“Primum non nocerum. (First do no harm)” – Hippocrates

The word ‘aphorism’ was originally used by an ancient Greek physician in view to treating disease. So one might say they were antidotal in scope. Today we often use the term to represent a concise statement of truth, or a pithy saying that preserves a principle of sorts. As for myself, an ideal aphorism reveals a deeply felt and experiential truth; namely, they are like guiding stars that provide orientation. In this respect, they can be used as a preventive measure, or a way to remain one in body and soul.

My personalized approach to crafting an aphorism consists of a basic linguistic structure. Each one contains a principle based value infused with a virtue that may or may not be apparent. They also begin with a particular action word and remain within 4 to 5 words. Some of them are grammatically incorrect, and may not appear intelligible upon first sight. In addition, one may never penetrate the core of an aphorism if they lack the necessary life experience and/or resolve to pursue its relevant wisdom.

All in all you may find that my list of 96 aphorisms to be a general representation of the values held by people all over the world. The idea here is to carefully read through them so as to determine which ones in particular resonate with you the most. Then spend some time pondering them to see if they truly coincide with the person that you are or want to be. Here are the 12 aphorisms that help to give my life structure and personal meaning:

1. Address first things first
2. Promote health & wellbeing
3. Exercise prudence with integrity
4. Nourish your soul with beauty
5. Try to understand things first
6. Teach in order to learn
7. Envision a more practical way
8. Being of great soul (Magnanimous)
9. Know what’s within your control
10. Embrace autonomy and creativity
11. Build relationships on trust
12. Empathize deeply with others

It would likely breed complications to use these aphorisms as a rigid code of commandments, so keep in mind that they are subject to change as you grow and learn. Perhaps another way of looking at your personal list of aphorisms is to view them as a way to add salt to your value system, so as to preserve them and keep them within reach during occasions when you are faced with making a conscience decision. Aphorisms are stars by which to light up our way, not a drone like methodical system to manipulate outcomes.

Click here for my list of 96 aphorisms. Feel free to print off a copy or share the link with others. Be patient with yourself as you carefully search for the 12 that bring out the best in you and indicate what your life is truly about.