
You could just do the work, you know,' I say. 'You could make better decisions, make a better life.' 'Yeah, I could,' he says. 'But I won't. We both know that.' I do know that. I know that change is difficult, and comes slowly, and that it is the work of many days strung together in a long line until the origin of them is forgotten. He is afraid that he will not be able to put in that work, that he will squander those days, and that they will leave him worse off than he is now. And I understand that feeling - I understand being afraid of yourself.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
The questions came...hurling at him...like the balls from a baseball pitching machine...just one after the other without a care or concern of where they went - but he couldn't hit them, he didn't have a baseball bat - he only had a toothpick!
Mallika Nawal (I'm a Woman & I'm on SALE (I'm a Woman, #1))
it must be said that parental decisions are difficult, and that children often do “grow out of it.” But it almost never hurts to try to help them grow out of it or to look more closely at the problem. And while children often “grow out of it,” often they do not; and as with so many problems, the longer children’s problems are ignored, the larger they become and the more painful and difficult to solve.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
At which point, at long last, there was the actual doing it, quickly followed by the grim realization of what it meant to do it, followed by the decision to quit doing it because doing it was absurd and pointless and ridiculously difficult and far more than I expected doing it would be and I was profoundly unprepared to do it.
Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
Teenage girls today need strong, positive role models that can show them how to be independent thinkers and confident decision-makers. Dana is proud and self-confident, which is good, but she does not always make wise decisions. Rather than make her a super woman, I balanced her with difficult situations that could have been handled better. Her strength, however, shines through. This way, a young woman can read the book, discuss Dana's actions, and reflect on the decision-making in her own life.
Sharon M. Draper
Serpentining" means trying to control a situation, backing out of it, pretending it's not happening, or maybe even pretending that you don't care. We use it to dodge conflict, discomfort, possible confrontation, the potential for shame or hurt, and/or criticism (self- or other-inflicted). Serpentining can lead to hiding out, pretending, avoidance, procrastination, rationalizing, blaming, and lying. I have a tendency to want to serpentine when I feel vulnerable. If I have to make a difficult call, I'll try to script both sides of it. I'll convince myself that I should wait, I'll draft an e-mail while telling myself that it's better in writing, and I'll think of a million other things to do. I'll emotionally run back and forth until I'm exhausted.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
All that time tying herself up in knots because she simply couldn't think of  a good reason not to be with him
Chris Manby (Getting Personal)
Never choose a situation which is a burden to your command only to satisfy fellows' standards; rather choose a situation that may be difficult but is compliment to your will.
Joe Mari Fadrigalan
I'm not difficult, I'm decisive. If a woman puts you on hold, she's considered a bitch.
Judith Fitzgerald
How we handle adversity determines the chances if we either fall or rise.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
You know you've got my support", Reid told him. "Whatever difficult decisions you need to make. All I would ask is that you be alert to..." For a moment he seemed at a loss. "To what?" Louis said impatiently. Reid picked up a votive candle from the dresser top and observed its flickering light. "The shimmer of things," he said. "The spirit and not the letter.
Paul Russell (The Coming Storm)
When you’ve had a psychotic breakdown it’s always so difficult making that decision. You meet someone new and you wonder how much you should tell them? You wonder what that person’s threshold of ‘strange’ is, and at what point in my story would I end up driving them away. That fear it’s always there in the back of your mind. Those details you never really even admitted to yourself, but that somehow have to be told just as much as they have to be buried deep down.
Cyma Rizwaan Khan (I See The Devil)
Companies that fail to communicate a sense of WHY force us to make decisions with only empirical evidence. This is why those decisions take more time, feel difficult or leave us uncertain.
Simon Sinek (Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action)
What you feel deep within you is more important than what you think you feel.. Reaching that deep within place is not too difficult; you just need to cut off the chaos, Go on a walk, spend some time with nature, listen to music, do something you really enjoy doing and not do it only because you have to.. Some people like to paint, some women like to clean the house, it helps them clear their mind! Once you are at that deep within place answers will come automatically...
Arti Honrao
We've been very lonely, but we had it easy. Because death is so heavy - we, too young to know about it, couldn't handle it. After this you and I may end up seeing nothing but suffering, difficulty and ugliness, but if only you'll agree to it, I want for us to go on to more difficult places, happier places, what ever comes, together. I want you to make the decision after you're completely better, so take your time thinking about it. In the mean time, though, don't disappear on me.
Banana Yoshimoto (Kitchen)
think, for example, has a higher suicide rate: countries whose citizens declare themselves to be very happy, such as Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Canada? or countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, whose citizens describe themselves as not very happy at all? Answer: the so-called happy countries. It’s the same phenomenon as in the Military Police and the Air Corps. If you are depressed in a place where most people are pretty unhappy, you compare yourself to those around you and you don’t feel all that bad. But can you imagine how difficult it must be to be depressed in a country where everyone else has a big smile on their face?2 Caroline Sacks’s decision to evaluate herself, then, by looking around her organic chemistry classroom was not some strange and irrational behavior. It is what human beings do. We compare ourselves to those in the same situation as ourselves, which means that students in an elite school—except, perhaps,
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
The second, “alternatives exclude,” is an important key to understanding why decision is difficult. Decision invariably involves renunciation: for every yes there must be a no, each decision eliminating or killing other options (the root of the word decide means “slay,” as in homicide or suicide).
Irvin D. Yalom (Love's Executioner)
As a parent, we often have to make difficult decisions. We have to say no to our kids, even when it disappoints them. We tell them they have to do certain things for their own good, regardless of whether they like it. I think God is like that, in a way: making certain things happen for our eternal good. Even the suffering on earth, which will somehow be redeemed in heaven. Does He say: Yes, you have to suffer, but you’re going to be okay. I have your best interests at heart. And you have something to learn. At my darkest times, I struggled to believe this. I tried to remember that, even when things don’t go the way I’d hoped, He’s still there. And that maybe we need great disappointment to appreciate the good, and to better appreciate the meaning of God in our lives. I’ve come to realize that part of faith is opening yourself up to free will and knowing God will bring beauty, even in the midst of evil. It’s one thing to say all this. To believe it every day--to live it and not despair--that is a struggle.
Taya Kyle (American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal)
It is amazing how much both happiness and efficiency can be increased by the cultivation of an orderly mind, which thinks about a matter adequately at the right time rather than inadequately at all times. When a difficult or worrying decision has to be reached, as soon as all the data are available, give the matter your best thought and make your decision; having made the decision, do not revise it unless some new fact comes to your knowledge. Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.
Bertrand Russell
We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation. And now some among us begin to cry out: Let us go into the marsh! And when we begin to shame them, they retort: What backward people you are! Are you not ashamed to deny us the liberty to invite you to take a better road! Oh, yes, gentlemen! You are free not only to invite us, but to go yourselves wherever you will, even into the marsh. In fact, we think that the marsh is your proper place, and we are prepared to render you every assistance to get there. Only let go of our hands, don't clutch at us and don't besmirch the grand word freedom, for we too are "free" to go where we please, free to fight not only against the marsh, but also against those who are turning towards the marsh!
Vladimir Lenin (What Is to Be Done?)
He's a man, dear,' Amelia explained kindly. 'Sustained thinking is very difficult for them.' 'As opposed to women,' Leo retorted, 'who have the remarkable ability to make decisions without doing any thinking at all.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
But when we moved to the country, miles from the nearest restaurant, his hints anent his favorite dies grew so insistent that it became a question of tripe or divorce, and for a short time it was a difficult decision.
Margaret Yardley Potter (At Home on the Range.)
All lives are difficult; what makes some of them fulfilled as well is the manner in which pains have been met. Every pain is an indistinct signal that something is wrong, which may engender either a good or bad result depending on the sagacity and strength of mind of the sufferer. Anxiety may precipitate panic, or an accurate analysis of what is amiss. A sense of injustice may lead to murder, or to a ground-breaking work of economic theory. Envy may lead to bitterness, or to a decision to compete with a rival and the production of a masterpiece. As
Alain de Botton (The Consolations of Philosophy)
She understood now that knowing when to walk away and when to hunker down and refuse to leave were equally difficult decisions to make in a marriage; that going back didn't have to mean settling; and that the most fulfilling times weren't always before a storm, but sometimes long after the dust had settled, when you were able to lift your chin and see what was left standing so you could wrap yourself around it with all of the wonder it deserved.
Holly Kennedy (The Penny Tree)
The real trouble is that the pure Word of Jesus has been overlaid with so much human ballast—burdensome rules and regulations, false hopes and consolations—that it has become extremely difficult to make a genuine decision for Christ.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
Most people are afflicted with an inability to say what they see or think. They say there’s nothing more difficult than to define a spiral in words; they claim it is necessary to use the unliterary hand, twirling it in a steadily upward direction, so that human eyes will perceive the abstract figure immanent in wire spring and a certain type of staircase. But if we remember that to say is to renew, we will have no trouble defining a spiral; it’s a circle that rises without ever closing. I realize that most people would never dare to define it this way, for they suppose that defining is to say what others want us to say rather than what’s required for the definition. I’ll say it more accurately: a spiral is a potential circle that winds round as it rises, without ever completing itself. But no, the definition is still abstract. I’ll resort to the concrete, and all will become clear: a spiral is a snake without a snake, vertically wound around nothing. All literature is an attempt to make life real. All of us know, even when we act on what we don’t know, life is absolutely unreal in its directly real form; the country, the city and our ideas are absolutely fictitious things, the offspring of our complex sensation of our own selves. Impressions are incommunicable unless we make them literary. Children are particularly literary, for they say what they feel not what someone has taught them to feel. Once I heard a child, who wished to say that he was on the verge of tears, say not ‘I feel like crying’, which is what an adult, i.e., an idiot, would say but rather, ’ I feel like tears.’ And this phrase -so literary it would seem affected in a well-known poet, if he could ever invent it - decisively refers to the warm presence of tears about to burst from eyelids that feel the liquid bitterness. ‘I feel like tears’! The small child aptly defined his spiral. To say! To know how to say! To know how to exist via the written voice and the intellectual image! This is all that matters in life; the rest is men and women, imagined loves and factitious vanities, the wiles of our digestion and forgetfulness, people squirming- like worms when a rock is lifted - under the huge abstract boulder of the meaningless blue sky.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
Because adherence to standard operating procedures is difficult to second-guess, decision makers who expect to have their decisions scrutinized with hindsight are driven to bureaucratic solutions—and to an extreme reluctance to take risks.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Cadets who are successful at West Point arrive at the school armed with habits of mental and physical discipline. Those assets, however, only carry you so far. To succeed, they need a keystone habit that creates a culture—such as a daily gathering of like-minded friends—to help find the strength to overcome obstacles. Keystone habits transform us by creating cultures that make clear the values that, in the heat of a difficult decision or a moment of uncertainty, we might otherwise forget.
Charles Duhigg (The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business)
He felt a deep swelling of pride but also anguish. It was the torment all loving parents feel when they see their child making a difficult and perhaps dangerous decision as an adult when, in memory, they still see the small innocent child of years long gone.
William R. Forstchen (One Year After (After #2))
Tired of his lack of understanding, she asked him for an unusual birthday gift: that for one day he would take care of the domestic chores. He accepted in amusement, and indeed took charge of the house at dawn. He served a splendid breakfast, but he forgot that fried eggs did not agree with her and that she did not drink café con leche. Then he ordered a birthday luncheon for eight guests and gave instructions for tidying the house, and he tried so hard to manage better than she did that before noon he had to capitulate without a trace of embarrassment. From the first moment he realized he did not have the slightest idea where anything was, above all in the kitchen, and the servants let him upset everything to find each item, for they were playing the game too. At ten o’clock no decisions had been made regarding lunch because the housecleaning was not finished yet, the bedroom was not straightened, the bathroom was not scrubbed; he forgot to replace the toilet paper, change the sheets, and send the coachmen for the children, and he confused the servants’ duties: he told the cook to make the beds and set the chambermaids to cooking. At eleven o’clock, when the guests were about to arrive, the chaos in the house was such that Fermina Daza resumed command, laughing out loud, not with the triumphant attitude she would have liked but shaken instead with compassion for the domestic helplessness of her husband. He was bitter and offered the argument he always used: “Things did not go as badly for me as they would for you if you tried to cure the sick.” But it was a useful lesson, and not for him alone. Over the years they both reached the same wise conclusion by different paths: it was not possible to live together in any way, or love in any other way, and nothing in this world was more difficult than love.
Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
There’s a reason they call childbirth labor. Making a healthy baby takes effort: It requires foresight and self-denial and courage. It’s expensive and demanding and tiring. You have to learn new things, change many habits, possibly deal with complicated medical situations, make difficult decisions, and undergo stressful ordeals. I had a wisdom tooth pulled without Novocaine while I was pregnant—it hurt a lot and seemed to go on forever. The kindness of the very young dental assistant, holding back my hair as I spat blood into a bowl, will stay with me for the rest of my life. Pregnant women do such things, and much harder things, all the time. For example, they give birth, which is somewhere on the scale between painful and excruciating. Or they have a cesarean, as I did, which is major surgery. None of this is without risk of death or damage or trauma, including psychological trauma. To force girls and women to undergo all this against their will is to annihilate their humanity. When they undertake it by choice, we should all be grateful.
Katha Pollitt (Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights)
When you have nothing to be ashamed of, when you know who you are and what you stand for, you stand in wisdom. Whenever I’m faced with a difficult decision, I ask myself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid of making a mistake, feeling rejected, looking foolish, or being alone? I know for sure that when you remove the fear, the answer you’ve been searching for comes into focus. And as you walk into what you fear, you should know for sure that your deepest struggle can, if you’re willing and open, produce your greatest strength.
Oprah Winfrey (What I Know For Sure)
Let’s say then you’ve made the decision to tear the life you know asunder in order to be with this person you love. A difficult decision to be sure. Putting it lightly. Because you cannot imagine a life without her, and the alternative left to you is a lifetime of desolation, as you don’t intend to don a hair shirt or join a monastery or fling yourself into the ocean and drown. And so you go ahead and do the unthinkable and tear your life asunder…only to discover the person you love won’t have you after all, and she actually has a reason
Julie Anne Long (I Kissed an Earl (Pennyroyal Green, #4))
I found it paralyzingly difficult to make even the simplest decisions. So much hung in the balance, so many complicated parameters needed to be taken into consideration, yet always there was too little information, no way to know what outcomes could result. Life was a terrifying, invisible web of consequences. What mayhem might I unknowingly wreak by saying yes when I could have said no, by going east instead of west?
Caroline Kettlewell (Skin Game)
How to be there for someone with depression or anxiety 1. Know that you are needed, and appreciated, even if it seems you are not. 2. Listen. 3. Never say ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘cheer up’ unless you’re also going to provide detailed, foolproof instructions. (Tough love doesn’t work. Turns out that just good old ‘love’ is enough.) 4. Appreciate that it is an illness. Things will be said that aren’t meant. 5. Educate yourself. Understand, above all, that what might seem easy to you –going to a shop, for instance –might be an impossible challenge for a depressive. 6. Don’t take anything personally, any more than you would take someone suffering with the flu or chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis personally. None of this is your fault. 7. Be patient. Understand it isn’t going to be easy. Depression ebbs and flows and moves up and down. It doesn’t stay still. Do not take one happy/ bad moment as proof of recovery/ relapse. Play the long game. 8. Meet them where they are. Ask what you can do. The main thing you can do is just be there. 9. Relieve any work/ life pressure if that is doable. 10. Where possible, don’t make the depressive feel weirder than they already feel. Three days on the sofa? Haven’t opened the curtains? Crying over difficult decisions like which pair of socks to wear? So what. No biggie. There is no standard normal. Normal is subjective. There are seven billion versions of normal on this planet.
Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive)
Keep Boxes don’t work. They let me put off making a final decision. I can temporarily place a particularly difficult item inside, confident that the future version of me will know what to do with it. Future Me doesn’t deserve that much credit, and honestly, she doesn’t appreciate the pressure.
Dana K. White (Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff)
Hank Green's Secrets of Productivity: 1.) I have convinced myself that if I am not using all of the tools I have in my disposal to do the maximum amount of good [...] then I am less of a good person than I could otherwise could be. [...] 2.) I intentionally put myself in situations where people who I care about and who I respect rely on me to do things, which is very motivating. [...] 3.) I don't get caught up in doing everything perfectly. [...] I just want to try stuff and if it explodes... it exploded! And I learned! 4.) I love giving other people responsibility. I love putting them in difficult situations and saying: "Figure this out. Help me do this." And if they do it wrong or if they do it differently than how I would have done it, I don't get mad as long as they're learning, because there's no way to get good at stuff except to do it and fail and learn. [...] 5.) I follow and cultivate my own curiosity. I think curiosity is one of the top two or three human characteristics. It's something that I really like about myself. [...] I want to understand stuff! I want to understand people! Following my curiosity so frequently leads me to better life decisions and better business decisions but also - just feeling better! You're never going to feel bad about your whole life if you loved people and you were curious. I mean, that's kind of all I want!
Hank Green
A country isn't a rock. And it isn't an extension of one's self. *It's what it stands for, when standing for something is the most difficult!* Before the people of the world - let it now be noted in our decision here that this is what *we* stand for: *justice, truth... and the value of a single human being!*
Abby Mann
There are days when everything I see seems to me charged with meaning: messages it would be difficult for me to communicate to others, define, translate into words, but which for this very reason appear to me decisive. They are announcements or presages that concern me and the world at once: for my part, not only the external events of my existence but also what happens inside, in the depths of me; and for the world, not some particular event but the general way of being of all things.
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
The television commercial has mounted the most serious assault on capitalist ideology since the publication of Das Kapital. To understand why, we must remind ourselves that capitalism, like science and liberal democracy, was an outgrowth of the Enlightenment. Its principal theorists, even its most prosperous practitioners, believed capitalism to be based on the idea that both buyer and seller are sufficiently mature, well informed and reasonable to engage in transactions of mutual self-interest. If greed was taken to be the fuel of the capitalist engine, the surely rationality was the driver. The theory states, in part, that competition in the marketplace requires that the buyer not only knows what is good for him but also what is good. If the seller produces nothing of value, as determined by a rational marketplace, then he loses out. It is the assumption of rationality among buyers that spurs competitors to become winners, and winners to keep on winning. Where it is assumed that a buyer is unable to make rational decisions, laws are passed to invalidate transactions, as, for example, those which prohibit children from making contracts...Of course, the practice of capitalism has its contradictions...But television commercials make hash of it...By substituting images for claims, the pictorial commercial made emotional appeal, not tests of truth, the basis of consumer decisions. The distance between rationality and advertising is now so wide that it is difficult to remember that there once existed a connection between them. Today, on television commercials, propositions are as scarce as unattractive people. The truth or falsity of an advertiser's claim is simply not an issue. A McDonald's commercial, for example, is not a series of testable, logically ordered assertions. It is a drama--a mythology, if you will--of handsome people selling, buying and eating hamburgers, and being driven to near ecstasy by their good fortune. No claim are made, except those the viewer projects onto or infers from the drama. One can like or dislike a television commercial, of course. But one cannot refute it.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
The Jelly is apparently rising behind me. I could sit here and wait for it to cover me or move on, I don't know. Now that I have a few feelings to consider, and attitudes, decisions are more difficult. I suppose I'll step wherever I see a dry spot. Whenever The Jelly nips at my heels, I'll take a forward step. I'll get along.
David Ohle
I made a decision a long time ago that I was going to choose joy. I even painted a big rectangle on my wall and printed it in big letters so I wouldn’t forget to make that choice every day. The major word in that rectangle isn’t joy, it’s CHOOSE. It’s looking around me when life is difficult and trading every complaint I have for something beautiful in my life that far outweighs it. I know, it’s that Pollyanna personified thing again, but living joyful beats being cynical any day of the week.
Jessica N. Turner (The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You)
I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread. Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear. Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you've defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you. The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
Lou felt as though she would rather jump from her bathroom window than open the door and smile at him then, she managed it. And she even pinched his bum as the passed in the doorway. Not because she wanted him to act on the flirtatious gesture. But he deserved it. Because he was a great bloke and she knew she should be grateful to have him and perhaps, one day, if she let herself believe that someone that fantastic might really be the one for her, she'd get over it and they'd live happily ever after.
Chris Manby (Getting Personal)
That was what true love was supposed to be about. Couples slobbering all over each other, only just able to let each other out of sight long enough to go to the loo. True love was not furtively checking your email, while your other half is in the bathroom to see if you have a message from someone you met out once. True love shouldn't be disappointed when your ex writes with the news that another old girlfriend is back on the scene. 'Fuck' she couldn't do this. She couldn't keep pretending. Not a single day longer.
Chris Manby (Getting Personal)
The fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decision disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order. From this mistaken conception of the person there arise both a distortion of law, which defines the sphere of the exercise of freedom, and an opposition to private property. A person who is deprived of something he can call “his own,” and of the possibility of earning a living through his own initiative, comes to depend on the social machine and on those who control it. This makes it much more difficult for him to recognize his dignity as a person, and hinders progress towards the building up of an authentic human community.
Pope John Paul II
No situation is hopeless. Do not give up.
Lailah Gifty Akita
Addiction is a decision. An individual wants something, whatever that something is, and makes a desicion to get it. Once they have it, they make a decision to take it. If they take it too often, that process of decision making gets out of control, and if it gets far out of control, it becomes an addiction. At that point the decision is a difficult one to make, but it is still a decision. Do I or don't I. Am I going to take or am I not going to waste my life or am I going to say no and try and stay sober and be a decent person. It is a decision. Each and every time. A decision. String enough of those decisions together and you set a course and you set a standard of living. Addict or human. Genetics do not make that call. They are just an excuse. They allow people to say it wasn't my fault I am genetically predisposed. It wasn't my fault I was programmed from day one. It wasn't my fault I didn't have any say in the matter. Bullshit. Fuck that bullshit. There is always a decision. Take responsibility for it. Addict or human. It's a fucking decision. Each and every time
James Frey (A Million Little Pieces)
Oh, I already loved my husband, of course, but this was different. That had been a decision; this was out of my control, an impulse as difficult to resist as gravity. Mad love, crazy love, drop, sink, stumble. The kind of love where every little thing is a sign, a portent: the song on the radio, his Christian name staring up at you from a magazine you’re flicking through, your horoscope in the paper. Normally I don’t even believe in horoscopes, for God’s sake. Love without holes or patches or compromises, soft as an easy chair, a many splendoured thing.
Kylie Ladd (After the Fall)
What rules, then, can one follow if one is dedicated to the truth? First, never speak falsehood. Second, bear in mind that the act of withholding the truth is always potentially a lie, and that in each instance in which the truth is withheld a significant moral decision is required. Third, the decision to withhold the truth should never be based on personal needs, such as a need for power, a need to be liked or a need to protect one’s map from challenge. Fourth, and conversely, the decision to withhold the truth must always be based entirely upon the needs of the person or people from whom the truth is being withheld. Fifth, the assessment of another’s needs is an act of responsibility which is so complex that it can only be executed wisely when one operates with genuine love for the other. Sixth, the primary factor in the assessment of another’s needs is the assessment of that person’s capacity to utilize the truth for his or her own spiritual growth. Finally, in assessing the capacity of another to utilize the truth for personal spiritual growth, it should be borne in mind that our tendency is generally to underestimate rather than overestimate this capacity. All this might seem like an extraordinary task, impossible to ever perfectly complete, a chronic and never-ending burden, a real drag. And it is indeed a never-ending burden of self-discipline, which is why most people opt for a life of very limited honesty and openness and relative closedness, hiding themselves and their maps from the world. It is easier that way. Yet the rewards of the difficult life of honesty and dedication to the truth are more than commensurate with the demands. By virtue of the fact that their maps are continually being challenged, open people are continually growing people. Through their openness they can establish and maintain intimate relationships far more effectively than more closed people. Because they never speak falsely they can be secure and proud in the knowledge that they have done nothing to contribute to the confusion of the world, but have served as sources of
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
Right now, you and I are crossing a deep, dark river. Every time that enormous weight presses down on us and the waters of the river rise over our throats and we want to give up and slip beneath the surface, remember: as heavy as the load we shoulder is the world that we tread upon. Earthbound beings unfortunately cannot break free of gravity. Life demands sacrifice and difficult decisions from us at every moment. Living does not mean passing through a void of nothingness but rather through a web of relationships among beings, each with their own weight and volume and texture. Insofar as everything is always changing, so our sense of hope shall never die out. Therefore, I leave you all with one final thought: Live. Until you are down to your final breath, love and fight and rage and grieve and live.
