"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Memento Mori

Vanity, by Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674)

Memento mori is Latin for “remember that you have to die” or “remembering we will die”. It is used in reference to the practice of reflecting upon our mortality as an ongoing method of reminding ourselves of how meaningless earthly possessions are, how transitory our time is in this mortal vale.

Far from being a negative, “remembering we will die” is an admonishment to live life fully, to make the most of each and every present moment, to cherish those we love, to invest our time wisely.

Closing Quotes:

“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Etienne de Grellet, Quaker Missionary

“Life is short, God’s way of encouraging a bit of focus.” – Robert Brault


By Percy Bysshe Shelley

“I met a traveller from an antique land, 
Who said— “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, 
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, 
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; 
And on the pedestal, these words appear: 
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; 
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! 
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare 
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”


Memento mori (Latin: “remember that you have to die”)[2] is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. It is related to the ars moriendi (“The Art of Dying”) and related literature. Memento mori has been an important part of ascetic disciplines as a means of perfecting the character by cultivating detachment and other virtues, and by turning the attention towards the immortality of the soul and the afterlife.[3]

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Le génie commence les beaux ouvrages, mais le travail seul les achève

imagination and hard work

“Le génie commence les beaux ouvrages, mais le travail seul les achève” translates as “Genius begins beautiful works, but only labor finishes them.” Or as Edison put it, “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”

All too often we overvalue splashy “new” ideas without fully understanding the grinding toil, the “blood, sweat, and tears”, necessary to bring the idea to full fruition. Many an entrepreneur, many a successful small businessperson has said some version of “If I had any idea how difficult it was going to be, the sacrifices required, I might not have had the courage (foolhardiness?) to start.”

Life is not a vending machine where we can insert a concept at the top and reach down and have a fully completed, working prototype pop out at the bottom. Success in any worthwhile venture requires that we learn the territory, lay the foundation, learn the skill set, master the craft. Aught else is wishful thinking, magical thinking. Those who wait for their ship to come in will always be surpassed by those who build their own ship.

Closing Quote:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand.”*
– Albert Einstein

*This saying is often chopped off and quoted simplistically as “Imagination is more important than knowledge” which I never liked because I believed it licensed a certain laziness; implying that the hard work of study and learning to master an area of knowledge was unnecessary.  The full quote makes it clear that the value of imagination lies in the ability to use it to build upon, to go beyond what knowledge has revealed.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

In Search of Courage to Face the Ordinary Day

get inspired stay motivated

In times of crisis we are often energized. Our skills are called upon and we respond to the clear and present danger. The need is certain and we are focused, connected, and engaged. Everyday life presents a different challenge. Life still has whatever meaning and purpose we have chosen to give it but it is often more subtle, possibly less invigorating, perhaps less clear. Important yes, but no longer important AND urgent.

Without the loud clarion call of crisis demanding a response (i.e. external motivation), it falls upon us to find the internal motivation that will keep us moving forward on a daily basis. The best motivation comes from within and while internal motivation flourishes best if nurtured and refreshed regularly, in the final analysis it must come from within. Others can provide the spark, the inspiration (literally “to put spirit in”) but YOU must tend the fire, feed the fire.

Life is an ongoing mix of the mundane and the sacred, the humdrum and the holy. As the Zen proverb goes “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” We are on stage 24/7, constantly broadcasting our true values. Our lives are our message to the world and we never know when we might touch a life or have an opportunity to help a fellow traveler along their way.

Closing Quotes:

“What I need courage for is the ordinary, the daily every-dayness of life.” Tish Harrison Warren

“Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes.” – New Monasticism Community saying (“And yet the dishes need to be done.” – NSC)

“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.”  – Andrew Carnegie, 1835-1919, Scottish-American industrialist who led expansion of American steel industry  

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier