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Friday, May 27, 2022

Begin, Again

"I love the man that smiles when in trouble, can gather strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection." -  Thomas Paine

How well do you routinely measure up to Paine's rigorous standard? How many people have you known who do?

Given the name of my blog and the focus of a good number of the 2100+ posts I've published, I guess I'm pretty solid with the "reflection" piece of Paine's formulation. And though I wouldn't go so far as to say I've grown "brave" with all that reflecting, doing so does help ensure I routinely look at behaviors needing to be tuned up. How do you integrate reflecting into your life? Would you say that reflecting has helped you grow braver?

As for the first two qualities Paine cites, let me say Thomas might have had some trouble loving me. I try to stay positive - if not necessarily break into a smile - when facing trouble but I fail a lot more often than I succeed. Gather strength from distress? Yeah, maybe sometimes after the fact but rarely when I'm in the middle of it. How about you?

Begin, again.


  1. Thanks Pat for this blog post. I really enjoy how you share a very broad range of ideas that don't necessarily see the light of day very often in our busy lives.
    Those are pretty rare attributes. I have known individuals who exemplify the qualities Paine describes. I suppose it takes a bit of a sideways take on the absurdities of life to smile in the face of adversity but it serves a person well to develop that skill. At the end of the day, they're the best people to be around. The gathering strength part? Yeah, I don't know if I'll ever collect that particular merit badge either but I keep trying.

    1. Steve; Three comments at once and all in the middle of the night; what a guy! Saying "you're welcome" seems silly when it is I that need to thank you for being such a faithful supporter of my blog. Other than my wife and daughter, you have been regularly visiting and commenting on this bell curve longer than anyone else. I almost always get a nice turn of phrase from your comments as well. Today I'm stealing "merit badge" from you to write in my notebook for future use. Thanks for that.

  2. Hello Pat. Very interesting post today, and one that has definitely resulted in some thought and reflection - but maybe not in the same way the post is asking. I would imagine that my comments, if able to be posted 20, 30 or even 40 years ago would be different in varying degrees. As I've changed some of the ways I look at things have done the same. However, I still try to smile when things are tough, try to stay positive and away from the negatives. Not so sure I gain any strength from distress but, in keeping with my 'glass half full' approach, I will say 'maybe'. And, lastly, growing brave by reflection I look at as learning from each opportunity faced. I have a sign at home, that was actually in my office for many years, that simply reads 'Remember, there are no mistakes. Only lessons'. And although I'm sure there are more times than I can count when I have not learned, there are also many times when I have lived by this. As for knowing people who live up to Mr. Paine's standards, well, there are a few. And I am thankful to have them in my life.
    Be well,

    1. Hey Bob; Just so you know, recently there have been a few other people like you who have resorted to using "anonymous" in order to get their comments to stick; weird. In any case, thanks for the comment and the thought you put into your reply. I especially like the sign with the motto " ...no mistakes, only lessons."