Words of Wisdom From Yesterday, For Today

Posted on January 19, 2021 Published by

I am pretty confident in saying that most people are probably pretty thankful that 2020 is in the rearview mirror. That said, 2021 is certainly starting out with plenty of issues and challenges of its own. What better time to share some Words of Wisdom From Yesterday, For Today.

I was trying to think of some words of wisdom to include as encouragement as we look forward to the new year, and I found myself totally inadequate for the task. Thankfully, my wife came to the rescue. No, she did not volunteer to write this blog, but what she did was even better. As a gift at Christmas, she gave me a “box set” of small books containing quotations from people who I hold in high regard: Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.

I think now is as good a time as any to share some of the insights I gained in reading these quotations, organized for easy reference. The individual who is quoted is identified by initials: AL = Abraham Lincoln; BF = Ben Franklin; and TJ = Thomas Jefferson.

I hope these will give you a smile, a moment of positive reflection, and some insight to guide our new year.

Speech and Criticism

  • “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.” (BF)
  • “Honesty is generally the best vindication against slander.” (TJ)
  • “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” (BF)


  • “A good example is the best sermon.” (BF)
  • “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” (BF)
    For those in Wisconsin, I wonder what he thinks of Old Fashions?


  • “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” (TJ)
  • “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” (BF)
  • “In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it catches them unawares.” (AL)
  • “The doors of wisdom are never shut.” (BF)
  • “Genius without education is like silver in the mine.” (BF)
  • “Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.” (TJ)
    I wonder what he would say about social media?
  • “Better to give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite.” (AL)
  • “He that blows the coals in quarrels that he has nothing to do with, has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face.” (BF)


  • “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” (TJ)
  • “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” (TJ)
  • “The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” (TJ)
  • “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” (AL)
  • “The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things that are wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost everything, especially government policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgement of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.” (AL)
  • “Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” (TJ)

Leadership and Reputation

  • “Glass, china and reputation are easily cracked, and never mend well.” (BF)
  • “On matters of style, swim with the current; on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” (TJ)
  • “When you finish changing, you’re finished.” (BF)
  • “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.” (BF)
  • “Without justice, courage is weak.” (BF)

May the thoughts expressed above provide you with some inspiration for the new year. From all of the team at Enlighten Financial, we wish you all a most happy, healthy and prosperous 2021.


Richard Rudolph is Senior Consultant at Enlighten Financial, a specialized consulting firm that focuses on loan review and risk management services to community banks and credit unions. Enlighten Financial has made it our business to shed light on the complex financial landscape, and lead clients in the right direction. We work with financial institutions and other providers to mitigate risk. To talk to Rick directly, please call: 920.445.8133.




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