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Life, Self-improvement

Uncommon Wisdom for Uncommon Times

I completed the book this morning. The title is “Don’t Forget to Sing in the Lifeboats.”, Author: Kathryn and Ross Petras

I like the introduction. Here it goes.

Whatever issues we’re staring down, we are not alone. Indeed, throughout history people have lived in what felt like (and often were) uncommon times…a collection of the insight and wit that helped many of those who came before us – as well as a few of our living poets and scholars, singers and statemen – make it to the other side of difficulty.

This uncommon wisdom includes quotes from people who have been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale. People who have graduated from the school of hard knocks, yet kept a sense of perspective – and often a sense of humour. People who, like all of us, struggled to keep on keeping on…and usually did.

As the writer Sherry Hochman once said, “Every day is a gift – even if it sucks.”

These are the quotes I like…

Success and Failure
Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.
– George Washington carver, Scientist and Inventor

The Silver Lining
When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.
– Stephen Hawking, Physicist

Rules to Live By
The first rule of holes when you’re in one, stop digging
– Molly Ivins, Writer

Try, Try Again
Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essayist and Philosopher

Living on Less
Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.
– Ernest Heminway, Writer

Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable.
– Primo Levi, Chemist and Writer

It’s How You Look at Things
I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is only a temporary situation.
– Mike Todd, Film producer

Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you.
– Muhammad Ali, Boxer

Taking Action
An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.
– Lao-Tzu, Philosopher

Rules to Live By
Don’t believe the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing – it was here first.
– Robert Jones Burdette, Clergyman and Journalist

Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.
– Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire, Philosopher and Writer

If a ship has been sunk, I can’t bring it up. If it is going to be sunk, I can’t stop it. I can use my time much better working on tomorrow’s problem than by fretting about yesterday’s. Besides, if I let those things get me, I wouldn’t last long.
– Ernest J King, Admiral

Never Give Up
Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.
– Lance Armstrong, Cyclist

The Fine Art of Being Happy
Happiness is a how, not a what; a talent, not an object.
– Hermann Hesse, Writer

It’s How You Look at Things
The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.
– John Maynaud Keynes, Economist

Problems, Problems
If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.
– Calvin Coolidge, U.S. President

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
– Jacob A Riis, Journalist and Photographer

And above all things, never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.
– Isaac Asimov, Writer

Fighting Back
If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favour freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without lowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
– Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist and Activist

We All Make Mistakes
As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes
– Mel Brook, Film director, Comedian and Producer

Problems, Problems
When you don’t have any money, the problem is food. When you have money, it’s sex. When you have both, it’s health. If everything is simply jake, then you’re frightened of death.
– J.P. Donleavy, Writer

Things I’ve Learned
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted
– Albert Einstein, Physicist

Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world about. So be that one person.
– R.Buckminster Fuller, Philosopher

Rules to Live By
Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only for wallowing in.

Don’t Worry Be Happy
Don’t take life too seriously. It ain’t nohow permanent
– Walt Kelly, Cartoonist

It’s How You Look at Things
You walk through a series of arches, so to speak, and then, presently, at the end of a corridor, a door opens and you see backward through time, and you feel the flow of time, and realize you are only part of a great nameless procession.
– John Huston, Film Director

It’s How You Look at Things
Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem.
– Virginia Satir, Psychologist and Educator

Success and Failure
Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, “I have failed three times,” and what happens when he says, “I am a failure.”
– S.I. Hayakawa, U.S. Senator and Semanticist

Facing Life Head-On
If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it around. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace troubles; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say, meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.
– Olivier Wendell Holmes, Jurist

Rules to Live By
Don’t tell your problems to people: eighty percent don’t care, and the other twenty percent are glad you have them.
– Lou Holtz, Football Coach

Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.
– Natalie Goldberg, Writer

Try, Tray Again
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
– Thomas Alva Edison, Inventor

