Ever since the French Revolution, people throughout the world have gradually come to see both equality and individual freedom as fundamental values. Yet the two values contradict each other. Equality can be ensured only by curtailing the freedoms of those who are better off. Guaranteeing the every individual will be free to do as he wishes inevitably short-changes equality. The entire political history of the world since 1789 can be seen as a series of attempts to reconcile this contradiction.

– Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back; always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.”

Willam H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, quoted in Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar

Just keep swinging, because you’re my centerfielder, even if you don’t get a hit for the rest of the season.

— Leo Durocher, manager of the Giants, when Willie Mays asked to be benched or sent back to the minors after starting off his Major League career 0 for 12 (quoted by Alan Ziegler)

We often say that we’d do great things if we only had the money, but that’s just an excuse. It’s not the money we’re waiting for; it’s the courage to try something without knowing whether we’ll succeed. It’s the tolerance for risk of failure, not financial failure but actual failure—the realization that you can’t actually do that thing you dream of doing. — Justin Peters