Shin Kyung-sook (I'll Be Right There)
Jim Collins, in his bestselling book Good to Great, demonstrates through massive research and comprehensive analysis that when it comes to CEO succession, internal candidates dramatically outperform external candidates. The core reason is knowledge. Knowledge of technology, prior decisions, culture, personnel, and more tends to be far more difficult to acquire than the skills required to manage a larger organization.
Ben Horowitz (The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers)
Signs of communist domination of the andartes were not difficult to find, but at the same time there was no indication that the KKE desired to seize power by force. On the contrary, what evidence there is suggests that the KKE - in so far as its divided leadership was capable of any decisions at all in the absence of a clear lead from Moscow - had decided not to seize power at a time when it could easily have done so.
Mark Mazower (Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44)
His life is, then, naturally, a treasure trove of stories about dharma. But to my mind, the most interesting story is the series of courageous early choices Frost made in support of his dharma. When one examines Frost’s life closely, it becomes clear that this man became more and more himself through a series of small decisions that aligned him with his voice. He had a gift, of course. But his power came into focus through his commitment to this gift, and through a series of decisive actions taken in support of it. Each one of these acts was, for him, like jumping off a cliff. He jumped not entirely blind—but not entirely seeing, either. And each of Frost’s leaps ignited more of his power. In retrospect, it is clear that each one of Frost’s difficult decisions helped create the perfect conditions for the full flowering of his genius.
Stephen Cope (The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling)
The next day round about ten o'clock I was walking down Welbeck Street. I was in a bad temper. By daylight the whole project seemed very much less attractive. I felt that to be snubbed by a film star would put me in a bad state of mind for months. But I regarded the matter as something which had been decided and which now simply had to be carried out. I often use this method for deciding difficult cases. In stage one I entertain the thing purely as a hypothesis, and in stage two I count my stage one thinking as a fixed decision on which there is no going back. I recommend this technique to any of you who are not good at making decisions.
Iris Murdoch (Under the Net)
Maybe a reason why a particular decision you are carrying today feels difficult is because there are things beneath the surface that remain unnamed within you, things you either haven't acknowledged or would rather ignore. Sometimes indecision is the result of a busy schedule or a hesitant personality. Other times it's because something within us remains unnamed, and we simply don't have enough information or self-knowledge to move forward.
Emily P. Freeman (The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions)
Even if we don't want to admit it, the ability to overcome most obstacles is within our hands. We can't blame family, society, or history if our work is meaningless, dull, or stressful. Admittedly, there are not too many options when we realize that our job is useless, or actually harmful. Perhaps the only choice is to quit as quickly as possible, even at the cost of severe financial hardship. In terms of the bottom line of one's life, it is always a better deal to do something one feels good about than something that may make us materially comfortable but emotionally miserable. Such decisions are notoriously difficult, and require great honesty with oneself.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life)
Meditation is not difficult in its concept and essence, but it can present challenges for some. One of the most common is in having the discipline required to stick with it and do it every day, no matter what. "The good news is that discipline is not something you either have or you don’t; it is something you develop. It is a choice. You become disciplined by making the decision, every day, to sit down and meditate, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Liberty Forrest (Meditation Essentials)
An increased power of reflection like an increased knowledge only adds to man's affliction, and above all it is certain that for the individual as for the generation no task is more difficult than to escape from the temptations of reflection, simply because they are so dialectical and the result of one clever discovery may give the whole question a new turn, because at any moment reflection is capable of explaining everything quite differently and allowing one some way of escape; because at the last moment of a reflective decision reflection is capable of changing everything--after one has made far greater exertions than are necessary to get a man of character into the midst of things.
Søren Kierkegaard (The Present Age)
Every human being asks pertinent questions regarding how to live, what to believe in, and what we aspire to become. Throughout life, we question what desires and principles to value and prioritize – love, friendship, freedom, happiness, creativity, wealth, security. We make difficult decisions based upon what we trust constitutes ethical behavior. We balance out work and play by considering what a person’s time is worth. We encounter both joyful and unpleasant physical experiences. As we age, we modify some of our youthful assumptions and question the existence of a mystical and divine world. We engage in formal and informal educational activities, which edifying foundation support modest or dramatic shifts in our instinctive and learned behavior patterns, and alter our intellectual and emotional perspective. Each person aspires to live honorably and age gracefully despite encountering physical adversity, financial hardships, sickness, or injury.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
About eight days ago I discovered that sulfur in burning, far from losing weight, on the contrary, gains it; it is the same with phosphorus; this increase of weight arises from a prodigious quantity of air that is fixed during combustion and combines with the vapors. This discovery, which I have established by experiments, that I regard as decisive, has led me to think that what is observed in the combustion of sulfur and phosphorus may well take place in the case of all substances that gain in weight by combustion and calcination; and I am persuaded that the increase in weight of metallic calyxes is due to the same cause... This discovery seems to me one of the most interesting that has been made since Stahl and since it is difficult not to disclose something inadvertently in conversation with friends that could lead to the truth I have thought it necessary to make the present deposit to the Secretary of the Academy to await the time I make my experiments public.
Antoine Lavoisier
Leaders instill courage in the hearts of those who follow. This rarely happens through words alone. It generally requires action. It goes back to what we said earlier: Somebody has to go first. By going first, the leader furnishes confidence to those who follow. As a next generation leader, you will be called upon to go first. That will require courage. But in stepping out you will give the gift of courage to those who are watching. What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business? What has been done is safe. But to attempt a solution to a problem that plagues an entire industry - in my case, the local church - requires courage. Unsolved problems are gateways to the future. To those who have the courage to ask the question and the tenacity to hang on until they discover or create an answer belongs the future. Don’t allow the many good opportunities to divert your attention from the one opportunity that has the greatest potential. Learn to say no. There will always be more opportunities than there is time to pursue them. Leaders worth following are willing to face and embrace current reality regardless of how discouraging or embarrassing it might be. It is impossible to generate sustained growth or progress if your plan for the future is not rooted in reality. Be willing to face the truth regardless of how painful it might be. If fear causes you to retreat from your dreams, you will never give the world anything new. it is impossible to lead without a dream. When leaders are no longer willing to dream, it is only a short time before followers are unwilling to follow. Will I allow my fear to bind me to mediocrity? Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. It never goes away. Where there is no uncertainty, there is no longer the need for leadership. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the need for leadership. Your capacity as a leader will be determined by how well you learn to deal with uncertainty. My enemy is not uncertainty. It is not even my responsibility to remove the uncertainty. It is my responsibility to bring clarity into the midst of the uncertainty. As leaders we can afford to be uncertain, but we cannot afford to be unclear. People will follow you in spite of a few bad decisions. People will not follow you if you are unclear in your instruction. As a leader you must develop the elusive skill of leading confidently and purposefully onto uncertain terrain. Next generation leaders must fear a lack of clarity more than a lack of accuracy. The individual in your organization who communicates the clearest vision will often be perceived as the leader. Clarity is perceived as leadership. Uncertainty exposes a lack of knowledge. Pretending exposes a lack of character. Express your uncertainty with confidence. You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. Self-evaluation is helpful, but evaluation from someone else is essential. You need a leadership coach. Great leaders are great learners. God, in His wisdom, has placed men and women around us with the experience and discernment we often lack. Experience alone doesn’t make you better at anything. Evaluated experience is what enables you to improve your performance. As a leader, what you don’t know can hurt you. What you don’t know about yourself can put a lid on your leadership. You owe it to yourself and to those who have chosen to follow you to open the doors to evaluation. Engage a coach. Success doesn’t make anything of consequence easier. Success just raises the stakes. Success brings with it the unanticipated pressure of maintaining success. The more successful you are as a leader, the more difficult this becomes. There is far more pressure at the top of an organization than you might imagine.
Andy Stanley
The President is at liberty, both in law and conscience, to be as big a man as he can. His capacity will set the limit; and if Congress be overborne by him, it will be no fault of the makers of the Constitution, – it will be from no lack of constitutional powers on its part, but only because the President has the nation behind him, and the Congress has not.” “The chief instrumentality by which the law of the Constitution has been extended to cover the facts of national development has of course been judicial interpretation, – the decisions of the courts. The process of formal amendment of the Constitution was made so difficult by provisions of the Constitution itself that it has seldom been feasible to use it; and the difficulty of formal amendment has undoubtedly made the courts more liberal, not to say lax, in their interpretation than they would otherwise have been. The whole business of adaptation has been theirs, and they have undertaken it with open minds, sometimes even with boldness and a touch of audacity...” “The old theory of the sovereignty of the States, which used so to engage our passions, has lost its vitality. The war between the States established at least this principle, that the federal government is, through its courts, the final judge of its own powers... We are impatient of state legislatures because they seem to us less representative of the thoughtful opinion of the country than Congress is. We know that our legislatures do not think alike, but we are not sure that our people do not think alike...
Woodrow Wilson (Constitutional Government in the United States)
Recommendations and categorization are both useful features to seek out when trying to make a difficult decision, because they can benefit our choices in two ways. They make the decision in question easier by allowing us to borrow the knowledge of experts or crowds, and they also help us to develop our own expertise more rapidly than we would if we chose without assistance. Learning what others consider good and relevant provides us with a general overview of a given field, catalyzing our understanding of it and the development of our preferences within it.
Sheena Iyengar (The Art of Choosing)
Poor health was not just the result of random acts, bad luck, bad behavior or unfortunate genetics. Deliberate public policy decision about housing, education, parks and streets were the key drivers of racial differences in mortality. Crime kept people off the streets and limited their ability to exercise. The lack of grocery stores limited dietary choices. The lack of primary care doctors and specialists in these communities made chronic disease care more difficult. The degradation and loss of hospital services in these communities affected hospital-based outcomes. … The chronic underfunding of critical health services at Cook County Hospital and other safety-net providers contributed to these poor outcomes as well. The deleterious impact of social structures such as urban poverty and racism on health has been called 'structural violence.
David A. Ansell (County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital)
April 9th. Hope is almost as difficult as the other. But one is simply more used to hoping and fearing than to find oneself in the middle of what one had hoped or feared. What I have learned: that there is no real escape from life. One can only postpone the decision with cunning and cleverness. But there is no way out. It is a totally closed system, and at the exit there is only death. And that naturally is no exit at all. I am a body. Nothing but a body. Everything which has to be done, which can be done, must happen within this body. (The Yellow Book IV:2)
Lars Gustafsson (The Death of a Beekeeper)
Decision-making becomes more difficult as numbers rise, because incentive traps proliferate. You need only think how hard it is to get a dozen people organized to go out to dinner. Imagine how hopeless would have been the task of organizing hundreds or thousands of persons to traipse around on a moveable feast. Lacking any sustained and separate political organization or bureaucracy required by specialization for war, hunting-and-gathering bands had to depend on persuasion and consensus—principles that work best among small groups with relatively easygoing attitudes.
