Inspiration

Last update:  26 May 09

“The only thing that poor guy has going for him is the uncanny ability to recognize the obvious.”
-Jack Bogel, CEO Vanguard, self-deprecating remark

He who sees a need and waits to be asked for help is as unkind as if he had refused it. -Dante Alighieri, poet (1265-1321)

Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action. -James Russell Lowell, poet, editor, and diplomat (1819-1891)

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.  -W.H. Davies, written in 1911, [he] had an advantage — an advantage of perception. He wasn’t a tradesman or a laborer or a bureaucrat or a consultant or a policy analyst or a labor lawyer or a program manager.  He was a hobo.

Don’t try to blend in, blend out!  -Lesego (African girl attending the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy who lives with her father in a home with no indoor plumbing and a caved-in ceiling)

The voice of a child, no matter how honest and true, is powerless against those who have forgotten how to listen.  -Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

Those who know how to win are much more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories.  -Polybius, historian (c. 205-123 BCE)

When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.  -C.P. Snow, scientist and writer (1905-1980)

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.  -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)

In some circumstances, the refusal to be defeated is a refusal to be educated.  -Margaret Halsey, novelist (1910-1997)

“War to the hilt between Communism and capitalism is inevitable. Today, of course, we are not strong enough to attack. Our time will come. To win, we shall need the element of surprise. The bourgeoisie will have to be put to sleep. So we shall begin by launching the most spectacular peace movement on record. There will be electrifying overtures and unheard of concession. The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will leap at another chance to be friends. As soon as their guard is down, we will smash them with our clenched fist.”  -Dimitri Manuilsky speaking at the Lenin School for Political Warfare in the 1930s

Do you love me because I’m beautiful, or am I beautiful because you love me?  -Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist (1895-1960)

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.  -Carl Jung, psychiatrist (1875-1961)

We would often be ashamed of our finest actions if the world understood all the motives which produced them.  -Duc de La Rochefoucauld, writer (1613-1680)

What you are thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience.  -Doug Larson

Not all those that wander are lost.  -J.R.R. Tolkien, novelist and philologist (1892-1973)

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.  -Confucius, philosopher and teacher (c. 551-478 BCE)

What a man says drunk he has thought sober.  -Flemish proverb

Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things.  It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.  -Robert Service, writer (1874-1958)

Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.  -African proverb

To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.  -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.  -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)

Good judgment comes from experience.  Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.  -Anonymous

People are like stained glass windows:  they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.  -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist and author (1926- )

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.  -Sydney J. Harris

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.  -Jesse Louis Jackson

Pessimism

Do not believe that it is very much of an advance to do the unnecessary three times as fast.  -Peter Drucker (1909-)

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.  -Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

Write the bad things that are done to you in the sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble.  -Arabian wisdom

A leader who keeps his ear to the ground allows his rear end to become a target.  -Angie Papadakis

A failure is a man who has blundered but is not able to cash in on the experience.  -Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.  -Seneca (B.C. 3-65 A.D.)

The man who thinks he can do without the world is indeed mistaken; but the man who thinks the world cannot do without him is mistaken even worse.  -Francois, duc de La Rochefoucauld

In death the many become one; in life the one become many.  -Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

Conceal a flaw, and the world will imagine the worst.  -Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.  -Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)

I shut my eyes in order to see.  -Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.  -Robert Frost

Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life, rather by the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed.  -Booker T. Washington

The one real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions.  -Bishop Mandell Creighton

Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle.  -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Lessons for Life:
1) Keep your words and your commitments.  If you get married, stay married.  Your children need stability, and marriage is not to be taken lightly shed like old clothes.  I do not believe that seeking personal happiness should come at the expense of a child’s home.  Of course, I do not condone domestic violence or remaining in an abusive relationship.
2) Don’t look for favors – count on earning them.  Although so much of America is building on whom you know and not what you know, don’t rely on whom you know.  Those who give can also take away.
3) Watch out for success – it can be more dangerous than failure.  Don’t park on yesterday’s accomplishments and think you don’t have to keep striving and stay vigilant.
4) Do what you say, say what you mean and be what you seem.  Do not pretend to be what you are not or let other people define who and what you are.  There is too much falsehood and pretense in politics, in business, in the religious community and in the media.
-Marian Feldman

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  -Calvin Coolidge

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.  -Marcus Aurelius

The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.  -Jean-Paul Sartre, French writer and philosopher (1905-1980)

Knowledge alone is insufficient to change behavior (otherwise no one would smoke and we’d all exercise and eat a healthy diet!).  More often than not it takes a pivotal experience to convince us to change.  Nevertheless, gaining knowledge about our behavior is an important first step.  Dr. Mark B. White and Kirsten J. Tyson-Rawson, Psychology Today, March/April 1996

To talk goodness is not good…  Only to do it is.  -Chinese Proverb

If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger.  -Sufi wisdom

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.  -Haida Indian Saying

When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.  -Francois de La Rochefoucauld

A merely fallen enemy may rise again, but the reconciled one is truly vanquished.  -Johann Christoph Schiller, German Writer (1759-1805)

Be the change you want to see in the world.  -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

To see things in the seed, that is genius.  -Lao-tzu

Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.  -Gertrude B. Stein

When the eyes say one thing and the tongue another, the practiced person relies on the language of the first.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.  -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.  -Simone Weil

Worry is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.  -Dorothy Galyean

Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.  -Hebrew proverb

Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.  -Henry Emerson Fosdick

As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill.  -Helen Adams Keller

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.  -Henry C. Link

Go often to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Genius is eternal patience.  -Michelangelo

Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.  -Benjamin Franklin

Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf.  -American Indian Proverb

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.  -William Arthur Ward

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.  -Hans Margolius

Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.  -James Dean

No one is much pleased with a companion who does not increase, in some respect, their fondness for themselves.  -Samuel Johnson

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference….

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.  When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.  This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: “LORD, you  said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I  have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”  The LORD replied: “My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never  leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.  -D. Elton Trueblood

Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we make ourselves happy, but how we make ourselves worthy of happiness.  -Immanual Kant

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.  -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.  -Marcel Proust

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.  -Margaret Lee Runbeck

You can’t have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.  -Charles F. Kettering

I have no enemies, O God, but if I am to have an enemy Let his strength be equal to mine, That truth alone may be the victor.  -Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) [Sand and Foam]

In giving advice, seek to help, not please, a friend.  -Anonymous

I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.  -Elbert Hubbard

Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own.  You may both be wrong.  -Dandemis

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects.  It always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

It is from numberless acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.  Each time a man or woman stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lots of others, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope.  And, crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those tiny ripples can build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.  -RFK

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