Hand-picked quotes about life from the best non-fiction books
Here are the best quotes about life.
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Any form of stress that prompts discomfort has the potential to expand our capacity - physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually - so long as it is followed by adequate recovery.
Planning is important, but the most important part of every plan is to plan on the plan not going according to plan.
Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase.
We, too, must learn to live our own lives as a series of sprints - fully engaging for periods of time, and then fully disengaging and seeking renewal before jumping back into the fray.
To have an uncommon lifestyle, you need to develop the uncommon habit of making decisions, both for yourself and for others.
Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life: What you do, When you do it, Where you do it, and with Whom you do it. I call this the “freedom multiplier.”
Always remember that the process is more important than the goal.
If respect and admiration are your goal, be careful how you seek it. Humility, kindness, and empathy will bring you more respect than horsepower ever will.
The world has agreed to shuffle papers between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., and since you’re trapped in the office for that period of servitude, you are compelled to create activities to fill that time.
So first things first: cash flow and time. With these two currencies, all other things are possible. Without them, nothing is possible.
The more you want something to be true, the more likely you are to believe a story that overestimates the odds of it being true.
It’s a daily struggle against instincts to extend your peacock feathers to their outermost limits and keep up with others doing the same.
In the strictest sense, you shouldn’t be trying to do more in each day, trying to fill every second with a work fidget of some type. It took me a long time to figure this out. I used to be very fond of the results-by-volume approach.
Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With total discipline we can solve all problems.
Don’t encourage people to chitchat and don’t let them chitchat. Get them to the point immediately.
When you turn pro, your life gets very simple. The Zen monk, the artist, the entrepreneur often lead lives so plain they're practically invisible.
My personal philosophy is that it is easier to change myself than to change the system. In other words, I am not a person who battles the winds that drive windmills.
Reconnect with nature. Though most people live in cities these days, human beings are made to be part of the natural world. We should return to it often to recharge our batteries.
Don’t wait until you need options to search for them. Take a sneak peek at the future now and it will make both action and being assertive easier.
Start thinking of income and expense in terms of monthly cash flow—dollars in and dollars out—instead of grand totals.
Tomorrow becomes never. No matter how small the task, take the first step now!
The American Institute of Stress investigated this degenerative process and concluded that most health problems are caused by stress.
Stress promotes cellular aging by weakening cell structures known as telomeres, which affect cellular regeneration and how our cells age.
A small amount of wealth means the ability to take a few days off work when you’re sick without breaking the bank. Gaining that ability is huge if you don’t have it.
Having a strong sense of controlling one’s life is a more dependable predictor of positive feelings of wellbeing than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered.
Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
To follow a calling requires work. It's hard. It hurts. It demands entering the pain-zone of effort, risk, and exposure.
When you take a small retirement, two interesting things happen upon returning to the working world. First, you will get more interviews because you will stand out. Second, interviewers bored in their own jobs will spend the entire meeting asking how you did it!
The ability to do what you want, when you want, for as long as you want, has an infinite ROI.
Check e-mail twice per day, once at 12:00 noon or just prior to lunch, and again at 4:00 P.M. 12:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. are times that ensure you will have the most responses from previously sent e-mail.
Learn to slow down. Get lost intentionally. Observe how you judge both yourself and those around you. Chances are that it’s been a while.
Distinguishing what we are and what we are not responsible for in this life is one of the greatest problems.
The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”
Though you can upgrade your brain domestically, traveling and relocating provides unique conditions that make progress much faster.
Making revisions to your world view is painful. A person may expend much more energy defending an outmoded view of the world than would have been required to correct it in the first place.
Most of the middle class’s financial priorities are: Priority #1: Get a high-paying job. Priority #2: Make the mortgage and car payments. Priority #3: Pay bills on time. Priority #4: Save, tithe, and invest. Priority #4 should come first.
One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.
Nietzsche’s famous aphorisms: “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”
To enjoy life, you don’t need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren’t as serious as you make them out to be.
