Every day we are given a fresh chance to learn. It could be how not to act and what not to do, However, we should approach every day with a thirst to learn. it’s not easy, I know. But we can learn patience when cut off in traffic. I can practice serenity when someone tries to kill me while I’m riding my bike. Well, I’m not always so enlightened, but I should be. I was reminded of this as I came across some old book notes and quotes. The First is from Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol’s intro to his great story “Dead Souls”.
“Reader, whosoever or wheresoever you be, and whatsoever be your station–whether that of a member of the higher ranks of society or that of a member of the plainer walks of life–I beg of you, if God shall have given you any skill in letters, and my book shall fall into your hands, to extend to me your assistance……One thing in particular would I ask of any reader who may be willing to give me the benefit of his advice. That is to say, I would beg of him to suppose, while recording his remarks, that it is for the benefit of a man in no way his equal in education, or similar to him in tastes and ideas, or capable of apprehending criticisms without full explanation appended, that he is doing so. Rather would I ask such a reader to suppose that before him there stands a man of incomparably inferior enlightenment and schooling–a rude country bumpkin whose life, throughout, has been passed in retirement–a bumpkin to whom it is necessary to explain each circumstance in detail, while never forgetting to be as simple of speech as though he were a child, and at every step there were a danger of employing terms beyond his understanding.Should these precautions be kept constantly in view by any reader undertaking to annotate my book, that reader’s remarks will exceed in weight and interest even his own expectations, and will bring me very real advantage”.
The second quote is from Stoic black belt Marcus Aurelius:
“Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading. Neither can I be angry with my brother or fall foul of him; for he and I were born to work together, like a man’s two hands, feet or eyelids, or the upper and lower rows of his teeth. To obstruct each other is against Nature’s law – and what is irritation or aversion but a form of obstruction.”