Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Richard Carlson

American Author, Psychotherapist and Motivational Speaker best known for his book, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... and it's all Small Stuff"

"A more peaceful way to live is to decide consciously which battles are worth fighting and which are better left alone."

"Choose being kind over being right, and you'll be right every time."

"Have you ever noticed or thought about how little eye contact most of us have with strangers? Why? Are we afraid of them? What keeps us from opening our hearts to people we don't know?"

"If you choose your battles wisely, you'll be far more effective in winning those that are truly important."

"Compassion is something you can develop with practice. It involves two things: intention and action. Intention simply means you remember to open your heart to others; you expand what and who matters, from yourself to other people. Action is simply the "what you do about it.""

"I'm the first to admit that I always prefer approval over disapproval. It feels better and it's certainly easier to deal with. The more content I've become, however, the less I depend on it for my sense of well-being."

"I find that if I remind myself (frequently) that the purpose of life isn't to get it all done but to enjoy each step along the way and live a life filled with love, it's far easier for me to control my obsession with completing my list of things to do."

"Imagining yourself at your own funeral allows you to look back at your life while you still have the chance to make some important changes."

"Many people live as if life were a dress rehearsal for some later date. It isn't. In fact, no one has a guarantee that he or she will be here tomorrow. Now is the only time we have, and the only time that we have any control over. When our attention is in the present moment, we push fear from our minds."

"Judging others takes a great deal of energy and, without exception, pulls you away from where you want to be."

"I've yet to meet an absolute perfectionist whose life was filled with inner peace."

"Telling someone something that you like, admire, or appreciate about them is a "random act of kindness." It takes almost no effort (once you get used to it), yet it pays enormous dividends."

"One of the mistakes many of us make is that we feel sorry for ourselves, or for others, thinking that life should be fair, or that someday it will be. It's not and it won't. When we make this mistake we tend to spend a lot of time wallowing and/or complaining about what's wrong with life. 'It's not fair,' we complain, not realizing that, perhaps, it was never intended to be."

"When you are fearful or frantic, you literally immobilize yourself from your greatest potential, not to mention enjoyment. Any success you do have is despite your fear, not because of it."

"You have a choice in how you respond to life. You can learn to relate to your thinking as well as your circumstances in new ways. With practice, making these choices will translate into a more relaxed self."

"All the way up the river she's been holding back somehow, waiting. Now you'll both have to wait. I'm not going to disappoint her, Kit. When I take you on board the Witch, it's going to be for keeps."

"As our appreciation of happiness in relationship increases, we take notice of the things that tend to take us away from this feeling. One major catalyst taking us away is the need to be right. An opinion that is taken too seriously sets up conditions that must be met first before you can be happy. In relationships, this might sound like 'You must agree with or see my point of view in order for me to love and respect you.' In a more positive feeling state, this attitude would seem silly or harmful. We can disagree, even on important issues, and still love one another - when our own thought systems no longer have control over our lives and we see the innocence in our divergent points of view."

"Ask yourself: Is there any way I can become even more loving than I am? Can I fill my heart with more loving kindness? Can you, despite the fact that there are less than perfect people in our world, think loving thoughts about yourself and about others? Spread that love around as far as your mind will allow!"

"Ask yourself this question: Will this matter a year from now?"

"As you begin to eliminate your need for perfection in all areas of your life, you'll begin to discover the perfection in life itself"

"Being listened to and heard is one of the greatest desires of the human heart."

"Be Aware of the Snowball Effect of Your Thinking"

"Circumstances don't make a person; they reveal him or her."

"Do Something Nice for Someone Else "

"Don't sweat the small stuff...and it's all small stuff."

"Everyone I know, who has put positive feeling above being right on their priority list has come to see that differences of opinion will take care of themselves."

"Healing from a loss is a natural process of life "

"But it's never too late, or too early, to be happy -- a message Carlson wants everybody to listen to. There is a big payoff to learning to be happier... You handle your parents better, you handle your peer pressure, you handle life in general with a lot more equanimity, and it just gets to be a lot more fun."

"Effective listening is more than simply avoiding the bad habit of interrupting others while they are speaking or finishing their sentences. It's being content to listen to the entire thought of someone rather than waiting impatiently for your chance to respond."

"Every day, tell at least one person something you like, admire, or appreciate about them."

"I surrender to life as it is, not as it should be."

"If we could only live the way we know deep down we should, we would guarantee ourselves a life of richness & fulfillment."

"If, however, you take a moment to observe how you actually feel immediately after you criticize someone, you'll notice that you will feel a little deflated and ashamed, almost like you're the one who has been attacked. The reason this is true is that when we criticize, it's a statement to the world and to ourselves, I have a need to be critical. This isn't something we are usually proud to admit."

"If someone throws you the ball, you don"

"If we would just slow down, happiness would catch up to us."

"In the midst of that inner struggle, however, something begins to happen. There are the moments that are most resisted "

"Many people spend their entire lifetimes wishing that other people would acknowledge them. They feel this especially about their parents, spouses, children, and friends."

"Meanwhile, life keeps moving forward. The truth is, there's no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when?"

"It seems that we have it backward in our society. We tend to look up to people who are under a great deal of stress, who can handle loads of stress, and those who are under a great deal of pressure."

"Ironically, when you surrender your need to hog the glory, the attention you used to need from other people is replaced by a quiet inner confidence that is derived from letting others have it."

"I've got to tell you, the people in the neighborhood, they're looking for the wings."

"Learning to stop sweating the small stuff involves deciding what things to engage in and what things to ignore. From a certain perspective, life can be described as a series of mistakes, one right after another with a little space in between."

"Let Others Have the Glory"

"Let Go of the Idea that Gentle, Relaxed People Can't Be Super-achievers"

"Life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Nothing is ever good enough the way it is."

"Life is slowly passing us by. Without a genuine sense of enthusiasm, a zest for life, and a lighthearted spirit, we take our problems and obstacles too seriously. People are seen as burdens instead of gifts. Challenges are dreaded instead of seen as opportunities."

"Minding your own business includes [avoiding] eavesdropping, gossiping, talking behind other people s backs, and analyzing or trying to figure out other people."

"Mistakes are really not that big of a deal. in fact , as most of us acknowledge we need to make mistakes in order to learn and grow ."