““Fail better,” Samuel Beckett commanded, a phrase that has been taken on by business executives as some kind of ersatz wisdom. They have missed the point completely. Beckett didn’t mean failure-on-the-way-to-delayed-success, which is what the FailCon crowd thinks he meant. To fail better, to fail gracefully and with composure, is so essential because there’s no such thing as success. It’s failure all the way down.”
“But what can shift in different circumstances is what we expect from each other. Cultural shifts explain why we differ from the bloodthirsty spectators of Roman sports, the hedonists of Regency England, or the stern transcendentalists of 19th-century Massachusetts. So while it is easy to preach against vanity or conceit, amour-propre or narcissism, it might be more illuminating to ask what our present times are contributing to the atmosphere in which such traits take one form or another. If society fawns over wealth, then vanity will be gratified only by wealth. If it fawns over philanthropy or public spirit, then vanity and pride alike will align with those. If it admires and envies celebrity, then those with insufficient pride or self-esteem will fantasise about being celebrities, and become discontent with their humdrum lives.”
"There’s not enough time in the day."
Yeah, there is. There are two ways to get more time to do things: by adding time (not possible) or by subtracting things. It’s easy to add things to a task list. The real trick is removing all but the essential tasks.
“Just like a new chapter in a book motivates you to read more, each novel stimuli causes brain activity around motivation to spike. A reader who finds a creative blog post will be motivated to seek out more content on that site.”
“To pursue (the future) is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead. This is why all affairs of civilization are rushed, why hardly anyone enjoys what he has, and is forever seeking more and more. Happiness, then, will consist, not of solid and substantial realities, but of such abstract and superficial things as promises, hopes, and assurances.”
“"The cavalry ride to battle and meet the wounded and do not for a moment think of what awaits them, but pass by, winking at the wounded. Yet from among these men twenty thousand are doomed to die, and they wonder at my hat! Strange!" thought Pierre, continuing his way to Tatarinova.”
“If I knew what the meanings of my books were, I wouldn’t have bothered to write them.”
“It’s true, I think, as Kenko says in his Idleness,
That all beauty depends upon disappearance,
The bitten edges of things,
the gradual sliding away
Into tissue and memory,
And dazzling impermanence of days we beg our meanings from,
And their frayed loveliness.”