If every misfortune can be blamed on someone else, we are relieved of the difficult task of examining our own contributory behavior or just accepting the reality that life is and has always been full of adversity.
Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.
If you keep your mind and body busy, you’ll be around a long time.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
I know too well that it’s easier to live with ourselves if we cite an external reason for inaction.
Live in the moment. Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering.
Stay active; don’t retire. Those who give up the things they love doing and do well lose their purpose in life. That’s why it’s so important to keep doing things of value, making progress, bringing beauty or utility to others, helping out, and shaping the world around you, even after your “official” professional activity has ended.
Perhaps 99% of the works someone like Berggruen acquired in his life turned out to be of little value. But that doesn’t particularly matter if the other 1% turn out to be the work of someone like Picasso.
There are many things in life that we think are true because we desperately want them to be true. I call these things “appealing fictions.”
Stoics practiced something like negative visualization: They imagined the worst thing that could happen in order to be prepared if certain privileges and pleasures were taken from them.
Never automate something that can be eliminated.
Too much free time is no more than fertilizer for self-doubt and assorted mental tail-chasing.
Creating positive rituals is the most powerful means we have found to effectively manage energy in the service of full engagement.
When we project a quality or virtue onto another human being, we ourselves almost always already possess that quality, but we're afraid to embrace (and to live) that truth.
It will ruin my resume. I love creative nonfiction. It is not at all difficult to sweep gaps under the rug and make uncommon items the very things that get job interviews. How? Do something interesting and make them jealous. If you quit and then sit on your ass, I wouldn’t hire you either.
This new capitalism is based upon feel-good economics. As long as a person’s net worth is going up, the illusion of prosperity, based upon debt, not production, continues. Who needs freedom when you’ve got things?
The limiting factor in building any “muscle” is that many of us back off at the slightest hint of discomfort. To meet increased demand in our lives, we must learn to systematically build and strengthen muscles wherever our capacity is insufficient.
A barbelled personality—optimistic about the future, but paranoid about what will prevent you from getting to the future—is vital.
It is far better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains.
It is much more important to have a compass pointing to a concrete objective than to have a map.
Smile. A cheerful attitude is not only relaxing—it also helps make friends. It’s good to recognize the things that aren’t so great, but we should never forget what a privilege it is to be in the here and now in a world so full of possibilities.
If you start off aiming to sell a product to dog- or car-lovers, stop. It’s expensive to advertise to such a broad market, and you are competing with too many products and too much free information. If you focus on how to train German shepherds or a restoration product for antique Fords, on the other hand, the market and competition shrink, making it less expensive to reach your customers and easier to charge premium pricing.
The power of rituals is that they insure that we use as little conscious energy as possible.
For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks.
Fun things happen when you earn dollars, live on pesos, and compensate in rupees, but that’s just the beginning.
One study, conducted at Yeshiva University, found that the people who live the longest have two dispositional traits in common: a positive attitude and a high degree of emotional awareness. In other words, those who face challenges with a positive outlook and are able to manage their emotions are already well on their way toward longevity.
Surround yourself with good friends. Friends are the best medicine, there for confiding worries over a good chat, sharing stories that brighten your day, getting advice, having fun, dreaming... in other words, living.
The person who has more options has more power.
Get in shape for your next birthday. Water moves; it is at its best when it flows fresh and doesn’t stagnate. The body you move through life in needs a bit of daily maintenance to keep it running for a long time. Plus, exercise releases hormones that make us feel happy.
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept that shows us the beauty of the fleeting, changeable, and imperfect nature of the world around us. Instead of searching for beauty in perfection, we should look for it in things that are flawed, incomplete.
We are what we do. We are not what we think, or what we say, or how we feel. We are what we do.
If you want to become richer, it is important to continually upgrade your environment. This does not mean running out and buying a big house, flashy cars, new clothes, and getting into piles of bad debt. What I mean is to consciously and intelligently challenge yourself to improve your standard of living by increasing your financial intelligence.
In the experience of those I’ve interviewed, it takes two to three months just to unplug from obsolete routines and become aware of just how much we distract ourselves with constant motion.
