On bad habits:

"You have to learn to live with them. It's in all of us. There can be acceptable addictions, but they're still addictions. Whether it's to sex or whatever, you have to learn to not be obsessive."


On change:

“Nobody likes to change. And there’s only one thing consistently true. There will be change, and that’s just the dilemma of it. There will always be resistance to change, and there always will be change. And the quicker you get to that, the easier it is. It’s not such a difficult thing. If you entrench yourself and go, 'By God, I will not change. I will not have this.' Then, you’re a dead man. We’re great at adaptability. It’s our strongest suit. It’s not 18-inch arms. That doesn’t do anything for us.”


On divorce:

“It results in very rich lawyers. Believe me, a divorce lawyer is not about trying to solve your divorce. I did one that was just brilliant. I wrote down everything we owned on a big blackboard and split it in half. That’s the way we did it! That was by far the most successful one. There was money left over.”


On facing fear:

“To allow the fear to come on you and then pass through. If you keep cutting the fear off by intervening – let's say, taking a Xanax to try to cure it – you'll never understand what fear is really for. Fear is part of a survival mechanism. The way you conquer fear is to feel it all the way, and then you'll find out that there's nothing there – it's just emotion.”


On happiness:

“Somewhere along the line, we forget that we have the capability of being happy anytime we want. It becomes, ‘You will be happy if you get this,’ or ‘You will be happy if you achieve this.’ Also when we’re babies everything is a revelation, it’s almost a religious revelation. And there are thoughts that intoxication is related to trying to recreate that state. There’s a whole group of scientists that think that. They think that intoxication is an attempt to do that. When you think about that, it mistake, makes sense to try to recreate that.”


On the role of religion:

“An important part – not the religion itself but the feeling of something larger than ourselves, something that connects us to the spiritual realm. Gardening taught me a lot about this. You have to understand that for you to live, life had to change: The vegetables and plants that you've grown have made a pact, made a deal with you to keep them alive. Everything adapted to you. That's a Nolteism.”


On scars:

“My mother said that a man is not a man unless he has a scar on his face. And what she meant by a scar was some kind of battle that you had to go through, whether it was psychological or physical. To her, a scar was actually beautiful and not something that marred you.”


On peace:

“I’ve been searching my whole life for peace. I’ve strived my entire life to be peaceful. We start out our lives as babies, perfectly content and perfectly fulfilled. Somewhere along the line—the only time we have problems is when the pin sticks us—and if you’ve ever listened to a baby they don’t really cry, it’s a series of howls and yells. It’s very different.”


On life:

“Don't fight – give up. I don't mean to give up in a bad way, just that it doesn't have to always be your way.”