Aphorist's Corner Weekly

by Igor D. Radovic


Aphorisms, like epigrams, apothegms, maxims, axioms, proverbs, sayings, adages, bon mots and many other familiar quotations are examples of meaning and clarity enhanced by brevity. But, sadly, concise and to the point are waging a losing battle in our modern age of verbal overkill and ubiquitous, round-the-clock media babble. All the same, aphorisms and related forms, on a par with poetry, are without peer in their capacity to cut, in a sentence or two, and sometimes in most unexpected ways, to the heart of a subject that learned volumes often leave only more confusing and obscure. Eclectic, long on substance, experience and common sense, and short on empty verbiage, they are also thought provoking, easily remembered, and within the reach of any audience. Yet, for all that, aphorisms remain a comparatively and undeservedly neglected literary genre. Aphorist's Corner Weekly pays a modest tribute to it by reminding us that whatever is worth saying can usually be said better, and to better effect, with fewer rather than with more words.

As its name indicates, Aphorist's Corner Weekly (http://home.earthlink.net/~iradovic/aphorist.htm) is regularly updated. New text - this author's own attempts at aphorisms and brief personal comments on a broad variety of topics of general interest - is added every week as old text is simultaneously removed, for a rolling total of ten weeks. The views expressed in these observations are largely a matter of opinion and, admittedly, occasionally resort to overstatements and understatements to make a point, and they may sometimes err on the side of both the obvious and the ambiguous. But, more importantly, they also reflect, to the extent possible, a deliberate and sustained effort to avoid preconceived ideas and generalizations, so that they may lead to conclusions rather than be preceded and influenced by them, even if at some risk of ignoring experience, of too easily giving in to first and superficial impressions, and of courting contradictions. Whether this risk was worth taking the readers will judge by themselves.


Observations, copyright ©1968, by Igor D. Radovic

The Radovic Rule, or How to Manage the Boss, copyright © 1973, by Igor Radovic

The Aphorist's Corner, copyright ©1997, by Igor D. Radovic

Autumn Leaves, copyright © 2000, by Igor D. Radovic

Thoughts & Afterthoughts, copyright © 2003, by Igor D. Radovic

Random Remarks, copyright © 2004, by Igor D. Radovic

Fragments & Shards, copyright © 2006 by Igor D. Radovic

Notes From a Long Journey Home, copyright © 2011 by Igor D. Radovic

Reflections at Sunset, copyright © 2011 by Igor D. Radovic

Dyspeptic Definitions,
copyright © 2011 by Igor D. Radovic (Amazon paperback and ebook)

Week 776 - THOUGHT

     Reflection is a good habit, easily lost to keeping busy.

Both inspiration and implementation are likely to suffer without reflection between them.

Not grabbed by the horns and promptly wrestled to the ground, many an excellent idea turns tail and is gone never to return.

An idea is not necessarily assured the support of those who approve of it, but it can count on the support of those who stand to profit from it.

Thought should not be allowed to wander aimlessly, but neither should it be kept on a short leash.

The busier one is, the more food for thought, and the less opportunity for it.

Emotions are difficult to control, but not nearly as much as thought.

Thinking is what makes a thinker, not knowledge and intelligence.

With emotions not in check, thinking is also difficult to control.

For an original thinker, every day is a treasure hunt.

Ideas, like merchandise, sell best not where they are needed, but where there is a demand for them.

Some ideas deserve attention for what they are, some for how well they have been expressed, but to be memorable they must be both.

Quick thinking is for emergency skimming of the surface of an issue, not for probing its depth.

One must do things to be considered busy; reflection seldom qualifies.

Some thoughts are owed to feelings, and some feelings to thought.

There is no better way to be lost than to be lost in thought.

Those who believe that freedom of expression and freedom of thought are the same are soon disappointed.

Much too often thoughts follow words and actions instead of preceding them.

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To offer reason to the aggrieved often only adds insult to their pain.

Man’s reasoning is less likely to affect his inclinations than his inclinations his reasoning.

Much time is wasted trying to find a rational explanations for the behavior of irrational people.

Too much self-analysis often turns up more fantasy than fact.

A wrong diagnosis is bad enough, but a good one that comes too late is worse.

Instinct knows what reason has yet to deduce.

He who ignores the irrational dismisses the better part of what there is to know.

A pattern is not a method, but a method follows a pattern.

A method is soon drained of inspiration.

In large measure, the capacity for concentration is the power to resist distraction.

Some are easily distracted; some are just not able to concentrate, distracted or not.

The more concentration, the less peripheral vision.

Strange as this may be, some people are full of contradictions, and yet oblivious of and unaffected by it.

It is often more difficult to live with people full of contradictions than it is for them to live with themselves.

It is only in human logic that contradictions must be either mistakes or deceptions.

