Practice Makes Perfect Quotes

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Practice makes perfect, but nobody's perfect, so why practice?
Kurt Cobain
I've been in love with you since the very beginning. You asked why there isn't anyone else in my life, and the reason... is you.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
When I was in school the teachers told me practice makes perfect; then they told me nobody’s perfect so I stopped practicing.
Steven Wright
Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
Vince Lombardi Jr.
Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice reduces the imperfection.
Toba Beta (Master of Stupidity)
They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds.
Wilt Chamberlain
I would have done it for you in a heartbeat
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds.
Winston S. Churchill
I think that you are an uptight, pony-owning, trickle-down-economics-loving, Scotch-on-the-rocks-drinking, my-wife-better-take-my-last-name sexist jerk!
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
School is practice for the future, and practice makes perfect, but if nobody's pefect why practice?
Billie Joe Armstrong
Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World)
Well, at least I’m not a stubborn, button-pushing, Prius-driving, chip-on-your-shoulder-holding, ‘stay-at-home-mom’-is-the-eighth-dirty-word-thinking feminazi!
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
The bastard—no other name was necessary, from now on the man formerly known as J.D. would simply be called The Bastard, The Prick, or The Shithead.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Raise your hand if you had no idea you’d see so much nudity in one week of jury duty.” Twelve hands flew straight into the air. And unbelievably, Payton laughed.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Never send a boy to do a woman’s job, Irma.” - Payton Kendall
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
I’m not sure I trust myself around you I liked you from the start, J.D. I really wish things had been different, that's all.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
They'll be fine," Wickersham said. "Practice makes perfect." I had to ask. "You practice running away?" "We knew we'd make enemies. Other organizations have fire drills; we have oh-shit-someone-found-our-ass drills.
Scott Westerfeld (So Yesterday)
What? I took it because of the girls in the class. Anyway, I see a bit of a P and P dynamic going on between you and Payton." J.D. didn't think he wanted to know. Really. But he asked anyway. "P and P?" Tyler shot him a look, appalled. "Uh, hello--Pride and Prejudice?" His tone said only a cretin wouldn't know this. "Oh right, P and P," J.D. said. "You know, Tyler, you might want to pick up your balls--I think they just fell right off when you said that.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
We're out of time, Payton. You said it yourself: the only way we'll make it is for us to go into this together. I know we can do this. But I need you to believe it. You need to believe... in us." Peyton didn't say anything for a long moment, and J.D. could literally hear his heart beating. Then she finally answered. "It would have to be called Kendall and Jameson." It took J.D a moment to catch on. Then he grinned. "No way. Jameson and Kendall. It's alphabetical." "You told our boss that you banged me on top of your desk." "Kendall and Jameson sounds great
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Keep practicing," he told her. "Until I get it right?" she said. But he corrected her. "No. Until you don't get it wrong.
John Flanagan (The Royal Ranger (Ranger's Apprentice #12 Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger #1))
Holy fuck—would somebody please tell him why a massive photo of a penis was sitting front and center in the courtroom?
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
J.D. cleared his throat and pushed the button on the intercom. “Uh, Payton, hi. It’s J.D.” Dead silence. Then another crackle. “Sorry. Not interested.” Cute. But J.D. persisted. Again with the button. “I want to talk to you.” Crackle. “Ever hear of a telephone, asshole?” Okay, he probably deserved that.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Practice does not make perfect. It is practice, followed by a night of sleep, that leads to perfection.
Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams)
As with all other aspects of the narrative art, you will improve with practice, but practice will never make you perfect. Why should it? What fun would that be?
Stephen King
I guess it´s safe to say that practice makes perfect. It makes sense, then, to be careful what you practice
Richard Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life)
J.D. nodded. Yes, yes, fine, thank you. Nice attitude, by the way. Like boss, like secretary.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
And watch two men washing clothes, one makes dry clothes wet. The other makes wet clothes dry. they seem to be thwarting each other, but their work is a perfect harmony. Every holy person seems to have a different doctrine and practice, but there's really only one work.
Rumi
Prac­tice doesn’t make per­fect. It makes bet­ter.
Frank E. Peretti (Illusion)
Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing, our work will become natural, skillfull, swift, and steady.
Bruce Lee
Aim at a high mark and you'll hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second time. Maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect.
Annie Oakley
I have come to accept myself for what I am: human. I am not perfect. I am not immune to fate, but I am not automatically doomed for being alive. I feel temptations every second of every day and I am not controlled by them. I do what I want anyway, so who is to say I want anything else? When I want, I let these peculiarities run across me like dogs to their masters. When I do not, I keep them at bay with my will and my testimony. I do not cut myself off from what makes me feel; I just refuse to feel anything that cuts me off from what matters most. It is called will power. With a little practice, you can accomplish great things.
Corey Taylor (Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good)
Some say that my teaching is nonsense. Other call it lofty but impractical. But to those who have looked inside themselves, this nonsense makes perfect sense. And to those who put it into practice, this loftiness has roots that go deep.
Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
Score one for Team Kendall, Payton thought. Not that it was a competition between them. Not at all.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
They want us to be afraid. They want us to be afraid of leaving our homes. They want us to barricade our doors and hide our children. Their aim is to make us fear life itself! They want us to hate. They want us to hate 'the other'. They want us to practice aggression and perfect antagonism. Their aim is to divide us all! They want us to be inhuman. They want us to throw out our kindness. They want us to bury our love and burn our hope. Their aim is to take all our light! They think their bricked walls will separate us. They think their damned bombs will defeat us. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that my soul and your soul are old friends. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that when they cut you I bleed. They are so ignorant they don’t understand that we will never be afraid, we will never hate and we will never be silent for life is ours!
Kamand Kojouri
The shower trick. Let's hear it, Kendall
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Sweet Jesus. It was The Delicious in the dark shirt and jeans.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
TEMPORARY INSANITY.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
See you just don’t understand women the way I do J.D. They want it all: a career apple martinis financial independence great shoes but at the same time—and this they’ll never admit—they are drawn to patriarchal men who are dominant and controlling. That’s the essence of the Darcy complex. He may be an asshole but he’s an asshole that gets the girl in the end.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Now anyone who has ever been on a blind date is well familiar with “The Moment”—that moment where you first walk into the bar or restaurant or coffee shop and scan the crowd and suddenly your heart stops and you say to yourself: oh, please—let it be him.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
The biggest lie ever is that practice makes perfect. Not true—practice makes you better.
Barbara Oakley (A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra))
I'm hurting because the color of my skin makes me perfect for their target practice.
R.H. Sin
Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Repeat the same mistakes over and over, and you don't get any closer to Carnegie Hall.
Sarah Kay (No Matter the Wreckage)
Hey, how 'bout those Cubs'"-the bad male impersonation was back-" 'let's play some golf, smoke some cigars. Here's my penis, there's yours-yep, they appear to be about the same size-okay, lets's do some deals.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
J.D. scoffed at this. “Please—as if I’m worried about anything Payton has to say. What’s she going to do, give me another one of her little pissed-off hair flips?” He flung imaginary long hair off his shoulders, exaggerating. “I’ll tell you, one of these days I’m going to grab her by that hair and . . .” He gestured as if throttling someone. Without breaking stride, he returned Tyler’s serve. The two smashed a few back and forth, concentrating on the game when— Is violence always part of your sexual fantasies?” Tyler interjected. J.D. whipped around— Sexual—?” —and got hit smack in the face with the squash ball. He toppled back and sprawled ungracefully across the court. Tyler stepped over and twirled his racquet. “This is nice. We should talk like this more often.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Good. Or instead, what if I just told you that I love you?” Payton gazed into his eyes. “What would you say, J. D. Jameson, if I told you that?” J.D. smiled. He touched his forehead to Payton’s, closed his eyes, and answered her with one word. “Finally.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
To win an argument, rely on logic. To win in life, question logic. If you’re not willing to often take actions that don’t make much sense, having a mediocre life will make perfect sense.
Vizi Andrei (Economy of Truth: Practical Maxims and Reflections)
He liked the way her hand felt in his, liked the simple intimacy of the gesture and the way it said - without the need for words - that they were together.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Then she would be done with J. D. Jameson forever. No more having to prove herself; no more of those pesky jitters she felt whenever she saw him at work—something like butterflies in her stomach, it was actually quite annoying; no more stress; no more fights in the library; and definitely no more sexy I’m-gonna-kiss-you-now-woman blue-eyed heated gazes. She had no idea why she just thought that.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Practice makes perfect, But nothings perfect so why bother practicing?
Christopher Nicole
It is not that practice makes perfect but that practice is perfect, combining effort with an openness to grace.
David Richo (How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving)
Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes myelin, and myelin makes perfect.
Daniel Coyle (The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills)
Among the many worlds which man did not receive as a gift of nature, but which he created with his own mind, the world of books is the greatest. Every child, scrawling his first letters on his slate and attempting to read for the first time, in so doing, enters an artificial and complicated world; to know the laws and rules of this world completely and to practice them perfectly, no single human life is long enough. Without words, without writing, and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity. And if anyone wants to try to enclose in a small space in a single house or single room, the history of the human spirit and to make it his own, he can only do this in the form of a collection of books.
Hermann Hesse (My Belief)
Ever hear of a telephone, asshole?
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
You can buy an expensive violin, but you can’t buy 10 years of practice.
Neeraj Agnihotri (Procrasdemon - The Artist's Guide to Liberation From Procrastination)
practice makes perfect and although God did create Adam he was more accomplished when the time came for him to create Eve.
Susan Howatch (The Wheel of Fortune)
Practice makes perfect Ha, ha, ha, I don’t think so Ignore my sobbing
Rick Riordan (The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1))
There are two activities in life in which we can lovingly and carefully put something inside of someone we love. Cooking is the one we can do three times a day for the rest of our lives, without pills. In both activities, practice makes perfect.
Mario Batali
Laney held up a hand. "I checked it out. He went there on scholarship and paid the rest with student loans. And he's good looking, too. Nate and I met him for dinner last night, and I subtly learned that he's looking to meet someone" "How did you learn that?" "I asked him if he was looking to meet someone" "that is subtle
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
All war is based in deception (cfr. Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”). Definition of deception: “The practice of deliberately making somebody believe things that are not true. An act, a trick or device entended to deceive somebody”. Thus, all war is based in metaphor. All war necessarily perfects itself in poetry. Poetry (since indefinable) is the sense of seduction. Therefore, all war is the storytelling of seduction, and seduction is the nature of war.
Pola Oloixarac (Las teorías salvajes)
She looked for the deposition transcript she had dropped, she turned around and— —the entire audience in the galley cried out in shock. Unbeknownst to Payton, when she had fallen her skirt—those damn slim-fit skirts she liked so much—had torn at the seam and now gaped open, and sweet Jesus, she was wearing a thong and two tiny white butt cheeks peeked out from between the folds of her skirt— J.D.’s jaw nearly hit the floor.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
She asked him the question she had been asking herself for the past few days. "Why are you being so nice to me now?" J.D. leaned forward in his chair. He gazed directly into her eyes, and Payton suddenly found herself wondering why it had taken him eight years to look at her that way. "Because you're letting me," he said softly.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
I love the sound of words, the feel of them, the flow of them. I love the challenge of finding just that perfect combination of words to describe a curl of the lip, a tilt of the chin, a change in the atmosphere. Done well, novel-writing can combine lyricism with practicality in a way that makes one think of grand tapestries, both functional and beautiful. Fifty years from now, I imagine I’ll still be questing after just that right combination of words.
Lauren Willig
In the business world, what’s the female equivalent of going golfing with a client?” Laney gave this some thought. Payton fell silent, too, contemplating. After a few moments, neither of them could come up with anything. How depressing. Payton sighed, feigning resignation. “Well, that’s it. I guess I’ll just have to sleep with them.” Laney folded her hands primly on the table. “I think I’m uncomfortable with this conversation.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Oh right,P and P ,” J.D. said. “You know, Tyler, you might want to pick up your balls—I think they just fell right off when you said that.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
To sum up: it's time to rewrite the maxim that practice makes perfect. The truth is, practice makes myelin, and myelin makes perfect.
Daniel Coyle (The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else)
Lesbian?” Payton turned around and saw J.D. standing there. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe she was basking in the glow of their successful pitch to Gibson’s. Maybe it was her promise to Laney to be the “New Payton,” or maybe it was a combination of all those things. But Payton actually found herself smiling at J.D. It’s just an excuse, the lesbian thing,” she said.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
I’m a bit of a novice myself.” She smiled. Then she turned back to Jasper. “And please, call me Payton.” Like one of my favorite quarterbacks,” Jasper grinned. Only with an a instead of an e. And slightly fewer yards in passing,” Payton said. Damn—now she’d already blown one of the three measly sports references she knew in the first two minutes. Jasper laughed. “Slightly fewer yards in passing—I like that.” He turned to J.D., gesturing to Payton. “Where have you been hidin’ this girl, J.D.?
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
If practice makes you perfect shouldn't good behavior be added to the curriculum
Cornelia "Connie" DeDona (Letters to a Prisoner)
Then I should be able to say anything I want, right? Even the word ‘penis’?” Laney sighed. “Do we have to do this right now?” You should try saying the word sometime.” I’ll pass, thank you.” Payton shrugged. “Your choice, but I think you’d find it liberating. Everybody could use a good ‘penis’ now and then.” Laney glanced nervously around the coffee shop. “People are listening.” Sorry—you’re right. Good rule of thumb: if you’re gonna throw out a ‘penis’ in a public place, it should be soft. Otherwise it attracts too much attention.” The woman at the next table gaped at them.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
You don’t need to sleep with more men to gain more experience. You need to wake up and understand that practicing with different teams every time won’t make you perfect for one team. The team you need practice with is the team you’re guaranteed to be on forever. Get the ring first, then, get to practicing.
Pierre Alex Jeanty (To the Women I Once Loved)
when you do more than you learn, you leave a distinctive notable footprint on earth
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Practice Makes Perfect I'll know better next time Than to even begin; Everything's easier on the second try-- Especially sin.
Carol Lynn Pearson
And listen--tell your friend to try English Breakfast net time. It's a little more robust. Earl Grey is really more of a 'Sense and Sensibility' kind of tea. Cab driver to J.D. Jameson
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
maybe you’re sleeping and I suppose I could just say this in the morning, but now I can’t sleep and I’m just lying here so I might as well get it over with, and well . . .I’m sorry about this afternoon, J.D. The first spill honestly was an accident, but the second . . . okay, that was completely uncalled for. I’m, um, happy to pay for the dry cleaning. And, well . . . I guess that’s it. Although you really might want to rethink leaving your jacket on your chair. I’m just saying. Okay, then. That’s what they make hangers for. Good. Fine. Good-bye.” J.D. heard the beep, signaling the end of the message, and he hung up the phone. He thought about what Payton had said—not so much her apology, which was question-ably mediocre at best—but something else. She thought about him while lying in bed. Interesting. Later that night, having been asleep for a few hours, J.D. shot up in bed He suddenly remembered—her shoe. Oops.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
There is no better people-watching than at the airport: the whole world packed into such a tight space, moving fast with all their essentials in their rolling bags. And what caught my attention, as I took a few breaths and lay my eyes on the crowds, were all the imperfections. Everybody had them. Every single person that walked past me had some kind of flaw. Bushy eyebrows, moles, flared nostrils, crooked teeth, crows'-feet, hunched backs, dowagers' humps, double chins, floppy earlobes, nose hairs, potbellies, scars, nicotine stains, upper arm fat, trick knees, saddlebags, collapsed arches, bruises, warts, puffy eyes, pimples. Nobody was perfect. Not even close. And everybody had wrinkles from smiling and squinting and craning their necks. Everybody had marks on their bodies from years of living - a trail of life left on them, evidence of all the adventures and sleepless nights and practical jokes and heartbreaks that had made them who they were. In that moment, I suddenly loved us all the more for our flaws, for being broken and human, for being embarrassed and lonely, for being hopeful or tired or disappointed or sick or brave or angry. For being who we were, for making the world interesting. It was a good reminder that the human condition is imperfection. And that's how it's supposed to be.
Katherine Center (Everyone is Beautiful)
The tea ceremony requires years of training and practice ... yet the whole of this art, as to its detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most graceful, most charming manner possible.
Lafcadio Hearn (Lafcadio Hearn's Japan: An Anthology of his Writings on the Country and Its People)
I only wanted to . . . I mean, just now, when Mr. George interrupted us, there was something very important I wanted to say to you.” “It is about what I told you in the church yesterday? I mean, I can understand that you may think me crazy because I see these beings, but a psychiatrist wouldn’t make any difference.” Gideon frowned. “Just keep quiet for a moment, would you? I have to pluck up all my courage to make you a declaration of love . . . I’ve had absolutely no practice in this kind of thing.” “What?” “Gwyneth,” he said, perfectly seriously, “I’ve fallen in love with you.” My stomach muscles contracted as if I’d had a shock. But it was joy. “Really?” “Yes, really!” In the light of the torch I saw Gideon smile. “I do realize we’ve known each other for less than a week, and at first I thought you were rather . . . childish, and I probably behaved badly to you. But you’re terribly complicated, I never know what you’ll do next, and in some ways you really are terrifyingly . . . er. . . naïve. Sometimes I just want to shake you.” “Okay, I can see you were right about having no practice in making declarations of love,” I agreed. “But then you’re so amusing, and clever, and amazingly sweet,” Gideon went on, as if he hadn’t heard me. “And the worst of it is, you only have to be in the same room and I need to touch you and kiss you . . .” “Yes, that’s really too bad,” I whispered, and my heart turned over as Gideon took the hatpin out of my hair, tossed the feathered monstrosity into the air to fall on the floor, draw me close, and kissed me. About three minutes later, I was leaning against the wall, totally breathless, making an effort to stay upright. “Hey, Gwyneth, try breathing in and out in the normal way,” said Gideon, amused. I gave him a little push. “Stop that! I can’t believe how conceited you are!” “Sorry. It’s just such a . . . a heady feeling to think you’d forget to breathe on my account.