Things I’ve Learned
The average man doesn’t wish to be told that it is a bull or a bear market. What he desires is to be told specifically which particular stock to buy or sell. He wants to get something for nothing. He does not wish to work. He doesn’t even wish to have to think.
– Jesse Livermore, Financier

The world us so constructed, that if you wish to enjoy its pleasures, you must also endure its pains. Whether you like it or not, you cannot have one without the other.
– Swami Brahmanada, Spiritual leader and Philosopher

Rules to Live By
Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.
– Will Durant, Historian

I had to fight hard against loneliness, abuse, and the knowledge that any mistake I made would be magnified because I was the only Blackman out there. Many people resented my impatience and honesty, but I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect.
– Jackie Robinson, Baseball player

Taking Action
When in doubt, do something
– Harry Capin, Musician

The Fine Art of Being Happy
The happiest people seem to be those who have no particular reason for being happy except that they are so.
– W.R. Inge, Clergyman and Writer

True Grit
Courage and cheerfulness will not only carry you over the rough places in life, but will enable you to bring comfort and help to the weak-hearted and will console you in the sad hours.
– William Osler, Physician

Success and Failure
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games, 26 times; I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
– Michael Jordon, Basketball player

Hope can neither be affirmed nor denied.
Hope is like a path in the countryside.
Originally there was no path – yet, as people are walking all the time in the same spot, a way appears.
– Lu Xun, Writer

Rules to Live By
Be aware of “yes” men. Generally, they are losers.
– Bear Bryant, Football Coach

Testing Yourself
Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a bit to test it’s a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.
– Frank Herbert, Writer

Life Goes On
In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.
– Isaac Asimov, Writer

An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere; while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight….The truly wise person is colourblind.
– Albert Schweitzer, Humanitarian and Philosopher

We All Make Mistakes
I want to explain my mistakes. This means I do only the things I completely understand.
– Warren Buffett, Investor

True Grit
The greatest weakness of all weaknesses is to fear too much to appear weak.
– Jacques-Benigne Bossurt, Bishop and Theologian

Survival Tactics
It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
– Charles Darwin, Naturalist

Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form
– Rumi (Jalal Ad-din), Poet and Mystic

Problems, Problems
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
– Albert Einstein, Physicist

The Silver Lining
Mishaps are like knives that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or he handle.
– James Russell Lowell., Poet, Editor and Diplomat

Facing Life Head-On
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. “Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
– Thomas Paine, Revolutionary

Living On Less
Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me, these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.
– Albert Einstein, Physicist

Survival Tactics
Some of us think holding on makes us stronger; but sometimes it is letting go.
– Hermann Hesse, Writer

The Fine Art of Being Happy
If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy, but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.
– Charles De Secondat, Baron De Montesquieu, Philosopher

Rules to Live By
You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it.
– Albert Einstein, Physicist

Testing Yourself
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. President

It’s How You Look at Things
When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
– Alexander Graham Bell, Investor

Taking Action
Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.
– Andre Malraux, Writer

Secrets of Getting Ahead
Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut.
– John Steinbeck, Writer

Try, Try Again
Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting.
– Christopher Morley, Journalist and Writer

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
– Oprah Winfrey, Television host and Philanthropist

Survival Tactics
One of the most difficult things everyone has to learn is that for your entire life you must keep fighting and adjusting if you hope to survive. No matter who you are or what your position is you must keep fighting for whatever it is you desire to achieve.
– George Allen, Football Coach

How To Live
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well serenely.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essayist and Philosopher

Nobody gets justice. People only get good luck or bad luck.
– Orson Welles, Film director

Survival Tactics
To survive it is often necessary to fight and to fight you have to dirty yourself.
– George Orwell, Writer

How To Live
Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weights you down.
– Toni Morrison, Writer

Testing Yourself
When we are no longer be able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves,
– Vicktor Frankl, Psychologist

Grace Under Pressures
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters
– Epictetus, Philosopher

The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.
– Bret Harte, Writer


About Pamela's Online Journal

Working mother of 3 boys, loves travelling & writing.


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