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Week of 5/6/18


PUBLISHED: May 15, 2018

In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do.

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1.

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. Self-confidence leads to self-realization and successful achievement. Because of the importance of this mental attitude, this book will help you believe in yourself and release your inner powers. 

It is appalling to realize the number of pathetic people who are hampered and made miserable by the malady popularly called the inferiority complex. But you need not suffer from this trouble. When proper steps are taken, it can be overcome. You can develop creative faith in yourself – faith that is justified. 

An effective method for making your subconscious positive in character is to eliminate certain expressions of thought and speech which we may call the “little negatives.” These so-called “little negatives” clutter up the average person’s conversation, and while each one is seemingly unimportant in itself, the total effect of these attitudes is to condition the mind negatively. When this thought of “little negatives” first occurred to me, I began to analyze my own conversational habits and was shocked by what I found.  

Office Manager Laura Plaia
Excerpt from The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

2.

I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.

Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.

A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.

Editorial Intern Anna Weigang
Excerpt from Rising Strong by Brené Brown 

3.

Saying the word “Juul” in front of a group of young people with spending money is like dropping an everything bagel into a flock of pigeons in a public park. A sophomore, overhearing our conversation, showed me his Juul: it had “Fuck Off” scratched into one side and “Work Harder” on the other. He was from Colorado, where in the summer, he said, you can drive around Juuling with your windows down and girls in passing cars will go, “Wooo!! Juul!!” The Juul is the “devil’s stick,” he said. “I hit it from the moment I wake up to the moment I can’t go to sleep, and keep Juuling.” But at least he was better off than his friend, he said, who had spent $999.46 on pods this year.

While high-school Juuling has prompted local-news horror stories, college Juuling has inspired work in a different genre: the satirical essay. In January, a junior at Cornell named Jason Jeong published a newspaper column called “The Juul Manifesto.” (“A spectre is haunting Cornell—the spectre of the Juul.”) He argued that the Juul represents his generation’s “tech-savvy ingenuity when it comes to making bad decisions.” Over the phone, Jason, who grew up in California, told me that he first tried Juul in 2016. “Someone pulls one out at a party, and naturally the question is ‘Can I try it?,’ and then after ‘Can I try it?’ five or six times you end up buying your own, and, soon enough, you’re breathing in more Juul than air.”

Executive Editor Allison Wright
Excerpt from “The Vapors,” The New Yorker, Jia Tolentino, May 2018

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