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Personal comments are placed in parentheses.
Noteworthy words that call for definition are
highlighted in green.
Exceptional points are highlighted in red.
From "Zen in the Art of Archery" (1953) by Eugen Herrigel
A German professor travels to Japan to become an initiate in art of frustration.
- “Stop thinking about the shot,” the Master called out. “That way it is bound to fail.”
- If one really wishes to be master of an art, technical knowledge of it is not enough. One has to transcend technique so that the art becomes an “artless art” growing out of the Unconscious.
– D.T. Suzuki
- Access to the art, and the master archers of all times are agreed to this, is only granted to those who are pure in heart, untroubled by subsidiary aims.
- Art becomes artless, shooting becomes not-shooting.
- Zen can only be understood by one not tempted to gain by underhand methods what the mystical experience withholds from him.
- Whoever makes good progress in the beginning has all the more difficulties later on.
– Lao Tzu
- What stands in your way is that you have too much willful will, cried the Master. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen.
- The bow cannot be properly drawn without a loosening of the body.
- All right doing is accomplished only in a state of true selflessness.
- The pupil has much inward work to accomplish if he is to fulfill his vocation as an artist.
- He who has a hundred miles to walk should reckon ninety as half the journey.
- If you hit the target with nearly every shot you are nothing more than a trick archer who likes to show off.
- Swords fashioned with hard work and infinite care take on the spirit of the swordsmith.
- The more he tries to make the brilliance of his swordplay dependent on his own reflection, on the conscious utilization of his skill, on his fighting experience and tactics, the more he inhibits the free working of the heart.
- The instructor’s business is not to show the way itself, but to enable the pupil to get the feel of this way to the goal by adapting it to his individual peculiarities.
From “You Don’t Have to Be a Buddhist to Know Nothing” (2009) by Joan Konner
A collection of quotes, mostly trivial, on the under-appreciated topic of “nothingness.”
- The void is waiting for vocabulary.
– Edmond Jabès
- Among the great things which are found among us the existence of Nothing is the greatest.
- And nothing brings me all things.
– The Bard, Timon of Athens
- With the void, full empowerment.
- The real 'doing nothing' implies inner nonresistance and intense alertness.
– Eckhart Tolle
From “Peak Performance” (1984) by Charles Garfield PhD
A collection of crucial ideas presented in non-compelling, disorderly fashion. The author is considered an international leader in the field of sports psychology.
“My greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental.”
– Bruce Jenner, gold medallist in the decathlon, 1976 (unknown gender)
- In the old Soviet system, one was taught to look upon competitors as equals. When you excel against an equal, you’re called upon to pull out deeper reserves of competitive energies, outside of our normal range. You tap into more of yourself, and the Soviets called this "self-actualization." This mindset represents a contextual shift in terms of competition.
- There’s a common trait among high-level performers, whether in the realm of sports or elsewhere: an ability to extend themselves far beyond the capabilities of the average person.
- The Soviets found that mental training is at least as important as physical preparation, perhaps even more so.
- Like astronauts in training, we need depend less on feedback and more on feeding forward, or in other words, acting out of the context we’ve created, anticipating a myriad of outcomes. The Russian sports psychologist Alexander Romen was a pioneer in this regard.
- On the topic of untapped capabilities, Romen and another Russian, A.G. Odessky, made open allusions to the Greens, Jacobsen, plus Schulz and Luthe, all mentioned on the Sports Massage page of this site.
- When hidden reserves are tapped, it often happens unexpectedly .
- William James briefly discussed the topic of hidden reserves in his essay “The Energies of Man” (1908).
- Sports-science research hardly touches upon the topic of hidden reserves.
- Peak performance emanates from a very deep level, deeper than conscious thought.
- When we’re operating in and from the proverbial “zone,” the subtle details of our performance are more readily experienced, yet we can also see the big picture more clearly.
- A force is now acting through us, without us as the prime mover, as if we’re merely a participant.
- Said golfer Arnold Palmer, during this “zoned in” state we sense of type of reverie (pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts) from within an insulated state.
- Russians might call it this zone the “white moment.”
- Per the Greens, mentioned on the sports massage page: “Volition is the heart of the mind-body problem.” (Instead of volition, let’s use the more current term of ‘intention.’) It is not accomplished by force. It is done by imagining and visualizing the intended result while in a relaxed state.
- Confidence is a byproduct of knowing that our volition (will/intention) will work. Peak performers say this belief in themselves is almost palpable. After most muscle tissue gives out after a high-endurance event such as a marathon, it takes high intention to fire the remaining muscle tissue. These remaining muscles require a stimulus of higher frequency, and thus we’re seeing a physical counterpart to the concept of intention. Expressed differently, these remaining muscle fibers have a higher threshold of recruitment.
- Volition is the foundation for all human endeavors.
- The precision with which we craft our game plan and goals is of the utmost importance. Romen referred to ‘construction of formulas’ and ‘phraseology’which must be crafted with care.
- Peak performers have a sense of mission that transcends the actual measurable goals of the endeavor.
- The more clear and detailed our goals, the more we can bear with fatigue and distractions (a person with a sense of purpose can accomplish anything).
- Words are useful only to the degree they assist us in creating mental imagery. Abstract verbal phrases evoke no visual images. Verbal instructions should be concise and relative to the movement at hand. Verbiage overloads and restricts the performer's mind. A single correct image is far more valuable.
- Impressionistic mental imagery with many nuances of emotion is most effective for broad, long-term goals.
- Through the combined use of relaxation and mental imagery, athletes are able to accelerate their reaction times.
- The Vince Lombardi mindset (win at all costs) is a limiting factor in performance.
- Per Bud Winter, track coach at San Jose State for 30 years: confidence is the antidote for fear; relaxation feeds confidence. (Loehr says confidence engenders volition.)
- We aim for a state where the athlete (or other type of performer) is free from consciously thinking about what he or she is doing.
- It was Alexander Romen’s discovery of the techniques for teaching the athlete how to gain voluntary access to the peak performance state, not the invention of those techniques per se, that won Romen his place in sports history.
- The ability to relax even in the face of what most people would perceive as a threat or danger allows the well-trained athlete to choose between his ‘automatic pilot’ (machinery) and a more appropriate approach learned through years of athletic training.
- “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head.”
– Jack Nicklaus
- In the realm of visualization, mental images must include movement – actions, rather than static postures. Call them mental holograms, if you will. Without this visualization, the benefits of physical training will be decimated, at least at the upper-tier level. We must also visualize the complete action, not just the beginning, middle or end.
- “Visualizing the swing is useless if you fail to visualize what it’s supposed to achieve.”
- Per Jackie Stewart, race car drivers who don’t visualize will find out that things are happening too quickly. Drivers can have clear vision, he said, even at 195 miles per hour.
- Says Jim Loehr, founder of the Center for Athletic Excellence: performing toward the upper range of one’s potential is a natural consequence of the right kind of internal feeling/climate occurring at the right time. In effect, we’re setting up a calculus, encouraging the two trains known as equanimity and kairos to merge simultaneously.
- Per Loehr, the elements of the ideal performance state are fundamentally the same for all athletes and all sports, not to mention other endeavors such as the arts. (In his two textbooks about sports massage, author Mel Cash makes a similar point.)
- Top pros can create – and sustain – this state regardless of circumstances.
- The state includes a mixture of intensity and calmness. The athlete enters a cocoon, meaning he can avoid the loss of concentration, the tight-muscled feelings related to the fight-or-flight response.
- This climate also fosters endurance.
- Feelings are directed toward performing well rather than showing up another player, proving a point or expressing anger. There’s little sense of exerting or imposing control.
- Anger diminishes attentional focus. Time starts to speed up and we experience loss of control. We lose the context of workability. We go through the motions. The power of volition decreases.
- Negative emotions destroy the potential for peak performance, regardless of energy levels or degree of focus.
- There is a connection between physical relaxation and the power of volition.
- When we focus on errors, as Maslow has pointed out, we cut ourselves off from the experience of success. We forget how it feels.
- Frequently, elite athletes state that peak performance is not a common/typical/pedestrian act of will. (That’s because it germinates from a space that’s beyond will, namely it emanates from the creation of a context, which happens in the spaces between units of time. Willpower occurs during everyday linear time.)
- We can’t command its arrival, but we can set the table. Or as Garfield puts it, it can be orchestrated. (Note that the mystics of time immemorial have suggested the same approach for the arrival of states of intense awareness.)
- Elite athletes exert enormous self-discipline during the training phase, but during actual competition there is a sense of abandonment. They enter a zone that is more real than the everyday world (another aspect of the mystical experience).
- “Great works are done when one is not calculating and thinking.”
– Zen master D.T. Suzuki
- In judo, it’s said that even if there’s room for but the width of a hair between actions (indecision/self-doubt), this is interruption.
- (Is it me, or is there a connection between the word ‘mystic’ and the Greek mys, which is the root of our word ‘muscle’?)
From “Mastery” (2012) by Robert Greene
Probably just to keep his career momentum on track, the author of '48 Laws of Power’ has produced a weaker stepchild of a book that reveals his ability to pontificate and shoot from the hip at long-winded length while skimping on the research.
“In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”
In our culture we tend to equate thinking and intellectual powers with success and achievement. However, it is rather an emotional quality that separates a master from a mere worker or tasker.
We defraud ourselves if we don’t tune into our calling/vocation and settle instead for a false course in life. (Jose Ortega y Gasset)
The importance of recognizing such preverbal inclinations is that they are clear indications of an attraction that is not infected (unpoluted) by the desires of other people.
When boxers get hit in the ring, they often revert to fighting instinctually, letting their emotions get the best of them.
“From now on you never need temporal attestation (rapid positive feedback) to your thought. . . . Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to applying your experiences to the highest advantage of others.”
