It was important to me that one quote be about generosity or service. I chose this because from the first time I read it, I thought that this is one of the unerring truths in the world. The people who serve and build up people or society succeed. Those who merely seek to gain for their own good may succeed in the short-term but at some level not in the long run.
Bryce Courtenay was an author from South Africa, who later lived in Australia. His most notable work is The Power of One. This quote is from an interview with Courtenay in Andrew Zuckerman’s book Wisdom.
This is from the first two lines of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”. The full quote is:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
It is one of my favorite poems and one of the few I’ve ever committed to memory. The poem describes all of the wonderful qualities a person should aspire to attain: calm, patience, proper perspective, relating to the world, perseverance.
I like the first lines because they set the tone for the poem. The quote suggest the value in not getting carried away and going with the emotion of the crowd, even when they blame their plight on you. It suggests a Zen like attitude of relating to the world.
The full poem can be found here: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/if%E2%80%94
Taken from the show Mad Men, this popular culture quote is a bit brash and bold, but from the first time I heard it, it reminded me of a man named Tom for whom I once worked. Several times, Tom and I attended a meeting or conference at which someone took over the conversation with a rant while everyone shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Tom had a great way of subtly shifting the conversation to a totally different topic in a way that did not embarrass the speaker and which brought relief to the rest of us. While I’ve tried to emulate this, he was the master.
On a larger level, this quote reminds me that when something strikes you as wrong, don’t just sit there, do something; take personal responsibility for your life.
Thank you to my recent friend River Hayden for nominating me for this challenge.