James Dale Davidson (The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age)
Sartre explained what he meant by the anguish of choice through the true story of a student who had come to ask his advice during the war. This young man had to make a very difficult decision. He could either stay at home to look after his mother; or he could run off and try to join the French Resistance and fight to save his country from the Germans. This was the most difficult decision of his life and he wasn't sure what to do. If he left his mother, she would be vulnerable without him. He might not succeed in getting to the Resistance fighters before being caught by the Germans, and then the whole attempt to do something noble would be a waste of energy and of a life. But if he stayed at home with his mother, he'd be letting others do the fighting for him. What should he do? What would you do? What advice would you give him? Sartre's advice was a bit frustrating. He told the student that he was free and that he should choose for himself. If Sartre had given the student any practical advice about what to do, the student would still have had to decide whether or not to follow it. There is no way to escape the weight of responsibility that comes with being human.
Nigel Warburton (A Little History Of Philosophy)
Ordinary humans will find it very difficult to resist this process. At present, people are happy to give away their most valuable asset—their personal data—in exchange for free email services and funny cat videos. It’s a bit like African and Native American tribes who unwittingly sold entire countries to European imperialists in exchange for colorful beads and cheap trinkets. If, later on, ordinary people decide to try to block the flow of data, they might find it increasingly difficult, especially as they might come to rely on the network for all their decisions, and even for their healthcare and physical survival.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
White Americans have contented themselves with gestures that are now described as "tokenism". For hard example, white Americans congratulate themselves on the 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation in the schools; they suppose, in spite of the mountain of evidence that has since accumulated to the contrary, that this was proof of a change of heart – or, as they like to say, progress. Perhaps. It all depends on how one reads the word "progress". Most of the Negroes I know do not believe that this immense concession would ever have been made if it had not been for the competition of the Cold War, and the fact that Africa was clearly liberating herself and therefore had, for political reasons, to be wooed by the descendants of her former masters. Had it been a matter of love or justice, the 1954 decision would surely have occurred sooner; were it not for the realities of power in this difficult era, it might very well not have occurred yet.
James Baldwin
If you are in a period of discouragement because you are going through a trial and you are asking yourself, “Why is this happening to me?” consider this: Never make a major decision when you are depressed. Often, when we get discouraged, we are tempted to say, “I’m just going to quit” or “I’m going to move” or “I’m going to change jobs” or “I’m going to file for divorce.” Never make a major decision when you are depressed, because at that time your feelings are unreliable and you cannot exercise accurate judgment. Your focus is blurry, and your perspective is distorted. Instead, face the storm head-on and don’t get involved in self-pity.
Rick Warren (God's Answers to Life's Difficult Questions (Living with Purpose))
Pandora, you're not living up to your reputation as the misbehaving twin. Take a risk. Have a little adventure with me." Pandora had never imagined being vulnerable to this kind of temptation, never guessed at how difficult it would be to resist. Meeting him in secret, at night, would be the most genuinely disgraceful thing she'd ever done, and she wasn't entirely certain that he would keep his promise. But conscience was putting up the flimsiest, most feeble possible defense against a desire that seemed shameful in its blind power. Weak with nerves and hunger and anger, she made her decision too quickly, the way she made most of her decisions.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
As Christians we face two tasks in our evangelism: saving the soul and saving the mind, that is to say, not only converting people spiritually, but converting them intellectually as well. And the Church is lagging dangerously behind with regard to this second task. If the church loses the intellectual battle in one generation, then evangelism will become immeasurably more difficult in the next. The war is not yet lost, and it is one which we must not lose: souls of men and women hang in the balance. For the sake of greater effectiveness in witnessing to Jesus Christ Himself, as well as for their own sakes, evangelicals cannot afford to keep on living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence. Thinking about your faith is indeed a virtue, for it helps you to better understand and defend your faith. But thinking about your faith is not equivalent to doubting your faith. Doubt is never a purely intellectual problem. There is a spiritual dimension to the problem that must be recognized. Never lose sight of the fact that you are involved in spiritual warfare and there is an enemy of your soul who hates you intensely, whose goal is your destruction, and who will stop at nothing to destroy you. Reason can be used to defend our faith by formulating arguments for the existence of God or by refuting objections. But though the arguments so developed serve to confirm the truth of our faith, they are not properly the basis of our faith, for that is supplied by the witness of the Holy Spirit Himself. Even if there were no arguments in defense of the faith, our faith would still have its firm foundation. The more I learn, the more desperately ignorant I feel. Further study only serves to open up to one's consciousness all the endless vistas of knowledge, even in one's own field, about which one knows absolutely nothing. Don't let your doubts just sit there: pursue them and keep after them until you drive them into the ground. We should be cautious, indeed, about thinking that we have come upon the decisive disproof of our faith. It is pretty unlikely that we have found the irrefutable objection. The history of philosophy is littered with the wrecks of such objections. Given the confidence that the Holy Spirit inspires, we should esteem lightly the arguments and objections that generate our doubts. These, then, are some of the obstacles to answered prayer: sin in our lives, wrong motives, lack of faith, lack of earnestness, lack of perseverance, lack of accordance with God’s will. If any of those obstacles hinders our prayers, then we cannot claim with confidence Jesus’ promise, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it”. And so I was led to what was for me a radical new insight into the will of God, namely, that God’s will for our lives can include failure. In other words, God’s will may be that you fail, and He may lead you into failure! For there are things that God has to teach you through failure that He could never teach you through success. So many in our day seem to have been distracted from what was, is and always will be the true priority for every human being — that is, learning to know God in Christ. My greatest fear is that I should some day stand before the Lord and see all my works go up in smoke like so much “wood, hay, and stubble”. The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but knowledge of God. People tend naturally to assume that if God exists, then His purpose for human life is happiness in this life. God’s role is to provide a comfortable environment for His human pets. But on the Christian view, this is false. We are not God’s pets, and the goal of human life is not happiness per se, but the knowledge of God—which in the end will bring true and everlasting human fulfilment. Many evils occur in life which may be utterly pointless with respect to the goal of producing human happiness; but they may not be pointless with respect to producing a deeper knowledge of God.
William Lane Craig (Hard Questions, Real Answers)
Thinking is hard. Making value judgments is difficult. It places you at pure creation, because there are so many times you II have to say, “I don’t know. I just don’t know.” Yet still you’ll have to decide. And so you’ll have to choose. You’ll have to make an arbitrary choice. Such a choice—a decision coming from no previous personal knowledge—is called pure creation. And the individual is aware, deeply aware, that in the making of such decisions is the Self created. Most of you are not interested in such important work. Most of you would rather leave that to others. And so most of you are not self-created, but creatures of habit—other-created creatures.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
I had never been so close to death before. For a long time, as I lay there trying to clear my mind, I couldn't think coherently at all, conscious only of a terrible, blind bitterness. Why had they singled me out? Didn't they understand? Had everything I'd gone through on their behalf been utterly in vain? Did it really count for nothing? What had happened to logic, meaning and sense? But I feel much calmer now. It helps to discipline oneself like this, writing it down to see it set out on paper, to try and weigh it and find some significance in it. Prof Bruwer: There are only two kinds of madness one should guard against, Ben. One is the belief that we can do everything. The other is the belief that we can do nothing. I wanted to help. Right. I meant it very sincerely. But I wanted to do it on my terms. And I am white, and they are black. I thought it was still possible to reach beyond our whiteness and blackness. I thought that to reach out and touch hands across the gulf would be sufficient in itself. But I grasped so little, really: as if good intentions from my side could solve it all. It was presumptuous of me. In an ordinary world, in a natural one, I might have succeeded. But not in this deranged, divided age. I can do all I can for Gordon or scores of others who have come to me; I can imagine myself in their shoes, I can project myself into their suffering. But I cannot, ever, live their lives for them. So what else could come of it but failure? Whether I like it or not, whether I feel like cursing my own condition or not -- and that would only serve to confirm my impotence -- I am white. This is the small, final, terrifying truth of my broken world. I am white. And because I am white I am born into a state of privilege. Even if I fight the system that has reduced us to this I remain white, and favored by the very circumstances I abhor. Even if I'm hated, and ostracized, and persecuted, and in the end destroyed, nothing can make me black. And so those who are cannot but remain suspicious of me. In their eyes my very efforts to identify myself with Gordon, whit all the Gordons, would be obscene. Every gesture I make, every act I commit in my efforts to help them makes it more difficult for them to define their real needs and discover for themselves their integrity and affirm their own dignity. How else could we hope to arrive beyond predator and prey, helper and helped, white and black, and find redemption? On the other hand: what can I do but what I have done? I cannot choose not to intervene: that would be a denial and a mockery not only of everything I believe in, but of the hope that compassion may survive among men. By not acting as I did I would deny the very possibility of that gulf to be bridged. If I act, I cannot but lose. But if I do not act, it is a different kind of defeat, equally decisive and maybe worse. Because then I will not even have a conscience left. The end seems ineluctable: failure, defeat, loss. The only choice I have left is whether I am prepared to salvage a little honour, a little decency, a little humanity -- or nothing. It seems as if a sacrifice is impossible to avoid, whatever way one looks at it. But at least one has the choice between a wholly futile sacrifice and one that might, in the long run, open up a possibility, however negligible or dubious, of something better, less sordid and more noble, for our children… They live on. We, the fathers, have lost.
André Brink (A Dry White Season)
Tom has been having a difficult patch, and we meet at the church of IKEA as often as possible, because it is equidistant from our houses and always cheers us up. Yesterday I asked, 'In your depression, and with so many people having such a hard time, where is Advent?' He tried to wiggle out of it by saying, 'You Protestants and your little questions!' Then, when pushed, he said: 'Faith is a decision. Do we believe we are ultimately doomed and fucked and there's no way out? Or that God and goodness make a difference? There is heaven, community, and hope - and hope that there is life beyond the grave.' 'But Tom, at the same time, the grave is very real, dark and cold and lonely.' 'Advent is not for the naive. Because in spite of the dark and cold, we see light - you look up, or you make light, with candles, or with strands of lightbulbs on trees. And you give light. Beauty helps, in art and nature and faces. Friends help. Solidarity helps. If you ask me, when people return phone calls, it's about as good as it gets. And who knows beyond that.
Anne Lamott
Sanny,' he said quietly, emphatically, 'besides all the obvious aspects of love — the infatuation, the attraction, the feelings of closeness and belonging — besides all that, Sanny, love is a decision. That's what keeps it going in the long run, through bad time and difficult situation,' Mark said softly. 'Love isn't just something you feel, some state of mind you have no control over. Love needs nurturing to stay alive, and that is a conscious decision every day, Sanny. It expresses itself in all the little daily things that happen between people.' His hands slid down her back and he drew her closer. 'Love doesn't just stop or fly out the window. It dies from neglect.' He paused. 'Sanny,' he continued softly, 'I love you. My promise to you is that I will not neglect that love.
Karen van der Zee (One More Time)
Use difficulty as a guide not just in selecting the overall aim of your company, but also at decision points along the way. At Via web one of our rules of thumb was run upstairs. Suppose you are a little, nimble guy being chased by a big, fat, bully. You open a door and find yourself in a staircase. Do you go up or down? I say up. The bully can probably run downstairs as fast as you can. Going upstairs his bulk will be more of a disadvantage. Running upstairs is hard for you but even harder for him. What this meant in practice was that we deliberately sought hard problems. If there were two features we could add to our software, both equally valuable in proportion to their difficulty, we’d always take the harder one. Not just because it was more valuable, but because it was harder. We delighted in forcing bigger, slower competitors to follow us over difficult ground. Like guerillas, startups prefer the difficult terrain of the mountains, where the troops of the central government can’t follow. I can remember times when we were just exhausted after wrestling all day with some horrible technical problem. And I’d be delighted, because something that was hard for us would be impossible for our competitors.
