Impact The World Quotes

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If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.
Martin Luther
Shine your light and make a positive impact on the world; there is nothing so honorable as helping improve the lives of others.
Roy T. Bennett
All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes -- characters even -- caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you.
Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist, there are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
Jane Goodall
Your own setbacks aren’t what they first appear to be; rather than viewing them as failures, view them as learning opportunities that are the building blocks for future preparation.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
A life's impact can be measured by what it gives and what it leaves behind, but it can also be measured by what it steals from the world.
Charlotte McConaghy (Migrations)
The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt.
Leo F. Buscaglia
A person's shadow stood for his legacy, his impact on the world. Some people cast hardly any shadow at all. Some cast long, deep shadows that endured for centuries.
Rick Riordan (The Serpent's Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, #3))
You are here to make a difference, to either improve the world or worsen it. And whether or not you consciously choose to, you will accomplish one or the other.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
Contribute to the world. Help people. Help one person. Help someone cross the street today. Help someone with directions unless you have a terrible sense of direction. Help someone who is trying to help you. Just help. Make an impact. Show someone you care. Say yes instead of no. Say something nice. Smile. Make eye contact. Hug. Kiss. Get naked.
Ellen DeGeneres (Seriously... I'm Kidding)
It was a source of both terror and comfort to me then that I often seemed invisible — incompletely and minimally existent, in fact. It seemed to me that I made no impact on the world, and that in exchange I was privileged to watch it unawares.
Marilynne Robinson (Housekeeping)
Prediction, not narration, is the real test of our understanding of the world.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
If we were left to ourselves with the task of taking the gospel to the world, we would immediately begin planning innovative strategies and plotting elaborate schemes. We would organize conventions, develop programs, and create foundations… But Jesus is so different from us. With the task of taking the gospel to the world, he wandered through the streets and byways…All He wanted was a few men who would think as He did, love as He did, see as He did, teach as He did and serve as He did. All He needed was to revolutionize the hearts of a few, and they would impact the world.
David Platt (Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream)
That’s what accountability really is—fulfilling a promise to ourselves.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
A different vantage point gives us new information, and with that information we can begin to change our approach.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered...We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.
Elizabeth Edwards
The most difficult examinations are the ones that require us to take a hard look at ourselves and confront the things we don’t like.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
The great American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, ‘It is not the length of life, but the depth of life.’ You don’t need a long lifetime to make an impact on this world. You just need the will to do so.
Nikki Erlick (The Measure)
I want this girl. I want her for my own. End of story. The world can fuck off for all I care. She’s mine.
Kendall Ryan (The Impact of You)
Having uncompromising belief also means safeguarding your own spirit, defining who and what you want in your life.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Courage is not only about finding bravery for ourselves. It is also about helping others find theirs.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
When we know what we are trying to achieve, we are less likely to be swayed by uninformed opinions and more inclined to make principled and ethical decisions.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Democracy is not simply a license to indulge individual whims and proclivities. It is also holding oneself accountable to some reasonable degree for the conditions of peace and chaos that impact the lives of those who inhabit one’s beloved extended community.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
Purposeful planning is most effective when you are actively seeking and getting feedback from those whose judgement you trust and respect.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Pivoting does not mean changing your goal but rather changing your strategy to realize that goal.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
ESG ratings impact profitability - regardless of what industry your company is in. People like to know that the companies they interact with and buy from are companies that do good in the world.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
Stopping in and of itself is not enough, and if that is all you focus on, then you run the risk of becoming overly self-critical and inadequate. What do you want to start doing?
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Echo of your thoughts are more important than your actions because that has greater impact on the world.
Amit Ray
Whenever we take a stand, we invite others who are siting on the sidelines to join us.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
If you service low-impact activities, therefore, you're taking away time you could be spending on higher-impact activities. It's a zero-sum game.
Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
When someone we know is afraid of judgment, we can provide a safe haven for their hopes by telling them first and foremost that we are proud of their efforts.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
There comes a time when something changes you... No matter the impact... Where the world no longer beats in time with you. You no longer feel amongst the fray.. And the feeling of loneliness is a brandished armor you wear the rest of your life.
Solange nicole
A hard truth: that courage can be without meaning or impact, need not be rewarded, or even known. The world has not been made in that way. Perhaps, however, within the self there might come a resonance, the awareness of having done something difficult, of having done . . . something.
Guy Gavriel Kay (The Last Light of the Sun)
You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away -- all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It's powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that's happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive glass, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn't have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven't got the humility to try. We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we're gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park / Congo)
My true passion has always been to use my status as an author to make a positive impact.
Kailin Gow
Among leaders who have made the greatest impact through ages, I would consider Muhammad before Jesus Christ.
James Gavin
Top 10 Deathbed Regrets: 1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life other people expected of me. 2. I wish I took time to be with my children more when they were growing up. 3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings, without the fear of being rejected or unpopular. 4. I wish I would have stayed in touch with friends and family. 5. I wish I would have forgiven someone when I had the chance. 6. I wish I would have told the people I loved the most how important they are to me. 7. I wish I would have had more confidence and tried more things, instead of being afraid of looking like a fool. 8. I wish I would have done more to make an impact in this world. 9. I wish I would have experienced more, instead of settling for a boring life filled with routine, mediocrity and apathy. 10. I wish I would have pursued my talents and gifts. (contributed by Shannon L. Alder, author and therapist that has 17 years of experience working with hospice patients)
Shannon L. Alder
Uncompromising belief is not only about pushing back against something we disapprove of. It also requires us to stand for something, whether that be a principle, a cause, or another human being.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
A human being unable to have a meaningful impact on the world ceases to exist.