There are lots of overnight tragedies. There are rarely overnight miracles.
Follow your ikigai. There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet, as Viktor Frankl says, your mission is to discover it.
People who maintained a low level of stress, who faced challenges and put their heart and soul into their work in order to succeed, lived longer than those who chose a more relaxed lifestyle and retired earlier.
Enjoy life even as we are surrounded by evidence of its brevity and potential for disaster.
Make no mistake, maximum income from minimal necessary effort (including minimum number of customers) is the primary goal.
We each have a unique reason for being, which can be adjusted or transformed many times over the years.
Progress happens too slowly to notice, but setbacks happen too quickly to ignore.
Most people know what is good for them, know what will make them feel better: exercise, hobbies, time with those they care about. They do not avoid these things because of ignorance of their value, but because they are no longer “motivated” to do them. They are waiting until they feel better. Frequently, it’s a long wait.
Lifestyle Design is not interested in creating an excess of idle time, which is poisonous, but the positive use of free time.
Important financial decisions are not made in spreadsheets or in textbooks. They are made at the dinner table. They often aren’t made with the intention of maximizing returns, but minimizing the chance of disappointing a spouse or child.
Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.
Each individual is so caught up in his own bullshit that he doesn't have two seconds to worry about yours.
“If only I had more money” is the easiest way to postpone the intense self-examination and decision-making necessary to create a life of enjoyment—now and not later.
Some of our existing habits help us get through the day, but take a long-term toll on our performance, health and happiness. Examples include relying on junk food for bursts of energy.
Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.
Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.
Nobody likes to be told what to do.
You must come to terms with the fact that problems will never go away.
Life is difficult. This is one of the greatest truths. Once it is accepted, the fact no longer matters.
If tolerating a punishing work environment for years at a time is a prerequisite for promotion in your field, could it be that you’re in a game not worth winning?
A healthy environment is one that offers feedback. Life is constantly giving you priceless information if you are willing to receive it, and most of the time the feedback is free. Every time you open your pay envelope and see how much is lost to taxes, this is feedback. If your creditors are calling, demanding payment, this is feedback. If you are working harder and not earning enough, this is feedback.
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react that matters.
Just because you are embarrassed to admit that you’re still living the consequences of bad decisions made 5, 10, or 20 years ago shouldn’t stop you from making good decisions now. If you let pride stop you, you will hate life 5, 10, and 20 years from now for the same reasons.
Take it slow. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life. As the old saying goes, “Walk slowly and you’ll go far.” When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning.
Learning to replace the perception of time famine with appreciation of time abundance is like going from triple espressos to decaf.
Another reason many people fail in their process is they cannot live without instant gratification.
The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up all the pins either.
Forgiveness is not something we do for others; it is a gift to ourselves.
Subtracting the bad does not create the good. It leaves a vacuum. Decreasing income-driven work isn’t the end goal. Living more—and becoming more—is.
My own theory is that, in the real world, people do not want the mathematically optimal strategy. They want the strategy that maximizes for how well they sleep at night.
If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
Rather than seeking to see the world through photo ops between foreign-but-familiar hotels, we aim to experience it at a speed that lets it change us.
The existential vacuum manifests itself mainly in a state of boredom.
Past behavior is the most reliable predictor of future behavior.
Our goal is simple: to create an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time.
We tend to judge wealth by what we see, because that’s the information we have in front of us. We can’t see people’s bank accounts or brokerage statements. So we rely on outward appearances to gauge financial success. Cars. Homes. Instagram photos.
The objective of the virtuous person is to reach a state of tranquility (apatheia): the absence of negative feelings such as anxiety, fear, shame, vanity, and anger, and the presence of positive feelings such as happiness, love, serenity, and gratitude.
You’re not responsible for the hand of cards you were dealt. You’re responsible for maxing out what you were given.
It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor.
If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.
Sunk costs—anchoring decisions to past efforts that can’t be refunded—are a devil in a world where people change over time. They make our future selves prisoners to our past, different, selves. It’s the equivalent of a stranger making major life decisions for you.