This is difficult. I already freeze up when people ask “what have you been up to?” but here I am, trying to write a three minute introduction of myself.
One angle I used to approach this was the idea that there are two ways to describe yourself. Externally and internally. Externally is easier, but it’s a tradeoff because it’s much more satisfying to define yourself internally. Here’s what I mean. Back at my home page, I defined myself externally. I’m a university student, beginner writer, and I exercise. Quick and easy.
But the more rewarding way to define yourself is internally. Finding answers to questions like these:
- What are your values?
- What does success mean?
- What does a life well lived look like?
- How should I live knowing that I will die?
Alexander the Great and his mule driver both died and the same thing happened to both.
— Marcus Aurelius
Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.
— Milton Friedman
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
— C. S. Lewis
All benefits in life come from compound interest, whether in money, relationships, love, health, activities, or habits.
— Naval Ravikant
And I feel that I am a man. And I feel that a man is a very important thing — maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed — because “Thou mayest.”
— John Steinbeck in East of Eden
My friends, we are not the sum of our possessions. They are not the measure of our lives. In our hearts we know what matters. We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and town better than he found it.
— George H.W. Bush
Say to them,
say to the down-keepers,
“Even if you are not ready for day
it cannot always be night.”
You will be right.
— Gwendolyn Brooks