David Graeber (Bullshit Jobs: A Theory)
When a human lighthouse sees you in the midst of your storm, it points you toward safety and protection. In doing so, it also sends you and uncompromising message of belief: Yes, the situation is difficult, but you are not alone. I’m standing right here with you, and I know the way home.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
To believe in a child is to believe in the future. Through their aspirations they will save the world. With their combined knowledge the turbulent seas of hate and injustice will be calmed. They will champion the causes of life's underdogs, forging a society without class discrimination. They will supply humanity with music and beauty as it has never known. They will endure. Towards these ends I pledge my life's work. I will supply the children with tools and knowledge to overcome the obstacles. I will pass on the wisdom of my years and temper it with patience. I shall impact in each child the desire to fulfill his or her dream. I shall teach.
Henry James
Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring--not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive... If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds.
Carl Sagan
The lighthouse does not qualify your distress; it does not ask if you are black or white, wealthy or less so, Democrat or Republican. It does not concern itself with where you stand on a particular issue. Nor does it blame you for being in the middle of the storm. Rather, its priority is how it might guide you toward safe harbor.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
If you wear black, then kindly, irritating strangers will touch your arm consolingly and inform you that the world keeps on turning. They're right. It does. However much you beg it to stop. It turns and lets grenadine spill over the horizon, sends hard bars of gold through my window and I wake up and feel happy for three seconds and then I remember. It turns and tips people out of their beds and into their cars, their offices, an avalanche of tiny men and women tumbling through life... All trying not to think about what's waiting at the bottom. Sometimes it turns and sends us reeling into each other's arms. We cling tight, excited and laughing, strangers thrown together on a moving funhouse floor. Intoxicated by the motion we forget all the risks. And then the world turns... And somebody falls off... And oh God it's such a long way down. Numb with shock, we can only stand and watch as they fall away from us, gradually getting smaller... Receding in our memories until they're no longer visible. We gather in cemeteries, tense and silent as if for listening for the impact; the splash of a pebble dropped into a dark well, trying to measure its depth. Trying to measure how far we have to fall. No impact comes; no splash. The moment passes. The world turns and we turn away, getting on with our lives... Wrapping ourselves in comforting banalities to keep us warm against the cold. "Time's a great healer." "At least it was quick." "The world keeps turning." Oh Alec— Alec's dead.
Alan Moore (Swamp Thing, Vol. 5: Earth to Earth)
The possibility of an immediate and wholesale decimation of civilisation was not half as frightening as the simple realisation that our individual passing had no impact on the order of things, and life would go on just the same with or without us.
Elif Shafak (10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World)
I think deeply about things and want others to do likewise. I work for ideas and learn from people. I don’t like excluding people. I’m a perfectionist, but I won’t let that get in the way of publication. Except for education and entertainment, I’m not going to waste my time on things that won’t have an impact. I try to be friends with everyone, but I hate it when you don’t take me seriously. I don’t hold grudges, it’s not productive, but I learn from my experience. I want to make the world a better place.
Aaron Swartz
Each day offers you an opportunity to overcome obstacles and fears in your life. Those victories, however small they appear, are significant and don’t need to be measured against or compared with those of someone else. They stand on their own as important measures of your own personal capabilities.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Such a small impact on the world, yet the very centre of my own.
Clare Mackintosh (I Let You Go)
There’s an old saying in business: You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Peter H. Diamandis (Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World (Exponential Technology Series))
Have you ever noticed that it takes a textbook dozens of pages to say what normal people can cover fast? Example: What was the full impact of World War II? Clear-cut teenage answer: we won.
Joan Bauer
But it is when the storm rages that we fully understand the courage the lighthouse represents. When the sea becomes a tempestuous beast, the lighthouse transforms to an urgent beacon signaling the way toward shelter, courageously defying the elements.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Maybe it’s not metaphysics. Maybe it’s existential. I’m talking about the individual US citizen’s deep fear, the same basic fear that you and I have and that everybody has except nobody ever talks about it except existentialists in convoluted French prose. Or Pascal. Our smallness, our insignificance and mortality, yours and mine, the thing that we all spend all our time not thinking about directly, that we are tiny and at the mercy of large forces and that time is always passing and that every day we’ve lost one more day that will never come back and our childhoods are over and our adolescence and the vigor of youth and soon our adulthood, that everything we see around us all the time is decaying and passing, it’s all passing away, and so are we, so am I, and given how fast the first forty-two years have shot by it’s not going to be long before I too pass away, whoever imagined that there was a more truthful way to put it than “die,” “pass away,” the very sound of it makes me feel the way I feel at dusk on a wintry Sunday—’ ‘And not only that, but everybody who knows me or even knows I exist will die, and then everybody who knows those people and might even conceivably have even heard of me will die, and so on, and the gravestones and monuments we spend money to have put in to make sure we’re remembered, these’ll last what—a hundred years? two hundred?—and they’ll crumble, and the grass and insects my decomposition will go to feed will die, and their offspring, or if I’m cremated the trees that are nourished by my windblown ash will die or get cut down and decay, and my urn will decay, and before maybe three or four generations it will be like I never existed, not only will I have passed away but it will be like I was never here, and people in 2104 or whatever will no more think of Stuart A. Nichols Jr. than you or I think of John T. Smith, 1790 to 1864, of Livingston, Virginia, or some such. That everything is on fire, slow fire, and we’re all less than a million breaths away from an oblivion more total than we can even bring ourselves to even try to imagine, in fact, probably that’s why the manic US obsession with production, produce, produce, impact the world, contribute, shape things, to help distract us from how little and totally insignificant and temporary we are.
