December 31, 2014

DON'T FORGET TODAY


"A man's delight in looking forward to and hoping for some particular satisfaction is a part of the pleasure flowing out of it, enjoyed in advance. But this is afterward deducted, for the more we look forward to anything the less we enjoy it when it comes."

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher

New Year's Eve; the day we reflect on the past while looking forward to the future. However, don't forget today itself.

Yesterdays are to be remembered not relived, and tomorrows will come on their own soon enough.

But you can only live today, today.

I'll be wishing you a happy new year, starting tomorrow.




December 30, 2014

ALL THINGS IN MODERATION, INCLUDING DESIRE


"We never desire strongly, what we desire rationally."

François de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French writer

Our rational mind moderates our desiring mind, a good thing.

December 29, 2014

THE ONLY SURE THING: THERE ARE NO SURE THINGS


"What men want is not knowledge, but certainty."

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) British logician/philosopher

And no men (women too) want this more than venture capitalists whose job it is to invest in as sure things as possible.

If you're looking for institutional investment, don't worry; they know there's no such thing as a sure thing.

However, they want to know you know that too.

December 23, 2014

IT'S UP TO YOU


"Man is made or unmade by himself."

James Allen (1864-1912) British-born American essayist

This doesn't mean your fate is not affected by others and events outside your control. 

You are.

But no matter what others do and whatever events you encounter, what you do and become is up to you.

December 22, 2014

EITHER WAY, YOU'RE A CHARACTER, BUT WHICH ONE?


"Talents are best nurtured in solitude. Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world."

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet/novelist/dramatist

Those "stormy billows" occur when others are evaluating what you see as your talents. 

Sometimes you'll win, other times not and your character will show to be good or bad depending on which.




December 19, 2014

YOUR BUSINESS, YOUR LIFE?


"I do not believe a man can ever leave his business. He ought to think of it by day and dream of it by night."

Henry Ford (1863-1947) American industrialist

You would expect Henry to say that, being the workaholic he was.

And at times you do need to eat, drink, sleep your business, that or lose it.

But not always forever.

Deciding when, how much, for how long, that's the hard part.

December 18, 2014

NOT NECESSARILY


"The philosophy of one century is the common sense of the next."

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American politician

Not unless the root of the philosophy actually is common sense.

And it's the same with your ideas.

Just because you have them doesn't mean everyone will immediately or ultimately think they're good.

They actually have to be good.

December 17, 2014

SOMETHING IS TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING


"Every calamity is a spur and valuable hint."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet/essayist/lecturer

But only if you recognize it as such.

Many, maybe most things happen for a reason.

Do your best to learn what that is and then plan to deal with it.

December 16, 2014

AND RUINS THEM TOO


"Fortune befriends the bold."

John Dryden (1631-1700) British poet/dramatist/critic

I don't advocate being risk averse nor so certain you will succeed you fail to acknowledge you well could fail.

Planning will reveal how close you are to each.

December 15, 2014

PAY ATTENTION START-UPS


"You believe easily that which you hope for earnestly."

Terence (195/185 BC-159 BC) Roman Republic playwright

The more you want something the more you should question the validity of what makes you want it.

It may be real, often it's not.

Be sure which it is.


December 12, 2014

LESS REALLY IS MORE


"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do."

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third president of the United States

Disclaimer: I've often been guilty of being anything but to the point, so to some extent this is do as I say, not as I've always done.

But I have tried to follow the "less is more" dictum here in Business Wisdom.

And you?

December 11, 2014

SELF IMPOSED BLINDNESS


"We are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about."

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American philosopher/author

And we are often most ignorant about things we are most vehement about.

Easy to fix.

Simply train your knee-jerk reaction to be "what else might be true?" rather than "what I think is true is true."

Do that and you'll be surprised how much more you learn.

December 10, 2014

TODAY AND TOMORROW


"Only man clogs his happiness with care, destroying what is with thoughts of what may be."

John Dryden (1631-1700) British poet/dramatist/critic

I'd like to tell you this doesn't apply to me but I'd be lying if I did.

And it's true for everyone I've ever known although some much more than others.

You need to be concerned with what may be, that is at the heart of planning.

Just not at the expense of living today.

December 09, 2014

HERE'S WHAT YOU DO



"Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom."

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) German philosopher

The best advice is that based on real experience.

Trust that coming from those who've been where you want to go.

December 08, 2014

THERE ARE LIMITS TO YOUR GREATNESS . . . WHO KNEW?


"The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary."

Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) American inventor

Counter intuitive to self proclaimed multitaskers.

Few have the luxury of doing only one thing at a time, however there is a finite limit to how many things you can do equally well all at once.

Know what that limit is.


December 05, 2014

CHEAP CAN BE VERY EXPENSIVE


"All good things are cheap: all bad are very dear."

