Our problem isn’t that we’re individualists. It’s that our individualism is static rather than dynamic. We value what we think rather than what we do. We forget that we haven’t done, or been, what we thought; that the first function of life is action, just as the first property of things is motion.
― Fernando Pessoa, The Education of the Stoic
Solitude is good for a time, but not for all time. Don’t forget to come back and embrace a community. Build one, if you must. Don’t neglect the sharing of yourself. Even those parts that are not so clean have value. In fact, the best lessons you have to offer in life come from your struggles in the darkness and grit of life.
It is easy to say I am thankful for the sweet and beautiful things in life: flower gardens, ice cream cones, diamond rings, dances under moonlight, children’s laughter, birdsongs, and the like. The challenge is recognizing things of value in the dark, sour, uglier parts of life. But if you look hard enough, you will find that even tough times offer pearls worthy of gratitude.
Your true self is enough. There is no need to be better than everyone else around you to be happy. True happiness comes when you are in harmony with yourself and no longer feel the need to one-up other people.
Any fool can break something, criticise someone and tear things apart. It takes a far more skilled, wise and kind soul to build something, nurture someone, fix things and help others thrive over time.
Live in a place where people are revered for being clever, funny, and creative, instead of rich, annoying, and on television. Where they inspire. Where they aspire. Where they dream of the perfect sentence, or the perfect drawing, or the perfect chord.
―Sean Beaudoin, Wise Young Fool
A flower with no smell to it is just something to look at. However, a flower that emits a beautiful fragrance is the one we want in our homes and on our walls. Your mission as an artist, is to become the best-smelling flower in the world, so that when the day finally comes when you are plucked from the ground, the world will cry for the loss of your mind-stimulating fragrance. Be different. Be original. Nobody will remember a specific flower in garden loaded with thousands of the same flower, but they will remember the one that managed to change its color to purple.
―Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: “Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
―Martin Luther King, Jr, “What is Your Life’s Blueprint?”