Proficiency Quotes

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If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
Everything you do, if not in a relaxed state will be done at a lesser level than you are proficient. Thus the tensed expert marksman will aim at a level less than his/her student.
Bruce Lee
A mind of moderate capacity which closely pursues one study must infallibly arrive at great proficiency in that study.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
Yes Rosalie, we all know how proficient of an assassin you are.
Stephenie Meyer (Midnight Sun [2008 Draft])
But I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.
Anthony Bourdain (Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook)
There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they've ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything to others, but lose nothing of yourself.
Ian McEwan (Saturday)
Don’t forget that you can only sell a thing that you have proficiency in.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
The best chess-player in Christendom may be little more than the best player of chess; but proficiency in whist implies capacity for success in all those more important undertakings where mind struggles with mind.
Edgar Allan Poe
But anyone with the time and the inclination can acquire technical proficiency. To achieve greatness, though, that requires artistry. That requires imagination and thoughtfulness...
Christopher Paolini (Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4))
Since a time has come, Mademoiselle, when the severe laws of men no longer prevent women from applying themselves to the sciences and other disciplines, it seems to me that those of us who can should use this long-craved freedom to study and to let men see how greatly they wronged us when depriving us of its honor and advantages. And if any woman becomes so proficient as to be able to write down her thoughts, let her do so and not despise the honor, but rather flaunt it instead of fine clothes, necklaces, and rings. For these may be considered ours only by use, whereas the honor of being educated is ours entirely.
Louise Labé
Intelligence and war are games, perhaps the only meaningful games left. If any player becomes too proficient, the game is threatened with termination.
William S. Burroughs
Should we become so proficient at self-presentation that we can dissemble without anyone suspecting?
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
And so Harry became proficient in the task of cleaning up vomit.
Julia Quinn (What Happens in London (Bevelstoke, #2))
Remind me again what's wrong with Dave Matthews?" "Basically everything, except technical proficiency," Walter said. "Right." "But maybe especially the banality of the lyrics. 'Gotta be free, so free, yeah, yeah, yeah. Can't live without my freedom, yeah yeah.' That's pretty much every song.
Jonathan Franzen (Freedom)
Yes, such has been my lot since childhood. Everyone read signs of non-existent evil traits in my features. But since they were expected to be there, they did make their appearance. Because I was reserved, they said I was sly, so I grew reticent. I was keenly aware of good and evil, but instead of being indulged I was insulted and so I became spiteful. I was sulky while other children were merry and talkative, but though I felt superior to them I was considered inferior. So I grew envious. I was ready to love the whole world, but no one understood me, and I learned to hate. My cheerless youth passed in conflict with myself and society, and fearing ridicule I buried my finest feelings deep in my heart, and there they died. I spoke the truth, but nobody believed me, so I began to practice duplicity. Having come to know society and its mainsprings, I became versed in the art of living and saw how others were happy without that proficiency, enjoying for free the favors I had so painfully striven for. It was then that despair was born in my heart--not the despair that is cured with a pistol, but a cold, impotent desperation, concealed under a polite exterior and a good-natured smile. I became a moral cripple; I had lost one half of my soul, for it had shriveled, dried up and died, and I had cut it off and cast it away, while the other half stirred and lived, adapted to serve every comer. No one noticed this, because no one suspected there had been another half. Now, however, you have awakened memories of it in me, and what I have just done is to read its epitaph to you. Many regard all epitaphs as ridiculous, but I do not, particularly when I remember what rests beneath them.
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
Virtue is its own punishment—“nice girls” lose—and one of the surest signs of potential proficiency in witchcraft is an inability to get along with other women.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Satanic Witch)
One is either an artist or one is not. It is not something one becomes. It is something that one is from birth. We do not study to be artists. We study to become more proficient. To understand more.
Edward Swift
I've always thought of myself as an 80 percenter. I like to throw myself passionately into a sport or activity until I reach about an 80 percent proficiency level. To go beyond that requires an obsession that doesn't appeal to me. Once I reach 80 percent level I like to go off and do something totally different; that probably explains the diversity of the Patagonia product like - and why our versatile, multifaceted clothes are the most successful.
Yvon Chouinard (Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman)
She had never been a proficient flirt. Her spasms of kittenish behaviour were graceless and inept, like normal conversation on roller skates. but the combination of the retsina and sun made Emma feel sentimental and light-headed. She reached for her roller skates.
David Nicholls (One Day)
We would never ask a hearing student to comprehend a lecture in Mandarin if he or she did not have proficiency in the language. Nevertheless, we ask this feat of deaf children everyday.
Christine Monikowski
To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both."—Bacon: "Advancement of Learning".
Charles Darwin (On the Origin of Species)
To conclude, therefore, let no man upon a weak conceit of sobriety or an ill-applied moderation think or maintain that a man can search too far, or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or the book of God's works, divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficience in both; only let men beware that they apply both to charity, and not to swelling; to use, and not to ostentation; and again, that they do not unwisely mingle or confound these learnings together.
Francis Bacon (The Oxford Francis Bacon IV: The Advancement of Learning (The Oxford Francis Bacon, #4))
The real art in learning takes place as we move beyond proficiency, when our work becomes an expression of our essence.
Josh Waitzkin (The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence)
Those proficient praise no one, blame no one, and accuse no one. They say nothing concerning their self as being anybody or knowing anything.
Epictetus (The Enchiridion: A Modern Translation)
Confident and proficient people are virtually impossible for a bully to intimidate in any environment.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
The two of us were—by our own admission—proficient and shameless liars of long standing. It’s a wonder either one of us believed a word the other said.
Margaret Atwood (The Penelopiad)
If you are speaking of is of all subjects my delight. There are few people in England I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient. And so would Anne, if her health would have allowed her to apply. I am confident that she would have performed delightfully. - Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen
All great fighting is the same, Eragon, even as all great warriors are the same. Past a certain point, it does not matter whether you wield a sword, a claw, a tooth or a tail. It is true, you must be capable with your weapon, but anyone with the time, and the inclination can acquire technical proficiency. To achieve greatness, though, that requires artistry. That requires imagination and thoughtfulness, and it is those qualities that the best warriors share, even if, on the surface, they appear completely different.
Christopher Paolini (Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle, #4))
There is, in truth, no difference between esoteric knowledge and all the rest of man's knowledge and proficiency. This esoteric knowledge is no more of a secret for the average human being than writing is a secret for those who have never learned it.
Rudolf Steiner (How to Know Higher Worlds)
Television's perfect. You turn a few knobs, a few of those mechanical adjustments at which the higher apes are so proficient, and lean back and drain your mind of all thought. And there you are watching the bubbles in the primeval ooze. You don't have to concentrate. You don't have to react. You don't have to remember. You don't miss your brain because you don't need it. Your heart and liver and lungs continue to function normally. Apart from that, all is peace and quiet. You are in the man's nirvana. And if some poor nasty minded person comes along and says you look like a fly on a can of garbage, pay him no mind. He probably hasn't got the price of a television set.
Raymond Chandler
In the silence of her nonanswer, I considered the possibility that I was a very boring person. Who else but a boring person would utter such meaningless trifles? If a brilliant pig, the prodigy of the barnyard, spent his entire life learning Russian, and on finally becoming proficient the first words he heard were my own, he would wonder why he had wasted his best years when he could have been lolling in the mud, eating slop with the other dumb beasts.
David Benioff (City of Thieves)
In the adult world, an uneven distribution of abilities is more valuable than mediocrity at everything. It is irrelevant to me whether or not my doctor is adept at hitting a ball with a stick—or finding her way to work without looking at street signs—but I would like her to be as proficient as possible in the practice of medicine. Conversely, at school, being other than unobtrusively average in every area (with the exception of sports) is a distinct disadvantage.
Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Result (Don Tillman, #3))
Perhaps the most important reason of all for taking action now is that time is finite. No matter how proficient you are, you can only accomplish so much in a lifetime. Every second that's wasted reduces the totality of what you can accomplish by one second
Robert J. Ringer
Kung Fu, like any art, is a practical affair, not just a question of gathering knowledge. In other words, one becomes proficient through hard, regular practice, not by reading about it.
Wong Kiew Kit (The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu: The Secrets of Kung Fu for Self-Defense, Health, and Enlightenment (Tuttle Martial Arts))
Don't ever make the mistake of believing that market success has to come to you fast. Trade small, stay in the game, persist, and eventually, you'll reach a satisfying level of proficiency.
Yvan Byeajee (Paradigm Shift: How to cultivate equanimity in the face of market uncertainty)
If I have any expertise, it is in the realm of spiritual darkness: fear of the unknown, familiarity with divine absence, mistrust of conventional wisdom, suspicion of religious comforters, keen awareness of the limits of all language about God and at the same time shame over my inability to speak of God without a thousand qualifiers, doubt about the health of my soul, and barely suppressed contempt for those who have no such qualms. These are the areas of my proficiency.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark)
The older you get the more you realize that just because someone has an important job doesn't necessarily mean that they do it responsibly, or are even good at it. There are many 'D' students running around with high social status gained from their seemingly important positions. Integrity and proficiency are not a given. These qualities can only be proven over time.
Gary Hopkins
The possibility of acquiring the art of writing may be withheld from someone through poverty, or through the conditions of civilization into which he is born; but for the attainment of knowledge and proficiency in the higher worlds, there is no obstacle for those who earnestly seek them.
Rudolf Steiner (How to Know Higher Worlds)
Even Magnifico was put to work on the calculating machine for routine computations, a type of work, which, once explained, was a source of great amusement to him and at which he was surprisingly proficient.
Isaac Asimov (Foundation and Empire (Foundation, #2))
People unable to bear the martyrdom [...] unintelligently jump off the path, and choose instead, conveniently enough, the world’s admiration of their proficiency. The true knight of faith is a witness, never a teacher, and in this lies the deep humanity in him which is more worth than this foolish concern for others’ weal and woe which is honoured under the name of sympathy, but which is really nothing but vanity.
Søren Kierkegaard (Fear and Trembling)
They feed back exactly what is given them. Because they do not believe in words - words are for "typeheads," Chester Anderson tells them, and a thought which needs words is just one more of those ego trips - their only proficient vocabulary is in the society's platitudes. As it happens I am still committed to the idea that the ability to think for one's self depends upon one's mastery of the language, and I am not optimistic about children who will settle for saying, to indicate that their mother and father do not live together, that they come from "a broken home." They are sixteen, fifteen, fourteen years old, younger all the time, an army of children waiting to be given the words.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
He was tall and trim, with the build of a young man proficient in warfare. His dark hair was straight and styled in a manner suggesting a desire for order in all things. As she strode onto the dais, she looked up at him, refusing to balk, even in the face of her king. His thick eyebrows raised a fraction. They framed eyes so pale a shade of brown they appeared amber in certain flashes of light, like those of a tiger. His profile was an artist’s study in angles, and he remained motionless as he returned her watchful scrutiny.
Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1))
What - what - what are you doing?" he demanded. "I am almost six hundred years old," Magnus claimed, and Ragnor snorted, since Magnus changed his age to suit himself every few weeks. Magnus swept on. "It does seem about time to learn a musical instrument." He flourished his new prize, a little stringed instrument that looked like a cousin of the lute that the lute was embarrassed to be related to. "It's called a charango. I am planning to become a charanguista!" "I wouldn't call that an instrument of music," Ragnor observed sourly. "An instrument of torture, perhaps." Magnus cradled the charango in his arms as if it were an easily offended baby. "It's a beautiful and very unique instrument! The sound box is made from an armadillo. Well, a dried armadillo shell." "That explains the sound you're making," said Ragnor. "Like a lost, hungry armadillo." "You are just jealous," Magnus remarked calmly. "Because you do not have the soul of a true artiste like myself." "Oh, I am positively green with envy," Ragnor snapped. "Come now, Ragnor. That's not fair," said Magnus. "You know I love it when you make jokes about your complexion." Magnus refused to be affected by Ragnor's cruel judgments. He regarded his fellow warlock with a lofty stare of superb indifference, raised his charango, and began to play again his defiant, beautiful tune. They both heard the staccato thump of frantically running feet from within the house, the swish of skirts, and then Catarina came rushing out into the courtyard. Her white hair was falling loose about her shoulders, and her face was the picture of alarm. "Magnus, Ragnor, I heard a cat making a most unearthly noise," she exclaimed. "From the sound of it, the poor creature must be direly sick. You have to help me find it!" Ragnor immediately collapsed with hysterical laughter on his windowsill. Magnus stared at Catarina for a moment, until he saw her lips twitch. "You are conspiring against me and my art," he declared. "You are a pack of conspirators." He began to play again. Catarina stopped him by putting a hand on his arm. "No, but seriously, Magnus," she said. "That noise is appalling." Magnus sighed. "Every warlock's a critic." "Why are you doing this?" "I have already explained myself to Ragnor. I wish to become proficient with a musical instrument. I have decided to devote myself to the art of the charanguista, and I wish to hear no more petty objections." "If we are all making lists of things we wish to hear no more . . . ," Ragnor murmured. Catarina, however, was smiling. "I see," she said. "Madam, you do not see." "I do. I see it all most clearly," Catarina assured him. "What is her name?" "I resent your implication," Magnus said. "There is no woman in the case. I am married to my music!" "Oh, all right," Catarina said. "What's his name, then?" His name was Imasu Morales, and he was gorgeous.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
Some days are better than others. The same can be said about people.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Feeling so rush to be proficient is a common temptation for newbies.
Toba Beta
...the whole story of art is not a story of progress in technical proficiency, but a story of changing ideas and requirements.
E.H. Gombrich (The Story of Art)
as long as there is an AI shortcoming in any such area of endeavor, skeptics will point to that area as an inherent bastion of permanent human superiority over the capabilities of our own creations. This book will argue, however, that within several decades information-based technologies will encompass all human knowledge and proficiency, ultimately including the pattern-recognition powers, problem-solving skills, and emotional and moral intelligence of the human brain itself.
Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology)
Versatility is one of the few human traits which are universally intolerable. You may be good at Greek and good at painting and be popular. You may be good at Greek and good at sport, and be wildly popular. But try all three and you’re a mountebank. Nothing arouses suspicion quicker than genuine, all-round proficiency.” Kate thought. “It needs an extra gift for human relationships, of course; but that can be developed. It’s got to be, because stultified talent is surely the ultimate crime against mankind. Tell your paragons to develop it: with all those gifts it’s only right they should have one hurdle to cross.” “But that kind of thing needs co-operation from the other side,” said Lymond pleasantly. “No. Like Paris, they have three choices.” And he struck a gently derisive chord between each. “To be accomplished but ingratiating. To be accomplished but resented. Or to hide behind the more outré of their pursuits and be considered erratic but harmless.
Dorothy Dunnett (The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles, #1))
Few persons care to study logic, because everybody conceives himself to be proficient enough in the art of reasoning already. But I observe that this satisfaction is limited to one's own ratiocination, and does not extend to that of other men.
Charles Sanders Peirce (The Fixation of Belief)
There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they've ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything you have to others, but lose nothing of yourself. Out in the real world there exist detailed plans, visionary projects for peaceable realms, all conflicts resolved, happiness for everyone, for ever – mirages for which people are prepared to die and kill. Christ's kingdom on earth, the workers' paradise, the ideal Islamic state. But only in music, and only on rare occasions, does the curtain actually lift on this dream of community, and it's tantalisingly conjured, before fading away with the last notes.
Ian McEwan (Saturday)
We have to be able to take feedback—regardless of how it’s delivered—and apply it productively. We have to do this for a simple reason: Mastery requires feedback. I don’t care what we’re trying to master—and whether we’re trying to develop greatness or proficiency—it always requires feedback.
Brené Brown (Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.)
Marketing is so powerful that it can make even an extremely untalented musician a one-hundred-hits wonder.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
It is usually unbearably painful to read a book by an author who knows way less than you do, unless the book is a novel.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
The ability comes naturally,” replied Kell. “The proficiency takes work. Just as I explained during every one of your lessons.” The
V.E. Schwab (A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2))
People differ in their proficiency at tracing the outlines of another self, and thus their ability to love also varies.
Thomas Lewis (A General Theory of Love)
No writer, even the most proficient, could re-enact in words the flow of a life lived.
Ruth Ozeki (A Tale for the Time Being)
Our understanding of the interior lives of those who are not like us is contingent on their ability to articulate themselves in the language we know. The further removed people are from proficiency in that language, the less likely they are to be understood as complex individuals. The audience often fills in the blanks with their own preconceptions. But visual language is more easily parsed and a much more democratic form of communication.
Samra Habib (We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir)
Permit no man to make a mockery of you just because you may not be proficient in something. Remember you are gifted no matter how insignificant it may be, it's your prized possession, value it
Bernard Kelvin Clive
A careful and honest writer does not need to worry about style. As you become proficient in the use of language, your style will emerge, because you yourself will emerge, and when this happens you will find it increasingly easy to breakthrough the barriers that separate you from other minds, other hearts - which is, of course, the purpose of writing, as well as its principal reward.
William Strunk Jr. (The Elements of Style)
Sixteen is an intensely troublesome age. You worry about little things, can't pinpoint where you are in any objective way, become really proficient at strange, pointless skills, and are held in thrall by inexplicable complexes. As you get older, though, through trial and error you can learn to get what you need, and throw out what should be discarded. And you start to recognize (or be resigned to the fact) that since your faults and deficiences are well nigh infinite, you'd best figure our your good points and learn to get by with what you have.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
In sandy soil, when deep you delve, you reach the springs below; The more you learn, the freer streams of wisdom flow.
Thiruvalluvar (Thirukkural)
One of the very striking life lessons from Game of Thrones. When Arya was blind; hopeless and helpless. The Waif lured her into multiple stick fights and the Waif would promptly beat Arya in every sparring match. But through those stick fight, Arya learned to cope with her blindness and how to fight “in the dark.” After Arya had regained her sight and Jaqen had granted the Waif’s wish to kill Arya. Arya confronted the Waif in a hideout and put out the only light in the room. Arya best the Waif due to her proficiency in fighting without sight (which, ironically, was trained by the Waif). Arya killed her adversary. ONE THING ABOUT CHALLENGES IN LIFE IS: THROUGH THEM, WE LEARN HOW TO OVERCOME THEM. Always Pay Attention!
Olaotan Fawehinmi (The Soldier Within)
Quiet moments bring you closer to God. It's your silent time within your own private sanctuary. People have so many things to talk about, worry about, think about, without giving themselves peace within. Quiet moments give you access to areas of your brain which allows you to function proficiently.
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Sweet Destiny)
The historic transition from Novice to Proficient to Adept was said to be accomplished virtually overnight by the progression from marijuana to peyote to lysergic acid. Instant mysticism had arrived. Before the court of law, hippies demanded freedom for LSD the way early Christians demanded freedom for the Eucharist.
William Everson (The Excesses of God: Robinson Jeffers as a Religious Figure)
Versatility is one of the few human traits which are universally intolerable. You may be good at Greek and good at painting and be popular. You may be good at Greek and good at sport, and be wildly popular. But try all three and you're a mountebank. Nothing arouses suspicion quicker than genuine, all-round proficiency.
Dorothy Dunnett (The Game of Kings (The Lymond Chronicles, #1))
It had all been fake, a choreographed event, but they could not escape the dread that rattled inside their chests. It was a testament to their proficiency and talent as artists. They had affected themselves with the authenticity of the moment.
Kevin Wilson (The Family Fang)
Only the man who has outgrown the stages of consciousness belonging to the past, and has amply fulfilled the duties appointed for him by his world, can achieve full consciousness of the present. To do this he must be sound and proficient in the best sense--a man who as achieved as much as other people, and even a little more. It is these qualities which enable him to gain the next highest level of consciousness.
C.G. Jung (The Portable Jung (Portable Library))
Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God. Prayers are prophecies. They are the best predictors of your spiritual future. Who you become is determined by how you pray. Ultimately, the transcript of your prayers becomes the script of your life. The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked. God does not answer vague prayers. The more specific your prayers are, the more glory God receives. Most of us don’t get what we want because we quit praying. We give up too easily. We give up too soon. We quit praying right before the miracle happens. If you don’t take the risk, you forfeit the miracle. Take a step of faith when God gives you a vision because you trust that the One who gave you the vision is going to make provision. And for the record, if the vision is from God, it will most definitely be beyond your means. We shouldn’t seek answers as much as we should seek God. If you seek answers you won’t find them, but if you seek God, the answers will find you. If your plans aren’t birthed in prayer and bathed in prayer, they won’t succeed. Are your problems bigger than God, or is God bigger than your problems? Our biggest problem is our small view of God. That is the cause of all lesser evils. And it’s a high view of God that is the solution to all other problems. Because you know He can, you can pray with holy confidence. Persistence is the magic bullet. The only way you can fail is if you stop praying. 100 percent of the prayers I don’t pray won’t get answered. Where are you most proficient, most sufficient? Maybe that is precisely where God wants you to trust Him to do something beyond your ability. What we perceive as unanswered prayers are often the greatest answers. Our heavenly Father is far too wise and loves us far too much to give us everything we ask for. Someday we’ll thank God for the prayers He didn’t answer as much or more than the ones He did. You can’t pray for open doors if you aren’t willing accept closed doors, because one leads to the other. Just as our greatest successes often come on the heels of our greatest failures, our greatest answers often come on the heels of our longest and most boring prayers. The biggest difference between success and failure, both spiritually and occupationally, is your waking-up time on your alarm clock. We won’t remember the things that came easy; we’ll remember the things that came hard. It’s not just where you end up that’s important; it’s how you get there. Goal setting begins and ends with prayer. The more you have to circle something in prayer, the more satisfying it is spiritually. And, often, the more glory God gets. I don’t want easy answers or quick answers because I have a tendency to mishandle the blessings that come too easily or too quickly. I take the credit or take them for granted. So now I pray that it will take long enough and be hard enough for God to receive all of the glory. Change your prayer approach from as soon as possible to as long as it takes. Go home. Lock yourself in your room. Kneel down in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk draw a circle around yourself. There, on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival within that chalk circle.
Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears)
It came to him then, permeated his disjointed thoughts. Billie was teaching him—him—how to make love. With a jolt of surprise at the crashing irony, Adrian realized he hadn’t known how until now. He, the consummate lover, so renown for his sexual skill, so proficient and controlled and practiced, had only played at making love, where Billie…God. Clearly, it was all she knew. Pretense just wasn’t in her spectrum of capabilities.
