For my writing class at Skidmore College have I created nine aphorisms on three different topics (Principles of success, writing and sports). I have written three aphorisms for each topic and the three aphorisms on the same topic generally says the same thing, but in different forms. An aphorism is by definition a sentence expressing a general truth in an effective and memorable way. For all of the following aphorisms have I included a short description of the structure of the sentence. I have also included one distillation which is an aphorism in the end of a paragraph which purpose is to have an impact on the reader.

Principles of success

1. Success is not determined by what is at the end of the road, but by the collective accomplishments along the journey.

This sentence was inspired by the the Swedish author Karin Boye’s poem “I rörelse”. What I tried to say with this sentence is that we should not be to obsessed of a final goal, but we should value the journey and find joy along the journey to the bigger goal. We should appreciate every day and everything that we get to experience along the journey. I tried to get this message across by using words that that creates images like “end of the road” and “journey” in order to make this sentence easier to consume and easier to remember the message.

2. The key to success is to always strive for more.

This sentence says that in order to be successful as possible, people have to always want something more and never settle. This sentence is the shortest way that I could phrase that and I also used a concrete subject in order to make the sentence more powerful since it is easy to consume and easy to relate to.

3. Talent does not produce success; it is a product of passion and obsession.

In this sentence I combined two independent clauses with a semicolon. The two clauses follow the old->new information rule in order to make the two clauses more coherent.


1. Easy reading is hard writing.

This meaning of this sentence is that writing in the way that it is easy for the reader to understand the text requires skill and great knowledge of the language to be able to write every sentence in the most concise and clear way. “Easy reading is hard writing” most the shortest sentence and the clearest sentence I could come up with that expresses that meaning. I also used the contrast easy/hard in order to give the sentence more effect. Even though “is” is not the best verb to use in most cases I think that it works in this case. Even though the verb does add any life to the sentence it neither is killing the sentence so in this case it is fine.

2. Being able to write cohesive, concise and clear, good writers differentiates themselves from the rest.

Here I used a participial phrase in order to describe “good writers”. The participial phrase describes a key skill for writing good texts.

3. A good text, even though it may look simple, never uses more words than necessary.

In this sentence I added an appositive phrase in order to add a little extra information to the sentence. The appositive phrase could be removed and the sentence would still have the same meaning.


1. Learning from the losses opens the door to success.

I started this sentence by using the gerund “learning”. A gerund is a verb that acts as a noun. I added the metaphor “opens the door” to describe that without learning from mistakes is it impossible to be successful. I chose to use a metaphor to make the sentence livelier which makes the sentence more striking.

2. Failing, the nightmare of every athlete, creates the path to success.

In this sentence I used an appositive phrase to add an extra piece of information about failing. I did this to emphasize that failing is something that every athlete hates, but still it is something that every athlete has to go through in order to grow. I also used an active verb and the word path in order to make this sentence livelier which has a greater impact on the reader.

3. An athlete’s life consists of countless of hours of hard work and dedication. Nothing is gained for free, you have to work for everything. Talent will never take anyone to the top, passion, obsession and dedication will. No one will ever go through all the work that is required without truly loving the sport. Behind every big win are there hours and hours spent in the gym in pain. Without putting in the work, it is not possible to succeed. However, those who enjoy all this hard work and pain for the few moments of success and satisfaction will flourish as athletes. If you do not love it, you will not go anywhere, but being passionate and enjoying the struggle will bring you to the top.

This paragraph describes that all athletes work extremely hard for their success. The last sentence of this paragraph is a distillation. It extracts the essential meaning of the paragraph into one sentence and delivers this sentence in a powerful way. The purpose of a distillation is that the sentence should be remembered and therefore the main point of the paragraph will be remembered.

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