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American naturalist/poet/philosopher

Not all but certainly a lot.

"Good deals" are often the most costly.

Concern yourself with cost, don't buy what you can't afford, but understand the most expensive will often end up being the least costly.

December 04, 2014

WE CAN'T BE BEAT?


"We feel and know that we are eternal."

Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677) Dutch Jewish philosopher

People maybe, companies definitely not.

And still many management teams act as though their company will never die.

And when they do that is the beginning of the end.



December 03, 2014

WHAT WILL YOU DO?


"It is the first of all problems for a man to find out what kind of work he is to do in this universe."

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) British historian/essayist

Arguably the biggest of all problems because if you get that wrong, all else that follows will only be worse.

Choose your career carefully.

December 02, 2014

YOU NEED TROUBLE?


"People need trouble -- a little frustration to sharpen the spirit on, toughen it."

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist/short-story writer

Whether or not you need trouble depends on your aspirations.

No one I've known, including me, was born prepared to accomplish their most ambitious goals.

We become so after seeing we did what we once thought undoable.

December 01, 2014

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT


"Thought is free."

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) British poet/playwright

And yet it sometimes seems there's too little of it or that which is thought was not thought carefully with full consideration for what would follow.

November 26, 2014

FOR THOSE WHO DON'T BELIEVE THIS IS FOR THEM


"Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don't take yourself so seriously."

Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) Protestant preacher/author

There's an excellent chance you are not the only person who can get things done if you think you are the only person who can get things done.

November 25, 2014

TEACH, DON'T TELL


"The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence."

Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888) American educator

Important in all forms of education, business included.

Managers (should also) be teachers.

The best ones temper their own personal beliefs, providing their direct reports the best possible information so they can reach the best possible decisions.

November 24, 2014

I KNOW I'M RIGHT!


"Not being known doesn't stop the truth from being true."

Richard Bach (1936-?) American writer

At the heart of most arguments is the existence of many contradictory "truths".

Opinions, really, held by those who do not accept the opinions of others, all claiming what they think is true to be what is true.

But what if you're wrong?

November 21, 2014

NOT WHAT YOU HAVE BUT WHAT YOU DO WITH IT


"Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them."

Napoleon I (1769-1821) Napoleon Bonaparte, French general

You can have intelligence, education, experience, personality, wealth, etc., but if you don't do something with it there is no value.

November 20, 2014

THE MANY OF US


"A man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him."

William James (1842-1910) American philosopher/psychologist

Appropriate to remember in this time of social networking that we are as many versions of ourselves as there are people passing judgement on who we are.

And they do that based on what we say and do.

Best to think about what you say and do before you say and do it.

November 19, 2014

TAKING CHARGE OF YOU


"Self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward."

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American speaker/motivational writer

A VERY underrated personality quality.

Get your education, have your work experience, but if you don't have self-discipline much of what you do have is wasted.

November 18, 2014

I DON'T KNOW BUT I'LL FIND OUT


"It's not only the most difficult thing to know one's self, but the most inconvenient."

Josh Billings (1815-1885) American humorist/lecturer

True, but as difficult and inconvenient as it may be, how can you expect others to know you until you know yourself?

November 17, 2014

ONE (CAN BE) THE LONELIEST NUMBER THAT YOU'LL EVER DO


"To be no part of any body, is to be nothing."

John Donne (1572-1632) English poet

This figures to come from the "No man is an island" man, however don't let that diminish his message.

It's good to be independent, just not to the point of failing to recognize when it's not.

November 14, 2014

IT'S ON ME


"Remorse is regret that one waited so long to do."

Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) American journalist/satirist/social critic

It is overdue acceptance of our mistakes, made worse the longer we wait to acknowledge them.

Take responsibility then get on with the solution.

November 13, 2014

PERSUADING YOU


"The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders."

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American philosopher/author

What you are and will become is up to you.

Others will attempt to use you to convince you but you have final control over all they do.

But only if you first take control of yourself.

November 12, 2014

POTENTIAL


"What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet/essayist/lecturer

Something you may never experience.

Potential is only that; you have to do something to make it something.

November 11, 2014

GETTING IT RIGHT


"So enjoy present pleasures as to not mar those to come."

Seneca (4 BC-65) Roman philosopher/playwright

But do so with balance.

Avoid not enjoying today because you're worried about tomorrow, or living only for today.

Too much of the first and you never enjoy what you worked so hard for yesterday, while the second means you're not working hard enough today to have things to enjoy tomorrow.

November 10, 2014

NO EXCUSES!


"No alibi will save you from accepting the responsibility."

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American speaker/motivational writer

I wish this were always true but unfortunately it's not.

Pay attention to how many excuses you hear given for why things didn't get done.

And when it falls to you, either do it or accept responsibility for not doing it. 