Shelby Reed (The Fifth Favor)
Succeed at home first. Seek and merit divine help. Never compromise with honesty. Remember the people involved. Hear both sides before judging. Obtain counsel of others. Defend those who are absent. Be sincere yet decisive. Develop one new proficiency a year. Plan tomorrow’s work today. Hustle while you wait. Maintain a positive attitude. Keep a sense of humor. Be orderly in person and in work. Do not fear mistakes—fear only the absence of creative, constructive, and corrective responses to those mistakes. Facilitate the success of subordinates. Listen twice as much as you speak. Concentrate all abilities and efforts on the task at hand, not worrying about the next job or promotion.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
Right! Let's get on with it! All right... you... Will... have trained as apprentice to Ranger Halt of Redmont Fief these last five twelvemonths and blah blah blah and so on and so on. You've shown the necessary level of proficiency in the use of the weapons a Ranger uses- the longbow, the saxe knife, the throwing knife." He paused and glanced up Halt. "He has shown the proficiency, hasn't he? Of course he has," he went on, before Halt could answer. "Furthermore, you are a trusted officer in the service of the King and so on and so on and hi diddle diddle dee dee..." He glanced up again. "These forms really do carry on a bit, don't they? But I have to make a pretense of reading them. And so forth and so on and such like." He paused, nodded several times, then continued. "So basically..." He flicked a few more pages, found the one he was after and then continued, "You are in all ways ready to assume the position and authority of a fully operational Ranger in the Kingdom of Araluen. Correct?" He glanced up again, his eyebrows raised. Will realized he was waiting for an answer. "Correct," he said hastily, then in case that wasn't enough, he added, "Yes. I mean... I do... I am. Yes." "Well, good for you.
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
What matters most is for the school, the district, and the state to be able to say that more students have reached "proficiency." This sort of fraud ignores the students' interests while promoting the interests of adults who take credit for nonexistent improvements.
Diane Ravitch (The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education)
... The armour of others is too wide, or too strait for us; it falls off us, or it weighs us down.
Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince)
It takes practice to become proficient at something. Practicing the presence of God will make us good at it.
R. Alan Woods (The Journey Is The Destination: A Photo Journal)
For the hackneyed art of lying without injury to anyone, Rushbrook, to his shame, was proficient.
Elizabeth Inchbald (A Simple Story)
short written or spoken examination of a person's proficiency or knowledge:
Angus Stevenson (Oxford Dictionary of English)
Skills and proficiency is the greatest miracle that a man needs.
Sunday Adelaja
At that time I attached a perhaps undue importance to staying alive, and I became moderately proficient with both the pistol and the small-sword.
Patrick O'Brian (Post Captain (Aubrey & Maturin #2))
You are aware that I have some proficiency in the good old British sport of boxing.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Complete Sherlock Holmes)
Violence is fomented by the imposition of singular and belligerent identities on gullible people, championed by proficient artisans of terror. The
Amartya Sen (Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny)
Some people become proficient at acting and often show emotion they don’t feel— appearing intensely interested in your problems or causes, thumping their chests and saluting your flag and weeping crocodile tears over your losses, even while working behind the scenes to cause them.
H.G. Beverly (The Other Side of Charm: Your Memoir)
Now, I believe the best way for you to learn is immersion and since we can't teleport you all to France," he grinned at me, and there were once again sighs from the girls. "I'll be speaking only in French and will expect you to do the same. Is anyone here already proficient in the language?" I narrowed my eyes at him. He knew darn well I was fluent in French and several other languages. "Eveline, I believe your dad mentioned at dinner the other night that you are?" What was he doing? "Umm. Yes-" He shook his head at me. "En français s'il vous plait." More sighs from the class. I clenched my jaw and spoke rapidly. "Oui, Monsieur Smith. Je parle français. Qu'est-ce que tu veux?" Yes, Mr.Smith. I speak French. What do you want? His eyes smoldered and caressed my face as he delivered his swift reply, "Je veux plus de toi que vous imaginez, ma petit lueur.
Heather Self (The One (The Portal Trilogy, #1))
A man may possess a profound knowledge of history and mathematics; he may be an authority in psychology, biology, or astronomy; he may know all the discovered truths pertaining to geology and natural science; but if he has not with this knowledge that nobility of soul which prompts him to deal justly with his fellow men, to practice virtue and holiness in personal life, he is not a truly educated man. "Character is the aim of true education; and science, history, and literature are but means used to accomplish the desired end. Character is not the result of chance work but of continuous right thinking and right acting. "True education seeks, then, to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguists, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men, combined with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love-men and women who prize truth, justice, wisdom, benevolence, and self-control as the choicest acquisitions of a successful life.
David O. McKay
Many modern businesses have become proficient at mining data. In fact the mining of data is becoming almost routine. But as we advance further into the 21rst century and the 22nd century, the utilization of data begins to take priority. So it's not just about collecting all this data, but also about getting really creative with generating new ways to utilize that data in the quest to add value.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr
Of music! Then pray speak aloud. It is of all subjects my delight. I must have my share in the conversation if you are speaking of music. There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
Who was the only U.S. president with less managerial, military, financial, and foreign policy experience than the current one?” Netanyahu, though a proficient historian, looked stumped by the answer: “Abraham Lincoln.
Michael B. Oren (Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide)
Forward-thinking organizations seek hybrid professionals who are highly proficient writers, analytical, creative, and tech savvy, with strong competencies in business management, information technology (IT), and human behavior.
Paul Roetzer (The Marketing Performance Blueprint: Strategies and Technologies to Build and Measure Business Success)
A man comes to Mozart and wants to become a composer.  Mozart says that they have to study theory for a couple of years, that they should study orchestration and become proficient at the piano, and goes on like this.  Finally, the man says “but you wrote your first symphony when you were 8 years old.”  Mozart says “Yes, but I didn’t ask anybody.
Richard David Feinman (The World Turned Upside Down: The Second Low-Carbohydrate Revolution)
He keeps conversation to a minimum, and responds to her questions in monosyllabic sentences. No matter what she says, or how hard she tries to get a rise out of him, he gives nothing in return, no hint of how it makes him feel. I recognise this behaviour- the conversational equivalent of playing dead - I've used these tactics myself in the past and it saddens me now to see how proficient Theo is in them; it takes a lot of practice to learn how not to provoke the bear. Watching Theo with his mother, I wonder if on some level I was drawn to him because his wounds look so similar to mine.
Hazel Hayes (Out of Love)
An aside that will appeal to the well-rounded reader: A creative high that increases physical and mental work capacity is accompanied by noradrenaline secretion. Perhaps this explains why the samurai were equally proficient at war and poetry.
Pavel Tsatsouline (The Quick and the Dead: Total Training for the Advanced Minimalist)
How many understand that Nature is the essencial character of whatever is. It's something you'll find by looking not at, but in, always in. It's always inside the thing, and it makes the outside. And some day, when you get sufficiently proficient in understanding the use of the term, you can tell by the outside pretty much from what's inside. [...] But everything that's ever going to be of use to you in architecture or in life or anywhere you go or whatever you do is going to be Nature, in some of its immensely varied forms. So varied that there's no end to the variety imaginable. "Nature" September 7, 1958
Frank Lloyd Wright
That thought, I can’t find the right words, is based not on something negative but on something positive. On the positive awareness that art is something great and higher than our own skill or knowledge or learning. That art is something which though produced by human hands, is not wrought by hands alone, but wells up from a deeper source, from man’s soul, while much of the proficiency and technical expertise associated with art reminds me of what would be called self-righteousness in religion.
Vincent van Gogh (The Letters of Vincent van Gogh)
[...] proficiency in inferring the large-scale and small-scale structure of our immediate environment, or any features of parts of the universe distant from our ancestral stomping grounds, was of no relevance to our ancestors’ reproductive fitness. Hence, there is no reason to imagine that our habitual intuitions and inferential responses are well designed for science or for metaphysics.
James Ladyman (Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized)
Inflammation ages you from the inside out by eating away at your telomeres, the caps protecting the ends of your chromosomes. Every time a chromosome divides, its telomere shortens. So telomere length is not only a sign of how old you are, but also a measure of how well your body is aging. Think of telomeres like the tips on the ends of your shoelaces; if they break the chromosomes fray. That’s bad because the shorter the telomere, the less proficient the chromosome. If your telomeres are short, you lose your ability to restore your organs.
Maria Emmerich (Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism)
Many or few alternatives can be at hand. A wise and skilful choice acts from a sincere effort. Solutions and results come from cooperation, hard work and efficiency. With high intention matched with a flexible, patient heart and proficient action gets best quality and value. As for the restless grumbles raving from unconsciousness of complexity of matters, best be brushed off ducking out wisely from discourtesies.
Angelica Hopes
The cacophony in my head is completely unmanageable, and it's out of the failure to blend all those dissonant voices smoothly that whatever individuality I might have has managed to emerge. Imitation is the condition of originality. Or, to put it another way: imitation is the shortest route to and the truest test of proficiency. To mimic a master requires skill and practice, which become the sources of your own mastery.
A.O. Scott (Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth)
It’s a fallacy that learning all the rules and then proficiently applying them or complying with them will make you rich. Jumping through hoops established by other people might make you the perfect cog in somebody else’s machine, but it is a sure formula for mediocrity and financial failure.
Rafael Badziag (The Billion Dollar Secret: 20 Principles of Billionaire Wealth and Success)
But maybe my expression isn’t as bad as I think it is. Maybe Galen’s just really good at reading me. Or maybe he’s just being overly mushy himself. He is a tad protective, after all. I glance at Toraf, who’s sitting on the other full-size bed next to Rayna. And Toraf is already looking at me. When our eyes meet, he shakes his head ever so slightly. As if to say, “Don’t do it.” As if to say, “You really don’t want to do it.” As if to say, “I know you really want to do it, but I’m asking you not to. As a friend.” I huff, then adjust myself in Galen’s death grip. It’s not fair that Galen and Toraf silently ask me to accept this. That my mother is putty in Grom’s proficient hands. That her temperature barely raised a degree around my dad, yet Grom, within an hour of reunion, has her titanium exterior dissolving like Alka-Seltzer in hot water. I can’t accept it. Won’t. Will. Not.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
I certainly admire people who can play their instruments, but I’d rather listen to someone whose ideas outweigh their proficiency than the other way round. Who would you rather listen to, the mile-a-minute technical snoozery of Yngwie Malmsteen or the passionate and primitive chunking of Lou Reed?
Tom Scharpling (It Never Ends: A Memoir with Nice Memories!)
Should we become so proficient at self-presentation that we can dissemble without anyone suspecting? Must we learn to stage-manage our voices, gestures, and body language until we can tell—sell—any story we want? These seem venal aspirations, a marker of how far we’ve come—and not in a good way—since
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
How to Make People Want to Start a Conversation with You Singles proficient at meeting potential sweethearts without the benefit of introduction (in the vernacular, making a "pickup"), have developed a deliciously devious technique that works equally well for social or corporate networking purposes. The technique requires no exceptional skill on your part, only the courage to sport a simple visual prop called a "Whatzit." What’s a Whatzit? A Whatzit is anything you wear or carry that is unusual—a unique pin, an interesting purse, a strange tie, or an amusing hat. A Whatzit is any object that draws people’s attention and inspires them to approach you and ask, "Uh, what’s that?" Your Whatzit can be as subtle or overt as your personality and the occasion permit.
