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Quote of the Day: “One of the symptoms of approaching nervous break-down is the belief that one’s work is terribly important”

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One of the symptoms of approaching nervous break-down is the belief that one’s work is terribly important

This quote is by one of my favorite philosophers and mathematicians: Bertrand Russell, which he wrote in his book The Conquest of Happiness.  I only found this particular quote a few days ago (and also the free online version of the book that I linked to.)  But the sentiment is one that I need to remind myself of every so often, and which similar notions can be found in some great song lyrics and I once heard from a friend.  First, Paul Simon talked about getting past breakdowns in his song Gumboots from the Graceland album:

I was having this discussion
In a taxi heading downtown
Rearranging my position
On this friend of mine who had
A little bit of a breakdown
I said breakdowns come
And breakdowns go
So what are you going to do about it
That’s what I’d like to know

And the Indigo Girls also shared a similar notion as Russell’s quote in their song Closer to Fine:

The best thing you ever done for me, is to help me take my life less seriously.  It’s only life after all!

But beyond the famous musicians, I remember a conversation with a colleague Bill Econome (who was a teacher with Grant Adult Education, but also a member of the band Filibuster) and one time when I was stressing out, and he was being goofy, I told him that because there was so much important stuff to do, that it was critical that we be serious.  And he told me that exactly because there was so much important stuff happening, that it was important to NOT be serious…

So at the moment, while I could be stressed (and I’m sure I partly am)…  All of these words of wisdom are keeping me far away from any potential of a breakdown.


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Written by Jacob Walker

December 1st, 2013 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

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