A list of aphorisms and quotes that I’ve found to be true or that make me think.
2022-06-30 – ⁠2023-10-01 in progress



Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”  ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Integrity is when what you think and what you say and what you do are one. ~ Naval Ravikant

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

Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your reputation. Be not apt to relate news, if you know not the truth thereof. Speak no evil of the absent, for it is unjust. Undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise. There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily. Nothing but harmony, honesty, industry, and frugality are necessary to make us a great and happy nation. ~ George Washington

A man is about as big as the things that make him angry. ~ Winston Churchill

Do what’s right, not what’s easy.

Having anger and resentment toward others is like picking up a hot coal to throw at them. ~ Buddhaghosa

He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch. ~ Jean-Luc Godard

Don’t do things that you know are morally wrong. Not because someone is watching, but because you are. Self-esteem is just the reputation that you have with yourself. You’ll always know. ~ Naval Ravikant

Verbal threats reveal nothing other than weakness and unreliability. ~ Nassim Taleb 1


If you have a 10-year plan of how to get somewhere, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months? ~ Peter Thiel

Do less but better.

Do the things that only you can do.

Always prioritize across two dimensions: urgent vs important.

Do without doing. ~ Tao Te Ching

Lead with the cool stuff.

Rarely is anyone thanked for the work they did to prevent the disaster that didn’t happen.

Mastery is invisible to most people.


Anything can be cut. ~ Michael Schur

The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready. It goes because it’s 11:30pm. ~ Someone at SNL’s

Always review your output.


John Wick is a man of focus, commitment, and sheer fucking will. ~ (John Wick’s enemies)

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced. ~ Swami Vivekananda

Constraints are liberating.

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things. ~ Steve Jobs


He who turns over the most rocks wins. ~ Peter Lynch

My largest positions aren’t the ones I think I’m going to make the most money from. My largest positions are the ones where I don’t think I’m going to lose money. 2 ~ Joel Greenblatt

The only way to hold onto a big position after it makes a big move is to know the underlying company better than anyone else.3 ~ Ian Cassel

My worst enemies are impatience and boredom. 4

Successful investors can differentiate business performance from stock performance and can take advantage of those investors who can’t. 5

If you can’t sleep at night because of your stock market position, then you have gone too far. If this is the case, then sell your position down to the sleeping level. 6 ~ Jesse Livermore

To be a disciplined investor you have to be willing to stand by and watch other people make money on things that you passed on. ~ Howard Marks

Diversification is protection against ignorance. 7 ~ Warren Buffett

The goal of investment is to find situations where it is safe not to diversify. 8 ~ Munger

During a gold rush, sell shovels. 9

Don’t waste time having an opinion on every company. It’s a distraction. You only have to be right on what you own. 10 ~ Ian Cassel

Be unique in your approach, process, thinking, something.. alpha is generated by being just a little different in a disciplined and thoughtful way. 11 ~ Ian Cassel


[…] the way to learn the most is […] when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. ~ A. Einstein

If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it. 12


I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. ~ Bruce Lee

There’s a reset button at every level. Meaning you can be the best in class. And when you go to the next level you’re then at the bottom. And the difference between amateurism and professionalism is you have people looking after you and holding your hand as an amateur. Professionally, no one does. … What matters is, what you do and how you apply yourself consistently. ~ Paul Rabil

Charlatans complicate. People who actually know what they’re doing take the complex and make it simple and actionable.

Focus on what actually matters. Do that well… over and over again.

Action does not lead to perfection; perfection is expressed in action. As long as you judge yourself by your expressions, give them utmost attention, when you realize your own being, your behavior will be perfect- spontaneously. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj


My attention determines my reality. 13 ~ Juan Alonso

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. ~ James Clear

The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t. ~ Joshua Becker

Be so valuable that you never have to ask for compensation. ~ @AscendantPower

Luxury, to me, is feeling unrushed. No hurry, no pause. ~ Tim Ferris

Hope is not a strategy.

Being poor is expensive.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will always remember how you made them feel. 14 ~ Maya Angelou

Rarely is anyone thanked for the work they did to prevent the disaster that didn’t happen.


When the end is unknown and the distance is unknown that is when you know who the F you are. ~ David Goggins

If your path demands you walk through hell, walk as if you own the place (samurai pic).

Set a goal so big that you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can.


Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose. ~ Yoda

You only get pseudo order when you seek order, you only get a measure of control when you embrace randomness. ~ N. Taleb


Play is the highest form of research. ~ Albert Einstein

The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression. ~ Brian Sutton-Smith

Play is the work of the child. ~ Maria Montessori

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. ~ Plato


Anything is possible. It’s the probabilities that matter. Everything must be weighed in terms of its likelihood and prioritized. ~ Ray Dalio

Prediction, not narration, is the real test of our understanding of the world.” ~ N. N. Taleb

Contrary to what we’re led to believe, clear thinking is often the result of the position you are in at the time of the decision.

It doesn’t matter how rational you are if circumstances force you to make a bad choice. ~ Shane Parrish


If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it 15 ~ unknown


Wisdom is nothing more profound than the ability to follow your own advice. ~ SH


  1. ↩︎

  2. Cravings (greed) make it harder to think straight. ↩︎

  3. I’ve plenty of evidence (e.g. $GROW during Oct, 2020). ↩︎

  4. Successful investing character traits go against what we’re wired to do. ↩︎

  5. Signal vs noise. ↩︎

  6. Trust your intuition. ↩︎

  7. But concentration rooted in ignorance is even worse. Diversification and concentration are relative: Peter Lynch had portfolios of 1000+ stocks, 91% of Warren Buffet’s BRK portfolio consists of 12 stocks, with one weighing 41% (as of 2022). ↩︎

  8. Margin of safety. ↩︎

  9. Explanation. If there is a chip shortage (2021), don’t buy companies that depend on chips, buy companies that produce them. ↩︎

  10. But at least be clear about why you have no opinion. Pabrai does this with a checklist designed to help him say “no” asap. This principle runs counter to “He who turns over the most rocks wins.” ↩︎

  11. ↩︎

  12. But you don’t need to understand digestion to benefit from it, and a dancer doesn’t need to intellectually understand how dancing works to be world-class. ↩︎

  13. This idea came to me during my first ten days Vipassana retreat↩︎

  14. My strongest memories match a more general version of this: certain emotionally charged memories are much better remembered (that young womans smile many years ago, the old lady at the airport so grateful for a tiny bit of help, the out-of-this-world flow experience playing Unreal Tournament during that early 2000s tournament, experiences with the wind on the rooftops of Castronuño when I was a kid). The fact that we remember emotions better than facts is probably because we had a reptilian brain for far longer than we had a rational mind and the brain might simply be more efficient at encoding emotions. How does this relate to yogic samskaras and the mind-habit of reacting emotionally to cravings and aversions? ↩︎

  15. Popularly attributed to Einstein but I couldn’t find evidence that he said that↩︎