- outside voice speaking to Buckminster Fuller as he contemplated suicide in 1927
The word ‘apprentice’ comes from the Latin prehendere, meaning to grasp with the hand. Notice the similarity to the word ‘apprehend.’
No matter what the field or skill-set of expertise, researchers tend to agree that it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice before one approaches the level of mastery. Music critics might even agree that it takes a composer 10 years to begin creating original and compelling work. At the 10,000-hour point, the brain is literally altered.
In his early years, automaker Henry Ford resented the interference from people who knew nothing about design or the high standards he was trying to establish for the industry. He resented the idea that having money to lend gave them certain rights, when all that really mattered was a perfect design.
“One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil.”
Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1768, aka Hakuin Zenji) was one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism. In his youth, a master told him that the problem with all students is that they inevitably stop somewhere. They hear an idea and hold onto it, as if they are now omniscient fonts of truth. They flatter themselves by holding onto a now-dead concept.
The best you can do with people you can’t alter is go with it and not get worked up about it. (Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher)
People do not advertise their rigidity. You only trip up against it if you try to introduce a new idea or procedure. They can become irritable, even panicky. If you press your case with logic and reason you can make them even more defensive.
Showing up late can be a form of passive aggression.
Real innovations often do not spring from any conscious desire to provoke or rebel. They are just better ways of doing things that appear self-evident to the innovator.
The great and short-lived English poet John Keats (1795-1821) noted that what made many literary giants stand out was their ability to entire a realm he called “negative capability.” In this space one can deliberately enter the zone of uncertainty, mystery and doubt without negative impact upon one’s eventual output.
“New ideas are not generated by deduction, but by an artistically creative imagination.”
- physicist Max Planck
“The words of the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be voluntarily reproduced and combined.”
Both Einstein and Richard Wagner reached moments of virtually giving up before they reached breakthrough points in the respective careers.
Leonardo da Vinci’s motto was ostinato rigore, meaning “incessant/relentless/stubborn/tenacious rigor/application,” or in other words banging your head on the nut until it cracks. Einstein also credited the role of tenacity in achieving his breakthroughs.
“Try to comprehend a little more each day. Have holy curiosity.”
Dance great Martha Graham called the torso of the body the “house of the pelvic truth.” Her instruction was centered here, particularly the diaphragm, not the face and arms as was the custom of her day.
The great chess master Bobby Fischer said he could see “fields of forces” on the chessboard that allowed him to anticipate the flow of the game many moves ahead.
Edison spoke of seeing an image of an illuminated city, an image that spurred him onward to the development of the lightbulb.
Einstein experienced visual images on his road to developing his general theory of relativity.
In each of these cases, an image or idea somehow allowed the developer to see more, to grasp the entire situation, in one shot.
We must learn how to quell the anxiety we feel whenever we are confronted with anything that seems complex or chaotic.
Masters who possess high-level intuitive power seem to become younger in mind and spirit as they age.
Einstein was not a promising student in college.
The primary problem for artists in Leonardo’s day was the constant pressure to produce more and more work. They had to produce at a relatively high rate in order to keep the commissions coming and remain in the public eye. This influenced the quality of their work. A style developed in which artists could quickly create effects that would superficially excite viewers. To create such effects they would depend on bright colors, unusual juxtapositions and compositions, and dramatic scenes. In the process they would inevitably gloss over details in the background or even in the people they portrayed. They did not pay much attention to the flowers or trees or the hands of figures in the foreground. They had to dazzle on the surface. (Sounds like today's music industry.) Leonardo recognized this fact early in his career and it distressed him. It went against his grain in two ways – he hated the feeling of having to hurry with anything, and he loved immersing himself in details for their own sake. He was not interested in creating surface effects.
During a boxing match it’s very easy to react emotionally to punches and thus lose any sense of strategy.
From “The Law of Success” (1928) by Napoleon Hill
At 600 pages, this one took seemingly forever to plow through, but the effort was worth it. Despite sounding dated in an enchanting way, the material is profoundly contemporary, a tribute to its timelessness.
- Cupidity: greed.
- Thomas Paine noticed two types of thoughts in our minds. First are the pedestrian thoughts we come up with ourselves. Second and more important are the ones the bolt into our minds from sources we know not where. These are the ones we should pay attention to.
- An experienced public speaker can pick out the one or two antagonists in the audience, even if that audience numbers up to a thousand.
- Every effective salesman can “feel out” the moment that’s ripe to clinch the sale. It’s not a matter of what the prospective buyer says.
- We can take on a repelling or attracting persona that’s not dependent upon our looks. It comes from far deeper inside us and is revealed partially in how we carry ourselves.
- Sexuality in a loving context can recharge the mind. Without love it de-charges it.
- Worry, excitement and fear interfere with the digestive process. Other prime sources of stress include financial difficulties and unrequited love.
- When we have a definitive chief aim in life, it saturates our subconscious. 95% of people operate without such an anchor. Those who know just what they want in life have already gone a long way toward getting there.
- Achievement virtually requires setback before it’s attained. (As Werner Erhard said, “Breakdown precedes breakthrough.”) Nature won’t give you the keys until you demonstrate persistence, which is the absolute determination to achieve what you’re aiming at. Keep banging away until that small still voice within you says the purpose will be realized.
- Man still has a swinish habit of pushing all the other pigs out of the trough, even when he’s had enough to eat.
- There’s a difference between simply wishing for success and actually demanding it (which is healthy, if we pay the proper price).
- We are constantly broadcasting what we think of ourselves, and others pick up on this.
- Mediocre artists don’t have to contend with jealousy. No one will take you on unless your work is stamped with the seal of genius. For instance, those lesser composers who Wagner “dethroned” argued that he was no musician at all. Don’t cheapen yourself by trying to curry the favor of this type of person.
- Said Socrates, “I call that man idle who might be better employed.”
- On Armistice Day 1918 (the end of hostilities in World War I) the author was almost forcibly awakened from sleep at three in the morning. He went outside to find thousands of people on the streets of Chicago, all basically asking, “What has happened?”
- Practically all difficult tasks can be performed if one approaches them from the right angle.
- A kite rises against the wind, not with it.
- Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.
- Jealousy is a form of insanity.
- The majority of our griefs stem from a lack of self-control. It’s the common denominator of most prisoners, not to mention mediocre salesmen. Most salesmen have so little self-control that they hear the prospect say ‘no’ even before the word is uttered. Self-control also requires patience (which to me is a function or at least a cousin of focus).
- Thomas Edison: “To do much clear thinking a person must arrange for regular periods of solitude when they can concentrate and indulge their imagination without distraction.”
- In the long run, Henry Ford probably saved money by paying his employees well. Ford’s business philosophy was basically “Give the people the best product at the lowest price possible.” In his lifetime, Ford became the richest and most powerful man in the world. (Buckminster Fuller also commented upon the Ford philosophy at length.)
- If you crave success and are brave enough to shoulder the burdens that accompany it, give your service to the world at the lowest level of profit you can afford instead of exacting all you can with each transaction.
- To walk in the company of the truly great, stop seeing weaknesses in others and concentrate on your own.
- Mediocre salesmen and public speakers try to rush their audience to their point of view.
- The moment a person begins to assume leadership in any walk of life, the slanderers begin to circulate nasty rumors about their character. Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Harding and Wilson can attest to this fact of life. You can’t afford to lend a receptive ear to these scandal-mongers.
- The subconscious mind takes the suggestions you send to it and invokes the aid of infinite intelligence in terms of translating these thoughts into reality.
- Give your self-confidence a little less credit; offer a little more to the Infinite Intelligence.
- A mere wish can’t hold a candle to a strong desire.
- Concentration is the ability to focus upon a problem until you’ve solved it.
- Force can only achieve short-term results at best.
- The organ of the conscious mind is the cerebrospinal system. The organ of the subconscious is the sympathetic system. A connecting link between the two is the vagus nerve, which passes through the diaphragm.
- Personal independence can’t carry us through storms. All of nature’s laws are based upon cooperation. (Shades of Stephen Covey’s “interdependence.”)
- There can be as much action in preparation as in execution and follow-through.
- Said Charles Schwab (1862-1939): “Kindness is more powerful than compulsion.”
- Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle, the lack of which brings atrophy and decay. (This statement alone establishes that Hill was the real deal.)
- Smugness is a dangerous state of mind.
- The study of great individual lives indicates that Fate invariably tests our mettle in merciless ways before one “arrives.” The tests include making these people lonely so that only God’s high messages can reach them. In fact, history suggests that success, however you define it, arrives in almost an exact ratio to the level of difficulties and obstacles one had to overcome.
- Great people often have to unlearn what they previously took as the truth. (Buckminster Fuller’s sentiment exactly.)
- In the years leading toward World War I, the German educational system was primarily aimed at imparting the glories and nobility of war. (Some parallels can be seen in modern day America.)
- In America, the educational system imparts the glories of achieving wealth. Acquaintances define us in terms of how much they can get out of us. The most highly competent minds in the country are engaged in the attempt at cornering this wealth for themselves.
- Those who profit most by war are the ones who most clamor for it. They don’t want peace, but fortunately their actual numbers are few.
- We’ve “arrived” at a spiritual level when we care less about others cheating us and more about how we may be cheating others.
- A passive attitude toward the Golden Rule will bring no results. You have to live it rather than just admire it intellectually.
- A salesman’s first sale should be to himself.
- Our face comes to resemble the nature of our dominating thoughts.
- We’d be shocked if we kept an accurate account of the time we waste in a single day.
- (When setting up a book outline like this, I “preset” the number of bullets I think the book calls for. Even though I borrowed a lot of material from this book, the number of bullets I preset matched perfectly with the number of citations taken. Very interesting.)
From “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” (1960) by Napoleon Hill & W. Clement Stone
- 99% of people don’t display a definite purpose in life.
- Spell out your goals on paper. This will help you recognize opportunity when it appears.
