Human Nature and Living Well

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I.  “It’s unbecoming to utter maxims.”

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II.  “First things first. One thing at a time.”

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III.  “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”

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IV.  “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work get into it because we have good taste. But there’s a gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste is still great, and that’s why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most of the people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. And if you’re just starting out or you’re still in this phase, you’ve got to know that it’s normal, and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It’s only by producing an entire volume of work that you’ll close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.”

I’d say this applies to competitive games too.

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V.  “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”

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VI.  “The first draft of anything is crap.”

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VII.  “I’ve learned that having any kind of expectation about something can ruin the experience.”

Anticipating that something will be good often leads to unmet high expectations, and anticipating that something will be bad often primes us to notice the mistakes and unimpressive parts.

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VIII.  “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together. And by regulating action, which is under more of our direct control, we can indirectly regulate feeling, which is not.”

Rather than feeling causing action, there’s bidirectional or cyclical causation between the two. “The same relationship is true of feelings and thoughts.”

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IX.  “A small daily task will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.”

spasmodic meaning occurring in brief, irregular bursts

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X.  “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”

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XI.  “People rarely succeed unless they’re having fun in what they’re doing.”

This is forever intertwined in my mind with, “That’s the way you learn the most ― when you’re doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice the time passing.”

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XII.  “Every version of success has to admit where the element of loss is. Every strength has a corresponding weakness.”

This is similar to, “You can do anything, but not everything.”

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XIII.  “You can’t suffer the past or the future. What you’re suffering is your memory and your imagination.”

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XIV.  “A man cannot relax without his own permission.”

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XV.  “In times of peace, the warlike man attacks himself.”

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XVI.  “The only way out of Hell is straight through.”

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XVII.  “Nothing will make you feel better except doing the work.”

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XVIII.  “It’s like cramming your way through school. Sometimes you get by, perhaps even get good grades ― but if you don’t pay the price day in and day out, you never achieve true mastery of the subjects. Have you ever considered how silly it would be to try to cram on a farm? To spend spring and winter doing other things and then working intensively during the fall to try to bring in the harvest? The farm is a natural system, and the price must be paid and the process followed. But this principle ultimately holds true in nearly all arenas of life. You reap what you sow; there is no shortcut.”

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XIX.  “It’s quite unjust, however common, to charge someone with hypocrisy for expressing zeal for virtues which he neglects to practice ― since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory.”

The example that comes to mind is an alcoholic who talks about how it’s better to be sober.

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XX.  “What you dislike in another, take care to correct in yourself.”

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XXI.  “One major use of our words is to try to hide certain thoughts.”

Sometimes we attempt to throw others off the trail when it comes to our insecurities, or bad intentions, or negative and possibly hurtful opinions, or secrets we’re keeping, or desires we’re embarrassed or ashamed of.

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XXII.  “If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.”

I think an important implication is that feeling the need to defend yourself or convince the speaker that they’re wrong isn’t part of either option.

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XXIII.  “Never justify yourself. Your friends don’t need it, and your enemies won’t believe you.”

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XXIV.  “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

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XXV.  “People will forget what you said, they’ll forget what you did, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.”

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XXVI.  “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is bad forever.”

This is similar to, “People forget will how fast you did a job, but they’ll remember how well you did it.”

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XXVII.  “Your best teacher is your last mistake.”

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XXVIII.  “Therapists learn not to analyze their friends if they want to have friends.”

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XXIX.  “The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.”

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XXX.  “Suffering often comes from lying to ourselves, consciously or unconsciously.”

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XXXI.  “Pride isn’t the opposite of shame, but its source. True humility is the only antidote to shame.”

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XXXII.  “Criticism may not be pleasant, but it’s necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain ― it calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

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XXXIII.  “You can evade reality, but you can’t evade the consequences of evading reality.”

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XXXIV.  “If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one.”

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XXXV.  “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.”

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XXXVI.  “When you seek revenge, dig two graves.”

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XXXVII.  “The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.”

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XXXVIII.  “Character is what you do when no one’s looking.”

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XXXIX.  “Give a man a mask, and he’ll show you his true face.”

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XL.  “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we’ve done.”

This is reminiscent of, “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.”

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XLI.  “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

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XLII.  “We don’t admit, or even feel, that anything about us is a flaw or weakness until we’re above and beyond it.”

