Provoke like a mentor – Quotes collected via Goodreads.com


“Say ‘provoking’ again. Your mouth looks provocative when you do.”
— Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
Mother Teresa
“These are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one’s self.

To mind one’s own business.

Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.

To avoid curiosity.

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.

To pass over the mistakes of others.

To accept insults and injuries.

To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.

To be kind and gentle even under provocation.

Never to stand on one’s dignity.

To choose always the hardest.”
— Mother Teresa (The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living)

Soren Kierkegaard
“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
— Søren Kierkegaard (Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard)
William S. Burroughs
“There is nothing more provocative than minding your own business.”
— William S. Burroughs (The Place of Dead Roads)
Soraya Chemaly
“Anger is an assertion of rights and worth. It is communication, equality, and knowledge. It is intimacy, acceptance, fearlessness, embodiment, revolt, and reconciliation. Anger is memory and rage. It is rational thought and irrational pain. Anger is freedom, independence, expansiveness, and entitlement. It is justice, passion, clarity, and motivation. Anger is instrumental, thoughtful, complicated, and resolved. In anger, whether you like it or not, there is truth.

Anger is the demand of accountability, It is evaluation, judgment, and refutation. It is reflective, visionary, and participatory. It’s a speech act, a social statement, an intention, and a purpose. It’s a risk and a threat. A confirmation and a wish. It is both powerlessness and power, palliative and a provocation. In anger, you will find both ferocity and comfort, vulnerability and hurt. Anger is the expression of hope.

How much anger is too much? Certainly not the anger that, for many of us, is a remembering of a self we learned to hide and quiet. It is willful and disobedient. It is survival, liberation, creativity, urgency, and vibrancy. It is a statement of need. An insistence of acknowledgment. Anger is a boundary. Anger is boundless. An opportunity for contemplation and self-awareness. It is commitment. Empathy. Self-love. Social responsibility. If it is poison, it is also the antidote. The anger we have as women is an act of radical imagination. Angry women burn brighter than the sun.

In the coming years, we will hear, again, that anger is a destructive force, to be controlled. Watch carefully, because not everyone is asked to do this in equal measure. Women, especially, will be told to set our anger aside in favor of a kinder, gentler approach to change. This is a false juxtaposition. Reenvisioned, anger can be the most feminine of virtues: compassionate, fierce, wise, and powerful. The women I admire most—those who have looked to themselves and the limitations and adversities that come with our bodies and the expectations that come with them—have all found ways to transform their anger into meaningful change. In them, anger has moved from debilitation to liberation.

Your anger is a gift you give to yourself and the world that is yours. In anger, I have lived more fully, freely, intensely, sensitively, and politically. If ever there was a time not to silence yourself, to channel your anger into healthy places and choices, this is it.”
— Soraya Chemaly (Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger)

C.G. Jung
“Because we cannot discover God’s throne in the sky with a radiotelescope or establish (for certain) that a beloved father or mother is still about in a more or less corporeal form, people assume that such ideas are “not true.” I would rather say that they are not “true” enough, for these are conceptions of a kind that have accompanied human life from prehistoric times, and that still break through into consciousness at any provocation.

Modern man may assert that he can dispose with them, and he may bolster his opinion by insisting that there is no scientific evidence of their truth. Or he may even regret the loss of his convictions. But since we are dealing with invisible and unknowable things (for God is beyond human understanding, and there is no means of proving immortality), why should we bother about evidence? Even if we did not know by reason our need for salt in our food, we should nonetheless profit from its use. We might argue that the use of salt is a mere illusion of taste or a superstition; but it would still contribute to our well-being. Why, then, should we deprive ourselves of views that would prove helpful in crises and would give a meaning to our existence?

And how do we know that such ideas are not true? Many people would agree with me if I stated flatly that such ideas are probably illusions. What they fail to realize is that the denial is as impossible to “prove” as the assertion of religious belief. We are entirely free to choose which point of view we take; it will in any case be an arbitrary decision.

There is, however, a strong empirical reason why we should cultivate thoughts that can never be proved. It is that they are known to be useful. Man positively needs general ideas and convictions that will give a meaning to his life and enable him to find a place for himself in the universe. He can stand the most incredible hardships when he is convinced that they make sense; he is crushed when, on top of all his misfortunes, he has to admit that he is taking part in a “tale told by an idiot.”

