The Athlete's Way

Sweat and the biology of bliss

Ancient Words of Wisdom for a Miracle Year

33 inspiring maxims to take you ever higher in 2013.

2012 was a rough year for many of us. Over 20 years ago Queen Elizabeth II had a terrible year that she identified as an "Annus Horribilis". Annus horribilis is a Latin phrase meaning horrible year, or alternatively, "year of horrors". 

In a famous speech the Queen said, "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'Annus Horribilis'. I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so. Indeed, I suspect that there are very few people or institutions unaffected by these last months of worldwide turmoil and uncertainty." Do you feel this way about 2012?  

On the eve of a new year, I was inspired by this speech to make a list of Latin sayings that I have used as an athlete to stay optimistic and brave in the face of adversity. I have compiled 33 Latin maxims to read as a narrative anytime you need a pick me up or reminder of what's important. Here's to making 2013 an "Annus Mirabilis"! Annus mirabilis is a Latin phrase that means wonderful year, "year of wonders" or "year of miracles". 

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33 Latin Maxims to Take You Ever Higher

Non est ad astra mollis e terris via (Seneca the Younger)
There is no easy trip from the earth to the stars.

Crede quod habes, et habes (Erasmus)
Believe that you have it, and you have it.

Per aspera ad astra!
Through difficulties to the stars!

Luceat lux vestra
Let your light shine.

Omne initium est difficile
Every beginning is difficult.

Carpe diem! (Horace)
Seize the day!

Nihil est... simul et inventum et perfectum (Cicero)
Nothing is simultaneously created and completed.

Luctor et emergo
I struggle and I emerge.

Facilis descensus Averno (Virgil)
The road to hell is smooth.

Excelsior!
Ever higher.

Possunt quia posse videntur
They can because they seem to be able to.

Viam aut inveniam aut faciam (Hannibal)
I will either find a way or make one.

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo (Virgil)
If I cannot soften those above, I will provoke those below.

Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet (Horace)
He who feared he would not succeed, sat still.

Qui audet adipiscitur
He who dares wins.

Audentis Fortuna iuvat (Virgil)
Fortune favors the brave.

Veni, vidi, vici (Caesar)
I came, I saw, I conquered.

Urbes constituit aetas, hora dissolvit (Seneca the Younger)
Lifetime builds up cities, a single hour ruins them.

Ruinis inminentibus musculi praemigrant. (Pliny the Elder)
When collapse is imminent, the little rodents flee.

Non semper erit aestas
It will not always be summer (be prepared for hard times).

Revocate animos
Recover your courage.

Amor vincit omnia (Virgil)
Love conquers all things.

Si vis amari, ama (Seneca the Elder)
If you want to be loved, love.

Nil ego contulerim iucundo sanus amico. (Horace)
While I am sane I shall compare nothing to the joy of a friend.

Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto (Terence)
I am human; I consider nothing human [to be] unconnected to me.

Temet nosce (Plato)
Know thyself.

Experientia docet (Tacitus)
Experience teaches.

Timendi causa est nescire (Seneca the Younger)
Ignorance is the cause of fear.

Ipsa scientia potestas est (Sir Francis Bacon)
Knowledge itself is power.

Damnant quod non intelligunt (Cicero)
They discredit that, which they do not comprehend.

Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis.  (Ovid)
Times are changing and we are changing with them.

Omnia causa fiunt
Everything happens for a reason.

Facta non verba
Deeds, not words (Actions speak louder than words).

 

© Christopher Bergland 2012. All rights reserved.

The Athlete’s Way ® is a registered trademark of Christopher Bergland.

Christopher Bergland is a world-class endurance athlete, coach, author, and political activist.

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