Rip Torn on Self-Respect

Never think you’re better than anyone else, but don’t let anyone treat you like you’re worse than they are.

~ Rip Torn / Esquire, May 2001

Confucius on Questions

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”

~ Confucius

Steve H. Graham on Lies

Lying is quick and easy… Refuting lies is a big, big job.

~ Steve H. Graham

Seneca on Fortune

“That which Fortune has not given, she cannot take away.”

~ Seneca / Letters to Lucilius 59

Viktor Frankl on Success

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater.” 

~ Viktor Frankl

Elliott Erwitt on Seeing

“Good photography is not about Zone Printing or any other Ansel Adams nonsense. It’s just about seeing. You either see or you don’t see. The rest is academic. Photography is simply a function of noticing things. Nothing more.”

~ Elliott Erwitt / Courtesy of Mark Hobson

Robert Frank on Belief

“You follow your way. I found this to be very important, that you stick to something that you believe in and not make compromises. Whatever you believe in, if you believe in it, it will be okay. You can do it. It doesn’t mean that you will be successful at it, but at least you believed in it to do it,”

~ Robert Frank

Mike Baker on Guilt

“…you know I’m one of those, I’m kind of a — I don’t want to say I’m a puritan but I’m one of those Quaker people who feels guilty about everything, right? I feel like if I took a pencil when I was a three year-old, you know, my God, I’m gonna, I gotta confess it.”

~ Mike Baker / Joe Rogan Experience #1519,  August 04 2020

Plato on Desire

I feel as if I had escaped from a frantic and savage master. Unquestionably old age brings us profound repose and freedom from this and other passions.

~ Plato

Matthew Arnold on Failure

It is a sad thing to see a man who has been frittered away piecemeal by petty distractions, and who has never done his best. But it is still sadder to see a man who has done his best, who has reached his utmost limits – and finds his work a failure, and himself far less than he had imagined himself.

~ Matthew Arnold (Courtesy of Mike Chisholm)

Mike Chisholm on Ambition

Yes, we might have entertained fantasies about alternative lives as writers or musicians or artists, but failure – an almost certain outcome, in retrospect – would have been catastrophic, and to have taken that risk would have been the sort of folly only the exceptionally brave (or irredeemably strange) can contemplate: working-class families have no safety nets to cushion the fall of their crash-and-burn casualties.

~ Mike Chisholm / Idiotic Hat

Regis Philbin on Defeat

Coach Frank Leahy, who was a great motivator, told us that day: Learn how to accept defeat in football and in your own life, because it will come.

~ Regis Philbin / Esquire, January 2005

Garry Shandling on Decency

Nice guys finish first. If you don’t know that, then you don’t know where the finish line is.

~ Garry Shandling / Esquire, January 2007

Oliver Stone on Struggle

“…the patterns of struggle and failure in life tend to repeat themselves.”

~ Oliver Stone

Stone, Oliver. Chasing The Light: How I Fought My Way into Hollywood – From the 1960s to Platoon (p. 73). Octopus. Kindle Edition.

Seneca on Suffering

“Two elements must therefore be rooted out once for all — the fear of future suffering, and the recollection of past suffering; since the latter no longer concerns me, and the former concerns me not yet.”
(Letters to Lucilius, LXXVIII.14)

~ Seneca

Seneca on Revenge

“The most contemptuous form of revenge is not to deem one’s adversary worth taking vengeance upon.”

~ Seneca

Thomas Jefferson’s Ten Rules for Daily Life

  1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.
  2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
  3. Never spend your money before you have it.
  4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
  5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
  6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
  7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
  8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!
  9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
  10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.

Seneca on Wrongdoing

“Wrongdoing has no harsher penalty than this: one offends oneself, and also one’s family and friends.”

~ Seneca

Confucius on Focus

“He who chases two rabbits catches none.”

~ Confucius

Confucius on Hatred

“If you hate a person, you are defeated by them.”

~ Confucius

Confucius on Wisdom

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

~ Confucius

Confucius on Thoughts

“Your life is what your thoughts make it.”

~ Confucius

Marcus Aurelius on Attention

“The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

Epicurus on Contentment

“Any man who does not think that what he has is more than ample, is an unhappy man, even if he is the master of the whole world.”

~ Epicurus

Seneca on Misery

“A man is as miserable as he thinks he is.”

~ Seneca