The paradox is that exactly the reverse is true. Everything that's really worthwhile in life came to us free; our minds, our souls, our bodies, our hopes, our dreams, our ambitions, our intelligence, our love of family and children and friends and country. All these priceless possessions are free. But the things that cost us money are actually very cheap and can be replaced at any time. A good man can be completely wiped out and make another fortune. He can do that several times. Even if our home burns down, we can rebuild it. But the things we got for nothing, we can never replace.
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On Christmas morning, our joy or our happiness can be at a very high level, not because of our anticipation of what we might receive but, rather, in anticipation of watching our loved ones open our gifts to them. In fact, if we're not careful, we can fail to register sufficient excitement and joy upon opening the gifts we receive from others. We must remember that they are happiest at that time and to give them top billing, to stretch their happiness to its full length.
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Everything in the world we want to do or get done, we must do with and through people. Every dollar we will ever earn must come from people. The person we love, and with whom we want to spend the rest of our life, is a human being with whom we must interact. Our children are individuals, each different from any other person who ever lived. And what affects them most is our attitude-the loving kindness they see and feel whenever we are around them. If you'll begin to develop and maintain an attitude that says yes to life and the world, you'll be astonished at the changes you'll see.
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For a person to build a rich and rewarding life for himself, there are certain qualities and bits of knowledge that he needs to acquire. There are also things, harmful attitudes, superstitions, and emotions that he needs to chip away. A person needs to chip away everything that doesn't look like the person he or she most wants to become.
There are times for all of us when all the laughter seems to be gone, but we should not permit these periods to last too long. When we've lost our sense of humor, there isn't very much left. We become ridiculous. We must then go to war against the whole world, and that's a war we cannot win.
It's difficult for people to come to the understanding that only a small minority of the people ever really get the word about life, about living abundantly and successfully. Success in the important departments of life seldom comes naturally, no more naturally than success at anything-a musical instrument, sports, fly-fishing, tennis, golf, business, marriage, parenthood, landscape gardening. But somehow people wait passively for success to come to them, living as other people are living in the unspoken, tacit assumption that other people know how to live successfully.
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How are you coming with your home library? Do you need some good ammunition on why it's so important to read? The last time I checked the statistics... I think they indicated that only four percent of the adults in this country have bought a book within the past year. That's dangerous. It's extremely important that we keep ourselves in the top five or six percent. In one of the Monthly Letters from the Royal Bank of Canada it was pointed out that reading good books is not something to be indulged in as a luxury. It is a necessity for anyone who intends to give his life and work a touch of quality. The most real wealth is not what we put into our piggy banks but what we develop in our heads. Books instruct us without anger, threats and harsh discipline. They do not sneer at our ignorance or grumble at our mistakes. They ask only that we spend some time in the company of greatness so that we may absorb some of its attributes. You do not read a book for the book's sake, but for your own. You may read because in your high-pressure life, studded with problems and emergencies, you need periods of relief and yet recognize that peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind. You may read because you never had an opportunity to go to college, and books give you a chance to get something you missed. You may read because your job is routine, and books give you a feeling of depth in life. You may read because you did go to college. You may read because you see social, economic and philosophical problems which need solution, and you believe that the best thinking of all past ages may be useful in your age, too. You may read because you are tired of the shallowness of contemporary life, bored by the current conversational commonplaces, and wearied of shop talk and gossip about people. Whatever your dominant personal reason, you will find that reading gives knowledge, creative power, satisfaction and relaxation. It cultivates your mind by calling its faculties into exercise. Books are a source of pleasure - the purest and the most lasting. They enhance your sensation of the interestingness of life. Reading them is not a violent pleasure like the gross enjoyment of an uncultivated mind, but a subtle delight. Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it. Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: "Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.
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We tend to minimize the things we can do, the goals we can accomplish, and for some equally strange reason we think other people can accomplish things that we cannot. I want you to understand that that is not true. You have deep reservoirs of talent and ability within you that you can bring to the surface and achieve all that you desire
Do, each day, all that can be done that day. You don't need to overwork-or to rush blindly into your work, trying to do the greatest possible number of things in the shortest possible amount of time. Don't try to do tomorrow's-or next week's-work today. It's not so much the number of the things you do but the quality, the efficiency of each separate action that counts. . . . you need only to succeed in the small tasks of each day. This makes a successful day. With enough of these, you have a successful week, month, year-and lifetime.
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Most very successful people can remember that their success was discovered and built out of adversity of some kind. It's not the problems that beset us-problems are surprisingly pretty much the same for millions of others-it's how we react to problems that determines not only our degree of growth and maturity but our future success-and, perhaps, much of our health.
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Men credited with all kinds of ability, talent, brains and know how, including the ability to see into the future, frequently have nothing more than the courage to keep everlastingly at what they set out to do. They have that one great quality that is worth more than all the rest put together. They simply will not give up! When a man makes up his mind to do something then it's only a matter of time. Staying with time take bulldog persistence. This seems to be the entrance examination to success - lasting success -- of any kind!
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Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: "Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both."
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About 95% of people can be compared to ships without rudders. Subject to every shift of wind and tide, they're helplessly adrift. And while they fondly hope that they'll one day drift into a rich and successful port, you and I know that for every narrow harbor entrance, there are a 1,000 miles of rocky coastline. The chances against their drifting into port are 1,000 to one.
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We can help others in the world more by making the most of yourself than in any other way. We must be the epitome-the embodiment-of success. We must radiate success before it will come to us. We must first become mentally, from an attitude standpoint, the people we wish to become. We will receive not what we idly wish for but what we justly earn. Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service.
Now, success is not the result of making money; making money is the result of success - and success is in direct proportion to our service. Most people have this law backwards. They believe that you're successful if you earn a lot of money. The truth is that you can only earn money after you're successful.
Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitude and expectations. If we feel that our environment could stand some improvement, we can bring about that change for the better by improving our attitude. The world plays no favorites. It's impersonal. It doesn't care who succeeds and who fails. Nor does it care if we change. Our attitude toward life doesn't affect the world and the people in it nearly as much as it affects us.
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