"The Devil in your head knows how to destroy your self-esteem. The Devil will play cards with you until your self-esteem is destroyed. The Devil will try to get you to fold. But when your self-esteem reaches a high enough level, the Devil folds and then goes away."
"You are the program that runs your mind. I am the program that runs my mind. You and me got to monitor these programs and guard against negative thinking."
"The Devil plays cards with lots of people every day. He doesn't quit or fold easily, but occasionally he has to. I know I have a good future, but I can't say the same for humanity in general because people don't esteem themselves highly anymore."
"I have found the best way to learn about one's self is by curiosity and by solitude. In other words, people need to get out, but they also need to go within. So, the way we get out is through curiosity that leads us to engage in a trial and error approach. The way we go within is through reflection and solitude. Without getting out in the world and trying new things with a calculated approach, and without going within, we can't know ourselves enough to build true self-esteem."
"People are good teachers. We need to be around people. It is good to be around all kinds of people-- rich people, educated people, street-smart people, religious folk and non-religious folk. People are a big source of inspiration for me. I find people to be very, very interesting. Everyone has a valuable life story. A wild life story, a dull life story, or a life story that is full of misery can be equally interesting. There's a reason why people do what they do, and discovering this reason is like discovering gold. But the best discovery of all is the gold you discover inside yourself."
"You can't beat the Devil at his game. You can only transcend the game itself. If you try to beat the Devil at his game, you'll lose every time. And what is his game? To stalk you and destroy your self-esteem is the Devil's game."
"Fighting the Devil is like fighting a pig in a deep and muddy pit. You won't win. You will only get muddy and exhausted and trampled upon and quit. In the end you will say, 'Gee, what the hell just happened to me? Oh, I know what happened. I fought a big pig in his own pit, his own domain. What a fool I was. How do I clean the mud off me now?'"
"If you join the Devil's team, he'll betray you. If you fight against the Devil, you'll always lose. If you expose the Devil, he will try to expose you. If you transcend the Devil, he'll disappear and leave you alone."
“There’s no other reason a college-educated man would do what I did with the role models I had, other than to immerse myself in life like I did. It's my Persian flaw."
"Everyone was born to do something, and most people can do multiple things well. So the way to build self-esteem is to build confidence by doing the little things you know how to do or were born to do. And do them over and over again until you get really good at them."
"Trying to be popular or fit in with the crowd will not help you build self-esteem. You may feel accepted for a little while but later on you'll feel empty. If you follow the crowd, the crowd will eventually ditch you. The best way to look at crowds is this way: the crowd is in your mind--there is no crowd. But if you can't think this way, then another way to look at crowds is to realize there are ten thousand crowds out there, and these crowds are like crowds of zombies led by a few intelligent zombies. Do you really want to join the crowd? You'll become a zombie if you do."
The author in a 383 square foot H.U.D. studio apartment, courtesy of Uncle Sam.