Algimantas Čekuolis

Writer, journalist, television host

Photo credits: Tomas Adomavičius

Intelligence is not overestimating, but improving, the self.

Algimantas Čekuolis

My happiest moment was when the Sąjūdis movement really came to life – with the first meeting, the second… I saw a unified Lithuania. Can you imagine a country, a nation, where there is no opposing current, where everyone is looking forward in the same direction? It was like falling in love for the first time.

Working at LRT is my weekly connection with Lithuania. People grow used to seeing you as part of their home life, recognize your face, and over twenty years get so acquainted with you that they consider you almost like a family member.

My inspiration is my country, and the people of the world.

I will never stop moving because if you ever stop, your muscles atrophy. And if we’re referring to stopping intellectually, then it’s exactly the same: the mind gets slow.

I understand that it is important to train your will, and since I was fifteen years old, I’ve never failed to exercise for at least twenty minutes every morning. Your conscious mind can train your will but you can’t control your subconscious, and that’s why I have to trick it, to force it to work. How? I always plan ahead, and even now I know what I’ll do next year, and the year after that – even though I’m 84 years old.

Knowing foreign languages is a great pleasure, and learning them is just as pleasurable as knowing. They help to develop the mind. And once you know one, all the others come more readily.

I believe that true happiness in life is conquering your weaknesses and turning them into strengths.

When I look at the youth of today, I don’t envy them, because I know that their lives will be challenging.

I don’t believe that it is possible or necessary to relive your life. It would be much too complicated.

Choosing the right occupation was easy for me; I knew from the very start that I wanted to be a writer. Our school on the farm received books and packages of various things from the USA – and in the library of our school we had magazines and newspapers from independent Lithuania that I would read and study. This was what began it all for me and why I never even posed the question, “What will I do?” because I knew that there was no other profession for me than the press.

What people often underestimate is freedom, because freedom is like the air you breathe, and you only begin to value it once it is lost. That’s why I think Lithuania holds freedom in such high regard, because it experienced what it was to be without it. Nothing is more important than freedom.

If you are going to write something, read some good literature the night before.

Algimantas Čekuolis

One thing I will never forget is my first encounter with the free world in 1956. At that time I was still a Soviet sailor, and our first stop was at the German “Brunsbuttel” harbor. The people’s faces are what I remember most. It may seem like nothing now, but they were calm, without any inner demons troubling them. But I think this is something that may be hard for westerners to understand.

I believe that people often forget that personal progress needs to be ongoing. You can’t stand in one place. If you don’t move forward, you’ll be left behind.

Women are the best part of humanity.

What I’ve learned during my time as a sailor: you must never think that the present situation is so bad that it can’t get worse. No, if you think that way it always ends badly

I think that the most important thing in life is to never lose your self-respect.

I am happy with simple things, such as fresh food, fresh air, the quiet of the woods, and a fishing rod with a bobber that has just dipped below the water.

If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t.

People always think that someone else has to do something for them or give them something – but this is a modern notion. Kids have to be shown an example, but you also have to let them experience things on their own; the harder the job, the riskier it is, the better it is as a lesson.

The recipe for writing a good book is to have something to say to people.

No matter what you do, always try to do it better than you yourself are accustomed to doing it. If you really focus, if you find that time of the day when your brain is most efficient, you will be successful.

You cannot plan things like death.

A good journalist needs to be unfailingly curious and interested in everything.

From time to time, I am lazy. I really like to relax. The best time of the day, in Scandinavian mythology, is called “the hour of the wolf,” from about three to five in the morning. If I wake up during this time, half conscious, my mind drifts freely, brings forth new ideas and formed sentences – but it’s impossible to leap, suddenly, from your bed to write them down, because to do so would be to lose their charm, their narrative.

The most valuable thing one can have is health and imagination.

Algimantas Čekuolis

You should never say never.

Religion is a subject I usually avoid talking about. It’s something that is so deeply personal that I can’t compare it with anything.

I would love to be 10cm taller. I have everything else that I could want.

One thing we all have in common is the fear of death, jealousy, and an attraction to the opposite sex.

Intelligence is not overestimating, but improving, the self.

To be very honest, I’m happy with the life that Algimantas Čekuolis has lived.

I love my country – but this doesn’t mean that I hold a bad opinion of, or am unable to love, others. The only unloved country is one that is not yet known.

As the years go by, your needs lessen and you can focus on other things.

Every day I try to learn something new, at least one thing.

The truth is that so far, no one has invented something better than life itself.

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