Kerstin Gier (Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie, #2))
Having a moment of clarity was one thing; I'd had moments like that before. It had to be followed with a dedicated push of daily exercise. It's a trite axiom, but practice DOES make perfect. If you want to be a strong swimmer or an accomplished musician, you have to practice. It's the same with sobriety, though the stakes are higher. If you don't practice your program every day, you're putting yourself in a position where you could fly out of the orbit one more time.
Anthony Kiedis (Scar Tissue)
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.
Vince Lombardi Jr.
Payton grinned. “You must be Chase.” As she extended her hand in introduction, she took the opportunity to give him a more thorough once-over. He had dark wavy hair and warm brown eyes. Very Pat-rick Dempsey/McDreamy-esque. Good build, not terribly tall, maybe only five-ten-ish, but since Payton measured in at exactly five-three and one-third inch, she could work with this
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Persistence can (sometimes) make things last but it doesn't always make things work. The muscle will harden wherever you give it exercise, but Endurance isn't always enough...Because Practice can make anything perfect ...even grief can become an art
Merrit Malloy (The People Who Didn't Say Goodbye)
trying to do things they can't yet do, failing, and learning what they need to do differently is exactly the way that experts practice.
Angela Duckworth (Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance)
Practice does not make perfect. Imperfect makes us practice.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Passion makes you good, but pride stops you to get better.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
Practice makes knowledge perfect.
Imam Ali
I guess it´s safe to say that practice makes perfect. It makes sense, then, to be careful what you practice. (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, 1997)
Richard Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff 2014 Day-to-Day Calendar)
practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.
Kerry Patterson (Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High)
And if somehow Marc was serious, I knew that by the time our engagement was announced, I’d be an expert at celebrating. After all, practice makes perfect, and who else had this much practice?
Hilary Grossman (Dangled Carat)
The Carls were the perfect vector for disagreement because, through all of this, we still knew practically nothing about them. Governments were accused of hiding things because people just couldn’t accept that those in power were exactly as lost as the rest of us. Human beings are terrible at accepting uncertainty, so when we’re ignorant, we make assumptions based on how we imagine the world. And our guess is so obviously correct that other guesses seem, at best, willful ignorance—at worst, an attack.
Hank Green (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (The Carls, #1))
The problem is, getting business is part of the business. It’s like a ritual with these guys: ‘Hey, how ‘bout those Club’ “ – the bad male impression was back – “ ‘let’s play some golf, smoke some cigars. Here’s my penis, there’s yours – yep, they appear to be about the same size – okay, let’s do some deals.’ “ When the woman seated at the next table threw them a disapproving look over the foam of her jumbo-sized cappuccino, Laney leaned in toward Payton. “Let’s use our inside voices, please, when using the p-word,” she whispered chidingly.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Very often the test of one's allegiance to a cause or to a people is precisely the willingness to stay the course when things are boring, to run the risk of repeating an old argument just one more time, or of going one more round with a hostile or (much worse) indifferent audience. I first became involved with the Czech opposition in 1968 when it was an intoxicating and celebrated cause. Then, during the depressing 1970s and 1980s I was a member of a routine committee that tried with limited success to help the reduced forces of Czech dissent to stay nourished (and published). The most pregnant moment of that commitment was one that I managed to miss at the time: I passed an afternoon with Zdenek Mlynar, exiled former secretary of the Czech Communist Party, who in the bleak early 1950s in Moscow had formed a friendship with a young Russian militant with an evident sense of irony named Mikhail Sergeyevitch Gorbachev. In 1988 I was arrested in Prague for attending a meeting of one of Vaclav Havel's 'Charter 77' committees. That outwardly exciting experience was interesting precisely because of its almost Zen-like tedium. I had gone to Prague determined to be the first visiting writer not to make use of the name Franz Kafka, but the numbing bureaucracy got the better of me. When I asked why I was being detained, I was told that I had no need to know the reason! Totalitarianism is itself a cliché (as well as a tundra of pulverizing boredom) and it forced the cliché upon me in turn. I did have to mention Kafka in my eventual story. The regime fell not very much later, as I had slightly foreseen in that same piece that it would. (I had happened to notice that the young Czechs arrested with us were not at all frightened by the police, as their older mentors had been and still were, and also that the police themselves were almost fatigued by their job. This was totalitarianism practically yawning itself to death.) A couple of years after that I was overcome to be invited to an official reception in Prague, to thank those who had been consistent friends through the stultifying years of what 'The Party' had so perfectly termed 'normalization.' As with my tiny moment with Nelson Mandela, a whole historic stretch of nothingness and depression, combined with the long and deep insult of having to be pushed around by boring and mediocre people, could be at least partially canceled and annealed by one flash of humor and charm and generosity.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Practice doesn’t make perfect if you’re doing it wrong.
Frank Sonnenberg (Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life)
Try to put well into practice what you already know. In so doing, you will, in good time, discover the hidden things you now inquire about.
Rembrandt
The more you practice the better you'll be, the harder you train the great in you they'll see.
Alcurtis Turner
You become a master in what you repeatedly do in consistency. Mastery is not born; it is acquired. It is not blood-linked; it is skill-learnt!
Israelmore Ayivor (Dream Big!: See Your Bigger Picture!)
It’s also quite possible she still detests me.” Tyler dismissed this with a wave. “You’re going to let a thing like that stop you?” “I was thinking intense despisement might be an obstacle in pursuing her, yes.” “No, see, that’s what makes it all the more interesting,” Tyler said. He adopted a grandly dramatic tone. “‘Does our fair Ms. Kendall truly loathe the arrogant Mr. Jameson as she so ardently proclaims, or is it all just a charade to cover more amorous feelings for a man she reluctantly admires?’” Up front, the cabdriver snorted loudly. He appeared to be enjoying the show. “Psych 101 again?” J.D. asked. Tyler shook his head. “Lit 305: Eighteenth-Century Women’s Fiction.” He caughtJ.D.’s look and quickly defended himself. “What? I took it because of the girls in the class. Anyway, I see a bit of a P and P dynamic going on between you and Payton.” J.D. didn’t think he wanted to know. Really. But he asked anyway. “P and P?” Tyler shot him a look, appalled. “Uh, hello—Pride and Prejudice?” His tone said only a cretin wouldn’t know this. “Oh right, P and P,” J.D. said. “You know, Tyler, you might want to pick up your balls—I think they just fell right off when you said that.” Up front, the cabdriver let out a good snicker.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
When it comes to making the right moves at the right time, your dance partner is life itself or what can be referred to as your destiny. The more you pay attention and practice intuitive decision making skills, the better you will become at sensing the unique rhythm of your life.
Paul O'Brien (Great Decisions, Perfect Timing: Cultivating Intuitive Intelligence)
We have all heard such stories of expert intuition: the chess master who walks past a street game and announces “White mates in three” without stopping, or the physician who makes a complex diagnosis after a single glance at a patient. Expert intuition strikes us as magical, but it is not. Indeed, each of us performs feats of intuitive expertise many times each day. Most of us are pitch-perfect in detecting anger in the first word of a telephone call, recognize as we enter a room that we were the subject of the conversation, and quickly react to subtle signs that the driver of the car in the next lane is dangerous. Our everyday intuitive abilities are no less marvelous than the striking insights of an experienced firefighter or physician—only more common. The psychology of accurate intuition involves no magic. Perhaps the best short statement of it is by the great Herbert Simon, who studied chess masters and showed that after thousands of hours of practice they come to see the pieces on the board differently from the rest of us. You can feel Simon’s impatience with the mythologizing of expert intuition when he writes: “The situation has provided a cue; this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Besides. Eternity was going to seem like forever. With the crowds of smiling people smiling at me in the dark, me who spent my life cleaning bathrooms and mowing the lawn, I told myself, why rush anything? I'd backslid before, I'd backslide again. Practice makes perfect. If you could call it that. I figured, a few more sins would help round out my resume. This is the upside of already being eternally damned. I figured, Hell could wait.
Chuck Palahniuk (Survivor)
We sit to make life meaningful. The significance of our life is not experienced in striving to create some perfect thing. We must simply start with accepting ourselves. Sitting brings us back to actually who and where we are. This can be very painful. Self-acceptance is the hardest thing to do. If we can’t accept ourselves, we are living in ignorance, this darkest night. We may still be awake, but we don’t know where we are. We cannot see. The mind has no light. Practice is this candle in our very darkest room.
Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi
The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar. The drunken Rip Van Winkle, in Jefferson’s play, excuses himself for every fresh dereliction by saying, “I won’t count this time!” Well! He may not count it, and a kind Heaven may not count it; but it is being counted none the less. Down among his nerve-cells and fibers the molecules are counting it, registering and storing it up to be used against him when the next temptation comes. Nothing we ever do is, in strict scientific literalness, wiped out. Of course this has its good side as well as its bad one. As we become permanent drunkards by so many separate drinks, so we become saints in the moral, and authorities and experts in the practical and scientific spheres, by so many separate acts and hours of work. Let no youth have any anxiety about the upshot of his education, whatever the line of it may be. If he keeps faithfully busy each hour of the working-day, he may safely leave the final result to itself. He can with perfect certainty count on waking up some fine morning, to find himself one of the competent ones of his generation, in whatever pursuit he may have singled out.
William James (The Principles of Psychology)
Humans are an absolute miracle of design. We come in all these fun shapes and sizes and we can survive all sorts of hardship and mistreatment and be practically as good as new the next day - try pouring a bottle of bourbon down your toaster and see just how well it works the next day - but the design's not perfect. Nothing is. And just because you love somebody won't make them love you back.
Paul Schmidtberger
they say nobodys perfect yet they say practice make perfect
Daisy Juarez
His eyebrow is raised again. I wonder if he practices these looks in the mirror. Each one seems perfectly crafted to make a girl want to drop her shorts right then and there.
Jen Frederick (Losing Control (Kerr Chronicles, #1))
Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent.
Sarah Kay (No Matter the Wreckage)
Practice never makes you perfect, but it gets you closer to perfection.
Matshona Dhliwayo
An accumulation of pennies is a fortune. Day-to-day practice is perfection. A dream realized is nothing more than many steps taken toward the borders of once-impossible.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
A lion is born knowing how to hunt, but has to learn how to hunt well.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Sometimes, until you do what you shouldn't have done, you least remember what you should have done
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
She opened her arms to the black bat and they flew to each other, embracing in the air like long-lost souls. This is love, Ursula thought. And the practice of it makes it perfect.
Kate Atkinson (Life After Life)
practice makes perfect.
Kamshat
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!
Malory Greene
You will make a perfectly rational mistake: You will assume that sooner or later the paradigm you are presently practicing (which has been mostly successful) will solve all the rest of your problems.
Joel Barker
The old adage we usually hear is that “practice makes perfect.” Based on what we know about neuroplasticity and deliberate practice, we should rephrase that to read, “practice makes permanent.” As you organize yourself for this self-reflective prep work, remember that it is not about being perfect but about creating new neural pathways that shift your default cultural programming as you grow in awareness and skill.
Zaretta Lynn Hammond (Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students)
When I was young and full of grace And spirited - a rattlesnake When I was young and fever fell My spirit, I will not tell You're on your honor not to tell I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract Explain the change, the difference between What you want and what you need, there's the key, Your adventure for today, what do you do Between the horns of the day? (chorus) I believe my shirt is wearing thin And change is what I believe in When I was young and give and take And foolish said my fool awake When I was young and fever fell My spirit, I will not tell You're on your honor, on your honor Trust in your calling, make sure your calling's true Think of others, the others think of you Silly rule golden words make, practice, practice makes perfect, Perfect is a fault, and fault lines change I believe my humor's wearing thin And change is what I believe in I believe my shirt is wearing thin And change is what I believe in (repeat chorus) When I was young and full of grace As spirited a rattlesnake When I was young and fever fell My spirit, I will not tell You're on your honor, on your honor I believe in example I believe my throat hurts Example is the checker to the key I believe my humor's wearing thin And I believe the poles are shifting
Michael Stipe
Make it your goal never to fail in your desires or experience things you would rather avoid; try never to err in impulse and repulsion; aim to be perfect also in the practice of attention and withholding judgment.
Epictetus (Discourses and Selected Writings)
In front of the group was a legless man on a small wheeled trolley, who was singing at the top of his voice and banging two saucepans together. His name was Arnold Sideways. Pushing him along was Coffin Henry, whose croaking progress through an entirely different song was punctuated by bouts of off-the-beat coughing. He was accompanied by a perfectly ordinary-looking manin torn, dirty and yet expensive looking clothing, whose pleasant tenor voice was drowned out by the quaking of a duck on his head. He answered to the name of Duck Man, although he never seemed to understand why, or why he was always surrounded by people who seemed to see ducks where no ducks could be. And finally, being towed along by a small grey dog on a string, was Foul Ole Ron, generally regarded in Ankh-Morpork as the deranged beggars' deranged beggar. He was probably incapable of singing, but at least he was attempting to swear in time to the beat, or beats. The wassailers stopped and watched them in horror. People have always had the urge to sing and clang things at the dark stub of the year, when all sorts of psychic nastiness has taken advantage of the long grey days and the deep shadows to lurk and breed. Lately people had taken to singing harmoniously, which rather lost the affect. Those who really understood just clanged something and shouted. The beggars were not in fact this well versed in folkloric practice. They were just making a din in the well-founded hope that people would give them money to stop. It was just possible to make out consensus song in there somewhere. "Hogswatch is coming, The pig is getting fat, Please put a dollar in the old man's hat If you ain't got a dollar a penny will do-" "And if you ain't got a penny," Foul Ole Ron yodeled, solo, 'Then- fghfgh yffg mfmfmf..." The Duck man had, with great Presence of mind, clamped a hand over Ron's mouth.
Terry Pratchett (Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4))
Perfection is not the price of love. Practice is. We practice how to express our love and how to receive our partner’s love. Love is an action even more than a feeling. It requires intention and attention, a practice we call attunement.
John M. Gottman (Eight Dates: A Plan for Making Love Last Forever)
As a Buddhist Sutra hears the voice of the Bodhisattva of compassion: The wondrous voice, the voice of the onewho attends to the cries of the world The noble voice, the voice of the risingtide surpassing all the sounds of the world Let our mind be attuned to that voice. Put aside all doubt and meditate on thepure and holy nature of the regarderof the cries of the world Because that is our reliance in situationsof pain, distress, calamity, death. Perfect in all merits, beholding all sentientbeings with compassionate eyes, making the ocean of blessings limitless, Before this one, we should incline.
Thich Nhat Hanh (The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation)
It is of course no secret to contemporary philosophers and psychologists that man himself is changing in our violent century, under the influence, of course, not only of war and revolution, but also of practically everything else that lays claim to being "modern" and "progressive." We have already cited the most striking forms of Nihilist Vitalism, whose cumulative effect has been to uproot, disintegrate, and "mobilize" the individual, to substitute for his normal stability and rootedness a senseless quest for power and movement, and to replace normal human feeling by a nervous excitability. The work of Nihilist Realism, in practice as in theory, has been parallel and complementary to that of Vitalism: a work of standardization, specialization, simplification, mechanization, dehumanization; its effect has been to "reduce" the individual to the most "Primitive" and basic level, to make him in fact the slave of his environment, the perfect workman in Lenin's worldwide "factory.
Seraphim Rose (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age)
A fundamental difference between modern dictatorships and all other tyrannies of the past is that terror is no longer used as a means to exterminate and frighten opponents, but as an instrument to rule masses of people who are perfectly obedient. Terror as we know it today strikes without any preliminary provocation, its victims are innocent even from the point of view of the persecutor. This was the case in Nazi Germany when full terror was directed against Jews, i.e., against people with certain common characteristics which were independent of their specific behavior. In Soviet Russia the situation is more confused, but the facts, unfortunately, are only too obvious. On the one hand, the Bolshevik system, unlike the Nazis, never admitted theoretically that it could practice terror against innocent people, and though in view of certain practices this may look like hypocrisy, it makes quite a difference. Russian practice, on the other hand, is even more "advanced" than the German in one respect: arbitrariness of terror is not even limited by racial differentiation, while the old class categories have long since been discarded, so that anybody in Russia may suddenly become a victim of the police terror. We are not concerned here with the ultimate consequence of rule by terror—namely, that nobody, not even the executors, can ever be free of fear; in our context we are dealing merely with the arbitrariness by which victims are chosen, and for this it is decisive that they are objectively innocent, that they are chosen regardless of what they may or may not have done.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
I've learned a lot this year... I've learned that some people will wrong you, forgive them anyway. I've learned that things might not work out as you thought they should, do them anyway. But what struck me the most is no matter how good or bad things are, life goes on, so live it anyway.
Zane Baker
To be conservative in politics is to take one’s bearings not from the latest bright idea about how to make a better world, but by looking carefully at what the past reveals both about the kind of people we are and the problems that concern us. As we get older, we often become conservative in our habits, in our family practices, and in our recognition of the richness of our civilization, but this evolution of our character into a set of habits in no way blocks adventurousness. The old no less than the young may be found starting new enterprises, sailing around the world, and solving arcane academic questions. But it is in the ordinary business of life that we find our excitement, not in foolish collective dreams of political perfection.
