I read of these in a post by Fr Z yesterday. For the full context, do go read:
Being as “cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves” without losing dignity, honor, and self-respect.
But I just want to re-post of the Gracián maxims, for they seem especially wise:
Maxims of Baltasar Gracián
- In your affairs, create suspense.
- The height of perfection.
- Don’t arouse excessive expectations from the start.
- Never exaggerate.
- Never lose your self-respect.
- Never lose your composure.
- Don’t be uneven, or inconsistent in your actions:
- Choose a heroic model, more to emulate than to imitate.
- Understand yourself:
- Don’t hang around to be a setting sun.
- Get used to the bad temperaments of those you deal with, like getting used to ugly faces.
- Never complain.
- Avoid familiarity when dealing with people.
- Know how to appreciate.
- Undertake what’s easy as if it were hard, and what’s hard as if it were easy.
- Take a joke, but don’t make someone the butt of one.
- Carry things through.
- Don’t be carried away by the last person you meet.
- Go with the flow, but not beyond decency.
- Act as though always on view.