When I was rapidly barreling down the academic highway to reach the Ph.D. destination, I spent one entire semester studying Mark Twain. He was, and still is considered “the first” and most important American writer. And indeed, he’s revered throughout the world! As a sixth grader in the West Virginia mountains, I was totally connected to his stories. I was fascinated that he entered the world with Halley’s Comet and also died with it, slightly over 100 years ago!

I connect with Twain’s quotes, and I begin most speeches I present with his, “You can’t no more teach what you don’t know than come back from where you ain’t been!”

Particularly appropriate for me at this point in my life is, “Aging is an issue of mind over matter: If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!”

Here are additional Twain quotes that connect with me:

“The most successful people are those who do all year long what they would otherwise do on their summer vacation.””

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you can become great.”

“Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”

“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down-stairs a step at a time”

“Two things seemed pretty apparent to me: One was that in order to be a Mississippi River pilot, a man had to learn more than any one man ought to be allowed to know…and the other was that he must learn it all over again a different way every 24 hours.”(This fits countless professions today!)

I also admire Twain for another reason. After a highly successful literary career followed by the death of his wife and his editor, he unfortunately made bad investments and lost his money and along with that of several friends! But he didn’t give up – late in life he picked up a new career and made became a highly successful speaker and entertainer. Thanks to his efforts, he recovered all the money he had lost.