Kenneth Minogue
But I took a deep breath, and she sat there listening to me across my dirty coffee table, and we talked about community and family and authenticity. It’s easy to talk about it, and really, really hard sometimes to practice it. This is why the door stays closed for so many of us, literally and figuratively. One friend promises she’ll start having people over when they finally have money to remodel. Another says she’d be too nervous that people wouldn’t eat the food she made, so she never makes the invitation. But it isn’t about perfection, and it isn’t about performance. You’ll miss the richest moments in life—the sacred moments when we feel God’s grace and presence through the actual faces and hands of the people we love—if you’re too scared or too ashamed to open the door. I know it’s scary, but throw open the door anyway, even though someone might see you in your terribly ugly half-zip.
Shauna Niequist (Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes)
Yoga has been superficially misunderstood by certain Western writers, but its critics have never been its practitioners. Among many thoughtful tributes to yoga may be mentioned one by Dr. C. G. Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist. “When a religious method recommends itself as ‘scientific,’ it can be certain of its public in the West. Yoga fulfills this expectation,” Dr. Jung writes.10 “Quite apart from the charm of the new and the fascination of the half-understood, there is good cause for Yoga to have many adherents. It offers the possibility of controllable experience and thus satisfies the scientific need for ‘facts’; and, besides this, by reason of its breadth and depth, its venerable age, its doctrine and method, which include every phase of life, it promises undreamed-of possibilities. “Every religious or philosophical practice means a psychological discipline, that is, a method of mental hygiene. The manifold, purely bodily procedures of Yoga11 also mean a physiological hygiene which is superior to ordinary gymnastics and breathing exercises, inasmuch as it is not merely mechanistic and scientific, but also philosophical; in its training of the parts of the body, it unites them with the whole of the spirit, as is quite clear, for instance, in the Pranayama exercises where Prana is both the breath and the universal dynamics of the cosmos…. “Yoga practice...would be ineffectual without the concepts on which Yoga is based. It combines the bodily and the spiritual in an extraordinarily complete way. “In the East, where these ideas and practices have developed, and where for several thousand years an unbroken tradition has created the necessary spiritual foundations, Yoga is, as I can readily believe, the perfect and appropriate method of fusing body and mind together so that they form a unity which is scarcely to be questioned. This unity creates a psychological disposition which makes possible intuitions that transcend consciousness.
Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi (Complete Edition))
Freedom is essentially a condition of inequality, not equality. It recognizes as a fact of nature the structural differences inherent in man — in temperament, character, and capacity — and it respects those differences. We are not alike and no law can make us so. Parenthetically, what a stale and uninteresting world this would be if perfect equality prevailed! When you seek the taproot of reform movements, you find an urgency to eradicate these innate differences and to make all men equal; in practice, this means the leveling-off of the more capable to the mediocrity of the average. That is not Freedom.
Frank Chodorov
am fully convinced that it is impossible for a woman, even if she were born close to a throne, to acquire before the age of five-and-twenty the encyclopaedic knowledge of trifles, the practice of manoeuvring, the important small things, the musical tones and harmony of coloring, the angelic bedevilments and innocent cunning, the speech and the silence, the seriousness and the banter, the wit and the obtuseness, the diplomacy and the ignorance which make up the perfect lady.
Honoré de Balzac (Works of Honore de Balzac)
Beautiful day out there,” I said, perching on the stool and crossing my legs. “It’s autumn, Sunday, great weather, and crowded everywhere you go. Relaxing indoors like this is the best thing you can do on such a nice day. It’s exhausting to get into those crowds. And the air is bad. I mostly do laundry on Sundays—wash the stuff in the morning, hang it out on the roof of my dorm, take it in before the sun goes down, do a good job of ironing it. I don’t mind ironing at all. There’s a special satisfaction in making wrinkled things smooth. And I’m pretty good at it, too. Of course, I was lousy at it at first. I put creases in everything. After a month of practice, though, I knew what I was doing. So Sunday is my day for laundry and ironing. I couldn’t do it today, of course. Too bad: wasted a perfect laundry day.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
Meg! I love you! I want to marry you!” “That’s weird,” she said without stopping. “Only six weeks ago, you were telling me all about how Lucy broke your heart.” “I was wrong. Lucy broke my brain.” That finally stopped her. “Your brain?” She looked back at him. “That’s right,” he said more quietly. “When Lucy ran out on me, she broke my brain. But when you left . . .” To his dismay, his voice cracked. “When you left, you broke my heart.” He finally had her full attention, not that she looked at all dreamy-eyed or even close to being ready to throw herself into his arms, but at least she was listening. He collapsed the umbrella, took a step forward, then stopped himself. “Lucy and I fit together so perfectly in my head. We had everything in common, and what she did made no sense. I had the whole town lining up feeling sorry for me, and I was damned if I was going to let anybody know how miserable I was. I—I couldn’t get my bearings. And there you were in the middle of it, this beautiful thorn in my side, making me “feel like myself again. Except . . .” He hunched his shoulders, and a trickle of rainwater ran down his collar. “Sometimes logic can be an enemy. If I was so wrong about Lucy, how could I trust the way I felt about you?” She stood there, not saying a word, just listening. “I wish I could say I realized how much I loved you as soon as you left town, but I was too busy being mad at you for bailing on me. I don’t have a lot of practice being mad, so it took me a while to understand that the person I was really mad at was myself. I was so pigheaded and stupid. And afraid. Everything has always come so easy for me, but nothing about you was easy. The things you made me feel. The way you forced me to look at myself.” He could barely breathe. “I love you, Meg. I want to marry you. I want to sleep with you every night, make love with you, have kids. I want to fight together and work together and—just be together. Now are you going to keep standing there, staring at me, or could you put “me out of my misery and say you still love me, at least a little?
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Call Me Irresistible (Wynette, Texas, #5))
Because of nothing but training, some people can effortlessly do something we cannot do even terribly.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Those who give themselves to prayer," says St. Teresa, "should concentrate solely on this: the conformity of their wills with the divine will. They should be convinced that this constitutes their highest perfection. The more fully they practice this, the greater the gifts they will receive from God, and the greater the progress they will make in the interior life [10]
Alfonso María de Liguori (Uniformity with God's Will & The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ)
Lately, because computer technology has made self-publishing an easier and less expensive venture, I'm getting a lot of review copies of amateur books by writers who would be better advised to hone their craft before committing it to print. The best thing you can do as a beginning writer is to write, write, write - and read, read, read. Concentrating on publication prematurely is a mistake. You don't pick up a violin and expect to play Carnegie Hall within the year - yet somehow people forget that writing also requires technical skills that need to be learned, practiced, honed. If I had a dollar for every person I've met who thought, with no prior experience, they could sit down and write a novel and instantly win awards and make their living as a writer, I'd be a rich woman today. It's unrealistic, and it's also mildly insulting to professional writers who have worked hard to perfect their craft. Of course, then you hear stories about people like J.K. Rowling, who did sit down with no prior experience and write a worldwide best-seller...but such people are as rare as hen's teeth. Every day I work with talented, accomplished writers who have many novels in print and awards to their name and who are ‘still’ struggling to make a living. The thing I often find myself wanting to say to new writers is: Write because you love writing, learn your craft, be patient, and be realistic. Anais Nin said about writing, "It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing."
Terri Windling
...what man is capable of the insane self-conceit of believing that an eternity of himself would be tolerable even to himself? Those who try to believe it postulate that they shall be made perfect first. But if you make me perfect I shall no longer be myself, nor will it be possible for me to conceive my present imperfections (and what I cannot conceive I cannot remember); so that you may just as well give me a new name and face the fact that I am a new person and that the old Bernard Shaw is as dead as mutton. Thus,oddly enough, the conventional belief in the matter comes to this: that if you wish to live for ever you must be wicked enough to be irretrievably damned, since the saved are no longer what they were, and in hell alone do people retain their sinful nature: that is to say, their individuality. And this sort of hell, however convenient as a means of intimidating persons who have practically no honor and no conscience, is not a fact.
George Bernard Shaw
Excellence is the result of loving more than others think is necessary, dreaming more than others think is practical, risking more than others think is safe, and doing more than others think is possible. Every day is a golden opportunity to learn, practice gratitude, and positively impact the world around you. Do not ask for instant fulfillment in your life, but for patience to accept your current frustrations. Do not ask for perfection in all you do, but for the wisdom to make better choices. Do not ask for more before saying, “THANK YOU” for everything you have already received.
John Geiger
Sometimes it looks like you're going nowhere or that you're headed in the wrong direction. I'm learning that the decision itself is rarely the point. The point is becoming more fully ourselves in the presence of God, connecting with Him and with each other, and living our lives as though we believe He is good and beautiful. The point is being honest about where you are and what you need and then looking around in your own community for people to walk with you and with whom you can walk. I spent years wishing people would support me only to later realize I was waiting around for something to come to me when I was perfectly capable of going out and getting it. I'm convinced God is less interested in where we end up then He is in who we are becoming. Whether we're employed or unemployed, encouraged or discouraged, filled with vision or fumbling in the fog. More than anything, our Father just wants to be with us. The most common way He shows His "withness" to us is in the actual, physical presence of other people.
Emily P. Freeman (The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions)
Our objective is to make our-self the perfect embodiment of love, peace and compassion. We may fail, but that is not the point, the point is that we have tried and perfection can be achieved by practice only.
Amit Ray (Nuclear Weapons Free World Peace on the Earth)
Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing. Humans are addicted to suffering at different levels and to different degrees, and we support each other in maintaining these addictions. Humans agree to help each other suffer. If you have the need to be abused, you will find it easy to be abused by others. Likewise, if you are with people who need to suffer, something in you makes you abuse them. It is as if they have a note on their back that says, “Please kick me.” They are asking for justification for their suffering. Their addiction to suffering is nothing but an agreement that is reinforced every day. Wherever you go you will find people lying to you, and as your awareness grows, you will notice that you also lie to yourself. Do not expect people to tell you the truth because they also lie to themselves. You have to trust yourself and choose to believe or not to believe what someone says to you. When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid. They are afraid you will discover that they are not perfect. It is painful to take that social mask off. If others say one thing, but do another, you are lying to yourself if you don’t listen to their actions. But if you are truthful with yourself, you will save yourself a lot of emotional pain. Telling yourself the truth about it may hurt, but you don’t need to be attached to the pain. Healing is on the way, and it’s just a matter of time before things will be better for you. If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.
Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom)
I'm trying to tell MiSSSisss WaSShington about our ceremony for Father. But it takes time to match every noun and verb, sort all the tenses, remember all the articles, set the tone for every s. MiSSSisss WaSShington says if every learner waits to speak perfectly, no one would learn a new language. Being stubborn won't make you fluent. Practicing will! The more mistakes you make, the more you'll learn not to. They laugh.
Thanhha Lai
For instance, supposing that the planet earth were not a sphere but a gigantic coffee table, how much difference in everyday life would that make? Granted, this is a pretty farfetched example; you can't rearrange facts of life so freely. Still, picturing the planet earth, for convenience sake, as a gigantic coffee table does in fact help clear away the clutter—those practically pointless contingencies such as gravity and the international dateline and the equator, those nagging details that arise from the spherical view. I mean, for a guy leading a perfectly ordinary existence, how many times in the course of a lifetime would the equator be a significant factor?
Haruki Murakami (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World)
Music lives only in performance; only then does what we hear become real. Performing reveals everything we are able to show, and yet for this reason, the first time through, we often perform badly. And we yearn so deeply to go back again and correct our mistakes. Few yearnings are as profound in us, because the truth is, we cannot go back. Yet the fiction of practicing makes it seem as if we can, and this is enough to change our lives. Practice lets us grow in our own time, protected from the demands, the vitality and mortality, of each moment. Within the practice-room walls it often seems as if time really does stand still, as if we could always remain protected, practicing and improving forever. This illusion holds transformative power—but also a dangerous seduction. Practice, by itself, is a dream of perfection. Only performing can turn practice into shared life, where our own time may join with others’, becoming musical. Yet practicing is the necessary lie that lets us pause to collect ourselves. It is the inner life of performance, the inward turn that allows us to develop, to grow, to move forward having learned.
Glenn Kurtz (Practicing: A Musician's Return to Music)
But we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place. The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached - their faith in human progress - must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey. For if we lose that faith - if we dismiss it as silly or naïve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace - then we lose what is best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass.
Barack Obama
It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility. While no workplace is perfect, it turns out that our gravest challenges are a lot more primal and personal. Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it. Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than reactively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen.
Jocelyn K. Glei (Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind)
Perspective - Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that. Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place. You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them. Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers. Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a false messiah. Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully. The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change. Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years. The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof. There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts. Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect. Then be sure of one thing: The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have. The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't. A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons. You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however. Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours. If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats. The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums. It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages. Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you. In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice. The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities." The truth you speak has no past and no future. It is, and that's all it needs to be. Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. You're going to die a horrible death, remember. It's all good training, and you'll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind. Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution it not generally understood by less advanced lifeforms, and they'll call you crazy. Everything above may be wrong!
Richard Bach
Then I spoke with proven shapers I knew—Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Reed Hastings, Muhammad Yunus, Geoffrey Canada, Jack Dorsey (of Twitter), David Kelley (of IDEO), and more. They had all visualized remarkable concepts and built organizations to actualize them, and done that repeatedly and over long periods of time. I asked them to take an hour’s worth of personality assessments to discover their values, abilities, and approaches. While not perfect, these assessments have been invaluable. (In fact, I have been adapting and refining them to help us in our recruiting and management.) The answers these shapers provided to the standardized questions gave me objective and statistically measurable evidence about their similarities and differences. It turns out they have a lot in common. They are all independent thinkers who do not let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving their audacious goals. They have very strong mental maps of how things should be done, and at the same time a willingness to test those mental maps in the world of reality and change the ways they do things to make them work better. They are extremely resilient, because their need to achieve what they envision is stronger than the pain they experience as they struggle to achieve it. Perhaps most interesting, they have a wider range of vision than most people, either because they have that vision themselves or because they know how to get it from others who can see what they can’t. All are able to see both big pictures and granular details (and levels in between) and synthesize the perspectives they gain at those different levels, whereas most people see just one or the other. They are simultaneously creative, systematic, and practical. They are assertive and open-minded at the same time. Above all, they are passionate about what they are doing, intolerant of people who work for them who aren’t excellent at what they do, and want to have a big, beneficial impact on the world.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
On the flat expanse of pancake ice, War stood by the Pale Rider’s side. Though their forms did not touch, their shadows intertwined, black on black, in a smoky caress. “Knew you’d come,” Death said cheerfully. She smiled, and that slow motion of her lips hinted at many things. “The White Rider divided, and the world on the brink of destruction. How could I stay away?” “I could set my watch by you.” “You don’t have a watch.” Her smile broadened into a grin. “An hourglass, maybe . . .” “Please, not another joke about a scythe . . .” She mimed zipping her mouth shut. A pause, as they listened to the sounds of the boy healing and the man summoning doom. “I like him,” War said. Even though she hadn’t specified whether she meant the boy or the man, Death smiled and nodded. “Me too.” “You like everyone.” “Well, yes.” The two shared a quiet laugh, their voices mingling in perfect harmony. A longer pause, and then War asked, “What of Famine?” “What of her? She’s not mine. Not yet, anyway. She will be soon enough.” The Red Rider slid him a look. “That’s cold, even for you.” “Eh, just practical.” A shrug. “Everyone comes to me eventually. It’s the journey that makes it interesting.” “Such a people person!” He flashed her a grin. “My best quality.” “Oh,” said War, sliding her gloved hand into his pale one, “I can think of others that are better.
Jackie Morse Kessler (Loss (Riders of the Apocalypse, #3))
This is the essence of Rembrandt's advice to Van Hoogstraten: the authentic craft develops naturally from one's own experience. So, it seems reasonable to suggest that the search should not be for the lost secrets, but for one's own practice. This is in fact easy, you start making things. At first they might not be perfect, but the information here should provide you with a running start. And, if you are cut out for this the learning curve will not be daunting, because you will realize that you are finally headed in the right direction: towards the living craft.
Tad Spurgeon
Do not quarrel, therefore, with your lot in life. Do not complain of its never-ceasing cares, its petty environment, the vexations you have to stand, the small and sordid souls you have to live and work with. Above all, do not resent temptation; do not be perplexed because it seems to thicken round you more and more, and ceases neither for effort nor for agony nor prayer. That is your practice. That is the practice which God appoints you; and it is having its work in making you patient, and humble, and generous, and unselfish, and kind, and courteous. Do not grudge the hand that is moulding the still too shapeless image within you. It is growing more beautiful, though you see it not; and every touch of temptation may add to its perfection. Therefore keep in the midst of life. Do not isolate yourself. Be among men and among things, and among troubles, and difficulties, and obstacles. You remember Goethe's words: "Talent develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life.
Henry Drummond (The Best of Henry Drummond: The Greatest Thing in the World, Eternal Life, Beautiful Thoughts, Natural Law in the Spiritual World and More!)
ENVIRONMENT FOR MEDITATION Those of you who can afford it will do better to have a room for this practice alone. Do not sleep in that room, it must be kept holy. You must not enter the room until you have bathed, and are perfectly clean in body and mind. Place flowers in that room always; they are the best surroundings for a Yogi; also pictures that are pleasing. Burn incense morning and evening. Have no quarrelling, nor anger, nor unholy thought in that room. Only allow those persons to enter it who are of the same thought as you. Then gradually there will be an atmosphere of holiness in the room, so that when you are miserable, sorrowful, doubtful, or your mind is disturbed, the very fact of entering that room will make you calm. This was the idea of the temple and the church, and in some temples and churches you will find it even now, but in the majority of them the very idea has been lost. The idea is that by keeping holy vibrations there the place becomes and remains illumined. Those who cannot afford to have a room set apart can practise anywhere they
Swami Vivekananda (Meditation and Its Methods)
It is easy to make the mistake of thinking yoga is about touching your toes when in fact yoga is about learning to touch others. Likewise, many people think the purpose of meditation is a perfectly still mind, when in fact, it is a more compassionate heart. Spiritual practice is measured by one’s ability to ease the suffering of the world one breath at a time.
