Ten Quotations for Living Well

Over the years many people have offered their models of the "Good Life," and some have left quotes that nicely summarize important truths. The following are ten favorites.

  1. Know Thyself - Socrates
    From ancient Greece comes this reminder that introspection, keeping a journal, paying attention to the heart of things, comes first. Before we can know the world around us, and make wise choices, we must first come to grips with who we are and what we value.

  2. To Thine Own Self Be True - Shakespeare
    In life there is no substitute for integrity. My grandmother was fond of saying, "We either stand for something, or we'll fall for anything." Integrity is about going beyond the truth to full and complete honesty, openness and fairness.

  3. And the Greatest of These is Love - St Paul
    He also observed that "without love I am just a clanging symbol or a noisy gong." Without love, caring relationships, and compassion, life is indeed a dry and shallow thing.

  4. Imagination Rules the World - Albert Einstein
    The good life is at least partly based on dreams that are worthy of us, dreams that elevate and challenge and inspire our best. Bobby Kennedy noted, "Others look at the world and ask, 'Why?' I dream of a world that never was and ask, 'Why not?'" Martin Luther King's defiant cry, "I have a dream!" will live long after most of us are gone and forgotten.

  5. Too much of a good thing is just right - Mae West
    The good life is about living large, about expressing the joy and love of life. It's about song, exuberance, and about taking chances, and "going for it."

  6. Opportunities multiply as they are seized - SunTzu
    Success depends on the courage to act, and courage in turn requires a level of faith that every opportunity acted upon will lead to more and better ways to serve, learn, grow and prosper.

  7. Do, or do not. There is no "try." - Yoda ( The Empire Strikes Back )
    Life requires action, boldness and decisiveness. Mae West also observed, "He who hesitates is a damned fool."

  8. Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away - Antoine de St. Exupery
    Henry Thoreau recommended, "Simplify, simplify, simplify. Let your concerns be as 2 or 3, not more." Friends, work, the media and this thing called the Internet, along with our own "wish lists" try to seduce us to complexity, busy-ness and anxiety. Keep it simple!

  9. The artist is nothing without gift, but gift is nothing without work. - Emile Zola
    Only focused, intelligent, diligent effort turns potential into reality. Without creative effort, talent and "gift" seem to atrophy and die. Truly a case of "use it or lose it."

  10. There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as thought everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein
    I highly recommend practicing the attitude of gratitude. What else is there?