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Frost, R. Hopkins, G. Keats, J. Lawrence, D. Masters, E. Sandburg, C. Sassoon, S. Whitman, W. Wordsworth, W. Yeats, W. Roosevelt, T. Stein, G. Stevenson, R.

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Wells, H. The Souls of Black Folk.


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Chapter I. Of Our Spiritual Strivings. All night long the water is crying to me. B ETWEEN me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem?

I answer seldom a word. It is in the early days of rollicking boyhood that the revelation first bursts upon one, all in a day, as it were. I remember well when the shadow swept across me. I was a little thing, away up in the hills of New England, where the dark Housatonic winds between Hoosac and Taghkanic to the sea. Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows.

That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the worlds I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine. But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely sunny: their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy, or into silent hatred of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or wasted itself in a bitter cry, Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house?

The shades of the prison-house closed round about us all: walls strait and stubborn to the whitest, but relentlessly narrow, tall, and unscalable to sons of night who must plod darkly on in resignation, or beat unavailing palms against the stone, or steadily, half hopelessly, watch the streak of blue above. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world.

He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face. This, then, is the end of his striving: to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, to husband and use his best powers and his latent genius.


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  • These powers of body and mind have in the past been strangely wasted, dispersed, or forgotten. The shadow of a mighty Negro past flits through the tale of Ethiopia the Shadowy and of Egypt the Sphinx. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

    It's not what you're gonna get in the end--it's not the final curtain--it's really in the doing it, and loving what you're doing.

    Janie Ward | Simmons University

    Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character. Their joy is being who they are, not in being better than someone else. But the truly dire consequences in our lives come from avoiding things that we need to learn about or discover. Of the things you have, select the best and then reflect how eagerly you would have sought them if you did not have them. Petit Senn "To be content means that you realize you contain what you seek. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory. You can't keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on.

    Barr "View your life from your funeral: Looking back at your life experiences, what have you accomplished? What would you have wanted to accomplish but didn't? What were the happy moments? What were the sad? What would you do again, and what wouldn't you do? The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. Stevenson II "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.

    He is the one that gets people to do the greatest things. Or they won't. Who cares?

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    Do your thing, and don't care if they like it. A leader isn't someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own. Patton Jr. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men. Eisenhower "Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan.

    Kennedy "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. Drucker "You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. It is the only thing.

    W. E. B. Du Bois

    Maxwell "The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones. It is about one life influencing another. Maxwell "You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you're not passionate enough from the start, you'll never stick it out. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.

    People look to me to do things for them, to have answers. But do not care to convince him.

    Life Stories of Growing Up Black, 1st Edition

    Men will believe what they see. Let them see. Lee "The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: 'I stand for consensus? A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go but ought to be. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.

    Solomon "In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark. Whether it's cattle, or horses, or men, the least government is the best government. It is very easy to say yes. You have to not only know what to do and when to do it, but you have to also be brave enough to follow through. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

    And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability. Morgan "If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything. Agu "Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision. Drucker "When you put together deep knowledge about a subject that intensely matters to you, charisma happens. You gain courage to share your passion, and when you do that, folks follow.

    A great leader leads the people from within them. Arnold "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet. Hesburgh "It is absolutely necessary You lead by going to that place and making a case.

    My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better. Chesterton "'Enough' is a feast. Kennedy "Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Clark "If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity It has enough lush forests, flowered fields, and sandy beaches.

    It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. Milne "Forget yesterday--it has already forgotten you.

    Don't sweat tomorrow--you haven't even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift--today. Maxwell "In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. Southard "I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection.

    For me, I'm going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice.

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    I've never seen this one before. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and try to duplicate it. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than perfect conditions. So what? Get started now.

    With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered--just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

    An important key to self-confidence is preparation. And no important endeavor that required innovation was done without risk. You have to be willing to take those risks They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. Mcintyre "Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they're yours.

    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

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    It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? You know more than you think you do. Benjamin Spock "Successful people have fear, successful people have doubts, and successful people have worries. They just don't let these feelings stop them. Harv Eker "You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can't have it. Robert Anthony "It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it.

    Go out and get busy. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. The rest of the world is too.