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)
Every being in this world makes an impact on at least one person they encounter during their lifetime. You can change the course of someone’s life by just a kind word, a hateful one, or even by simply choosing not to say anything at all. Every choice you make has the potential to create a ripple effect, trickling into and affecting the lives of others.
L.B. Simmons (The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller)
The internet and online communication is the window into your world - but real life, in person communication / connection is the door.
Rasheed Ogunlaru
. . . the world in which we live has an increasing number of feedback loops, causing events to be the cause of more events (say, people buy a book because other people bought it), thus generating snowballs and arbitrary and unpredictable planet-wide winner-take-all effects.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
Freedom of Speech doesn't justify online bullying. Words have power, be careful how you use them.
Germany Kent
Some people have too large an impact on our lives for us to imagine we can forget them.
Gennifer Albin (Altered (Crewel World, #2))
I know that it's easier to portray a world that's filled with cynicism and anger, where problems are solved with violence. What's a whole lot tougher is to offer alternatives, to present other ways conflicts can be resolved, and to show that you can have a positive impact on your world. To do that, you have to put yourself out on a limb, take chances, and run the risk of being called a do-gooder.
Jim Henson (It's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider)
The illusion of the internet was the idea that the opinions of powerless people, freely offered, had some impact on the world. This was, of course, total bullshit.
Jarett Kobek (I Hate the Internet)
In essence, the algebra mindset transformed broken situations into dynamic opportunities for lasting impact. And it did so with elegant equations, precise numerals, and dynamic efficiency. The world would never be the same.
Mohamad Jebara (The Life of the Qur'an: From Eternal Roots to Enduring Legacy)
Being near her was like balancing on a tipping world, trying to keep your footing as the ground wanted to roll you forward, hurl you into a spiral from which there was no recovery, only impact, and it was a longed-for impact, a sweet and beckoning collision.
Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1))
Luck and risk are both the reality that every outcome in life is guided by forces other than individual effort. They are so similar that you can’t believe in one without equally respecting the other. They both happen because the world is too complex to allow 100% of your actions to dictate 100% of your outcomes. They are driven by the same thing: You are one person in a game with seven billion other people and infinite moving parts. The accidental impact of actions outside of your control can be more consequential than the ones you consciously take.
Morgan Housel (The Psychology of Money)
I propose that if you want a simple step to a higher form of life, as distant from the animal as you can get, then you may have to denarrate, that is, shut down the television set, minimize time spent reading newspapers, ignore the blogs. Train your reasoning abilities to control your decisions; nudge System 1 (the heuristic or experiential system) out of the important ones. Train yourself to spot the difference between the sensational and the empirical. This insulation from the toxicity of the world will have an additional benefit: it will improve your well-being.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
In illuminating the pathway to safety, the lighthouse offers us a chance to move beyond the fears and uncertainty of the storm and toward the peace and calm of safe harbor. So it is with the people who most impact our lives. For while lighthouses of the sea have stood watch for millennia, the most powerful and enduring lighthouses are the human ones.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
You remind me of the wind.” He tried to explain. “Powerful and able to cool or freeze with half a thought, shaping the world itself though no one can see you. Only your impact on things.” He added, “It seems lonely, now that I’m saying it.
Sarah J. Maas (House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City, #2))
The day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.” Trying out crazy ideas means bucking expert opinion and taking big risks. It means not being afraid to fail. Because you will fail. The road to bold is paved with failure, and this means having a strategy in place to handle risk and learn from mistakes is critical.
Peter H. Diamandis (Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World (Exponential Technology Series))
The most important thing in defining child sexual abuse is the experience of the child. It takes very little for a child’s world to be devastated. A single experience can have a profound impact on a child’s life. A man sticks his hand in his daughter’s underpants, or strokes his son’s penis once, and for that child, the world is never the same again.
Laura Hough (Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child)
Art, literature, and philosophy are attempts to found the world anew on a human freedom: that of the creator; to foster such an aim, one must first unequivocally posit oneself as a freedom. The restrictions that education and custom impose on a woman limit her grasp of the universe...Indeed, for one to become a creator, it is not enough to be cultivated, that is, to make going to shows and meeting people part of one's life; culture must be apprehended through the free movement of a transcendence; the spirit with all its riches must project itself in an empty sky that is its to fill; but if a thousand fine bonds tie it to the earth, its surge is broken. The girl today can certainly go out alone, stroll in the Tuileries; but I have already said how hostile the street is: eyes everywhere, hands waiting: if she wanders absentmindedly, her thoughts elsewhere, if she lights a cigarette in a cafe, if she goes to the cinema alone, an unpleasant incident can quickly occur; she must inspire respect by the way she dresses and behaves: this concern rivets her to the ground and self. "Her wings are clipped." At eighteen, T.E. Lawrence went on a grand tour through France by bicycle; a young girl would never be permitted to take on such an adventure...Yet such experiences have an inestimable impact: this is how an individual in the headiness of freedom and discovery learns to look at the entire world as his fief...[The girl] may feel alone within the world: she never stands up in front of it, unique and sovereign.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex)
We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know God's plan for us. What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings.
Barack Obama
I think the same way about theatre, you go out there and you are creating a world for a moment that can actually have a real impact on people, present some kind of story that gives you something to think about when you walk away, feeling enriched - if it works out well.
Jeffrey Jones
In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its phantasy on to the female form which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness.
