Words to Entrepreneur By

Some years back, while still a journalist, I worked on a book called The Classic Touch. It was a collection of thoughts about leadership, entrepreneurism and life from classical sources, going all the way back to ancient Rome. The point of the book was that the ancients knew a thing or two about how the world works and how people should work in it.

Since then, I have collected (and often hung on the shelf above my desk) wise words from the past. They form a kind of rolling mantra for me, doling out inspiration, providing a kick during tough times.

It dawned on me that I should crack open the vault and share some of these chestnuts.

So, without further ado:  My personal collection of words to entrepreneur by.

My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty... it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.

-  George Washington

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
-  George Washington

If you want to be a good saddler, saddle the worst horse; for if you can tame one, you can tame all.

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game's winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that's why I succeed.
-  Michael Jordan, NBA Hall of Famer

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
- Chinese proverb

Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
- Winston Churchill

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
Henry Ford

Success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom.
- General George Patton

Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
- Confucius

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.
- Attributed to Winston Churchill, but he almost certainly never said it; still quite wise

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain

Ten million years from now, when then sun burns out and the Earth is just a frozen ice ball hurtling through space, nobody's going to care whether or not I got this guy out.
Tug McGraw, one of the first closers to pitch in professional baseball- he’d recite this to himself when facing a crisis in the game

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

It's not the note you play that's the wrong note - it's the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.
-Miles Davis

Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in but with what it is still possible for you to do.
- Pope John XXIII

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
- Seneca, Roman philosopher and dramatist

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
- Seneca, Roman philosopher and dramatist

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It doesn’t work to leap a twenty-foot chasm in two ten-foot jumps.
American Proverb

If things seem under control, you’re just not going fast enough.
- Mario Andretti, legendary race car driver

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
Charles Darwin

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
- Reinhold Niebuhr, American philosopher

…and, finally, from perhaps the greatest sage of them all:

Do. Or do not. There is no try.  
-Yoda, Jedi Master