It is the role of religious symbols to give a meaning to the life of man. The Pueblo Indians believe that they are the sons of Father Sun, and this belief endows their life with a perspective (and a goal) that goes far beyond their limited existence. It gives them ample space for the unfolding of personality and permits them a full life as complete persons. Their plight is infinitely more satisfactory than that of a man in our own civilization who knows that he is (and will remain) nothing more than an underdog with no inner meaning to his life.”
— C.G. Jung (Man and His Symbols)

Paul Harding
“But it’s a curse, a condemnation, like an act of provocation, to have been aroused from not being, to have been conjured up from a clot of dirt and hay and lit on fire and sent stumbling among the rocks and bones of this ruthless earth to weep and worry and wreak havoc and ponder little more than the impending return to oblivion, to invent hopes that are as elaborate as they are fraudulent and poorly constructed, and that burn off the moment they are dedicated, if not before, and are at best only true as we invent them for ourselves or tell them to others, around a fire, in a hovel, while we all freeze or starve or plot or contemplate treachery or betrayal or murder or despair of love, or make daughters and elaborately rejoice in them so that when they are cut down even more despair can be wrung from our hearts, which prove only to have been made for the purpose of being broken. And worse still, because broken hearts continue beating.”
— Paul Harding (Enon)
Nick Land
“Enigma, positive confusion (delirium), problematic, pain, whatever we want to call it; the torment of the philosophers in any case, is the stimulus to ecstatic creation, to an interminable “resolution” into the enhanced provocations of art. What the philosophers have never understood is this: it is the unintelligibility of the world alone that gives it worth. “Inertia needs unity (monism); plurality of interpretations a sign of strength. Not to desire to deprive the world of its disturbing and enigmatic character”. Not, then, to oppose pain to the absence of pain as metaphysical pessimism does, but, rather, to differentiate the ecstatic overcoming of pain from weariness and inertia, to exult in new and more terrible agonies, fears, burning perplexities as the resource of becoming, overcoming, triumph, the great libidinal oscillations that break up stabilized systems and intoxicate on intensity; that is Dionysian pessimism -“refusal to be deprived of the stimulus of the enigmatic”; “the effect of the work of art is to excite the state that creates art -intoxication”.”
— Nick Land (Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings, 1987-2007)
William Faulkner
“She turned now, facing him, as if she hand only been waiting until she became warm, the rich coat open upon the fragile glitter of her dress; there was a quality actually beautiful about her now-not of the face whose impeccable replica looks out from the covers of a thousand magazines each month, nor of the figure, the shape of deliberately epicene provocation into which the miles of celluloid film have constricted the female body of an entire race; but a quality completely female, in the old eternal fashion, primitive, assured and ruthless as she approched him … . “She said at once, now. So we can go. You see? Do you understand? We can leave now. Give her the money, let her have it all. We won’t care. …”
— William Faulkner (Collected Stories)
Nancy Jo Sales
“It’s people running around looking for anything to generate volume: Oh, teenage girls are taking their clothes off? And that’s getting a lot of hits? Then let’s turn a blind eye to the consequences. Oh, your daughter’s on Tinder? Well, she’s just meeting friends. It’s all about high-volume usage. I don’t think it’s necessarily a cynical, let’s destroy women thing – it’s how can I get my next quarter’s bonus?
And I think to the extent that the digital social media society normalizes impulses- think it, post it,” Roberts says, “we’ve also created a context for more and more provocative propositions, whatever they are: Look at my boobs. Do you want to hook up? It’s moved the bar for what’s normal and normalized extreme behavior; everything outrageous becomes normalized so rapidly. You realize how insane things are today when you think about the relative rate of change. When I was in high school, if I had gone around saying, Here’s a picture of me, like me, I would have gotten punched. If a girl went around passing out naked pictures of herself, people would have thought she needed therapy. Now that’s just Selfie Sunday.”

(— Paul Roberts quoted from the book)”
— Nancy Jo Sales (American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers)

Nik’s Book Summaries Newsletter I like


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1-Sentence-Summary: Resisting Happiness shows you how to get more joy in your life by exploring the roadblocks you unknowingly put in the way of it, explaining why it’s a choice, and giving specific tips to help you make the decision to be content.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

Resisting Happiness Summary

You want to be happy. But every time you try to catch joy, it seems to slip through your fingers, replaced by worry and stress. You can’t put a price on fulfillment because it’s so valuable, but it also comes at the cost of hard work.

