‘The Rules,’ According to David Savage


Editor’s note: I’m working flat out this week to get all the images sorted for David Savage’s forthcoming book “The Intelligent Hand,” coming this fall from Lost Art Press. Both Christopher Schwarz and I have completed line edits, so it now needs to go into design ASAP to meet the publication date. Though the typical Lost Art Press deadline is “when it’s ready,” this one must not only be ready, but be done soon; we promised David it would be. So it will be.

I have carried around in a notebook and added to these quotations for most of my life, I have found them inspirational. I hope they may be of some help to you, on your special journey.

1. Have a plan, but like all good battle plans, do not expect it to survive first contact with the enemy.
2. Make lots of lists; the older you get, the more you need to write it down. Don’t clutter your head with stuff you don’t have to remember. Write it down. Feeling listless? Then make a list.
3. Do not believe everything your oncologist tells you.
4. When it comes to critics and criticism, remember Theodore Roosevelt. Forgive the sexist language but bear in mind when this was written:
“It is not the critic that counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the one man who actually is in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly. Who errs and comes short time and again, for there is no effort without errors and shortcomings . He who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end high achievement and triumph, who at worst knows failure whilst daring greatly. He knows that his place will never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
5. All goals and dreams are useless without a plan – a plan that can put those goals into a time frame to allow you to take action. Break the big task into smaller ones. You eat the elephant a bite at a time
6. Without goals and dreams we live a miserable life.
7. “On obstacles” by Henry Ford: “These are what you see when you take your eye off the goal.”
8. “An education is what is left when you have forgotten everything you learnt at school.” – Samuel Johnson.
9. “The most important thing that one must learn, first of all, is what the rules are. Before one can then disregard them.” – Elizabeth David
10. “The fragrance of the rose lingers upon the hand that casts it.” – William Shakespeare
11. “Do you want to succeed? Then you must double your rate of failures.” – Tom Watson, IBM
12. “A man without a smile should not keep a shop.” – Chinese Proverb
13. “What you can do, or dream that you can, begin it. Boldness has magic and power and genius within it.” – Goethe
I have been witness to this countless times. A prospective student takes the jump, fearful and anxious of what the future may hold, she makes a commitment to changing her life. The moment this happens all sorts of life changes fall in behind that decision to make it work. Goethe was right, big time.
14. “The laws which define the structure and dynamics of the universe must become part of our awareness. For these are the same laws which determine the structure and dynamics of the body. The spirit that moves an atom waves the sea.” – Ueshiba, inventor of Aikido
15. “Knighthood, Peerage, the trappings of wealth power and position, all of which I love. I would give them all up for a conductor’s baton, to be able to make first-class music, to have that talent.” – Arnold Winesteen Chairman of GEC
16. “You think that you make the piece of work, but really, the piece makes you.” – David Binnington Savage

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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8 Responses to ‘The Rules,’ According to David Savage

  1. nrhiller says:

    Excellent list. My favorite may be the Shakespeare. You, Fitz, embody that generosity.

  2. reddale says:

    I fail to see how No 4 is sexist?

  3. A good list, but the phrasing of #7 rankles me, having spent much of my career cleaning up other people’s messes. The quote strikes me as the words of a general sending soldiers over the top while he sits miles behind the lines, or in a more recent version, Elizabeth Holmes. I’ve run across too many people who choose to ignore difficulties rather than acknowledge, understand, and overcome them. Obstacles are real, not distractions. There has to be a better aphorism to communicate the importance of focusing on “How can I get it done?” instead of “I can’t do it.”

    • hgordon4 says:

      I’m with you, the quote attributed to Ford is too simplistic…
      To the point in your final sentence, the concept I repeated to our kids over and over and over: When you look in the mirror, do you want to see a person who found a way to get it done? Or do you want see a person who always had a really really good reason why failure wasn’t his/her fault?

      Having said that, great list Megan! Thanks for sharing it!

  4. Richard Garrow says:

    I learned a new word tonight ailurophile. Thank Megan.

  5. texasbelliott says:

    Terrific quotes, thank you for sharing!

    Looking forward to “The Intelligent Hand”!

    Keep up the great work, Megan. You’re an awesome human being. 🙂

  6. Ever since my life got turned upside down two years ago, I’ve kept a few pieces of paper up on my 8-hour walls to help me focus on improvement. “Eat better. Run more. Squat more. Sleep earlier. Wake up earlier…”, “15 Rules For Living An Intentional Life”, that sort of thing.

    This list is now on my wall.

    Thanks, Megan. John Brown coming shortly and David Savage in the Fall? I have my reading all lined up…

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