Paul Graham (Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age)
I would like to turn in my skin and change it for a new epidermis. It feels as if I will never be able to rinse the sadness from my soul. All the while I am cognizant of the fact that I am trying to purge myself of my feelings. I start with my shell. I am in the water at least an hour. I immerse my head. My long, thick mane is so heavy, but I feel the lightness of my hair as it floats. I can hear my heart beating in my ears. I wonder what would happen if I died in this water. I drain the bathtub and refill it. I scrub my skin until it stings. I still don't feel clean. I close my eyes. I switch to lying on my back. I gaze at the heavens through the skylight on the ceiling above the tub. I am thinking about Isabella. I am struck by the feeling of uncleanness that I have been immersed in that day. I would imagine that this child feels unclean always, in body and in mind. I am hoping that the sheets in her foster home are snow white and fragrant. I am hoping that she felt safe. I am worried that she is so deeply alone and frightened. I know somewhere deep inside of me that the decisions and choices I made today were sound. I am praying, with eyes glued to the stars, that I will not awaken in the night with my heart beating out of my chest; that I will not be haunted by Francis's diseased body; that I will not perseverate on ever nuance of my day - the smells, the cockroaches, the piercing torment of Isabella's unseeing eye, her father's sore-ridden penis penetrating her tiny body. Yet in many ways this is an experience I hope never to forget. The pearls. I must not forget the pearls that I have promised her.
Holly A. Smith (Fire of the Five Hearts: A Memoir of Treating Incest)
When one is born into a religion that is not too unsuitable for pronouncing the name of the Lord, when one loves that native religion, well-oriented and pure, it is difficult to conceive of a legitimate motive to abandon it before direct contact with God offers the soul to the divine will itself. Beyond this threshold, the change is only legitimate as an act of obedience. In fact history shows how this rarely happens. More often— perhaps always— the soul that reaches the highest spiritual regions is confirmed in the love of the tradition that served as its ladder. If the imperfection of the native religion is too great, or if it appears in a native environment under a form that is too corrupt, or if circumstances prevent that religion from being born or even kills it, the adoption of a strange religion is legitimate. Legitimate and necessary for certain people; not, without a doubt, for all. It is the same for those who have been raised without any religious practice. In all other cases, to change religions is an extremely grave (serious) decision and it is even more serious to push someone else to do so. It is still an infinitely more serious exercise, in this sense, to officially apply such pressure upon conquered lands.
Simone Weil (Waiting for God)
Comparing marriage to football is no insult. I come from the South where football is sacred. I would never belittle marriage by saying it is like soccer, bowling, or playing bridge, never. Those images would never work, only football is passionate enough to be compared to marriage. In other sports, players walk onto the field, in football they run onto the field, in high school ripping through some paper, in college (for those who are fortunate enough) they touch the rock and run down the hill onto the field in the middle of the band. In other sports, fans cheer, in football they scream. In other sports, players ‘high five’, in football they chest, smash shoulder pads, and pat your rear. Football is a passionate sport, and marriage is about passion. In football, two teams send players onto the field to determine which athletes will win and which will lose, in marriage two families send their representatives forward to see which family will survive and which family will be lost into oblivion with their traditions, patterns, and values lost and forgotten. Preparing for this struggle for survival, the bride and groom are each set up. Each has been led to believe that their family’s patterns are all ‘normal,’ and anyone who differs is dense, naïve, or stupid because, no matter what the issue, the way their family has always done it is the ‘right’ way. For the premarital bride and groom in their twenties, as soon as they say, “I do,” these ‘right’ ways of doing things are about to collide like two three hundred and fifty pound linemen at the hiking of the ball. From “I do” forward, if not before, every decision, every action, every goal will be like the line of scrimmage. Where will the family patterns collide? In the kitchen. Here the new couple will be faced with the difficult decision of “Where do the cereal bowls go?” Likely, one family’s is high, and the others is low. Where will they go now? In the bathroom. The bathroom is a battleground unmatched in the potential conflicts. Will the toilet paper roll over the top or underneath? Will the acceptable residing position for the lid be up or down? And, of course, what about the toothpaste? Squeeze it from the middle or the end? But the skirmishes don’t stop in the rooms of the house, they are not only locational they are seasonal. The classic battles come home for the holidays. Thanksgiving. Which family will they spend the noon meal with and which family, if close enough, will have to wait until the nighttime meal, or just dessert if at all? Christmas. Whose home will they visit first, if at all? How much money will they spend on gifts for his family? for hers? Then comes for many couples an even bigger challenge – children of their own! At the wedding, many couples take two candles and light just one often extinguishing their candle as a sign of devotion. The image is Biblical. The Bible is quoted a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. What few prepare them for is the upcoming struggle, the conflict over the unanswered question: the two shall become one, but which one? Two families, two patterns, two ways of doing things, which family’s patterns will survive to play another day, in another generation, and which will be lost forever? Let the games begin.
David W. Jones (The Enlightenment of Jesus: Practical Steps to Life Awake)
I suspect that self-deception is similar to its cousins, overconfidence and optimism, and as with these other biases, it has both benefits and disadvantages. On the positive side, an unjustifiably elevated belief in ourselves can increase our general well-being by helping us cope with stress; it can increase our persistence while doing difficult or tedious tasks; and it can get us to try new and different experiences. We persist in deceiving ourselves in part to maintain a positive self-image. We gloss over our failures, highlight our successes (even when they’re not entirely our own), and love to blame other people and outside circumstances when our failures are undeniable. Like our friend the crab, we can use self-deception to boost our confidence when we might not otherwise feel bold. Positioning ourselves on the basis of our finer points can help us snag a date, finish a big project, or land a job. (I am not suggesting that you puff up your résumé, of course, but a little extra confidence can often work in our favor.) On the negative side, to the extent that an overly optimistic view of ourselves can form the basis of our actions, we may wrongly assume that things will turn out for the best and as a consequence not actively make the best decisions. Self-deception can also cause us to “enhance” our life stories with, say, a degree from a prestigious university, which can lead us to suffer a great deal when the truth is ultimately revealed. And, of course, there is the general cost of deception. When we and those around us are dishonest, we start suspecting everyone, and without trust our lives become more difficult in almost every way.
Dan Ariely (The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves)
At the ponds that evening I said to Antonio: "It's always been like that, since we were little: everyone thinks she's bad and I'm good." He kissed me, murmuring ironically, "Why, isn't that true?" That response touched me and kept me from telling him that we had to part. It was a decision that seemed to me urgent, the affection wasn't love, I loved Nino, I knew I would love him forever. I had a gentle speech prepared for Antonio, I wanted to say to him: It's been wonderful, you helped me a lot at a time when I was sad, but now school is starting and this year is going to be difficult, I have new subjects, I'll have to study a lot; I'm sorry but we have to stop. I felt it was necessary and every afternoon I went to our meeting at the ponds with my little speech ready. But he was so affectionate, so passionate, that my courage failed and I put it off.
Elena Ferrante (My Brilliant Friend (L'amica geniale #1))
We always make the best decision we can based upon what we believe in that moment. When I was growing up, my father and I experienced a lot of tension with each other for many years. He had bipolar disorder and it was very difficult for him. As I got older and went through my transformation of consciousness and really forgave him—and forgave myself and forgave the world—my father started showing up in my awareness as an angel. He got happier and happier and our relationship began to improve. People would say, “Your dad has really changed a lot,” and I would say, “My mind has really changed.” My father was just reflecting that back. In fact, he came to me one day and said, “David, I’m sorry. I was not a very good father. I didn’t do the things that a good father should do.” I replied, “Nonsense! I don’t believe that for one instant. You did the best you could and I did the best I could. You didn’t let me down and I didn’t let you down. We’re not going to buy into that guilt trip anymore.” He lit up when I said this. His whole demeanor changed and he instantly reflected love back to me. That simple exchange completely rearranged our view of everything that had taken place during those early years. None of it mattered anymore. We had been mistaken about many things because we couldn’t perceive truly while we were going through our time together.
David Hoffmeister (Quantum Forgiveness: Physics, Meet Jesus)
The decision to use torture as a terror of retribution gives an inner satisfaction to the person who practises it, even if this is difficult for him to accept openly. Having been injured and humiliated by aggression, he can now humiliate in his turn those whom he considers to be his aggressors, and rediscover his self-esteem. As an ex-soldier of the Algerian War explains, forty years after the events: ‘You could feel a certain form of jubilation while being present at such extreme scenes . . . Doing to a body whatever you feel like doing to it.’ Reducing the other to a state of complete impotence gives you a feeling of supreme power. This feeling is one which torture gives you more than murder does, since the latter does not last: once dead, the other becomes an inert object and no longer produces that jubilation which stems from fully triumphing over the will of another, without his ceasing to exist.
Tzvetan Todorov
More people than ever are being paid to think, instead of just doing routine tasks. Yet making complex decisions and solving new problems is difficult for any stretch of time because of some real biological limits on your brain. Surprisingly, one of the best ways to improve mental performance is to understand these limits. In act 1, Emily discovers why thinking requires so much energy, and develops new techniques for dealing with having too much to do. Paul learns about the space limits of his brain, and works out how to deal with information overload. Emily finds out why it’s so hard to do two things at once, and rethinks how she organizes her work. Paul discovers why he is so easily distracted, and works on how to stay more focused. Then he finds out how to stay in his brain’s “sweet spot.” In the last scene, Emily discovers that her problem-solving techniques need improving, and learns how to have breakthroughs when she needs them most.
David Rock (Your Brain at Work)
Withdrawal into the self is passive in relation to an overcomplex social reality which oscillates between innuendo and brutal explicitness, but it appears to be a solution of sorts. It is as difficult to assess as it is to understand. It cannot be said that ‘reprivatization’ has not been actively chosen. There has been an option, and a general one (social options, group choices, socially accepted and adopted proposals for choice). Nor can it be said that it has been chosen freely. However, the choice itself is imposed and the solution is indicated or countermanded. This constraint operates within a fairly narrow margin of freedom; the weight from outside and from the ‘world’ becomes increasingly oppressive for an intimacy which has been metamorphosed into a mass phenomenon. Is this a lifestyle, or is it life unequivocally stripped of all style? Although we would tend towards the second of these hypotheses, it is still too early to reach a decision; scrutiny of these hypotheses and this problem is part of the sociology of boredom …
Henri Lefebvre (Critique of Everyday Life, Volume II)
Could the Supreme Court have been relied upon as answering this description? It is much to be doubted, whether the members of that tribunal would at all times be endowed with so eminent a portion of fortitude, as would be called for in the execution of so difficult a task; and it is still more to be doubted, whether they would possess the degree of credit and authority, which might, on certain occasions, be indispensable towards reconciling the people to a decision that should happen to clash with an accusation brought by their immediate representatives. A deficiency in the first, would be fatal to the accused; in the last, dangerous to the public tranquillity. The hazard in both these respects, could only be avoided, if at all, by rendering that tribunal more numerous than would consist with a reasonable attention to economy. The necessity of a numerous court for the trial of impeachments, is equally dictated by the nature of the proceeding. This can never be tied down by such strict rules, either in the delineation of the offense by the prosecutors, or in the construction of it by the judges, as in common cases serve to limit the discretion of courts in favor of personal security. There will be no jury to stand between the judges who are to pronounce the sentence of the law, and the party who is to receive or suffer it. The awful discretion which a court of impeachments must necessarily have, to doom to honor or to infamy the most confidential and the most distinguished characters of the community, forbids the commitment of the trust to a small number of persons. These considerations seem alone sufficient to authorize a conclusion, that the Supreme Court would have been an improper substitute for the Senate, as a court of impeachments.
