Second place is just the first place loser.
Successful people appear to be traveling along one continual, successful road. What is not apparent is the perseverance it takes following each defeat to keep you on that road. No one I know of has ever experienced one success after another without defeats, failures, disappointments, and frustrations galore along the way. Learning to overcome those times of agony is what separates the winners from the losers.
The world is a different place in this new century, [...]. And we are a different people. My visions still come but no one listens any longer to what they tell us, what they warn us. I knew even as a young woman that destruction bred on the horizon. [...] War touches everyone, and windigos spring from the earth.
Her body accepted my brutal seed and took it to swell within, just as the patient earth accepts a falling fruit into its tender soil to cradle and nourish it to grow. Came a time, just springtime last, our infant child pushed through the fragile barrier of her womb. Her legs branched out, just as the wood branches out from these eternal trees around us; but she was not hardy as they. My wife groaned with blood and ceased to breathe. Aye!, a scornful eve that bred the kind of pain only a god can withstand.
God did not create man in his own image. Evidently, it was quite the other way about, which is the painless explanation for the profusion of gods and religions, and the fratricide both between and among faiths, that we see all about us and that has so retarded the development of civilization.
Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.
We are biological creatures. We are born, we live, we die. There is no transcendent purpose to existence. At best we are creatures of reason, and by using reason we can cure ourselves of emotional excess. Purged of both hope and fear, we find courage in the face of helplessness, insignificance and uncertainty.