Inspiring Quotes from Reddit

Reading through a thread on Reddit about inspiring quotes, I wanted to record a few for my own inspiration.

The infinite possibilities that each day holds should stagger the mind. The sheer number of experiences I could have is uncountable, breathtaking, and I’m sitting here refreshing my inbox. We live trapped in loops, reliving a few days over and over, and we envision only a few paths laid out ahead of us. We see the same things each day, respond the same way, we think the same thoughts, every day a slight variation on the last, every moment smoothly following the gentle curves of societal norms. We act like if we just get through today, tomorrow our dreams will come back to us.

And no, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know how to jolt myself into seeing what each moment could become. But I do know one thing: The solution doesn’t involve watering down my every little idea and creative impulse for the sake of someday easing my fit into a mold. It doesn’t involve tempering my life to better fit someone’s expectations. It doesn’t involve constantly holding back for fear of shaking things up.

This is very important, so I want to say it as clearly as I can: FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

–xkcd

Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value is there to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have to suffer so much if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye?

I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant. Do you understand what I am saying? A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life.

It is hard work to fill one’s life with meaning. That I do not think you understand yet. A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here.

–Chaim Potok

Once the game is over, the King and the Pawn go back in the same box.

–Italian Proverb

A ship in port is safe…but that is not what ships are made for.

–Grace Murray Hopper

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

–Oscar Wilde

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

–Marianne Williamson, and not Nelson Mandela

Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up again.

–Alfred in Batman Begins

@ShitMyDadSays Section (NSFW alert?)

Because there are so many it really needs its own section.

Sometimes life leaves a hundred dollar bill on your dresser, and you don’t realize until later that it’s because it fucked you.

That woman was sexy…Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won’t screw you, don’t do it for them.

Don’t ever say stuff just because you think you should. That’s the definition of an asshole.

You sure do like to tailgate people… Right, because it’s real important you show up to the nothing you have to do on time.

You’re being fucking dramatic. You own a TV and an air mattress. That’s not exactly what I’d call “a lot to lose.

The worst thing you can be is a liar….Okay fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but THEN, number two is liar. Nazi 1, Liar 2


What are you saying?

I’m a big proponent of writing what you want to write. As a blogger who is somewhat obsessed with optimization and statistics, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of trying to write for the audience, putting out what I think people want to read, but I do what I can to quell this internal pressure and Ryan occasionally hits me with a reality check that sets me straight. Instead, I try to worry less about you all (sorry, but it’s true) and focus more on what interests me. If I’m not enjoying myself, what I write will be crap, so no one would want to read it anyways.

That being said, I can sometimes be a bit paradoxical when examining other people’s blogs. Though I whole-heartedly believe that people should write what they want, do what they enjoy, and generally not bother listening to blowhards like me, I look at some blogs and think, “Why?”

My confusion arises primarily out of cognitive dissonance, where I expect one thing but am seeing another, like if you found a parrot that wears an eye-patch yet speaks fluent and beautiful Italian. As a more on-topic example, I usually experience this confusion when I find a professional (in any field) who has started a blog. They generally dip their toes into social networking sites, getting a Facebook account and probably posting updates to Twitter. Since they’re a bona fide professional in their field, I expect them to love what they do and to express that, subsequently seeking out others who share their love. Instead, all of these messages they’re posting are usually just self-promotion as the professional monologues about whatever it is they’re doing and then says, “Look! Look at how awesome I am!”

The problem is that a lot of professionals in a wide variety of fields have approached social media and networking tools as just another type of hammer they can slip into their rusty tool belt, not realizing that this is something else entirely. Rather than joining a conversation about a subject they enjoy, these bloggers are usually just trying to get their numbers higher, secure more readers, and do whatever they can to claw their way to a bit of legitimacy. I feel like they view the web as just a digital newspaper: We post it, and people will read it because we posted it.

What I’m getting at is that while you should do what you want, maybe you should take a long, hard look at what you want and make sure what you’re doing meets those goals. If you’re a professional, someone who loves what they do, but all you do on your blog is talk about what you did… you’re not communicating that love to me. I’d think that you’d instead be more interested in connecting with other people who love what you do and having new conversations on the subject, collaborating on new discussions rather than continually referencing old work. When I see a professional who just points at their own site and isn’t carrying on a conversation, I tune them out. They aren’t communicating that love to me, and if they don’t love what they do (enough to invest in actually networking and conversing with others), then whatever they’re doing is probably crap and not worth my attention.

What are you saying with your Twitter messages, your Facebook status, your blog entries and YouTube videos? Are you creating new things to share, joining new conversations, and investing in what you love and other people? Or are you just saying, “Look! Look at me!”?

Signs that you’re doing it wrong:

  • You don’t reply to comments on your blog, Twitter, et. al.
  • You only update your blog every few months (which, while not necessarily bad, makes me wonder why you bother to have a blog… maybe a newsletter would work better?)
  • Conversely, you update multiple times a day/week with links to articles you’ve read (skimmed… or read the title of), but no analysis or original thought
  • You follow a billion people on Twitter and don’t read any of them
  • You spend a lot of time thinking, “What would people like to read?”
  • You don’t strive for original thought, instead electing to copy/paste or just repeat what others have already written (For instance, I might recommend that instead of, “New version of Ubuntu is out with these features: [copy/paste],” you shoot for, “I installed the new version of Ubuntu and liked X and Y but am not sure about Z because of [original thought].”)
  • You don’t read any other blogs

Please understand that this isn’t all-inclusive, nor is it meant to be. And there are always exceptions to these rules (such as popular and incredibly busy authors who don’t have time to reply to the thousands of messages they receive each day). But I think we can all remember a time when we looked at someone’s blog and just thought, “Why? What is the point of this?”

If the blogger is enjoying themselves, fine. I’d call that good. But if this is just a job for them and they’re just out to get their readership higher, chances are it’s not going to work. You’ve got to get the love first, and then the money will follow. If all you’re trying to do is get money though, you’ll never get any love, and your selfish motivation is going to come through in your interactions (or lack thereof) with people to the extent that they’ll just ignore you.

Theological Inspiration

Since I began carrying a moleskine notebook around with me, I’ve been jotting down copious notes about stories, blog entries, and poems that I’d like to write. Specifically, and notably since we began visiting the Vineyard on Sunday mornings, I’ve had a lot of theological inspiration resulting in a number of theological blog entries.

I’ve got more lined up for the story about Sargent Faithful, and I’d like that to become a regular feature here at SilverPen, but my writing time is pretty limited right now and at the end of the evening I found that I had written three pieces about religion and absolutely no fiction. I had meant to write another story, but here we are: 10 PM, I’m about to go to bed, and the next part isn’t written. I guess maybe next week?

I’ve got several more religious pieces percolating in my drafts bin that will make their way to the surface in the coming weeks as well. It is definitely a testament to the Vineyard how much it inspires me–I must have pulled out my notebook and written something down at least ten times last Sunday. Do you know what “the sevenfold glory of God” is? I’m not entirely sure either, but I’ve got a Bible verse, some notes, and a strong desire to explore the concept through fiction. I don’t know what that will look like, but I’m anxious to find out.

Goodnight everyone, and apologies in advance for the lack of diversity in postings here for the next couple of weeks. I usually try to mix things up so there aren’t a ton of the same category all in a row, but these things come in waves sometimes. One month I had almost nothing but technology, and this month I will have almost nothing but theology. Hopefully history will be gentle with me.

Laila tov!