December 31, 2013

HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND PROSPOROUS NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL


“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” 

Rainer Maria Rilke
Late 19th/early 20th century Bohemian-Austrian poet/novelist

December 30, 2013

IT'S ALL IN HOW YOU LOOK AT IT


"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered."

Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Late 19th/early 20th century British journalist/novelist/poet

Not sure this will work as an explanation to stockholders concerning failed investments, but there is value in the thought as you make your way through business and career challenges.

December 27, 2013

TRUE FOR PEOPLE AS WELL


"Neither have they hearts to stay, nor wit enough to run away."

Samuel Butler
17th century British poet/satirist

When it comes to careers this is true for way too many people, and, as a result, the source of much professional and personal unhappiness.

If you are not happy with what you do, create a plan to become happy.

Leaving things as they are should not be considered a viable option.

December 26, 2013

UNCOMMON SENSE


"Common sense is not so common."

Voltaire
18th century French writer/historian

If common sense really were (common) wouldn't we see more of it?


December 24, 2013

BUSINESS WISDOM WISH FOR YOU


"When a man finds no peace within himself, it is useless to seek it elsewhere."

François de La Rochefoucauld
17th century French writer

I wish for peace in the world beginning with peace within each of us first.

Happy Holidays wherever you are, however you celebrate.

December 23, 2013

EVERYTHING THAT IS DOESN'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO BE


"Happy is he who learns to bear what he cannot change."

Friedrich Schiller 
18th century German dramatist/poet/historian

True, but the larger problem is not attempting to recognize what can be changed and working to see that it is.

The Serenity Prayer got it right.

December 20, 2013

IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME


"The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot."

Salvador Dalí
20th century Spanish surrealist painter

Which is to suggest, you don't need to share every thought you have no matter how interesting, or poetic, it may seem to you.

Less is often more.

December 19, 2013

WHO AM I?


"Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others than being ill at ease with yourself."

Honore de Balzac
19th century French novelist

And it can be much more difficult to understand yourself than it can be to understand others.

But who better to start with than you?

December 18, 2013

IT'S ON (ME) YOU!


"Weakness on both sides is the motto of all quarrels."

Voltaire 
18th century French writer/historian

As easy as as this is to understand it is that difficult not to be guilty of in practice.

December 17, 2013

THAT WON'T WORK BECAUSE . . .


"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities."

Albert Einstein
20th century German, Swiss, US scientist

Think about this the next time you find yourself first thinking someone else's suggestion won't work, before (if at all) you think about the possibility that it might.



December 16, 2013

ANY COLOR AS LONG AS IT'S BLACK


"Hell, there are no rules here, we are trying to accomplish something."

Thomas Alva Edison
Late 19th/early 20th century American inventor

We often exempt ourselves from rules we make for others (just ask my boys).

I wonder if Mr. Edison saw the irony in his statement?

December 13, 2013

UP TO THE LINE, ONLY SOMETIMES OVER



"Tact in audacity consists in knowing how far we may go too far."

Jean Cocteau
20th century French author/filmmaker

As with most every good thing, too much often is.

Generally the only time excessive is good is when it comes to moderation.

December 12, 2013

THAT'S JUST GREAT!


"No great man ever complains of want of opportunity."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
19th century U.S. poet/essayist/lecturer

Nor do they complain about not having good luck, or having too much bad luck.

They work with what they have, attempting to obtain what they need but don't have.

How about you?

December 11, 2013

HOW WILL YOU SPEND YOURS?


"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you."

Carl Sandburg
Late 19th/early 20th century American poet

One more I probably shouldn't but nonetheless will quibble with a bit.

Time is the "coin" of our lives but way too many of us are not determining how it will be spent.

We unthinkingly acquiesce to the wishes of others.

If you are going to "spend" the most valuable asset you have, one that cannot be replenished, make sure it is you who decides what you will get in return.


December 10, 2013

BUT WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?


"Applause waits on success."

Benjamin Franklin
18th century American statesman/scientist/philosopher

Meaning, accomplishment first, reward second.

December 09, 2013

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK


"It is with our judgments as with our watches: no two go just alike, yet each believes his own."

Alexander Pope
Late 17th/early 18th century English poet/satirist

Yet one more argument in favor of considering alternative views, in particular, those contrary to what we initially believe to be true.

December 06, 2013

REST IN PEACE


"It always seems impossible until it's done."

Nelson Mandela
20th century anti apartheid revolutionary/President of South Africa

He taught us all including those who refused to learn.

