Wisdom of Life

Thomas Jefferson: The Meaning of Life — Liberty & Happiness

“Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.”

Without books, I would certainly die.

“The art of life is the art of avoiding pain.”

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal.

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.

The object most interesting to me for the residue of my life, will be to see you both developing daily those principles of virtue and goodness which will make you valuable to others and happy in yourselves, and acquiring those talents and that degree of science which will guard you at all times against ennui, the most dangerous poison of life. A mind always employed is always happy. This is the true secret, the grand recipe for felicity.

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.

Health, learning and virtue will ensure your happiness; they will give you a quiet conscience, private esteem and public honour.

I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

A man’s management of his own purse speaks volumes about character.

If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.

On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.

A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life:

1. Never put off to tomorrow what you can do to-day.

2. Never trouble another with what you can do yourself.

3. Never spend your money before you have it.

4. Never buy a thing you do not want, because it is cheap, it will be dear to you.

5. Take care of your cents: Dollars will take care of themselves.

6. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.

7. We never repent of having eat too little.

8. Nothing is troublesome that one does willingly.

9. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.

10. Take things always by their smooth handle.

11. Think as you please, and so let others, and you will have no disputes.

12. When angry, count 10 before you speak; if very angry, 100.

The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes which may greatly afflict us; and, to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes should be one of the principal studies and endeavors of our lives. The only method of doing this is to assume a perfect resignation to the Divine will, to consider that whatever does happen, must happen; and that, by our uneasiness, we cannot prevent the blow before it does fall, but we may add to its force after it has fallen. These considerations, and others such as these, may enable us in some measure to surmount the difficulties thrown in our way; to bear up with a tolerable degree of patience under the burden of life; and to proceed with a pious and unshaken resignation, till we arrive at our journey’s end.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Excerpts from Letters of Thomas Jefferson

***

~Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809.

Excellence Reporter 2020

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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