Laura Mulvey (Visual And Other Pleasures)
Life is made of moments. and choices. Not all of them matter, or have any lasting impact. Skipping class in favor of a taste of freedom, picking a prom dress because of the way it transforms you into a princess in the mirror. Even the nights you steal away from an open window, tiptoe silent to the end of the driveway, where darkened headlights and the pull of something unknown beckon. These are all small choices, really. Insignificant as soon as they’re made. Innocent. But then. Then there’s a different kind of moment. One when things are irrevocably changed by a choice we make. A moment we will play endlessly in our minds on lonely nights and empty days. One we’ll search repeatedly for some indication that what we chose was right, some small sign that tells us the truth isn’t nearly as awful as it feels. Or as awful as anyone would think if they knew. So we explain it to ourselves, justify it enough to sleep. And then we bury it deep, so deep we can almost pretend it never happened. But as much as we wish it were different, the truth is, our worlds are sometimes balanced on choices we make and the secrets we keep.
Jessi Kirby (Golden)
I don’t mean to ruin the ending for you, sweet child, but life is one long headwind. To make any kind of impact requires self-will bordering on madness. The world will be hostile, it will be suspicious of your intent, it will misinterpret you, it will inject you with doubt, it will flatter you into self-sabotage. My God, I’m making it sound so glamorous and personal! What the world is, more than anything? It’s indifferent.” “Say amen to that,” Spencer said. “But you have a vision. You put a frame around it. You sign your name anyway. That’s the risk. That’s the leap. That’s the madness: thinking anyone’s going to care.
Maria Semple (Today Will Be Different)
As far as she was concerned, the apocalypse was not the worst thing that could happen. The possibility of an immediate and wholesale decimation of civilization was not half as frightening as the simple realization that our individual passing had no impact on the order of things, and life would go on just the same with or without us. Now that, she had always thought, was terrifying.
Elif Shafak (10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World)
I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life that you’ve been given. To stop running from whatever you’re trying to escape, and instead to stop, and turn, and face whatever it is. Then I dare you to walk toward it. In this way, the world may reveal itself to you as something magical and awe-inspiring that does not require escape. Instead, the world may become something worth paying attention to. The rewards of finding and maintaining balance are neither immediate nor permanent. They require patience and maintenance. We must be willing to move forward despite being uncertain of what lies ahead. We must have faith that actions today that seem to have no impact in the present moment are in fact accumulating in a positive direction, which will be revealed to us only at some unknown time in the future. Healthy practices happen day by day. My patient Maria said to me, “Recovery is like that scene in Harry Potter when Dumbledore walks down a darkened alley lighting lampposts along the way. Only when he gets to the end of the alley and stops to look back does he see the whole alley illuminated, the light of his progress.
Anna Lembke (Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence)
While all doctors treat diseases, neurosurgeons work in the crucible of identity: every operation on the brain is, by necessity, a manipulation of the substance of our selves, and every conversation with a patient undergoing brain surgery cannot help but confront this fact. In addition, to the patient and family, the brain surgery is usually the most dramatic event they have ever faced and, as such, has the impact of any major life event. At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability - or your mother's - to talk for a few extra months of mute life? The expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for eliminating the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand's function to stop seizures? How much neurologic suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
One of the newest figures to emerge on the world stage in recent years is the social entrepreneur. This is usually someone who burns with desire to make a positive social impact on the world, but believes that the best way of doing it is, as the saying goes, not by giving poor people a fish and feeding them for a day, but by teaching them to fish, in hopes of feeding them for a lifetime. I have come to know several social entrepreneurs in recent years, and most combine a business school brain with a social worker's heart. The triple convergence and the flattening of the world have been a godsend for them. Those who get it and are adapting to it have begun launching some very innovative projects.
Thomas L. Friedman (The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century)
She had never told her friends this, not in so many words, but they were her safety net. Every time she stumbled or keeled over, they were there for her, supporting her or softening the impact of the fall. On nights when she was mistreated by a client, she would still find the strength to hold herself up, knowing that her friends, with their very presence, would come with ointment for her scrapes and bruises; and on days when she wallowed in self-pity, her chest cracking open, they would gently pull her up and breathe life into her lungs.
Elif Shafak (10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World)
If we're going to impact our world in the name of Jesus, it will be because people like you and me took action in the power of the Spirit. Ever since the mission and ministry of Jesus, God has never stopped calling for a movement of "Little Jesuses" to follow him into the world and unleash the remarkable redemptive genius that lies in the very message we carry. Given the situation of the Church in the West, much will now depend on whether we are willing to break out of a stifling herd instinct and find God again in the context of the advancing kingdom of God.
Alan Hirsch (The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church)
Anyone can practice some nonviolence, even soldiers. Some army generals, for example, conduct their operations in ways that avoid killing innocent people; this is a kind of nonviolence. To help soldiers move in the nonviolent direction, we have to be in touch with them. If we divide reality into two camps - the violent and the nonviolent - and stand in one camp while attacking the other, the world will never have peace. We will always blame and condemn those we feel are responsible for wars and social injustice, without recognizing the degree of violence in ourselves. We must work on ourselves and also with those we condemn if we want to have a real impact. It never helps to draw a line and dismiss some people as enemies, even those who act violently. We have to approach them with love in our hearts and do our best to help them move in a direction of nonviolence. If we work for peace out of anger, we will never succeed. Peace is not an end. It can never come about through non-peaceful means.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Love In Action: Writings on Nonviolent Social Change)
If you think atomic explosions in Asia wouldn't affect Americans, consider this. A study published in Scientific American in 2010 looked at the probable impact of a "small" nuclear war, one in which India and Pakistan each dropped fifty atomic bombs. The scientists concluded that the explosions would ignite massive firestorms, sending enormous amounts of dust and smoke into the atmosphere. This would block some of the sun's light from reaching the earth, making the planet colder and darker - for about ten years. Farming would collapse, and people all over the globe would starve to death. And that's if only half of one percent of all the atomic bombs on earth were used. In the end, this is a difficult story to sum up. The making of the atomic bomb is one of history's most amazing examples of teamwork and genius and poise under pressure. But it's also the story of how humans created a weapon capable of wiping our species off the planet. It's a story with no end in sight. And, like it or not, you're in it.
