Philosopher W.V. Quine wrote a letter to James Harmon for his book, Take My Advice: Letters to the Next Generation from People Who Know a Thing or Two. In his letter the philosopher writes about cultivating curiosity, striving for a job that you enjoy as much as your leisure time after the job, and building meaningful friendships.  His letter is brief, but is full of wisdom that is easy to comprehend and powerfully reinforced in his writing.


In the first part of his letter he writes, “enjoy what you are doing, what you are seeing as fully as you can find anything in it to enjoy.”  When I first read this section I  thought about my “Luck Diary” that began after listening to an episode of Smart People Podcast.  I had listened to an interview with Richard Wiseman who wrote a book about the science of luck, and one of his recommendations was to keep a journal of ones lucky experiences from each day. The journal reminds me of what good things happen each day, so that I go to bed focused on positive events rather than the negative. It also helps me be thankful for experiences that I have on a daily basis, and for all the good things that happen to me in general.


I think that Quine’s message in the quote above is very similar to Bruce Benderson’s message in my previous post about finding enjoyment in all that we do.  Quine is encouraging everyone to find even the smallest pieces of the mundane tasks and chores of life that are enjoyable, and to savor those enjoyable pieces.  Quine continues on to encourage us to look for careers where the mundane tasks that we dislike are at a minimum so that we can enjoy the work we do almost as much as we enjoy our leisure time after work.  This strategy may make it a little easier to find the pieces that you enjoy, and focus on your luck for being around things that are enjoyable.

Thank Your Parents

In his collection of letters from creative people, Take My Advice, James Harmon includes a two sentence note written to him by Bettie Page, and the first sentence reads, “Show your parents that you love them by thanking them for all the good things they do for you.”  I really like this quote because so often we get caught up in life and forget to be thankful for the things we have.  I think in this quote Page is referring to the same idea, but in regards to the way we treat our parents. Not everyone had super star parents, but for those who did, it is important to remember the sacrifices that parents made so that their children could grow up in a positive situation with plenty of opportunities.


For me it has been easy to look at other people and feel as though their parents helped them more with certain things, but when I do, I am being blind to the many ways that I am lucky to have the parents that I have.  By refocusing on the positive things that my parents did to help me become the person I am today, I shift my thoughts towards being grateful for their help.  I think that Page is encouraging everyone to try and see their parents in this way, but to go beyond simply thinking about how lucky they are, and to actually make an effort to thank their parents for all of the love, support, and guidance that they receive from their parents.