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XLIII.  “Anyone who isn’t embarrassed by who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”

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XLIV.  “You learn more about someone at the end of a relationship than the beginning.”

[Pannenkoek] ““In other words, this is how they act when they don’t need you to like them anymore ― they show their true colors, like ‘when no one’s looking’.”

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XLV.  “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

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XLVI.  “Employ your time in reading other people’s writings, so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.”

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XLVII.  “An expert is someone who’s made all the mistakes that can be made, in a very narrow field.”

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XLVIII.  “A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts, so they lose touch with reality and live in a world of illusions.”

This relates to how, more generally, it’s not good to live a life purely of thinking and reflection, and it’s not good to live an unreflected upon life purely of doing and action ― there’s an ideal balance of both.

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XLIX.  “The enemy of art is the absence of limitation. Restriction breeds creativity.”

This relates to using the fewest A-presses and minimal tech-skill.

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L.  “The best kind of beauty is that which is mostly ignored.”

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LI.  “One never notices what’s been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”

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LII.  “If you look at what you have, you’ll always have more. And if you look at what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

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LIII.  “There’s no ultimate satisfaction in the cultivation of one element of human nature at the expense of all the others.”

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LIV.  “The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.”

The remedy for burnout is returning to living a more balanced life.

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LV.  “The best seasoning for food is hunger.”

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LVI.  “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are all in harmony.”

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LVII.  “If you have good thoughts, they’ll shine out of your eyes like sunbeams, and you’ll always look lovely.”

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LVIII.  “The most important things are the hardest things to say. They’re the things you feel embarrassed to express because words diminish your feelings ― words shrink things that seem transcendent and timeless in your head to no more than living-size when brought out.”

This is most noticeable when sharing quotes you find profound and to telling those you love how much they mean to you.

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LIX.  “The greater part of human activity consists in the attempt to make permanent those experiences and joys which are so wonderful only because they’re ever-changing.”

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LX.  “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”

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LXI.  “Some lessons really just can’t be taught. They have to be lived and experienced in order to be understood. Mistakes have to be made.”

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LXII.  “Your job isn’t to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness. Your job is simply to do your work, secretly, sacredly, silently ― and those with eyes to see and ears to listen will respond.”

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LXIII.  “There’s a saying that you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends and your family. The third face, you never show to anyone, and it’s the truest reflection of who you are.”

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LXIV.  “Thinking is easy, but putting one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”

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Citations

  1. Aristotle (sort of)
  2. Stephen Covey
  3. Toni Morrison
  4. Ira Glass
  5. Stephen McCranie
  6. Ernest Hemingway
  7. Joseph Anderson
  8. William James & various sources
  9. Anthony Trollope
  10. Linus Pauling
  11. Dale Carnegie & Albert Einstein
  12. Alain de Botton & unknown source
  13. Sadhguru
  14. (source lost)
  15. Nietzsche
  16. (various sources)
  17. (original source unknown)
  18. Stephen Covey
  19. Lyndon B. Johnson
  20. Thomas Sprat
  21. Voltaire
  22. Epictetus
  1. Elbert Hubbard
  2. Chinese Proverb
  3. Maya Angelou
  4. Shigeru Miyamoto & Howard Newton
  5. Ralph Nader
  6. John Elder Robison
  7. Alain de Botton
  8. (original source unknown)
  9. Iroh from Avatar
  10. Winston Churchill
  11. Ayn Rand
  12. Russian proverb
  13. Chinese proverb
  14. William Elliot Griffis
  15. Steve Maraboli
  16. John Wooden
  17. Oscar Wilde
  18. H. Wadsworth Longfellow & Stephen Covey
  19. Anaïs Nin
  20. Hegel
  21. Alain de Botton
  22. (original source unknown)
  1. John W. Gardner
  2. Socrates
  3. Niels Bohr
  4. Alan Watts
  5. Orson Welles & Mark Rosewater
  6. Christopher Poindexter
  7. Marie Curie
  8. Oprah Winfrey
  9. Bertrand Russell
  10. David Whyte
  11. (various sources)
  12. Gandhi
  13. Roald Dahl
  14. Stephen King
  15. Alan Watts
  16. Anaïs Nin
  17. (source lost)
  18. The Arcturians
  19. (original source unknown)
  20. Goethe
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