A List

2757569A list of my favourite extracts from L’art de la Liste, as mentioned in my most recent post. Italics are my comments, ditto any bold emphases  🙂

Also please note I did not read this in the original French. I took my French Higher back in 1978 and have managed to forget it all since then!

  • [M]aking systems is a way to make meaning, to back up your memory, to refresh it, and to live in a more intense way.
  • The list is the most concise form of expression available to us. But, paradoxically, its elliptical nature allows us to be as exhaustive as possible.
  • Do it, don’t procrastinate. (Doing nothing is the most time-consuming thing in the world. Doing things takes far less time.)
  • If you make lists, you’ll only have to update them. [not start afresh every time]
  • What a shame it is to lose the memory of certain meals. Generally, we don’t write down what we eat, even if we keep a diary, and yet special meals can form some of the best moments of our lives. Recording the place, the food, the wine and the people present is a way of rekindling these exceptional memories. [better than taking a photograph of your food; probably]
  • Make a list of what needs to be done in each room. This will help you psychologically. You’ll have so much more energy in a tidy, well-kept room. Time spent on housework is never wasted, whatever some people may think. [that would be me]
  • In order to get to know yourself better, and to preserve the ‘traces’ of yourself – which is better than keeping objects or photos – make your own ‘almanac’. The best way to do this is by keeping lists. We are one and we are multitudes. We are our true self, and we are the different selves we become in the presence of others, according to who they are and where we are…
  • For your next birthday, why not write yourself a list of all the things you would rather never do again. Self-awareness comes with age, but so too does the knowledge that we won’t live forever.
  • It is therefore wise only to write down what you want to happen, not what you don’t want to happen, because to write is to change the course of events.
  • In difficult times – in times of tension and crisis, whether personal or public – the most important thing is to remain centred and to keep your calm. Not to allow yourself to be influenced or swept away by circumstances, however dramatic these may be, or by negative energies or emotions. This is by no means an easy task. But in trying times, turn inward. 
  • By gaining greater awareness, you will be able to do what you want with your thoughts, with your days and with your life. This power is lying dormant inside you. You can awaken it by making lists.
  • […] the most important books aren’t the ones we read. They’re the ones we reread
  • But whatever the subject of our lists, the most important thing is always to keep them.

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