Darren Main (The River of Wisdom: Reflections on Yoga, Meditation, and Mindful Living)
Every productive person you will ever come across believes in routine. Hand on my heart, I haven’t yet met one who has found ‘flying by the seat of their pants’ to be an effective way to go about things. That’s because having a routine reduces cognitive load. The more stuff you can do on autopilot, the more room you have for ideas and making stuff happen. Having
Kelly Exeter (Practical Perfection: Smart strategies for an excellent life)
Many religious fundamentalists around the world would like to see the establishment of theocracies — states where religion and government are closely intertwined. While some just reject separation of [name of place of worship] and state, others go further and insist that one religion’s tenets be made law. The normal arguments for a theocracy are that, for example, it would lend a greater sense of morality to the making and enforcement of laws. Or that as our laws were originally derived from some moral commandments in a particular religion, it makes sense to enthrone this religion as chief in the state. Basically, theocrats can talk until the cows come home about how great it would be if we were ruled by God, how great it would be if our laws followed God’s laws, and so forth. But this vision of theocracy will never come to be, and should never come to be. The fundamental problem with every theocracy is that is innately unfair. Not just unfair to those who do not follow the state religion, but also unfair to those who do not follow the state religion as it is understood and interpreted by the humans who run the state. After all, who really believes that all the Muslims in any of the Islamic theocracies we have today are happy? Those who believe the wrong things about Islam from one particular point of view are mercilessly vilified — the present civil war in Iraq is an excellent example. Why a theocracy would be unfair to those who don’t practice the state religion should be very apparent. Whatever flowery talk there may be of equality, if the laws are derived from one religion, then the laws will favour that religion, like it or not. At this point, supporters of theocracy often get riled up. This is because they can point topassages in their holy book which they argue justify their claims that their religion would be fair to all. On occasion they will also argue that their particular God’s laws are perfect.
John Lee
International trade seems to be the topic of the night, but there are a few differentiations—one talk is about the newest tax codes and how they can better benefit corporations. Snore. Another presents a variation on an old business model. It’s an original idea, but not practical. By the time the fifth student finishes, I’ve met my limit. I nudge Celia out of her reverie. “I’m ready to go,” I begin to say, but stop myself before I get the words out. The woman ascending the stairs to the stage has caught my eye, and all thoughts of leaving disappear. Something about the way she moves is captivating—the wiggle of her hips suggests an undercurrent of sexuality, and her back is straight with confidence. Then she turns toward the audience, and my breathe catches. Even here, twelve rows away, I can tell she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Her dark brown hair falls just so around her face, accentuating sharp cheekbones. Her eyes are dark. Her short dress reveals long, lean legs. The modest cleavage of her outfit can’t hide perfectly plump tits. There’s something else—something about her carriage that makes me sit up and take notice. And she hasn’t even spoken yet.
Laurelin Paige (Hudson (Fixed, #4))
I'm a practicing Zen Buddhist and I'm influenced by my readings in that tradition, such as the notion that everyone is born a perfect being and we spend most of our lives with a clouded vision trying to realize our perfection," he says. At critical moments in the book, T.S. registers his inkling of this realization. When he makes his maps, it feels like taking down dictation from the universe.
Reif Larsen
Everybody must pity Desdemona, but I cannot bring myself to like her. Her determination to marry Othello – it was she who virtually did the proposing – seems the romantic crush of a silly schoolgirl rather than a mature affection; it is Othello’s adventures, so unlike the civilian life she knows, which captivate her rather than Othello as a person. He may not have practiced witchcraft, but, in fact, she is spellbound. Then, she seems more aware than is agreeable of the honor she has done Othello by becoming his wife. […] Before Cassio speaks to her, she has already discussed him with her husband and learned that he is to be reinstated as soon as it is opportune. A sensible wife would have told Cassio this and left matters alone. In continuing to badger Othello, she betrays a desire to prove to herself and to Cassio that she can make her husband do as she pleases. […] Though her relationship with Cassio is perfectly innocent, one cannot but share Iago’s doubts as to the durability of the marriage. It is worth noting that, in the willow-song scene with Emilia, she speaks with admiration of Ludovico and then turns to the topic of adultery. Of course, she discusses this in general terms and is shocked by Emilia’s attitude, but she does discuss the subject and she does listen to what Emilia has to say about husbands and wives. It is as if she had suddenly realized that she had made a mésalliance and that the sort of man she ought to have married was someone of her own class and color like Ludovico. Given a few more years of Othello and of Emilia’s influence and she might well, one feels, have taken a lover.
W.H. Auden (The Dyer's Hand)
Are you all right?” I whisper uncertainly. “Fine.” He shakes his head once, and then the tension leaves his body. “I’m fine. Don’t finish your sentence yet. It’s going to lead to me slaughtering things.” “You like slaughtering things.” “Compared to this? No.” He touches me again, his fingers grazing my arm. Tentative, hesitant. When I tell him he’s usually the practical one, he replies, “It must be your influence. I’m actually about to make several suggestions, and all of them are impractical.” I smile. “Ooh, several suggestions, is it? My, my. Impractical Kiaran MacKay is . . . dare I say it? Adorable.” Kiaran looks at me in disgust. “I am not.” “You are and you don’t even know it. Adorable.” “Adorable is something we call foolish humans right before we kill them.” “Adorable is what we call adult men who love to cuddle and swear on their lives that they don’t.” Kiaran makes a sound in his throat. “You can growl at me all you want. I know your weaknesses, MacKay. Cuddling. Neck kisses. That ticklish spot just above your—” I laugh as he grabs me around the waist and pulls me against him. He kisses me fiercely enough to make my toes curl. Then he pulls back with the smug expression of someone who has had thousands of years to perfect seduction and knows exactly how to use it against me.
Elizabeth May (The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer, #3))
The modern mind is like the eye of a man who is too tired to see the difference between blue and green. It fails in the quality that is truly called distinction; and,being incapable of distinction, it falls back on generalisation. The man, instead of having the sense to say he is tired, says he is emancipated and enlightened and liberal and universal.... ...we find it less trouble to let in a jungle of generalisations than to keep watch upon a logical frontier. But this shapeless assimilation is not only found in accepting things in the lump; it is also found in condemning them in the lump. When the same modern mind does begin to be intolerant, it is just as universally intolerant as it was universally tolerant. It sends things in batches to the gallows just as it admitted them in mobs to the sanctuary. It cannot limit its limitations any more than its license....There are...lunatics now having power to lay down the law, who have somehow got it into their heads that any artistic representation of anything wicked must be forbidden as encouraging wickedness. This would obviously be a veto on any tragedy and practically on any tale. But a moment's thought...would show them that this is simply an illogical generalisation from the particular problem of sex. All dignified civilisations conceal sexual things, for the perfectly sensible reason that their mere exhibition does affect the passions. But seeing another man forge a cheque does not make me want to forge a cheque. Seeing the tools for burgling a safe does not arouse an appetite for being a burglar. But the intelligence in question cannot stop itself from stopping anything. It is automatically autocratic; and its very prohibition proceeds in a sort of absence of mind. Indeed, that is the most exact word for it; it is emphatically absence of mind. For the mind exists to make those very distinctions and definitions which these people refuse. They refuse to draw the line anywhere; and drawing a line is the beginning of all philosophy, as it is the beginning of all art. They are the people who are content to say that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and are condemned to pass their lives in looking for eggs from the cock as well as the hen.
G.K. Chesterton
Perfect Joy (excerpts) Is there to be found on earth a fullness of joy, or is there no such thing? . . . What the world values is money, reputation, long life, achievement. What it counts as joy is health and comfort of body, good food, fine clothes, beautiful things to look at, pleasant music to listen to. What it condemns is lack of money, a low social rank, a reputation for being no good, and an early death. What it considers misfortune is bodily discomfort and labour, no chance to get your fill of good food, not having good clothes to wear, having no way to amuse or delight the eye, no pleasant music to listen to. If people find that they are deprived of these things, they go into a panic or fall into despair. They are so concerned for their life that their anxiety makes life unbearable, even when they have the things they think they want. Their very concern for enjoyment makes them unhappy. . . . I cannot tell if what the world considers "happiness" is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness. . . . My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness: and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course. I will hold to the saying that:"Perfect Joy is to be without joy. Perfect praise is to be without praise." If you ask "what ought to be done" and "what ought not to be done" on earth in order to produce happiness, I answer that these questions do not have an answer. There is no way of determining such things. Yet at the same time, if I cease striving for happiness, the "right" and the "wrong" at once become apparent all by themselves. Contentment and well-being at once become possible the moment you cease to act with them in view, and if you practice non-doing (wu wei), you will have both happiness and well-being. Here is how I sum it up: Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity. Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest. From the union of these two non-doings All actions proceed, All things are made. How vast, how invisible This coming-to-be! All things come from nowhere! How vast, how invisible - No way to explain it! All beings in their perfection Are born of non-doing. Hence it is said: "Heaven and earth do nothing Yet there is nothing they do not do." Where is the man who can attain To this non-doing?
Thomas Merton (The Way of Chuang Tzu (Shambhala Library))
And you might also remember you are the greatest healer among us. That is unchallenged by anyone." "I am the greatest killer, also unchallenged." He tried to give her truth again. She touched his hard mouth. "I will hunt with you then,lifemate." His heart slammed against his ribs. Her smile was mysterious, scretive, and so beautiful,it broke his heart. "What is behind this smile,bebe." His hand caught and spanned her throat, his thumb brushing her lips in a gentle caress. "What do you know that I do not?" His mind slipped into hers, a sensuous thrust, the ultimate intimacy, not unlike the way his tongue sometimes dueled with her-or his body took possession of hers. She was familiar with his touch in her mind. She knew he tried to keep its invasiveness to a minimum. He allowed her to set the bounderies and never pushed beyond any barrier she erected, even though he could do so easily. Both of them needed the intimate union of their minds merging, Savannah as much as Gregori. And her newfound knowledge of him was secure behind a miniature barricade she had hastily erected. Wide-eyed and innocent, she looked at him. His thumb pressed into her lower lip, half mesmerized by the satin perfection of it. "You will never hunt vampires, ma cherie, not ever.And if I were ever to catch you attempting such a thing,there would be hell to pay." She didn't look scared. Rather, amusement crept into the deep blue of her eyes. "Surely you aren't threatening me,Dark One, bogey man of the Carpathians." She laughed softly, a sound that feathered down his spine and somehow took away the sting of that centuries-old designation. "Stop looking so serious, Gregori-you haven't lost your reputation entirely. Everyone else is still terrified of the big bad wolf." His eyebrows shot up. She was teasing him. About his dark reputation, of all things. Her gaze was clear and sparkling, hinting at mischeif. Savannah wasn't railing against her fate, of being tied to him, a monster. She was too filled with life and laughter, with joy. He felt it in her mind, in her heart, in her very soul. He wished it could somehow rub off on him,make him a more compatible lifemate for her. "You are the only one who needs to worry about the big bad wolf, mon amour," he threatened with mock gravity. She leaned over to stare up into his eyes, a smile curving her soft mouth. "You cracked a joke, Gregori. We're making progress.Why,we're practically friends." "Practically?" he echoed gently. "Getting there fast," she told him firmly with her chin up,daring him to contradict her. "Can one be friends with a monster?" He said casually, as if he were simply musing out loud,but there was a shadow in his silver eyes. "I was being childish, Gregori, when I made such an accusation," she said softly, her eyes meeting his squarely.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))
Many readers are familiar with the spirit and the letter of the definition of “prayer”, as given by Ambrose Bierce in his Devil’s Dictionary. It runs like this, and is extremely easy to comprehend: Prayer: A petition that the laws of nature be suspended in favor of the petitioner; himself confessedly unworthy. Everybody can see the joke that is lodged within this entry: The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right. Half–buried in the contradiction is the distressing idea that nobody is in charge, or nobody with any moral authority. The call to prayer is self–cancelling. Those of us who don’t take part in it will justify our abstention on the grounds that we do not need, or care, to undergo the futile process of continuous reinforcement. Either our convictions are enough in themselves or they are not: At any rate they do require standing in a crowd and uttering constant and uniform incantations. This is ordered by one religion to take place five times a day, and by other monotheists for almost that number, while all of them set aside at least one whole day for the exclusive praise of the Lord, and Judaism seems to consist in its original constitution of a huge list of prohibitions that must be followed before all else. The tone of the prayers replicates the silliness of the mandate, in that god is enjoined or thanked to do what he was going to do anyway. Thus the Jewish male begins each day by thanking god for not making him into a woman (or a Gentile), while the Jewish woman contents herself with thanking the almighty for creating her “as she is.” Presumably the almighty is pleased to receive this tribute to his power and the approval of those he created. It’s just that, if he is truly almighty, the achievement would seem rather a slight one. Much the same applies to the idea that prayer, instead of making Christianity look foolish, makes it appear convincing. Now, it can be asserted with some confidence, first, that its deity is all–wise and all–powerful and, second, that its congregants stand in desperate need of that deity’s infinite wisdom and power. Just to give some elementary quotations, it is stated in the book of Philippians, 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.” Deuteronomy 32:4 proclaims that “he is the rock, his work is perfect,” and Isaiah 64:8 tells us, “Now O Lord, thou art our father; we art clay and thou our potter; and we are all the work of thy hand.” Note, then, that Christianity insists on the absolute dependence of its flock, and then only on the offering of undiluted praise and thanks. A person using prayer time to ask for the world to be set to rights, or to beseech god to bestow a favor upon himself, would in effect be guilty of a profound blasphemy or, at the very least, a pathetic misunderstanding. It is not for the mere human to be presuming that he or she can advise the divine. And this, sad to say, opens religion to the additional charge of corruption. The leaders of the church know perfectly well that prayer is not intended to gratify the devout. So that, every time they accept a donation in return for some petition, they are accepting a gross negation of their faith: a faith that depends on the passive acceptance of the devout and not on their making demands for betterment. Eventually, and after a bitter and schismatic quarrel, practices like the notorious “sale of indulgences” were abandoned. But many a fine basilica or chantry would not be standing today if this awful violation had not turned such a spectacularly good profit. And today it is easy enough to see, at the revival meetings of Protestant fundamentalists, the counting of the checks and bills before the laying on of hands by the preacher has even been completed. Again, the spectacle is a shameless one.
Christopher Hitchens (Mortality)
In the theatre that I was used to in school and colleges and in amateur circles, the actors rehearsed more or less in secrecy and then sprung their finished perfection. on an unsuspecting audience who were of course surprised into envious admiration: oh, what perfection, what talent, what inspired gifts - I certainly could never do such a thing! Such a theatre is part of the general bourgeois education system which practices education as a process of weakening people, of making them feel they cannot do this or that - oh, it must take such brains! - In other words education as a means of mystifying knowledge and hence reality. Education, far from giving people -the confidence in their ability and capacities to overcome obstacles or to become masters of the laws governing external nature as human beings, tends to make them feel their inadequacies, their weaknesses and their incapacities in the face of reality; and their inability to do anything about the conditions governing their lives. They become more and more alienated from themselves and from their natural and social environment. Education as a process of alienation produces a gallery of active stars and an undifferentiated mass of grateful admirers. The Olympian gods of the Greek mythology or the dashing knights of the middle ages are reborn in the -twentieth century as superstar politicians, scientists, sportsmen, actors, the handsome doers or heroes, with the ordinary people watching passively, gratefully, admiringly.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Thomas Jefferson's Letter to John Holmes on the Missouri Statehood Question – April 20, 1820 I thank you, dear Sir, for the copy you have been so kind as to send me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri question. It is a perfect justification to them. I had for a long time ceased to read newspapers, or pay any attention to public affairs, confident they were in good hands, and content to be a passenger in our bark to the shore from which I am not distant. But this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. I can say, with conscious truth, that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach, in any practicable way. The cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which would not cost me a second thought, if, in that way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected; and, gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other. Of one thing I am certain, that as the passage of slaves from one State to another, would not make a slave of a single human being who would not be so without it, so their diffusion over a greater surface would make them individually happier, and proportionally facilitate the accomplishment of their emancipation, by dividing the burthen on a greater number of coadjutors. An abstinence too, from this act of power, would remove the jealousy excited by the undertaking of Congress to regulate the condition of the different descriptions of men composing a State. This certainly is the exclusive right of every State, which nothing in the constitution has taken from them and given to the General Government. Could Congress, for example, say, that the non- freemen of Connecticut shall be freemen, or that they shall not emigrate into any other State? I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. If they would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by union than by scission, they would pause before they would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world. To yourself, as the faithful advocate of the Union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respect. Th. Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Too often we sit back and speak platitudes of the nitty-gritty bits of writing; the editing, the story structure, the verbal sparring vs. banter, the character development, the world-building become more important to us than the tune rhythm of the tale. And when you lose the music of the story, all the footwork in the world is not going to make up for the loss of continuity and heart. We need to take a step back in our souls and conjure the image of what this story is: the notes and beats and things woven into it's fullness. See, that's what is so easy to lose sight of as we write. We forget that, in a way, this story is a full story in itself. We tend to try to build the story piece by piece, line upon line, precept upon precept, but that--as any true writer knows--is not entirely practical. A story does have its own identity. To some extent, the story exists in your mind as a whole. Its own being. To chance sounding sappy: Your story is a full piece of music waiting for you to dance it into existence. Don't make the mistake of leaving out all the music. It is tempting to want to have everything arranged to perfection so that little editing will be done. But if you are keeping in mind the way your story needs to run--feeling it and dwelling in the beauty of its passion and color and vibe--the footwork will take care of itself. Certainly it will require practice and your technicalities will need a little work--everyone's does. But you will have captured the essence and blood of the tale, and really that's the prettiest part of a dance.
