Saturday, October 18, 2008

Curious about Moderation: How Do You Feel About It? Do You Think We Should Practice Moderation in All Areas, or Not at All?

Avoid moderation in all things.” – Tom Peters, American businessman and writer. This was the first quotation I saw today, when I turned over the page in my desk calendar. I have enjoyed and learned from this daily Tom Peters’ calendar with sayings from his book, Re-imagine!

And, as you can witness, I have also been inspired by him.

I was especially turned on by today’s quotation, because, frankly, I have become tired of hearing others admonish, “Success is practicing moderation in all things.” I have never been comfortable with moderation.

For examples: I gave birth to five children (and wanted more), I teach twelve fitness classes a week, I have many different careers as part of my “Portfolio Career,” I read several books at a time along with taking several classes at the same time, and always am working on several different projects. I admit that I could be labeled an “obsessive multi-tasker.”

When I started searching for quotations to include in this blog, I found two types and flavors. I will start with those who generally agree with Peters:
  • Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.” - W. Somerset Maugham, British playwright
  • Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist
  • Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.” - Anne Sexton, American poet
  • Moderation is the feebleness and sloth of the soul, whereas ambition is the warmth and activity of it.” - Francois de La Rochefoucauld, French writer
  • Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” - Barry Goldwater, American politician
  • A little more moderation would be good. Of course, my life hasn't exactly been one of moderation.” - Donald Trump, American businessman
  • Moderation has been called a virtue to limit the ambition of great men, and to console undistinguished people for their want of fortune and their lack of merit.” - Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman

Then, there are those who champion moderation:

  • The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.” – Plato, Greek philosopher
  • I'll be 65 in September and I work as much as I want to, take cruises with Kay, relax with my family, do everything in moderation, because I want to enjoy my life.” - Frankie Avalon, American actor
  • Be moderate in everything, including moderation.” - Horace Porter, American soldier
  • Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and total abstinence from the things that are foul.” - Frances E. Willard, American activist
  • Candor and generosity, unless tempered by due moderation, leads to ruin.” – Tacitus, Roman Historian
  • In order to grow old, you have to experience everything, but in moderation.” - Compay Segundo, Cuban musician

Finally, there are some that express both sides:

Moderation is the inseparable companion of wisdom, but with it genius has not even a nodding acquaintance.” - Charles Caleb Colton, English writer

Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.” - Thomas Paine, English writer

So, which are you? Do you practice moderation in all things, or only some? What is working for you?

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