Did is a word of achievement,
Won’t is a word of retreat,
Might is a word of bereavement,
Can’t is a word of defeat,
Ought is a word of duty,
Try is a word for each hour,
Will is a word of beauty,
Can is a word of power.


A youth went to visit a wise old man to discover the secret of success and wisdom. The wise man instructed the youth to follow him and then, taking him by the hand he led him to a nearby lake. But the wise man didn’t stop at the water’s edge; instead he waded into the water, still holding the youth’s hand. Deeper and deeper went the old man until the boy’s head was submerged below the surface. Then, after several seconds had past, the old man turned about heel and led the grateful youth back to the water’s edge, whereupon the wise man asked him, “When you were under the water, what was it that you desired more than anything else in the whole world?” The youth replied indignantly and without hesitation, “I wanted air to breathe!” The wise old man then replied, “In order for you to find success and wisdom, you must want it as badly as you wanted the air when you were under the water!”

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Maximise Your Potential, Louisiana USA, Pelican Publishing, p.41

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 15:22

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”, declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Proverbs 27:1

“The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.”

William James

“He that would live in peace and ease must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees.”

Benjamin Franklin

“Conceit is a weird disease. It makes everybody sick except the one that has got it!”


“Pride says, ‘don’t just stand there, say something!’ Wisdom says, ‘Don’t just say something, stand there!’” – Bob Gass

“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), English poet

Only speak when your words are better than your silence.

A successful bank president, about to retire, was being interviewed by a reported: “Sir, to what do you attribute your success?”

“That’s easy to answer: good decisions.”

“And to what do you attribute your good decisions?”

“That’s easier still: the wisdom gained from experience.”

“And where did you get that experience?”

“Easy again: learning from bad decisions.”

Source: David McNally, Even Eagles Need A Push, 1990, New York: Dell Publishing, p.4

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not,
Is a fool, shun him.
He who knows not, and knows that he knows not,
Is a child, teach him.
He who knows, and knows not that he knows,
Is asleep, wake him.
He who knows, and knows that he knows,
Is wise, follow him.


“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”

Proverbs 1:7 NIV

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Proverbs 10:19

Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.

Proverbs 12:16 NIV

A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?

E. H. Richards

If you are not moving forward then you are really going backwards.

“I am totally dependent on God for help in everything I do. Otherwise I honestly believe I would start to fall apart in months.”

Wallace Johnson (founder of Holiday Inn)

“One of the reasons an owl is considered wise is because it keeps its mouth shut most of the time!”

Lloyd Allard.

The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.

Proverbs 12:23 NIV

“Knowledge and timber should not be much used until they are seasoned.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

  1. 765% of all statistics are useless information.

Papa whale gave this wise advice to his son: “Remember, when you spout off are you are most prone to being harpooned.”

“Narrow-minded people are similar to narrow-necked bottles. The less they have in them, they more noise they make pouring it out.”

Alexander Pope

For a little fun try this challenge and see if you can crack the code, without looking at the answer.

(Translation: Too wise you are. Too wise you be. I know you are. Too wise for me.)

What is least heeded when it is most needed? – Advice

Everyone who makes it has a mentor.

Harvard Business Review

We learn more from seven days of trouble and strife than from seven years of ease and contentment.