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Friction is necessary. Ease of life leads to complacency and the atrophy of the human will and spirit. Within our struggles lives our strength, within our trials lives our triumphs. Friction creates a platform for change, generates heat and or fervor and creates a motivational charge that gives us an opportunity to be better. A gem cannot be polished without friction and so neither a person without hardships. Friction within and friction without sharpens our senses and revives our internal resolutions. Friction is uncomfortable, hardships are distressing but both are necessary. We cannot light a match without friction nor can we hone steal. Uncomfortable as it may be, our adversity ultimately lights a fire and sharpens our very will to flourish. Today, let us not be discouraged, let us not be bitter in our suffering rather let us be encouraged as we look to our trials as a medium that will eventually make us better.
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Adversity is a severe instructor, set over us by one who knows us better than we do ourselves, as he loves us better too. He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. This conflict with difficulty makes us acquainted with our object, and compels us to consider it in all its relations. It will not suffer us to be superficial.
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Bruno withdrew from the field of history more resolutely than Vigo; that is why I prefer the former's retrospect but the latter's prospect. As an anarch, I am determined to go along with nothing, ultimately take nothing seriously - at least not nihilistically, but rather as a border guard in no man's land, who sharpens his eyes and ears between the tides.
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Opportunity beckons more surely when misfortune comes upon a person than it ever does when that person is riding the crest of a wave of success. It sharpens a person's wits, if that person will let it, enabling him or her to see more clearly and evaluate situations with a more knowledgeable judgment.
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Art is the microscope of the mind, which sharpens the wit as the other does the sight; and converts every object into a little universe in itself. Art may be said to draw aside the veil from nature. To those who are perfectly unskilled in the practice, unimbued with the principles of art, most objects present only a confused mass.
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Nothing quenches the thirst like a wheat beer, or sharpens the appetite like an India pale ale. Nothing goes as well with seafood as a dry porter or stout, or accompanies chocolate like an imperial stout. Nothing soothes like a barleywine. These are just a few of the specialty styles of beer.
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Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats. Yet each struggle, each defeat, sharpens your skills and strengths, your courage and your endurance, your ability and your confidence and thus each obstacle is a comrade-in-arms forcing you to become better... or quit. Each rebuff is an opportunity to move forward; turn away from them, avoid them, and you throw away your future.
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And human instinct is ancient and reliable, utterly mysterious and possibly capable of great genius. I believe that refined, fluent instincts are a person's most valuable asset. My own instincts have repeatedly guided me against the grain of logic and probability. When I have trusted and followed their direction, they have never been wrong. I don't know how or why. But I know that every significant experience-positive or negative-sharpens them and makes them more accurate.
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The poet, the artist, the sleuth - whoever sharpens our perception tends to be antisocial; rarely "well-adjusted", he cannot go along with currents and trends. A strange bond often exists between antisocial types in their power to see environments as they really are. This need to interface, to confront environments with a certain antisocial power is manifest in the famous story "The Emperor's New Clothes".
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People often say that blindness sharpens hearing, but I don't think this is so. My ears were hearing no better, but I was making better use of them. Sight is a miraculous instrument offering us all the riches of physical life. But we get nothing in this world without paying for it, and in return for all the benefits that sight brings we are forced to give up others whose existence we don't even suspect. These were the gifts I received in such abundance.
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Attempt to be creative for the joy it brings... Select something like music, dance, sculpture, or poetry. Being creative will help you enjoy life. It engenders a spirit of gratitude. It develops latent talent, sharpens your capacity to reason, to act, and to find purpose in life. It dispels loneliness and heartache. It gives a renewal, a spark of enthusiasm, and zest for life.
Richard G. Scott
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It seems to me that today, if the artist wishes to be serious - to cut out a little original niche for himself, or at least preserve his own innocence of personality - he must once more sink himself in solitude. There is too much talk and gossip; pictures are apparently made, like stock-market prices, by competition of people eager for profit; in order to do anything at all we need (so to speak) the wit and ideas of our neighbors as much as the businessmen need the funds of others to win on the market. All this traffic sharpens our intelligence and falsifies our judgment.
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For action, whatever its immediate purpose, also implies relief at doing something, anything, and the joy of exertion. This is the optimism that is inherent in, and proper and indispensable to action, for without it nothing would ever be undertaken. It in no way suppresses the critical sense or clouds the judgment. On the contrary this optimism sharpens the wits, it creates a certain perspective and, at the last moment, lets in a ray of perpendicular light which illuminates all one's previous calculations, cuts and shuffles them and deals you the card of success, the winning number.
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Human memory awakens and extinguishes at will. It dulls and sharpens actions, enlarges and shrinks those who perform them. It humbles and exalts as it desires. When summoned, it slips away, and when it returns, it will do so at the time and place that suits it. It recognizes no chief, no overseer, no classifier, no ruler. Stories mix and mingle, facts sprout new shoots. The situations and words and scents-oh, the scents!-encrusted there are stored in the most disorganized and wonderful manner, not chronologically, not according to size or importance or even the alphabet.
