ONE DAY AT A TIME
Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as
soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its
hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
--R. W. Emerson
Go placidly amid the noise & haste, & remember what peace
there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly &
clearly; and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they
too have their story. Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they
are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater
& lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as
well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however
humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full
of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there
is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is
full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity
& disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly
the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of
youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are
born of fatigue & loneliness,. Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no
less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is
unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, Whatever
you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors & aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With
all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful
world. Be careful. Strive to be happy..
--Found in old St Paul's Church,
Baltimore; dated 1692
WISE WASTING OF DAYS
To awaken each morning with a smile brightening my face, to greet
the day with reverence, for the opportunities it contains; to
approach my work with a clean mind; to hold ever before me, even
in the doing of little things, the Ultimate Purpose toward which
I am working; to meet men and women with laughter on my lips and
love in my heart, to be gentle, kind and courteous through all
the hours; to approach the night with weariness that ever woos
sleep and the joy that comes from work well done -- this is how
I desire to waste wisely my days.
Did you ever hear of a man who had striven all his life faithfully
and singly toward an object and in no measure obtained it? If
a man constantly aspires, is he not elevated? Did ever a man
try heroism, magnanimity, truth, sincerity, and find that there
was no advantage in them, -- that it was a vain endeavor?
--H. D. Thoreau
ONE HOUR OF LIFE
One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and
filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances
of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like
sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honor or observation.
To live with small means -- to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich -- to study hard, think quietly, talk gently,
act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with
open heart -- to bear all cheerfully -- do all bravely, await
occasions, -- hurry never -- in a word to let the spiritual, unbidden
and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my
--W. E. Channing
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect
only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you
are about your own.
To forge the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater
achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living
creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have
no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for
fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is not an apology,
but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much
prefer that it should be a lower strain, so it be genuine and
equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady...
What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.
This rule, equally arduous in actual, and in intellectual life,
may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.
It is the harder because you will always find those who think
they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy
in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in
solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in
the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence
To touch the cup with eager lips and taste, not drain it;
To woo and tempt and court a bliss -- and not attain it;
To fondle and caress a joy, yet hold it lightly,
Lest it become necessity and cling too tightly;
To watch the sun set in the west without regretting;
To hail its advent in the east -- the night forgetting;
To smother care in happiness and grief in laughter;
To hold the present close -- not questioning hereafter;
To have enough to share -- to know the joy of giving;
To thrill with all the sweets of life -- is living.
Who never wept knows laughter but a jest;
Who never failed, no victory has sought;
Who never suffered, never lived his best;
Who never doubted, never really thought;
Who never feared, real courage has not shown;
Who never faltered, lacks a real intent;
Whose soul was never troubled has not known
The sweetness and the peace of real content.
--E. M. Brainard
THOMAS JEFFERSON'S DECALOGUE
FOR THE PRACTICAL LIFE
1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have it.
4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will
be dear to you.
5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a
--T. Jefferson (Letter dated from Monticello, February