In so many ways, one of the great leaders of the 20th century.

December 05, 2013

THE MAGIC OF REALITY


"We must not let daylight in upon the magic."

Walter Bagehot
19th century British economist

We act based on both illusion and reality and knowing each for what it is is important.

Let the magic lead you to what will one day, hopefully, become reality.

December 04, 2013

OF THIS I'M CERTAIN


"I have lived in this world just long enough to look carefully the second time into things that I am the most certain of the first time."

Josh Billings
19th century American humorist/lecturer

"Certainties" are funny things.

They are until they aren't.

December 03, 2013

WHICH ONES WHEN?


"Every good servant does not all commands."

William Shakespeare 
Late 16th/early 17th century British poet/playwright

If you are just beginning your business career you are likely saying, "Hah! I knew that."

If you are farther along, with employees reporting to you, you might be saying, "True, but do all my commands."

And if you are at or near the end of your career your reaction might be, "Yes, but the hard part is knowing which ones when."

December 02, 2013

PLANNING: CHILD'S PLAY


"I had six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names were: Where, What, When, Why, How and Who."

Rudyard Kipling 
Late 19th/early 20th century British writer

Very close to the foundation of planning (What, How, How Much, When, Who) for achievement of both personal and professional goals.

November 27, 2013

ACCIDENTAL SUCCESS: THE OXYIEST OF ALL MORONS


"The method of the enterprising is to plan with audacity and execute with vigor."

Christian Nevell Bovee
19th century American author/lawyer

However, rarely is one done not to mention both.

Successes are much rarer than failures for good reason.

November 26, 2013

PROCEED WITH CAUTION QUICKLY


"Even moderation ought not to be practiced to excess."

Unknown

It is difficult to know when too much or too little actually is, and certainly impossible to always know.

November 25, 2013

AFRAID TO BE AFRAID?


"He who fears to suffer, suffers from fear."

Proverb

You could also say he (or she) who fails to risk, risks failure.

There are no sure things; identify what is important to you and go after it.

November 22, 2013

UNTIL THEY LIGHT NO MORE.


"We waste our lights in vain, like lamps by day."

William Shakespeare
Late 16th/early 17th century British poet/playwright

Not all our "lights", every day, but enough to know there is a finite number we shouldn't waste.

November 21, 2013

GENERATIONAL ARROGANCE


"The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

Albert Einstein
20th century German-Swiss-U.S. scientist

The next time you feel your generation is unique, consider what Mr. Einstein might have said about that.

November 20, 2013

I'M REASONABLY CERTAIN THIS IS TRUE


"The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it."

Voltaire
18th century French writer/historian

Well, not always (enables), but even having the ability to attempt to reason with an unreasonable person is an advantage.

November 19, 2013

WHAT YOU MAKE IS NOT WHO YOU ARE


"No man's fortune can be an end worthy of his being."

Francis Bacon
16th century British statesman/philosopher

It is a form of self imposed slavery to equate your self-worth to how much money you, or the company you work for, makes.

November 18, 2013

LESS IS MORE


"The wise person has long ears and a short tongue."

German proverb

It is better to have said less than necessary than it is to say more.

November 15, 2013

(UN) MAKING AN ASS OF YOURSELF


"If an ass goes traveling it will not come home a horse."

Proverb

True, but unlike the ass who cannot change what he is, we humans can.

(I don't make these up but if I did, this would be near the top.)

November 14, 2013

I HATE THAT


"Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known."

Leonardo da Vinci
Late 15th/early 16th century Italian painter/sculptor/architect

And still we love and hate so much while knowing so very little.

November 13, 2013

MORE THAN WHAT YOU THINK, WHAT YOU DO


"The real antichrist is he who turns the wine of an original idea into the water of mediocrity."

Eric Hoffer 
20th century American philosopher/author

And who among us has not done this?

Doing justice to original thought is often more difficult than was having original thought in the first place.

November 12, 2013

NEW AND IMPROVED


"So long as a person is capable of self-renewal they are a living being."

Henri Frédéric Amiel
19th century Swiss writer

I propose an edit.

So long as a person attempts self-renewal they are a living being.

Without the attempt, being capable is of little value.

Keep trying and let the outcome take care of itself.

November 11, 2013

THE SALESPERSON'S CREED


"Buying is a profound pleasure."

Simone de Beauvoir
20th century French novelist/essayist

After completing a sale, hearing this from the buyer should be the goal of everyone who calls themselves a salesperson.  

By the way, everyone is a salesperson for something.

Everyone!

