Maxims of Baltasar Gracián

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.

 

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About Fr Stephen Smuts
TAC Priest in South Africa.

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