Rachel Heffington
I looked back and forth between them, feeling the heat of their anger, the unspoken words swelling in the air like smoke. Jerry took a slow sip from his beer and lit another cigarette. "You don't know anything about that little girl," he told Nona. "You're just jealous because Cap belongs to her now." I could see Nona's heartbeat flutter beneath her t-shirt, the cords tightening in her neck. "Her mommy and daddy might have paid for him," she whispered. "But he's mine." I waited for Jerry to cave in to her, to apologize, to make things right between them. But he held her gaze, unwavering. "He's not." Nona stubbed her cigarette out on the barn floor, then stood. "If you don't believe me," she whispered, "I'll show you." My sister crossed the barn to Cap's stall and clicked her tongue at him. His gold head appeared in the doorway and Nona swung the stall door open. "Come on out." she told him. Don't!" I said, but she didn't pause. Cap took several steps forward until he was standing completely free in the barn. I jumped up, blocking the doorway so that he couldn't bolt. Jerry stood and widened himself beside me, stretching out his arms. "What the hell are you doing?" he asked. Nona stood beside Cap's head and lifted her arms as though she was holding an invisible lead rope. When she began to walk, Cap moved alongside her, matching his pace to hers. Whoa," Nona said quietly and Cap stopped. My sister made small noises with her tongue, whispering words we couldn't hear. Cap's ears twitched and his weight shifted as he adjusted his feet, setting up perfectly in showmanship form. Nona stepped back to present him to us, and Jerry and I dropped our arms to our sides. Ta da!" she said, clapping her hands at her own accomplishment. Very impressive," Jerry said in a low voice. "Now put the pony away." Again, Nona lifted her hands as if holding a lead rope, and again, Cap followed. She stepped into him and he turned on his heel, then walked beside her through the barn and back into his stall. Once he was inside, Nona closed the door and held her hands out to us. She hadn't touched him once. Now," she said evenly. "Tell me again what isn't mine." Jerry sank back into his chair, cracking open a fresh beer. "If that horse was so important to you, maybe you shouldn't have left him behind to be sold off to strangers." Nona's face constricted, her cheeks and neck darkening in splotches of red. "Alice, tell him," she whispered. "Tell him that Cap belongs to me." Sheila Altman could practice for the rest of her life, and she would never be able to do what my sister had just done. Cap would never follow her blindly, never walk on water for her. But my eyes traveled sideways to Cap's stall where his embroidered halter hung from its hook. If the Altmans ever moved to a different town, they would take Cap with them. My sister would never see him again. It wouldn't matter what he would or wouldn't do for her. My sister waited a moment for me to speak, and when I didn't, she burst into tears, her shoulders heaving, her mouth wrenching open. Jerry and I glanced at each other, startled by the sudden burst of emotion. You can both go to hell," Nona hiccuped, and turned for the house. "Right straight to hell.
Aryn Kyle (The God Of Animals)
Chelsea, of course, was the first one to speak up. “Okay, am I the only one who noticed how gi-mungous Mimi Nichols’s dress makes her ass look? Of course, you can barely notice it since her freakishly giant boobs are practically hanging out the top of it.” Chelsea glanced at Jules and grinned. “No offense, of course,” she offered, raising her eyebrows at Jules’s chest. Claire giggled, and Jules wrinkled up her face in disgust at Chelsea’s teasing barb. “You’re just jealous,” she retorted, eyeing Chelsea’s chest in return. “Touche, Jules. Touche!” Chelsea admitted. Claire wanted so badly to join in on the catty conversation, but she was terrible at finding other people’s flaws . . . at least intentionally. Still, she gave it her best shot. “And what about Jennifer Cummings?” she asked accusingly, trying to mimic one of Chelsea’s cutting looks. They looked around at one another, wondering what it was that they weren’t getting. Chelsea was the only one brave enough to ask, “What about her, Claire?” “She does not even look kind of cute!” Claire stated, her face a mask of mock horror. They all stared at her, not sure what to say. And then once again, of course, it was Chelsea who broke the stunned silence. “I swear, Claire-bear, I am going to call your mom and tell her you need to start riding the short bus. You really need to start practicing your bitchy comments. What are you gonna do when we’re not here to get your back?” Claire rolled her eyes, too oblivious to be insulted, which was why she was the perfect friends for Chelsea, who was too insulting to be obvious. “Geez, Chels, I don’t even ride the bus.” Jules couldn’t help herself; despite her best efforts to hold on to her detached cool, she started laughing. And pretty soon they were all laughing, even Claire, who still didn’t realize what they were laughing at. “You guys are so mean!” Violet charged accusingly. “Can’t you just have fun and stop picking everyone part?” Chelsea looked disgusted. “You’ve gone soft, haven’t you? Jay has made you soft!” Violet rolled her eyes, smiling despite her best efforts. “Whatever. Everyone’s soft compared to you.” “Ouch!” Chelsea pretended to be wounded. But again, she just couldn’t pull it off.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
Watching him then, I simply couldn’t think of him doing anything other than winning. Loss wasn’t the norm, it couldn’t be. I didn’t have the words for it then, what it felt like to watch my cousin, whom I love and whose worries are our worries and whose pain is our pain, manage to be so good at something, to triumph so completely. More than a painful life, more than a culture or a society with the practice and perfection of violence as a virtue and a necessity, more than a meanness or a willingness to sacrifice oneself, what I felt—what I saw—were Indian men and boys doing precisely what we’ve always been taught not to do. I was seeing them plainly, desperately, expertly wanting to be seen for their talents and their hard work, whether they lost or won. That old feeling familiar to so many Indians—that we can’t change anything; can’t change Columbus or Custer, smallpox or massacres; can’t change the Gatling gun or the legislative act; can’t change the loss of our loved ones or the birth of new troubles; can’t change a thing about the shape and texture of our lives—fell away. I think the same could be said for Sam: he might not have been able to change his sister’s fate or his mother’s or even, for a while, his own. But when he stepped in the cage he was doing battle with a disease. The disease was the feeling of powerlessness that takes hold of even the most powerful Indian men. That disease is more potent than most people imagine: that feeling that we’ve lost, that we’ve always lost, that we’ve already lost—our land, our cultures, our communities, ourselves. This disease is the story told about us and the one we so often tell about ourselves. But it’s one we’ve managed to beat again and again—in our insistence on our own existence and our successful struggles to exist in our homelands on our own terms. For some it meant joining the U.S. Army. For others it meant accepting the responsibility to govern and lead. For others still, it meant stepping into a metal cage to beat or be beaten. For my cousin Sam, for three rounds of five minutes he gets to prove that through hard work and natural ability he can determine the outcome of a finite struggle, under the bright, artificial lights that make the firmament at the Northern Lights Casino on the Leech Lake Reservation.
David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present)
A disdain for the practical swept the ancient world. Plato urged astronomers to think about the heavens, but not to waste their time observing them. Aristotle believed that: “The lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master.… The slave shares in his master’s life; the artisan is less closely connected with him, and only attains excellence in proportion as he becomes a slave. The meaner sort of mechanic has a special and separate slavery.” Plutarch wrote: “It does not of necessity follow that, if the work delight you with its grace, the one who wrought it is worthy of esteem.” Xenophon’s opinion was: “What are called the mechanical arts carry a social stigma and are rightly dishonoured in our cities.” As a result of such attitudes, the brilliant and promising Ionian experimental method was largely abandoned for two thousand years. Without experiment, there is no way to choose among contending hypotheses, no way for science to advance. The anti-empirical taint of the Pythagoreans survives to this day. But why? Where did this distaste for experiment come from? An explanation for the decline of ancient science has been put forward by the historian of science, Benjamin Farrington: The mercantile tradition, which led to Ionian science, also led to a slave economy. The owning of slaves was the road to wealth and power. Polycrates’ fortifications were built by slaves. Athens in the time of Pericles, Plato and Aristotle had a vast slave population. All the brave Athenian talk about democracy applied only to a privileged few. What slaves characteristically perform is manual labor. But scientific experimentation is manual labor, from which the slaveholders are preferentially distanced; while it is only the slaveholders—politely called “gentle-men” in some societies—who have the leisure to do science. Accordingly, almost no one did science. The Ionians were perfectly able to make machines of some elegance. But the availability of slaves undermined the economic motive for the development of technology. Thus the mercantile tradition contributed to the great Ionian awakening around 600 B.C., and, through slavery, may have been the cause of its decline some two centuries later. There are great ironies here.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
Nasty political correctness as a tactic then makes perfect sense. Having rejected reason, we will not expect ourselves or others to behave reasonably. Having put our passions to the fore, we will act and react more crudely and range-of-the-moment. Having lost our sense of ourselves as individuals, we will seek our identities in our groups. Having little in common with different groups, we will see them as competitive enemies. Having abandoned recourse to rational and neutral standards, violent competition will seem practical. And having abandoned peaceful conflict resolution, prudence will dictate that only the most ruthless will survive. 
Stephen R.C. Hicks (Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault)
I can't tell you how many times in my life I have been told that I have “control issues”. Historically, this statement has brought me annoyance—the kind of irritation that can only be described as a self-protective reaction to having my behaviours labelled for exactly what they were. Needless to say, these accusations would make me defensive. I'd pull my armour tighter and get out my weapons—anything to protect myself from the truth. I realized, one day, that there were only a few things I could control, and a whole lot of things that I couldn't. I realized that trying to control everything around me was a recipe for failure, because it simply wasn't possible. I wish I could tell you that I "let go" then—that it was a lovely, beautiful spiritual moment, and now I'm all better. But that isn't true. Because, for me, seeking to control things which can't be controlled isn't a random tick or flaw. It's a stage of communication in the language of my own mind. If I don't listen to the first whispers that tell me I've repressed some emotion or neglected to process some event—then, stage two starts. Every piece of dirt on the floor, every chewing noise, every unexpected obstacle... they all become intolerable. So, I have two choices when this happens. I can allow my desire to control the outside world to turn into trying to control it. Or, I can allow myself to hear what is being said to me—to interpret this strange language that I speak to myself in and respond with compassion. Do I consistently do the wise thing first? No. I forget. And then I remember, somewhere in the middle of neurotically scrubbing a wall. But I remember faster now than I did before, and sometimes I really am able to respond quickly. It's a journey. I'm not perfect. But I am doing the right thing, and I get better at it every time I have the chance to practice. That's what learning and letting go really is—a practice. It's never over. And it never is, and never will be, perfect.
Vironika Tugaleva
Suppose... that you acquit me... Suppose that, in view of this, you said to me 'Socrates, on this occasion we shall disregard Anytus and acquit you, but only on one condition, that you give up spending your time on this quest and stop philosophizing. If we catch you going on in the same way, you shall be put to death.' Well, supposing, as I said, that you should offer to acquit me on these terms, I should reply 'Gentlemen, I am your very grateful and devoted servant, but I owe a greater obedience to God than to you; and so long as I draw breath and have my faculties, I shall never stop practicing philosophy and exhorting you and elucidating the truth for everyone that I meet. I shall go on saying, in my usual way, "My very good friend, you are an Athenian and belong to a city which is the greatest and most famous in the world for its wisdom and strength. Are you not ashamed that you give your attention to acquiring as much money as possible, and similarly with reputation and honour, and give no attention or thought to truth and understanding and the perfection of your soul?" And if any of you disputes this and professes to care about these things, I shall not at once let him go or leave him; no, I shall question him and examine him and test him; and if it appears that in spite of his profession he has made no real progress towards goodness, I shall reprove him for neglecting what is of supreme importance, and giving his attention to trivialities. I shall do this to everyone that I meet, young or old, foreigner or fellow-citizen; but especially to you my fellow-citizens, inasmuch as you are closer to me in kinship. This, I do assure you, is what my God commands; and it is my belief that no greater good has ever befallen you in this city than my service to my God; for I spend all my time going about trying to persuade you, young and old, to make your first and chief concern not for your bodies nor for your possessions, but for the highest welfare of your souls, proclaiming as I go 'Wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the State.' ...And so, gentlemen, I would say, 'You can please yourselves whether you listen to Anytus or not, and whether you acquit me or not; you know that I am not going to alter my conduct, not even if I have to die a hundred deaths.
Socrates (Apology, Crito and Phaedo of Socrates.)
You’ll never be the heavyweight champion of the world,” he said, “but you should be able to duck anything Edward throws at you.” Theo wanted his turn, but John said it was too hot for more lessons. He looked up into the tree where Hannah sat swinging her feet, and smiled. “Maybe your sister will come down from her perch and offer us a nice cold glass of lemonade.” Hannah gave her hand to John and allowed him to help her. “Not that I need your assistance,” she said. “I’m merely practicing my manners.” We watched John and Hannah walk away, still holding hands. “He’s as bad as diphtheria,” Theo muttered. “What do you mean?” “Diphtheria made you into a perfect gentleman,” Theo said, “and John makes Hannah into a perfect lady. I’m sure I don’t know which is worse--being sick or falling in love.
Mary Downing Hahn (Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story)
While it’s important to cultivate discernment, to work as hard as possible to do excellent work, to try really hard to make your song not bad, it’s just as important—perhaps more so, in the beginning—to make something, even if it’s not great. Don’t let your inner critic keep you from writing. Know that your songs aren’t going to be perfect. Then as joyfully as possible, keep writing. The only way to get better at something is to practice. It’s like we all have a quota of bad songs we have to meet before we get to a good one, so it’s best to start chipping away at the quota now. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll learn. Besides, a “bad” song lovingly written for a friend, family member, or neighbor will be a far greater blessing to them than a great song you never wrote at all. In that sense, the world needs more bad songs.
Andrew Peterson (Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making)
Neliss, why is this rug wet?” Legna peeked around the corner to glance at the rug in question, looking as if she had never seen it before. “We have a rug there?” “Did you or did you not promise me you were not going to practice extending how long you can hold your invisible bowls of water in the house? And what on earth is that noise?” “Okay, I confess to the water thing, which was an honest mistake, I swear it. But as for a noise, I have no idea what you are talking about.” “You cannot hear that? It has been driving me crazy for days now. It just repeats over and over again, a sort of clicking sound.” “Well, it took a millennium, but you have finally gone completely senile. Listen, this is a house built by Lycanthropes. It is more a cave than a house, to be honest. I have yet to decorate to my satisfaction. There is probably some gizmo of some kind lying around, and I will come across it eventually or it will quit working the longer it is exposed to our influence. Even though I do not hear anything, I will start looking for it. Is this satisfactory?” “I swear, Magdelegna, I am never letting you visit that Druid ever again.” “Oh, stop it. You do not intimidate me, as much as you would love to think you do. Now, I will come over there if you promise not to yell at me anymore. You have been quite moody lately.” “I would be a hell of a lot less moody if I could figure out what that damn noise is.” Legna came around the corner, moving into his embrace with her hands behind her back. He immediately tried to see what she had in them. “What is that?” “Remember when you asked me why I cut my hair?” “Ah yes, the surprise. Took you long enough to get to it.” “If you do not stop, I am not going to give it to you.” “Okay. I am stopping. What is it?” She held out the box tied with a ribbon to him and he accepted it with a lopsided smile. “I do not think I even remember the last time I received a gift,” he said, leaning to kiss her cheek warmly. He changed his mind, though, and opted to go for her mouth next. She smiled beneath the cling of their lips and pushed away. “Open it.” He reached for the ribbon and soon was pulling the top off the box. “What is this?” “Gideon, what does it look like?” He picked up the woven circlet with a finger and inspected it closely. It was an intricately and meticulously fashioned necklace, clearly made strand by strand from the coffee-colored locks of his mate’s hair. In the center of the choker was a silver oval with the smallest writing he had ever seen filling it from top to bottom. “What does it say?” “It is the medics’ code of ethics,” she said softly, taking it from him and slipping behind him to link the piece around his neck beneath his hair. “And it fits perfectly.” She came around to look at it, smiling. “I knew it would look handsome on you.” “I do not usually wear jewelry or ornamentation, but . . . it feels nice. How on earth did they make this?” “Well, it took forever, if you want to know why it took so long for me to make good on the surprise. But I wanted you to have something that was a little bit of me and a little bit of you.” “I already have something like that. It is you. And . . . and me, I guess,” he laughed. “We are a little bit of each other for the rest of our lives.” “See, that makes this a perfect symbol of our love,” she said smartly, reaching up on her toes to kiss him. “Well, thank you, sweet. It is a great present and an excellent surprise. Now, if you really want to surprise me, help me find out what that noise is.
