Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shit or Get Off The Pot

Put more, er, artfully, by Seneca ("On The Shortness of Life"):

Can anything be sillier than the point of view of certain people—I mean those who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves very busily engaged in order that they may be able to live better; they spend life in making ready to live! They form their purposes with a view to the distant future; yet postponement is the greatest waste of life; it deprives them of each day as it comes, it snatches from them the present by promising something hereafter. The greatest hindrance to living is expectancy, which depends upon the morrow and wastes to-day. You dispose of that which lies in the hands of Fortune, you let go that which lies in your own. Whither do you look? At what goal do you aim? All things that are still to come lie in uncertainty; live straightway! See how the greatest of bards cries out, and, as if inspired with divine utterance, sings the saving strain:
The fairest day in hapless mortals' life
Is ever first to flee.

In my job, I often have to give presentations where I'm exhorting leadership to follow some course of action, and I've always wanted to (but have yet to find the courage) use this quote from Hamlet:

Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do' since I have cause and strength and will and means to do it

Of course, he was talking himself into killing his Uncle, and that didn't exactly work out as he'd hoped. But people don't talk pretty like that these days--the best I can hope for is the eloquence of one VP after one of my pitches: "Are we going to ignore common fucking sense or should we just approve this?"

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