Leil Lowndes (How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships)
The thirteenth-century philosopher Roger Bacon claimed that “nobody can obtain to proficiency in the science of mathematics by the method hitherto known unless he devotes to its study thirty or forty years.” Today, the entire body of mathematics known to Bacon is now acquired by your average high school junior.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
In the adult world, an uneven distribution of abilities is more valuable than mediocrity at everything. It is irrelevant to me whether or not my doctor is adept at hitting a ball with a stick – or finding her way to work without looking at street signs – but I would like her to be as proficient as possible in the practice of medicine. Conversely, at school, being other than unobtrusively average in every area (with the exception of sport) is a distinct disadvantage.
Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Result (Don Tillman, #3))
Someone with an inborn knack for mathematics or music may be just as productive as someone who was born with lesser talents in these fields and who had to work very hard to achieve the same level of proficiency. However, we reward productivity rather than merit, for the perfectly valid reason that we know how to do it.
Thomas Sowell (The Quest for Cosmic Justice)
This thirty-five-page essay had been written in two or three weeks by Hamilton, as he entered the fray with all the grandiloquence and learning at his disposal. He showed himself proficient at elegant insults, an essential literary talent at the time, and possessing a precocious knowledge of history, philosophy, politics, economics, and law. In retrospect, it was clear that he had found his calling as a fearless, swashbuckling intellectual warrior who excelled in bare-knuckled controversy.
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
You should marvel that no matter how remarkable your giftings or how simple your understanding, the message you proclaim is sheer stupidity to the world. Intellectual proficiency takes a back seat when your only hope is in what some call offensive and others call folly. Therefore, determine to be known less for your strengths in academic rigor and more for how that rigor helps you grasp what it means that the God-man was crucified to save the world. Embrace your weakness. Bring it all back to grace.
David Mathis (How to Stay Christian in Seminary)
Dedication is a great trait. It’s also the trait most abused by superiors. In short, you are an asset that can be easily replaced. Your proficiency is profitable to the company and makes life easier for supervisors. But the constant imbalance may result in a divorce or decline in health. Is that what you agreed to when you were hired?
($) (For the (Soon) Unemployed: You Against Them)
We're taught and trained to hold it all inside, to not feel the beauty of the innocence of letting it out when and how we feel it. And we do; we do for the fear of avoiding the stigma of weakness, until it breaks us from the inside, slowly and silently, and there is "little" or "nothing" left of us. Those who are courageous to hold on, learn to be strong and proficiently wave off the numerous darts as they come. Do they, really? It takes just one "planned" move, and all the impenetrable walls come crashing down.
Ufuoma Apoki
Instinctively he had already become proficient in the habit of simulating that he was someone, so that others would not discover his condition as no one; in London he found the profession to which he was predestined, that of the actor, who on a stage plays at being another before a gathering of people who play at taking him for that other person.
Jorge Luis Borges (Labyrinths)
Like their modern counterparts, and unlike traditional warriors, Byzantine soldiers were normally trained to fight in different ways, according to specific tactics adapted to the terrain and the enemy at hand. In that simple disposition lay one of the secrets of Byzantine survival. While standards of proficiency obviously varied greatly, Byzantine soldiers went into battle with learned combat skills, which could be adapted by further training for particular circumstances. That made Byzantine soldiers, units, and armies much more versatile than their enemy counterparts, who only had the traditional fighting skills of their nation or tribe, learned from elders by imitation and difficult to change. In
Edward N. Luttwak (The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire)
The ability comes naturally, the proficiency does not." (Kell, A Gathering of Shadows)
Victoria Schwab (A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2))
Instead, they have to build their own portfolios, made up of capabilities and competencies—being proficient at a range of particular tasks rather than at a specific job.
Richard Susskind (The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts)
If you design your life so that you spend most of your time working on things you are passionate about and proficient at, the discipline to do those things comes easily.
Michael Hyatt (Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less)
No matter how talented you are, if you’re not making a contribution in a certain area, you’re not truly proficient.
Michael Hyatt (Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less)
It is no wonder that organizations struggle to cultivate experts who are both proficient with their tools and prepared to drop them.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
Many troops were far more proficient in PowerPoint than they were with firearms, so
Jake Tapper (The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor)
You can bring tremendous value to your business, your customers, and yourself by becoming proficient at bringing in new business.
Mike Weinberg (New Sales. Simplified.: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development)
Words and swords, they were weapons. Weapons in which he was more than proficient. You can't have sword without word, mused Wichtig
Michael R. Fletcher (Beyond Redemption (Manifest Delusions, #1))
You want to find someone who is more or less unqualified because the people that were actually proficient have all failed.
Sylvain Neuvel (Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1))
The rule recognised by spiritual authors is this: meditation for beginners, affective prayer for proficients, active or passive contemplation for advanced souls.
Vitalis Lehodey (The Ways of Mental Prayer)
Permit no man to make mockery of you just because you may not be proficient in something. Remember you are gifted no matter how insignificant it may be, it's your priced possession, value it
Bernard Kelvin Clive
Q.Would it be correct to say that when learning anything like driving a car, intellectual function tells moving function what to do and that,when proficient, moving function works by itself¿
P.D. Ouspensky
Every profession in India is regulated. Engineers must show proficiency, Doctor must show proficiency, Lawyers must show proficiency, before they are allowed to practise their professions. During the whole of their career, they must not only obey the law of the land, civil as well as criminal, but they must also obey the special code of morals prescribed by their respective professions. The priest's is the only profession where proficiency is not required. The profession of a Hindu priest is the only profession which is not subject to any code....All this becomes possible among the Hindus because for a priest it is enough to be born in a priestly caste. The whole thing is abominable and is due to the fact that the priestly class among Hindus is subject neither to law nor to morality. It recognizes no duties. It knows only of rights and privileges. It is a pest which divinity seems to have let loose on the masses for their mental and moral degradation.
B.R. Ambedkar (Annihilation of Caste)
Our sincere and innermost anxiety is not that we are insufficient. Our sincere and innermost fear is that we are prevailing and dominate. Our proficiency, not our incompetence is the misapprehension that most startles and worries us. It’s when we contemplate in retrospect that we demand of ourselves why am I extraordinary, striking, talented, and remarkable? Essentially, Why can’t you? A child of God blessed from the crown of you head to the soul of your feet. There is nonentity progressive about shrinking so individuals won't feel apprehensive around you. Every individual is predestined to shine. Humans were conceived to manifest the exaltation, magnificence, splendour, beauty or the glory of God imbedded in us . this gift is not some individual but in everyone
Archibald Gumiro
There is no longer a Christian mind." -Blamires What did Blamires mean? To say that there is no Christian mind means that believers may be highly educated in terms of technical proficiency, and yet have no biblical worldview for interpreting the subject matter of their field. "We speak of the 'modern mind', and of the 'scientific mind', using that word 'mind' of a collectively accepted set of notions and attitudes," Blamires explains. But we have lost the Christian mind. There is now no shared, biblically based set of assumptions on subjects like law, education, economics, politics, science, or the arts. As a moral being, the Christian follows the biblical ethic. As a spiritual being, he prays and attends worship services. But as a thinking Christian, he has succumbed to secularism.
Nancy R. Pearcey
If college admissions officers are going to encourage kids to take the same AP math class, why not statistics? Almost every career (whether in business, nonprofits, academics, law, or medicine benefits from proficiency in statistics. Being an informed, responsible citizen requires a sound knowledge of statistics, as politicians, reporters, and bloggers all rely on "data" to justify positions. [p.98]
Tony Wagner (Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era)
Then he told me how much he’d missed me, and how he’d been filled with longing for me even when enfolded in the white arms of goddesses; and I told him how very many tears I’d shed while waiting twenty years for his return, and how tediously faithful I’d been, and how I would never have even so much as thought of betraying his gigantic bed with its wondrous bedpost by sleeping in it with any other man. The two of us were by our own admission “ proficient and shameless liars of long standing”. It’s a wonder either one of us believed a word the other said. But we did. Or so we told each other.
Margaret Atwood (The Penelopiad)
It had been quite some time since the duty and pleasure of undressing her son had fallen to Rosa. For several years, she had been wishing him, willing him, into maturity, independence, a general proficiency beyond his years, as if hoping to skip him like a stone across the treacherous pond of childhood, and now she was touched by a faint trace of the baby in him, in his pouting lips and the febrile sheen of his eyelids.
Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay)
The justification for the XP approach is based on two simple empirical observations: “We have seen master developers do these things” and “We have seen less proficient developers do these things and become better.
David West (Object Thinking (DV-Microsoft Professional))
We shouldn't let our envy of distinguished masters of the arts distract us from the wonder of how each of us gets new ideas. Perhaps we hold on to our superstitions about creativity in order to make our own deficiencies seem more excusable. For when we tell ourselves that masterful abilities are simply unexplainable, we're also comforting ourselves by saying that those superheroes come endowed with all the qualities we don't possess. Our failures are therefore no fault of our own, nor are those heroes' virtues to their credit, either. If it isn't learned, it isn't earned. When we actually meet the heroes whom our culture views as great, we don't find any singular propensities––only combinations of ingredients quite common in themselves. Most of these heroes are intensely motivated, but so are many other people. They're usually very proficient in some field--but in itself we simply call this craftmanship or expertise. They often have enough self-confidence to stand up to the scorn of peers--but in itself, we might just call that stubbornness. They surely think of things in some novel ways, but so does everyone from time to time. And as for what we call "intelligence", my view is that each person who can speak coherently already has the better part of what our heroes have. Then what makes genius appear to stand apart, if we each have most of what it takes? I suspect that genius needs one thing more: in order to accumulate outstanding qualities, one needs unusually effective ways to learn. It's not enough to learn a lot; one also has to manage what one learns. Those masters have, beneath the surface of their mastery, some special knacks of "higher-order" expertise, which help them organize and apply the things they learn. It is those hidden tricks of mental management that produce the systems that create those works of genius. Why do certain people learn so many more and better skills? These all-important differences could begin with early accidents. One child works out clever ways to arrange some blocks in rows and stacks; a second child plays at rearranging how it thinks. Everyone can praise the first child's castles and towers, but no one can see what the second child has done, and one may even get the false impression of a lack of industry. But if the second child persists in seeking better ways to learn, this can lead to silent growth in which some better ways to learn may lead to better ways to learn to learn. Then, later, we'll observe an awesome, qualitative change, with no apparent cause--and give to it some empty name like talent, aptitude, or gift.
Marvin Minsky (The Society of Mind)
The problem was that, while the classic European coming-of-age story generally featured a provincial boy who moved to the city and was transformed into a refined gentleman, the American tradition had evolved into the opposite. The American boy came of age by leaving civilization and striking out toward the hills. There, he shed his cosmopolitan manners and became a robust and proficient man. Not a gentleman, mind you, but a man. This
Elizabeth Gilbert (The Last American Man)
Call us if you are not being able to install Norton antivirus. We are proficient in doing Norton com setup install for any version that has been launched by the company. Moreover, we provide help for Norton antivirus as well.
his muscular body a shadowy blur as he takes a step toward me. “Why are you still dressed?” he grumbles. “Because not everybody is as proficient at getting naked as you are.” “It’s not that difficult, babe. Here, let me help you.
Elle Kennedy (The Deal (Off-Campus, #1))
This is why the attainment of proficiency, the pushing of your skill with attention to the most delicate shades of excellence, is a matter of vital concern.  Efficiency of a practically flawless kind may be reached naturally in the struggle for bread.  But there is something beyond—a higher point, a subtle and unmistakable touch of love and pride beyond mere skill; almost an inspiration which gives to all work that finish which is almost art—which is art.
