Words of Wisdom Makes Life More Meaningful

October 19, 2020

One of my favorite books is: "The Art of Worldly Wisdom" by Baltasar Gracián. I also mentioned this book in another one of my blog post titled: Watching the Perils of Life's Lessons Through the Lens of Documentaries.

There's no doubt about it, wisdom is a panacea for "all" of our difficulties. And if we learn from other's difficulties; that's even better. I'm a staunch believer in the phrase "A wise person learns from the mistakes of others, the fool from their own."

Wisdom is one of the most important means of gaining that much coveted prize...happiness, fulfillment in life, and peace.

In this blog post, I am featuring a handful of my favorite quotes (some of them have been shortened but none of the words have been modified) from the opus "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." It would take me forever to list all of them. Still, I hope you find something useful from the quotes I have listed and perhaps find them motivating. You can purchase your own copy of Gracián's book here.

Reach Perfection

No one is born that way. Perfect yourself daily, both personally and professionally, until you become a consummate being, rounding off your gifts and reaching eminence. Signs of the perfect person: elevated taste, a pure intelligence, a clear will, ripeness of judgment.

Don't Outshine Your Boss

When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.

Both Reality and Manner

Speak and act well and you will get out of any difficult situation.

Application and Capacity

It is all right to be mediocre at an unimportant job; you can excuse yourself by saying you were cut out for nobler things. But to be mediocre at the lowest of jobs, rather than excellent at the highest, has no excuse at all. Both art and nature are needed, and application makes them complete.

Be Well Informed

Advice is sometimes transmitted more successfully through a joke than through grave teaching.

Don't Have a Single Imperfection

Few people live without some moral flaw or character defect, and they give in to it when it would be easy to cure.

Be Vulgar in Nothing

What a wise person it was who did not want his things to please the many! The discreet never gorge themselves on vulgar applause.

Act Boldly But Prudently

Like love, courage is no joking matter. If it yields once, it will have to yield again and again. The same difficulty will have to be conquered later on, and it would have been better to get it over with.

Know How to Wait

Never hurry and never give way to your emotions. Master yourself and you will master others. Wise hesitation ripens success and brings secrets to maturity. Fortune gives larger rewards to those who wait.

End Well

What matters isn't being applauded when you arrive--for that is common--but being missed when you leave. Rare are those who are still wanted.

Avoid Grief

Don't give others hateful news unless there is a remedy, and be even more careful not to receive it.

When giving pleasure to another involves giving grief to yourself, remember this lesson: better for the other person to feel grief now than for you to feel it later, and with no hope.

Make Others Understand

One of the greatest of gifts is to size up quickly what matters. When this is lacking, many successes go undone.

Neither All Bad Nor All Good

Carry right too far and it becomes wrong.

Deal With Others in a Grand Way

You needn't go into all the details when conversing with others, especially when the subject is distasteful. Notice things, but do so casually; it isn't good to turn conversation into detailed interrogation.

Learn to overlook most of the things that happen among your close friends, your acquaintances, and especially your enemies. Overscrupulousness is irritating, and if it forms part of your character you will be tiresome to others.

Never Act Unless You Think It Is Prudent to Do So

It is dangerous to undertake something when you doubt its wisdom.

Think Ahead

Don't save your reason for difficult situations; use it to anticipate them. Difficult points, require mature rethinking.

Some act, and think later: this is to look for excuses rather than consequences.

A notable Spanish writer, Gracián's words were written 300 years ago! But that's how it is with versus of wisdom. Wisdom never grows old and is always appropriate no matter the situation or the point in history.

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