Dan Inosanto

We are all climbing different paths through the mountain of life / And we have all experienced much hardship and strife.

There are many paths though the mountain of life / And some climbs can be felt like the point of a knife.

Some paths are short and others are long / Who can say which path is right or wrong?

The beauty of truth is that each path has its own song / And if you listen closely you will find where you belong.

So climb your own path true and strong / But respect all other truths for your way for them could be wrong.

—Dan Inosanto, martial arts instructor


Julia Louis-Dreyfus

“Here’s something that my Mom said to me and I think it’s very true, in terms of happiness: ‘You have to always have something to look forward to.’ And it can be a very minor thing, and it can be a major thing. But you always have to have something you’re looking forward to next.”

—Julia Louis-Dreyfus, actress

Self, Truths

Lauren Bacall

There is almost a natural law operative: the more you want something, the less chance you have of getting it. Actress Lauren Bacall has described this “natural law” quite perceptively:

“I think you can want something a lot and not get it. But if you stop thinking about it, the chances of getting it are greater. Somehow if you’re unfocused on it, that’s when it comes to you. When you’re searching for something desperately, that’s when you don’t find it. Desperation does not make us attractive to other people.”

O’Brien, Patricia. The Woman Alone. New York: Quadrangle/The New York Times Book Co., 1973. 123–24. Print.


George Saunders

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

Now, the million-dollar question: What’s our problem? Why aren’t we kinder?

Here’s what I think:

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk—dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure—for you, but not for me).

Now, we don’t really believe these things—intellectually we know better—but we believe them viscerally, and live by them, and they cause us to prioritize our own needs over the needs of others, even though what we really want, in our hearts, is to be less selfish, more aware of what’s actually happening in the present moment, more open, and more loving.

Continue reading:

Lovell, Joel. “George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates.” The 6th Floor. 31 July 2013. Web.


Queen Victoria

“I would earnestly warn you against trying to find out the reason for and explanation of everything… To try and find out the reason for everything is very dangerous and leads to nothing but disappointment and dissatisfaction, unsettling your mind and in the end making you miserable.”

—Queen Victoria, in a letter to her granddaughter Princess Victoria of Hesse, 22 August 1883