Joseph Conrad (The Mirror of the Sea)
Ultimately, the purpose of a certification is to establish a particular level of proficiency in a discipline. Unfortunately, “social media” in and of itself, is not a discipline. Digital crisis management, on the other hand, is. So are digital customer service and online community management. This means that a certification program that focuses on social media without addressing each specific business function adapted to social media won’t end up certifying anyone in much of anything.
Olivier J. Blanchard (Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que Biz-Tech))
The mercy bullet I envy horses: if they break a leg and feel humiliated because they can no longer charge back and forth in the wind, they are cured by a mercy bullet. So if something in me gets broken, physically or spiritually, I would do well to look for a proficient killer, even if he is one of my enemies. I will pay him a fee and the price of the bullet, kiss his hand and his revolver, and if I am able to write, extol him in a poem of rare beauty, for which he can choose the metre and rhyme.
Mahmoud Darwish (A River Dies of Thirst: Journals)
It is no wonder that organizations struggle to cultivate experts who are both proficient with their tools and prepared to drop them. But there is an organizational strategy that can help. The strategy, strange as it sounds, is to send a mixed message.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
After all, the only people on these boards were the people who could be there—who wanted to be there badly enough—who had the proficiency and passion, because the Internet of the 1990s wasn’t just one click away. It took significant effort just to log on.
Edward Snowden (Permanent Record)
To those of us gathered here today, Matthew Connell filled a number of different roles in our lives. Matthew was a son, a brother, a father and a friend. Matthew's last days in his young life were bleak, suffering ones. Yet, we must remember the real Matthew, the loving young man who had a great lust for life. A keen musician, Matthew loved to entertain friends with his guitar playing... Renton could not make eye contact with Spud, standing next to him in the pew, as nervous laughter gripped him. Matty was the shitest guitarest he'd known, and could only play the Doors' 'Roadhouse Blues' and a few Clash and Status Quo numbers with any sort of proficiency. He tried hard to do the riff from 'Clash City Rockers', but could never quite master it. Nonetheless, Matty loved that Fender Strat. It was the last thing he sold, holding onto it after the amplifier had been flogged off in order to fill his veins with shite. Perr Matty, Renton thought. How well did any of us really know him? How well can anybody really know anybody else?
Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting (Mark Renton, #2))
Books (offline, not on digital devices) are best for training our kids to be deep readers. Critically thinking about the content of what they read can only come after that immersive, slower-moving, undistracting experience. Naturally, reading proficiency is key here.
Julie Bogart (Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent's Guide to Growing Wise Kids in the Digital Age)
As long as personal, violent catharsis masquerades as acts of resistance, the corporate state is secure. Indeed, the corporate state welcomes this violence because violence is a language it can speak with a proficiency and ruthlessness that none of these groups can match.
Chris Hedges (America: The Farewell Tour)
As NASA engineer Mary Shafer once articulated, “Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don’t have the balls to live in the real world.” It is no wonder that organizations struggle to cultivate experts who are both proficient with their tools and prepared to drop them.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
We can and should challenge ourselves every single day. That is, we can choose to view the world through the lens of possibilities. The more we take on problems, the more confident and proficient we become at solving them. And the better able we are to see them as opportunities.
Tina Seelig (What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the World)
It is truly no feat to crack a nut, and therefore no one would think to gather an audience for the purpose of entertaining them with nutcracking. But if he should do so, and if he should succeed in his aim, then it cannot be a matter of mere nutcracking. Or alternatively, it is a matter of nutcracking, but as it turns out we have overlooked the art of nutcracking because we were so proficient at it that it is this new nutcracker who is the first to demonstrate what it actually entails, whereby it could be even more effective if he were less expert in nutcracking than the majority of us.
Franz Kafka (Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk (The Metamorphasis, A Hunger Artist, A Penal Colony, and Other Stories))
A modern princess—of England, say, or Monaco— serves the purpose of being an adornment in the fantasy life of the public. Consequently, she receives the kind of education that one might think of giving to a particularly splendid papier-mâché angel before putting it at the top of the Christmas tree: an education whose main goal is proficiency in the arts of looking pretty and standing straight. Our century, whatever virtues it may have, is not an optimal time for princesses. Things were different in the Renaissance. Intelligence had a primary value then. At almost every level of the social order, education was meant to create true amateurs—people who were in love with quality. A gentleman or lady needed to be at least minimally skilled in many arts, because that was considered the fittest way of appreciating the good things in life and honoring the goodness itself. Nor did being well-rounded mean smoothing over your finest points and becoming like the reflection of a smile in a polished teaspoon. Intelligence walked hand in hand with individuality, although having finely sharpened points of view did not, it was felt, require you to poke other people with them. If wit was a rapier, courtesy was the button at the end of the blade.
Stephen Mitchell (The Frog Prince: A Fairy Tale for Consenting Adults)
I’m not a big drinker and I’ve had enough secondhand smoke for this decade and the next, so . . .” Great. All she had to do was complain about the deafening volume of the music, and she might as well slap a sticker on her forehead saying old next to the one that already said nerd. “Band’s good, though,” she added. “Country’s not my thing, but the players are . . . proficient.” And great, now she sounded like a professor. Proficient. God. But he was nodding. “Country’s not my thing, either.” “But you have a cowboy hat,” she said, and as soon as the words left her lips, she realized how stupid she sounded, no—not that she sounded, but that she was.
Suzanne Brockmann (Infamous)
We honestly think that we ourselves and those around us should be proficient with spiritual power, moving and acting with agility and endurance, wisdom and purity, able to conquer long-established habits of sloth and rebelliousness, simply on the basis of our desire and effort and sincerity...We have to train for the spiritual life.
Mark Buchanan (Your God Is Too Safe: Rediscovering the Wonder of a God You Can't Control)
A person can learn at any stage of life. Education requires more than learning how to read a book and write a sentence. What good does it do to read and write if a person lacks the ability to evaluate and judge the truth and falsity of what they read and write? Learning how to speak and argue is of little utility to a person has nothing sensible to say or who argues in favor of falsehoods. Learning how to think is of extremely valuable because it provides the needed contexture to make reading, writing, speaking, and rhetoric useful. Thinking cannot exist in a vacuum. A person must demonstrate the talent to be a proficient observer before thinking is a viable activity.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
My laboratory is a place where I write. I have become proficient at producing a rare species of prose capable of distilling ten years of work by five people into six published pages, written in a language that very few people can read and that no one ever speaks. This writing relates the details of my work with the precision of a laser scalpel, but its streamlined beauty is a type of artifice, a size-zero mannequin designed to showcase the glory of a dress that would be much less perfect on any real person. My papers do not display the footnotes that they have earned, the table of data that required painstaking months to redo when a graduate student quit, sneering on her way out that she didn’t want a life like mine. The paragraph that took five hours to write while riding on a plane, stunned with grief, flying to a funeral that I couldn’t believe was happening. The early draft that my toddler covered in crayon and applesauce while it was still warm from the printer. Although my publications contain meticulous details of the plants that did grow, the runs that went smoothly, and the data that materialized, they perpetrate a disrespectful amnesia against the entire gardens that rotted in fungus and dismay, the electrical signals that refused to stabilize, and the printer ink cartridges that we secured late at night through nefarious means. I
Hope Jahren (Lab Girl)
The passionate state of mind is often indicative of a lack of skill, talent or power. Moreover, passionate intensity can serve as a substitute for the confidence born of proficiency and the possession of power. A workingman sure of his skill goes leisurely about his job, and accomplishes much though he works as if at play. On the other hand, the workingman who is without confidence attacks his work as if he were saving the world, and he must do so if he is to get anything done. The same is true of the soldier. A well-trained and well-equipped soldier will fight well even when not sitrred by strong feeling. But the untrained soldier will give a good account of himself only when animated by enthusiasm and fervor.
Eric Hoffer (The Passionate State of Mind: And Other Aphorisms)
If Doc can’t let it go, you can always remind him that statistically a human is more likely to die from a hospital error than from a motorcycle ride.
David L. Hough (More Proficient Motorcycling: Mastering the Ride)
A driver who has no interest in motorcycles, and isn’t expecting to see one, may not comprehend a motorcycle regardless of how conspicuous it is.
David L. Hough (Mastering the Ride: More Proficient Motorcycling)
It is the best of humanity, I think, that goes out to walk. In happy hours all affairs may be wisely postponed for this. Dr. Johnson said, ‘Few men know how to take a walk,’ and it is pretty certain that Dr. Johnson was not one of those few. It is a fine art; there are degrees of proficiency, and we distinguish the professors from the apprentices. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good-humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence, and nothing too much. Good observers have the manners of trees and animals, and if they add words, it is only when words are better than silence. But a vain talker profanes the river and the forest, and is nothing like so good company as a dog.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
You put a hard question on the virtue of discipline. What you say is true: I do value it—and I think that you do too—more than for its earthly fruit, proficiency. I think that one can give only a metaphysical ground for this evaluation; but the variety of metaphysics which gave an answer to your question has been very great, the metaphysics themselves very disparate: the bhagavad gita, Ecclesiastes, the Stoa, the beginning of the Laws, Hugo of St Victor, St Thomas, John of the Cross, Spinoza. This very great disparity suggests that the fact that discipline is good for the soul is more fundamental than any of the grounds given for its goodness. I believe that through discipline, though not through discipline alone, we can achieve serenity, and a certain small but precious measure of freedom from the accidents of incarnation, and charity, and that detachment which preserves the world which it renounces. I believe that through discipline we can learn to preserve what is essential to our happiness in more and more adverse circumstances, and to abandon with simplicity what would else have seemed to us indispensable; that we come a little to see the world without the gross distortion of personal desire, and in seeing it so, accept more easily our earthly privation and its earthly horror—But because I believe that the reward of discipline is greater than its immediate objective, I would not have you think that discipline without objective is possible: in its nature discipline involves the subjection of the soul to some perhaps minor end; and that end must be real, if the discipline is not to be factitious. Therefore I think that all things which evoke discipline: study, and our duties to men and to the commonwealth, war, and personal hardship, and even the need for subsistence, ought to be greeted by us with profound gratitude, for only through them can we attain to the least detachment; and only so can we know peace.
J. Robert Oppenheimer
With simple tasks such as typing, driving, or playing golf and tennis, we reach our highest level of proficiency after about 50 hours of practice; then our performance skills become automated. We’re able to execute them smoothly and with minimal effort, but further development stops. We assume we’ve reached our highest performance level, and we don’t think to learn new and better methods.
Joseph Grenny (Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change)
I'll join you, sir. You'll need help finding your way about the estate." His lips tightened into a disapproving line. "Begging your pardon, Lady Rosalind, but I didn't have a nursemaid when I was three, so I certainly don't need one now. I'm perfectly capable of navigating an estate alone." "I'm sure you are - indeed, you demonstrated a remarkable proficiency for it last night, and in a strange house, too.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Dangerous Love (Swanlea Spinsters, #1))
The simplest answer is that the user had access to reality—every company builds a bubble around itself, where the products get built and tested in a more controlled environment than they get used in. This is especially true of complex software. What the early users enabled Xiaomi to see was how MIUI actually worked when real (albeit unusually technically proficient) people tried to install it on a wide variety of devices.
Clay Shirky (Little Rice: Smartphones, Xiaomi, and The Chinese Dream)
In Detroit I was assigned to Bill Isabel and Sam Portwine. They worked as a team, doing public relations, but actually Sam looked to Bill as boss of the team. Bill was about 5′8″ and was known for his ability with candy, not the kind you eat, the kind you use to blow things up with — dynamite. Bill was proficient in bombing, and he always packed. Bill was born in Ireland, but he sounded American. He came up through the ranks as a trucker.
