Words to Live By

These are my favorite quotes. Some are famous, some are my own, and some are things I’ve heard friends say. Feel free to suggest some more.


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

-A summation of Aristotle’s ideas by Will Durant

If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product.

-Free e-mail, etc. They are selling your information.

If an argument goes more than 5 minutes, both sides are wrong.

-Popularized by Neil deGrasse Tyson

The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.

-John Adams

I believe in almost nobody all the time, but I believe in everybody sometimes.

-Success is situation-dependent. Everybody has their time to shine.

Friends’ Quotes:

You don’t have to explain doing the right thing to me.

-Sergeant Brad Johnson to my brother, at a party during college, when my brother was explaining why he had to leave the party to study. I prefer this variation,

Never explain doing the right thing to anybody. The right thing is self-evident. Let them figure it out.


I strive to be a value, not a success.

-Staff Sergeant Brandon Hayes during fitness report debrief. It is a variation of an Albert Einstein quote.

The first one with a power point wins.

-Major “IKE” Rossman to the company grade officers, meaning be the first to come up with a plan and it will become the plan.

Prepare: today is not over until you are ready for tomorrow.
Enjoy your meals. Work to eat. Don’t eat to work.

-A variation of, “Work to live. Don’t live to work.”