Words to work with in 2010

  • Do what you have to do first, and then do what you like to do.
  • Adjust your goals to fit your talents and limitations so that reduced goals don’t frustrate you.
  • Know how to proportion the means to an end, so that you don’t fire a cannon to kill a caterpillar, or wave a rod to repel a wild bull.
  • Recognise that others can always see you better than you see yourself-you always learn more from your critics than your friends.
  • Accept the fact that if you don’t know how to take orders, you’re not competent to give them.
  • Give up blaming others, and then giving up blaming yourself.
  • Understand the difference between pleasure—a state of having, and joy-a state of being. (Pleasure fades; joy refreshes)
  • Know how to be serious without being solemn, and funny without being foolish.
  • Learn how to find more satisfaction in what you have given than what you have gotten for it.
  • “The pursuit of happiness” should be reversed to read “The happiness of pursuit” as there is more pleasure to be found in the quest than in the goal.
  • Ambiguity has its uses; better to be vaguely right than precisely wrong.
  • When we tell ourselves we are choosing the ‘lesser evil of the two’, we are invariably choosing only the more comfortable one.
  • No one can achieve a character by adopting a set of mannerisms; eventually the mannerisms become a substitute for character.
  • It is absolutely impossible for others to respect you if you lack basic self-respect.
  • The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical nor intellectual, but moral acts; to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, “I was wrong.”
  • While it is necessary to see others weaknesses as well as strengths, it is essential to admire them for their strengths more than despising them for their weaknesses.

Courtesy Sydney Harris

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