- Here’s one of the great lessons learned from the development of the telephone: In any great endeavor, what puts you over the top is often a minor modification no one has seen before. Alexander Graham Bell had several competitors, but only he went the extra distance, slightly beyond 100%.
- It is in solitude and quiet that our best ideas occur to us. (This principle may carry over into physical development, for instance where muscular rebuilding may best occur during times of rest.)
- Said navy Admiral H.G. Rickover: “Among the young engineers we interview, we see few who have received thorough training in engineering fundamentals or principles. But most have absorbed quantities of facts; much easier to learn than principles, but of little use without application of principles. Once a principle has been acquired it becomes a part of one, and is never lost. It can be applied to novel problems, and does not become obsolete as do all facts in a changing society.”
- Roger Bannister, the first runner to break the four-minute mile, attributed much of his success to the mental side of preparation rather than the mere physical. (Said Bannister in 1993: "No longer conscious of my movement, I discovered a new unity with nature. I had found a new source of power and beauty, a source I never dreamt existed.")
From “Orgone, Reich & Eros: Wilhelm Reich’s Theory of Life Energy” (1972) by W. Edward Mann
The author, who studied with Reich, was professor of sociology at York University, Toronto. He was also an Anglican priest. The occasional insights are valuable, but on the whole this thing trudges along at glacial pace. Well-researched, though not overly congruent to our purposes.
- Orgone energy “contradicts” the law of entropy. It is attracted to accumulations of itself.
- Orgone’s motion through the body is quite slow compared with the speed of electromagnetic radiation.
- Protective armoring freezes energy in certain areas.
- Streamings of current up and down the body are identical with the movement of orgone through the body (Reich, Character Analysis, 1950)
- “Who touched me? Some power has gone out of me.” – Luke 8:43
- “The vital force is not enclosed in man but radiates in and around him like a luminous sphere.” – Paracelsus (1493-1541)
- Jan Baptista van Helmont (1577-1644), Belgian physician: this force is “called forth and directed by volition.” (Intention / willpower.)
- Per the Italian scientist Luigi Galvani, circa 1791, this “life force” as he called it is capable of two opposite functions: contraction and expansion.
- ‘Magniloquent’: Lofty, verging on pompous
- Emile Boirac, rector of the Academy at Dijon, ~1913: emanations that extend from human to human are real. The effects produced by the right and left hand differ. Emanations are particularly strong in fingers, especially the tips.
- Sex organs in both sexes and in the breasts of women emit rays quite strongly. (T. Colson, "Living Tissue Rays", Electronic Medical Digest, summer 1945)
- This force can be directed by the mind (intention), and it can be amplified.
- Anton Mesmer (1734-1815): this force is invigorated by sound. Mesmer also concluded that muscular armoring -- chronic tension or even flaccidity -- impeded the pulsatile flow of the life force’s streaming qualities.
- Emotions can be equated with natural energy (including electrical charge), thus there exists “an inherent impotence of bifurcated psychosomatic constructs.” In other words, factors labeled as “emotional” and “physical” appear indistinguishable. (Leonard Ravitz, William & Mary University, ~1959). Ravitz also asserted that an accurate mapping of this field can determine a person’s emotional stability.
- Bifurcated: Divided into two branches.
- A person’s energy field pulsates at a rate of 18 to 25 times a minute. Nearby people are affected by it. (Lowen & Pierakos, Rhythm of Life)
- Some people claim that a chapel or church, one that’s been used for devout prayers over the decades, can develop its own particular radiation, aura, or even ‘smell”, replete with healing energies.
- Kundalini is thought to flow in a spiral or coiled fashion.
- Edgar Cayce noted that people subconsciously choose clothing whose colors complemented their auras. When there was a disconnect between aura and color, people would say “Why does she wear that color?”
- Instead of using needles, some early Chinese practitioners of acupuncture used fish bones.
- We have a new spelling of ki: tch’i. (Cheers.)
- If the quality of our character is impure, our ability to function is diminished.
- Signs of healing activity include heat, a tingling current, and trembling arms.
- There is a linkage between the onset of cancer and the loss of a “significant other” in someone’s life.
- A benchmark of anxiety is a bio-energetic contraction of the body. (Dr. Bruno Bizzi, Energy and Character, 1970).
From “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (1989/2004) by Stephen Covey
Thank God THIS one finally ended. For starters, it falls far short of the five-star ranking that hype and sales would give it. Many points are solid, even slightly original, but they get fleshed out beyond the point patience would tolerate, watering the material down at times to the level of Wayne Dyer. This book is saddled with the old-school structure of academic research watered down for Joe Sixpack, making it very useful for enhancing our skimming skills.
- Principled solutions stand in stark contrast to the everyday thinking of our popular culture.
- To achieve what the world needs now, we have to mature into a state of interdependence as opposed to the mantra of mere independence.
- Influence begins when you allows others to influence you.
- Despite what we’re saying on the surface, people generally do pick up on where you’re coming from, behind the words.
- Covey became something of a scholar of American “self improvement” literature over the years. He noticed that from about 1776 to 1925, the literature was dominated by the theme of character development. Since then it’s been dominated by superficial techniques and quick-fixes. (This sounds like the history of American pop music, run by individuals incapable of character development.)
- This latter generation of “self-improvement” literature mistakes secondary traits for primary ones, relegating character development to the bush leagues. It’s like saying farmers can produce a bountiful crop if only they apply the right fertilizer, regardless of whether they put in the daily discipline of sowing and reaping.
- However, people without character are eventually “busted,” despite their glossy words and techniques.
- The term 'paradigm shift' can be attributed to Thomas Kuhn in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). He demonstrates how most every breakthrough in science reflected a shift from old ways of thinking.
- Our current social paradigm elevates independence to regal status.
- Amidst his infamous treatment inside Nazi death camps, Viktor Frankl discovered for himself one of the highest-level principles mankind as a whole has learned so far: Within that moment between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose. And within this present moment, we’ve been gifted with an imagination to take the next moment to places it's never been before. (This point is getting redundant to a positive degree on the pages of this literature review.)
- To think that we cannot choose is to buy into the determinist paradigm, which is based primarily on the study of animals and dysfunctional humans.
- When we choose this freedom to choose, we operate out of commitment rather than circumstance. (Erhardian phraseology.)
- If you want to study love, study those who sacrifice for others.
- Our core value to the rest of the world is our ability to make and keep promises. (This is the key point of the book, and it appears directly lifted from the work of Werner Erhard, without acknowledgment.)
- The word ‘script’ comes from the Latin scripto for “I write,” as in 'scripture.' When we’re floating in that moment between stimulus and response, operating out of commitment, we have the potential of rewriting our very scripts.
- According to Frankl, we detect rather than invent our missions in life. It’s suggested to us in those wee moments between stimulus and response.
- Deep muscle relaxation improves our ability to visualize.
- Psychologist Charles Garfield (UC Berkeley) has studied the characteristics of
world-class athletes and other peak performers. He discovered that most all of them are visualizers.
- Look up this short essay from E.M. Gray: “The Common Denominator of Success.”
- The architects say “form follows function.” In business, management follows leadership.
- You can’t talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into.
- Most of us come from the Scarcity Mentality. (Another unacknowledged nod to Erhard.) We operate out of the Malthusian point of view that there’s not enough to go around, making it a “you or me” world.
- An early Greek point of view can be encapsulated in the phrase ethos, pathos, logos: Credibility, empathy, logic.
- “That which is most personal (to you) is most general (to all).” – Carl Rogers.
- An effective person is up front (even with themselves) about their limitations. (Didn't Clint Eastwood say something to that effect on film?)
- “I have so much to do today, I’ll need to spend another hour on my knees."
-- Martin Luther
- “Earn they neighbor’s love.”
– Hans Selye (What’s even more impressive here is that Covey is quoting Selye in the first place.)
From “Edgar Cayce, Modern Prophet / Four Complete Books” (1990)
A lengthy read that illustrates both how compelling and how boring some of the works about Cayce can get. Three of the four authors seemed to think their purpose was to showcase their own thoughts rather than clarify the brilliant insights of Cayce himself.
Around 1936, Cayce and his wife and secretary were arrested in Detroit on the capricious charge of practicing medicine without a license. The court trial ended in his favor. By his compliance with Divine Law, man brings order out of chaos. (The anti-entropic function of mankind.) One of the primary lessons we must learn is that of patience. The need for character development precedes the need for psychic ability. Erich Kahler, who was enthusiastically praised by Thomas Mann (German winner of Nobel Prize for literature, 1929) and Einstein, was not primarily concerned with the nature of time (in his wide-ranging study of modern man, The Tower and the Abyss, 1957). But in his notes on various great modern poets, he remarked how they each approached "a profound feeling of contraction not only of space but of time -- a gathering of all times and their contents, of our entire existence in one sublime moment, a concentration which is almost equivalent to an abolition of time." When Cayce prayed with great simplicity and sincerity there was such deep peace in the room that nobody wished to leave, and one could see tears glistening in eyes across the room. Something like a current or field of goodness and promise seemed built up around him at such times, and not by eloquence. Turn within and seek the still, small voice. Cayce defined sin as selfish aggrandizement. Cooperation with people creates a different mindset than that of exploiting them. The mind, our mind, affects the universe with its every thought. God is not just a force "doing things." He is in some sense Doing Itself. Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. A man is not known by what he has but by what he can give. Be true to the best you know, and the next will be given to you. Too many Christians misidentify Christ as a hero rather than as a personal challenge. We have to learn to empty the heart of selfishness, which blocks the flow. Power comes from our detachment from self-interest. A person without a temper isn't worth much. Man does not get into heaven except by "leaning on the arm of someone he has helped." Cayce eventually learned to look deeply into faces, unhurriedly, to cherish those about him, rather than to feel he must lead them. "In patience possess ye your souls." (Luke 21:19) You only learn the laws in action. True understanding comes in application. A hallmark of the highest creativity appears to be that the solutions presented take account of the needs of all who are involved, not just of the primary creator. (Omni-considerate.) Stumbling blocks must be turned into stepping stones. "A truth that's told with bad intent / Beats all the lies you can invent."
