Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.
His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.You appear to be astonished, he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.To forget it!You see, he explained, I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.But the Solar System! I protested.What the deuce is it to me? he interrupted impatiently: you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.This is Watson describing one of his earliest conversations with Sherlock Holmeshttp://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DoyScar.html
Said the little boy, Sometimes I drop my spoon.Said the little old man, I do that too.The little boy whispered, I wet my pants.I do too, laughed the old man.Said the little boy, I often cry.The old man nodded. So do I.But worst of all, said the boy, it seemsGrown-ups don't pay attention to me.And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.I know what you mean, said the little old man.
I asked the zebra,Are you black with white strips?Or white with black strips?And the zebra asked me,Are you good with bad habits?Or are you bad with good habits?Are you noisy with quiet times?Or are you quiet with noisy times?Are you happy with sad days?Or are you sad with happy days?Are you neat with some sloppy ways?Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?And on and on and on and onAnd on and on he went.I'll never ask a zebraAbout stripesAgain.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.