The Art of the Aphorism

I have always loved a good aphorism. “I don’t sing because I am happy. I am happy because I sing.” An aphorism is a terse saying or quote the embodies a general truth. The requisite construct of a pithy or sticky aphorism has five elements:

It must be BRIEF
It must be PERSONAL
It must have a TWIST.

“Power corrupts, Power-Point corrupts absolutely” I like to add self-effacing HUMOR as the sixth element. Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx were masters of the aphorism with the self-effacing comedic turn.

Oscar Wilde
“The one thing I can’t resist is temptation.”
“The only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.”

Dorothy Parker
“I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.”
“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

Groucho Marx
“I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member.”
“Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.”

My personal favorites from my own experience captured in my journals:

“I wouldn’t worry quite so much what others think of me if I only realized how little they actually do.”

‘If I treated my friends the way I treat myself, I wouldn’t have any.”

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power, confidence & success.”

“Optimists live longer than pessimists do and have a better time along the way.”

If you start singing the feelings will invariably follow. Know any old songs?

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