- William Blake The most important task we have in life is our choice of a spiritual ideal. Cayce sometimes referred to the endocrine system as a brain unto itself. In meditation there descends the influences to open the channels to the inmost recesses of the Creative Forces in the body. The key to manifesting visualizations is to act as if they will manifest. We are only operating at full potential when our concerns are directed away from self-preoccupation and towards the assistance of our less fortunate brothers. We receive divine help in proportion to our sincerity. There must be harmony in self before you can bring it to others. Individuals grow in grace, in knowledge, in understanding, and as they apply that which they know, the next step is shown to them. The greatest sins of the world today are selfishness and the domination of one individual will by another will.
"Every form of addiction is bad, whether the narcotic be alcohol, or morphine, or idealism."
- Carl Jung
From “The Power of Full Engagement” (2003) by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
At first this book looked promising, then to a large extent it turned into vomit-inducing nice-talk.
The bigger the storm, the more inclined we are to fall back on survival patterns. That's why we need a positive discipline in our lives. Said Leonardo da Vinci, who took frequent breaks, when you're constantly at work you lose the power of judgment. His benefactors would sometimes plead with him to get back to work. Self-absorption draws away our energy. Sometimes it's more important to stay connected to people than to be right. It's a myth that working long and continuously is the key to maximum productivity. A lack of breaks leads to a higher incidence of mistakes. Almost unaware of themselves, top tennis pros display the common aspect of maximizing their recovery time between points. Lesser competitors don't. We must periodically disengage. Intermittently disengaging is what allows us to passionately reengage. Many of us never fully disconnect. Intensity doesn't burn you out. Not ceasing does. In the long run, caffeine promotes fatigue. Many employers are well aware of the mid-afternoon proclivity toward fatigue and accidents. We need rituals of renewal, set forms of recovery. The book frequently steps into the pitfall of saying "in our seminars."
From “Earth Inc.” (1973) by Buckminster Fuller
Nothing that Fuller wrote is unworthy of our attention.
Henry Ford concentrated on building quality automobiles, and they held together, even to this day. Most other manufacturers of his time concentrated on style, and they're forgotten.
From “How Full Is Your Bucket” (2004) by Tom Rath & Donald Clifton
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number-one reason people leave their jobs is that they don't feel appreciated. Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. (I'm starting to lose patience with most books that have co-authors.) :-)
From “Healing Miracles” (1988) by William McGarey, MD
Based on some of the readings of Edgar Cayce.
Low-level electrical energies apparently are conducted through blood vessels and across capillary walls, causing white cells and metabolic compounds to migrate into and out of surrounding tissues. Such activities may be as important in preserving homeostasis as the circulation of the blood itself.
- Paul Rosch MD, Medical Tribune, March 25, 1987 Said Cayce, health is "the attuning of the atomic structure of the living cellular force to its spiritual heritage." Powers are granted to us in proportion to how constructive our purposes are. It's the movement of large muscle groups that stirs up memories of past events, often from past lives. Said Cayce, "Life is vibration." Cayce once defined sin as taking a path in life without considering our true nature as an eternal soul and our deepest desire to make our wills one with the creative Source of the universe.
"If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it."
- Calvin Coolidge
"Success is a poison that should only be taken late in life and then only in small doses."
- Anthony Trollope
"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy."
- Robert Louis Stevenson
From “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” (1990) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Rating: Zzzzzzzz. Considering the thumbs-up that other writers have given this book, it's a surprising disappointment. The author is former chairman of the psychology department at the University of Chicago.
"Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease being so."
- John Stuart Mill "Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue . . . as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a course greater than oneself."
- Viktor Frankl The best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Said John Stuart Mill: "No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought." While humankind collectively has increased its material powers a thousandfold, it has not advanced very far in terms of improving the content of experience. (Or how we approach and experience our experience.) The most effective form of socialization is achieved when people identify so thoroughly with the social order that they no longer can imagine themselves breaking any of its rules. The last great attempt to free consciousness from the domination of impulses and social controls was psychoanalysis. As Freud pointed out, the two tyrants that fought for control over the mind were the id and the superego. The first is a servant of the genes, the second a lackey of society -- both representing the "other." Opposed to them was the ego, which stood for the genuine needs of the self connected to its concrete environment. (The author appears disappointingly close-minded regarding past lives and the ability to communicate with spiritual entities.) Paradoxically, it is when we act freely, for the sake of action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were. (We give the situation itself permission to teach us things, rather than simply retain our preconceptions.) There are two main strategies we can adopt to improve the quality of life. The first is to try making external conditions match our goals. The second is to change how we experience external conditions to make them fit our goals better. Neither of these strategies is effective when used alone. When in the state of flow, we have a sense of being in a world where entropy is suspended. ("The physical is inherently entropic, giving off energy in ever more disorderly ways. The metaphysical is antientropic, methodically marshalling energy. Life is antientropic. It is spontaneously inquisitive. It sorts out and endeavors to understand." / Buckminster Fuller, Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, 1975) (Man is the anti-entropic force in Universe.) ("Man is not order of nature, sack and sack, belly and members, link in a chain, nor any ignominious baggage, but a stupendous antagonism, a dragging together of the poles of the Universe."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson) Says a rock climber: Somehow the right thing is done without you ever thinking about it or doing anything at all . . . . It just happens. Freedom from the tyranny of time does add to the exhilaration we feel during a state of complete involvement. The key element of an optimal experience is that it is an end in itself. The term 'autotelic' derives from two Greek words: auto, meaning self, and telos, meaning goal. It refers to a self-contained activity, one that is done not with the expectation of some future benefit, but simply because the doing itself is the reward. When an experience is autotelic the person is paying attention to the activity for its own sake; when it is not, the attention is focused on its consequences. Much of what we label juvenile delinquency is motivated by the same need to have flow experiences not available in ordinary life. A social system can be evaluated in terms of how much psychic entropy it causes. Channeling of attention to a limited set of goals and means is what allows effortless action within self-created boundaries. It is interesting to note that the two societal obstacles to flow (anomie [angst] and alienation) are functionally equivalent to the two personal pathologies: attentional disorders and self-centeredness. At both levels, the individual and the collective, what prevents flow from occurring is either the fragmentation of attentional processes (as in anomie and attentional disorders), or their excessive rigidity (as in alienation and self-centeredness). At the individual level anomie corresponds to anxiety, while alienation corresponds to boredom. Richard Logan proposes an answer based on the writings of many survivors, including those of Viktor Frankl and Bruno Bettelheim, who have reflected on the sources of strength under extreme adversity. He concludes that the most important trait of survivors is a "non-self-conscious individualism," or a strongly directed purpose that is not self-seeking. Bertrand Russell described how he achieved personal happiness. "Gradually I learned to be indifferent to myself and my deficiencies; I came to center my attention increasingly upon external objects: the state of the world, various branches of knowledge, individuals for whom I felt affection." Some artists contend that people have "tin eyes." About 2300 years ago the word Yu appeared in the writings of the Taoist scholar Chuang Tzu. Yu is a synonym for the right way of following the path, or Tao. It has been translated into English as wandering, as "walking without touching the ground," or as swimming, flying, and flowing. Chuang Tzu believed that to Yu was the proper way to live -- without concern for external rewards, spontaneously, with total commitment. Yu occurs when the individual gives up conscious mastery. The Western view of optimal experience tends toward changing objective conditions, as in confronting challenges with skills. Yu on the other hand leans toward the Eastern approach of disregarding objective conditions in favor of spiritual playfulness and the transcendence of actuality. In Greek, the word idiot originally meant a "private person" -- someone who is unable to learn from others. In the mid 1800s, Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician who insisted that the lives of many mothers could be saved at childbirth if obstetricians would only wash their hands, even though most other doctors ignored and mocked him. According to some views of evolution, complex life forms depend for their existence on a capacity to extract energy out of entropy -- to recycle waste into structured order. The Nobel prize-winning chemist Ilya Prigogine calls physical systems that harness energy which otherwise would be dispersed and lost in random motion "dissipative structures." (Such as in photosynthesis -- capturing "wasted" solar radiation and shaping it into a more complex order.) When "the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, enterprises of great pith and moment . . . lose the name of action."
-- Hamlet "He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence." (Something that is destructive.)
-- William Blake In the Divine Comedy, Virgil reassures Dante that the good news is that there is a way out of the dark forest. The bad news is that the way leads through hell. And through hell they slowly wind their way, witnessing as they go the sufferings of those who had never chosen a goal, and the even worse fate of those whose purpose in life had been to increase entropy -- the so-called "sinners." "And therefore I said, Glaucon, musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward place of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful."
Four quotes from Buckminster Fuller:
Love is metaphysical gravity. (It's the anti-entropic force.)
Most of my advances were by mistake. You uncover what is when you get rid of what isn't.
Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.
People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things.
From “Ziglar on Selling” (1991) by Zig Ziglar
A well-known sales trainer, Ziglar appears to possess more insight into human nature than most business-oriented writers. He does suffer however from a Lawrence-Welk worldview. For instance, I can't imagine many other writers getting so excited over the Wayne Newton animal farm in Las Vegas. The point where I have the biggest problem with Ziglar and other people in sales is this: the desire to sell at most any cost, regardless of how appropriate the sale is for the consumer.
You can't get yourself out of a situation you've never been in to begin with. (Until you're absolutely committed to a course of action, you're not really in the ballgame.) "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you."
