In a Word

The following are some reflections I’ve recorded, written by me unless otherwise noted:

W r i t i n g

Our words are the tiny recruits in the war against mediocrity.

Have no fear; I’m pretty sure anyone with a fifth-grade education can get a book published.

A good style should show no signs of effort. What is written should seem a happy accident.
          —W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

G e n i u s

I don’t borrow other people’s work. If it’s not good enough to be my own, why bother?

L e a r n i n g

The danger in education is knowing too much.

Ignorance is always threatened by intelligence.

C i v i l i t y

There is no excuse for being rude, no exception for being crass, no explanation for being uncivilized. We didn’t waste a thousand years just so you can yell, snort, and laugh like an idiot.

A g e

The only thing the aged do in resisting youth is a disservice to themselves.

S p i r i t

Live like you will die tomorrow. Learn like you will live forever.
          —Mahatma (Mohandas) Gandhi (1869-1948)

“In a world that’s both astonishingly beautiful and horrifically cruel, ‘sanctuary’ is as vital as breathing to me. Sometimes I find it in churches, monasteries, and other sites designated as sacred. More often I find it in places sacred to my soul: in the natural world, in the company of a trustworthy friend, in solitary or shared silence, in the ambiance of a good poem or good music.”
          —Parker Palmer, theologian

H o p e

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”
          —Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

We may well react with negativity when faced with adversity, but our destination lies in the solidarity required for change.

Every moment is an opportunity to put the past behind us.

S u c c e s s

Greatness is achieved not by national prominence, but by personal satisfaction.

There is a great difference between having failed and being a failure. Everyone fails; few let their failures define them.

We all want to matter; we matter most to ourselves and to those who know us best and love us regardless.

I never lose. I either win or I learn.
          —Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), from his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom

S e l  f

The tragedy is not in being who you are. The tragedy is in being the person others think you ought to be.

The greatest damage we can do to our convictions is to compromise them.

Never belittle yourself by worrying about the opinions of others. Yours is the only one that counts.

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.
          —attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)