Jacquelyn Frank (Gideon (Nightwalkers, #2))
Gautama found that there was a way to exit this vicious circle. If, when the mind experiences something pleasant or unpleasant, it simply understands things as they are, then there is no suffering. If you experience sadness without craving that the sadness go away, you continue to feel sadness but you do not suffer from it. There can actually be richness in the sadness. If you experience joy without craving that the joy linger and intensify, you continue to feel joy without losing your peace of mind. But how do you get the mind to accept things as they are, without craving? To accept sadness as sadness, joy as joy, pain as pain? Gautama developed a set of meditation techniques that train the mind to experience reality as it is, without craving. These practices train the mind to focus all its attention on the question, ‘What am I experiencing now?’ rather than on ‘What would I rather be experiencing?’ It is difficult to achieve this state of mind, but not impossible. Gautama grounded these meditation techniques in a set of ethical rules meant to make it easier for people to focus on actual experience and to avoid falling into cravings and fantasies. He instructed his followers to avoid killing, promiscuous sex and theft, since such acts necessarily stoke the fire of craving (for power, for sensual pleasure, or for wealth). When the flames are completely extinguished, craving is replaced by a state of perfect contentment and serenity, known as nirvana (the literal meaning of which is ‘extinguishing the fire’). Those who have attained nirvana are fully liberated from all suffering. They experience reality with the utmost clarity, free of fantasies and delusions. While they will most likely still encounter unpleasantness and pain, such experiences cause them no misery. A person who does not crave cannot suffer.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Yoga has been superficially misunderstood by certain Western writers, but its critics have never been its practitioners. Among many thoughtful tributes to yoga may be mentioned one by Dr. C. G. Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist. “When a religious method recommends itself as ‘scientific,’ it can be certain of its public in the West. Yoga fulfills this expectation,” Dr. Jung writes (7). “Quite apart from the charm of the new, and the fascination of the half-understood, there is good cause for Yoga to have many adherents. It offers the possibility of controllable experience, and thus satisfies the scientific need of ‘facts,’ and besides this, by reason of its breadth and depth, its venerable age, its doctrine and method, which include every phase of life, it promises undreamed-of possibilities. “Every religious or philosophical practice means a psychological discipline, that is, a method of mental hygiene. The manifold, purely bodily procedures of Yoga (8) also mean a physiological hygiene which is superior to ordinary gymnastics and breathing exercises, inasmuch as it is not merely mechanistic and scientific, but also philosophical; in its training of the parts of the body, it unites them with the whole of the spirit, as is quite clear, for instance, in the Pranayama exercises where Prana is both the breath and the universal dynamics of the cosmos. “When the thing which the individual is doing is also a cosmic event, the effect experienced in the body (the innervation), unites with the emotion of the spirit (the universal idea), and out of this there develops a lively unity which no technique, however scientific, can produce. Yoga practice is unthinkable, and would also be ineffectual, without the concepts on which Yoga is based. It combines the bodily and the spiritual with each other in an extraordinarily complete way. “In the East, where these ideas and practices have developed, and where for several thousand years an unbroken tradition has created the necessary spiritual foundations, Yoga is, as I can readily believe, the perfect and appropriate method of fusing body and mind together so that they form a unity which is scarcely to be questioned. This unity creates a psychological disposition which makes possible intuitions that transcend consciousness.” The Western day is indeed nearing when the inner science of self- control will be found as necessary as the outer conquest of nature. This new Atomic Age will see men’s minds sobered and broadened by the now scientifically indisputable truth that matter is in reality a concentrate of energy. Finer forces of the human mind can and must liberate energies greater than those within stones and metals, lest the material atomic giant, newly unleashed, turn on the world in mindless destruction (9).
Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi (Illustrated and Annotated Edition))
The foundation of our thinking is the Theory of Jobs to Be Done, which focuses on deeply understanding your customers’ struggle for progress and then creating the right solution and attendant set of experiences to ensure you solve your customers’ jobs well, every time. “Theory” may conjure up images of ivory tower musings, but I assure you that it is the most practical and useful business tool we can offer you. Good theory helps us understand “how” and “why.” It helps us make sense of how the world works and predict the consequences of our decisions and our actions. Jobs Theory5, we believe, can move companies beyond hoping that correlation is enough to the causal mechanism of successful innovation. Innovation may never be a perfect science, but that’s not the point. We have the ability to make innovation a reliable engine for growth, an engine based on a clear understanding of causality, rather than simply casting seeds in the hopes of one day harvesting some fruit.
Clayton M. Christensen (Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice)
Okay,” I finally said. “Can we all agree that this is maybe the most screwed-up situation we’ve ever found ourselves in?” “Agreed,” they said in unison. “Awesome.” I gave a little nod. “And do either of you have any idea what we should do about it?” “Well, we can’t use magic,” Archer said. “And if we try to leave, we get eaten by Monster Fog,” Jenna added. “Right. So no plans at all, then?” Jenna frowned. “Other than rocking in the fetal position for a while?” “Yeah, I was thinking about taking one of those showers where you huddle in the corner fully clothed and cry,” Archer offered. I couldn’t help but snort with laughter. “Great. So we’ll all go have our mental breakdowns, and then we’ll somehow get ourselves out of this mess.” “I think our best bet is to lie low for a while,” Archer said. “Let Mrs. Casnoff think we’re all too shocked and awed to do anything. Maybe this assembly tonight will give us some answers.” “Answers,” I practically sighed. “About freaking time.” Jenna gave me a funny look. “Soph, are you…grinning?” I could feel my cheeks aching, so I knew that I was. “Look, you two have to admit: if we want to figure out just what the Casnoffs are plotting, this is pretty much the perfect place.” “My girl has a point,” Archer said, smiling at me. Now my cheeks didn’t just ache, they burned. Clearing her throat, Jenna said, “Okay, so we all go up to our rooms, then after the assembly tonight we can regroup and decide what to do next.” “Deal,” I said as Archer nodded. “Are we all going to high-five now?” Jenna asked after a pause. “No, but I can make up some kind of secret handshake if you want,” Archer said, and for a second, they smiled at each other. But just as quickly, the smile disappeared from Jenna’s face, and she said to me, “Let’s go. I want to see if our room is as freakified as the rest of this place.” “Good idea,” I said. Archer reached out and brushed his fingers over mine. “See you later, then?” he asked. His voice was casual, but my skin was hot where he touched me. “Definitely,” I answered, figuring that even a girl who has to stop evil witches from taking over the world could make time for kissage in there somewhere. He turned and walked away. As I watched him go, I could feel Jenna starting at me. “Fine,” she acknowledged with a dramatic roll of her eyes. “He’s a little dreamy.” I elbowed her gently in the side. “Thanks.” Jenna started to walk to the stairs. “You coming?” “Yeah,” I said. “I’ll be right up. I just want to take a quick look around down here.” “Why, so you can be even more depressed?” Actually, I wanted to stay downstairs just a little longer to see if anyone else showed up. So far, I’d seen nearly everyone I remembered from last year at Hex Hall. Had Cal been dragged here, too? Technically he hadn’t been a student, but Mrs. Casnoff had used his powers a lot last year. Would she still want him here? To Jenna, I just said, “Yeah, you know me. I like poking bruises.” “Okay. Get your Nancy Drew on.
Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3))
Go sat quietly, the orange of the streetlight creating a rock-star halo around her profile. “This is going to be a real test for you, Nick,” she murmured, not looking at me. “You’ve always had trouble with the truth—you always do the little fib if you think it will avoid a real argument. You’ve always gone the easy way. Tell Mom you went to baseball practice when you really quit the team; tell Mom you went to church when you were at a movie. It’s some weird compulsion.” “This is very different from baseball, Go.” “It’s a lot different. But you’re still fibbing like a little boy. You’re still desperate to have everyone think you’re perfect. You never want to be the bad guy. So you tell Amy’s parents she didn’t want kids. You don’t tell me you’re cheating on your wife. You swear the credit cards in your name aren’t yours, you swear you were hanging out at a beach when you hate the beach, you swear your marriage was happy. I just don’t know what to believe right now.” “You’re kidding, right?” “Since Amy has disappeared, all you’ve done is lie. It makes me worry. About what’s going on.” Complete silence for a moment.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
What tempts you, Pippa?" "I-" She hesitated. "I care a great deal for meringue." He laughed, the sound bigger and bolder than she expected. "It's true." "No doubt you do. But you may have meringue anytime you like." He stood back and indicated that she should enter the carriage. She ignored the silent command, eager to make her point. "Not so. If the cook has not made it, I cannot eat it." A smile played on his lips. "Ever-practical Pippa. If you want it, you can find it. That's my point. Surely, somewhere in London, someone will take pity upon you and satisfy your craving for meringue." Her brow furrowed. "Therefore, I am not tempted by it?" "No. You desire it. But that's not the same thing. Desire is easy. It's as simple as you wish to have meringue, and meringue is procured." He waved a hand toward the interior of the carriage but did not offer to help her up. "In." She ascended another step before turning back. The additional height brought them eye to eye. "I don't understand. What is temptation, then?" "Temptation..." He hesitated, and she found herself leaning forward, eager for this curious, unsettling lesson. "Temptation turns you. It makes you into something you never dreamed, it presses you to give up everything you ever loved, it calls you to sell your soul for one, fleeting moment." The words were low and dark and full of truth, and they hovered in the silence for a long moment, an undeniable invitation. He was close, protecting her from toppling off the block, the heat of him wrapping around her despite the cold. "It makes you ache," he whispered, and she watched the curve of his lips in the darkness. "You'll make any promise, swear any oath. For one... perfect... unsoiled taste." Oh, my. Pippa exhaled, long and reedy, nerves screaming, thoughts muddled. She closed her eyes, swallowed, forced herself back, away from him and the way he... tempted her. Why was he so calm and cool and utterly in control? Why was he not riddled with similar... feelings? He was a very frustrating man. She sighed. "That must be a tremendous meringue." A beat followed the silly, stupid words... words she wished she could take back. How ridiculous. And then he chuckled, teeth flashing in the darkness. "Indeed," he said, the words thicker and more gravelly than before.
Sarah MacLean (One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #2))
It was in postwar Paris that Mandelbrot began this quest in earnest. Uncle Szolem urged him to attend the École Normale Supérieure, France’s most rarefied institution of higher learning, where Mandelbrot had earned entry at the age of twenty (one of only twenty Frenchmen to do so). But the aridly abstract style of mathematics practiced there was uncongenial to him. At the time, the École Normale—dite normale, prétendue supérieure, says the wag—was dominated in mathematics by a semisecret cabal called Bourbaki. (The name Bourbaki was jocularly taken from a hapless nineteenth-century French general who once tried to shoot himself in the head but missed.) Its leader was André Weil, one of the supreme mathematicians of the twentieth century (and the brother of Simone Weil). The aim of Bourbaki was to purify mathematics, to rebuild it on perfectly logical foundations untainted by physical or geometric intuition. Mandelbrot found the Bourbaki cult, and Weil in particular, “positively repellent.” The Bourbakistes seemed to cut off mathematics from natural science, to make it into a sort of logical theology. They regarded geometry, so integral to Mandelbrot’s Keplerian dream, as a dead branch of mathematics, fit for children at best.
Jim Holt (When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought)
The Levellers . . . only change and pervert the natural order of things: they load the edifice of society by setting up in the air what the solidity of the structure requires to be on the ground. . . . Far am I from denying in theory, full as far is my heart from withholding in practice (if I were of power to give or to withhold), the real rights of men. In denying their false claims of right, I do not mean to injure those which are real, and are such as their pretended rights would totally destroy. . . . In this partnership all men have equal rights; but not to equal things. . . . Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom. Among these wants is to be reckoned the want, out of civil society, of a sufficient restraint upon their passions. Society requires not only that the passions of individuals should be subjected, but that even in the mass and body, as well as in the individuals, the inclinations of men should frequently be thwarted, their will controlled, and their passions brought into subjection. This can only be done by a power out of themselves, and not, in the exercise of its function, subject to that will and to those passions which it is its office to bridle and subdue. In this sense the restraints on men, as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among their rights. . . . Society is, indeed, a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure; but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. . . . You would not cure the evil by resolving that there should be no more monarchs, nor ministers of state, nor of the Gospel— no interpreters of law, no general officers, no public councils. You might change the names: the things in some shape must remain. A certain quantum of power must always exist in the community, in some hands, and under some appellation. Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names— to the causes of evil, which are permanent, not to the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear. Otherwise you will be wise historically, a fool in practice. . . . The effects of the incapacity shown by the popular leaders in all the great members of the commonwealth are to be covered with the 'all-atoning name' of Liberty. . . . But what is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint. Those who know what virtuous liberty is cannot bear to see it disgraced by incapable heads, on account of their having high-sounding words in their mouths. . . . To make a government requires no great prudence. Settle the seat of power, teach obedience, and the work is done. To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go the rein. But to form a free government, that is to temper together these opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one consistent work, requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful, and combining mind.
Edmund Burke
III. They seek for themselves private retiring places, as country villages, the sea-shore, mountains; yea thou thyself art wont to long much after such places. But all this thou must know proceeds from simplicity in the highest degree. At what time soever thou wilt, it is in thy power to retire into thyself, and to be at rest, and free from all businesses. A man cannot any whither retire better than to his own soul; he especially who is beforehand provided of such things within, which whensoever he doth withdraw himself to look in, may presently afford unto him perfect ease and tranquillity. By tranquillity I understand a decent orderly disposition and carriage, free from all confusion and tumultuousness. Afford then thyself this retiring continually, and thereby refresh and renew thyself. Let these precepts be brief and fundamental, which as soon as thou dost call them to mind, may suffice thee to purge thy soul throughly, and to send thee away well pleased with those things whatsoever they be, which now again after this short withdrawing of thy soul into herself thou dost return unto. For what is it that thou art offended at? Can it be at the wickedness of men, when thou dost call to mind this conclusion, that all reasonable creatures are made one for another? and that it is part of justice to bear with them? and that it is against their wills that they offend? and how many already, who once likewise prosecuted their enmities, suspected, hated, and fiercely contended, are now long ago stretched out, and reduced unto ashes? It is time for thee to make an end. As for those things which among the common chances of the world happen unto thee as thy particular lot and portion, canst thou be displeased with any of them, when thou dost call that our ordinary dilemma to mind, either a providence, or Democritus his atoms; and with it, whatsoever we brought to prove that the whole world is as it were one city? And as for thy body, what canst thou fear, if thou dost consider that thy mind and understanding, when once it hath recollected itself, and knows its own power, hath in this life and breath (whether it run smoothly and gently, or whether harshly and rudely), no interest at all, but is altogether indifferent: and whatsoever else thou hast heard and assented unto concerning either pain or pleasure? But the care of thine honour and reputation will perchance distract thee? How can that be, if thou dost look back, and consider both how quickly all things that are, are forgotten, and what an immense chaos of eternity was before, and will follow after all things: and the vanity of praise, and the inconstancy and variableness of human judgments and opinions, and the narrowness of the place, wherein it is limited and circumscribed? For the whole earth is but as one point; and of it, this inhabited part of it, is but a very little part; and of this part, how many in number, and what manner of men are they, that will commend thee? What remains then, but that thou often put in practice this kind of retiring of thyself, to this little part of thyself; and above all things, keep thyself from distraction, and intend not anything vehemently, but be free and consider all things, as a man whose proper object is Virtue, as a man whose true nature is to be kind and sociable, as a citizen, as a mortal creature. Among other things, which to consider, and look into thou must use to withdraw thyself, let those two be among the most obvious and at hand. One, that the things or objects themselves reach not unto the soul, but stand without still and quiet, and that it is from the opinion only which is within, that all the tumult and all the trouble doth proceed. The next, that all these things, which now thou seest, shall within a very little while be changed, and be no more: and ever call to mind, how many changes and alterations in the world thou thyself hast already been an eyewitness of in thy time. This world is mere change, and this life, opinion.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Our actions and the problems they create are connected, all around the world. Goats in the Mongolian desert add to air pollution in California; throwing away a computer helps create an illegal economy that makes people sick in Ghana; a loophole in a treaty contributes to deforestation in the American South to generate electricity in England; our idea of the perfect carrot could mean that many others rot in the fields. We can’t pretend anymore that the things we do and wear and eat and use exist only for us, that they don’t have a wider impact beyond our individual lives, which also means that we’re all in this together. • A lack of transparency on the part of governments and corporations has meant that our actions have consequences we are unaware of (see above), and if we knew about them, we would be surprised and angry. (Now, maybe, you are.) • It’s important to understand your actions and larger social, cultural, industrial, and economic processes in context, because then you can better understand which specific policies and practices would make a difference, and what they would achieve. • Living in a way that honors your values is important, even if your personal habits aren’t going to fix everything. We need to remember what is at stake, and the small sacrifices we make may help us do that, if you need reminding. If we know what our sacrifices mean and why they might matter, we might be more willing to make them.
Tatiana Schlossberg (Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have)
The reason you might be having trouble with your practice in the long run—if you were capable of building a practice in the short run—is nearly always because you are afraid. The fear, the resistance, is very insidious. It doesn’t leave a lot of fingerprints, but the person who manages to make a movie short that blows everyone away but can’t raise enough cash to make a feature film, the person who gets a little freelance work here and there but can’t figure out how to turn it into a full-time gig—that person is practicing self-sabotage. These people sabotage themselves because the alternative is to put themselves into the world as someone who knows what they are doing. They are afraid that if they do that, they will be seen as a fraud. It’s incredibly difficult to stand up at a board meeting or a conference or just in front of your peers and say, “I know how to do this. Here is my work. It took me a year. It’s great.” This is hard to do for two reasons: (1) it opens you to criticism, and (2) it puts you into the world as someone who knows what you are doing, which means tomorrow you also have to know what you are doing, and you have just signed up for a lifetime of knowing what you are doing. It’s much easier to whine and sabotage yourself and blame the client, the system, and the economy. This is what you hide from—the noise in your head that says you are not good enough, that says it is not perfect, that says it could have been better.
