I am the decisive element

My wife reminded me of this powerful quote from Goethe, via Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project blog.  It’s worth returning to daily.

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides…

Happy Friday.

3 thoughts on “I am the decisive element

  1. My wife basically said the same thing to me last week when I had put in a horrendous week, pulled off several major accomplishments, and began looking for the next mountain to climb (without enjoying the scenery from the summit I was on).

    I guess it is the curse of loving what you do and removing the lines between your personal and organizational mission.

  2. Rilke’s book “Letters to a Young Poet” is my reference when i’m looking for inspiration.
    Here is one of my favourite extract (and the rest of the letter is just brilliant):

    “We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. ”

    Happy Saturday.

  3. The essence and sentiment of your original post I tell my five year old son constantly, lest he should miss out on something great in life because of things not turning just so and as he imagined in his mind. He and I are much alike, and I have missed out on many opportunities to enjoy life because of creating a poor climate in my own life. I hope that someday he will heed my urgings, and realize that he is the decisive element in his life, as I also strive to live each day with this mantra.

    Thank you for sharing. I had never read this quote before today. I will treasure it.

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