You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.

Excerpt from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
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I began to draw an invisible boundary between me and other people. No matter who I was dealing with. I maintained a set distance, carefully monitoring the person’s attitude so that they wouldn’t get any closer. I didn’t easily swallow what other people told me. My only passions were books and music.

Excerpt from Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

Inner Truth

Most people cannot think beyond tomorrow – that is how they are made. Very few people can think, “Okay this will happen, and then this is what will happen to my life. What can I do about that now?” It is very easy to go and pray to God. Whether something happens with your prayer or not, at least there is solace. There is a comfort zone that somebody is taking care of you. Please see, that is all you get from your devotion because your devotion has not crossed a certain level of intensity. All that you got is a little comfort in your mind that somebody is taking care of you. Beyond that there is nothing else. But people settle for this rather than seeking ultimate liberation because most people do not have the vision to do anything beyond a certain limitation of time. They cannot think of their ultimate liberation.

For example, Gautama Buddha, when he was a young man, he saw an old man, a sick man and a corpse. He observed these sights and these observations affected him deeply. The moment he saw this, he knew that this was what would happen to him too. This made him realize the sufferings of all beings and compelled him to begin his spiritual journey as a wandering ascetic, which eventually led to his enlightenment. He started working towards what he can do about it right now. This is an intelligent man. But most people do not have this kind of vision or intelligence to see life. For them, it has to fall on their head. Till then they don’t know. These kinds of people are just seeking solace for today. For such people, there is no depth to their prayer either; there is no depth to their devotion. It is just about solace – “God is taking care of me”. They are not looking to live in such a way that they are beyond all limitations. They are not seeking a life which is of transcendence. They are not seeking a life which is a power to decide their own destiny.

We are what we love to read, and when we admit to loving a book, we admit that the book represents some aspects of ourselves truly, whether it is that we are suckers for romance or pining for adventure or secretly fascinated by crime.

— Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading—

If you are interested in anything, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. Many of things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.

― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life―

I can’t look in this box

I don’t take risks, I can’t
I only have enough, for today
I know what losing costs,
Coins rolling away, no moss
a gathering, this or any way.

I walk at the fringe and look in
I see in the reflection, of the mirror,
my weakness, my resolve has stress-
fractures, my life a poorly played chess
match, if only, my head were clearer.

I need fresh air, let me out, of this box
so much refuse to trip on with shoes,
feet not mine that I hide with black socks,
the only hazard is me, you best take stock
and remember don’t regret what you choose.