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist Papers)
It was that difficult moment when we usually part ways. Outside on the doorsteps in the light of the night as we embraced each other. She rested her lips against mine and I couldn’t help but think of the first time we kissed. Spontaneous and unsure if we were riding the same wave, I reached for her lips only to end with our laughter at the awkwardness. But despite the error of the first time, this time felt like new.Sighing in awe of the soft and gentle embrace of our lips, it turned into a tug of war. Like a battle because we didn’t want to let go of that smooth and passionate feeling. That was the final shake as the bottle was about to burst from the pressure, then it came: “I Love You”, I said softly but firmly. The words seemed to echo for an eternity back and forth between our chests.She stopped and stared at me. Just like my Drill Sergeant badge, I wore my heart on my sleeve. There was so much that she said without words. What a genuine expression of agreement that reflected from her beautiful brown eyes, beyond the ability of any woman to fake or hide. Then she kissed me even more passionately than ever before. In my heart, I believe that it could be more, if it wasn’t for….THE TABLE BETWEEN US
Kendricks Fields (The Table Between Us)
We can't leave the past in the past because, the past is who we are. It's like saying I wish I could forget English. So, there is no leaving the past in the past. It doesn't mean the past has to define and dominate everything in the future. The fact that I had a temper in my teens doesn't mean I have to be an angry person for the rest of my life. It just means that I had allot to be angry about but, didn't have the language and the understanding to know what it was and how big it was. I thought my anger was disproportionate to the environment which is what is called having a bad temper but, it just means that I underestimated the environment and my anger was telling me how wide and deep child abuse is in society but, I didn't understand that consciously so I thought my anger was disproportionate to the environment but, it wasn't. There is almost no amount of anger that's proportionate to the degree of child abuse in the world. The fantasy that you can not be somebody that lived through what you lived through is damaging to yourself and to your capacity to relate to others. People who care about you, people who are going to grow to love you need to know who you are and that you were shaped by what you've experienced for better and for worse. There is a great deal of challenge in talking about these issues. Lots of people in this world have been hurt as children. Most people have been hurt in this world as children and when you talk honestly and openly it's very difficult for people. This is why it continues and continues.If you can get to the truth of what happened if you can understand why people made the decisions they've made even if you dont agree with the reason for those decisions knowing the reasons for those decisions is enormously important in my opinion. The more we know the truth of history the more confidently we can face the future without self blame.
Stefan Molyneux
In reality, electrons move in “probability clouds.” So what do you tell a sixth grader? Do you talk about the motion of planets, which is easy to understand and nudges you closer to the truth? Or do you talk about “probability clouds,” which are impossible to understand but accurate? The choice may seem to be a difficult one: (1) accuracy first, at the expense of accessibility; or (2) accessibility first, at the expense of accuracy. But in many circumstances this is a false choice for one compelling reason: If a message can’t be used to make predictions or decisions, it is without value, no matter how accurate or comprehensive it is. Herb Kelleher could tell a flight attendant that her goal is to “maximize shareholder value.” In some sense, this statement is more accurate and complete than that the goal is to be “THE low-fare airline.” After all, the proverb “THE low-fare airline” is clearly incomplete—Southwest could offer lower fares by eliminating aircraft maintenance, or by asking passengers to share napkins. Clearly, there are additional values (customer comfort, safety ratings) that refine Southwest’s core value of economy. The problem with “maximize shareholder value,” despite its accuracy, is that it doesn’t help the flight attendant decide whether to serve chicken salad. An accurate but useless idea is still useless.
Chip Heath (Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die)
Collectively this work suggests that the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala are reciprocally related. That is, in order for the amygdala to respond to fear reactions, the prefrontal region has to be shut down. By the same logic, when the prefrontal region is active, the amygdala would be inhibited, making it harder to express fear. Pathological fear, then, may occur when the amygdala is unchecked by the prefrontal cortex, and treatment of pathological fear may require that the patient learn to increase activity in the prefrontal region so that the amygdala is less free to express fear. Clearly, decision-making ability in emotional situations is impaired in humans with damage to the medial and ventral prefrontal cortex, and abnormalities there also may predispose people to develop fear and anxiety disorders. These abnormalities could be due to genetic or epigenetic organization of prefrontal synapses or to experiences that subtly alter prefrontal synaptic connections. Indeed, the behavior of animals with abmormalities of the medial prefrontal cortex is reminiscent of humans with anxiety disorders: they develop fear reactions that are difficult to regulate. Although objective information about the world may indicate that a situation is not dangerous, because they cannot properly regulate fear circuits, they experience fear and anxiety in these safe situations.
Joseph E. LeDoux
The people who were behind my abuse were very clever. They had created something which would be so difficult to explain, so difficult to make sense of, that it would be easier to dismiss it all out of hand as the ramblings of an over-imaginative child. Many people don't want to believe that child abuse exists, or are only willing to believe that certain kinds of abuse go on. They don't want to consider that something so horrific, and yet so widespread, is taking place in their community, perhaps only a door away from them, a few steps from their lives - or even in their lives if they would only open their eyes. I know this, not just because of my own personal experience, but through my work supporting and listening to survivors and those still experiencing abuse. To ask people not only to believe in the abuse but also to take on board all the details of what I'm revealing is a big step, and it has taken me many years to make the decision to tell my story, but it has to be done. This type of abuse is ongoing, as is the culture of disbelief to make people dismiss anyone who talks about it. This needs to be challenged. The things I'm telling you in this book have been kept close to me all my life; I have always known that talking of them, telling my full story, would make some people incredulous - but it's true. It's all true. Whatever the set dressing, they were rapists and abusers - just plain and simple/ The trappings that surrounded the abuse was just a way of creating something that would allow them to do what they wanted to, but which would also allow for confusion on our parts, and devotion on the parts of the 'followers'. I think this is what many people find so hard when they are asked to believe in this sort of abuse. It all seems so fantastical, so it's easy to dismiss. I'm not asking you to believe in any of that. I'm not asking you to believe in Satan, I'm not even asking you to believe in God. I'm just asking you to accept that there are some people who will go to extraordinary lengths to cover up the facts that they are abusing children.
Laurie Matthew (Groomed)
Peter sits with his back to the wall in the hallway. He looks up at me when I lean over him, his dark hair stuck to his forehead from the melted snow. “Did you reset her?” he says. “No,” I say. “Didn’t think you would have the nerve.” “It’s not about nerve. You know what? Whatever.” I shake my head and hold up the vial of memory serum. “Are you still set on this?” He nods. “You could just do the work, you know,” I say. “You could make better decisions, make a better life.” “Yeah, I could,” he says. “But I won’t. We both know that.” I do know that. I know that change is difficult, and comes slowly, and that it is the work of many days strung together in a long line until the origin of them is forgotten. He is afraid that he will not be able to put in that work, that he will squander those days, and that they will leave him worse off than he is now. And I understand that feeling--I understand being afraid of yourself. So I have him sit on one of the couches, and I ask him what he wants me to tell him about himself, after his memories disappear like smoke. He just shakes his head. Nothing. He wants to retain nothing. Peter takes the vial with a shaking hand and twists off the cap. The liquid trembles inside it, almost spilling over the lip. He holds it under his nose to smell it. “How much should I drink?” he says, and I think I hear his teeth chattering. “I don’t think it makes a difference,” I say. “Okay. Well…here goes.” He lifts the vial up to the light like he is toasting me. When he touches it to his mouth, I say, “Be brave.” Then he swallows. And I watch Peter disappear.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
My heart, which I thought had been dead, stopped. Of course. I had been betrayed. My ex boyfriend had reneged on his promise to love me, and this odious event had a name: betrayal. Somehow, knowing this calmed me down. And I began to contemplate betrayal. My conclusion? It is the most difficult of all woundings. Betrayal comes in many forms. It's not just about being cheated on or left for another. It's about any promise, overt or implied, that has been broken without your participation in the decision, or even knowing that a decision was on the table. It's about believing something that you later find out is untrue. It's no wonder that the first response to betrayal is likely to be denial. It's an enormous shock to find out that a solid reality is not so solid after all. It can feel like the most deviant form of attack. When betrayal is at the root of your pain, something horrible is unleashed. Different and perhaps more horrible than the pain of disappointment, grief, or anger. With other causes of suffering, you can at least pretend you have some measure of control. You can blame the other person for disappointing you, you can read books that outline and predict the course of grief, and when you're angry you can always fall back on self-righteousness. But when you're betrayed, you have been blindsided and your vulnerability is confirmed. You lose a misplaced innocence that you really can never regain. Your ability to trust is basically obliterated. And not just your trust in your own perceptions and your trust in the person you loved. Once you lose trust in one person, your trust in all beings is undermined, making the future seem like a giant landmine.
Susan Piver (The Wisdom of a Broken Heart: An Uncommon Guide to Healing, Insight, and Love)
Back home, Chris struggled to readjust, physically and mentally. He also faced another decision-reenlist, or leave the Navy and start a new life in the civilian world. This time, he seemed to be leaning toward getting out-he'd been discussing other jobs and had already talked to people about what he might do next. It was his decision, one way or another. But if I’d been resigned to his reenlistment last go-around, this time I was far more determined to let him know I thought he should get out. There were two important reasons for him to leave-our children. They really needed to have him around as they grew. And I made that a big part of my argument. But the most urgent reason was Chris himself. I saw what the war was doing to him physically. His body was breaking down with multiple injuries, big and small. There were rings under his eyes even when he had slept. His blood pressure was through the roof. He had to wall himself off more and more. I didn’t think he could survive another deployment. “I’ll support you whatever you decide,” I told him. “I want to be married to you. But the only way I can keep making sense of this is…I need to do the best for the kids and me. If you have to keep doing what is best for you and those you serve, at some point I owe it to myself and those I serve to do the same. For me, that is moving to Oregon.” For me, that meant moving from San Diego to Oregon, where we could live near my folks. That would give our son a grandfather to be close to and model himself after-very important things, in my mind, for a boy. I didn’t harp on the fact that the military was taking its toll. That argument would never persuade Chris. He lived for others, not himself. It didn’t feel like an ultimatum to me. In fact, when he described it that way later on, I was shocked. “It was an ultimatum,” he said. He felt my attitude toward him would change so dramatically that the marriage would be over. There would also be a physical separation that would make it hard to stay together. Even if he wasn’t overseas, he was still likely to be based somewhere other than Oregon. We’d end up having a marriage only in name. I guess looked at one way, it was an ultimatum-us or the Navy. But it didn’t feel like that to me at the time. I asked him if he could stay in and get an assignment overseas where we could all go, but Chris reminded me there was never a guarantee with the military-and noted he wasn’t in it to sit behind a desk. Some men have a heart condition they know will kill them, but they don’t want to go to the doctor; it’s only when their wives tell them to go that they go. It’s a poor metaphor, but I felt that getting out of the Navy was as important for Chris as it was for us. In the end, he opted to leave. Later, when Chris would give advice to guys thinking about leaving the military, he would tell them it would be a difficult decision. He wouldn’t push them one way or the other, but he would be open about his experiences. “There’ll be hard times at first,” he’d admit. “But if that is the thing you decide, those times will pass. And you’ll be able to enjoy things you never could in the service. And some of them will be a lot better. The joy you get from your family will be twice as great as the pleasure you had in the military.” Ultimatum or not, he’d come to realize retiring from the service was a good choice for all of us.
Taya Kyle (American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal)
The world is broken up by tribalism—the British, the German, the Swiss, the Hindu, the Buddhist, are tribes. See the fact that they are tribes, glorified as nations, and that this tribalism is creating havoc in the world, bringing wars in the world. Each tribe thinks in its own culture opposed to other cultures. But tribalism is the root, not the culture. Observing the fact of that is the action that frees the brain from the condition of tribalism. You see actually, not theoretically or ideationally, the fact that tribalism glorified as nations is one of the causes of war. That is a fact. There are other causes of war, economics and so on, but one of the causes is tribalism. When you see that, perceive that, and see that cannot bring about peace, the very perception frees the brain from its conditioning of tribalism. One of the factors of contention throughout the world is religion. You are a Catholic, I am a Muslim, based on ideas, propaganda of hundreds or thousands of years; the Hindu and the Buddhist ideas are of thousands of years. We have been programmed like a computer. That programming has brought about great architecture, great paintings, great music, but it has not brought peace to mankind. When you see the fact of that, you do not belong to any religion. When there are half a dozen gurus in the same place, they bring about misery, contradiction, conflict: “My guru is better than yours; my group is more sanctified than yours; I have been initiated, you have not.” You know all the nonsense that goes on. So when you see all this around you as an actual fact, then you do not belong to any group, to any guru, to any religion, to any political commitment of ideas. In the serious urgency to live peacefully there must be freedom from all this because they are the causes of dissension, division. Truth is not yours or mine. It does not belong to any church, to any group, to any religion. The brain must be free to discover it. And peace can exist only when there is freedom from fallacy. You know, for most of us, to be so drastic about things is very difficult, because we have taken security in things of illusion, in things that are not facts, and it is very difficult to let them go. It is not a matter of exercising will, or taking a decision: “I will not belong to anything” is another fallacy. We commit ourselves to some group, to an idea, to religious quackery, because we think it is some kind of security for us. In all these things there is no security, and therefore there is no peace. The brain must be secure; but the brain, with its thought, has sought security in things that are illusory.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Where Can Peace Be Found?)
