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Start Here. ‘Smile, breathe and go slowly.’

Start Here

~Thich Nhat Hanh By Leo Babauta While some of you have been following Zen Habits since its early days (beginning of 2007), many of you are fairly new readers. To help you through the fairly overwhelming archives, I’ve compiled a beginner’s guide. Kind of a Quick Start guide. First, a note: Please don’t try to go through this all at once. Take it in small chunks. Where do you start when you have a thousand posts to read through? So here they are: Most Popular Posts Browse the Archives But those are just the stars of the All-Star team. David Foster Wallace - Commencement Speech at Kenyon University. Transcription of the 2005 Kenyon Commencement Address - May 21, 2005 (If anybody feels like perspiring [cough], I'd advise you to go ahead, because I'm sure going to.

David Foster Wallace - Commencement Speech at Kenyon University

In fact I'm gonna [mumbles while pulling up his gown and taking out a handkerchief from his pocket].) Greetings ["parents"?] And congratulations to Kenyon's graduating class of 2005. There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. Of course the main requirement of speeches like this is that I'm supposed to talk about your liberal arts education's meaning, to try to explain why the degree you are about to receive has actual human value instead of just a material payoff. Here's another didactic little story. Everyone here has done this, of course. But it will be. You get the idea. That is real freedom. Add These Five Commands to the Top of Your To-Do List, Avoid the Most Common Deathbed Regrets. Kensho.

An Essay by Einstein. "How strange is the lot of us mortals!

An Essay by Einstein

Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people -- first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving... "I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves -- this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty.

The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. "My political ideal is democracy. Code of Conduct. 18 Things I Wish Someone Would've Told Me at 18. 9 Mind-Bending Epiphanies That Turned My World Upside-Down.

Over the years I’ve learned dozens of little tricks and insights for making life more fulfilling.

9 Mind-Bending Epiphanies That Turned My World Upside-Down

They’ve added up to a significant improvement in the ease and quality of my day-to-day life. But the major breakthroughs have come from a handful of insights that completely rocked my world and redefined reality forever. The world now seems to be a completely different one than the one I lived in about ten years ago, when I started looking into the mechanics of quality of life. It wasn’t the world (and its people) that changed really, it was how I thought of it. Maybe you’ve had some of the same insights. 1.

Advice on Living the Creative Life from Neil Gaiman. By Maria Popova “Someone on the internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid, or evil, or it’s all been done before?

Advice on Living the Creative Life from Neil Gaiman

Make good art.” On the heels of last week’s timeless commencement addresses by icons like David Foster Wallace, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ray Bradbury comes this fantastic speech by Neil Gaiman, addressing the 2012 graduating class of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. (Which happens to be the technical birthplace of Brain Pickings as we know it today — it’s there that I took my first web design night class in the early 1800s and transformed what began as a tiny email newsletter into a tiny website.)

Gaiman himself never graduated from college — in fact, he never even enrolled in college — yet he earned his place in literary culture as one of the most celebrated and prolific writers working today. Five Manifestos for the Creative Life. By Kirstin Butler How a numbered list can start a personal revolution.

Five Manifestos for the Creative Life

Some days everyone needs a little extra encouragement. The words or lines or colors don’t want to come, or worse, we don’t even want to sit down to create. That’s when we turn to these inspiring manifestos, any one of which is guaranteed to give our uncooperative creativity a sharp kick in the pants. Here are five of our favorite contemporary manifestos that nudge ideas out of your head and into the hands of the world. We’ve long been fans of the amazing work of Frederick Terral, the creative visionary behind design studio Right Brain Terrain. 27 lessons I’ve learned in 27 years.