Notes to Self

Thoughts on psychology, spirituality and soft skill development for personal improvement


Advice for Men from the 1850s

"History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man." - Percy Bysshe Shelley
Between 1850 and 1860, an article called "Maxims to Guide a Young Man" became very popular and appeared in many newspapers. The guide stated -
  • Keep good company or none.
  • Never be idle. If your hands cannot be usefully employed, attend to the cultivation of your mind.
  • Always speak the truth.
  • Make few promises. Live up to all your engagements.
  • Have no very intimate friends.
  • Keep your own secrets, if you have any.
  • When you speak to a person, look him in the face.
  • Good company and conversation are the very sinews of virtue.
  • Good character is above all things else.
  • Never listen to loose or infidel conversation.
  • You had better be poisoned in your blood than in your principles.
  • Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts.
  • If any one speak evil of you, let your life be so virtuous that none will believe him.
  • Always speak and act as in the presence of God.
  • Drink no kind of intoxicating liquors.
  • Ever live (misfortune excepted) within your income.
  • When you retire to bed, think over what you have been doing during the day.
  • Never speak lightly of religion.
  • Make no haste to be rich, if you would prosper.
  • Small and steady gains give competency with tranquillity of mind.
  • Never play at any game of chance.
  • Avoid temptation, through fear that you may not withstand it.
  • Earn your money before you spend it.
  • Never run into debt, unless you see a way to get out again.
  • Never borrow if you can possibly avoid it.
  • Do not marry till you are able to support a wife.
  • Never speak evil of any one.
  • Be just before you are generous.
  • Keep yourself innocent, if you would be happy.
  • Save when you are young, to spend when you are old.
  • Often think of death, and your accountability to God.
  • Read over the above maxims at least once a week.
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"The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates." - Oscar Wilde
All learning is imitation. Creativity too begins from imitation. Imitate. Improve. You'll start becoming more original. (The picture? It's a creative solution to handling CD's when you lose their covers. Start imitating ...)

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