Bukowski once wrote, "We're all going to die, all of us. What a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by life's trivialities; we are eaten up by nothing." (p. 208)
...in a bizarre, backwards way, death is the light by which the shadow of all life's meaning is measured. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero. (p. 195)
Trust is like a china plate. If you break it once, with some care and attention you can put it back together again. But if you break it again, it splits into even more pieces and it takes far longer to piece together again. If you break it more and more times, eventually it shatters to the point where it's impossible to restore. There are too many broken pieces and too much dust. (p. 185-186)
...absolute freedom, by itself, means nothing. Freedom grants the opportunity for greater meaning, but by itself there is nothing necessarily meaningful about it. Ultimately, the only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance in one's life is through a rejection of alternatives, a narrowing of freedom, a choice of commitment to one place, one belief, or (gulp) one person. (p. 166)
The reason for Picasso's success is exactly the same reason why, as an old man, he was happy to scribble drawings on a napkin alone in a cafe. His underlying value was simple and humble. And it was endless. It was the value "honest expression." And this is what made that napkin so valuable. (p. 153)
If you think about a young child trying to learn to walk, that child will fall down and hurt itself hundreds of times. But at no point does that child ever stop and think, "Oh, I guess walking just isn't for me. I'am not good at it." (p. 150)
When Pablo Picasso was an old man, he was sitting in a cafe in Spain, doodling on a used napkin. He was nonchalant about the whole thing, drawing whatever amused him in that moment - kind of the same way teenage boys draw penises on bathroom stalls - expect this was Picasso, so his bathroom-stall penises were more like cubist/impressionist awesomeness laced on top of faint coffee stains.
Anyway, some woman sitting near him was looking on in awe. After a few moments, Picasso finished his coffee and crumpled up the napkin to throw away as he left. The woman stopped him. "Wait," she said. "Can I that napkin you were just drawing on? I'll pay for it."
"Sure," Picasso replied. "Twenty thousand dollars."
The woman's head jolted back as if he had just flung a brick at her. "What? It took you like two minutes to draw that."
"No, ma'am," Picasso said. "It took me over sixty years to draw this." He stuffed the napkin in his pocket and walked out of the cafe.
Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you've failed at something... (p. 150)
You could make plenty of money and be miserable, just as you could be broke and be pretty happy. Therefore, why use money as a means to treasure my self-worth? (p. 148)
Aristotle wrote: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." (p. 143)
As a general rule, we're all the world's worst observers of ourselves. When we're angry, or jealous, or upset, we're oftentimes the last ones to figure it out. And the only way to figure it out is to put cracks in our armor of certainty by consistently questioning how wrong we might be about ourselves. (p. 142)