Fight to be yourself

“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

What this quotes means is that is it not easy to be yourself, to be unique, or to think differently. This is a world which promotes conformity, where you are expected to play a certain role, to be a certain person, to be like everyone else. To conform and accept what everyone wants you to be is easy.

Being true to yourself, being different than what the world expects of you is extremely difficult. You are not just fighting an inner struggle, questioning if staying true to yourself is the right path, but also fighting the world, which wants you to be the same as every other type of person, and to think like everyone else. This is not a fight which you win and move on, but a fight which stays with you your entire life, no matter how successful you become, or how many times you prove them wrong. That is why it is the hardest battle.

The people who stand out throughout history are the ones who fought against conformity, who were different than everyone else, and who refused to accept the worlds view of who they should be. Some examples are Leonardo Da Vinci,  Alexander the Great, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frank Lloyd Wright, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Thomas Alva Edison, Christopher Columbus, Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Peter the Great and many others.

 

Don’t wrestle with pigs

“Don’t wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

What this quote means is that you become what you allow yourself to get into to. This goes hand in hand with arguing or debating with fools. Win or lose, you bring yourself down to the fools level, while the fool, just being himself, gets satisfaction for adding a new member to the club.

Looking at it another way, the message is to be careful of the company you keep and who you interact with. Just like wrestling with pigs, you will get brought down to their level. If you want to help others, bring them into your environment, or take the pigs out of the muddy pen.

Are blessed people happier?

“Since the things we do determine the character of life, no blessed person can become unhappy, for he will never do those things which are hateful and petty.”  Aristotle

This quote conveys several messages. The first message makes an assumption that your life and character are determined by what you do. The things you do, or don’t do, determines your character of life;  the type of person you are and your outlook on life.

The second and focal point of the quote, further explains that people who are blessed are happy, and as a result, are not full of hate and bitterness and so will not do anything which is hateful or petty in nature.

The third message is that people who do hateful and petty things are unhappy.

Are you a menace to society?

To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.            Theodore Roosevelt

What this quote means is that educating a person with knowledge without also teaching morality creates a person who will cause problems for society. An educated person without morals can do more harm to society than an uneducated person with or without  morals. When a school teaches a person how to run a business, it must also teach that person what constitutes ethical and moral behavior, and that acting in a moral fashion must be considered when making business decisions.

Losing friends due to good intentions

Don’t tell your friends their social faults; they will cure the fault and never forgive you. Logan Pearsall Smith

What this quote means is that it is not always proper to say the exact truth, sometimes it is OK to hold your tongue, or to bend the truth a little. Most of us have come across this situation, where you meant to help a friend by telling them the truth, only to end up losing that friend, or never having the same type of relationship. Sometimes, it’s better to overlook certain faults, rather than risk losing a friend.

The danger of approaching a fool

Don’t approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side. Jewish proverb

What this quote means is that there are certain things you shouldn’t do based on a certain set of rules, usually at the expense of someone else. The quote appears to have three warnings, but the first two are there to set the context for the third, to show that approaching a fool from any side is a dangerous endeavor.

 

Keep trying

You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist. Isaac Asimov

What this quote means is that regardless of how many times you tried don’t give up, but keep trying. If you know you have talent, you will eventually succeed, but only if you keep trying.

Your true character

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What this quote means is that a person shows their true self when they are interacting with people who cannot help them in any way. There are those who are very cordial to those who can help them, then impatient and nasty to those who can’t do anything for them. That is their true character.

Your ideas

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever looked at something and said, ‘hey, I thought of that’. What this quote means is that we all come up with great ideas, only to reject them ourselves as impractical, impossible or a multitude of other reasons. The next time you come up with a great idea, do something with it instead of rejecting it yourself. Give the world a chance to judge for itself, the reaction may surprise you.

Paid to play

“When you’re doing the work you’re meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you’re getting paid.” Oprah Winfrey

What this means is that within everyone there is something which they enjoy doing. Find that which you love and make that your life’s endeavor. Once you can do that, work will be something you enjoy and look forward to the rest of your life, not something which you must do for a paycheck. Getting a paycheck is just an added bonus.