Charles Brandt ("I Heard You Paint Houses", Updated Edition: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa)
There are some moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they've ever found before in rehearsals or performances, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything you have to others, but lose nothing of yourself.
Ian McEwan
It is said that a student of sexing must work through at least 250,000 chicks before attaining any degree of proficiency. Even if the sexer calls it “intuition,” it’s been shaped by years of experience. It is the vast memory bank of chick bottoms that allows him or her to recognize patterns in the vents glanced at so quickly. In most cases, the skill is not the result of conscious reasoning, but pattern recognition. It is a feat of perception and memory, not analysis.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
teacher flight from the challenges in such schools—violence and disorder, truancy, lower school readiness and English-language proficiency, less supportive home environments—means that students in these schools get a generally inferior education. Many teachers in poor schools today are doing a heroic job, driven by idealism, but in a market economy the most obvious way to attract more and better teachers to such demanding work is to improve the conditions of their employment.
Robert D. Putnam (Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis)
Unlike musical notation, paint or clay, language is inside every one of us. For free. We are all proficient at it. We already have the palette, the paints and the instruments. We don’t have to go and buy any reserved materials. Poetry is made of the same stuff you are reading now, the same stuff you use to order pizza over the phone, the same stuff you yell at your parents and children, whisper in your lover’s ear and shove into an e-mail, text or birthday card. It is common to us all.
Stephen Fry (The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within)
Eventual elites typically devote less time early on to deliberate practice in the activity in which they will eventually become experts. Instead, they undergo what researchers call a “sampling period.” They play a variety of sports, usually in an unstructured or lightly structured environment; they gain a range of physical proficiencies from which they can draw; they learn about their own abilities and proclivities; and only later do they focus in and ramp up technical practice in one area.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
A man who had mastered the art of manliness embodied many, if not all, of these manly characteristics: Looks out for and is loyal to his friends and family. Does the right thing, even when it’s not convenient. Is proficient in the manly arts. Treats women with respect and honor. Serves and gives back to his community. Sacrifices for the good of others. Works hard and seldom complains. Exhibits both great courage and tender compassion. Has a confident swagger but isn’t a pompous jerk. Is witty without succumbing to sarcasm. Embraces instead of shirks responsibility. You probably have grandfathers who exemplify this kind of honorable manliness. But something happened in the last fifty years to cause these positive manly virtues and skills to disappear from the current generations of men. Fathers have ceased passing on the art of manliness to their sons, and our culture, nervous to assign any single set of virtues to one sex, has stripped the meaning of manliness of anything laudatory.
Brett McKay (The Art Of Manliness: Classic Skills And Manners For The Modern Man)
Sometimes a person can become stunningly proficient with regard to certain dimensions of spiritual empowerment while under-emphasizing other aspects. In my way of thinking, the ultimate reason to experience liberation is to better serve others. And a sine qua non for effectively serving others is to be a decent person by the ordinary canons of society, or as my father would have put it, a mensch. Freedom should be manifested within clear ethical guidelines and an egalitarian feedback structure.
Shinzen Young (The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works)
If a woman is flourishing in her home and glorifying God while rejoicing in her domestic duties, and doing them well, but still finding extra hours in her day, she is in a position to look for more to do. She has something to export. This might be volunteer work for the community or church, it may be part-time employment, or it might be learning new skills at home. The possibilities are endless when we really think about it. A new wife may be able to ease gradually into assuming more responsibilities outside the home as she becomes more and more proficient at the job God has given her, but it is unwise to do this too quickly. Sometimes a woman can kid herself into thinking she has extra time, when in fact she is actually just barely getting by with the minimum in her basic domestic duties. For example, if she simply rotates three dinners over and over because that’s all she knows how to make, her problem is not that she has too much time on her hands. She needs help and input and encouragement, not outside activities to give her more to do. She has to determine to become skilled at the tasks God has assigned for her.
Nancy Wilson (Building Her House: Commonsensical Wisdom for Christian Women (Marigold))
A bare two years after Vasco da Gama’s voyage a Portuguese fleet led by Pedro Alvarez Cabral arrived on the Malabar coast. Cabral delivered a letter from the king of Portugal to the Samudri (Samudra-raja or Sea-king), the Hindu ruler of the city-state of Calicut, demanding that he expel all Muslims from his kingdom as they were enemies of the ‘Holy Faith’. He met with a blank refusal; then afterwards the Samudra steadfastly maintained that Calicut had always been open to everyone who wished to trade there… During those early years the people who had traditionally participated in the Indian Ocean trade were taken completely by surprise. In all the centuries in which it had flourished and grown, no state or kings or ruling power had ever before tried to gain control of the Indian Ocean trade by force of arms. The territorial and dynastic ambitions that were pursued with such determination on land were generally not allowed to spill over into the sea. Within the Western historiographical record the unarmed character of the Indian Ocean trade is often represented as a lack, or failure, one that invited the intervention of Europe, with its increasing proficiency in war. When a defeat is as complete as was that of the trading cultures of the Indian Ocean, it is hard to allow the vanquished the dignity of nuances of choice and preference. Yet it is worth allowing for the possibility that the peaceful traditions of the oceanic trade may have been, in a quiet and inarticulate way, the product of a rare cultural choice — one that may have owed a great deal to the pacifist customs and beliefs of the Gujarati Jains and Vanias who played such an important part in it. At the time, at least one European was moved to bewilderment by the unfamiliar mores of the region; a response more honest perhaps than the trust in historical inevitability that has supplanted it since. ‘The heathen [of Gujarat]’, wrote Tomé Pires, early in the sixteenth century, ‘held that they must never kill anyone, nor must they have armed men in their company. If they were captured and [their captors] wanted to kill them all, they did not resist. This is the Gujarat law among the heathen.’ It was because of those singular traditions, perhaps, that the rulers of the Indian Ocean ports were utterly confounded by the demands and actions of the Portuguese. Having long been accustomed to the tradesmen’s rules of bargaining and compromise they tried time and time again to reach an understanding with the Europeans — only to discover, as one historian has put it, that the choice was ‘between resistance and submission; co-operation was not offered.’ Unable to compete in the Indian Ocean trade by purely commercial means, the Europeans were bent on taking control of it by aggression, pure and distilled, by unleashing violence on a scale unprecedented on those shores.
Amitav Ghosh (In an Antique Land)
Her training had all been toward the end of making her proficient in what she had undertaken to do. Her personal life, her own realization of herself, was almost a subconscious existence; like an underground river that came to the surface only here and there, at intervals months apart, and then sank again to flow on under her own fields. Nevertheless, the underground stream was there, and it was because she had so much personality to put into her enterprises and succeeded in putting it into them so completely, that her affairs prospered better than those of her neighbors.
Willa Cather (O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy, #1))
In 2003, a Dutch clinical psychologist named Christof van Nimwegen began a fascinating study of computer-aided learning that a BBC writer would later call “one of the most interesting examinations of current computer use and the potential downsides of our increasing reliance on screen-based interaction with information systems.”26 Van Nimwegen had two groups of volunteers work through a tricky logic puzzle on a computer. The puzzle involved transferring colored balls between two boxes in accordance with a set of rules governing which balls could be moved at which time. One of the groups used software that had been designed to be as helpful as possible. It offered on-screen assistance during the course of solving the puzzle, providing visual cues, for instance, to highlight permitted moves. The other group used a bare-bones program, which provided no hints or other guidance. In the early stages of solving the puzzle, the group using the helpful software made correct moves more quickly than the other group, as would be expected. But as the test proceeded, the proficiency of the members of the group using the bare-bones software increased more rapidly. In the end, those using the unhelpful program were able to solve the puzzle more quickly and with fewer wrong moves. They also reached fewer impasses—states in which no further moves were possible—than did the people using the helpful software. The findings indicated, as van Nimwegen reported, that those using the unhelpful software were better able to plan ahead and plot strategy, while those using the helpful software tended to rely on simple trial and error. Often, in fact, those with the helpful software were found “to aimlessly click around” as they tried to crack the puzzle.
Nicholas Carr (The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains)
Once I made weapons carved from stone, I tied the weight to a wooden handle, a club to break the bones of my enemy. Then I became wiser... and sharpened the stone to a point and then fastened it to a stick; my arrow. I bent wood and hitched string to it; my bow. I kill my enemy with skill Then I became wiser... and made weapons forged from steel and took care to sharpen the blade of my sword. I kill my enemy with a stroke. Then I became wiser... and made the rifle that would, by exploding gunpowder, shoot balls of lead faster than the eye could see. I kill my enemy with but the pull of a trigger. Then I became wiser... and I built flying machine that could transport bombs to drop over the homes of my enemy. I kill my enemy from the sky. Then I became wiser... and created the drone, now I can guide a plane by remote control from one country and kill my enemy in another. I am a proficient killer Then I became wiser...  and I found a way to split the atom and found the power of God hidden within. I kill the ground, scorch the sky, pollute the wind and kill my enemy with the push of a button. Then I became wiser... And I found that there is nothing more foolish than a "Wise Man of War
Tonny K. Brown
Most of the messaging and chatting I did was in search of answers to questions I had about how to build my own computer, and the responses I received were so considered and thorough, so generous and kind, they’d be unthinkable today. My panicked query about why a certain chipset for which I’d saved up my allowance didn’t seem to be compatible with the motherboard I’d already gotten for Christmas would elicit a two-thousand-word explanation and note of advice from a professional tenured computer scientist on the other side of the country. Not cribbed from any manual, this response was composed expressly for me, to troubleshoot my problems step-by-step until I’d solved them. I was twelve years old, and my correspondent was an adult stranger far away, yet he treated me like an equal because I’d shown respect for the technology. I attribute this civility, so far removed from our current social-media sniping, to the high bar for entry at the time. After all, the only people on these boards were the people who could be there—who wanted to be there badly enough—who had the proficiency and passion, because the Internet of the 1990s wasn’t just one click away. It took significant effort just to log on.
Edward Snowden (Permanent Record)
Knowing I might never visit the archives again, I had hit on a solution to get at Mezzofanti's proficiency: I'd count the letters he received in each language. If he got many, he must have been writing a lot, and that, maybe, pointed to a great deal of practice, then to a high degree of proficiency. It was a fair social science hypothesis. I told Pasti about my plan. The librarian smirked at me. "You're a positivist, I think," he said. A positivist is someone who believes you can get at truths only through what can be counted, measured, and observed. I was shocked - I've been called names before, but never that.
Michael Erard (Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners)
If I had never changed my mind about what I wanted in a relationship or about what I wanted out of a relationship, do you know who I'd be with? Probably not, but I do: SUSAN: former crush from the third grade. ATTRIBUTES: blonde hair, proficient at reading and writing, great at freeze tag, excellent at all recess and playground activities. RELATIONSHIP STRENGTHS: female, talked to me, shared her fruit snacks with me, didn't hate me. RELATIONSHIP PITFALLS: I like things other than recess now; the qualities I liked in third grade might not be enough for a healthy adult relationship...but having fruit snacks never hurts.
Chad Eastham (The Truth About Breaking Up, Making Up, and Moving On)
am an American Soldier. I am a warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. (This had been underlined.) I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior task and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Soldier.
