Smart Man vs. Wise Man

The difference between a smart man and a wise man is that a smart man knows what to say, a wise man knows whether or not to say it.

When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day’s sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay’s call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else’s heart.

Originally published in Spanish in 1605, Cervantes’ satire about a gentle visionary who becomes a knight after reading too many chivalric
romances is a universal tale of idealism versus practicality.

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

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