November 08, 2013

EFFORT ABOVE ALL ELSE


"The best is the enemy of the good."

Voltaire 
18th century French writer/historian

Another quote exhorting us to be the best, which is often impossible to achieve.

However never impossible to try to achieve.



November 07, 2013

WHO WERE YOU AGAIN?


"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing."

Benjamin Franklin
18th century American statesman/scientist/philosopher

Even tougher in business.

Your company will be dead if it doesn't stay in the public's consciousness and for that to happen you must continually give reason to warrant being remembered.

Not an easy task.

November 06, 2013

November 05, 2013

IF YOU ONLY KNEW


"Knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be."

Albert Einstein 
Late 19th/early 20th century German-Swiss-U.S. scientist

Or could be.

What you think you know might be enough to keep you from learning what you don't.

November 04, 2013

DELAY, MAYBE, BUT NOT AVOID


"To shun one's cross is to make it heavier."

Henri Frédéric Amiel
19th century Swiss writer

Which implies, if it is your "cross", you have no option but to "bear" it.

So get on with it.

November 01, 2013

VOCATIONAL HAZARDS


"Look around the inhabited world; how few know their own good, or knowing it, pursue."

John Dryden 
17th century British poet/dramatist/critic

Many of us become whatever comes along first, whatever "pays the bills".

Since we often then spend a lifetime doing whatever that is, shouldn't our first job be doing the best job we can deciding what our job will be?

As difficult as it is important to do.

October 31, 2013

SEEING WITHIN


"The knowledge of yourself will preserve you from vanity."

Miguel de Cervantes 
17th century Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet

But first you must honestly know you.

Do you?

October 30, 2013

SUPERFICIAL JUDGEMENT


"A man is not good or bad for one action."

Thomas Fuller
17th century British clergyman/author

Nor a woman.

However all too often we are judged by too many about too little of all we say and do.

If you don't judge on most or all it, try not to judge at all.

October 29, 2013

YOUR JOB TODAY, THEIR JOB TOMORROW

"Young people are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and more fit for new projects than for settled business."

Francis Bacon 
16th century British statesman/philosopher

There is some cynicism in this, coming from a politician, but more raw truth than not.

If you are now older, presumably wiser, part of your job is to get maximum value from your more youthful employees. 

That and help them prepare to do the same for those who will one day succeed them.

October 28, 2013

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND . . .


"Thou hast seen nothing yet."

Miguel de Cervantes
16th century Spanish novelist/dramatist/poet

You could assume at least two very different interpretations of this:
  1. A statement of self-affirmation by a confirmed optimist.
  2. An opinion expressed by the speaker about the limited life experiences of the listener.
How quickly you decided which says a lot about your propensity to consider alternatives.

October 25, 2013

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?


"We tend to get what we expect."

Norman Vincent Peale
20th century Protestant preacher/author

If, as I do, you believe this is generally true, the next thing you should do is reexamine your expectations.

October 24, 2013

I'LL (NEVER?) FORGIVE YOU!


"Like fragile ice anger passes away in time."

Ovid 
1st century BC Roman poet

Or should.

If you're still nursing a grudge, if not outright anger, towards someone else, to what end?

Doing so is childish.

October 23, 2013

GOT YOUR BACK OR WATCH YOUR BACK?


"We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end."

Woodrow T. Wilson
Twenty-eighth President of the USA

There are three areas of potential focus for employees of any company.
  1. Internal on each other.
  2. External on the competition.
  3. External on the customer.
The first is mostly office politics.

If you work in an environment where 1 is prevalent over 2 and 3, in addition to you being unhappy, the company is doomed.

October 22, 2013

THE MIND'S CHALLENGE

"Remember, when life's path is steep, keep your mind even."

Horace (BC 65-8) Latin lyric poet

Often the "steeper" (difficult) you believe the "path" (task) to be, the harder it will be to overcome.

Don't imagine it more so than it really is.

October 21, 2013

DO ALL ENDS JUSTIFY ALL MEANS?


"We would frequently be ashamed of our good deeds if people saw all of the motives that produced them."

François de La Rochefoucauld 
17th century French writer

Which raises the question, does the motive matter if the deed is "good"?

And does your answer change if only you knows the true motivation for your actions?


October 18, 2013

SNAKE BIT


"Propaganda is a soft weapon; hold it in your hands too long, and it will move about like a snake, and strike the other way."

Jean Anouilh
20th century French playwright

And make no mistake about it, propaganda is as much reality in business as it is in politics.

Watch out least the snake you hold turns and bites you.