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  • Writer's pictureJake Lawrence

Michel de Montaigne

Be free from vanity and pride.

Be free from belief, disbelief, convictions, and parties.

Be free from habit.

Be free from ambition and greed.

Be free from family and surroundings.

Be free from fate; be the master of your own life.

Be free from death; life depends on the will of others, but death, on our own will.


Only a person who has lived through a time that threatens his life and that valuable substance, his individual freedom, with war, power, and tyrannical ideologies—only he know how much courage, how much honesty and determination, are needed to maintain the inner-self in such a time of herd insanity.


… I refold my gaze inward.


Although living is a serious matter, we can take it too seriously.


Find a reason for your own existence.

  • Purpose: You are a success to the degree that you grow.

    • We live to learn, thus learn to live.

  • Strengthen the inside of your nature and the outside will be better.

  • Each man must seek his own peace of mind… happiness must be earned.

  • The solution is to increase strength.


Rule 1: Stop worrying

  • Worry is contagious, quickly generating an atmosphere of gloom.

  • There is very little room for (+) thinking in a mind that is already filled with fears, doubts, and uncertainties.

  • Do not exhaust your optimism and undermine your courage.

  • The height of wisdom for man is that he shall know what to do next, and the height of courage to did that which should be done.

  • Think straight and live straight.


Rule 2: Stop trying to dominate and possess your friends and relatives.

  • Be self-possessed

  • Develop character

  • Be friendly, kind, impersonal


Rule 3: Moderate ambition

  • Success takes a great detail of time and attention.

  • Trying to get ahead in the world does things to our minds.

    • Narrowness follows

  • In this world we must pay (in some way) for everything we get. To satisfy ambition we must pay with our own lives.

  • Moderate successfully.

  • Dream for a better future, and plan a successful life, but be moderate.


Rule 4: Do not accumulate more than you need

  • There are two kinds of accumulation:

    • You can enlarge your natural store by having more, or

    • Be becoming more

  • Qualities:

    • Happiness

    • Contentment

    • Peace of mind

    • Love of beauty

    • Wisdom

    • Serenity

  • With work we buy opportunity. The money we make gives us a chance to improve ourselves.

    • Enrichment of character and living

  • Contentment comes to those who are happy to live moderately.


Rule 5: Learn to relax

  • You do not learn to relax. If you feel right inside you are relaxed. Internal security.

  • In our world a person without a hobby is exposing himself to the dilemmas of the one-track mind.

    • Even if a hobby is expensive, it may not cost as much as the doctor’s bills which result from over-tension.

  • Plan recreation with the same thoughtfulness that you plan work.

  • Doing what others want us to do is work. Doing what we want to do is play.

  • Relaxation is as necessary as proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and good ventilation.


Rule 6: Cultivation of a sense of humor

  • Person is the body balanced, moderate, and optimistic.


Rule 7: Find a reason for personal existence

  • Regardless of what we have we are worth what we are.

  • Choose growth as reason for living.

  • Life is a more wonderful as we understand it.

  • Change yourself and you will change all.


Rule 8: No harm to anyone

  • Live a life calculated to strengthen faculties and deepen emotions.


Rule 9: Beware of anger

  • Take it easy

  • Self-control


Rule 10: Never blame others for our mistakes

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