Making Your Attitude

“Men and boys are learning all kinds of trades but how to make men of themselves. They learn to make houses; but they are not so well housed, they are not so contented in their houses, as the woodchucks in their holes.  What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on? — If you cannot tolerate the planet that it is on?  Grade the ground first.  If a man believes and expects great things of himself, it makes no odds where you put him, or what you show him … he will be surrounded by grandeur.  He is in the condition of a healthy and hungry man, who says to himself, — How sweet this crust is!”

Henry David Thoreau, Letter to Harrison Blake 20 May 1860; emphasis added, published in Familiar Letters 1865.

https://mercuriuspoliticus.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/448px-formschneider-1568.png

“The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise”

WaldenScan

However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden