The purpose of this project is to celebrate Samuel L. Clemens' life in Redding, Connecticut by documenting and showcasing his time here in multiple formats both online and offline. Your donations & site sponsorships will help me dedicate more time to these projects and allow me to get them online sooner.

Friday, April 1

Life Lessons from Mark Twain

Mark Twain's life is perceived by many as a "charmed life" but the reality is the rags to riches story of the wealthiest and most widely recognized author/humorist the World has ever known is not as “charmed” as one would think. Mark Twain lived a life that many could not endure, let alone survive; personally, he referred to himself as “God’s Fool” and that was not too far from the truth. From his premature birth straight through to his seventy-fourth year of life, Twain ran a pain stricken, stress filled and often depressing gauntlet of life. Death was so common that it could be consider thematic and wealth, as odd as it may sound, did not agree with him either. And yet, somehow he found a way to weather the storms of life and one hundred years later, we are very lucky he did because in the process he delivered some very profound insights on life, love and perseverance that we can all use to our own advantage today.

The following comes from Twain’s letters, speeches, notebooks and writings; the wisdom of his thoughts are as inspiring as they are instructive.

Mark Twain on Life

1. "Perseverance is a principle that should be commendable in those who have judgment to govern it."
- The Enemy Conquered; or Love Triumphant

The lesson: Don't give up. Often it is those who keep at it that succeed.

2. “Only he who has seen better days and lives to see better days again knows their full value.”
- Notebook, 1902

The lesson: Focus on the present and value what you have. Only after his financial troubles, did Twain come to realize the value of the life and lifestyle he once had.

3. “...the events of life are mainly small events -- they only seem large when we are close to them. By and by they settle down and we see that one doesn't show above another. They are all about one general low altitude, and inconsequential.”
- Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 (University of California Press, 2010)

The lesson: Think before you act. People often overreact to situations and in hindsight regret it.

4. "... life does not consist mainly -- or even largely -- of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one's head."

The lesson: There are two lessons that can be learned from this quote.

One: Be mindful that each one of us awakens each morning and faces an internal battle with our thoughts, feelings and personal desires. Take that into consideration when interacting with other people and realize that their position on a topic or reaction to your opinion is based solely on their perceptions.

Two: Give yourself a break. A lot of what’s floating around up there has nothing to do with reality. Focus on the positives, ignore the negatives and if you really want something, stop dreaming about it and go get it.

5. "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."
- The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy of the Extraordinary Twins

The lesson: Don’t we all enjoy that special person in our life that projects the positives, makes us laugh and does nice things for others? Be that person.

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