Steve Sheinkin (Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon)
to whatever extent the Hell’s Angels may or may be latent sadomasochists or repressed homosexuals is to me--after nearly a year in the constant company of outlaw motorcyclists--almost entirely irrelevant. There are literary critics who insist that Ernest Hemingway was a tortured queer and that Mark Twain was haunted to the end of his days by a penchant for interracial buggery. It is a good way to stir up a tempest in the academic quarterlies, but it won’t change a word of what either man wrote, nor alter the impact of their work on the world they were writing about. Perhaps Manolete was a hoof fetishist, or suffered from terrible hemorrhoids as a result of long nights in Spanish horn parlors…but he was a great matador, and it is hard to see how any amount of Freudian theorizing can have the slightest effect on the reality of the thing he did best.
Hunter S. Thompson
In the privacy of my mind I can imagine whatever I want, and they aren’t progressive, twenty-first-century thoughts. They’re depraved, brutal cavewoman thoughts. In my mind, he’s electric with the animal instinct to protect me, his heavy muscle braced over my body. He absorbs each impact and it is his privilege. He’s injected sharp and hard with nature’s superdrug, testosterone. I’m wrapped in him, safe from anything the world wants to throw at me. Anything painful or cruel will have to get through him before it has any chance of touching me. And it will never happen. “Alive?
Sally Thorne (The Hating Game)
We each have within ourselves the ability to shape our own destinies. That much we understand. But, more important, each of us has an equal ability to shape the destiny of the universe. Ah, that you find more difficult to believe. But I tell you it is so. You do not have to be the leader of the Council. You do not have to be king or monarch or the head of a clan to have a significant impact on the world around you. In the vastness of the ocean, is any drop of water greater than another? No, you answer, and neither has a single drop the ability to cause a tidal wave. But, I argue, if a single drop falls into the ocean, it creates ripples. And these ripples spread. And perhaps - who knows - these ripples may grow and swell and eventually break foaming upon the shore. Like a drop in the vast ocean, each of us causes ripples as we move through our lives. The effects of whatever we do - insignificant as it may seem - spread out beyond us. We may never know what far-reaching impact even the simplest action might have on our fellow mortals. Thus we need to be conscious, all of the time, of our place in the ocean, of our place in the world, of our place among our fellow creatures. For if enough of us join forces, we can swell the tide of events - for good or for evil.
Margaret Weis (The Seventh Gate (The Death Gate Cycle, #7))
They say that if a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian rain forest, it can change the weather half a world away. Chaos theory. What it means is that everything that happens in this moment is an accumulation of everything that’s come before it. Every breath. Every thought. There is no innocent action. Some actions end up having the force of a tempest. Their impact cannot be missed. Others are the blink of an eye. Passing by unnoticed. Perhaps only God knows which is which. All I know today is that you can think that what you’ve done is only the flap of a butterfly wing, when it’s really a thunderclap. And both can result in a hurricane.
Catherine McKenzie (Fractured)
I became totally absorbed into this forest existence. It was an unparalleled period when aloneness was a way of life; a perfect opportunity, it might seem, for meditating on the meaning of existence and my role in it all. But I was far too busy learning about the chimpanzees'lives to worry about the meaning of my own. I had gone to Gombe to accomplish a specific goal, not to pursue my early preoccupation with philosophy and religion. Nevertheless, those months at Gombe helped to shape the person I am today-I would have been insensitive indeed if the wonder and the endless fascination of my new world had not had a major impact on my thinking. All the time I was getting closer to animals and nature, and as a result, closer to myself and more and more in tune with the spiritual power that I felt all around. For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can even describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected. The beauty was always there, but moments of true awareness were rare. They would come, unannounced; perhaps when I was watching the pale flush preceding dawn; or looking up through the rustling leaves of some giant forest tree into the greens and browns and the black shadows and the occasionally ensured bright fleck of blue sky; or when I stood, as darkness fell, with one hand on the still warm trunk of a tree and looked at the sparkling of an early moon on the never still, softly sighing water of Lake Tanganyika.
Jane Goodall
Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.
George Orwell (Why I Write)
THE ONE THING YOU MUST DO There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there's nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life. It's as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do. So human being come to this world to do particular work. That work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person. If you don't do it, it's as though a priceless Indian sword were used to slice rotten meat. It's a golden bowl being used to cook turnips, when one filing from the bowl could buy a hundred suitable pots. It's like a knife of the finest tempering nailed into a wall to hang things on. You say, "But look, I'm using the dagger. It's not lying idle." Do you hear how ludicrous that sounds? For a penny an iron nail could be bought to serve for that. You say, "But I spend my energies on lofty enterprises. I study jurisprudence and philosophy and logic and astronomy and medicine and the rest." But consider why you do those things. They are all branches of yourself. Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord. Give yourself to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don't, you will be like the man who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his dipper gourd. You'll be wasting valuable keenness and forgetting your dignity and purpose.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
Make a freaking impact and start providing value! Let money come to you! Look around outside your world, stop being selfish, and help your fellow humans solve their problems. In a world of selfishness, become unselfish. Need something more concrete? No problem. Make 1 million people achieve any of the following: Make them feel better. Help them solve a problem. Educate them. Make them look better (health, nutrition, clothing, makeup). Give them security (housing, safety, health). Raise a positive emotion (love, happiness, laughter, self-confidence). Satisfy appetites, from basic (food) to the risqué (sexual). Make things easier. Enhance their dreams and give hope. … and I guarantee, you will be worth millions.