-- Dr. Charles Jarvis You can't get rid of the butterflies, but you can get them flying in formation. If you feel no anxiety, your chances of success are greatly diminished. Logic will not change an emotion, but action will. Great sales pros constantly 'play the tapes' of successful sales presentations before, during and after sales calls. One of the reasons that working through the sales process is so difficult for some people is that it requires them to think. They're often so intent on getting the sale that they stop thinking, or they think about the result they want -- to the detriment of the intermediate steps. "The value you place on people determines whether you are a motivator or a manipulator of men. Motivation is moving together for a mutual advantage. Manipulation is moving together for my advantage. With the motivator everybody wins. With the manipulator, only the manipulator wins."
- Thomas Carlyle (1851-1918) "A soft answer turneth away wrath." (Proverbs 15:1) The least developed tool of the professional salesperson is the quality and tone of voice. Our fear of loss is often greater than our desire for gain. An incredibly high percentage of people spend most of their time looking back in anger and forward in fear. Forgiveness is defined by psychologist Archibald Hart as "giving up your right to hurt someone back." Failure is an event, not a person. If you've failed at certain tasks, it does not mean that you are a failure.
From “The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said” (2006) by Robert Byrne
A surprisingly lame collection of quotes, peppered with the occasional zinger.
Alfonso the Wise (1221-1284): If I had been present at creation, I would have given some useful hints. Nietzsche: Plato is a bore. Peter Medawar, Nobel-prize winning biologist: The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it. Oscar Wilde: Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow. Racetrack proverb: No one ever committed suicide who had a good two-year-old in the barn. Menander (342-292 BC): The school of hard knocks is an accelerated curriculum. Italian proverb: There's no thief like a bad book. William Faulkner: Henry James was one of the nicest old ladies I ever met. H.L. Mencken: Henry James would have been vastly improved as a novelist by a few whiffs of the Chicago stockyards. Aristotle: It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims. Thomas Edison: We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything. Al Capone: Don't get the idea that I'm knocking the American system. H.L. Mencken: The learned are seldom pretty fellows, and in many cases their appearance tends to discourage a love of study in the young. Albert Camus: A single sentence will suffice for modern man: He fornicated and read the papers. Goethe: When ideas fail, words come in very handy. H.L. Mencken: It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf. Alfred North Whitehead: All truths are half-truths. William Blake: To generalize is to be an idiot. Arab proverb: Trust Allah, but tie your camel. James Joyce: Masturbation! The amazing availability of it! Karl Marx: Philosophy is to the real world what masturbation is to sex. Mae West: He who hesitates is a damned fool. Form letter received by Rodney Dangerfield: You may already be a loser! Anonymous: Detroit is Cleveland without the glitter. Lenny Bruce: I hate small towns because once you've seen the cannon in the park there's nothing else to do. Cicero: No sane man will dance. Song title: I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling Emerson: The more he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons. Abraham Lincoln: If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? Tacitus (55-117 AD): The hatred of relatives is the most violent. H.L. Mencken: Every man sees in his relatives a series of grotesque caricatures of himself. W.C. Fields: Start off every day with a smile, and get it over with. Aristotle: The gods too are fond of a joke. Tolstoy: Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal. Ovid (43 BC-18 AD): A woman is always buying something. Bhartrihari (Indian poet, ~570-651): A woman talks to one man, looks at a second, and thinks of a third. Socrates (470-399 BC): Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers. Nora Joyce to her husband James: Why don't you write books people can read? Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880): I feel very old sometimes . . . I carry on and would not like to die before having emptied a few more buckets of shit on the heads of my fellow men. Max Reger, German composer (1873-1916): I am sitting in the smallest room in the house. I have your review in front of me. Soon it will be behind me. Tolstoy: Shakespeare is crude, immoral, vulgar, and senseless. George Bernard Shaw: It took me twenty years of studied self-restraint, aided by the natural decay of my faculties, to make myself dull enough to be accepted as a serious person by the British public. General Joseph Stillwell (1883-1946): The higher a monkey climbs, the more you can see of its behind. Tolstoy: What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness. Milton Berle: My wife and I don't have mutual orgasms. We have State Farm. Calvin Coolidge: No man ever listened himself out of a job. Anonymous: In Ireland, a writer is looked upon as a failed conversationalist. Tchaikovsky: I have played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a giftless bastard! Chinese proverb: Two leaps per chasm is fatal.
From "Emotional Intelligence" (1995) by Daniel Goleman
A painfully boring excursion into a basketful of academic studies, built around a praiseworthy premise. Before reading this I planned to also delve into his 2006 follow-up entitled "Social Intelligence," but I now feel this would be a disappointing waste of time. Emotional Intelligence is a product of the head, not of inspiration. It's a tribute to the kind of Mars/Venus blandness that fails to logically progress from an initial premise and build toward a decisive conclusion. In other words, academics probably nominate it for awards and the author chalks up all the speaking engagements he can handle. CEOs are hired for their intellect and business expertise -- and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence. "Anyone can become angry -- that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way -- that is not easy."
- Aristotle, The Nichomachean Ethics If there are any two moral stances our times call for, they are these: self-restraint and compassion. Sadness slows the body's metabolism. The parasympathetic pattern, dubbed the relaxation response, is a body-wide set of reactions that generates a general state of calm and contentment, facilitating cooperation. The word 'limbic' comes from the Latin limbus, meaning 'ring.' The limbic portion of the brain, our emotional center, looks like a bagel with a bite taken out of it. As we know, our emotions can have a mind of their own, independent of our rationality. Much of what we do, especially in our free time, is merely an attempt to manage (and not confront?) our moods. A close analysis of chronic worry suggests that it has all the attributes of a low-grade emotional hijacking. The author, apparently a psychologist, appears overly endeared with the role of psychotherapists, comparing them to artists and novelists. The single mood people generally put most effort into shaking is sadness. The most popular tactic for battling depression is socializing -- going out to dinner, a ballgame, a movie. Studies of Olympic athletes, world-class musicians and chess grandmasters find their unifying trait is the ability to motivate themselves to pursue relentless training routines. Anxiety undermines the intellect. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the author of the well-received book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990). In a study of 200 student artists 18 years after graduation, he found that the most serious painters were the ones who in their student days savored the pure joy of painting itself. Those who drifted away from art were the poseurs, the ones who dreamed of fame and wealth. The author notes that creative achievements seem to depend on single-minded immersion, not worrying about how much money a work will fetch or whether the critics will like it. According to Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, "flow" is an internal state that signifies someone is on the right path. Stress can negatively impact our memory. Actions that spring from the emotional mind carry a particularly strong sense of certainty, a by-product of a streamlined, simplified way of looking at things that can be absolutely bewildering to the rational mind. The advantage is that the emotional mind can read an emotional reality in an instant, making the intuitive snap judgments that tell us who to be wary of, who to trust, who's in distress. When some aspect of a current event seems similar to an emotionally charged memory from the past, the emotional mind responds by triggering the feelings that went with the remembered event. The emotional mind reacts to the present as though it were the past.
From "A Calendar of Wisdom" (~1908 / English translation 1997) by Leo Tolstoy
The Russian author of the great War and Peace considered this his most important work. His intent was to bring ideas of profound spiritual import to the largest possible number of people. The book was eventually banned by Soviet authorities. (Note: Tolstoy's comments will appear unattributed, and I've occasionally reworded them for greater clarity. Other comments will be preceded by their source.)
- During this short period of time which we call our life, do our acts conform to the will of the force that sent us into the world?
- As soon as I remember that it's my duty to serve the Lord, and not His to serve me, my burden becomes lighter. (And our focus becomes clearer.)
- Live for your soul. Without understanding what you're doing sometimes, you will contribute to the improvement of society.
- Xenophon: Socrates told his students that excessive knowledge requires an extra effort that takes the student's time away from the most basic and important human pursuit: moral perfection.
- Excessive knowledge can lead one into false pride.
- Persian saying: Live in the light of love, and all things will be given to you.
- There is no aspect of life in which real wisdom cannot be displayed.
- When people wanted to kill a bear in olden times, they hung a heavy log over a bowl of honey. The bear would push the log away in order to eat the honey. The log would swing back and hit the bear. The bear would become irritated and push the log even harder, and it would return and hit him even harder. This would continue until the log killed the bear. People behave in the same way when they return evil for the evil they receive from others. Can't people be wiser than bears?
- For a truth to be heard, it must be spoken with kindness. Truth is only kind when it is spoken through our heart with sincerity. If the other person doesn't get what you're saying, it's either not true or not conveyed with kindness.
- Thoreau: Only the words of a loving man can be heard.
- Arabic proverb: Speak only when your words are better than your silence.
- All spiritual teachings start with restrictions, with control of the appetites.
- Chinese tenet: One of the major responsibilities of a person is to make sure that the intellectual spark you've received from heaven illuminates the world around you.
- Muslihuddin Saadi (Persian poet, 1184-1291): Using tender words and kindness, you can lead an elephant by the hair.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson: The only way to get rid of your burdens is to live your life in such a way that you fulfill your destiny.
- Goethe: When we treat people as they deserve to be treated, we make them even worse. When we treat them as if they already were who they wish they were, we improve them.
- Luc de Vauvenargues (1715-47): Great thoughts come directly from the heart.
- Maimonides: If you have an income without working hard, then someone worked hard without receiving an income.
- Vague and complex terminology was created by false scholars. Real, truthful knowledge does not need vague terms.
- You can't work among honeybees without being cautious. In the same way, you can't work with people without being mindful of their humanity.
- Persian saying: If you would like to know how to recognize a prophet, look to him who gives you the knowledge of your own heart.
- The Talmud: God's will should be followed because of loving Him, not fearing Him.
- Emerson: If there is something great in you, it will not appear on your first call. It will not appear and come to you easily, without any work and effort.
- Henri Amiel (Swiss philosopher, 1821-81): A real artist always simplifies.
- There are two very clear indications of real science and real art. The first inner sign is that a scholar or artist works not for profit but for sacrifice, for his calling. The second outer sign is that his works are understandable to all people.
