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“The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life seems to arise from overrating the difference between one permanent situation and another … Some of these situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others, but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardor which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice, or to corrupt the future tranquility of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse for the horror of our own injustice” – Adam Smith
(the bottom portion of this quote is from Dan Gilbert – who used the above in his talk about Happiness at TED back in 2004 – and it really resonated with me with regard to the whole Lance Armstrong story – how great the glory – and how predictable the fall – when all rules go out the window in the relentless and tunnel visioned tyranny …..in the ferocious focus we often apply to the direction of our dreams)
(Dan’s comments below – …and struck me as eerily appropriate given the whole Lance Armstrong mess….and of course, a good reminder for all of us who forget that when it’s all over….. the ride is often much more rewarding, and worth celebrating, than the destination)
“In other words: yes, some things are better than others. We should have preferences that lead us into one future over another. But when those preferences drive us too hard and too fast because we have overrated the difference between these futures, we are at risk. When our ambition is bounded, it leads us to work joyfully. When our ambition is unbounded, it leads us to lie, to cheat, to steal, to hurt others, to sacrifice things of real value. When our fears are bounded, we’re prudent; we’re cautious; we’re thoughtful. When our fears are unbounded and overblown, we’re reckless, and we’re cowardly”