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a connotation of infinity sharpens the temporal splendor of this night when souls which have forgot frivolity in lowliness,noting the fatal flight of worlds whereto this earth's a hurled dream down eager avenues of lifelessness consider for how much themselves shall gleam, in the poised radiance of perpetualness. When what's in velvet beyond doomed thought is like a woman amorous to be known; and man,whose here is alway worse than naught, feels the tremendous yonder for his own"" on such a night the sea through her blind miles of crumbling silence seriously smiles
e. e. cummings
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The terror of being judged sharpens the memory: it sends an inevitable glare over that long-unvisited past which has been habitually recalled only in general phrases. Even without memory, the life is bound into one by a zone of dependence in growth and decay; but intense memory forces a man to own his blameworthy past. With memory set smarting like a reopened wound, a man's past is not simply a dead history, an outworn preparation of the present: it is not a repented error shaken loose from the life: it is a still quivering part of himself, bringing shudders and bitter flavors and the tinglings of a merited shame.
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I am no theologian, and do not have the answers to these questions, and one of the reasons I enjoy the animals on the farm so much is that they don't think about their pain, or question it, they accept it and endure it, true stoics. I have never heard a donkey or cow whine (although I guess dogs do). I told my friend this: pain, like joy, is a gift. It challenges us, tests, defines us, causes us to grow, empathize, and also, to appreciate its absence. If nothing else, it sharpens the experience of joy. The minute something happens to me that causes pain, I start wondering how I can respond to it, what I can learn from it, what it has taught me or shown me about myself. This doesn't make it hurt any less, but it puts it, for me, on a more manageable level. I don't know if there is a God, or if he causes me or anybody else to hurt, or if he could stop pain. I try to accept it and live beyond it. I think the animals have taught me that. The Problem of Pain is that it exists, and is ubiquitous. The Challenge of Pain is how we respond to it.
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The more deeply one enters into the experience of the sacred the more one is aware of one's own personal evil and the destructive forces in society. The fact that one is alive to what is possible for humankind sharpens one's sense that we are fallen people. The awareness of sin is the inevitable consequence of having met grace... This grace-judgment dynamic reveals that the center of Christian life is repentance. This does not mean that the distinguishing mark of the Christian is breast-beating. Feeling sorry, acknowledging guilt, and prolonging regret may be components of the human condition, but they are not what Jesus means by repentance. Repentance is the response to grace that overcomes the past and opens out to a new future. Repentance distinguishes Christian life as one of struggle and conversion and pervades it, not with remorse, but with hope. The message of Jesus is not 'Repent, ' but 'Repent for the Kingdom of God is near.
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Being ill when you are a child or growing up is such an enchanted interlude! The outside world, the world of free time in the yard or the garden or on the street, is only a distant murmmur in the sickroom. Inside, a whole world of characters and stories proliferate out of the books you read. The fever that weakens your perception as it sharpens your imagination turns the sickroom into something new, both familiar and strange; monsters come grinning out of the patterns on the curtains and the carpet, and chairs, tables, bookcases and wardrobes burst out of their normal shapes and become mountains and buildings and ships you can almost touch although they're far away. Through the long hours of the night you have the Church clock for company and the rumble of the occasional passing car that throws it's headlights across the walls and ceilings. These are hours without sleep, which is not to say they're sleepless, because on the contrary, they're not about lack of anything, they are rich and full. Desires, memories, fears, passions form labryinths in which we lose and find then lose ourselves again. They are hours where anything is possible, good or bad.
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I mean, d'you know what eternity is? There's this big mountain, see, a mile high, at the end of the universe, and once every thousand years there's this little bird-" "What little bird?" said Aziraphale suspiciously. "This little bird I'm talking about. And every thousand years-" "The same bird every thousand years?" Crowley hesitated. "Yeah, " he said. "Bloody ancient bird, then." "Okay. And every thousand years this bird flies-" "-limps-" "-flies all the way to this mountain and sharpens its beak-" "Hold on. You can't do that. Between here and the end of the universe there's loads of-" The angel waved a hand expansively, if a little unsteadily. "Loads of buggerall, dear boy." "But it gets there anyway, " Crowley persevered. "How?" "It doesn't matter!" "It could use a space ship, " said the angel. Crowley subsided a bit. "Yeah, " he said. "If you like. Anyway, this bird-" "Only it is the end of the universe we're talking about, " said Aziraphale. "So it'd have to be one of those space ships where your descendants are the ones who get out at the other end. You have to tell your descendants, you say, When you get to the Mountain, you've got to-" He hesitated. "What have they got to do?" "Sharpen its beak on the mountain, " said Crowley. "And then it flies back-" "-in the space ship-" "And after a thousand years it goes and does it all again, " said Crowley quickly. There was a moment of drunken silence. "Seems a lot of effort just to sharpen a beak, " mused Aziraphale. "Listen, " said Crowley urgently, "the point is that when the bird has worn the mountain down to nothing, right, then-" Aziraphale opened his mouth. Crowley just knew he was going to make some point about the relative hardness of birds' beaks and granite mountains, and plunged on quickly. "-then you still won't have finished watching The Sound of Music." Aziraphale froze. "And you'll enjoy it, " Crowley said relentlessly. "You really will." "My dear boy-" "You won't have a choice." "Listen-" "Heaven has no taste." "Now-" "And not one single sushi restaurant." A look of pain crossed the angel's suddenly very serious face.
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