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Saturday, November 21, 2009


Here's one of those quotes that's been floating around the internet for a while. It's attributed to Mark Twain, but without further citation:

"The perfection of wisdom, and the end of true philosophy is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambitions to our capacities; we will then be a happy and a virtuous people."

Anyone know where it's from? It sounds more like the Buddha than Sam from Hannibal.

Let's chew on that for a minute. "... to proportion our wants to our possessions..." This is a precursor to the famous saying, "Happiness isn’t getting what we want; it's wanting what we get." If only we could learn to be happy with what we have, we'd be a whole lot happier.

And, to proportion "our ambitions to our capacities." I've seen the "C" student who was tied up in knots because he'd never get into Harvard. Or the kid who couldn't carry a tune and wanted to be in choir because "all her friends were." There's nothing wrong with ambition; but to "know ourselves" should include a healthy dose of reality.

If we can learn to be happy with what we have and with who we are, what could possibly stand against us?

Try it.

You'll be happier.

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