M.J. DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime!)
A person’s shadow stood for his legacy, his impact on the world. Some people cast hardly any shadow at all. Some cast long, deep shadows that endured for centuries. I thought about what the ghost Setne had said—how he and I had each grown up in the shadow of a famous father. I realized now that he hadn’t just meant it as a figure of speech. My dad cast a powerful shadow that still affected me and the whole world. If a person cast no shadow at all, he couldn’t be alive. His existence became meaningless. Execrating Apophis by destroying his shadow would cut his connection to the mortal world completely. He’d never be able to rise again. I finally understood why he’d been so anxious to burn Setne’s scrolls, and why he was afraid of this spell.
Rick Riordan (The Serpent's Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, #3))
To acknowledge the existence of the bully and his accompanying risks is not the same as accepting him as a permanent feature of our world. I know that if we accept trauma and fear, it wins. "Bullies don’t just go away. Their legacies don’t just disappear. The bully must be confronted intentionally, his impact named and addressed. Even so, it seems there’s no clear consensus on how to deal with the bully on our blocks. Do we confront him? Match violence with violence? Do we ignore him, or try to kill him with kindness? I don’t think there’s a silver bullet to handling the bully, no one-size-fits-all strategy. But the right strategy has to be rooted in a context bigger than the immediate one, has to be rooted in more than aiming to end the presence of the bully himself. We must focus on the type of world we want to live in and devise a plan for getting there, as opposed to devising a strategy centered on opposition.
DeRay Mckesson (On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope)
Never having experienced inequality, therefore, the majority of straight white men will be absolutely oblivious to their own advantages – not because they must necessarily be insensitive, sexist, racist, homophobic or unaware of the principles of equality; but because they have been told, over and over again, that there is no inequality left for them – or anyone else – to experience – and everything they have experienced up to that point will only have proved them right. Let the impact of that sink in for a moment. By teaching children and teenagers that equality already exists, we are actively blinding the group that most benefits from inequality – straight white men – to the prospect that it doesn’t. Privilege to them feels indistinguishable from equality, because they’ve been raised to believe that this is how the world behaves for everyone. And because the majority of our popular culture is straight-white-male-dominated, stories that should be windows into empathy for other, less privileged experiences have instead become mirrors, reflecting back at them the one thing they already know: that their lives both are important and free from discrimination. And this hurts men. It hurts them by making them unconsciously perpetrate biases they’ve been actively taught to despise. It hurts them by making them complicit in the distress of others. It hurts them by shoehorning them into a restrictive definition masculinity from which any and all deviation is harshly punished. It hurts them by saying they will always be inferior parents and caregivers, that they must always be active and aggressive even when they long for passivity and quietude, that they must enjoy certain things like sports and beer and cars or else be deemed morally suspect. It hurts them through a process of indoctrination so subtle and pervasive that they never even knew it was happening , and when you’ve been raised to hate inequality, discovering that you’ve actually been its primary beneficiary is horrifying – like learning that the family fortune comes from blood money. Blog post 4/12/2012: Why Teaching Equality Hurts Men
Foz Meadows
People hate thinking systematically about how to optimize their relationships. It is normal to hear someone say: “I will just wait for something to happen naturally” when talking about one of the most important aspects of their life while genuinely believing that this approach has reasonable odds of success. Imagine if people said the same thing about their careers. It would sound truly bizarre for someone to expect a successful career to “just happen naturally” and yet it is entirely normalized to expect that good relationships will. People pay tens of thousands of dollars to receive degrees in computer science, marketing, and neuroscience. They make tough sacrifices with the understanding that the skills and knowledge they build in these domains will dramatically affect their quality of life. Ironically, people spend very little time systematically examining mating strategies—despite the fact that a robust understanding of the subject can dramatically affect quality of life. We will happily argue that your sexual and relationship skills matter more than your career skills. If you want to be wealthy, the fastest way to become so is to marry rich. Nothing makes happiness easier than a loving, supportive relationship, while one of the best ways to ensure you are never happy is to enter or fail to recognize and escape toxic relationships. If you want to change the world, a great partner can serve as a force multiplier. A draft horse can pull 8000 pounds, while two working together can pull 24,000 pounds. When you have a partner with whom you can synergize, you gain reach and speed that neither you nor your partner could muster individually. Heck, even if you are the type of person to judge your self-worth by the number of people with whom you have slept, a solid grasp of mating strategies will help you more than a lifetime of hitting the gym (and we say this with full acknowledgment that hitting the gym absolutely helps). A great romantic relationship will even positively impact your health (a 2018 paper in Psychophysiology found that the presence of a partner in a room lowered participants’ blood pressure) and increase your lifespan (a 2019 paper in the journal Health Psychology showed individuals in happy marriages died young at a 20% lower rate). 
Malcolm Collins
A child's readiness for school depends on the most basic of all knowledge, how to learn. The report lists the seven key ingredients of this crucial capacity—all related to emotional intelligence:6 1. Confidence. A sense of control and mastery of one's body, behavior, and world; the child's sense that he is more likely than not to succeed at what he undertakes, and that adults will be helpful. 2. Curiosity. The sense that finding out about things is positive and leads to pleasure. 3. Intentionality. The wish and capacity to have an impact, and to act upon that with persistence. This is related to a sense of competence, of being effective. 4. Self-control. The ability to modulate and control one's own actions in age-appropriate ways; a sense of inner control. 5. Relatedness. The ability to engage with others based on the sense of being understood by and understanding others. 6. Capacity to communicate. The wish and ability to verbally exchange ideas, feelings, and concepts with others. This is related to a sense of trust in others and of pleasure in engaging with others, including adults. 7. Cooperativeness. The ability to balance one's own needs with those of others in group activity. Whether or not a child arrives at school on the first day of kindergarten with these capabilities depends greatly on how much her parents—and preschool teachers—have given her the kind of care that amounts to a "Heart Start," the emotional equivalent of the Head Start programs.
Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ)
There is no such thing as a relationship without a contract. All relationships are governed by contracts, be they implied or explicit. Relationship contracts are not legal contracts, though sometimes societal expectations of relationships get worked into law (this can come into play in situations like divorce as well as the legal establishment and relinquishment of paternity). The society in which you grew up provided you with a set of template contracts to which you implicitly agree whenever you enter a relationship, even a non-sexual one. For example, a common clause of many societal template contracts among friends involves agreeing to not sleep with a friend's recent ex. While you may never explicitly agree to not sleep with a friend's ex, your friend will absolutely feel violated if they discover that you shacked up with the person who dumped them just a week earlier. Essentially, these social contracts tell an individual when they have “permission” to have specific emotional reactions. While this may not seem that impactful, these default standards can have a significant impact on one’s life. For example, in the above reaction, a friend who just got angry out of the blue at a member of their social group would be ostracized by others within the group while a friend who became angry while citing the “they slept with my ex” contract violation may receive social support from the friend group and internally feel more justified in their retaliatory action. To ferret out the contractual aspects of relationships in which you currently participate, think through something a member of that relationship might do that would have you feeling justifiably violated, even though they never explicitly agreed to never take such action. This societal system of template contracts may have worked in a culturally and technologically homogenous world without frequent travel, but within the modern world, assumed template contracts cause copious problems.
Simone Collins (The Pragmatist's Guide to Relationships: Ruthlessly Optimized Strategies for Dating, Sex, and Marriage)
These are lines from my asteroid-impact novel, Regolith: Just because there are no laws against stupidity doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be punished. I haven’t faced rejection this brutal since I was single. He smelled trouble like a fart in the shower. If this was a kiss of gratitude, then she must have been very grateful. Not since Bush and Cheney have so few spent so much so fast for so long for so little. As a nympho for mind-fucks, Lisa took to politics like a pig to mud. She began paying men compliments as if she expected a receipt. Like the Aerosmith song, his get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went. “You couldn’t beat the crap out of a dirty diaper!” He embraced his only daughter as if she was deploying to Iraq. She was hotter than a Class 4 solar flare! If sex was a weapon, then Monique possessed WMD I haven’t felt this alive since I lost my virginity. He once read that 95% of women fake organism, and the rest are gay. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but ugly is universal. Why do wives fart, but not girlfriends? Adultery is sex that is wrong, but not necessarily bad. The dinosaurs stayed drugged out, drooling like Jonas Brothers fans. Silence filled the room like tear gas. The told him a fraction of the truth and hoped it would take just a fraction of the time. Happiness is the best cosmetic, He was a whale of a catch, and there were a lot of fish in the sea eager to nibble on his bait. Cheap hookers are less buck for the bang, Men cannot fall in love with women they don’t find attractive, and women cannot fall in love with men they do not respect. During sex, men want feedback while women expect mind-reading. Cooper looked like a cow about to be tipped over. His father warned him to never do anything he couldn’t justify on Oprah. The poor are not free -- they’re just not enslaved. Only those with money are free. Sperm wasn’t something he would choose on a menu, but it still tasted better than asparagus. The crater looked alive, like Godzilla was about to leap out and mess up Tokyo. Bush follows the Bible until it gets to Jesus. When Bush talks to God, it’s prayer; when God talks to Bush, it’s policy. Cheney called the new Miss America a traitor – apparently she wished for world peace. Cheney was so unpopular that Bush almost replaced him when running for re-election, changing his campaign slogan to, ‘Ain’t Got Dick.’ Bush fought a war on poverty – and the poor lost. Bush thinks we should strengthen the dollar by making it two-ply. Hurricane Katrina got rid of so many Democratic voters that Republicans have started calling her Kathleen Harris. America and Iraq fought a war and Iran won. Bush hasn’t choked this much since his last pretzel. Some wars are unpopular; the rest are victorious. So many conservatives hate the GOP that they are thinking of changing their name to the Dixie Chicks. If Saddam had any WMD, he would have used them when we invaded. If Bush had any brains, he would have used them when we invaded. It’s hard for Bush to win hearts and minds since he has neither. In Iraq, you are a coward if you leave and a fool if you stay. Bush believes it’s not a sin to kill Muslims since they are going to Hell anyway. And, with Bush’s help, soon. In Iraq, those who make their constitution subservient to their religion are called Muslims. In America they’re called Republicans. With great power comes great responsibility – unless you’re Republican.
Brent Reilly
In the end, a person is only know by the impact he or she has on others. The Gift of Work: He who loves his work never labors. The Gift of Money: Money is nothing more than a tool. It can be a force for good, a force for evil, or simple be idle. The Gift of Friends: It is a wealthy person, indeed, who calculates riches not in gold but in friends. The Gift of Learning: Education is a lifelong journey whose destination expands as you travel. The desire and hunger for education is the key to real learning. The Gift of Problems: Problems can only be avoided by exercising good judgment. Good judgment can only be gained by experiencing life's problems. The Gift of Family: Some people are born into wonderful families. Others have to find or create them. Being a member of a family is a priceless privilege which costs nothing but love. The Gift of Laughter: Laughter is good medicine for the soul. Our world is desperately in need of more such medicine. The Gift of Dreams: Faith is all that dreamers need to see into the future. The Gift of Giving: The only way you can truly get more out of life for yourself is to give part of yourself away. One of the key principles in giving, is that the gift must be yours to give-either something you earned or created or maybe, simply, part of yourself. The Gift of Gratitude: In those times when we yearn to have more in our lives, we should dwell on the things we already have. In doing so, we will often find that our lives are already full to overflowing. The Golden List: Every morning before getting up visualize a golden tablet on which is written ten things in your life you are especially thankful for. The Gift of a Day: Life at its essence boils down to one day at a time. Today is the Day! If we can learn how to live one day to its fullest, our lives will be rich and meaningful. The Gift of Love: Love is a treasure for which we can never pay. The only way we keep it is to give it away. The Ultimate Gift: In the end, life lived to its fullest is its own ultimate gift.
