The Four Doors is an easy read but goes deep with its intended message on the essential insights into those traits and characteristics that can produce joy in one’s life if embraced.
I have read some of his books over the years and have enjoyed every one. Richard’s philosophy on life and the pursuit of happiness is closely aligned with my beliefs which make it easy for me to identify with his thoughts and value systems.
My ten favorite quotes from The Four Doors by Richard Paul Evans, (2013) are as follows:
Quotes cited from “The Four Doors” follow this format: (Page Number)
1. Almost without exception, history’s greatest achievers held a highly developed sense of personal mission. Nearly every one of them believed that their life had a purpose–that they had something of importance to share with the world. (25)
Comment: Like anything in life, we must have a purpose or the activity is pointless. Whether it is reading, working, playing, serving others, etc., we should have a purpose for what it is we are doing… life is so much fuller and more satisfying when we do.
2. I believe that in order to fulfill our life mission it is vital that we ask for Divine assistance in our lives. There is tremendous power in desire and the unseen powers of divinity that affect our lives and are oftentimes just waiting for us to ask for their aid. I believe these forces must wait for our request because they are bound by the law of free will and cannot intervene in our lives until we exercise our will and request their assistance. (32, 33)
Comment: To quote Ezra Taft Benson on prayer, “It has become an integral part of me, an anchor, a constant source of strength, and the basis for my knowledge of things divine.” I firmly believe in the power of prayer and have experienced the benefits of it in my life on numerous occasions.”
3. A change in the paradigm is uncomfortable precisely because it is changed. Change requires that we confront the mystery. And humans only like mysteries printed in books. But, only in mystery do we find the excitement and awe of discovery. Only in mystery can we truly experience life. Even love itself is a foray into a mystery. (46)
Comment: I’m not afraid of change. However, like most people, I don’t like it because I usually lose someone or something that I have become familiar with. That makes me sad and sometimes broken-hearted.
Greatness vs. Fame
4. I have found that some people, in searching for a meaningful life, have confused greatness with fame. More important than being known is being of value. The great impact of a loving parent may shake nations. One can only wonder how different the world would be had Adolf Hitler been raised by two kind, happy, and loving parents. Likewise, the spark lit (or extinguished) by a caring and wise teacher may have saved the world more than once. To be of value to others is a far greater ambition than the vain hope for the world’s fleeting applause and fickle admiration. In the end, it is better to be loved by one person who knows your soul than a million people who don’t even know your phone number. (52, 53)
Comment: How true this sentiment is! Some of the greatest people I know are only known by relatively few.
5. Paradigm. Victimhood. Fear. Since these three cages exist entirely in our minds, it may seem that it is entirely up to us to liberate ourselves from ourselves. (94)
Comment: I have experienced this idea first hand in my life. Many of my fears, about life or other people, just didn’t exist as I later found out.
6. The second step to magnifying our lives is the by-product of escaping the cage of fear. Take risks. Life, by definition, is a risk. I am grateful for the great risks I have taken in my life–even the ones that ended up badly. (103, 104)
Comment: That’s right, simply take the risk. What is the worst that can happen? As the great Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” So, take the shot!
7. In the end, there is no earthly award, medal, resume, or bank account large enough to impress God–only an accounting of how we loved His children. I believe, as Socrates wrote, that it is only through love that we approach the Divine. (125)
Comment: My only thought here has to do with the great two commandments in the New Testament (Matthew 22:34-40). Without love involved is some measure, everything else we do is less meaningless.
8. The form of love I’m describing is something much surer and better. It is something much holier. It is not as much about desiring a person as it is to desire their well-being, their physical, mental, and spiritual growth. Metaphorically, this form of love is not the beautiful, briefly blooming rosebud, but its thorny stem–the flower’s protection and source of all nourishment and life. This love is selfless in that it frees the ego from narcissism and the constant clamoring of me, me, me… Sadly, for some, this type of love might be hard to comprehend or even believe in, but it does exist. I’ve experienced it. I’ve seen it in my wife and children. I’ve seen it in my friends. I’ve seen it in my better self. (127, 128)
Comment: Ditto! However, I am sad to say that it has taken me over 50 years to experience and understand this type of love… that love called charity by Moroni in the Book of Mormon (Moroni 7:45-48). I have known it intellectually for many years, but–until recently–have never experienced in my heart so as to understand more fully and appreciate the scope and depth of its implications, purpose, and meaning. Good news… now I know! It is truly wanting more than anything, even more than for oneself, the well-being of another–in all aspects–without anticipating or expecting anything in return. With that said, I have by no means mastered it… I have a long, long way to go. I am just beginning this journey and am grateful to be on this path. Fortunately, I have a great role model to guide me along the way… my wife. She lives on a much higher plane of existence than anyone I know where love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness come naturally to her… at least it looks that way because she makes it look so easy.
9. Love is hands-on, on-the-job training. We improve love through the work and practice of love. We develop love through service. (135)
Comment: And to add a personal observation to this thought… judging, criticizing, and constantly comparing oneself to other’s accomplishments and material possessions is a love killer. I fight these temptations every day and they are hard to let go of sometimes. That is why the quest to practice love is not easy and must be worked on each day as I am finding out. After all, are we presumptuous enough to think the most powerful force in the universe would be easy to master?
Learning How to Love
10. We didn’t come to this earth to make a name for ourselves just so time could erase it. We didn’t come here to compile material possessions just so they could be parceled off and quibbled over at our deaths. We came to learn how to love… In creating our love-centered maps, we must recognize that love is more than our destination–it’s the back roads and byways, the high-speed expressway and the peaks and valleys. It’s everything. There are no detours. There are no shortcuts. Love is the destination and the journey. Love is the way. (137, 138)
Comment: Amen. The above echos my same sentiments and attitude relative to love.
Images – Post image (left to right – top to bottom): “The Mogador door” by mhobl is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0/blended and re-sized, “Red Door in the Cotswolds” by UGArdener licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0/blended and re-sized, “Old door” by dynamosquito licensed CC BY-SA 2.0/blended and re-sized, and “Valetta door” by Christian Stock licensed under CC BY 2.0/blended and re-sized.
Quotes – Evans, R. (2013). The Four Doors. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.