Kristin Hannah (Home Front)
Of course the activists—not those whose thinking had become rigid, but those whose approach to revolution was imaginatively anarchic—had long ago grasped the reality which still eluded the press: we were seeing something important. We were seeing the desperate attempt of a handful of pathetically unequipped children to create a community in a social vacuum. Once we had seen these children, Ave could no longer overlook the vacuum, no longer pretend that the society’s atomization could be reversed. This was not a traditional generational rebellion. At some point between 1945 and 1967 we had somehow neglected to tell these children the rules of the game we happened to be playing. Maybe we had stopped believing in the rules ourselves, maybe we were having a failure of nerve about the game. Maybe there were just too few people around to do the telling. These were children who grew up cut loose from the web of cousins and great-aunts and family doctors and lifelong neighbors who had traditionally suggested and enforced the society’s values. They are children who have moved around a lot, San Jose, Chula Vista, here. They are less in rebellion against the society than ignorant of it, able only to feed back certain of its most publicized self-doubts, Vietnam, Saran-Wrap, diet pills, the Bomb. They feed back exactly what is given them. Because they do not believe in words—words are for “typeheads,” Chester Anderson tells them, and a thought which needs words is just one more of those ego trips—their only proficient vocabulary is in the society’s platitudes. As it happens I am still committed to the idea that the ability to think for one’s self depends upon one’s mastery of the language, and I am not optimistic about children who will settle for saying, to indicate that their mother and father do not live together, that they come from “a broken home.” They are sixteen, fifteen, fourteen years old, younger all the time, an army of children waiting to be given the words.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
There are all degrees of proficiency in the use men make of this instructive world where we are boarded and schooled and apprenticed. It is sufficient to our present purpose to indicate three degrees of progress. One class lives to the utility of the symbol, as the majority of men do, regarding health and wealth as the chief good. Another class live about this mark to the beauty of the symbol; as the poet and artist and the sensual school in philosophy. A third class live above the beauty of the symbol to the beauty of the thing signified and these are wise men. The first class have common sense; the second, taste; and the third spiritual perception. I see in society the neophytes of all these classes, the class especially of young men who in their best knowledge of the sign have a misgiving that there is yet an unattained substance and they grope and sigh and aspire long in dissatisfaction, the sand-blind adorers of the symbol meantime chirping and scoffing and trampling them down. I see moreover that the perfect man - one to a millennium - if so many, traverses the whole scale and sees and enjoys the symbol solidly; then also has a clear eye for its beauty; and lastly wears it lightly as a robe which he can easily throw off, for he sees the reality and divine splendor of the inmost nature bursting through each chink and cranny.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Early Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume II: 1836-1838)
Whatever rules you have adopted, abide by them as laws, and as if you would be impious to transgress them; and do not regard what anyone says of you, for this, after all, is no concern of yours. How long, then, will you delay to demand of yourself the noblest improvements, and in no instance to transgress the judgments of reason? You have received the philosophic principles with which you ought to be conversant; and you have been conversant with them. For what other master, then, do you wait as an excuse for this delay in self-reformation? You are no longer a boy but a grown man. If, therefore, you will be negligent and slothful, and always add procrastination to procrastination, purpose to purpose, and fix day after day in which you will attend to yourself, you will insensibly continue to accomplish nothing and, living and dying, remain of vulgar mind. This instant, then, think yourself worthy of living as a man grown up and a proficient. Let whatever appears to be the best be to you an inviolable law. And if any instance of pain or pleasure, glory or disgrace, be set before you, remember that now is the combat, now the Olympiad comes on, nor can it be put off; and that by one failure and defeat honor may be lost or—won. Thus Socrates became perfect, improving himself by everything, following reason alone. And though you are not yet a Socrates, you ought, however, to live as one seeking to be a Socrates.
Epictetus (The Enchiridion (Illustrated))
Your career is likely to bear more resemblance to that of a writer than that of an athlete or painter. You should look ahead to your forties as the time when you will be at your peak of creativity, technical proficiency, and energy, and also have enough phronesis to realize your potential. The more your field depends on good judgment that comes only from experience, the longer you can expect to sustain a high level of performance into your fifties and sixties. To put it another way: Even if you wait as late as thirty to start accumulating the fifty thousand chunks of expertise, you will still have completed that apprenticeship when you approach the peak of your other powers in your forties. So push out your time horizon and don’t get frustrated if what you hoped would be a meteoric rise proves to be more measured. You’re not failing; you’re getting better at your craft and can reasonably aspire to master it one day. In the meantime, consult Wikipedia to check on the lives of those who became conspicuously successful at a young age. Ted Sorenson? After JFK was assassinated, he had a financially successful career as an attorney and remained a participant in politics, but, like sports heroes, rock stars, and pure mathematicians, he had to turn forty knowing that his most exciting professional years were behind him. How sad. And how happy you should be that you aren’t going to be a famous presidential aide at thirty-two.
Charles Murray (The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life)
America became very confident in its own English language. A witty resolution was proposed in the House of Representatives in 1820 suggesting they educate the English in their own language: Whereas the House of Representatives in common with the people of America is justly proud of its admirable native tongue and regards this most expressive and energetic language as one of the best of its birthrights . . . Resolved, therefore, that the nobility and gentry of England be courteously invited to send their elder sons and such others as may be destined to appear as politic speakers in Church and State to America for their education . . . [and after due instruction he suggested that they be given] certificates of their proficiency in the English tongue.
Melvyn Bragg (The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language)
Motorcyclists, like pilots, put the priority on avoiding accidents rather than attempting to survive accidents. The energy is focused on doing everything right, rather than on surviving the crash. That’s a significant difference that motor vehicle safety experts in the U.S. seem unable to grasp. The NHTSA approach has always focused on crash padding, rather than on driver skill.
David L. Hough (More Proficient Motorcycling: Mastering the Ride)
What is the purpose of my writing about the various experiences of my life? It is not for publicity, but with the hope that the reader, especially my descendants, may plan a career to which they are naturally best adapted. Most children are born with a gift or talent which can be noticed in early childhood and should be encouraged and directed in the right way. Solomon said, 'Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' Train does not mean compel, or to compare him with other children, but to encourage him in that for which he has a natural tendency. The boy who will become proficient in a lawful trade or profession, other things being favorable, will be a value to society and remunerative to himself and others.
Ernest Albert Law (Autobiography of Ernest Albert Law)
her proficiency in the Classics would somehow stand her in better stead when opening and closing filing-cabinet drawers and conducting endless searches among a sea of buff-coloured folders. It wasn’t quite the ‘interesting job’ she had envisaged but it kept her attention and over the next ten years she rose slowly through the ranks, in the bridled way that women did. (‘One day a woman will be Prime Minister,’ Pamela said. ‘Maybe even in our lifetime.’) Now Ursula had her own junior clericals to chase down the buff folders for her. She supposed that was progress. Since ’36 she’d been working in the Air Raid Precautions Department. ‘You’ve not heard rumours then?’ Pamela said. ‘I’m a lowly squaw, I hear nothing but rumours.’ ‘Maurice can’t say what he does,’ Pamela grumbled. ‘Couldn’t
Kate Atkinson (Life After Life) is interesting to consider research on mastery versus performance goals in learning (Dweck 1999), discussed more in chapter 5. People with mastery orientations, in brief, are people who are interested in learning in order to master a topic. They tend to like challenges, and they persist at them. People with performance goals, in contrast, tend to like to do easy jobs that make them look good. They want to be judged positively. Although these two different orientations appear to characterize two different people, the same person can adopt different orientations under different environmental conditions. And it ends up that the particular conditions under which people are more apt to adopt mastery goals bear striking similarities to Montessori environments (Ames, 1992, see chapter 5).
Angeline Stoll Lillard (Montessori: The Science behind the Genius)
You don’t have to have studied the description-experience gap to understand, if you’re truly expert at something, that you need experience to balance out the descriptions. Otherwise, you’re left with the illusion of knowledge—knowledge without substance. You’re an armchair philosopher who thinks that just because she read an article about something she is a sudden expert. (David Dunning, a psychologist at the University of Michigan most famous for being one half of the Dunning-Kruger effect—the more incompetent you are, the less you’re aware of your incompetence—has found that people go quickly from being circumspect beginners, who are perfectly aware of their limitations, to “unconscious incompetents,” people who no longer realize how much they don’t know and instead fancy themselves quite proficient.)
Maria Konnikova (The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win)
By 1957, a mere eleven years after its devastation, Japan not only had the most modern steel mills in the world but was the foremost steel producer in the world. But that was just the beginning: In the decade following 1957, Japanese steel production grew by 170 percent—while the American steel industry grew only 20 percent. The American steel industry, believing itself invulnerable, was headed by a complacent and insular management which was slow to bring in modern technology and which, even as the challenger grew more proficient, locked the industry into ever costlier labor agreements. By 1964, 28 percent of Japan’s steel exports was going to America. In Japan, a thrust in shipbuilding followed closely upon the success in steel; by 1956 Japan had replaced Britain as the world’s leading shipbuilding nation.
David Halberstam (The Reckoning)
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, on the 15th October, 1856, so that he is now about twenty-six years of age, but brief as has been his career, it has been full of promise for the future. The son of highly intellectual parents, he has had an exceptional education, has travelled much in wild and remote, through classic lands, and in the course of these journeys has learnt to appreciate the beauties of the old authors, in whose works whilst at college he attained exceptional proficiency. But his naturally enthusiastic temperament teaches him to hope for better in the future than has been achieved in the past, and to see how vast will be the influence of Art and Literature on the coming democracy of Intellect, when education and culture shall have taught men to pride themselves on what they have done, and not alone on the deeds of their ancestors.
Walter Hamilton (The Aesthetic Movement In England)
I’m fragile, the fragility of a hopeless romantic trapped in a reality in which there is no happily ever after. Some people outgrow their fragility. I never did. Instead I became proficient at packaging it. Have you ever encountered a product that comes in a box covered with duct tape, which opens to an explosion of packing peanuts, and then you are faced with layers of tightly taped bubble wrap, only to find after that there’s still a hard plastic shell that’s a pain in the ass to pry apart? That’s me. Except I never let anyone get past the duct-tape stage. Okay, maybe occasionally Zelda saw the packing peanuts, but no further, no deeper. So what’s underneath it all? Fear, yes. Need, so much of it. More wishful thinking than there is in the entire country on a Powerball weekend. Maybe greed too, a greed for happiness that’s matched only by the fear of losing it.
Sherry Thomas (The One In My Heart)
There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they’ve ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything you have to others, but lose nothing of yourself. Out in the real world there exist detailed plans, visionary projects for peaceable realms, all conflicts resolved, happiness for everyone, for ever—mirages for which people are prepared to die and kill. Christ’s kingdom on earth, the workers’ paradise, the ideal Islamic state. But only in music, and only on rare occasions, does the curtain actually lift on this dream of community, and it’s tantalisingly conjured, before fading away with the last notes. Naturally,
Ian McEwan (Saturday)
Mom reeled away from the chair as if she’d been slapped. Deacon was up in a flash, letting the sword clank to the tiles as he clung to her skirt. Aristodeus raised his palms, and for a moment he looked genuinely sorry. “They will accept him, Gralia, but not until he’s turned thirteen, and not unless he’s proficient with a blade and fluent in Aeternam.” Mom’s breaths came in great heaves. She shut her eyes for a few seconds, her lips working silently over a prayer. She planted a kiss on Deacon’s head and sighed. “Six years, then.” Aristodeus nodded. “Six more years. He’ll be well on his way to manhood by then, Gralia, and I’m sure the last thing you and Jarl will want is a teenager on your hands.” Mom blinked back tears, and she shuddered as she drew in another breath. Deacon knew what she was doing: offering it all up to Nous in reparation for her sins and those of the whole world. Aristodeus stooped to pick up the sword and hand it back to Deacon.
