Small Sentences with Big Swag

Years ago when I was first beginning my career, I started collecting one-liners.

I don’t mean cheesy pick-up lines, although some of them could certainly classify as a bit on the cheesy side.

I mean single sentence phrases that encapsulate big thoughts.

We actually have a contemporary word for this from ancient Greek: apothegm.

Webster’s defines this word as a “short, pithy and instructive saying; an aphorism”.

Ain’t language fun?

Anyway, over the years this collection continually became more useful and more compelling.

Many of these platitudes have become life mantras for me.

Their power lies in their simplicity. Their simplicity to apply and their simplicity to adapt makes them sticky.

A few examples:

“Chop your own wood; it will warm you twice.”

“Success is the sum of small effort, repeated day in and day out.”

“Feed opportunities. Starve problems.”

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”

“Don’t think you are. Know you are.”

“You can’t help those who won’t help themselves.”

“Win ugly rather than lose gloriously.”

“Want to get noticed? Do things worth noticing.”

“Always end with a big finish.”

Tomorrow, the story about how this list of silly one liners landed me a mentor who is the CEO of a major US defense company.


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