Jocelyn K. Glei (Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind)
Art is that imaginative expression of human energy, which, through technical concretion of feeling and perception, tends to reconcile the individual with the universal, by exciting in him impersonal emotion. And the greatest Art is that which excites the greatest impersonal emotion in an hypothetical perfect human being. Impersonal emotion! And what - I thought - do I mean by that? Surely I mean: That is not Art, which, while I am contemplating it, inspires me with any active or direct impulse; that is Art, when, for however brief a moment, it replaces within me interest in myself by interest in itself. For, let me suppose myself in the presence of a carved marble bath. If my thoughts be: 'What could I buy that for?' Impulse of acquisition; or: 'From what quarry did it come?' Impulse of inquiry; or: 'Which would be the right end for my head?' Mixed impulse of inquiry and acquisition - I am at that moment insensible to it as a work of Art. But, if I stand before it vibrating at sight of its colour and forms, if ever so little and for ever so short a time, unhaunted by any definite practical thought or impulse - to that extent and for that moment it has stolen me away out of myself and put itself there instead; has linked me to the universal by making me forget the individual in me. And for that moment, and only while that moment lasts, it is to me a work of Art. The word 'impersonal,' then, is but used in this my definition to signify momentary forgetfulness of one's own personality and its active wants.
John Galsworthy (Candelabra: Selected Essays and Addresses)
I find that most people serve practical needs. They have an understanding of the difference between meaning and relevance. And at some level my mind is more interested in meaning than in relevance. That is similar to the mind of an artist. The arts are not life. They are not serving life. The arts are the cuckoo child of life. Because the meaning of life is to eat. You know, life is evolution and evolution is about eating. It's pretty gross if you think about it. Evolution is about getting eaten by monsters. Don't go into the desert and perish there, because it's going to be a waste. If you're lucky the monsters that eat you are your own children. And eventually the search for evolution will, if evolution reaches its global optimum, it will be the perfect devourer. The thing that is able to digest anything and turn it into structure to sustain and perpetuate itself, for long as the local puddle of negentropy is available. And in a way we are yeast. Everything we do, all the complexity that we create, all the structures we build, is to erect some surfaces on which to out compete other kinds of yeast. And if you realize this you can try to get behind this and I think the solution to this is fascism. Fascism is a mode of organization of society in which the individual is a cell in the superorganism and the value of the individual is exactly the contribution to the superorganism. And when the contribution is negative then the superorganism kills it in order to be fitter in the competition against other superorganisms. And it's totally brutal. I don't like fascism because it's going to kill a lot of minds I like. And the arts is slightly different. It's a mutation that is arguably not completely adaptive. It's one where people fall in love with the loss function. Where you think that your mental representation is the intrinsically important thing. That you try to capture a conscious state for its own sake, because you think that matters. The true artist in my view is somebody who captures conscious states and that's the only reason why they eat. So you eat to make art. And another person makes art to eat. And these are of course the ends of a spectrum and the truth is often somewhere in the middle, but in a way there is this fundamental distinction. And there are in some sense the true scientists which are trying to figure out something about the universe. They are trying to reflect it. And it's an artistic process in a way. It's an attempt to be a reflection to this universe. You see there is this amazing vast darkness which is the universe. There's all these iterations of patterns, but mostly there is nothing interesting happening in these patterns. It's a giant fractal and most of it is just boring. And at a brief moment in the evolution of the universe there are planetary surfaces and negentropy gradients that allow for the creation of structure and then there are some brief flashes of consciousness in all this vast darkness. And these brief flashes of consciousness can reflect the universe and maybe even figure out what it is. It's the only chance that we have. Right? This is amazing. Why not do this? Life is short. This is the thing we can do.
Joscha Bach
To understand how shame is influenced by culture, we need to think back to when we were children or young adults, and we first learned how important it is to be liked, to fit in, and to please others. The lessons were often taught by shame; sometimes overtly, other times covertly. Regardless of how they happened, we can all recall experiences of feeling rejected, diminished and ridiculed. Eventually, we learned to fear these feelings. We learned how to change our behaviors, thinking and feelings to avoid feeling shame. In the process, we changed who we were and, in many instances, who we are now. Our culture teaches us about shame—it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. We weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us—from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate. We are wired for connection. It’s in our biology. As infants, our need for connection is about survival. As we grow older, connection means thriving—emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Connection is critical because we all have the basic need to feel accepted and to believe that we belong and are valued for who we are. Shame unravels our connection to others. In fact, I often refer to shame as the fear of disconnection—the fear of being perceived as flawed and unworthy of acceptance or belonging. Shame keeps us from telling our own stories and prevents us from listening to others tell their stories. We silence our voices and keep our secrets out of the fear of disconnection. When we hear others talk about their shame, we often blame them as a way to protect ourselves from feeling uncomfortable. Hearing someone talk about a shaming experience can sometimes be as painful as actually experiencing it for ourselves. Like courage, empathy and compassion are critical components of shame resilience. Practicing compassion allows us to hear shame. Empathy, the most powerful tool of compassion, is an emotional skill that allows us to respond to others in a meaningful, caring way. Empathy is the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes—to understand what someone is experiencing and to reflect back that understanding. When we share a difficult experience with someone, and that person responds in an open, deeply connected way—that’s empathy. Developing empathy can enrich the relationships we have with our partners, colleagues, family members and children. In Chapter 2, I’ll discuss the concept of empathy in great detail. You’ll learn how it works, how we can learn to be empathic and why the opposite of experiencing shame is experiencing empathy. The prerequisite for empathy is compassion. We can only respond empathically if we are willing to hear someone’s pain. We sometimes think of compassion as a saintlike virtue. It’s not. In fact, compassion is possible for anyone who can accept the struggles that make us human—our fears, imperfections, losses and shame. We can only respond compassionately to someone telling her story if we have embraced our own story—shame and all. Compassion is not a virtue—it is a commitment.
Anonymous
His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it. “You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.” “To forget it!” “You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.” “But the Solar System!” I protested. “What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently; “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.” I was on the point of asking him what that work might be, but something in his manner showed me that the question would be an unwelcome one. I pondered over our short conversation, however, and endeavoured to draw my deductions from it. He said that he would acquire no knowledge which did not bear upon his object. Therefore all the knowledge which he possessed was such as would be useful to him. I enumerated in my own mind all the various points upon which he had shown me that he was exceptionally well-informed. I even took a pencil and jotted them down. I could not help smiling at the document when I had completed it. It ran in this way— SHERLOCK HOLMES—his limits. 1. Knowledge of Literature.—Nil. 2. Philosophy.—Nil. 3. Astronomy.—Nil. 4. Politics.—Feeble. 5. Botany.—Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening. 6. Geology.—Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them. 7. Chemistry.—Profound. 8. Anatomy.—Accurate, but unsystematic. 9. Sensational Literature.—Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century. 10. Plays the violin well. 11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman. 12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.
Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1))
5. Move toward resistance and pain A. Bill Bradley (b. 1943) fell in love with the sport of basketball somewhere around the age of ten. He had one advantage over his peers—he was tall for his age. But beyond that, he had no real natural gift for the game. He was slow and gawky, and could not jump very high. None of the aspects of the game came easily to him. He would have to compensate for all of his inadequacies through sheer practice. And so he proceeded to devise one of the most rigorous and efficient training routines in the history of sports. Managing to get his hands on the keys to the high school gym, he created for himself a schedule—three and a half hours of practice after school and on Sundays, eight hours every Saturday, and three hours a day during the summer. Over the years, he would keep rigidly to this schedule. In the gym, he would put ten-pound weights in his shoes to strengthen his legs and give him more spring to his jump. His greatest weaknesses, he decided, were his dribbling and his overall slowness. He would have to work on these and also transform himself into a superior passer to make up for his lack of speed. For this purpose, he devised various exercises. He wore eyeglass frames with pieces of cardboard taped to the bottom, so he could not see the basketball while he practiced dribbling. This would train him to always look around him rather than at the ball—a key skill in passing. He set up chairs on the court to act as opponents. He would dribble around them, back and forth, for hours, until he could glide past them, quickly changing direction. He spent hours at both of these exercises, well past any feelings of boredom or pain. Walking down the main street of his hometown in Missouri, he would keep his eyes focused straight ahead and try to notice the goods in the store windows, on either side, without turning his head. He worked on this endlessly, developing his peripheral vision so he could see more of the court. In his room at home, he practiced pivot moves and fakes well into the night—such skills that would also help him compensate for his lack of speed. Bradley put all of his creative energy into coming up with novel and effective ways of practicing. One time his family traveled to Europe via transatlantic ship. Finally, they thought, he would give his training regimen a break—there was really no place to practice on board. But below deck and running the length of the ship were two corridors, 900 feet long and quite narrow—just enough room for two passengers. This was the perfect location to practice dribbling at top speed while maintaining perfect ball control. To make it even harder, he decided to wear special eyeglasses that narrowed his vision. For hours every day he dribbled up one side and down the other, until the voyage was done. Working this way over the years, Bradley slowly transformed himself into one of the biggest stars in basketball—first as an All-American at Princeton University and then as a professional with the New York Knicks. Fans were in awe of his ability to make the most astounding passes, as if he had eyes on the back and sides of his head—not to mention his dribbling prowess, his incredible arsenal of fakes and pivots, and his complete gracefulness on the court. Little did they know that such apparent ease was the result of so many hours of intense practice over so many years.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
This is the Way of Dōgen Zenji. For him, the Way is not simply one direction from starting point to goal; rather, the Way is like a circle. We arouse bodhi mind moment by moment, we practice moment by moment, we become fully aware moment by moment, and we are in nirvana moment by moment. And we continue to do it ceaselessly. Our practice is perfect in each moment and yet we have a direction toward buddha. It is difficult to grasp with the intellect, but that is the Way that Dōgen Zenji refers to in Bendōwa. So our practice is not a kind of training for the sake of making an ignorant person smart, clever, and finally enlightened. Each action, each moment of sitting, is arousing bodhi mind, practice, awakening, and nirvana. Each moment is perfect, and yet within this perfect moment we have a direction, the bodhisattva vows. "However innumerable all beings are, I vow to save them all. However inexhaustible my delusions are, I vow to extinguish them all. However immeasurable the dharma teachings are, I vow to master them all. However endless the Buddha's way is, I vow to follow it." These four bodhisattva vows are our direction within our moment-by-moment practice. And yet each moment is perfect. Since our delusion is inexhaustible, at no time can we eliminate all our delusions. Still we try to do it moment by moment. This trying is itself the manifestation of the buddha way, buddha's enlightenment. But even though we try as hard as possible to do it, we cannot be perfect. So we should repent. And repentance becomes energy to go further, to practice further in the direction of buddha. That is the basis of bodhisattva practice. Our practice is endless. Enlightenment is beginningless.
Dōgen (The Wholehearted Way: A Translation of Eihei Dogen's Bendowa, With Commentary by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi)
Hisako Arato... ... is an expert at medicinal cooking!" MEDICINAL COOKING Based on both Western and Eastern medicinal practices, it melds together food and pharmaceutical science. It is a culinary specialty that incorporates natural remedies and Chinese medicine into recipes to promote overall dietary health. "Besides the four traditional natural remedies, I also added Jiāng Huáng, Dà huí Xiāng, and Xiāo huí Xiāng... ... to create my own original 'Medicinal Spice Mix.' Steeping them in water for an hour drew out their medicinal properties. Then I added the mutton and various vegetables and boiled them until they were tender. Some Shaoxing wine and a cilantro garnish at the end gave it a strong, refreshing fragrance. " "That's right! Now that you mention it, there's a whole lot of overlap between medicinal cooking and curry. The medicinal herbs Jiāng Huáng, Dà huí Xiāng, and Xiāo huí Xiāng are commonly called turmeric, star anise and fennel! All three of those are spices any good curry's gotta have!" "By basing her dish on those spices, she was able to tie her medicinal cooking techniques into the curry. That makes this a dish that only she could create!" "Yes. This is my version of a Medicinal Curry... It's called 'Si wu Tang Mutton Curry'!" "I can feel it! I can feel the healing energies flowing through my body!" "Delicious! The spices highlight the strong, robust flavor of the mutton perfectly! And the mild sweetness of the vegetables has seeped into the roux, mellowing the overall flavor!" Thanks to Si wu Tang, just a few bites have the curry's heat spreading through my whole body!" "Yes. Si wu Tang is said to soothe the kidneys, boost inner chi... ... and purge both body and mind of impurities!
Yuto Tsukuda (食戟のソーマ 7 [Shokugeki no Souma 7] (Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma, #7))
We were in Julie’s room one night, my eldest daughter and I, maybe a decade ago now. I wanted to show her how the canvas painting she had carefully labored over for her little sister's Christmas gift was framed and hung on the wall. I said, gazing at her masterpiece with no small amount of motherly pride, “Now it looks like a real work of art”. Bella looked at me quizzically, wondering yet again how her mother could possibly understand so little about the world. “Mama, every time you make something, or draw something, or paint something, it is already real art. There is no such thing as art that is not real” And so I said that she was right, and didn’t it look nice, and once again, daughter became guru and mother became willing student. Which is, I sometimes think, the way it was meant to be. ~~~~~ art is always real. all of it. even the stuff you don’t understand. even the stuff you don’t like. even the stuff that you made that you would be embarrassed to show your best friend that photo that you took when you first got your DSLR, when you captured her spirit perfectly but the focus landed on her shoulder? still art. the painting you did last year the first time you picked up a brush, the one your mentor critiqued to death? it’s art. the story you are holding in your heart and so desperately want to tell the world? definitely art. the scarf you knit for your son with the funky messed up rows? art. art. art. the poem scrawled on your dry cleaning receipt at the red light. the dress you want to sew. the song you want to sing. the clay you’ve not yet molded. everything you have made or will one day make or imagine making in your wildest dreams. it’s all real, every last bit. because there is no such thing as art that is not real.
Jeanette LeBlanc
Just ask me how to get bloodstains out of a fur coat. No, really, go ahead. Ask me. The secret is cornmeal and brushing the fur the wrong way. The tricky part is keeping your mouth shut. To get blood off of piano keys, polish them with talcum powder or powdered milk. This isn’t the most marketable job skill, but to get bloodstains out of wallpaper, put on a paste of cornstarch and cold water. This will work just as well to get blood out of a mattress or a davenport. The trick is to forget how fast these things can happen. Suicides. Accidents. Crimes of passion. Just concentrate on the stain until your memory is completely erased. Practice really does make perfect. If you could call it that. Ignore how it feels when the only real talent you have is for hiding the truth. You have a God-given knack for committing a terrible sin. It’s your calling. You have a natural gift for denial. A blessing. If you could call it that. Even after sixteen years of cleaning people’s houses, I want to think the world is getting better and better, but really I know it’s not. You want there to be some improvement in people, but there won’t be. And you want to think there’s something you can get done. Cleaning this same house every day, all that gets better is my skill at denying what’s wrong. God forbid I should ever meet who I work for in person. Please don’t get the idea I don’t like my employers. The caseworker has gotten me lots worse postings. I don’t hate them. I don’t love them, but I don’t hate them. I’ve worked for lots worse. Just ask me how to get urine stains out of drapes and a tablecloth. Ask me what’s the fastest way to hide bullet holes in a living-room wall. The answer is toothpaste. For larger calibers, mix a paste of equal parts starch and salt. Call me the voice of experience.
Chuck Palahniuk (Survivor)
As they walked toward the dance floor, Pamela barely felt the bruises on her feet from Henry. The thrill of waltzing with Mr. Carter practically banished the ache. On the floor, he took her into his arms. She liked the feel of his hand on her waist, the press of their gloved palms together. For the first time, the intimate posture, which had always made her feel uncomfortable and stiff, seemed right, and she wished he would pull her closer. Throughout the beginning of the waltz, they remained silent. She had the sense that Mr. Carter was concentrating on his steps, and she didn't want to distract him. He frowned. "I'm sorry I'm not a very good dancer." "Not at all." Pamela thought of Henry and had to restrain a laugh. She didn't want Mr. Carter to think she was making fun of him. "You couldn't possibly be worse than my previous partner, who led me in the wrong direction and trod on my toes!" His troubled expression cleared. "Well, then, I'm grateful you decided to risk your toes again with me. I promise, I'll try to keep my boots on the floor where they belong." He wiggled his eyebrows. Pamela laughed at his playful act. "I watched you with Elizabeth, and you were fine. So accepting your invitation to dance was not such a risk as you're making it out to be." As they bantered, Pamela found herself relaxing. Conversing with this stranger she'd only met twenty minutes ago was far easier than talking with some men she'd known all her life. Mr. Carter also seemed to become comfortable. His lead became more expert, and he picked up their speed. As they became in tune with each other, they flowed in perfect step to the music. Exhilaration welled up in Pamela. She'd never known dancing could feel like this. She glanced up at him, feeling a smile as wide as the moon stretch across her face. "We're flying!