Toyota wasn’t really worried that it would give away its “secret sauce.” Toyota’s competitive advantage rested firmly in its proprietary, complex, and often unspoken processes. In hindsight, Ernie Schaefer, a longtime GM manager who toured the Toyota plant, told NPR’s This American Life that he realized that there were no special secrets to see on the manufacturing floors. “You know, they never prohibited us from walking through the plant, understanding, even asking questions of some of their key people,” Schaefer said. “I’ve often puzzled over that, why they did that. And I think they recognized we were asking the wrong questions. We didn’t understand this bigger picture.” It’s no surprise, really. Processes are often hard to see—they’re a combination of both formal, defined, and documented steps and expectations and informal, habitual routines or ways of working that have evolved over time. But they matter profoundly. As MIT’s Edgar Schein has explored and discussed, processes are a critical part of the unspoken culture of an organization. 1 They enforce “this is what matters most to us.” Processes are intangible; they belong to the company. They emerge from hundreds and hundreds of small decisions about how to solve a problem. They’re critical to strategy, but they also can’t easily be copied. Pixar Animation Studios, too, has openly shared its creative process with the world. Pixar’s longtime president Ed Catmull has literally written the book on how the digital film company fosters collective creativity2—there are fixed processes about how a movie idea is generated, critiqued, improved, and perfected. Yet Pixar’s competitors have yet to equal Pixar’s successes. Like Toyota, Southern New Hampshire University has been open with would-be competitors, regularly offering tours and visits to other educational institutions. As President Paul LeBlanc sees it, competition is always possible from well-financed organizations with more powerful brand recognition. But those assets alone aren’t enough to give them a leg up. SNHU has taken years to craft and integrate the right experiences and processes for its students and they would be exceedingly difficult for a would-be competitor to copy. SNHU did not invent all its tactics for recruiting and serving its online students. It borrowed from some of the best practices of the for-profit educational sector. But what it’s done with laser focus is to ensure that all its processes—hundreds and hundreds of individual “this is how we do it” processes—focus specifically on how to best respond to the job students are hiring it for. “We think we have advantages by ‘owning’ these processes internally,” LeBlanc says, “and some of that is tied to our culture and passion for students.
Clayton M. Christensen (Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice)
Through the dimness she could just make him out, stretched on his back, his arms crossed behind his head. He might have been silent, but he hadn't been asleep. She could feel his frown as he looked at her. "What are you doing?" "Moving closer to you." Dropping her gowns, she shook out her cloak and laid it next to his. "Why?" "Mice." He let a heartbeat pass, then asked, carefully, "You're afraid of mice?" She nodded. "Rodents. I don't discriminate." Swinging around, she sat on her cloak, then picked up her gowns and wriggled back and closer to him. "If I'm next to you, then either they'll give us both a wide berth, or if they decide to take a nibble, there's at least an even chance they'll nibble you first." His chest shook. He was struggling not to laugh. But at least he was trying. "Besides," she said, lying down and snuggling under her massed gowns, "I'm cold." A moment ticked past, then he sighed. He shifted in the hay beside her. She didn't know what he did, but suddenly she was sliding the last inches down a slope that hadn't been there before. She fetched up against him, against his side-hard, muscled, and wonderfully warm. Her senses leapt greedily, pleasantly shocked, delightedly surprised; she caught her breath and slapped them down. Desperately; this was Breckenridge-this was definitely not the time. His arm shifted and came around her, cradling her shoulders and gathering her against him. "This doesn't mean anything." The whispered words drifted down to her. Comfort, safety, warmth-it meant all those things. "I know," she murmured back. Her senses weren't listening. Her body now lay alongside his. Her breast brushed his side; through various layers her thighs grazed his. Her heartbeat deepened, sped up a little, too. Yet despite the sensual awareness, she could feel reassurance along with his warmth stealing through her, relaxing her tensed muscles bit by bit as, greatly daring, she settled her cheek on his chest. This doesn't mean anything. She knew what he meant. This was just for now, for this strange moment out of their usual lives in which he and she were just two people finding ways to weather a difficult situation. She quieted. Listened. The sound of his heartbeat, steady and sure, blocked out any rustlings. Thinking of the strange moment, of what made it so, she murmured, "We're fugitives, aren't we?" "Yes." "In a strange country, one not really our own, with no way to prove who we are." "Yes." "And a stranger, a very likely dangerous highlander, is pursuing us." "Hmm." She should feel frightened. She should be seriously worried. Instead, she closed her eyes, and with her cheek pillowed on Breckenridge's chest, his arm like warm steel around her, smoothly and serenely fell asleep. Breckenridge held her against him, and through senses far more attuned than he wished, followed the incremental falling away of her tension...until she slept. Softly, silently, in his arms, with the gentle huff of her breathing ruffling his senses, the seductive weight of her slender body stretched out against his the subtlest of tortures. Why had he done it? She might have slept close to him, but she would never have pushed to sleep in his arms. That had been entirely his doing, and he hadn't even stopped to think. What worried him most was that even if he had thought, had reasoned and debated, the result would have been the same. When it came to her, whatever the situation, there never was any question, no doubt in his mind as to what he should do. Her protection, her safety-caring for her. From the first instant he'd laid eyes on her four years ago, that had been his mind's fixation. Its decision. Nothing he'd done, nothing she'd done, had ever succeeded in altering that. But as to the why of that, the reason behind it...even now he didn't, was quite certain and absolutely sure he didn't, need to consciously know.
Stephanie Laurens (Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (Cynster, #16; The Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #1))
What are the common wages of labour, depends everywhere upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower the wages of labour. It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms. The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorizes, or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen. We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work; but many against combining to raise it. In all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, a merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year without employment. In the long run the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate. We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is everywhere a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things, which nobody ever hears of. Masters, too, sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy, till the moment of execution, and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do, without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people. Such combinations, however, are frequently resisted by a contrary defensive combination of the workmen; who sometimes too, without any provocation of this kind, combine of their own accord to raise the price of their labour. Their usual pretences are, sometimes the high price of provisions; sometimes the great profit which their masters make by their work. But whether their combinations be offensive or defensive, they are always abundantly heard of. In order to bring the point to a speedy decision, they have always recourse to the loudest clamour, and sometimes to the most shocking violence and outrage. They are desperate, and act with the folly and extravagance of desperate men, who must either starve, or frighten their masters into an immediate compliance with their demands. The masters upon these occasions are just as clamorous upon the other side, and never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combinations of servants, labourers, and journeymen. The workmen, accordingly, very seldom derive any advantage from the violence of those tumultuous combinations, which, partly from the interposition of the civil magistrate, partly from the necessity superior steadiness of the masters, partly from the necessity which the greater part of the workmen are under of submitting for the sake of present subsistence, generally end in nothing, but the punishment or ruin of the ringleaders. But though in disputes with their workmen, masters must generally have the advantage, there is, however, a certain rate be.
Adam Smith
Close friendships, Gandhi says, are dangerous, because “friends react on one another” and through loyalty to a friend one can be led into wrong-doing. This is unquestionably true. Moreover, if one is to love God, or to love humanity as a whole, one cannot give one's preference to any individual person. This again is true, and it marks the point at which the humanistic and the religious attitude cease to be reconcilable. To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others. The autobiography leaves it uncertain whether Gandhi behaved in an inconsiderate way to his wife and children, but at any rate it makes clear that on three occasions he was willing to let his wife or a child die rather than administer the animal food prescribed by the doctor. It is true that the threatened death never actually occurred, and also that Gandhi — with, one gathers, a good deal of moral pressure in the opposite direction — always gave the patient the choice of staying alive at the price of committing a sin: still, if the decision had been solely his own, he would have forbidden the animal food, whatever the risks might be. There must, he says, be some limit to what we will do in order to remain alive, and the limit is well on this side of chicken broth. This attitude is perhaps a noble one, but, in the sense which — I think — most people would give to the word, it is inhuman. The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals. No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid. There is an obvious retort to this, but one should be wary about making it. In this yogi-ridden age, it is too readily assumed that “non-attachment” is not only better than a full acceptance of earthly life, but that the ordinary man only rejects it because it is too difficult: in other words, that the average human being is a failed saint. It is doubtful whether this is true. Many people genuinely do not wish to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings. If one could follow it to its psychological roots, one would, I believe, find that the main motive for “non-attachment” is a desire to escape from the pain of living, and above all from love, which, sexual or non-sexual, is hard work. But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is “higher”. The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all “radicals” and “progressives”, from the mildest Liberal to the most extreme Anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.
George Orwell
While it is a convenient construct to divide hope into a cognitive and an affective component, the two are tightly coupled. Feelings and emotions mold logical thinking and eliberate decision making...True hope, then, is not initiated and sustained by completely erasing the emotions, like fear and anxiety, that are often its greatest obstacles. An equilibrium needs to be established, integrating the genuine threats and dangers that exist into the proposed strategies to subsume them. So when a person tells me that he doesn't want to know about the problems and risks, that he believes ignorance is necessary for bliss, I acknowledge that yes, yunbridled fear can shatter a fragile sense of hope. But I assert that he still needs to know a minimum amount of information about his diagnosis and the course of his problem; otherwise his hope is false, and false hope is an insubstantial foundation upon which to stand and weather the vicissitudes of difficult circumstances. It is only true hope that carries its companions, courage and resilience, through. False hope causes them to ultimately fall by the wayside as reality intervenes and overpowers illusion.
