“Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source.”

From: Avatar: The Last Airbender

Genre: Television and Cartoons

Who said it?: General Iroh

The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from Avatar: The Last Airbender, a cartoon series that aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. The story follows the adventures of AAng, the titular “last airbender,” to learn how to control, or “bend,” the four primal elements of air, water, earth and fire in order to become the Avatar.

The quote comes from the episode “Bitter Work.” General Iroh (voiced by Makoto “Mako” Iwamatsu), the uncle of Prince Zuko, who comes from the Fire Nation. Iroh decides to teach his nephew the art of lightning bending. Zuko is unable to learn it and gets frustrated. Iroh explains that his shame at himself is causing the anger that is stopping him from creating lightning. Zuko rebutts that he is actually still very proud. This is when Iroh delivers the quote.

Geek wisdom: Being too proud of oneself leads to overconfidence and can lead you to make disastrous errors. But being too prideful can also lead to not learning from those mistakes. Learn to own up to your mistakes and remember that you’re not perfect.

“My cabbages!”

From: Avatar: The Last Airbender

Genre: Television and Cartoons

Who said it?: The Cabbage Merchant

The story behind the quote: Now, this is a quote that is fairly recent and wasn’t even given by any of the main characters of the show. In fact, the person who delivers this quote doesn’t even have an official name as far as I know. However, he does say it a lot and I realized there is some wisdom you can get from those two simple words of despair he exclaims often.

The quote comes from Nickelodeon’s animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The series tells the story of Aang, the latest Avatar of the world and destined to bring peace and order to it. However, since he is just a child, he runs away because of the pressure of the role and gets encased in ice for a hundred years. That is, until two children from the Water Tribes, siblings Katara and Sokka, release him from his icy tomb. The two help Aang try to fulfill his destiny of mastering bending of all four elements (water, earth, fire and air) while being pursued by the exiled prince of the Fire Nation, Prince Zuko.

Like I said, the quote comes not from any of those characters that I mentioned but from a man simply known as The Cabbage Merchant. He pops in a lot of episodes, trying to sell and trade his produce by something always happens to them, which is why he always delivers the quote out of anguish.

Geek wisdom: Life can be full of misfortune and disappointment. This is displayed very prominently by the cabbage guy from the show as it seems to be whenever he encounters Aang and company, his harvested cabbages get devastated. However, it’s how you persist after these hardships that prove yourself as a person.

While the first series never really showed what happened to the cabbage merchant, the sequel to the series, The Legend of Korra shows that the cabbage vendor created his own company and his son is now prosperous because of it. If he didn’t pick himself up after all of the hardship he went through, the cabbage vendor wouldn’t have been able to build a successful company.