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Words to live by

Every so often a quote changes your life. Much more often, a quote helps shape how you view your life or how you understand the world. Today I share some of my favorite quotes, borrowing another columnist’s idea. I hope one of these quotes offers you insight of some sort—about yourself, about your future, about the meaning of life.

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. – Mark Twain

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. – G.K. Chesterton

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default. – J.K. Rowling, in a commencement speech at Harvard

It's not how fast you run, but how long you run fast. – Wes Unseld, Coach of the Washington Bullets

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. – Karl Marx

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, there is a rapture on the lonely shore, there is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more. – Lord Byron, 19th century poet

Rich people spend a lot more money on their own problems, like baldness, than they do to fight malaria. – Bill Gates in 2009, after Italy halved its foreign aid under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who supposedly got hair transplants

Nature draws us because it is in some way attuned to our feelings, so that it can reflect and intensify those we already feel or else awaken those which are dormant. Nature is like a great keyboard on which our highest sentiments are played out. We turn to it, as we might turn to music, to evoke and strengthen the best in us. – Philosopher Charles Taylor, quoted in “The Social Animal”

The public life of every political figure is a continual struggle to rescue an element of choice from the pressure of circumstance. – Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State to President Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Gospel of Mark, Chapter 12

Lead by listening; others will follow the wisdom of their collective thought. Lead by doing; others will follow the pathway you create together. Lead through ethical means; others will follow the light you shine on their efforts. Lead by sharing; give and expect what you would hope others would share with you. – Bill Wright-Swadel, Director of the Duke Career Center

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. – Woodrow Wilson

Every day is a new beginning, every morn is the world made anew. – Sarah Chauncey Woolsey

I am willing to tinker and borrow and steal ideas from just about anybody if I think they might work. – Barack Obama

One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others. – Lewis Carroll

I don’t do maintenance... If I am going to do something, I am going to bring change. – Bob Gates, Defense Secretary to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama

Being a pariah is a small price to pay for speaking the truth. – Evan Charney, professor of ethics at Duke

There is a period near the beginning of every man’s life when he has little to cling to except his unmanageable dream, little to support him except good health, and nowhere to go but all over the place. – E.B. White

A man must be both stupid and uncharitable who believes there is no virtue or truth but on his own side. – Joseph Addison

All his reverence and all his fondness and all the leanings of his life were for the ardent hearted and they would always be so and never be otherwise. – Cormac McCarthy, from “All the Pretty Horses”

Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you do. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets: When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him. – C. S. Lewis

Andrew Kragie is a Trinity junior. His column runs every other Tuesday.


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