Derek Prior (Sword of the Archon (Shader, #1))
No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be an heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her. Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard — and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence besides two good livings — and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters. Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, she still lived on — lived to have six children more — to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself. A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, where there are heads and arms and legs enough for the number; but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features — so much for her person; and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boy's plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. Indeed she had no taste for a garden; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief — at least so it was conjectured from her always preferring those which she was forbidden to take. Such were her propensities — her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. Her mother was three months in teaching her only to repeat the "Beggar's Petition"; and after all, her next sister, Sally, could say it better than she did. Not that Catherine was always stupid — by no means; she learnt the fable of "The Hare and Many Friends" as quickly as any girl in England. Her mother wished her to learn music; and Catherine was sure she should like it, for she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinner; so, at eight years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it; and Mrs. Morland, who did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste, allowed her to leave off. The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest of Catherine's life. Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another. Writing and accounts she was taught by her father; French by her mother: her proficiency in either was not remarkable, and she shirked her lessons in both whenever she could. What a strange, unaccountable character! — for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
Our souls, that is our selves, are like a jumbled heap of pins: interests, thoughts, emotions, volitions, and feelings -- our life at work, our life of play, our domestic and social life, our life in the limelight, and our life alone -- all a heap of pins pointing in all directions and getting in one another's way. But the slow approach of a magnet sorts the jumble out in a remarkable way, confusion becomes a pattern, each pin points in the same direction, and all is achieved by the focus of magnetic power. It is superfluous to add that the only magnet which can sort out all the intricacies of the human soul is God. In short the state of perfect recollection is that most characteristic expression of the work of the Holy Ghost; the creation of order out of chaos.
Martin Thornton (Christian Proficiency)
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Suppose that you need to hire a sales representative for your firm. If you are serious about hiring the best possible person for the job, this is what you should do. First, select a few traits that are prerequisites for success in this position (technical proficiency, engaging personality, reliability, and so on). Don’t overdo it—six dimensions is a good number. The traits you choose should be as independent as possible from each other, and you should feel that you can assess them reliably by asking a few factual questions. Next, make a list of those questions for each trait and think about how you will score it, say on a 1–5 scale. You should have an idea of what you will call “very weak” or “very strong.” These preparations should take you half an hour or so, a small investment that can make a significant difference in the quality of the people you hire. To avoid halo effects, you must collect the information on one trait at a time, scoring each before you move on to the next one. Do not skip around. To evaluate each candidate, add up the six scores. Because you are in charge of the final decision, you should not do a “close your eyes.” Firmly resolve that you will hire the candidate whose final score is the highest, even if there is another one whom you like better—try to resist your wish to invent broken legs to change the ranking. A vast amount of research offers a promise: you are much more likely to find the best candidate if you use this procedure than if you do what people normally do in such situations, which is to go into the interview unprepared and to make choices by an overall intuitive judgment such as “I looked into his eyes and liked what I saw.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,’ heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Breakfasts will be ‘ordered’ the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning. Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica. [M]en will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button. Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long- lived batteries running on radioisotopes. “[H]ighways … in the more advanced sections of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface. There will be aircraft, of course, but even ground travel will increasingly take to the air a foot or two off the ground. [V]ehicles with ‘Robot-brains’ … can be set for particular destinations … that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver. [W]all screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible. [T]he world population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will be 350,000,000. All earth will be a single choked Manhattan by A.D. 2450 and society will collapse long before that! There will, therefore, be a worldwide propaganda drive in favor of birth control by rational and humane methods and, by 2014, it will undoubtedly have taken serious effect. Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great difficulty and there will be ‘farms’ turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed yeast and algae products will be available in a variety of flavors. The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders. Schools will have to be oriented in this direction…. All the high-school students will be taught the fundamentals of computer technology will become proficient in binary arithmetic and will be trained to perfection in the use of the computer languages that will have developed out of those like the contemporary “Fortran". [M]ankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014. [T]he most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work! in our a society of enforced leisure.
Isaac Asimov
Man muß alt werden [...] und Geld genug haben, seine Erfahrungen bezahlen zu können. Jedes Bonmot, das ich sage, kostet mir eine Börse voll Gold; eine halbe Million meines Privatvermögens ist durch meine Hände gegangen, um das zu lernen, was ich jetzt weiß, nicht allein das ganze Vermögen meines Vaters, sondern auch mein Gehalt und mein bedeutendes literarisches Einkommen seit mehr als funfzig Jahren. Außerdem habe ich anderthalb Millionen zu großen Zwecken von fürstlichen Personen ausgeben sehen, denen ich nahe verbunden war und an deren Schritten, Gelingen und Mißlingen ich teilnahm. Es ist nicht genug, daß man Talent habe, es gehört mehr dazu, um gescheit zu werden; man muß auch in großen Verhältnissen leben und Gelegenheit haben, den spielenden Figuren der Zeit in die Karten zu sehen und selber zu Gewinn und Verlust mitzuspielen.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (J. P. Eckermann Gespräche mit Goethe in den Letzten Jahren Seines Lebens (Classic Reprint) (German Edition))
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A.S. Bhalla
Silvanus, the camp prefect, took a step forward. I heard his voice every morning after parade, but had never listened to the tones of it as I did now. He was not afraid, that much was clear; he was angry. "Pathetic. I should cashier you all now and destroy your Eagles." Silvanus spoke quietly; we had to strain to hear his voice. You could have heard the stars slide across the sky, we were so still and so silent. "If General Corbulo were here, he would destroy you. He dismissed half of the Fifth and the Tenth and sent them home. The rest are billeted in tents in the Armenian highlands with barley meal for fodder. He intends to make an army of them, to meet Vologases when he comes. I intend the same and therefore you will be treated the same as your betters in better legions. You will be proficient by the spring, or you will be dead." His gaze raked us, and we wondered which of us might die that night for the crime of being ineffectual. His voice rocked us. "To that end, you will spend the next three months in tents in the Mountains of the Hawk that lie between us and the sea. One hundred paces above the snow line, each century will determine an area suitable for three months’ stay and build its own base camp. You will alternate along the mountains’ length so that each century of the Fourth has a century of the Twelfth to either side, and vice versa. Each century will defend and maintain its own stocks against the men of the opposing legion; you are encouraged to avail yourselves of what you can. You may not remove stocks from camps belonging to other centuries of your own legion, and equally you may not aid in defending them against raiding parties from the opposing men. So that you may tell each other apart, the Twelfth legion will wear" – did I hear a note of distaste there? – "red cloth tied about their left arms at all times. The Fourth will wear blue. You will be provided with raw fleece with which to wrap your weapons that they might strike but not bite. A man who is careless enough to be captured by the other side will be flogged and returned to his unit. Any man who kills another will be flogged until dead and any man who wounds another will be staked out beyond the boundary of his camp for two days and nights; if he lives, he will be returned to his unit. Any man who dies of hunger, cold or fright, or who falls off the mountain, will be deemed to have died by his own hand. You have until the next watch to make ready. You are dismissed.
M.C. Scott (Rome: The Eagle of the Twelfth (Rome, #3))
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Sinclair James - English Communication Language in Asia Is English Language a Hindrance to Communication for Foreigners in Asia? One of the hesitations of westerners in coming to Asia is the language barrier. True, Asia has been a melting pot of different aspects of life that in every country, there is a distinct characteristic and a culture which would seem odd to someone who grew up in an entirely different perspective. Language is one of the most flourishing uniqueness of Asian nations. Although their boundaries are emphasized by mere walls which can be broken down easily, the brand of each individual can still be determined on the language they use or most comfortable with. Communication may be a problem as it is an issue which neighboring countries also encounter on each other. Message relays or even simple gestures, if interpreted wrongly can cause conflicts. Indeed, the complaints are valid. However, on the present day number of American and European visitors and the boost in tourism economies, language barriers seem to have been surpassed. Perhaps, the problem may not even exist at all. According to English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Asian countries are not altogether illiterate in speaking and understanding the universal language. If so, there are countries which can even speak English as fluent as any native can. Take for example the Philippines. Once in Manila, the country’s capital, you will find thousands of individuals representing different nationalities. The center for business growth in the country, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has proven the literacy of the people in conversing using the international language. Clients from abroad prefer Filipinos in dealing with customers concern since they can easily comprehend grasp and explain things in English. ELPT and IELTS did not even include the Philippines in the list of the top English speaking nations in Asia since they are already considered one of the best and most fluent in this field. Other neighboring Asian countries also send their citizens to the Philippines to learn English. With a mixture of British and American English being used in everyday conversations, the Philippines has to be considered to be included in the top 5 most native English speakers. You may even be surprised to meet a young child in Manila who has not gone to school or mingled with foreigners but can speak and understand English. Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and most Asian countries, if indeed all, can also easily understand and speak English. It seems that the concern for miscommunication has completely no basis and remains a groundless issue. Maybe perhaps, those who say this just want to find a dumb excuse? Read more at:
James Sinclair
The story of The Rape of the Lock, sylphs and all, could have been told, though not so effectively, in prose. The Odyssey and the Comedy have something to say that could have been said well, though not equally well, without verse. Most of the qualities Aristotle demands of a tragedy could occur in a prose play. Poetry and prose, however different in language, overlapped, almost coincided, in content. But modern poetry, if it ‘says’ anything at all, if it aspires to ‘mean’ as well as to ‘be’, says what prose could not say in any fashion. To read the old poetry involved learning a slightly different language; to read the new involves the unmaking of your mind, the abandonment of all the logical and narrative connections which you use in reading prose or in conversation. You must achieve a trance-like condition in which images, associations, and sounds operate without these. Thus the common ground between poetry and any other use of words is reduced almost to zero. In that way poetry is now more quintessentially poetical than ever before; ‘purer’ in the negative sense. It not only does (like all good poetry) what prose can’t do: it deliberately refrains from doing anything that prose can do. Unfortunately, but inevitably, this process is accompanied by a steady diminution in the number of its readers. Some have blamed the poets for this, and some the people. I am not sure that there need be any question of blame. The more any instrument is refined and perfected for some particular function, the fewer those who have the skill, or the occasion, to handle it must of course become. Many use ordinary knives and few use surgeons’ scalpels. The scalpel is better for operations, but it is no good for anything else. Poetry confines itself more and more to what only poetry can do; but this turns out to be something which not many people want done. Nor, of course, could they receive it if they did. Modern poetry is too difficult for them. It is idle to complain; poetry so pure as this must be difficult. But neither must the poets complain if they are unread. When the art of reading poetry requires talents hardly less exalted than the art of writing it, readers cannot be much more numerous than poets. The explication of poetry is already well entrenched as a scholastic and academic exercise. The intention to keep it there, to make proficiency in it the indispensable qualification for white-collared jobs, and thus to secure for poets and their explicators a large and permanent (because a conscript) audience, is avowed. It may possibly succeed. Without coming home any more than it now does to the ‘business and bosoms’ of most men, poetry may, in this fashion, reign for a millennium; providing material for the explication which teachers will praise as an incomparable discipline and pupils will accept as a necessary moyen de parvenir. But this is speculation.
C.S. Lewis (An Experiment in Criticism)