Wisdom for the ages

When a lesson can be summed up in a few well-chosen words, the message often stays with the student.
A little tool to jog the memory, a clever saying to remind you what is truly important – that’s why “Mackay’s Moral” appears at the end of each of my columns.
All of my books also have aphorisms to sum up chapters, as I find it a great way to teach.
I file away helpful sayings and use them to drive home the point when the occasion presents itself.
I know this method is effective, because my readers often cite these witticisms in their letters and emails to me.
I love that they remember these little nuggets and find them so useful.

For today’s column I am pleased to offer up some of my favorite aphorisms not used in my columns or books.  They are self-explanatory and can stand on their own without a longer explanation.  If you prefer, think of it as quick columns all in one.  


  • Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
  • Goals are like stars; they may not be reached, but they can always be a guide.
  • A mistake proves that someone at least tried.
  • If we are facing the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.
  • What you build easily will fall quickly.
  • When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.
  • A word and a stone once thrown away cannot be returned.
  • It isn’t hard to make a mountain out of a molehill; just add a little dirt.
  • Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.
  • Friendship is like a bank account.  You can’t continue to draw on it without making deposits.
  • A positive attitude is a magnet for positive results.
  • The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it.
  • Remember:  It’s not what you have; it’s what you do with what you have that makes all the difference.
  • Life is a continuous process of getting used to things we hadn’t expected.
  • There’s only one endeavor in which you can start at the top, and that’s digging a hole.
  • You have to take it as it happens, but you should try to make it happen the way you want to take it.
  • Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
  • The trouble with self-made people is that they worship their creator.
  • If you always give, you will always have.
  • You can’t get ahead when you’re trying to get even.
  • The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win.
  • No matter how much dirt you throw at someone else, you’ll always be dirtier.
  • Judge other people’s faults by their effect on the work, not by their effect on you.
  • The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
  • Too many people stop to think and forget to start again.
  • If you’re not sure where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.
  • Ten out of nine people don’t realize they’re weak in math.
  • Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.
  • The grass isn’t greener over there.  It’s greener where you water it.
  • Hire for character; train for skill.
  • You know you need a change when all you exercise is caution.
  • The person who makes no mistakes usually doesn’t make anything.
  • Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themself.
  • Nursing a grudge is bad for your health.
  • Life is a bumpy road, and laughter is your best shock absorber.
  • Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.
  • We could learn a lot from crayons:  Some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names and all are different colors … but they all exist very nicely in the same box.


Mackay’s Moral:  In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.

, ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *