Reverb10: Advice to My Future Self – Live the Questions!

December 21 – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

For now, since I am so far behind on my posts for this project, I am going to focus on the bonus part of this prompt. I have had this quote swirling around in my head for some time and had I had it ten years ago, I might have enjoyed the journey to where I am today much more. I am almost certain I’ve posted it in this blog before, but it fits perfectly here and therefore is worth another spotlight:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Now that I think about it, perhaps that’s the best advice I can give my current self too.

Happiness Resolution #5: Complain Less

This goes along with gratitude, but with a slightly different angle. Complaining less means making room for focusing on what is good.

Two thoughts for today from the existential experts:

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
— George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish playwright and critic

“If you have not slept, or if you have slept, or if you have headache, or sciatica, or leprosy, or thunder-stroke, I beseech you by all angels to hold your peace, and not pollute the morning… Love the day.” —
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) American writer and activist

Emerson (or Stanley) on Success

I heard a great quote at karate last night, but I had a feeling when I heard it that it was inaccurately attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. It just didn’t sound like him. It turns out, I was right.

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

I found this information on

This quote is almost certainly not from Emerson, though it is often attributed to him. I have never been able to find it in any of Emerson’s writings, nor has anyone else to my knowledge (and plenty of people have been looking).

As of now, it seems that the quote may be traceable to a 1905 publication by a Bessie Stanley. Apparently, in a collection of quotations on “success,” her poem appeared on the facing page from a quotation which was from Emerson. Perhaps the mistaken attribution began when someone copied the source inaccurately from that collection. Here’s a 1905 article from the Lincoln Sentinel about that version of the quote: Bessie Stanley’s Famous Poem

Bessie Stanley’s poem, though, is a bit different from the standard quotation attributed to Emerson — and so there is still some tiny possibility that the quotation is Emerson’s or someone else’s and that Stanley’s was a variation.  At this time, though, the most dependable attribution would be to Bessie Stanley, with the changes attributable to the normal folk process of adaptation and editing.

I’d be interested in finding out if this is just a “whisper down the lane” situation or if there is more information on it.