It appears to me that they who in proof of any assertion…

It appears to me that they who in proof of any assertion rely simply on the weight of authority, without adducing any argument in support of it, act very absurdly. I, on the contrary, wish to be allowed freely to question and freely to answer you without any sort of adulation, as well becomes those who are in search of truth.

— Vincenzio Gallilei  (1581)

The rest is just sand

A reminder to not let the little things take up all the space in your life so you can focus on the things that really matter.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

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Everything in moderation (including moderation)

One of the most common pieces of advice many people hear is something along the lines of, “Everything in moderation.”  Of course, this advice usually comes in response to over indulgence in something that the advice giver thinks is bad for you.

“Beer is fine, but in moderation.”

“It’s OK to watch TV / play video games / whatever, just do it in moderation.”

While this makes some sense at first glance,  moderation in everything is a sure path to mediocrity. Unless, of course, moderation itself is practiced in moderation. Passionate pursuit of anything is, almost by definition, not moderate.

So, instead of “everything” in moderation, pursue in moderation only those things that do not help you achieve your purpose, your passion. We all need to take a break at times, to let off steam or to just veg (or geek) out.

To those things that are your passion, your purpose, devote as much time and energy as you can. Passion is no place for moderation.

What teachers make

When did teaching start being seen as such a bad career choice, the last resort of “those who can’t”? We (as a collective society) revere coaches in sports, and go to great lengths to find great coaches for our precocious little athletes.

Why don’t we give the same respect and support to, and expect the same greatness from, our kids’ first “life coaches”, their teachers?

Blue moments

In his book, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace, Kent Nerburn had a piece titled And where there is sadness, joy. Chances are that you have seen this as an email or social media meme under the heading “The Cab Ride”.

There was a time in my life twenty years ago when I was driving a cab for a living. Because I drove the night shift, the car became a rolling confessional. Passengers would climb in, sit behind me in total darkness and anonymity, and tell me of their lives.

In those hours, I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh, and made me weep. And none of those lives touched me more than that of a woman I picked up late on a warm August night.

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