Less Than Zer0

“They think that I’ve got no respect, but, everything means less than zero.”–Elvis Costello

Words to Live By. November 22, 2008

Those who know me personally can undoubtedly confirm that I have trouble keeping my mouth shut. At least I’m aware of it.  As a consequence, I tend to collect advice on how to stay quiet.  Two of my favorites:

It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say, and then don’t say it.–Sam Levenson

Think before you speak. Read before you think. This will give you something to think about that you didn’t make up yourself-a wise move at any age, but most especially at seventeen when you are in greatest danger of coming to annoying conclusions.–Fran Lebowitz

For wisdom less witty, but certainly just as practical, four questions generally attributed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

  1. Is it TRUE?
  2. Is it NECESSARY?
  3. Is it KIND?
  4. Is it HELPFUL?

I find these to be excellent checkpoints in conversation, whether the “should I or shouldn’t I?” question applies to a juicy bit of gossip or a difficult business/academic matter. I’d probably fare better if I used them more often.

For Amanda (roll over for captions):

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2 Responses to “Words to Live By.”

  1. drbookreader Says:

    I think these are pretty much true, but I don’t know if I’d agree with the 2nd quote. I think you can come up with annoying conclusions, or conclusions that you made up yourself that are true. Even if something is true, it is often a good idea to still keep your mouth shut 🙂
    Anyway, just my opinion.

  2. Amanda Says:

    In my department at school, we like to have contests. Often. Right now I’m part of an exercise contest (I’m kind of losing). But once I decided to have a contest. It was “Who will be the next Dalai Lama”. People guessed things like “Barack Obama Lama” and such. The correct answer, according to ancient Tibetan philosophy (as I understand it) is that there would only be 14 Lama’s and then there would be no more so the current one should be the last. Oddly enough, that corresponds well with the end of the Mayan calender (2012) and some Biblical scholars’ reconciliation of the Bible’s prophecies for the “end of days”.

    Of course, there have been doomsday expectations for centuries that haven’t come to pass so I’m not suggesting that everyone invest in canned food and shotguns. Just that it makes an interesting conversation.

    To conclude my story, someone wanted the contest taken down because it might be “offensive”. Which made me laugh because it seems like anyone that could genuinely be offended should know the correct answer and therefore (likely) not be offended. But I didn’t say anything because I also am working on keeping my mouth shut. Things seem to work out a little better for me when I don’t say anything.


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