Bons Mots
Ancient Words for Modern Life
A Compilation by Carl J. Estersohn

Success is:
to laugh loud and often
to win the respect of intelligent people, and the affection of children
to earn the appreciation of honest critics, and to endure the betrayal of false friends
to appreciate beauty
to have found the best in others
to leave this world a bit better by a healed child, a garden patch, a redeemed social ill
to know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived

The only thing standing between you and greatness is you.

History is fable agreed upon.

Men should act free from passion, be unmoved by grief or joy, submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity (sic) - Zeno, the stoic Roman philosopher.

Work toward mastery of self. Soon you will appear a god even to those who now think you a buffoon.

Do not any more discuss what a good man is like. Be good.

If it is not right, don't do it. If it is not true, don't say it.

Let no one any longer hear you finding fault with life in paradise.

Turn inward to yourself, whenever you blame the traitor or the ingrate, for the fault is plainly yours.

Perceive at last that you have within yourself something stronger and more divine than the passions - fright, suspicion, appetite - which make a downright puppet of you.

What need have you of advice and sound when you can easily see what needs to be done and proceed on this path without turning back?

Perfection of character possesses this: Not to act a part.

The man in a flutter for afterfame fails to picture to himself that each of us who remember him will also very shortly die. Near at hand is your forgetting all; near, too, all forgetting you.

You may hate reality, but where else can you get a good steak dinner?

You've got to be taught to be afraid
of people whose eyes are oddly made
of people whose skin is a different shade
you've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught before it's too late
before you are six or seven or eight
to hate all the people your relatives hate
you've got to be carefully taught

Bows to
Marcus Aurelius
Woody Allen
Oscar Hammerstein

Published February 09, 1997
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