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Regardless of the amount of adversities we have conquered in the past, new challenges and obstacles tend to activate some fears and doubts in the minds of many. But it's very important to understand that the presence of fear or doubt doesn't mean that one is incapable of triumphing from one's negative situation.
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In an age when other fantastically speedy, widespread media are triumphing, and running the risk of flattening all communication onto a single, homogenous surface, the function of literature is communication between things that are different simply because they are different, not blunting but even sharpening the differences between them, following the true bent of written language.
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When most people think about success, the first thing that usually comes to their minds is money. But in reality, that is not what success is really made of. Success is triumphing in every endeavor that you engage yourself in. Success is getting back up after been knocked down by circumstances. Success is not allowing fears and doubts to keep you stagnant or cause you to move backwards.
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You must not, when you have gained a victory, use any triumphing or insulting expressions, nor show too much of the pleasure you feel; but endeavour to console your adversary, and make him less dissatisfied with himself by every kind and civil expression that may be used with truth; such as, you understand the game better than I, but you are a little inattentive, or, you play too fast; or, you had the best of the game, but something happened to divert your thoughts, and that turned it in my favour.
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The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering-a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons-a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting-three hundred million people all with the same face.
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As Aristotle wrote a long, long time ago, and I'm paraphrasing here, the goal is to avoid mediocrity by being prepared to try something and either failing miserably or triumphing grandly. Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying. The reason is achingly simple, and I know you've heard it a thousand times before: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
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If there is one thing I can say without a doubt, it is that tragedy can make great music. Every single song I have ever written has been born of tragedy and heartache, and being able to make something beautiful out of pain is powerful. When you open your mouth to sing, you are triumphing over pain through music - the music itself can help you conquer your sadness.
Muse en Lystrala
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At the bidding of a Peter the Hermit millions of men hurled themselves against the East; the words of an hallucinated enthusiast such as Mahomet created a force capable of triumphing over the Graeco-Roman world; an obscure monk like Luther bathed Europe in blood. The voice of a Galileo or a Newton will never have the least echo among the masses. The inventors of genius hasten the march of civilization. The fanatics and the hallucinated create history.
Gustave Le Bon
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If you're an Orthodox believer, then what sustains this framework is the obligation that you follow. But if you live in a democratic, liberal world whose motto is: 'Make choices and manage your choices according to what is good for you, ' then there is a built-in tension between that which connects and that which divides. Between the material and the intellectual or ethical. Materialism is not a dirty word, but in this tension between the individual and the material on the one hand, and the communal and the ethical on the other, we are at the end of an age in which the material and the individual are triumphing.
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My mother delayed my enrollment in the Fascist scouts, the Balilla, as long as possible, firstly because she did not want me to learn how to handle weapons, but also because the meetings that were then held on Sunday mornings (before the Fascist Saturday was instituted) consisted mostly of a Mass in the scouts' chapel. When I had to be enrolled as part of my school duties, she asked that I be excused from the Mass; this was impossible for disciplinary reasons, but my mother saw to it that the chaplain and the commander were aware that I was not a Catholic and that I should not be asked to perform any external acts of devotion in church. In short, I often found myself in situations different from others, looked on as if I were some strange animal. I do not think this harmed me: one gets used to persisting in one's habits, to finding oneself isolated for good reasons, to putting up with the discomfort that this causes, to finding the right way to hold on to positions which are not shared by the majority. But above all I grew up tolerant of others' opinions, particularly in the field of religion, remembering how irksome it was to hear myself mocked because I did not follow the majority's beliefs. And at the same time I have remained totally devoid of that taste for anticlericalism which is so common in those who are educated surrounded by religion. I have insisted on setting down these memories because I see that many non-believing friends let their children have a religious education 'so as not to give them complexes', 'so that they don't feel different from the others.' I believe that this behavior displays a lack of courage which is totally damaging pedagogically. Why should a young child not begin to understand that you can face a small amount of discomfort in order to stay faithful to an idea? And in any case, who said that young people should not have complexes? Complexes arise through a natural attrition with the reality that surrounds us, and when you have complexes you try to overcome them. Life is in fact nothing but this triumphing over one's own complexes, without which the formation of a character and personality does not happen.
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To begin with, there is the frightful debauchery of taste that has already been effected by a century of mechanisation. This is almost too obvious and too generally admitted to need pointing out. But as a single instance, take taste in its narrowest sense - the taste for decent food. In the highly mechanical countries, thanks to tinned food, cold storage, synthetic flavouring matters, etc., the palate it almost a dead organ. As you can see by looking at any greengrocer's shop, what the majority of English people mean by an apple is a lump of highly-coloured cotton wool from America or Australia; they will devour these things, apparently with pleasure, and let the English apples rot under the trees. It is the shiny, standardized, machine-made look of the American apple that appeals to them; the superior taste of the English apple is something they simply do not notice. Or look at the factory-made, foil wrapped cheeses and 'blended' butter in an grocer's; look at the hideous rows of tins which usurp more and more of the space in any food-shop, even a dairy; look at a sixpenny Swiss roll or a twopenny ice-cream; look at the filthy chemical by-product that people will pour down their throats under the name of beer. Wherever you look you will see some slick machine-made article triumphing over the old-fashioned article that still tastes of something other than sawdust. And what applies to food applies also to furniture, houses, clothes, books, amusements and everything else that makes up our environment. These are now millions of people, and they are increasing every year, to whom the blaring of a radio is not only a more acceptable but a more normal background to their thoughts than the lowing of cattle or the song of birds. The mechanisation of the world could never proceed very far while taste, even the taste-buds of the tongue, remained uncorrupted, because in that case most of the products of the machine would be simply unwanted. In a healthy world there would be no demand for tinned food, aspirins, gramophones, gas-pipe chairs, machine guns, daily newspapers, telephones, motor-cars, etc. etc.; and on the other hand there would be a constant demand for the things the machine cannot produce. But meanwhile the machine is here, and its corrupting effects are almost irresistible. One inveighs against it, but one goes on using it. Even a bare-arse savage, given the change, will learn the vices of civilisation within a few months. Mechanisation leads to the decay of taste, the decay of taste leads to demand for machine-made articles and hence to more mechanisation, and so a vicious circle is established.
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