WORDS OF INSPIRATION
There are times when all of us need to hear words of inspiration to lift our spirits and help to put our situation in perspective. Hopefully, these thought-provoking quotes will give you greater insight, courage, and strength.
♦Adversity ♦ Authenticity ♦ Change ♦ Courage and Faith ♦ Death and Grief ♦ Goals ♦ Hope ♦ Isolation ♦ Learning ♦ Life Balance ♦ Life Lessons ♦ Personal Responsibility ♦ Potential ♦ Relationships ♦ Success *Thoughts ♦ Trusting Yourself ♦ Wisdom ♦
The human spirit is stronger than anything than can happen to it.
~George C. Scott
One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.
Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.
What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.
I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot… and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed.
When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents the danger and the other represents opportunity.
~John F. Kennedy
When things go wrong as they sometimes will;
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill
When the funds are low, and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but do not quit.
Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit-
It’s when things go wrong that you must not quit.
You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the most difficult task in the world, for opening the door to your own life is, in the end, more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe.
There are two ways of meeting difficulties:
You alter the difficulties or
you alter yourself to meet them.
To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best night and day, to make you everybody else–means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
~E. E. Cummings
Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.
The greatest thing in the world
is to know how to be one’s own self.
~Michel de Montaigne
If one is estranged from oneself,
then one is estranged from others too.
If one is out of touch with oneself,
then one cannot touch others.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
gain the embrace of the Universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me . . .
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me:
Serenity – to accept the things I cannot change
Courage – to change the things I can, and
Wisdom – to know the difference.
As human beings,
our greatness lies not so much
in being able to remake the world…
as in being able to remake ourselves.
If you want to truly understand something,
try to change it.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
~M. Scott Peck
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We’re afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We will fall!”
Come to the edge.”
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.
I am not afraid of storms,
for I am learning to sail my ship.
~Louisa May Alcott
You have to accept whatever comes
and the only important thing is
that you meet it with courage and
with the best you have to give.
Be not afraid of life.
Believe that life is worth living,
and your belief will help you create the fact.
~ William James
What great thing would you attempt
if you knew you could not fail?
~Robert H. Schuller
And the day came
when the risk to remain tight in a bud
became more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.
The most beautiful people we have know are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep, loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.
~James Bryant Conant
When you come to the edge of all the light you have,
and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown,
faith is knowing one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on,
or you will be taught how to fly.
Nothing is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.”
There is no despair so absolute
as that which comes from the first moments
of our first great sorrow,
when we have not yet known
what it is to have suffered and be healed,
to have despaired and recovered hope.
~George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.
Every blade in the field —
every leaf in the forest —
lays down its life in its season
as beautifully as it was taken up.
~Henry David Thoreau
There are times in life
When you feel as if the earth
Has opened up
And swallowed you whole . . .
And you seriously doubt
If you’ll ever stop hurting.
And it’s then that you need
To realize you can’t
“Make everything all right.”
All you can do is survive,
One hour at a time,
Then one day at a time.
But you are not alone.
There are many who care about you
And are ready to lend you their strength
When yours is all gone.
So hang on, because the sun
Will rise again . . .
And though you’ll
You will survive this
And go on.
~Linda Lee Elrod
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight.
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there — I do not die.
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides,
that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
The pain passes, but the beauty remains.
~Pierre Auguste Renoir
“All my life I’ve wanted to be somebody.
But I see now I should have been more specific.”
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are two ways of spreading light-
To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
As far as we can discern,
the sole purpose of human existence
is to kindle a light of meaning
in the darkness of mere being.
~Carl Gustav Jung
One SONG can spark a moment
One FLOWER can wake the dream
One TREE can start a forest
One BIRD can herald spring
One SMILE begins a friendship
One HANDCLASP lifts a soul
One STAR can guide a ship at sea
One WORD can frame the goal
One VOTE can change a nation
One SUNBEAM lights a room
One CANDLE wipes out darkness
One LAUGH will conquer gloom
One STEP must start each journey
One WORD must start a prayer
One HOPE will raise our spirits
One TOUCH can show you care
One VOICE can speak with wisdom
One HEART can know what is true
One LIFE can make a difference.
The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.
The first problem for all of us, men and women,
is not to learn, but to unlearn.
Doubt is the necessary tool of knowledge.
When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.
Speech by Bryan Dyson, CEO of Coca-Cola Inc. from 1959-1994
Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit … and you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for Balance in your life.
Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.
Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each together.
Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find time. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings!
Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.
Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way…
The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat.
Commencement Address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.
This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is life, fight for it!
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life.
It goes on.
I Have Learned
I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.
I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.
I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.
I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.
I’ve learned that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.
I’ve learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do but to the best you can do.
I’ve learned that it’s not what happens to people that’s important. It’s what they do about it.
I’ve learned that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I’ve learned that no matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides.
