Quotes & Notes

Last night’s (or should I say early this morning’s) post about the verse from Proverbs got me thinking about the other quotes I really like. So I’m going to borrow from my Next Level page and re-post something I’d written several months ago. It’s a series of quotes I have posted on my workstation at home (and at the office when I worked in insurance), followed by my interpretation of each one.

I’ll start out with the funny ones so I can set a tone before getting sappy ; )


  • If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise
    • Pretty self- explanatory lol
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
    • Right?!?!
  • If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
    • Who, me? No, that must’ve been someone else who did that.
  • “Everything is scarier when it’s green. Look at Broccoli vs Cauliflower.
    • Epic wisdom if I ever heard it.

Okay okay let’s get serious.

  • He who wanders with purpose has no purpose to wander.– John Turturro
    • Funny story, I actually got this from a Heineken commercial. But it makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Particularly in my generation, we feel so confused about what we want to do so we feel like we’re just wandering aimlessly. For those that figure out their purpose, this feeling vanishes. It wasn’t until three months ago that I solved this one, and it was only thanks to Mom.
  • “There are no facts, only interpretations” -Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Perhaps one of the more cynical philosophers, but I do like this one particular thing he said. So much of our world is perceived through our own interpretation of things. Especially in regard to interpersonal relationships. The intentions of others frequently become so convoluted after they’ve been filtered through our own interpretations, leading to misunderstandings. So always being aware of this can really help your communication skills.
  • “Nothing will be accomplished with idle hands”  – unknown
    • Pretty self-explanatory, but if you want to get anything done…then do it. That simple.
  • “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” [Proverbs 23:7]
    • Refer to the previous blog entry for an entire post on this one topic
  • “An economist is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” – George Bernard Shaw
    • I was an Econ major at Vandy, so this one speaks to me. It reminds me of our society’s infatuation with profit and materialism. We really need to start considering the human value of things rather than the monetary value of them.
  • “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more; you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
    • Sort of what I’m going for in life.
  • “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier
    • Keep on grinding. It’ll work out eventually.
  • “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” – Paul Valery
    • Amen to that. Its so easy to sit by idly and wait for success to fall into our laps. Despite that being our dreams, unfortunately that’s not our reality. It takes work and dedication.
  • “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” – Vince Lombardi
    • Very true. The vast majority of people really don’t vary all that much in terms of skills and abilities. The primary component of success is your drive. How much you care about making it. That one characteristic will dictate everything that follows. If you care enough to succeed, you simply keep trying until you do.
  • “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus
    • For those who don’t follow philosophy, Epictetus is widely known as one of the pioneers of stoicism – the notion that negative thoughts and emotions directed towards uncontrollable circumstance are self-destructive. He was the perfect example of this. As a slave, he had every reason to hate the world. Yet he maintained a positive outlook on life, and found a way to make the best of the hand he was dealt, eventually becoming a staple in philosophical history books. We need to be more like this, and stop complaining about everything. Our society today has grown such a soft shell, and its time we change that. I strongly encourage you to pick up his work if you have the time and inclination.
  • “Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.” – La Bruyere
    • Perhaps a cynical approach to life, but a useful one nonetheless. I’ve learned that separating logic and emotion has enabled me to control my reactions to things in the vast majority of situations.
  • “The ends justify the means.” – Machiavelli
    • Before you raise an eyebrow on this one, allow me to explain. I’m not saying the traditional Machiavellian belief of doing literally whatever it takes to succeed is okay – its not (if that involves a detriment to another person). But I DO interpret this statement as one that helps us cope with and justify all of the pain and stress we deal with on our journey to succeed. It may suck now, but in the end you’ll look back and say it was all worth it.
  • “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton
    • This has always been one of my favorites. In our constant strife to be different, we often overlook the work that others have already accomplished. By adopting the work or progress of others, and then building upon that, we can accomplish SO much more than if we were to do things our own way. Its okay to not know it all – no one does.
  • “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
    • Another self-explanatory one. Knowing what your dreams are in the first place make it much easier to make them your reality. So if you still struggle to figure this out, that’s a good starting point. Imagine what you want in the end (i.e. what your dreams are), then start taking the steps to get there.
  • “The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret to outward success.” – Henry Ward Beecher
    • Lastly, this. We all dream. We all have brilliant ideas and aspirations. But we don’t all convert these things to tangible efforts. When you really think about it, life should be much simpler than we make it. If you have an idea or goal – then do it! Simple as that.

Anyway, these are just a few of my favorite collections of words that escaped the mouths of some of history’s greatest minds. In the end, our lives will become whatever we make them become. Maintaining awareness of this is the key to accomplishing whatever it is we want to accomplish.


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