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Self-mastery

A person of integrity seeks self-mastery; a person obsessed with power seeks to control others. A person of integrity takes action, works hard and struggles to overcome his or her inner weakness; a person driven by lust for power forces others to work for his own selfish purpose, never reflecting upon himself.

All great literature, ancient and modern, is a bridge connecting one human being to another, one spirit to another. The quality of our life is determined by how many of those bridges we can cross.

An envious person does not look at those more capable than him and aspire to better himself; he plots to drag them down to his own level. Similarly, to be jealous is simply a begrudging admittance of one’s own flaws and failings.

If you’re passive, you’ll feel trapped and unhappy in even the freest of environments. But if you take an active approach and challenge your circumstances, you will be free, no matter how confining your situation may actually be.

It is not how you compare to others that is important, but rather how you compare to who you were yesterday. If you’ve advanced even one step, then you’ve achieved something great.

Just as a diamond can only be polished by another diamond, it is only through genuine, all-out engagement with others that people can polish their character, and help each other to reach greater heights.

On the flip side of arrogance lies cowardice—a lack of courage to face the truth. Likewise, discrimination and envy are also two sides of the same coin.

Only when we learn to channel the energy we direct toward winning over others into winning over ourselves can we begin to develop our humanity.

People shouldn’t hesitate to exert their all, in a way true to themselves. How can you possibly ever know how far or fast you can go if you’ve never run all-out? To give up even before you’ve made an attempt is not only presumptuous, it’s an affront to the wondrous power of life within you and disrespectful to yourself. It is cowardly.

People who can admire true greatness are happy people. Such admiration also serves to elevate one’s own existence. By opening wide the doors of our hearts we can broaden our own horizons and strengthen our belief in life. A breakdown in this capacity to praise and respect others can lead to inflexibility and self-righteousness.

The important thing is to firmly fix our gaze on our own weaknesses, not run away from them, but to battle them head-on and establish a solid self that nothing can sway. Hardships forge and polish our lives, so that eventually they shine with brilliant fortune and benefit. If left in its raw, unpolished form, even the most magnificent gem will not sparkle. The same applies to our lives.

There may be times when others seem enviable. But others are others and you are you. Rather than comparing your joys and sorrows to those of others, you should aim to surpass your limits in the situation you are in right now. Those who can do this are the true victors in life.

Your character is determined by how you challenge yourself, and how you wrestle with your problems, in a way that is unique to you. This is how character is polished and becomes diamond-like.

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