The trouble is, figuring out just where to put in the effort to make it happen isn’t always so easy. In the information age, there are infinite routes you can go down to try to grab a sense of wellbeing. The trick is just to find the right ones for you.

Interestingly, you need to begin looking for happiness by identifying what’s making you sad. Once you uncover these roadblocks, then you can begin removing them to let joy have free reign in your life.

Figuring this all out is just the topic of Matthew Kelly’s book Resisting Happiness. You’ll see what practicality, philosophy, and Kelly’s personal experiences teach about how to eliminate what holds you back from true fulfillment in life. And you’ll learn every step you need to take to get there in your own life.

3 of the best principles I got from this book are:

  1. Remember to read and that money isn’t everything if you want more meaning in life.
  2. Learn the joy of being alone.
  3. Practice delaying gratification and make sure you keep good friends close to reach your full potential.

Let’s get right into it and discover what Kelly has to teach us about happiness!

If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.Download PDF

Lesson 1: For a more meaningful life, remember to read and that money isn’t everything.

In college, reading wasn’t at the top of my to-do list. It was difficult to manage a schedule full of classes and a social life and still find time to get into a good book.

But what I didn’t realize was that my lack of reading was one of the things holding me back from happiness.

Today I see that reading is an important window into the world around me. And as I pick the right authors, it’s like having their guidance right next to me when I’m trying to figure something important out.

Think of books like friends that you can turn to for an escape when life gets difficult. They have the power to change your perspective and improve your attitude.

Another important factor that could be holding you back from joy is placing too much emphasis on money. You do need it, but looking for opportunities to help others without the expectation of a reward is a sure path to fulfillment.

Picture this. The author goes to his neighbor Joe and offers to pay him $1,000 an hour to plan trees at the elementary school down the street. Joe puts in a couple of hours of half-hearted work and leaves richer but feeling empty.

Contrast this with the feeling Joe would have if the author asked him to volunteer his time. He might work hard all day to do what the school needs rather than just get paid and ends up happier and more fulfilled as a result.

Lesson 2: Nurture the relationship you have with yourself through solitude.

One time in college I was having difficulties with relationships and tried what I thought was a strange idea at the time. I took a day off work and made a plan to hang out with myself for the entire day. I even left my cell phone at home!

It turned out to be one of the most memorable and enjoyable days of my life. I spent time eating food I love, took a drive into the mountains for a picnic, and watched one of my favorite movies.

Unknowingly, I’d unblocked one of the most common roadblocks in the way of happiness-discovering the joy of being by myself.

Loneliness can be a scary prospect, especially if you’re used to always being with other people. You might even go to great lengths, making stupid decisions and getting into bad relationships, just to avoid it.

But consider that by spending more time alone, you’re nurturing a relationship with the one person you’ll never be without-yourself! It might sound counterintuitive, but more time alone will help you beat loneliness.

You also get a chance to dive into who you really are every time you plan to spend time by yourself. In fact, this is the only time you have to get to know your personality, so use it wisely and get plenty of it!

Lesson 3: If you want to reach your full potential, you’ll need to have good friends and to practice delaying gratification.

Being alone is important but it’s not everything. You’ve got to have friends, but the right kind if you want to truly be happy.

In tenth grade, I was terrified of social situations. I wouldn’t even ask a girl on a date I was so scared. But at the beginning of the next year, I met a group of friends that improved all of that.

I began spending a lot of time with one in particular who completely changed my life. The first weekend after we’d met he pushed me to ask a girl to the Homecoming dance.

I didn’t want to, but I knew that it was good for me so I did it anyway. Not only did I have a great time, but I also got out of my comfort zone and grew as a person.

In the months afterward, I transformed from an awkward and shy kid to a far more confident young man. If it weren’t for the help of friends that cared about my progress, I wouldn’t be who I am today!

Don’t keep holding yourself back from reaching your full potential by hanging around with mediocre people. Find a new friend group, and specifically look for high-quality people that you know will push you to be your best self.

It will change your life, and in the process, you’ll find a lot more fulfillment along the way!

Resisting Happiness Review

Resisting Happiness is a great book and one that I would highly recommend to anyone. I really like the idea that the path to joy comes from removing the roadblocks we put in the way of it. The tips this book gives are already giving me a lot of great ideas about what makes my life more fulfilling and how to double down on those practices!