Debra Holland (Beneath Montana's Sky (Mail-Order Brides of the West, #0.5; Montana Sky, #0.5))
In short the only fully rational world would be the world of wishing-caps, the world of telepathy, where every desire is fulfilled instanter, without having to consider or placate surrounding or intermediate powers. This is the Absolute's own world. He calls upon the phenomenal world to be, and it IS, exactly as he calls for it, no other condition being required. In our world, the wishes of the individual are only one condition. Other individuals are there with other wishes and they must be propitiated first. So Being grows under all sorts of resistances in this world of the many, and, from compromise to compromise, only gets organized gradually into what may be called secondarily rational shape. We approach the wishing-cap type of organization only in a few departments of life. We want water and we turn a faucet. We want a kodak-picture and we press a button. We want information and we telephone. We want to travel and we buy a ticket. In these and similar cases, we hardly need to do more than the wishing—the world is rationally organized to do the rest. But this talk of rationality is a parenthesis and a digression. What we were discussing was the idea of a world growing not integrally but piecemeal by the contributions of its several parts. Take the hypothesis seriously and as a live one. Suppose that the world's author put the case to you before creation, saying: "I am going to make a world not certain to be saved, a world the perfection of which shall be conditional merely, the condition being that each several agent does its own 'level best.' I offer you the chance of taking part in such a world. Its safety, you see, is unwarranted. It is a real adventure, with real danger, yet it may win through. It is a social scheme of co-operative work genuinely to be done. Will you join the procession? Will you trust yourself and trust the other agents enough to face the risk?" Should you in all seriousness, if participation in such a world were proposed to you, feel bound to reject it as not safe enough? Would you say that, rather than be part and parcel of so fundamentally pluralistic and irrational a universe, you preferred to relapse into the slumber of nonentity from which you had been momentarily aroused by the tempter's voice? Of course if you are normally constituted, you would do nothing of the sort. There is a healthy- minded buoyancy in most of us which such a universe would exactly fit. We would therefore accept the offer—"Top! und schlag auf schlag!" It would be just like the world we practically live in; and loyalty to our old nurse Nature would forbid us to say no. The world proposed would seem 'rational' to us in the most living way. Most of us, I say, would therefore welcome the proposition and add our fiat to the fiat of the creator. Yet perhaps some would not; for there are morbid minds in every human collection, and to them the prospect of a universe with only a fighting chance of safety would probably make no appeal. There are moments of discouragement in us all, when we are sick of self and tired of vainly striving. Our own life breaks down, and we fall into the attitude of the prodigal son. We mistrust the chances of things. We want a universe where we can just give up, fall on our father's neck, and be absorbed into the absolute life as a drop of water melts into the river or the sea. The peace and rest, the security desiderated at such moments is security against the bewildering accidents of so much finite experience. Nirvana means safety from this everlasting round of adventures of which the world of sense consists. The hindoo and the buddhist, for this is essentially their attitude, are simply afraid, afraid of more experience, afraid of life. And to men of this complexion, religious monism comes with its consoling words: "All is needed and essential—even you with your sick soul and heart. All are one
William James (Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking)
Unchopping a Tree. Start with the leaves, the small twigs, and the nests that have been shaken, ripped, or broken off by the fall; these must be gathered and attached once again to their respective places. It is not arduous work, unless major limbs have been smashed or mutilated. If the fall was carefully and correctly planned, the chances of anything of the kind happening will have been reduced. Again, much depends upon the size, age, shape, and species of the tree. Still, you will be lucky if you can get through this stages without having to use machinery. Even in the best of circumstances it is a labor that will make you wish often that you had won the favor of the universe of ants, the empire of mice, or at least a local tribe of squirrels, and could enlist their labors and their talents. But no, they leave you to it. They have learned, with time. This is men's work. It goes without saying that if the tree was hollow in whole or in part, and contained old nests of bird or mammal or insect, or hoards of nuts or such structures as wasps or bees build for their survival, the contents will have to repaired where necessary, and reassembled, insofar as possible, in their original order, including the shells of nuts already opened. With spider's webs you must simply do the best you can. We do not have the spider's weaving equipment, nor any substitute for the leaf's living bond with its point of attachment and nourishment. It is even harder to simulate the latter when the leaves have once become dry — as they are bound to do, for this is not the labor of a moment. Also it hardly needs saying that this the time fro repairing any neighboring trees or bushes or other growth that might have been damaged by the fall. The same rules apply. Where neighboring trees were of the same species it is difficult not to waste time conveying a detached leaf back to the wrong tree. Practice, practice. Put your hope in that. Now the tackle must be put into place, or the scaffolding, depending on the surroundings and the dimension of the tree. It is ticklish work. Almost always it involves, in itself, further damage to the area, which will have to be corrected later. But, as you've heard, it can't be helped. And care now is likely to save you considerable trouble later. Be careful to grind nothing into the ground. At last the time comes for the erecting of the trunk. By now it will scarcely be necessary to remind you of the delicacy of this huge skeleton. Every motion of the tackle, every slightly upward heave of the trunk, the branches, their elaborately reassembled panoply of leaves (now dead) will draw from you an involuntary gasp. You will watch for a lead or a twig to be snapped off yet again. You will listen for the nuts to shift in the hollow limb and you will hear whether they are indeed falling into place or are spilling in disorder — in which case, or in the event of anything else of the kind — operations will have to cease, of course, while you correct the matter. The raising itself is no small enterprise, from the moment when the chains tighten around the old bandages until the boles hands vertical above the stump, splinter above splinter. How the final straightening of the splinters themselves can take place (the preliminary work is best done while the wood is still green and soft, but at times when the splinters are not badly twisted most of the straightening is left until now, when the torn ends are face to face with each other). When the splinters are perfectly complementary the appropriate fixative is applied. Again we have no duplicate of the original substance. Ours is extremely strong, but it is rigid. It is limited to surfaces, and there is no play in it. However the core is not the part of the trunk that conducted life from the roots up to the branches and back again. It was relatively inert. The fixative for this part is not the same as the one for the outer layers and the bark, and if either of these is involved
W.S. Merwin
Well then, first would be the abalone and sea urchin- the bounty of the sea! Ah, I see! This foam on top is kombu seaweed broth that's been whipped into a mousse!" "Mm! I can taste the delicate umami flavors seeping into my tongue!" "The fish meat was aged for a day wrapped in kombu. The seaweed pulls just enough of the moisture out of the meat, allowing it to keep longer, a perfect technique for a bento that needs to last. Hm! Next looks to be bonito. ...!" What rich, powerful umami!" Aha! This is the result of several umami components melding together. The glutamic acid in the kombu from the previous piece is mixing together in my mouth with the inosinic acid in the bonito! "And, like, I cold aged this bonito across two days. Aging fish and meats boosts their umami components, y'know. In other words, the true effect of this bento comes together in your mouth... as you eat it in order from one end to the other." "Next is a row... that looks to be made entirely from vegetables. But none of them use a single scrap of seaweed. The wrappers around each one are different vegetables sliced paper-thin!" "Right! This bento totally doesn't go for any heavy foods." "Next comes the sushi row that practically cries out that it's a main dish... raw cold-aged beef sushi!" Th-there it is again! The powerful punch of umami flavor as two components mix together in my mouth! "Hm? Wait a minute. I understand the inosinic acid comes from the beef... but where is the glutamic acid?" "From the tomatoes." "Tomatoes? But I don't see any..." "They're in there. See, I first put them in a centrifuge. That broke them down into their component parts- the coloring, the fiber, and the jus. I then filtered the jus to purify it even further. Then I put just a few drops on each piece of veggie sushi." "WHAT THE HECK?!" "She took an ingredient and broke it down so far it wasn't even recognizable anymore? Can she even do that?" Appliances like the centrifuge and cryogenic grinder are tools that were first developed to be used in medicine, not cooking. Even among pro chefs, only a handful are skilled enough to make regular use of such complex machines! Who would have thought a high school student was capable of mastering them to this degree! "And last but not least we have this one. It's sea bream with some sort of pink jelly... ... resting on top of a Chinese spoon." That pink jelly was a pearl of condensed soup stock! Once it popped inside my mouth... ... it mixed together with the sea bream sushi until it tasted like- "Sea bream chazuke!
Yuto Tsukuda (食戟のソーマ 8 [Shokugeki no Souma 8] (Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma, #8))
Now, before you invade a foreign city. Here’s the law: Offer the fools a peace treaty. They can remain in their city as your slaves doing forced labor for you. And if they refuse your generosity? Kill every goddamned one of their men. And take their women, children, livestock, and wealth as plunder.” The same guy raised his hand and yelled, “Can we fuck these women, too?” It was a stupid question, but Moses replied patiently, “Of course. Fuck them—use them as footstools, punching bags, scarecrows—who cares? They’re slaves! Do whatever you want with them. “Just remember, all you have to do is obey Yahweh. Then you will have no worries and nothing to fear. He will take care of you. But be careful, because Yahweh will test you. He will send false prophets and phony dream interpreters. “If you encounter one? And his predictions come true? And he wants you to worship another god? Don’t be impressed! Beware! Yahweh sent him to tempt you. “So kill anyone who prophesies in the name of another god. “And kill anyone who pretends to be a prophet and is not! “And if you find a town worshipping another god—kill everyone in it! And kill their livestock! Plunder their homes! Burn that despicable town to the ground and never rebuild it! Make it a perpetual burnt offering to Yahweh. “And whatever you do, for god’s sake, do not imitate the detestable Canaanite religions! Do not incinerate your children, or practice sorcery, or witchcraft. And don’t interpret omens. These practices are detestable to Yahweh. “Above all, DO NOT worship their gods! Don’t worship the sun! Or the moon! Or the stars in the sky! Yahweh gave those to the suckers in other nations as their gods. If you worship just one of them—just one time…” Moses shuddered at the thought. “Well, let’s just say, Yahweh is jealous—real jealous! If he catches you worshipping another god, I have to tell you that the gigs up. He’ll kick your asses out of the Promised Land. And scatter you among the other nations like snake shit scattered about the desert.”   Obey Yahweh and you will live in paradise   “Just obey Yahweh. You hear me? Obey him, and you will live in paradise. He will protect you from your enemies. Send rain for your crops. Nurture your herds. You will have abundant food and wine. Maybe free dance lessons—who knows? There is no limit to Yahweh’s love! Obey him, and your lives will be perfect. Disobey him, and you are fucked! It’s just that simple.” Moses waited for the impact of this essential truth to resister in their brains. Regretfully, it did not. But he concluded, “Anyhow, I’m one-hundred and twenty years old. I cannot lead you into the Promised Land. Joshua will lead you.” He again found Joshua in the crowd. “Joshua, come on up here!” Joshua, startled awake, elbowed his way through the crowd and
Steve Ebling (Holy Bible - Best God Damned Version - The Books of Moses: For atheists, agnostics, and fans of religious stupidity)
Outlawing drugs in order to solve drug problems is much like outlawing sex in order to win the war against AIDS. We recognize that people will continue to have sex for nonreproductive reasons despite the laws and mores. Therefore, we try to make sexual practices as safe as possible in order to minimize the spread of the AIDS viruses. In a similar way, we continually try to make our drinking water, foods, and even our pharmaceutical medicines safer. The ubiquity of chemical intoxicants in our lives is undeniable evidence of the continuing universal need for safer medicines with such applications. While use may not always be for an approved medical purpose, or prudent, or even legal, it is fulfilling the relentless drive we all have to change the way we feel, to alter our behavior and consciousness, and, yes, to intoxicate ourselves. We must recognize that intoxicants are medicines, treatments for the human condition. Then we must make them as safe and risk free and as healthy as possible. Dream with me for a moment. What would be wrong if we had perfectly safe intoxicants? I mean drugs that delivered the same effects as our most popular ones but never caused dependency, disease, dysfunction, or death. Imagine an alcohol-type substance that never caused addiction, liver disease, hangovers, impaired driving, or workplace problems. Would you care to inhale a perfumed mist that is as enjoyable as marijuana or tobacco but as harmless as clean air? How would you like a pain-killer as effective as morphine but safer than aspirin, a mood enhancer that dissolves on your tongue and is more appealing than cocaine and less harmful than caffeine, a tranquilizer less addicting than Valium and more relaxing than a martini, or a safe sleeping pill that allows you to choose to dream or not? Perhaps you would like to munch on a user friendly hallucinogen that is as brief and benign as a good movie? This is not science fiction. As described in the following pages, there are such intoxicants available right now that are far safer than the ones we currently use. If smokers can switch from tobacco cigarettes to nicotine gum, why can’t crack users chew a cocaine gum that has already been tested on animals and found to be relatively safe? Even safer substances may be just around the corner. But we must begin by recognizing that there is a legitimate place in our society for intoxication. Then we must join together in building new, perfectly safe intoxicants for a world that will be ready to discard the old ones like the junk they really are. This book is your guide to that future. It is a field guide to that silent spring of intoxicants and all the animals and peoples who have sipped its waters. We can no more stop the flow than we can prevent ourselves from drinking. But, by cleaning up the waters we can leave the morass that has been the endless war on drugs and step onto the shores of a healthy tomorrow. Use this book to find the way.
Ronald K. Siegel (Intoxication: The Universal Drive for Mind-Altering Substances)
Cohen continued to struggle with his own well-being. Even though he had achieved his life’s dream of running his own firm, he was still unhappy, and he had become dependent on a psychiatrist named Ari Kiev to help him manage his moods. In addition to treating depression, Kiev’s other area of expertise was success and how to achieve it. He had worked as a psychiatrist and coach with Olympic basketball players and rowers trying to improve their performance and overcome their fear of failure. His background building athletic champions appealed to Cohen’s unrelenting need to dominate in every transaction he entered into, and he started asking Kiev to spend entire days at SAC’s offices, tending to his staff. Kiev was tall, with a bushy mustache and a portly midsection, and he would often appear silently at a trader’s side and ask him how he was feeling. Sometimes the trader would be so startled to see Kiev there he’d practically jump out of his seat. Cohen asked Kiev to give motivational speeches to his employees, to help them get over their anxieties about losing money. Basically, Kiev was there to teach them to be ruthless. Once a week, after the market closed, Cohen’s traders would gather in a conference room and Kiev would lead them through group therapy sessions focused on how to make them more comfortable with risk. Kiev had them talk about their trades and try to understand why some had gone well and others hadn’t. “Are you really motivated to make as much money as you can? This guy’s going to help you become a real killer at it,” was how one skeptical staff member remembered Kiev being pitched to them. Kiev’s work with Olympians had led him to believe that the thing that blocked most people was fear. You might have two investors with the same amount of money: One was prepared to buy 250,000 shares of a stock they liked, while the other wasn’t. Why? Kiev believed that the reluctance was a form of anxiety—and that it could be overcome with proper treatment. Kiev would ask the traders to close their eyes and visualize themselves making trades and generating profits. “Surrendering to the moment” and “speaking the truth” were some of his favorite phrases. “Why weren’t you bigger in the trades that worked? What did you do right?” he’d ask. “Being preoccupied with not losing interferes with winning,” he would say. “Trading not to lose is not a good strategy. You need to trade to win.” Many of the traders hated the group therapy sessions. Some considered Kiev a fraud. “Ari was very aggressive,” said one. “He liked money.” Patricia, Cohen’s first wife, was suspicious of Kiev’s motives and believed that he was using his sessions with Cohen to find stock tips. From Kiev’s perspective, he found the perfect client in Cohen, a patient with unlimited resources who could pay enormous fees and whose reputation as one of the best traders on Wall Street could help Kiev realize his own goal of becoming a bestselling author. Being able to say that you were the
Sheelah Kolhatkar (Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street)
For years before the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps won the gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he followed the same routine at every race. He arrived two hours early.1 He stretched and loosened up, according to a precise pattern: eight hundred mixer, fifty freestyle, six hundred kicking with kickboard, four hundred pulling a buoy, and more. After the warm-up he would dry off, put in his earphones, and sit—never lie down—on the massage table. From that moment, he and his coach, Bob Bowman, wouldn’t speak a word to each other until after the race was over. At forty-five minutes before the race he would put on his race suit. At thirty minutes he would get into the warm-up pool and do six hundred to eight hundred meters. With ten minutes to go he would walk to the ready room. He would find a seat alone, never next to anyone. He liked to keep the seats on both sides of him clear for his things: goggles on one side and his towel on the other. When his race was called he would walk to the blocks. There he would do what he always did: two stretches, first a straight-leg stretch and then with a bent knee. Left leg first every time. Then the right earbud would come out. When his name was called, he would take out the left earbud. He would step onto the block—always from the left side. He would dry the block—every time. Then he would stand and flap his arms in such a way that his hands hit his back. Phelps explains: “It’s just a routine. My routine. It’s the routine I’ve gone through my whole life. I’m not going to change it.” And that is that. His coach, Bob Bowman, designed this physical routine with Phelps. But that’s not all. He also gave Phelps a routine for what to think about as he went to sleep and first thing when he awoke. He called it “Watching the Videotape.”2 There was no actual tape, of course. The “tape” was a visualization of the perfect race. In exquisite detail and slow motion Phelps would visualize every moment from his starting position on top of the blocks, through each stroke, until he emerged from the pool, victorious, with water dripping off his face. Phelps didn’t do this mental routine occasionally. He did it every day before he went to bed and every day when he woke up—for years. When Bob wanted to challenge him in practices he would shout, “Put in the videotape!” and Phelps would push beyond his limits. Eventually the mental routine was so deeply ingrained that Bob barely had to whisper the phrase, “Get the videotape ready,” before a race. Phelps was always ready to “hit play.” When asked about the routine, Bowman said: “If you were to ask Michael what’s going on in his head before competition, he would say he’s not really thinking about anything. He’s just following the program. But that’s not right. It’s more like his habits have taken over. When the race arrives, he’s more than halfway through his plan and he’s been victorious at every step. All the stretches went like he planned. The warm-up laps were just like he visualized. His headphones are playing exactly what he expected. The actual race is just another step in a pattern that started earlier that day and has been nothing but victories. Winning is a natural extension.”3 As we all know, Phelps won the record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When visiting Beijing, years after Phelps’s breathtaking accomplishment, I couldn’t help but think about how Phelps and the other Olympians make all these feats of amazing athleticism seem so effortless. Of course Olympic athletes arguably practice longer and train harder than any other athletes in the world—but when they get in that pool, or on that track, or onto that rink, they make it look positively easy. It’s more than just a natural extension of their training. It’s a testament to the genius of the right routine.
Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)