Our Words

Everyone seems to have a phrase that is special to them. Maybe you do too.

Our Words is a project devoted to highlighting insightful wisdoms from a variety of and, ambitiously/eventually, all living cultures.

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Cheers to you, friends. You inspire me.


“Travel spreads your heart around the world. It's not a headline. It's human beings you've had beers with, sand you felt on your feet, trees you've climbed, roofs you've slept beneath. The world becomes a real place, full of human beings, each one as important as you'll ever be.” Jed Jenkins


Lorem facere necessaria, ergo potest facere cito et impossibile.

Start by doing the necessary, then do the possible, and soon you will be doing the impossible.


Leben Sie jetzt die Fragen.

Live the questions now.


خورشید باش که اگر خواستی برکسی نتابی نتوانی - زرتشت

Be the sun - so even if you decide not to shine on someone, you will anyway.


Den som lever får se.

He/she who lives shall see.


Je ne suis jamais seul avec ma solitude.

I am never alone with my solitude.


Se un sogno ha tanti ostacoli, forse è quello giusto.

If a dream has so many obstacles, maybe it is the right one.


И, если ты султан, а хочешь видеть бога, С престолом и венцом тебе проститься надо.

And if you are a sultan who wants to see the lord, You have to leave the throne and wine.


Wer rastet, der rostet.

He/she who rests, will rust.


Nie neute. Nie pleuje.

Stop whining. Just go for it.


من ،طلب العلا سهر الليالي

Those who ask for glory stay up all night.


El rival más difícil está en tu cabeza.

The toughest opponent is in your head.


Assiduus usus uni rei deditus et ingenium et artem saepe vincit.

Constant practice devoted to one subject outdoes intelligence and skill.


De l’audace, encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace.

Audacity, more audacity, and ever more audacity.


γνωθι σαυτόν.

Know thyself.

Why Our Words

Words connect us. They’re what make us human, what enable us to build great things that span space and time. They can both connect and divide us, and my hope and mission is to cultivate more of the former.

Our Words is a project devoted to highlighting insightful wisdoms from a variety of and, ambitiously/eventually, all living cultures.

If you would like to contribute a phrase, use the button below.

Want to say more?

Contribute to the collection.

Share Your Words
  1. Hey! Cool. You found the secret notes. Don't tell anyone.

    Details and shenanigans hang out in these little bubbles.

    If you'd like to add an entry to the collection, see the bottom of this page.

  2. Each entry - a saying or quote or poetry or something else entirely - was sent to me by someone I've been fortunate to know. It's sort of a tribute to, and a repository of, wisdoms wonderful people have gathered through their years.

    Aaand this one isn't from someone I know. So much for that rule. It does set the tone and purpose of the project well though.

    It's from a semi-famous guy named Jed Jenkins. Also, my friend Emilie said she'd get it "tattooed on her freaking face" so there's that.

  3. My father, Paul, says this one a lot. It's widely attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi.

    Juuust do it. Oh the places you'll go.

  4. This is one of my mother's favorites. It's from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke.

  5. Here's the full quote for context:

    "Sie sind so jung, so vor allem Anfang, und ich möchte Sie, so gut ich es kann, bitten, lieber Herr, Geduld zu haben gegen alles Ungelöste in Ihrem Herzen und zu versuchen, die Fragen selbst liebzuhaben wie verschlossene Stuben und wie Bücher, die in einer sehr fremden Sprache geschrieben sind. Forschen Sie jetzt nicht nach den Antworten, die Ihnen nicht gegeben werden können, weil Sie sie nicht leben könnten. Und es handelt sich darum, alles zu leben. Leben Sie jetzt die Fragen. Vielleicht leben Sie dann allmählich, ohne es zu merken, eines fernen Tages in die Antwort hinein."

  6. Here's the full quote for context:

    "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

  7. Farsi poetry by Zoroaster via Armin from Rome, originally from Iran.

    Armin totally bossed out and sent me five amazing ones. So of course I have to include them all in a super long footnote here. Here's what he said:

    "Here you are mate,

    These are some quotes from some Persian legends:

    1- Be the sun - so even if you decide not to shine on someone, you will anyway. - Zoroaster

    خورشید باش که اگر خواستی برکسی نتابی نتوانی. - زرتشت

    2- I love the future because I get to spend the rest of my life in it. - Zoroaster

    من آینده را دوست دارم چون بقیه عمرم را باید در آن بگذرانم. - زرتشت

    3- When everyone’s thinking the same, no one thinks further. - Zoroaster

    هنگامی که همه یکسان فکر می کنند دیگر کسی بیشتر نمی اندیشد. - زرتشت

    4- Thinking about what to say is better than regret. - Rumi

    اندیشه کردن به این که چه بگویم، بهتر است از پشیمانی . - مولانا

    5- Experience trumps knowledge. - Avicenna

    تجربه بالاتر از علم است. - ابن سینا

    If you don't know any of them just simply google their names. They are true LEGENDS!!! :)"

  8. Swedish quote via Wilhelm from Sweden, Rome, and wherever he may grace now.

    Wilhelm is a wise man. Among his wisdoms is his aversion to excessive digital communication, so I'll ask him more about what this means to him the next time we meet in person.

  9. French quote by Georges Moustaki via my mother, Ann.

    This one is a shoutout to all the other introverts out there. Don't worry, you don't have to say anything - let's just exchange that knowing, introvert look of understanding and appreciate it for a moment, together. I think you know the one. ;)

  10. Italian saying via Gaetano from Sicily.

    When he posted this on Facebook he inspired this project. He's also working on growing his family's generations-old olive oil business.

  11. Russian poetry by Nasimi via Aykhan from Azerbaijan.

    Aykhan also totally bossed out and sent me another beautiful one as well. Here's what he sent:

    В чужой цветущий сад вошел я, дерзновенный, И замер, восхищен красою сокровенной. Склонилась лилия ко мне и прошептала: "Ах, настоящий миг - лишь этот миг мгновенный!"

    I walked into a stranger's garden and froze by the beauty I saw. A beautiful lily (flower) leaned towards me and whispered "the only true moment is the one in now!"

  12. Here's the full quote for context:

    "Чтоб этот мир понять, им восхититься надо. Чтоб свет любви познать, страдать в темнице надо. И, если ты султан, а хочешь видеть бога, С престолом и венцом тебе проститься надо."

  13. Here's the full quote for context:

    "For you to understand the world, you have to admire it. For you to understand the light of love, you have to suffer in the darkness of a dungeon. And if you are a sultan who wants to see the lord, You have to leave the throne and wine."

  14. German saying via Kai from Washington, DC.

    Here's what he said:

    "Not really rests. More like, stays static, but rest sounds better haha. He who is idle, will rust."

  15. Dutch saying via Eva Meirsschaut from Ghent, Belgium.

    Here's what she said:

    "I thought it was a bit cliché at first, but then I realized we actually use it quite often and in all kinds of situations and I think that's because it's so simple, short and strong. Also, it makes people laugh because it's a funny dialect and it actually seems to work too :)"

  16. Arabic saying via Mustafa from Tunesia.

  17. Spanish saying via Claudia from Florida.

  18. This one goes out to my Grandad who had some amazing Latin quotes.

  19. French saying via the internet. I just thought his one was cool.

  20. My father, Paul, says this all the time.

    I asked him why he says it so often. "Because although we are only one, we are depths of mystery which require constant inquiry for self understanding. And because this one person is the one we have to work with in this lifetime."

    "Know theyself" is one of 147 Delphic Maxims from Ancient Greece