Yesterday, I posted a quote from the novel The Life of Pi. I was about ready to donate my copy to the local library when I noticed some annotations I had made throughout. Today and tomorrow, perhaps, I'll pass on a few more quotes from it, as I did yesterday, and add the brief morning reflections they've spurred.
Repetition is important in the training not only of animals but also of humans.
Are you trying to get a new idea across to someone, or to encourage some new behavior? Repetition is key. Creative repetition is best. We most often need to be exposed to something repeatedly in order for it to really set in and take root. Even if you're trying to make a change in your own life, just in your own actions, repetitive reminders can work wonders. Then, the new action, or reaction, repeated enough times, becomes a habit or new dispositional tendency, a new part of your repertoire.
It was my luck to have a few good teachers in my youth, men and women who came into my dark head and lit a match.
What a great image that is. I had a professor like that in college. I had always been a good student, in the sense of knowing how to take a test or write an essay. But I never really awoke to the life of the mind and the excitement of great ideas until an amazing lecture class in college. That professor lit a match that became an eternal flame. I now try to do that for others, at least, now and then. We all should be arsonists of the mind!
Doubt is useful for a while. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a way of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.
Well said. Doubt is an often useful intellectual tool, but a terrible mindset to drag through life. When you have set a course in your work or life that honors who you are and what you believe, and you find yourself struggling a bit along the way, a good strategy is to: Doubt Your Doubts.
All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.
In the realm of appearances, routine can seem most sane and reasonable. Departures from routine can seem inexplicable to others. But sometimes, doing something very different, even so different as to cause others worry, can be the adaptive path to flourishing.
Never be afraid to be thought strange.
I would be in the direst of dire straights, facing a bleak future, when some small thing, some detail, would transform itself and appear in my mind in a new light. It would no longer be the small thing it was before, but the most important thing in the world, the thing that would save my life. This happened time and again. How true it is that necessity is the mother of invention, how very true.
We notice so little that is around us and available to us. It's a side effect of our need to screen the mass of information crowding in on our senses at every moment. And, in the screening, we miss a lot. But when we get into a corner, into "dire straights," we often wake up with a new filter that lets through just what we need to notice, and something that has been close to hand all along will take on a new luster and appear as just what we need. The more we learn to wake up and pay attention at times of need far less than dire, the more often this will happen without requiring such serious difficulty to spur us on. And there's nothing like a clear and passionately held new goal to readjust the filter and help with just the inventions we need.
Some more thoughts tomorrow!