November 07, 2014

TELL ME WHAT IS, NOT WHAT YOU THINK WHAT IS


"Opinions are a private matter. The public has an interest only in judgments."

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) German philosopher

We want answers. 

Moreover the "public" is not an anonymous collection of "other" people; it's all of us in every aspect of our lives.

Remember that the next time you find yourself wondering what your employees are thinking.

November 06, 2014

I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU


"A prudent question is one-half of wisdom."

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) British statesman/philosopher

The most important half because if you never ask the question you'll likely never gain the wisdom.

November 05, 2014

DWIGHT AND STEVE KNEW


"Pessimism never won any battle."

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) 34th President of the United States

Whether those battles be in war, politics, or business.

Give up if you like but success will ultimately come to those who persevere.

November 04, 2014

NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOU


"It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun."

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) British novelist

At the root of this poetic paragraph is the challenge we all face attempting to deal with each other.

Remember this the next time you look across the conference room table at your co-workers.

November 03, 2014

IF IT WERE EASY, WOULD IT STILL BE WORTH IT?


"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; 'Tis dearness only that gives everything its value."

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) English intellectual

Well to remember this if you are just beginning a start-up. 

It will involve conflict, it will not be easy, all of which will make the hard fought triumph, should you succeed, all that more glorious.

October 31, 2014

WHAT AS MUCH AS HOW IT IS SAID


"There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued."

Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895) English biologist

Not clear? Maybe this will help.

The opinion of a man pointing a gun at you, stuttering "Haaaaaaaannnnndsss  Upppp!", should be every bit as important to you as the same scenario minus the stutter.

Well presented ideas deserve to be thoughtfully considered, but don't be too quick to dismiss those that are not.

October 30, 2014

ISN'T THAT GREAT?


"No truly great person ever thought themselves so."

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) British essayist

Taken literally, few, if any, could ever be great.

It's human nature for our egos to occasionally to frequently stop to admire what a great person it thinks we are.

But once more the problem is not with the basic idea but rather the all inclusiveness of it.

You can recognize your greatness, just not to the point that you expect/assume others will as well.

October 29, 2014

NOT ALL THINGS, JUST YOUR THINGS


"Things without remedy should be without regard; what is done is done."

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) British poet/playwright

You know this. This is what you advise others to do.

What about when it's you?



October 28, 2014

FEAR THE ACCIDENTAL CAREER


"The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain."

Lord Byron (1788-1824) British poet

Obviously about life in general but think about this relative to your career.

You don't want to only "exist" in whatever job you do, which you will if you don't consciously, with much thought, determine your life's work.

October 27, 2014

IF ONLY HOPES WERE RESULTS


"We promise according to our hopes and perform according to our fears."

François de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French writer

Which often isn't good enough.

While fear may motive us to perform, our lack of preparedness often results in subpar performance.

October 24, 2014

MAKE DO


"Arrange whatever pieces come your way."

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) British novelist/essayist

She's talking about opportunity and the need to do the best with what you have.

October 23, 2014

BE OVER IT


"To mourn a mischief that is past and gone is the next way to draw new mischief on."

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) British poet/playwright

Particularly if the "mischief" you suffered was done purposely.

Don't give whomever harmed you the added satisfaction of knowing you continue to dwell on their act.

Move on.

October 22, 2014

UNCONSCIOUSLY BUSY?


"If work and leisure are soon to be subordinated to this one utopian principle -- absolute busyness -- then utopia and melancholy will come to coincide: an age without conflict will dawn, perpetually busy -- and without consciousness."

Günter Grass (1927-?) German author

Absolute busyness . . . can you relate?

Think about what you are busy doing.

If too much has become automated, things you do without questioning why you do them, you are unconsciously busy.

October 21, 2014

THE UNIMAGINABLE IMAGINED


"Moralities, ethics, laws, customs, beliefs, doctrines --these are of trifling import. All that matters is that the miraculous become the norm."

Henry Miller (1891-1980) American author

That last sentence would make a pretty good mission statement wouldn't it?

But how?

Left only to a mission statement hanging on the wall, useless.

Could (would) you even attempt to create a work culture where miraculous results was the expected norm?

October 20, 2014

YOUR LIFE'S CLOCK IS TICKING


"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet/dramatist

We all need to just "exist" some to much of the time; we can't always be "living" in the way implied by Mr. Wilde.

But for most "living" too much is not the problem.

I generally know when I'm doing one versus the other and I do my best to swing the pendulum toward purposely living.

What about you?

October 17, 2014

THERE IS A DEADLINE, DON'T MISS IT



"By the time a person has achieved years adequate for choosing a direction, the die is cast and the moment has long since passed which determined the future."

Unknown

Most of us over 40 know this.

If you're not, ideally you'll either spend enough time finding what's best for you, or will be fortunate enough to simply luck into it.

I'd recommend you work for the former rather than expect the latter.