If you have read any of the five weblog entries I have scribed to date or been around me for longer than a day, you can attest to my fondness for quotes. They have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember.
As a young boy in the 1960s, I recall being mesmerized by President Kennedy’s call “Ask not what you country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” many years before I really truly understood the significance of his challenge. Likewise, I found Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” proclamation stirring long before I could really fully grasp the totality of the injustices that inspired his call to action.
Since then, my appreciation for quotes has grown with the years. The older I get, the more my narratives – be they verbal or written – are sprinkled and peppered with sayings, maxims, adages, aphorisms and precepts; some wise, others whimsical; many astute, a few obtuse; both eloquent and conversely, dispassionate; profound and sublime; funny and sad. That’s the beauty of quotes; they exist for every occasion. Their diversity, in fact, is rivaled only by their versatility of application.
I have discovered there are quotes for virtually every occasion, activity, occurrence, mood or ambiance. Quotes are effective for underscoring a point, providing uplift to a sour mood, bolstering morale, instilling confidence, providing enlightenment, accentuating a crucial point. They can deliver sagacious insight or exist as statements of the blinding obvious. They celebrate happy events; emphasize somber circumstances.
Quotes observe love, death, happiness, sorrow; they inspire, motivate, challenge, embolden, stir and encourage. They cause one to ponder the unimaginable and conversely, appreciate that which we sometimes take for granted. Quotes motivate us to think outside the box and also realize those “ah ha!” moments that are the by-product of quiet introspection.
In the role of Dad, I have used quotes to amplify life lessons and to denote to my children those qualities and characteristics I feel crucial towards achieving success and guidance as a means of navigating life uncertainties. As a husband, I have at times exploited quotes to augment my prose when my imagination faltered and shamelessly leveraged choice passages to curry forgiveness.
In my professional career, first as an Army officer and now as a project manager of a program charged with training Department of Defense civilian professionals for deployment to Afghanistan and similar hot spots around the globe, quotes are a mechanism I have used to motivate, inspire, challenge and foment excitement. They rarely fail to hit the mark or deliver the intended effect.
Throughout my life I have uttered, written, or typed a thousand quotes. The number of luminaries I have plagiarized is equally stout in number. Included within the ranks of those whose thoughts or musings I have appropriated are poets, (Longfellow, Emerson are go-to guys) songwriters (Dylan, by far), philosophers (James, Thoreau, Descartes to name a few), Presidents (I have probably quoted each of them at least once but Theodore Roosevelt more than the other 44 combined) and other political dignitaries both foreign and domestic, novelists, essayists, pundits, sports figures, icons; the illustrious and the infamous. The list goes on.
Ok, by now I suspect you have gotten the point. I dig quotes! So, rather than have me ramble on, I will dispense from my usual exercise in verbosity of prose – after all, I believe it was Shakespeare who wrote “Brevity is the soul of wit” – and provide you instead, a sampling of some of my favorite quotes. Enjoy and feel free to inject into your daily discourse because “Life does not end at the Half Century mark. It actually BEGINS at the Second Fifty.”
This blog entry is dedicated to Bojana Andrejevic. At work, she is my deputy, executive officer, confidant and battle buddy; the cement that holds the operation together. Outside the office, a source of inspiration and the catalyst behind my foray into the world of blogging. Хвала ти мој прелеп пријатељ!
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize AND the Medal of Honor
“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American essayist and poet
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of the Civil Rights Movement and one of the Greatest Americans of the 20th Century
“Keep your faces always towards the sunshine, and the shadows will fall behind you” – Walt Whitman, American poet
“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better” – Senator Robert F. Kennedy
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau, American poet
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – French laureate and author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” – American journalist, Allen Saunders and also paraphrased by the late John Lennon in his song “Beautiful Boy.”
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Alexander Graham Bell, American inventor
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States
”Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt
“Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve an uncommon result.” – Nigerian author, Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha
“Talent wins games but teamwork wins championships.” – NBA Hall of Famer, Michael “Air” Jordan
“Persuasion is often more effectual than force.” and “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Ancient Greek fabulist, Aesop
“For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” – African Proverb
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” – English poet, Alexander Pope
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom” – Bob Dylan, American Songwriter and The Voice of a Generation
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – American iconic auto industrialist and inventor, Henry Ford
“Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.” -Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize AND the Medal of Honor
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” – William James, 19th Century American psychologist
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James
“Accomplishment will prove to be a journey not a destination.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, World War II
“There is nothing so far removed from us to be beyond our reach, or so far hidden that we cannot discover it.” – 17th Century French philosopher, René Descartes
“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali, iconic boxing legend and The Greatest of All Time
“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th Century American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – U.S. Army CSM (ret) Mack Vereen (My first Army mentor)
“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.” – Second First Lady of the United States, Abigail Adams
L’inspiration vient de travailler tous les jours” (“Inspiration comes of working every day”) – French poet and essayist, Charles Pierre Baudelaire
“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” – The 18th Century German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States