Words for the Wise

Many of us have read or heard quotes or sayings or prayers that have impacted us in wonderful ways.  Some of us have even kept a special expression as a “mantra” or a driving “philosophy.”  Several have helped guide me over the years, and I often come across others that I find meaningful and helpful in given situations.  For those who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have seen some of the ones I’ve shared.

There is one special quote that has guided me over many years, and though I sometimes wish I had always paid attention to it, I believe that even those times when I didn’t, I was meant to remember it at the perfect time and to learn the lesson from having drifted away from it.  Before I reveal that quote to you, let me share others I have found meaningful that you may enjoy, as well.

A favorite is by Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” This is important because we can never realize a dream we don’t have.  It’s like the lottery; you can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket (and I encourage you to play responsibly).  Another wisdom is by Anaïs Nin, who wrote, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”  From my study and practice, I know that there is great power in both of these quotations.  I am sure you have your favorites, and I would enjoy hearing from you if you care to share.

Of all the famous quotes and expressions I have come across over the years, the one that has guided me for decades is recognized as the “Serenity Prayer,” by Reinhold Niebuhr.  Though it has come to be used in recovery programs, particularly 12-step, it is applicable in every facet of life and circumstance.  Many of us get upset with situations over which we have no control, and yet, we expend so much energy that we suffer physically and emotionally.  Upon reflection, we know that makes no sense, so what might help?

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Once we give up the desire to control all beyond our control, we can then allow ourselves to enjoy all that is, to be grateful for what we have, and to dream beautiful dreams.  How cool is that?

2 thoughts on “Words for the Wise

  1. Hi Karl,
    I too think the Serenity prayer is about perfect. I also have kept the following, by Vaclav Havel, close in mind as near perfect:
    “Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
    Anita Camic

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