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Logic is the disguise of many a lie.

Reason is as overrated as a source of as logic is as an explanation for happiness and misery.

The logic of success is seldom questioned.

In retrospect, much logic routinely turns out to have been no more than rationalization.

Logic is a versatile tool and, if need be, can often lead in opposite directions.

It is easy to assume - and to be wrong - that those who possess the same facts as we do, but reach conclusions different from ours, are either biased or do not understand.

It is not only what we know and assume about others that influences our attitude toward them, but also what we assume they know and assume about us.

Much too often, we only assume when we should be certain, and are certain when we should only assume.

However well we may know others, we assume even more about them.

More assumptions are made in love, not to speak of infatuation, than in friendship, and more of them prove wrong.

Assuming that others are very much like we are, or very different from us, are both wrong and common assumptions.

Beacons when right, assumptions are blindfolds when wrong.

Many assumptions do double duty as pretexts and excuses.

Feelings, even more than conclusions, decisions, and actions, can also be influenced by assumptions.

When people judge us it is sometimes for a different and better reason than we assume.

Doubts may come alone, but they soon acquire a retinue of assumptions.

Nothing is easier for those who have been impressed and inspired to assume – and be wrong – that others can be as impressed and inspired as they are.

Intentions make many assumptions but, more often than not, biased one as well.

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Week 779 - JUDGMENT, PART 2

Never to question one’s own judgment is evidence of poor judgment.

To try to convince others to do something they are not capable of is more a failure of one’s own judgment than of their ability.

We know a good deal about ourselves, and little or nothing about a stranger, and yet we find it as easy to judge him as we find it difficult to judge ourselves.

The better the judgment, the less one is dependent on experience and learning.

Even the best judgment can use a lucky guess.

As a rule, the right to judge others is less earned than taken or given.

Every man is made of many parts but, at any given juncture, it is only the part of him which is in play that matters and that he is judged by.

A good judge of human character knows how wrong he could be.

Ironically, it is those most capable of perceiving a problem that are also apt to let it most affect their emotions and cloud their judgment.

To judge by the motive is the way of the moralist; to judge by the results, of the opportunist.

We don’t depend on our judgment to fall in love with someone, which is on occasion a good thing.

Even the most discerning and observant can become witless and blind when their judgment yields to their beliefs.

When we misjudge others, chances are we’ll blame them for it rather than ourselves.

Judgment’s path is strewn with obstacles, none greater than one’s own likes and dislikes.

Judgment’s path is strewn with obstacles, none greater than one’s own likes and dislikes.

A flaw on its own, poor judgment is a menace when combined with initiative.

Neither looking down on people nor looking up to them is the best way to take the right measure of them.

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Week 780 - TIME, PART 6

A great deal of time is wasted on unimportant things, and even more on important ones.

Places can be revisited, but not times past: The passage of time is a journey of no return.

Time wasted today is bad enough by itself, but its stealing time from tomorrow makes it worse.

For a “man of action” time to think and nothing to do is a waste of time.

There is no way to organize and save time when there is nothing to do.

The clock is running for the living. There is neither clock nor time for the dead.

It takes time and effort to fine-tune something to its optimum. It takes no time and effort at all for it to hit the skids.

Time can only be used, for better or for worse. It cannot be saved for later.

We can buy the time of others; we cannot add it to our own.

No one is satisfied with time - it is either too slow or too fast, and there is either too little or too much of it.

Time cannot be managed, but only adjusted to and taken advantage of or not.

We all have time. The difference is in how we use it.

For those bereft of good judgment, time is best spent on what cannot be avoided.

There is no time enough to focus on all real threats and dangers, much less on imaginary ones.

Odd as this may sound, some time wasted is time well used.

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Week 781 - TIME, PART 7

It often takes a lifetime to reach an obvious conclusion.

The right time is as difficult to predict as it is easy to recognize when past.

Much time is wasted by always being on time.

Time is not only what connects today to yesterday and tomorrow; it is also what protects it from them.

Time being short or being late is on many occasions the worst reason to hurry.

A deadline gets many things done, and many not done well.

A self-imposed deadline is an objective; a deadline imposed by someone else is an ultimatum.

The shorter the time to the deadline, the longer it feels.

The time to jump ship is while the shore is still in sight.

Good timing is like good luck: One should take advantage of it, but not depend on it.

Waiting for the right time always makes sense, provided one knows what the right time is and there is time enough.

Many delays are but disguised and stretched out rejections and refusals.

Delays are meant to prevent decisions, but are often forcing them instead.

Without objective, speed only gets one faster to nowhere.

There are happy endings in life, but life’s end is not one of them.

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Week 782 - TIME, PART 8

It is not today but tomorrow that decides whether time was well used or not.

