Life Itself Is But What You Deem It

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you / As much as your own thoughts, unguarded.”

— Buddha, The Dhammapada, Section 3, Thomas Byrom translation


“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

— Seneca


“What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.”

— Epictetus, The EnchiridionSharon Lebell translation


“Among the truths you will do well to contemplate most frequently are these two: first, that things can never touch the soul, but stand inert outside it, so that disquiet can arise only from fancies within; and secondly, that all visible objects change in a moment, and will be no more. … The whole universe is change and life itself is but what you deem it.”

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.3


“[T]here is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

— Shakespeare, Hamlet, II.ii.269-270


“To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal Entry, December 20, 1822


“Since everything which exists or happens for a man exists only in his consciousness and happens for it alone, the most essential thing for a man is the constitution of this consciousness, which is in most cases far more important than the circumstances which go to form its contents.”

– Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life


“This leaves us only one option: to change our own attitude. By bringing about a change in our outlook toward things and events, all phenomena can become friends or sources of happiness, instead of becoming enemies or sources of frustration.

— Dalai Lama (XIV), Little Book of Wisdom


“The world is your mirror and your mind is a magnet. What you perceive in this world is largely a reflection of your own attitudes and beliefs. Life will give you what you attract with your thoughts;  think, act and talk negatively and your world will be negative. Think and act and talk with enthusiasm and you will attract positive results.”

— Michael LeBeuf, How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life


“[P]ractically all human misery and serious emotional turmoil are quite unnecessary—not to mention unethical. You, unethical? When you make yourself severely anxious or depressed, you are clearly acting against you and are being unfair and unjust to yourself.”

– Albert Ellis, How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything–Yes, Anything


“When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response.”

–Indra Nooyi, Fortune interview