Via non trita zaginiis traditionis suffocata est; non timere secare (The untrodden path is choked by the weeds of tradition. Be not afraid to cut through.)”
I love these words and I love the story behind them too.
The words, “be not afraid,” remind me of a favorite Theodore Roosevelt quote which says, “There were all kinds of things I was afraid of at first…but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.”
The story behind the quote amplifies its power. I found this quote, a submitted inscription for a sword actually, while reading The Rickover Effect by Theodore Rockwell. Apparently Admiral Rickover had been asked by a southern military school to provide an inspirational saying for the student battalion commander’s sword. Past submitters included Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower. Admiral Rickover assigned the task to Mr. Rockwell who, with a Latin student, crafted the above saying.
What I find fascinating about the story is that Admiral Rickover allowed a staffer to come up with a saying that he would then take credit for (an act of trust in Mr. Rockwell) and that Mr. Rockwell chose a saying that illuminated an essential philosophy of the early nuclear power program, “Be not afraid to cut through.”
What a gem of a story to find. I hope it encourages you to “be not afraid” as you cut at the weeds of tradition that continue to choke the untrodden paths.
Let’s hack at the weeds together this week.
Why not try?