Jim Stovall (The Ultimate Gift (The Ultimate Series #1))
I first met Winston Churchill in the early summer of 1906 at a dinner party to which I went as a very young girl. Our hostess was Lady Wemyss and I remember that Arthur Balfour, George Wyndman, Hilaire Belloc and Charles Whibley were among the guests… I found myself sitting next to this young man who seemed to me quite different from any other young man I had ever met. For a long time he seemed sunk in abstraction. Then he appeared to become suddenly aware of my existence. He turned on me a lowering gaze and asked me abruptly how old I was. I replied that I was nineteen. “And I,” he said despairingly, “am thirty-two already. Younger than anyone else who counts, though, “he added, as if to comfort himself. Then savagely: “Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is this allotted span for all we must cram into it!” And he burst forth into an eloquent diatribe on the shortness of human life, the immensity of possible human accomplishment—a theme so well exploited by the poets, prophets, and philosophers of all ages that it might seem difficult to invest it with new and startling significance. Yet for me he did so, in a torrent of magnificent language which appeared to be both effortless and inexhaustible and ended up with the words I shall always remember: “We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow worm.” By this time I was convinced of it—and my conviction remained unshaken throughout the years that followed. Later he asked me whether I thought that words had a magic and music quite independent of their meaning. I said I certainly thought so, and I quoted as a classic though familiar instance the first lines that came into my head. Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. His eyes blazed with excitement. “Say that again,” he said, “say it again—it is marvelous!” “But I objected, “You know these lines. You know the ‘Ode to a Nightengale.’ ” He had apparently never read or heard of it before (I must, however, add that next time I met him he had not learned not merely this but all of the odes to Keats by heart—and he recited them quite mercilessly from start to finish, not sparing me a syllable). Finding that he liked poetry, I quoted to him from one of my own favorite poets, Blake. He listened avidly, repeating some lines to himself with varying emphases and stresses, then added meditatively: “I never knew that old Admiral had found so much time to write such good poetry.” I was astounded that he, with his acute susceptibility to words and power of using them, should have left such tracts of English literature entirely unexplored. But however it happened he had lost nothing by it, when he approached books it was “with a hungry, empty mind and with fairly srong jaws, and what I got I *bit*.” And his ear for the beauty of language needed no tuning fork. Until the end of dinner I listened to him spellbound. I can remember thinking: This is what people mean when they talk of seeing stars. That is what I am doing now. I do not to this day know who was on my other side. Good manners, social obligation, duty—all had gone with the wind. I was transfixed, transported into a new element. I knew only that I had seen a great light. I recognized it as the light of genius… I cannot attempt to analyze, still less transmit, the light of genius. But I will try to set down, as I remember them, some of the differences which struck me between him and all the others, young and old, whom I have known. First and foremost he was incalculable. He ran true to no form. There lurked in his every thought and world the ambush of the unexpected. I felt also that the impact of life, ideas and even words upon his mind, was not only vivid and immediate, but direct. Between him and them there was no shock absorber of vicarious thought or precedent gleaned either from books or other minds. His relationship wit
Violet Bonham Carter
Colored like a sunset tide is a gaze sharply slicing through the reflective glass. A furrowed brow is set much too seriously, as if trying to unfold the pieces of the face that stared back at it. One eyebrow is raised skeptically, always calculating and analyzing its surroundings. I tilt my head trying to see the deeper meaning in my features, trying to imagine the connection between my looks and my character as I stare in the mirror for the required five minutes. From the dark brown hair fastened tightly in a bun, a curl as bright as woven gold comes loose. A flash of unruly hair prominent through the typical browns is like my temper; always there, but not always visible. I begin to grow frustrated with the girl in the mirror, and she cocks her hip as if mocking me. In a moment, her lips curve in a half smile, not quite detectable in sight but rather in feeling, like the sensation of something good just around the corner. A chin was set high in a stubborn fashion, symbolizing either persistence or complete adamancy. Shoulders are held stiff like ancient mountains, proud but slightly arrogant. The image watches with the misty eyes of a daydreamer, glazed over with a sort of trance as if in the middle of a reverie, or a vision. Every once and a while, her true fears surface in those eyes, terror that her life would amount to nothing, that her work would have no impact. Words written are meant to be read, and sometimes I worry that my thoughts and ideas will be lost with time. My dream is to be an author, to be immortalized in print and live forever in the minds of avid readers. I want to access the power in being able to shape the minds of the young and open, and alter the minds of the old and resolute. Imagine the power in living forever, and passing on your ideas through generations. With each new reader, a new layer of meaning is uncovered in writing, meaning that even the author may not have seen. In the mirror, I see a girl that wants to change the world, and change the way people think and reason. Reflection and image mean nothing, for the girl in the mirror is more than a one dimensional picture. She is someone who has followed my footsteps with every lesson learned, and every mistake made. She has been there to help me find a foothold in the world, and to catch me when I fall. As the lights blink out, obscuring her face, I realize that although that image is one that will puzzle me in years to come, she and I aren’t so different after all.
K.D. Enos