First-Rate Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 33 quotes )
We all have a vast number of areas in which we have no talent or skill and little chance of becoming even mediocre. In those areas a knowledge workers should not take on work, jobs and assignments. It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.
It seems to me like this. It's not a terrible thing - I mean, it may be terrible, but it's not damaging, it's not poisoning, to do something one wants. It's not bad to say: My work is not what I really want, I'm capable of doing something bigger. Or I'm a person who needs love, and I'm doing without it. What's terrible is to pretend that the second rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better, It would be very bad i I said, out of guilt or something: I loved Janet's father, when i know quite well I didn't. Or for your mother to say: I loved Richard. Or I'm doing work I love....
Never look back, that's what she's told herself. Don't think about swans or being alone in the dark. Don't think of storms, or lightning and thunder, or the true love you won't ever have. Life is brushing your teeth and making breakfast for your children and not thinking about things, and as it turns out, Sally is first-rate at all of this. She gets things done and done on time.
There! it had come –the moment– the geste! And although I was so ready, it caught me; it tumbled me over; I was simply overwhelmed. And the physical feeling was so curious, so particular. It was as if all of me, except my head and arms, all of me that was under the table, had simply dissolved, melted, turned into water. Just my head remained and two stick of arms pressing on to the table. But, ah! the agony of that moment! How can I describe it? I didn’t think of anything. I didn’t even cry out to myself. Just for one moment I was not. I was Agony, Agony, Agony. Then it passed, and the very second after I was thinking: ‘Good God! Am I capable of feeling as strongly as that? But I was absolutely unconscious! I hadn’t a phrase to meet it with! I was overcome! I was swept off my feet! I didn’t even try, in the dimmest way, to put it down!’ And up I puffed and puffed, blowing off finally with: ‘After all I must be first-rate. No second-rate mind could have experienced such an intensity of feeling so… purely.
It is often difficult, I find, for people today to grasp the notion that one family, working through several restaurants could change the eating habit of an entire country. But such was the achievement of the Delmonicos in the United States of the last century. Before they opened their first small cafe on William Street in 1823, catering to the business and financial communities of Lower Manhattan, American food could generally be described as things boiled or fried whose purpose was to sustain hard work and hold down alcohol - usually bad alcohol. The Delmonicos, though Swiss, had brought the French method to America, and each generation of their family refined an expanded the experience ... The craving for first-rate dining became a kind of national fever in the latter decades of the century - and Delmonico's was responsible.
Why is it that at a bachelor's establishment the servants invariably drink the champagne? I ask merely for information. I attribute it to the superior quality of the wine, sir. I have often observed that in married households the champagne is rarely of a first-rate brand. Good Heavens! Is marriage so demoralizing as that? I believe it is a very pleasant state, sir. I have had very little experience of it myself up to the present. I have only been married once. That was in consequence of a misunderstanding between myself and a young person.
There are two visions of America a half century from now. One is of a society more divided between the haves and the have-nots, a country in which the rich live in gated communities, send their children to expensive schools, and have access to first-rate medical care. Meanwhile, the rest live in a world marked by insecurity, at best mediocre education, and in effect rationed health carethey hope and pray they don't get seriously sick. At the bottom are millions of young people alienated and without hope. I have seen that picture in many developing countries; economists have given it a name, a dual economy, two societies living side by side, but hardly knowing each other, hardly imagining what life is like for the other. Whether we will fall to the depths of some countries, where the gates grow higher and the societies split farther and farther apart, I do not know. It is, however, the nightmare towards which we are slowly marching.
Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observatio? the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the "impossible," come true.
A first-rate college library with a comfortable campus around it is a fine milieu for a writer. There is, of course, the problem of educating the young. I remember how once, between terms, not at Cornell, a student brought a transistor set with him into the reading room. He managed to state that one, he was playing “classical” music; that two, he was doing it “softly”; and that three, “there were not many readers around in summer.” I was there, a one-man multitude.
However, Nick acted as much as possible under the circumstances, and that was rectifying? it brought with it enjoyment and a working faith. He had not gone counter to the axiom that in a case of doubt one was to hold off; for that applied to choice, and he had not at present the slightest pretension to choosing. He knew he was lifted along, that what he was doing was not first-rate, that nothing was settled by it and that if there was essentially a problem in his life it would only grow tougher with keeping. But if doing one's sum to-morrow instead of to-day does not make the sum easier it at least makes to-day so.
But there's this one difference: one is gold put to the use of paving-stones, and the other is tin polished to ape a service of silver. Mine has nothing valuable about it; yet I shall have the merit of making it go as far as such poor stuff can go. His had first-rate qualities, and they are lost, rendered worst than unavailing.