I’ve learned that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.
I’ve learned that it’s a lot easier to react than it is to think.
I’ve learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
I’ve learned that you can keep going long after you think you can’t.
I’ve learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
I’ve learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you.
I’ve learned that regardless of how great a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.
I’ve learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
I’ve learned that learning to forgive takes practice.
I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly, but just don’t know how to show it.
I’ve learned that money is a terrible way of keeping score.
I’ve learned that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.
I’ve learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.
I’ve learned that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.
I’ve learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
I’ve learned that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.
I’ve learned that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.
I’ve learned that your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t biological.
I’ve learned that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
I’ve learned that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I’ve learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
I’ve learned that sometimes when my friends fight, I’m forced to choose sides even when I don’t want to.
I’ve learned that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.
I’ve learned that sometimes you have to put the individual ahead of their actions.
I’ve learned that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.
I’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
I’ve learned that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.
I’ve learned that there are many ways of falling and staying in love.
I’ve learned that no matter the consequences, those who are honest with themselves get farther in life.
I’ve learned that no matter how many friends you have, if you are their pillar you will feel lonely and lost at the times you need them most.
I’ve learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.
I’ve learned that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.
I’ve learned that writing, as well as talking, can ease emotional pains.
I’ve learned that the paradigm we live in is not all that is offered to us.
I’ve learned that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.
I’ve learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon.
I’ve learned that although the word “love” can have many different meanings, it loses value when overly used.
I’ve learned that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings and standing up for what you believe.
Rules for Being Human
1. YOU WILL RECEIVE A BODY
You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for
the entire period this time around.
2. YOU WILL LEARN LESSONS
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school
called Life. Each day in this school, you will have the
opportunity to learn lessons – you may like the
lesson or think them irrelevant and stupid.
3. THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, ONLY LESSONS.
There is a process of trial and error;
experimentation. The ‘failed’ experiments are as
much a part of the process as the experiment that
4. A LESSON IS REPEATED UNTIL IT IS LEARNED.
A lesson will be presented to you in various
forms until you have learned it. When you have
learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5. LEARNING LESSONS DOES NOT END.
There is no part of Life that does not contain its
lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be
6. ‘THERE’ IS NO BETTER THAN ‘HERE’.
When your ‘there’ has become a ‘here’, you will
simply obtain another ‘there’ that will again
look better than ‘here’.
7. OTHERS ARE MERELY MIRRORS OF YOU.
You cannot love or hate something about another
person unless it reflects something you love or
hate about yourself.
8. WHAT YOU MAKE OF YOUR LIFE IS UP TO YOU.
You have all the tools and resources you need.
What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. YOUR ANSWERS LIE INSIDE YOU.
The answers to Life’s questions lie
inside you. All you need do is look,
listen and trust.
10. YOU WILL FORGET ALL THIS.
11. YOU CAN REMEMBER IT WHENEVER YOU WANT
The Carpenter’s House
An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.
He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.
When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.
So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.
Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.” Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.
Everything can be taken from us but one thing
— the last of the human freedoms —
to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.
There is no agony like
bearing an untold story inside of you.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.
Small people always do that,
but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that
other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are born to make manifest the glory that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence
automatically liberates others.
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships. Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention. Which ones lift and which ones lean? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill? When you leave certain people do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don’t really understand, know, or appreciate you? The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you…the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the front row and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.
An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind.
The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.
The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished how much he had learned in seven years.
Don’t worry that your children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.
In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul.
~Lisa T. Shepherd
Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.
It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
There will be ups and there will be downs, there will be times when things make sense, there will be times when they won’t, but you’ll always be on an adventure of meaning if you live for self, family, and others.
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived.
This is to have succeeded.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
If we understood the power of our thoughts,
we would guard them more closely.
If we understood the awesome power of our words,
we would prefer silence to almost anything negative.
In our thoughts and words we create
our own weaknesses and our own strengths.
Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts.
We can always replace negative with positive.
Keep your thoughts positive,
because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive,
because your words become your behaviors.
Keep your behaviors positive,
because your behaviors become your habits
Keep your habits positive,
because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive,
because your values become your destiny.
Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.
We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.
BACK TO TOP
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense.”
The teacher is within,
So you have to learn to be still.
You have to live your life
So that you are listening within
No matter what you are doing.
I can give you nothing
that has not already
its origins within yourself
I can throw open no
but your own
I can help make
your own world visible-
that is all.
After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn’t mean possession
and company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises and you begin to accept
your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of an adult not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build your roads today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have ways of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine
burns if you get too much so you plant your
own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
that you really are strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn…
~Veronica A. Shoffstall
There is nothing I can tell you
That you do not already know.
There is no question that you can ask me
That you Yourself cannot answer.
You have just forgotten.