Thursday, 28 August 2014


Every once in awhile, we come across a few inspirational words of wisdom that makes of think.  If we are lucky, those little nuggets stick with us for more than a few minutes, or even a few days; if we are really lucky, they cling to us sufficiently long enough that we find ways to integrate them into our daily lives or, at the very least, they come back to us when most needed.  When I was having a particularly grueling summer at work, someone quoted, "no one every goes to their grave wishing they would have worked more."  I carried that little gem at the forefront of my consciousness throughout my vacation, as a way to keep my head clear of stressors and focussed on us.
Ever wonder about the person behind the quote?  Here are a few mantras and a bit about the people that said them.  Some, you will no doubt recognize, others, perhaps not.

“No one on his DEATHBED ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time on my business.’”

In the early 1980s, a Massachusetts lawyer named Arnold Zack made this observation to his friend Paul Tsongas. Tsongas, then a U.S. senator, was suffering from the lymphoma that eventually killed him. Zack believes the thought was original to him. Tsongas repeated his friend’s observation in a 1984 book. Although reviewers of this book often noted Zack’s words, few mentioned his name. Tsongas himself sometimes got credit for the saying.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still
I can do something. And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.                                          
- and
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens,
but often we took so long at the closed door that we
do not see the one that has been opened up for us” - Helen Keller
Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in Alabama. In 1882, she fell ill and was struck blind, deaf and mute. Beginning in 1887, Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, helped her make tremendous progress with her ability to communicate, and Keller went on to college, graduating in 1904. In 1920, Keller helped found the ACLU. During her lifetime, she received many honors in recognition of her accomplishments. 

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over
if you just sit there” - Will Rogers

William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, social commentator and motion picture actor. He was one of the world's best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s.  Known as Oklahoma's Favorite Son, he traveled around the world three times, wrote more than 4,000 newspaper columns, and became a world-famous figure. His earthy anecdotes and folksy style allowed him to poke fun at gangsters, prohibition, politicians, government programs, and a host of other controversial topics in a way that was appreciated by a national audience, with no one offended.

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have
the courage to lose sight of the shore.”- Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus born between 31 October 1450 and 30 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an explorer, navigator, and colonizer, presumably born in the Genoa, (today part of Italy). He completed 4 voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements on the island of Hispaniola initiated the Spanish colonization of the New World.  Some scholars speculate that Columbus may have received secret information from a close friend about lands far west across the ocean. This sailor is sometimes called the “Unknown Pilot.” Present historians haven’t found any evidence of him except for what is written by some early Columbus biographers.  Here's a little tidbit not usually found in the history books:  Columbus disrupted the entire economy of three continents. Post-Columbian diseases killed 3–5 million people during the subsequent 50 years after his arrival in the New World. Additionally, African slaves became a dominant commodity.  When Columbus landed in the New World, he believed that he had reached the Indies; thus, he thought, the people he met were Indians. Even though more than 500 years have passed since that voyage, the native people of the Americas are still often referred to as “Indians.”  Before Columbus was a famous admiral and governor of the New World, he was a pirate, or Privateer, who helped attack Moorish merchant trips.

“Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.” - Norman Vincent Peale
Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) was a religious leader who developed a blend of psychotherapy and religion based on the idea that nearly all basic problems are personal. He spread this message through his radio and television programs and through his popular book The Power of Positive Thinking and other writings. He was born in the small Ohio town the son of the local Methodist minister (later turned Dutch Reformed). The family moved frequently, were not wealthy, and young Peale earned money delivering papers, working in a grocery store, and selling pots and pans door-to-door.

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting
otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”
- and -
“I learned to love the fool in me. The one who feels too much,
talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes & loses often,
lacks self-control, loves & hates, hurts & gets hurt, promises &
breaks promises, laughs & cries.”   - Theodore Rubin
Theodore Isaac Rubin lives in New York City, is a long-time contributing columnist to the Ladies Home Journal  and the author of more than twenty-five works of fiction and nonfiction. For a clinician who rose to prominence within psychoanalysis during the heyday of what is known as "ego psychology" (a movement often criticized for its equation of mental health and conformity to normative American cultural values, exemplified by the pathologizing of homosexuality), Rubin is iconoclastic with regard to psychoanalytic and cultural orthodoxy.

“The secret to success is to start from scratch
and keep on scratching.”- Dennis Green
During the 1990's, Dennis Green had the most successful record in the NFL.  Green's underlying theme has been perseverance, no excuses, and a drive to win.  His motto is "plan your work and work your plan", following the 3 D's:  desire, dedication and determination. Growing up in Harrisburg, PA, he lost both parents by the time he was 13 years old.  He was a star halfback with the University of Iowa Hawkeyes and participated in athlete black power anti-segregation/anti prejudice stands.  Green devoted part of every summer to camps for inner city kids, and participated at schools, boys and girls clubs, churches and other settings to help give back to the community.  He was given the World Sports Humanitarian of the Year award in recognition of his efforts.

“Hard work spotlights the character of people. Some turn up their sleeves. Some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”- Sam Ewing

Sam Ewing has been a professional writer since 1935, at age 14, when he was a reporter at the Vicksburg Evening Post and Morning Herald in Vicksburg, Mississippi.   During the past 50 years Sam has produced five non-fiction books, dozens of self-help film, hundreds of magazine articles and witticisms. Sam's writing was done free lance while he worked in TV, radio, advertising agencies and cable as a sales and program executive.  He attended the University of San Francisco until World Was II when he joined Naval Intelligence for three and a half years, serving both in the U.S. and in the Aleutians. In Dutch harbor, Alaska, Sam edited a daily Armed Forces paper, the Harbor News.  Now semi-retired, he concentrates on producing short humor and magazine pieces.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising
every time we fall.”- Confucious
Confucious (551-479BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher. Confucious emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.  Confucious principles are based in common Chinese tradition and believe.  He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives.  He also recommended family as a basis for the ideal government. 

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is
someone who will take the bus when the limo breaks down.” - Oprah Winfrey
Billionaire Oprah Winfrey is best known for hosting her own internationally popular talk show from 1986 to 2011. She is also an actress, philanthropist, publisher and producer.  Born on January 29, 1954, in  Mississippi, aftera troubled adolescence in a small farming community,she entered Tennessee State University in 1971 and began working in radio and television broadcasting in Nashville.  In 1976, Oprah Winfrey moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she hosted the TV chat show People Are Talking. Within several months, her open, warm-hearted personal style won her first place in the ratings. Her success led to nationwide fame and a role in Steven Spielberg's 1985 film The Color Purple, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.  Winfrey launched the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986 as a nationally syndicated program. With its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people, the show grossed $125 million by the end of its first year, of which Winfrey received $30 million. She soon gained ownership of the program from ABC, drawing it under the control of her new production company, Harpo Productions ('Oprah' spelled backwards) and making more and more money from syndication.