It takes time to use the time well.

Always assessing the worth of time in money is often both putting a low value on it and measuring it in the wrong currency.

Timeless endures, topical sells.

Many things are recognized as important and relevant or as the opposite as they occur, but many more only in retrospect and often too late.

Deadlines are better at wrapping things up than at resolving problems.

No amount of money can buy time lost.

To hurry is as easily time wasted as time well used.

Much time is spent and wasted wondering whether it is worth doing some things that either must or cannot be done.

Sloth and indecision waste time, but timidity and fear are worse culprits by far.

More often than not, free time is the time most wasted and most expensive.

Finding free time is a problem; using it well is a bigger one.

Time is generally better spent trying to understand than trying to convince someone.

Without objective, speed only gets one faster to nowhere.

In youth, the passage of time means greeting another day; in old age, saying good-bye to it.

There are happy endings in life, but life’s end is not one of them.

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It is those we trust and care for that lead us astray, not those we don’t.

A rascal who doesn’t trust anyone knows himself only too well and others not well enough.

Lucky are those who learn to be trusting from experience.

In large measure, we are at the mercy of those we trust.

There are risks in both trust and distrust.

Being too trusting is foolish, too suspicious counterproductive, and striking the right balance between the two is next to impossible.

We want to trust those we love, but love is not always a justification for trust.

Many more are born than learn to be trusting.

In his own eyes, a distrustful man is only cautious and prudent.

Those who do not trust anyone can seldom be entirely trusted themselves.

Being trusted can create as many problems as being distrusted.

The more suspicion, the more suspects.

What is dangerous only some of the time is usually suspect all of the time.

On balance, it is better to know than to suspect.

Many suspects are only different.

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In a civil society, agreement and approval are optional, but tolerance is indispensable.

By definition, spoiled people are very tolerant of themselves.

Progress notwithstanding, more tolerance is still owed to ignorance than to education.

Tolerance dependent on understanding and patience soon comes to an end.

Fortunately, we don’t have to tolerate in others everything we must put up with in ourselves.

Patience is not safe when to wait comes at the risk of being too late.

In large measure, patience is the key to mutual understanding.

Patience is not a virtue learned willingly and patiently.

It takes no patience to get old. It takes patience being old.

Patience is the reformatory school for impatience.

Patience may be a virtue, but it doesn’t add anything to the time available.

Patience may be rewarded in the end, but can also waste a good deal of time until then.

Time running out makes even the most patient impatient: For everybody, patience depends on time available.

The price of impatience is frequently a good deal of patience later on.

Self-destruction begins with impatience.

To recognize one’s own impatience does not necessarily make it easier to be patient.

Procrastination has on occasion its place, but it makes more things late than avoided.

For procrastinators, now catches up with later, and today with tomorrow and the day after.

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To believe in principles and not behave accordingly makes either a coward or a hypocrite, but is still better than not to have principles.

Values of a different time may seem irrelevant in comparison with ours, but they were as relevant then as ours are now.

Both similar and different character traits may attract people to one another, but shared values keep them together.

He who squanders what he has earned puts little value not only on his money, but on his time and efforts as well.

Who is to say that tinsel is worthless when it is enjoyed more than gold!

Virtue is often as difficult to live with as it is easy to applaud.

Virtue must prove itself. Vice need only be suspected to be believed.

Some virtues look suspiciously like apologies for vices, and some vices like compensation for virtues.

It is not virtue that brought man to and keeps him at the top of the animal food chain.

In a disagreeable person, good qualities are more difficult to discern.

However genuine, acquired qualities do not ring as true as innate ones.

Success gets honors and rewards; merit gets lip service.

Weak in the exercise of virtue, people often show surprising strength in the pursuit of vice.

We all have flaws, but they are as likely to be occasioned by a bad fit as to be unqualified flaws.

Many will display their talents, but we all try to hide our flaws.

Week 784

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Biographical Note

Igor Radovic was born in former Yugoslavia and received his early education in France and Yugoslavia. He spent World War II under Nazi occupation, followed by several years under the Titoist communist regime in Yugoslavia, where he studied Law and Civil Engineering. He escaped from behind the Iron Curtain in 1951, and worked in Western Europe and South Africa before coming to the United States and completing doctoral studies in Industrial Engineering and Management at Columbia University in New York City. In 1965 he joined the United Nations and served in a number of capacities relating in the main to economic development and cooperation and involving a variety of regions and assignments. During this period he also taught at Columbia a graduate course on problems of industrialization in less developed countries. He retired from the U.N. as Director of the Department for Special Political Questions, Regional Cooperation, Decolonization and Trusteeship. Dr. Radovic resides on the West Coast, and divides his time between the U.S., Canada and, occasionally, Australia. He is currently working on a new manuscript.