Endless dreams

While others may find beauty in endless dreams, warriors find it in reality, in awareness of limits, in making the most of what they have. […] Their awareness that their days are numbered—that they could die at any time—grounds them in reality. There are things they can never do, talents they will never have, lofty goals they will never reach; that hardly bothers them. Warriors focus on what they do have, the strengths that they do possess and that they must use creatively. Knowing when to slow down, to renew, to retrench, they outlast their opponents. They play for the long term.

~ Robert Greene

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Strategy

Most of us in life are tacticians, not strategists. We become so enmeshed in the conflicts we face that we can think only of how to get what we want in the battle we are currently facing. To think strategically is difficult and unnatural. You may imagine you are being strategic, but in all likelihood you are merely being tactical. To have the power that only strategy can bring, you must be able to elevate yourself above the battlefield, to focus on your long-term objectives, to craft an entire campaign, to get out of the reactive mode that so many battles in life lock you into.

~ Robert Greene

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The chasm between

Too often there is a chasm between our ideas and knowledge on the one hand and our actual experience on the other. We absorb trivia and information that take up mental space but get us nowhere. We read books that divert us but have little relevance to our daily lives. We have lofty ideas that we do not put into practice. We also have many rich experiences that we do not analyze enough, that do not inspire us with ideas, whose lessons we ignore. Strategy requires a constant contact between the two realms.

~ Robert Greene

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Some ironic distance

Finally, when it comes to your own self-opinion, try to have some ironic distance from it. Make yourself aware of its existence and how it operates within you. Come to terms with the fact that you are not as free and autonomous as you like to believe. You do conform to the opinions of the groups you belong to; You do buy products because of subliminal influence; You can be manipulated. Realize as well that you are not as good as the idealized image of your self-opinion.

~ Robert Greene

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Mortality

The essential power that confronting your mortality will give you—I call it the Sublime. Because it also opens up this idea of how amazing the world is that we live in, and how much we take for granted because we think that we’re going to live forever. It’s an incredibly important concept to me and it’s also very personal in the sense that I came this close to dying myself. I compare it to standing at the shore of some vast ocean. The fear of that dark ocean makes you turn away and retreat. I want you to get into your little boat and I want you to go into that ocean and explore it.

~ Robert Greene

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Our relationship with death

We now live in a world where [our relationship with detah] is the complete opposite. We have to repress the very thought of it. We can’t see it anywhere. It’s put into hopitals where it’s sanitized, where it happens behind closed doors. Nobody ever talks about it. Nobody tells you this is probably the most important life skill that you could have—to know how to deal with that fear of mortality. Nobody teaches that. Your parents don’t talk about it. Your girlfriend or boyfriend—they don’t talk about it. Nobody. It’s a dirty little secret. But it’s the only reality we have. We’re all going to die.

~ Robert Greene

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