Two Quotes from Søren Kierkegaard

I came across two quotes from Kierkegaard recently, from two very different sources. It was quite a coincidence, and I thought that it must have been a sign.

Here’s the first, which funnily enough came from a book on IT leadership, called A Seat at the Table, by Mark Schwartz:

If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never.

Schwartz had this quote at the top of a chapter on “IT requirements”, which, as he quite rightly points out, are more of a “work item”. Technically speaking, a “requirement” if not met should cause the project to fail or the business to fold. It is required after all.

But in his experience as it was in mine, that seldom is the case.

The second Kierkegaard quote I came across came just a day after the first. This time it was from an Alain de Botton talk, very baitingly-titled Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person. At the end of the talk, de Botton shares this quote:

Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.

This is, I think, one of the most de-stressing quotes I have ever come across.

Came at an important point in the talk too, given how half the audience (myself included) were in deep despair at probably having chosen the wrong mates.

Video of the de Botton talk below – starts at the quote, which he just says so beautifully…

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