- If you are in a difficult situation, tell yourself "I will love everyone whom I meet in this life." You will see that everything will find its way, life will seem simpler, and you'll be freed of doubts and fears.
- Some people think that it's impossible to rule other people without force. And so they do to people what others do to horses: blind their eyes so they'll more obediently walk in a circle.
- Seneca: The language of truth is always simple.
- There is no such thing as love in the future. Love can exist only in the present moment. A man who does not manifest love in the present does not love at all.
- Sometimes we cannot see any connection between our suffering and our sin, but this connection definitely exists.
- Repentance always precedes perfection. It is sad that people think repentance is unnecessary.
- We make our decisions in the present, and the present exists out of time. It is a tiny moment where two periods -- the past and the future -- meet. In the present you are always free to make your choice.
- The only perfection necessary is perfection in love, which can be reached only in the present.
- The present is the moment in which the divine nature of life is revealed. Let us respect our present time; God exists here.
- To be wise, you must follow your intellect, even though such a way of life is often attacked. (With the word 'intellect,' Tolstoy is surely using it in the sense of higher function of mind, beyond mere brainpower.)
- The defining quality of the soul is kindness.
- Anyone who is engaged in truly important matters is very simple. He does not have time to create unnecessary things.
- Thoreau: When you feel the desire for power, you should stay in solitude for some time.
- If a good end can only be achieved by bad means, either it is not good after all, or its time has not yet come.
- There is a condition in which a person feels himself the architect of his life. It occurs when he concentrates all his efforts and intellect on the present moment. As soon as you dwell on the past or future, you stray from God and you feel lonely, deserted and enslaved.
- A wise man does not wish to change his situation, because he knows that it is possible to fulfill the law of God, the law of love, in every situation.
- Try to establish an inner silence in yourself, a complete silence of your lips and heart. Then you will hear how God speaks to us, and you will know how to fulfill His will.
- Everything is in heaven's power, except for our choice of whether to serve God or ourselves.
- Most people act, not according to their meditations, and not according to their feelings, but as if hypnotized, based on some senseless repetition of patterns.
- Blaise Pascal: Is there anything more absurd than a person having a right to kill me because we live on two opposite banks of a river and our kings quarrel with each other?
- Temporary solitude from all things in this life is food as necessary as material food for your body.
- Most people adore God but don't listen to Him. It is better not to adore but to listen.
- To love means to live within the lives of those whom you love.
- Russian peasants have a saying, "Do you remember God?" (Are we living in a such a way as to invite His presence.)
- A proud person initially causes other people to think he's more important than he actually is. But when the influence disappears, as it always does, he becomes only the object of jokes.
- Only in the present can the divine nature of the human soul be manifested.
- If you want to do a good deed, do it now. The time will pass, and you won't get the chance again.
- Henry George (1839-97): The life of man is filled with intellect (insight) only when the fulfillment of one's duty is understood.
- Marcus Aurelius: The purpose of your life is not to do as the majority does, but to live according to the inner law which you understand in yourself. Do not act against your conscience or against truth. Live like this, and you will fulfill the task of your life.
- Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-72): We fulfill the law of God when we feel the lives of others as our own.
- Daniel Achinsky: Only in the storm can you see the art of the real sailor.
- The man who considers service to God to be the purpose of his life is always humble, because he feels that he has never fulfilled his obligations.
- Juvenalis: You should abstain from arguments. They are very illogical ways to convince people.
- The more urgently you want to speak, the more likely it is that you'll say something foolish.
- Goethe: Only in the present time can we understand eternity.
- Cicero: It is not a virtue, but a kind of self-deception to fulfill our duty for the purpose of its reward.
- Very often a person becomes desperate or even stops in his purpose when only a small effort is needed to achieve it.
- Things that are in harmony with the eternal laws of human nature will flourish, but those that correspond to the temporal wishes of people will not.
- A single candle can light thousands of others. The same goes for the heart.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson: The future is only an illusion inferred from our present state. What is important is not the length of life, but the depth of life. What is most important is not to make life longer, but to take your soul out of time, as every sublime (in a higher space) act does.
- Book of Divine Thoughts: Do not say words you do not feel, lest your soul be blackened with darkness.
- The Talmud: People who try to force circumstances become their slaves. Those who use them become their masters.
- It is not usually husbands who choose their wives, but wives who choose their husbands.
- The love of one's country can be an obstacle to the love of one's neighbor.
- Samuel Johnson: Lost souls escape their loss of control in patriotism.
- John Ruskin (1819-1900): One of the major obstacles impeding any positive future change in our lives is that we are to busy with our current work or activity.
- Thoreau: The most tender plants can push their way through the hardest rocks, and it is the same with kindness.
- Lao-Tzu: Those who have weak faith themselves cannot arouse faith in others.
- John Ruskin: Those who give second place to God in their hearts do not give Him a place at all.
- Angelus (mystical poet of the 17th century): I see God with the same eye with which He sees me.
- The Talmud: The soul of a person is the lamp of God.
- Mee-Tee (student of Confucius): If you raise people to praise only wealth, power and glory, then naturally they will praise only these things. If you raise people to love the feeling of love, they will start to live this way.
- At the highest level of consciousness, an individual is alone. Such solitude can seem strange, unusual, even difficult. Foolish people try to escape it by means of various distractions in order to get away from this high point, to some point lower, but wise people remain here with the help of prayer.
- Wisdom is understanding how eternal truth can be applied to life.
- Talking and reasoning does not have a thousandth the influence a true example has.
- Frederick II (1740-86): If my soldiers started thinking, not a single one would remain in my army.
- The present is an infinitely small point in time in which the already nonexistent past meets the imminent future. At this point, which is timeless, a person's real life exists.
- Marcus Aurelius: The life of the spirit has no meaning either in the past or in the future. All its life is concentrated in the present.
From "Leadership Through the Ages" (2003)
A collection of quotes from Miramax Books. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf: Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. Coretta Scott King: There is a spirit and a need and a man at the beginning of every great human advance. Each of these must be right for that particular moment in history, or nothing happens. Aeschylus: It is not the oath that makes the man, but the man the oath. Einstein: Whoever is careless about the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important ones. Helen Keller: There is plenty of courage among us for the abstract but not for the concrete. Edward R. Murrow: Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts. F. Scott Fitzgerald: The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. George Sand: It is high time that we had lights that are not incendiary torches. Richard Nixon: The true idealist pursues what his heart says is right in a way that his head says will work. Chinese proverb: Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. Stendhal: Every great action is extreme when it is undertaken. Only after it has been accomplished does it seem possible to those creatures of more common stuff. Epictetus: No great thing is created suddenly. Estonian proverb: The work will teach you how to do it. Somerset Maugham: Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind. John Kenneth Galbraith: All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership. Thomas Edison: Hell, there are no rules here -- we're trying to accomplish something. David Lloyd George (British statesman, 1863-1945): Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps. Joseph Clark (possibly the Canadian prime minister): A leader should not get too far in front of his troops or he will be shot in the ass. Woodrow Wilson: The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.
From "How To Master the Art of Selling" (1980/2005) by Tom Hopkins
The intention behind looking at the art of salesmanship is to delve into the dynamics of human contact at a point where the pedal hits the metal: in real life, not in an academic paper. Hopkins has been in the trenches, and unlike many, he knows whereof he speaks. Have you ever considered what an enormous waste of time failure is? If you stop training and learning, you start sinking. Professionals work on the basics at least once a year. As a sales trainer, Hopkins' toughest job is with high performers who start slipping -- they stop doing what got them to a high plateau in the first place. Champions learn about what they fear. Then they attack it systematically. Your ship will not blow into port by itself. The toughest part of training new salespeople is convincing them that if they don't know what they're going to say and do until they're in front of the customer, it's too late. You just can't wing it. Superior preparation develops quality responsiveness, and you can deliver your message with clarity and conviction. Most salespeople talk too fast, too much, trying to control every conversation. One of the great challenges in training salespeople -- and perhaps in all education -- is to provide an effective framework of techniques, theories, methods and knowledge without stifling the creativity of those who learn. Instead of overwhelming your prospects with words, you encourage them to talk. Rather than talk about the general benefits and services you offer, you tailor the approach to the benefits each particular person needs, one person at a time. Tie what you offer to the buyer's personal advancement, and you'll be amazed at how many more sales you close. Think of something you should do professionally, something that you aren't doing because of fear. Then picture yourself doing that feared thing with ease and skill and success. Don't set your sights on being just average. You stop being average the day you commit to an all-out effort to win the level of success you want. The average person never makes that commitment. Without full commitment to results, you weaken your resolve to submit yourself to possible rejection. When they fail, winners ask themselves, "What did I do right?" People asked Thomas Edison, "How did you feel when you failed more than a thousand times?" Edison replied, "I did not fail a thousand times. I learned a thousand ways that it wouldn’t work." Champion salespeople spend half as much time demonstrating or presenting as the average salesperson does. Better yet, the same champion is selling twice as much as the next guy. Smother the negativity of objections with positive emotions. Don't get frustrated by objections -- they announce buying intention. The person is really looking for more information. Set up the conversation to enable them to answer their own objection. Sometimes when people get close to making an important decision they start acting a little strange. When you get to that point, stop talking so much. Once you ask for the order, you stop talking all afternoon if you have to -- calmly. Ask questions that highlight the major benefits and that put the minor objections into perspective. Have your closing materials with you at all times. Champions become skilled at making people feel they already own the product as quickly as possible. You must radiate the conviction that you can satisfy their needs. Buyers need to have a feeling of confidence before they can rationalize the decision they really want to make. One of the strongest buying signals is when someone wants to see something demonstrated again. When they say, "Will you go over that one more time," they're knocking on your door. You have to know more ways to get to yes than they know ways to say no. You don't push the client/customer -- you pull, lead, with questions. If you keep them talking and emoting about what they get out of the deal, they're going to think of a way to buy. We aren't on this earth to be a sponge for negative feelings. Our purpose is to help people own benefits.
From "The One Minute Sales Person" (1984) by Spencer Johnson and Larry Wilson
You don't say to a stove, "I'll put on the wood after you give me some heat." Before I can walk in another person's shoes, I must first take off my own. Mediocre performers are not aware of the negative images they see in their minds before a sale. People don't buy our services. They buy the feelings they want to achieve with them. If they can see that a product is truly in their best interests, they will act -- quickly.
From "The Selling Fox" (2002) by Jim Holden
Not worth pursuing. Effective salespeople look at every situation from bottom to top, side to side, and from every angle, thinking geometrically. (They "omni-consider")
From "Selling (Without Selling)" (2004) by Carol Super
Her fake last name, though perhaps trendy among a small inner circle of friends in the 1980s, seems annoyingly shallow today, reminiscent of Faith Popcorn. "Falling is not in my vocabulary."
-- John Paul Petite, tightrope walker Jack Nicklaus: A successful shot is 50% visualization, 40% setup, and only 10% swing. W.H. Murr, Scottish explorer: Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
"Quietude, which some men cannot abide in because it reveals their inward poverty, is as a palace of cedar to the wise, for along its hallowed courts the King in his beauty deigns to walk."
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92)
From the tape "Advanced Sales Survival Training" (1995) by Tom Hopkins
It's good to hear the famed sales trainer's voice, crackling with humor and self-confidence.
The result of stress overload is immobilization.
If no one is jealous of you, you're not winning. Get moving. No one is jealous of a loser.
It's not superiors of subordinates who will try to pull you down. It's peers who think you make them look bad.
From "Spiritual Classics" (2009) edited by James Russell
Overly journalistic without inspired insight.
From Frank Laubach, a missionary in the Philippines, in his Letters by a Modern Mystic (1937): This concentration upon God is strenuous, but everything else has ceased to be so.
From Dietrich Bonheoffer: He asks that we give our entire lives to him, not to do things by halves. We must commit heart and soul. We must do whatever it takes to be worthy of being his disciples in the world.
Mother Theresa: When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven
there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul. I am told God loves me, and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?
Kahlil Gibran: All work is empty save when there is love
From Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now (1971):
Service to others (seva) is the ultimate form of love for God.
From the tape "Care of the Soul" (1992) by Thomas Moore
A disappointing condensation of the classic.
- A proper approach to the soul is one of ongoing care rather than a clinical attitude of short-term finite cures.
- The author dishes up a great expression: “There’s sand in that oyster.”
- A blind faith in the trappings of the modern world can be detrimental to the growth of our soul.
From the tape "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" (1994) by Deepak Chopra
86 minutes of meandering happy-talk.
- Says Carlos Castaneda: Most of our daily energy goes into upholding our own sense of self-importance.
- There are at least two ways to transcend the ego. The first is meditation. The second is to assess a situation and ask, “How can I help.” (The latter aspect is a strong point, indicating how one can be effective on their feet.)
From the tape "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" (1989) by Stephen Covey
Solid. Top-tier. This guy knows whereof which he speaks. You need to listen to this thing at least three times.
- As per Aesop’s fable of the golden goose, you don’t get spontaneous cooperation without nurturing your workers. This principle extends to family.
- Independence is a wonderful trait, but it pales in comparison to the maturity of interdependence -- getting things done in cooperation with others.
- Your character and values communicate more than what you say or do. (This is also a recurring theme in the better literature on massage.)
- If you analyze the history of self-help literature in America, the first 150 years concentrated on the development of character. However, in the last 50 years we’ve shifted over to technique, mental attitude, getting what you want now. (Notice how certain camps within the bodywork profession also place prime emphasis upon development of moral character as well, lest ki remain untouched.)
- Character development is still the huge mass of the iceberg, despite the modern emphasis on influencing and manipulating people with the trendy technique-of-the-week.
- In the end, lack of character will always reveal itself.
- Don't tie yourself to your history but to your potential.
- A leader, as opposed to a manager, must cut himself off from daily operations from time to time, and sometimes for lengthy periods, to gain long-term perspective.
- (Personal thought: If an idea is not coming to you clearly at the moment, it's not ready to be understood, much less expressed.)
- In taking the longer view of things, we might incur some momentary withdrawal pains from the distractions of day-to-day living.
- When two parties want to be understood at the same time, you create the dialogue of the deaf. No one hears each other. One person has to step forward and do some understanding of the other first.
- Producing win/win situations takes creativity and character strength. It relies upon deep thinking.
- In the long run, win/lose and lose/win situations are not realistic.
- Win/wins are tougher, more rigorous.
- Win/win is not a technique. It's a process based on character.
- Seek first to understand, second to be understood.
- When people feel understood, they relax. (There must be a muscular component, therefore, between empathy and relaxation. Also, remember that re-creation causes disappearance.)
- It is harder to listen with empathy than to speak with it.
- Definition of compromise: 1 + 1 = 1.5
- Definition of synergy: 1 + 1 = 3
- The more common result is compromise.
- Get your ego out of your position.
From the tape "Principle-Centered Leadership" (1992) by Stephen Covey
A potent mix of experience, innovative thinking, and heart.
- Throughout history, breakthroughs have been shown to be break-withs -- from an older order that didn’t work.
- Within the wrong paradigm or structure, it doesn’t matter how hard you work.
- Bad paradigms produce pain and confusion.
- Thinking positively will not correct a bad paradigm.
- One of a person’s basic needs is to leave a legacy.
- The long-term view can be described as the “law of the farm.” If you don’t sow, you don’t reap.
- The short-term view allows cramming at the last minute, thus it can be described as “the law of school.”
- Natural laws are self-evident.
- A low-trust environment requires heavy rules and control. The exchange of laws is the principle form of communication here. People are polarized.
- Natural laws will operate regardless of your incomplete paradigm.
- Throw a culture a curveball, an unexpected situation. If they start giving you rules and policies, the culture is lacking in principle. Hidden agendas dominate.
- At work, do you reward conformity?
- Maslow: “When the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
- Management is about control. Leadership requires the release of others’ energies.
- In the workplace, the most dominant paradigm for ages was based on authoritarian rule. By 1930 this structure began to die out.
- Around this time the “human relations” paradigm came into existence, built around a more benevolent type of control that took into account human needs.
- Around 1960 an even more powerful paradigm emerged, that of “human resources.” More attention was paid to how people were treated and used, a paradigm necessary to keep up with the competition of a global economy where America no longer dominated.
- Don’t teach technique as much as principle. (Make the shipbuilders “yearn for the immensity of the sea.”)
- A society that works is based on principle, not rules.
- Adds Covey, from other sources:
- Empathy is the fastest form of human communication. It's amazingly fast.
- We must listen not with the intent to reply but to understand.
- We have the ability to expand the space between stimuli and response (to become more 'at cause' in our experience).
More from Abraham Maslow (enlightened stuff):
- The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.
- The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.
- People in peak-experiences are most their identities, closest to their real selves, most idiosyncratic (uniquely themselves).
- Contemporary psychology has mostly studied not-having rather than having, striving rather than fulfillment, frustration rather than gratification, seeking for joy rather than having attained joy, trying to get there rather than being there.
- We must learn to think holistically rather than atomistically (characterized by or resulting from division into unconnected or antagonistic fragments).
- The more evolved and psychologically healthy people get, the more will enlightened management policy be necessary in order to survive in competition and the more handicapped will be an enterprise with an authoritarian policy.
From the audio book "Inspiration" (2006) by Wayne Dyer
Rating: On the whole, boring to an irritating degree and spiced with an annoying amount of New Age naiveté. As with many books of this ilk, the interesting information emerges almost despite the efforts of the author to the contrary.
- Look at the word ‘ego’ as an acronym for “edging God out.”
- In a state of inspiration, we cease looking for answers in a directional (purely logical, or A+B=C) way. (This type of non-linear, holistic thinking will agitate a lot of people.)
- Simply put, all we need to do in this lifetime is to stay in a high space.
- "Do what you ought, and trust what may be."
- Goethe (while valuable, this quote has not been verified)
- By all the established standards, I (Dyer) had no writing ability, but it excited me. Now I’m the author of 28 (boring) books. It was an expression of my spirit (as opposed to the logical mind.)
- Enthusiasm for something is a divine guide that it’s an appropriate calling for you.
- The Greek playwright Aeschylus claimed a direct divine guidance in his writing.
- When inspired, dormant faculties arise within us. (Patanjali / Indian spiritual leader / perhaps around 250 BC)
- 'Knowing' (or as some would term it, 'natural knowing') is a higher level of consciousness than ‘believing’.
- (Hey Wayne, isn’t it time to give a little more credit to Werner Erhard for some of your concepts? It’s an idea whose time has come, if you catch my drift.)
- Regarding personal discipline: “No amount of explaining can make the crooked plant grow straight. It must be trained upon the trellis by the gardener’s art.”
-- Carl Jung
- "If you’re irritated by every rub, how will you ever be polished?"
The aspects of things that are most important to us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
From the audio book "Secrets of an Inspirational Life" (2006) by Wayne Dyer
Six hours of frequent (and lengthy) meandering, with the occasional good point. Thank God I do other stuff while listening to this. Part of Dyer’s success appears to be that he’s a politically correct ‘nice guy’ who won’t rock anyone’s boat at PBS or elsewhere. To make forward progress, we need stronger material than this presentation offers.
- Said Patanjali, the Indian sage: When you are steadfast in your abstention of thoughts of harm directed toward yourself and others, all living creatures will cease to feel fear in your presence.
- "Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment."
- The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness.
- A Course in Miracles
(We are seeing that gentleness is a natural outgrowth of stillness, one of the established results of a superior massage. Also, we can glean that gentleness is a natural state, and moreover, that it’s an eternal principle.)