Jerome Groopman (The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness)
The house is still standing on the banks of the lake in Zurich. Jung’s descendants manage it, but unfortunately it’s not open to the public, so people can’t view the interior. Rumor has it, though, that at the entrance to the original tower there is a stone into which Jung carved some words with his own hand. ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present.’ That’s what he carved into the stone himself.” Tamaru paused again. “ ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present,’ ” he intoned, quietly, once more. “Do you know what this means?” Ushikawa shook his head. “No, I don’t.” “I can imagine. I’m not sure myself what it means. There’s some kind of deep allusion there, something difficult to interpret. But consider this: in this house that Carl Jung built, piling up the stones with his own hands, at the very entrance, he found the need to chisel out, again with his own hands, these words. I don’t know why, but I’ve been drawn to these words for a long time. I find them hard to understand, but the difficulty in understanding makes it all the more profound. I don’t know much about God. I was raised in a Catholic orphanage and had some awful experiences there so I don’t have a good impression of God. And it was always cold there, even in the summer. It was either really cold or outrageously cold. One or the other. If there is a God, I can’t say he treated me very well. Despite all this, those words of Jung’s quietly sank deep into the folds of my soul. Sometimes I close my eyes and repeat them over and over, and they make me strangely calm. ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present.’ Sorry, but could you say that out loud?” “ ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present,’ ” Ushikawa repeated in a weak voice, not really sure what he was saying. “I can’t hear you very well.” “ ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present.’ ” This time Ushikawa said it as distinctly as he could. Tamaru shut his eyes, enjoying the overtones of the words. Eventually, as if he had made up his mind about something, he took a deep breath and let it out. He opened his eyes and looked at his hands. He had on disposable latex gloves so he wouldn’t leave behind any fingerprints. “I’m sorry about this,” Tamaru said in a low voice. His tone was solemn. He took out the plastic bag again, put it over Ushikawa’s head, and wrapped the thick rubber band around his neck. His movements were swift and decisive. Ushikawa was about to protest, but the words didn’t form, and they never reached anyone’s ears. Why is he doing this? Ushikawa thought from inside the plastic bag.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84)
Qualities such as honesty, determination, and a cheerful acceptance of stress, which can all be identified through probing questionnaires and interviews, may be more important to the company in the long run than one's college grade-point average or years of "related experience." Every business is only as good as the people it brings into the organization. The corporate trainer should feel his job is the most important in the company, because it is. Exalt seniority-publicly, shamelessly, and with enough fanfare to raise goosebumps on the flesh of the most cynical spectator. And, after the ceremony, there should be some sort of permanent display so that employees passing by are continuously reminded of their own achievements and the achievements of others. The manager must freely share his expertise-not only about company procedures and products and services but also with regard to the supervisory skills he has worked so hard to acquire. If his attitude is, "Let them go out and get their own MBAs," the personnel under his authority will never have the full benefit of his experience. Without it, they will perform at a lower standard than is possible, jeopardizing the manager's own success. Should a CEO proclaim that there is no higher calling than being an employee of his organization? Perhaps not-for fear of being misunderstood-but it's certainly all right to think it. In fact, a CEO who does not feel this way should look for another company to manage-one that actually does contribute toward a better life for all. Every corporate leader should communicate to his workforce that its efforts are important and that employees should be very proud of what they do-for the company, for themselves, and, literally, for the world. If any employee is embarrassed to tell his friends what he does for a living, there has been a failure of leadership at his workplace. Loyalty is not demanded; it is created. Why can't a CEO put out his own suggested reading list to reinforce the corporate vision and core values? An attractive display at every employee lounge of books to be freely borrowed, or purchased, will generate interest and participation. Of course, the program has to be purely voluntary, but many employees will wish to be conversant with the material others are talking about. The books will be another point of contact between individuals, who might find themselves conversing on topics other than the weekend football games. By simply distributing the list and displaying the books prominently, the CEO will set into motion a chain of events that can greatly benefit the workplace. For a very cost-effective investment, management will have yet another way to strengthen the corporate message. The very existence of many companies hangs not on the decisions of their visionary CEOs and energetic managers but on the behavior of its receptionists, retail clerks, delivery drivers, and service personnel. The manager must put himself and his people through progressively challenging courage-building experiences. He must make these a mandatory group experience, and he must lead the way. People who have confronted the fear of public speaking, and have learned to master it, find that their new confidence manifests itself in every other facet of the professional and personal lives. Managers who hold weekly meetings in which everyone takes on progressively more difficult speaking or presentation assignments will see personalities revolutionized before their eyes. Command from a forward position, which means from the thick of it. No soldier will ever be inspired to advance into a hail of bullets by orders phoned in on the radio from the safety of a remote command post; he is inspired to follow the officer in front of him. It is much more effective to get your personnel to follow you than to push them forward from behind a desk. The more important the mission, the more important it is to be at the front.
Dan Carrison (Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way)
Making money in the markets is tough. The brilliant trader and investor Bernard Baruch put it well when he said, “If you are ready to give up everything else and study the whole history and background of the market and all principal companies whose stocks are on the board as carefully as a medical student studies anatomy—if you can do all that and in addition you have the cool nerves of a gambler, the sixth sense of a clairvoyant and the courage of a lion, you have a ghost of a chance.” In retrospect, the mistakes that led to my crash seemed embarrassingly obvious. First, I had been wildly overconfident and had let my emotions get the better of me. I learned (again) that no matter how much I knew and how hard I worked, I could never be certain enough to proclaim things like what I’d said on Wall $ treet Week: “There’ll be no soft landing. I can say that with absolute certainty, because I know how markets work.” I am still shocked and embarrassed by how arrogant I was. Second, I again saw the value of studying history. What had happened, after all, was “another one of those.” I should have realized that debts denominated in one’s own currency can be successfully restructured with the government’s help, and that when central banks simultaneously provide stimulus (as they did in March 1932, at the low point of the Great Depression, and as they did again in 1982), inflation and deflation can be balanced against each other. As in 1971, I had failed to recognize the lessons of history. Realizing that led me to try to make sense of all movements in all major economies and markets going back a hundred years and to come up with carefully tested decision-making principles that are timeless and universal. Third, I was reminded of how difficult it is to time markets. My long-term estimates of equilibrium levels were not reliable enough to bet on; too many things could happen between the time I placed my bets and the time (if ever) that my estimates were reached. Staring at these failings, I realized that if I was going to move forward without a high likelihood of getting whacked again, I would have to look at myself objectively and change—starting by learning a better way of handling the natural aggressiveness I’ve always shown in going after what I wanted. Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life. How would you approach that choice? Take a moment to think about it because it is the sort of choice that, in one form or another, we all have to make.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
THE SUPERMEMO MODEL HOW TO REMEMBER EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVER LEARNED Long-term memory has two components: retrievability and stability. Retrievability determines how easily we remember something, and depends on how near the surface of our consciousness the information is ‘swimming’. Stability, on the other hand, is to do with how deeply information is anchored in our brains. Some memories have a high level of stability but a low level of retrievability. Try to recall one of your old phone numbers – you probably won’t be able to. But if you see the number in front of you, you will recognise it immediately. Imagine that you are learning Chinese. You have learned a word and memorised it. Without practice, over time it will become increasingly difficult to remember. The amount of time it takes for you to forget it completely can be calculated, and ideally you should be reminded of the word precisely when you are in the process of forgetting it. The more often you are reminded of the word, the longer you will remember it for. This learning programme is called Super-Memo and was developed by the Polish researcher Piotr Woźniak. It’s not what you know, it’s what you remember. Jan Cox After learning something, you should ideally refresh your memory of it at the following intervals: one, ten, thirty and sixty days afterwards.
Mikael Krogerus (The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking (The Tschapeller and Krogerus Collection))
Evie.” She glanced at Sebastian. Whatever she saw in his face caused her to walk around the bed to him. “Yes,” she said with a concerned frown. “Dearest, this is going to help you—” “No.” It would kill him. It was difficult enough already to fight the fever and the pain. If he was further weakened by a long bloodletting he wouldn’t be able to hold on any longer. Frantically Sebastian tugged at his tautly stretched arm, but the binding held fast and the chair didn’t even wobble. Bloody hell. He stared up at his wife wretchedly, battling a wave of light-headedness. “No,” he rasped. “Don’t…let him…” “Darling,” Evie whispered, bending over to kiss his shaking mouth. Her eyes were suddenly shiny with unshed tears. “This may be your best chance—your only chance—” “I’ll die. Evie…” Rising fear caused blackness to streak across his vision, but he forced his eyes to stay open. Her face became a blur. “I’ll die,” he whispered again. “Lady St. Vincent,” came Dr. Hammond’s steady, kind voice, “your husband’s anxiety is quite understandable. However, his judgment is impaired by illness. At this time, you are the one who is best able to make decisions for his benefit. I would not recommend this procedure if I did not believe in its efficacy. You must allow me to proceed. I doubt Lord St. Vincent will even remember this conversation.” Sebastian closed his eyes and let out a groan of despair. If only Hammond were some obvious lunatic with a maniacal laugh…someone Evie would instinctively mistrust. But Hammond was a respectable man, with all the conviction of someone who believed he was doing the right thing. The executioner, it seemed, could come in many guises. Evie was his only hope, his only champion. Sebastian would never have believed it would come to this…his life depending on the decision of an unworldly young woman who would probably allow herself to be persuaded by the Hammond’s authority. There was no one else for Sebastian to appeal to. He felt her gentle fingers at the side of his fevered face, and he stared up at her pleadingly, unable to form a word. Oh God, Evie, don’t let him— “All right,” Evie said softly, staring at him. Sebastian’s heart stopped as he thought she was speaking to the doctor…giving permission to bleed him. But she moved to the chair and deftly untied Sebastian’s wrist, and began to massage the reddened skin with her fingertips. She stammered a little as she spoke. “Dr. H-Hammond…Lord St. Vincent does not w-want the procedure. I must defer to his wishes.” To Sebastian’s eternal humiliation, his breath caught in a shallow sob of relief. “My lady,” Hammond countered with grave anxiety, “I beg you to reconsider. Your deference to the wishes of a man who is out of his head with fever may prove to be the death of him. Let me help him. You must trust my judgment, as I have infinitely more experience in such matters.” Evie sat carefully on the side of the bed and rested Sebastian’s hand in her lap. “I do respect your j-j—” She stopped and shook her head impatiently at the sound of her own stammer. “My husband has the right to make the decision for himself.” Sebastian curled his fingers into the folds of her skirts. The stammer was a clear sign of her inner anxiety, but she would not yield. She would stand by him. He sighed unsteadily and relaxed, feeling as if his tarnished soul had been delivered into her keeping.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
Any relationship will have its difficulties, but sometimes those problems are indicators of deep-rooted problems that, if not addressed quickly, will poison your marriage. If any of the following red flags—caution signs—exist in your relationship, we recommend that you talk about the situation as soon as possible with a pastor, counselor or mentor. Part of this list was adapted by permission from Bob Phillips, author of How Can I Be Sure: A Pre-Marriage Inventory.1 You have a general uneasy feeling that something is wrong in your relationship. You find yourself arguing often with your fiancé(e). Your fiancé(e) seems irrationally angry and jealous whenever you interact with someone of the opposite sex. You avoid discussing certain subjects because you’re afraid of your fiancé(e)’s reaction. Your fiancé(e) finds it extremely difficult to express emotions, or is prone to extreme emotions (such as out-of-control anger or exaggerated fear). Or he/she swings back and forth between emotional extremes (such as being very happy one minute, then suddenly exhibiting extreme sadness the next). Your fiancé(e) displays controlling behavior. This means more than a desire to be in charge—it means your fiancé(e) seems to want to control every aspect of your life: your appearance, your lifestyle, your interactions with friends or family, and so on. Your fiancé(e) seems to manipulate you into doing what he or she wants. You are continuing the relationship because of fear—of hurting your fiancé(e), or of what he or she might do if you ended the relationship. Your fiancé(e) does not treat you with respect. He or she constantly criticizes you or talks sarcastically to you, even in public. Your fiancé(e) is unable to hold down a job, doesn’t take personal responsibility for losing a job, or frequently borrows money from you or from friends. Your fiancé(e) often talks about aches and pains, and you suspect some of these are imagined. He or she goes from doctor to doctor until finding someone who will agree that there is some type of illness. Your fiancé(e) is unable to resolve conflict. He or she cannot deal with constructive criticism, or never admits a mistake, or never asks for forgiveness. Your fiancé(e) is overly dependant on parents for finances, decision-making or emotional security. Your fiancé(e) is consistently dishonest and tries to keep you from learning about certain aspects of his or her life. Your fiancé(e) does not appear to recognize right from wrong, and rationalizes questionable behavior. Your fiancé(e) consistently avoids responsibility. Your fiancé(e) exhibits patterns of physical, emotional or sexual abuse toward you or others. Your fiancé(e) displays signs of drug or alcohol abuse: unexplained absences of missed dates, frequent car accidents, the smell of alcohol or strong odor of mouthwash, erratic behavior or emotional swings, physical signs such as red eyes, unkempt look, unexplained nervousness, and so on. Your fiancé(e) has displayed a sudden, dramatic change in lifestyle after you began dating. (He or she may be changing just to win you and will revert back to old habits after marriage.) Your fiancé(e) has trouble controlling anger. He or she uses anger as a weapon or as a means of winning arguments. You have a difficult time trusting your fiancé(e)—to fulfill responsibilities, to be truthful, to help in times of need, to make ethical decisions, and so on. Your fiancé(e) has a history of multiple serious relationships that have failed—a pattern of knowing how to begin a relationship but not knowing how to keep one growing. Look over this list. Do any of these red flags apply to your relationship? If so, we recommend you talk about the situation as soon as possible with a pastor, counselor or mentor.
David Boehi (Preparing for Marriage: Discover God's Plan for a Lifetime of Love)