Words to live by

Some good people are hurtin on some of these off topic threads. How about some inspirational words in these troubled times? As an older chap now I have probably run the gamut of inspirational quotes in my days. Did the whole Sun Tzu thing and the Miyamoto Musachi. On a professional level I have loved Gene Kranz Apollo 1 “we screwed up” speech to mission control. Along with Ernst Stuhlingers letter to Sister Mary Jucunda. Hell I thought the Sullivan Ballou letter was a charm, if a little suspiciously good.

Anyway three quotes have always stood by me. Though in fairness I have struggled to live up to them. The first two are by two gents whose statues grace either side of the portico of Trinity College Dublin. I never attended that college but did frequent the grounds along with many Dubliners. Edmund Burke was a reactionary old rogue. He never did say “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The sentiment stands. While he supported the American revolution he was appalled at the French one and he did say this:

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

Either works!

On his left stands Oliver Goldsmith, appropriately enough, a poet who wrote:

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.

Finally and famously for me it can only be John Donne, Meditation 17:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

If it moves ye mention it here. We can all do with some inspiring words these days.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.



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Inspirational to whom?

And to inspire what action and/or thought?

If I became a bin-man tomorrow, I’d be the greatest bin-man who ever lived. I’d have everyone working with me, succeeding and sharing out the success.

“I’d make sure they were paid a decent wage with the best bonuses and that we all worked hard to achieve our goals.

Some might say, ‘Ah but they’re only bin-men, why do we need to reward them so well for a job anyone can do?’ But I’d ask them why they believe they are more important than a bin-man.

“I’d ask them how proud they’d feel if their dirty city became the cleanest in the world? Then ask who made them proud? The bin-men.”

William Shankly


I know he is the bad boy of the bike world (although not really different to most of the rest of his generation) but if we’re talking cycling then the only one I live by is the classic LA “pain is temporary, quitting last forever” …if we’re talking about life then probably the poem of Martin Niemoller about standing up for what is right…which maybe is becoming topical again after the scenes in Washington recently and should be aimed at the rest of the republican party :grimacing:…although I live in the UK so don’t have skin in the game so to speak.

“Fight the power.” — Public Enemy/Chuck D

“We gotta take the power back.” — RATM


The poem IF by Rudyard Kipling. Superb

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and inspiration in the stairwell at one of our gyms, where I did my first power based indoor workouts:


One that I came across on Netflix, of all places, during the first lockdown.

“What matters isn’t if people are good or bad. What matters is, if they’re trying to be better today than they were yesterday.” – Michael, The Good Place.

Sometimes I forget to try! :frowning:


I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept. — Angela Y. Davis


Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.

Arthur Ashe


If you always eat your best food first, you’ll always be eating your best food.— NOLS wisdom

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‘Do Disaster once a year then Leconte et al will never strike fear in your heart again’
Bertrand Russell


Nothing better to lighten up your day, which happens to have leconte scheduled :see_no_evil:

I remember reading some of these whilst at school

From the Lays of Ancient Rome

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
"To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods

Haul down the bridge, Sir Consul,
With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,
Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
May well be stopped by three.
Now who will stand on either hand,
And keep the bridge with me?

As a young boy this both struck and stuck with me. I guess I derived my own meaning(s) from the words. Basically I took it to mean that I should have the strength and conviction to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow man and woman. Accept that I’m going to be scared s**tless at times, whilst still moving forward.


This one makes me smile and at the same time reminds me to keep persevering, not because it is true but for exactly the opposite reason - so the absurdity grounds my perspective:

‘If at first you don’t succeed … Quit’

Homer J Simpson

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“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

― Henry Ford

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If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.

Les Brown


Whenever I’m out riding away from the town:

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