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Fortune gives us nothing which we can really own.

Fortune gives us nothing which we can really own. – Seneca What does that mean? This quote makes me wonder what we really own. According to the quote, nothing gained from fortune (luck) is really ours to own. That makes sense, because what comes by chance can just as easily be lost by chance. Ask […]

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A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts.

A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts. – Seneca What does that mean? This is also alternately translated in the following manner: “Unjust rule never abides continually.” This quote is an interesting observation of the basics of human nature. Humans are a resilient bunch, and we are often willing to put up with a great […]

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Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill What does that mean? We all have days when things refuse to go right for us. Sometimes we get mad, sometimes we get frustrated. But what happens next? If you can pull yourself together and try […]

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States are as the men, they grow out of human characters.

States are as the men, they grow out of human characters. – Plato What does that mean? Consider your national identity. It might not be true for you, but at one point it was a sufficiently common trait to label a whole group. But the state, being a group of people, will reflect their common […]

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Pay more attention to compassion and you’ll find you’re happier. It’s that practical and simple.

Pay more attention to compassion and you’ll find you’re happier. It’s that practical and simple. – Dalai Lama What does that mean? While I will acknowledge that some people are wired differently, this is the truth for the greater portion of humanity. Happiness, the emotion, has many sources, most of which are temporary at best. […]

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To have whatever one wants is in no man’s power. But it is within one’s power to not want what one does not have.

To have whatever one wants is in no man’s power. But it is within one’s power to not want what one does not have. – Seneca What does that mean? This is an quote from a passage where the discussion is about waiting to eat something nice, but only having unappetizing bread. Specifically, in the […]

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Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working. – Pablo Picasso What does that mean? This quote reminds me of opportunity, both lost and found. Opportunity or inspiration comes on its own schedule, not yours. Have you ever had a great idea, but you were on the couch, watching your favorite show or sports […]

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I cannot tell you that I lose nothing, but whatever I do lose I can tell you how and why the loss occurred.

I cannot tell you that I lose nothing, but whatever I do lose I can tell you how and why the loss occurred. – Seneca What does that mean? In the original text, he is moving between discussing the value of time and money, but the title of the section is on saving time. In […]

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I never spend a day in idleness. I set aside even part of the night for study.

I never spend a day in idleness. I set aside even part of the night for study. – Seneca What does that mean? This quote is from a longer passage in which he talks about his dedication to his art, and more importantly, why he does so. He talks about withdrawing from the business of […]

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Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can.

Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can. – Ashleigh Brilliant What does that mean? This is a neat quote, and is almost in a chiastic form. It starts by stating that you should not use something as an excuse. What is that thing? The thing it says is […]

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The distance between your dreams and reality is called action.

The distance between your dreams and reality is called action. – Unknown What does that mean? This quote is about making your dreams a reality. We all have them, although we might call them aspirations or plans. But we all want to accomplish things. These things start as ideas in our minds. We develop them, […]

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No man can swim ashore and take his baggage with him.

No man can swim ashore and take his baggage with him. – Seneca What does that mean? While this quote has a slightly different meaning in the context of the letter to Lucilius, the basic topic was the of the futility of half-measures. The image of someone swimming to shore from a sinking boat trying […]

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Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.

Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things. – Cicero What does that mean? A treasury is the place where you keep your treasures, all those things you value. The quote says, in part, that that is one of the jobs of our memory. It also says that our memory is the guardian of […]

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You can’t help someone just by making a wish to do so, you have to take action.

You can’t help someone just by making a wish to do so, you have to take action. – Dalai Lama What does that mean? This quote, to me, is about the difference between thinking about doing something and taking action. Wishing for something to happen is thought without action. It is action which gets things […]

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In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?

In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery? – Saint Augustine What does that mean? In a much longer passage, this quote has an example of a pirate who has been captured and brought before Alexander The Great. The pirate said in his defense that the only difference between himself and Alexander […]

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