Sergi Marquez

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Gordon Livingston

Date added: July 15, 2019
My rating: 8/10
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Main idea:

A collection of ideas about life, death, love, happiness.

Book notes:

On Responsibility

We are not what we think, or what we say, or how we feel. We are what we do. In judging other people we need to pay attention not to what they promise but to how they behave.

People mistake thoughts, wishes, and intentions for actual change.

We are responsible for most of what happens to us.

Mental health is a function of choice. The more choices we are able to exercise, the happier we are likely to be.

Healing is something in which we are active participants.

The major advantage of illness is that it provides relief from responsibility.

Any behaviour that is reinforced will continue; behaviour that is not will extinguish.

On Happiness

The three components of happiness: something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to.

Most people know what is good for them. They avoid these things because they are no longer “motivated” to do them. They wait until they feel better.

The only effective antidote to the sense of powerlessness over unwanted feelings is our determination to overcome fear and discouragement.

All the happiness-producing processes in our lives take time, usually a long time: learning new things, changing old behaviors, building satisfying relationships, raising children. This is why patience and determination are among life’s primary virtues.

Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.

Humor is an indicator of a happy life.

To be happy is to take the risk of losing that happiness. All significant accomplishments require taking risks. We live in a society that is risk-averse. Buckle our seat belts, consult our doctors before exercise, live in houses with alarm systems…

Our constant challenge is not to seek perfection in ourselves and others, but to find ways to be happy in an imperfect world.

On Love

Love is demonstrate behaviourally (specially with the amount and quality of time we are willing to give).

True love requires the courage to become totally vulnerable to another.

We all get the marriage partners we deserve.

Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least.

The union of two people offer us the primary compensation for all the burdens of being human.

What is that people are looking for outside their marriages? Apart from variety, reassurance. Seek out experiences that feed our conceit that we retain our attractiveness.

Infidelity is a uniquely human expression of fear and longing. The search for ideal love is both infantile and a symptom of middle-aged fears. It most often fails to improve our lives, indeed frequently devastates them.

Many people are surprised at the hurt that routinely accompanies our efforts to find someone worthy of our love. To take the risks necessary to achieve this goal is an act of courage.

On Childhood

Children owe us nothing. Well-functioning families are good at letting their children go. Poorly functioning families tend to hold on to them.

Childhood is a serious of disillusionments in which we progress from innocent belief to a harsher reality. One by one we leave behind our conceptions of Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the perfection of our parents, and our own immortality.

A conviction that we can achieve happiness amid the losses and uncertainties is the greatest gift that can pass from one generation to the next. Hope is taught by example.

On Life/Death

Those we have lost evoked in us feelings of love that we didn’t know we were capable of. These permanent changes are their legacies, their gifts to us. It is our task to transfer that love to those who still need us. In this way we remain faithful to their memories.

Sergi Marquez

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