Month: May 2013

Leadership Thought #435 – In Life And Business, There Are Winners and Losers

Winning does matter. Our country is built on the idea of individual freedom, personal initiative, competitive markets and free enterprise. In the Unites States we are constantly keeping score and rewarding those that achieve in all walks of life. You can chose to live a reactive and safe life rather than a proactive and riskier existence, but then you are dependent upon others who create the overall conditions of success from which you earn your living. This doesn’t mean that all successful people do it the right way or have admirable values. There will always be individuals who cheat the system or take advantage of the less fortunate. However, I would contend that this number is smaller than everyone thinks and our legal system (contrary to popular opinion) does a good job of ferreting them out. It certainly is not perfect, but our civic system and the “rule of law” does exist and often works. Regardless, we all learn from an early age that life isn’t fair and all we can control is our actions in response to anything that happens. There are very few true victims in life…

Leadership Thought #434 – Life Can Change In An Instant

We all know that we meet the same end but we usually don’t know when or why. Most of us avoid spending much time at all thinking about our mortality. It is almost taboo to think about our own expiration date. We stay focused on the moments at hand and feel like our future is open-ended. Why does it take a crisis for us to appreciate the tenuousness of our time here on earth and the true importance of our close relationships? It is a shame we can’t be in this mindspace more often – maybe it would make us all slightly better people. The truth is that we are all living on borrowed time and how we spend that time matters. I heard a speaker comment recently that in every interaction we are either giving life or taking it away. I liked it when he said it then and like it even more now.

Selected Quotes On Life and Success By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of my favorite writers. It is hard to box him into any one style because he does it all so flawlessly. While he is sometimes not an easy read, the effort is always worth it. There are nuggets of wisdom embedded throughout his work and the more you read him, the more thoughtful insight you come away with. He has a way of making sense out of life that is hard to match by anyone else. Personally, I recommend everyone keep a copy of his complete essays and reference the individual topics based on their current life situation.

The following quotes are just a very small snippet of his wisdom:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

“The ancestor of every action is a thought.”

“Thought is action in rehearsal.”

“Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.”

“There are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrated to some stroke of the imagination.”

“Self-trust is the first secret of success.”

“No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.”

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”

“Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.”

“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”

“No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.”

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”

“Often a certain abdication of prudence and foresight is an element of success.”

“Some pursue happiness – others create it.”

“Life is a progress, and not a station.”

“Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself.”

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

“All life is an experiment.”

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

Leadership Thought #433 – You Must Be Willing To Change To Stay Successful

Inflexibility is rarely a virtue especially when it comes to business. The landscape of business history is littered with failed business leaders who were either unwilling or too slow to change their thinking. Just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean it will work in the future. The only constant in life is change. Markets change. Customer attitudes change. The best method for doing business changes. Technology changes. As a business leader you must be willing to adjust to your changing circumstances or risk the consequences.