- Said Mozart, who was writing symphonies at age 9: “I never asked anyone how to do it.” (Symphonies presented themselves to him in lively dreams.)
- "The morning breeze has secrets to tell you. Do not go back to sleep."
- Motivation is a very ego-centered process. In the space of inspiration, however, an idea gets ahold of you and takes you where you were intended to go with it.
- There’s a connection between the experience of love and muscular strength.
- (The author quotes the profoundly boring and irrelevant ‘rock’ singer Jackson Browne. GAAAAAGG MEEEE!!!)
- All of a sudden you stop seeing any reasons for something not showing up in your life.
- In a state of inspiration (higher space), you know you’re connected with some kind of “senior partner.”
- Forces that you thought were dead or inaccessible stir to life.
- Dyer was a student of Abraham Maslow.
- Said Maslow, positive change doesn’t involve the application of better techniques and strategies. It revolves around a change in our awareness of ourselves.
- You’ll never find light by analyzing the darkness.
- Thoreau: “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”
- Emerson: “Don’t you think one ‘simplify’ is enough?” (Also recorded as “One ‘simplify’ would have sufficed.”)
- When you have a choice between being right or being kind, pick ‘kind.’ Let someone else be right.
From “The Wisdom and Teachings of Stephen R. Covey” (2012) by Stephen Covey
A distillation of several Covey books.
- The greatest risk is the risk of riskless living.
- Any time we think the problem is “out there,” that very thought is the problem.
- Leadership is a choice that lies in the space between stimulus and response.
- Management works within the system. Leadership works on the system.
From “Brilliant Thoughts” (2008)
A collection of mostly uninspiring quotes put out by West Side Publishing of Chicago.
- If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.
- Mario Andretti
- Imagination rules the world.
- It helps if the hitter thinks you’re a little crazy.
- Nolan Ryan
- When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
- Buckminster Fuller
- Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.
- Italian proverb
- It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at the goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.
- Arnold Toynbee
- Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
- George Patton
- The obstacle is the path.
- Zen proverb
- The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes
- No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.
- Zen saying
- Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
- Honor follows those who flee it.
- English proverb
- Nothing gives one person so great an advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
- Thomas Jefferson
From “The Magic Ladder to Success” by Napoleon Hill
A precursor to 1937’s classic “Think and Grow Rich.”
- 95% of the capacity of the human mind remains dormant throughout life.
- Nothing in life is absolutely new. Whatever seems so is actually a combination of elements of something old.
- You must create an exact outline or picture of that which you intend to build.
- Master criminals disarm their victims by not going in for the immediate kill. (The cat plays with the mouse first.)
From “Body Mind Mastery” (1999) by Dan Millman
This former world-class gymnast and coach had no business writing a book. With minimal research and long, windy passages, it’s hardly worth the dollar you can fetch it for online.
- Experts concentrate on their physical development. Masters develop their mind, body and emotions in a search for balance.
- The essence of talent is not so much a presence of certain qualities but rather an absence of mental, physical and emotional obstructions.
- Many of us are so goal-oriented that the ancient Chinese curse applies: “May you achieve all your goals.”
- Proper execution of aikido movements requires relaxation – even while under attack.
- Then the time came
when the risk it took
to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than
the risk it took to blossom.
– Anais Nin
- “How can you think and hit at the same time?”
– Yogi Berra
- “In order to achieve all that is demanded of us, we must regard ourselves as greater than we are.”
- “If I'd thought about it I wouldn't have thrown a perfect game.”
– Catfish Hunter, 1968
- “Exercise is only as beneficial as the posture in which you perform it.”
– F.M. Alexander
- Relaxation is a function of trust.
- When you cannot see
what is happening,
do not stare harder.
Relax and look gently
with your inner eye.
– Lao Tzu
- The hands of babies are very relaxed yet very powerful at the same time.
- “When you’re wrong, what's right feels wrong.”
– F.M. Alexander
From “The Sweet Spot in Time: The Search for Athletic Perfection” (1980/98) by John Jerome
A self-absorbed work that spends most of its time off-topic, written by a journalist whose primary motivation appears to be that of positioning himself as “Mr. Trendy” (but now forgotten).
- The word ‘proprioception’ means “self-sensing.”
- The great golfer Bobby Jones didn’t think it was possible to swing a club too slowly. In his day, Jack Nicklaus was said to have the slowest backswing on the pro tour.
- At the top tiers of athletic competition, the levels of skill among various performers is virtually dead even. The elite are simply better able to achieve a state of psychic balance.
- Coaches sometimes refer to proprioception as “muscle sense.”
- Proprioceptors are also located in ligaments and joints. These are known as joint receptors.
- A superior athlete may simply have a more highly refined proprioceptive sense.
- Every muscle is a mix of slow and fast-twitch fibers. The slow-twitchers fire first and more easily.
- Back in the Cold War days the feared East Germans discovered that overtraining can lead to diminished performance.
- Lungs don't necessary breath in and of themselves. Rather they are breathed by the diaphragm.
- Hard breathing requires the cooperation of up to 90 muscles.
- A stitch in the side can actually be a cramp in the diaphragm.
- Neck muscles are among the body’s primary controls of movement.
- Dilatory: Intentionally slow to act.
From “How Champions Think” (2015) by Bob Rotella
Flat and far too off-the-cuff, with an overdose of chummy name-dropping. The author is a sports psychologist.
In his day, no one thought of the great golfer Ben Hogan as being overly talented. But in retrospect he was more talented than even Sam Snead, who enjoyed the greater reputation at the time.
- Pro golfer Jordan Spieth works on developing an indifference to what competitors are doing. He also aims to “let his swing happen.”
- You can’t play just to avoid making mistakes.
- The only thing to do with your conscious brain is to find the way from the hotel to the game field.
- Your first instinct is the product of the subconscious brain. In an experienced athlete, the first instinct is usually correct.
- You don’t want to dwell on technique.
- Let it happen instead of making it happen.
- The media are still in the thrall of the “grit your teeth and bear down” model of focus.
- You’re unstoppable if you’re unflappable.
- People who want to be the best will often subject themselves to the toughest of evaluations.
- There’s no better time to teach someone than right after hewinning a game.
- Compared to pros, average people get further off track before they catch themselves.
- At the highest levels, much depends upon not being a perfectionist.
- Hogan noticed he played his best golf when he didn’t try to steer the ball. While practicing, he tried to emulate tournament conditions.
- A good practice round is usually harder than the competition it prepares you for.
- Some TV commentators subscribe to the myth that a player should look at the scoreboard or leader board during competition. Upper-tier coaches, however, prefer their teams and/or players to focus on executing their game plan. If a team sticks to its plan, the other side adjusts.
- "Don’t go to dinner with bad putters.” Attributed to golf writer Harvey Penick, meaning don’t associate with mediocrity.
- Vince Lombardi bemoaned the fact that his famous quote about winning being the “only thing” was taken out of context.
From “Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence” (2001) by Gary Mack
A disorganized collection of predictable platitudes and generalities, with occasional moments of (other peoples’) insights.
- Says tennis great Arthur Ashe: When tension rises, two things happen. One, the feet can’t move. Two, the diaphragm collapses.
- Phil Jackson: In a close game I check my pulse. If it goes over a hundred it’s going to affect my thinking.
- Stan Musial: “When a pitcher’s throwing a spitball, don’t worry. Don’t complain. Just hit the dry side, like I do.”
- Many golfers spend 70% of their practice time seeing how far they can hit the ball, even though 70% of the game is played from 100 yards in.
- Real emeralds always have flaws. Only the fakes are perfect.
- “You can’t outperform your self-image.”
– Dennis Connor, America’s Cup skipper
- There is a psychological principle called cognitive dissonance. It’s the uncomfortable state that arises when our self-image, often negative, comes into conflict with what’s really happening, however positive. Athletes who experience this conflict generally revert to their comfort zones.
- “Fretting about the shot you just made will get you another just like it.”
– Al Henderson, former coach of the U.S. Olympic archery team
- Fear is often false evidence appearing real.
- “If you want to hit a bird on the wing, you must have all your will in focus. You must not be thinking about yourself, and equally, you must not be thinking about your neighbor. You must be living, in your eye, on that bird.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
- Choking is nothing more than paying attention to your physiology when you should be focusing on your opponent and the task.
- Never hurry when it counts.
– pro golfer JoAnne Carner
- The way to run faster is with four-fifths effort. Just take it nice and easy.
– Bud Winter, track & field coach
- Voluntary muscles are organized into opposing pairs, some contracting while others relax. When we operate at full exertion, this puts the agonists and antagonists at odds with each other. When we operate at 90%, however, this gives the antagonist time to relax, thus increasing efficiency. That’s why pitchers can’t just muscle one in there.
- “The tendency of a fastball pitcher is to muscle up and do what he needs to do. He winds up lunging and losing his rhythm.”
– Nolan Ryan
- The most common physical cause of error in golf, and perhaps all of sports, is over-tightness. Over-tight muscles lead to loss of power and accuracy.
- Play with your eyes, not your ideas.
- “I discovered the middle path of stillness within speed, calmness within fear, and I held it longer and quieter than ever before.”
– Steve McKinney, on breaking a world downhill ski record in the 1970s
- The harder we try to create the zone the further away we get.
- God, grant me the strength to swing easier.
– heard on the links
- Pace instead of race.
– heard on the track
- The greatest and toughest art in golf is ‘playing badly well.’ All the great have been masters at it.
– Jack Nicklaus
- Successful competitors want to win. Head-cases want to win at all costs.
– Nancy Lopez
- I don’t even call a friend the day of a match. I’m scared of disrupting my concentration.
– Chris Evert
- “I’m all for it.”
– football coach John McKay, regarding his team’s execution after just suffering an embarrassing loss
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