“Optimism is what fuels the discovery of solutions to problems.” Anonymous Optimism is such a misunderstood concept. Often, when I mention its value in my work, I can see, in my peripheral vision, the rolling of eyes and the nodding of heads in that “Not again!” way. That’s when I smile and say something like, “Optimism in the 21st century may not be what you’re thinking of.” Why? What’s different about optimism today?” Being optimistic doesn’t mean you walk around smiling at people all day or greet every problem with a cheery attitude and sing-song voice. It all begins with accepting reality. In order to be genuinely, credibly optimistic, one has to appreciate the reality of whatever issue is being
“Modesty. You cannot control others if you cannot control yourself. Those who most understand their own limitations have the fewest.” Chiron’s advice to a young Jason Unlike most centaurs in Greek mythology, Chiron was intelligent and civilized. He was taught the arts by his foster father, Apollo, and was known for his kind nature and using his nurturing of youth with his wisdom. Chiron’s advice is as valuable today as it was when the ancient texts of mythology were written. For me there are three main themes in this wonderful quote: Humility, self-awareness, and leadership. To begin with, controlling one’s ego—being the master of it rather than the slave—is a rare and most valuable trait. When one is control of their ego
“Virtually every good thing in my life I can trace back to a misfortune, so my feeling is you don’t know what’s good and what’s bad when things happen. You do not know. You have to wait to find out.” Sebastian Junger I am especially fond of quotes that remind me to look beyond the obvious or awaken me to the counterintuitive things in life. This quote is a wonderful example. In one of my TEDx talks titled “The Paradox of Adversity”, I explain how positive outcomes can be born in adversity. A bit of context may be needed here. Stated simply, I believe that adversity is nothing more than a bully and, like all bullies, is a coward. Now,
“There is no education like adversity.” Benjamin Disraeli What a wonderful, empowering frame of thought Disraeli presents us with in this quote. So often, in my work, I find the approach that most make toward addressing an adversity is dread. But, as I have witnessed many times, there is a transformation that takes place when one looks at adversity as an opportunity to actually learn something. The transformation that takes place is one of perspective and mindset. If you truly believe that you can learn something from whatever problem faces you, you are releasing your creativity and giving it permission to search out, analyze, and formulate solutions. And then, what happens is, instead of being faced with a reaction to adversity,
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Blaise Pascal For me, this is an interesting insight from the 17th century French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pacal. At the core of his meaning, I think he is talking about the inability of many us of to sit quietly in self-reflection. When you think about it, sitting quietly, alone, contemplating the day before you, or even the day you are closing, presents a wonderful opportunity to reflect, without the passion of prejudice, if one allows it. It may be an overstatement to say “All of humanities problems…”, but, to me, Pascal is reminding us that deep inside us all is a seed of common-sense wisdom,
“A moment’s courage or a lifetime of regret. That’s always been the choice.” Anonymous When I first heard this quote, it was like hearing a bell ring—the clear ring of an important truth. Many of those who read this, will have already experienced the dilemma this quote spells out. But, for those who haven’t, I would urge you to commit this quote to memory, because the time will come when you are called upon to make a decision that could well define you in a positive or negative way. It could be in business or in your personal life. You find yourself in a situation that is extremely uncomfortable. Maybe you made a mistake, maybe you see something happen, or
Pepper de Callier: Things to Think About I can’t help but ponder the difference between these three types of people, especially as we enter into such an important election cycle. And, who better to turn to for guidance in clarifying this very important distinction than Socrates? My hope it that this quote from Socrates will help you as you consider for whom to cast your ballot. It’s also a wonderful guide in everyday life. Here it is. “Smart people learn from everything and everyone,Average people from their experiences,Stupid people already have all the answers”. So, please consider this column a public service message as you apply its wisdom to your evaluation of the candidates. Good luck on your journey!
“Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” Ralph Waldo Emerson This goes in the file of my all-time favorite quotes. It is such a simple turn of phrase, but it delivers a knock-out punch of common-sense. To go beyond the obvious of clothing, jewelry, haircut, body art, etc. Let me tell you a story. Many years ago, I was in charge of training new consultants how to interview people for very senior positions. One of the things I would tell them is to get the person out-of-context in order to find out who they really are. The easiest way to do this is to invite them to a meal in a restaurant. This pulls them
“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.” Winston Churchill What an elegantly simple way to capture one of life’s most important things to know. Fear is so misunderstood. I know I didn’t understand it for many years. I thought that courage was something that only fearless people experienced. But, the older I got, and the more senior executives I worked with, I began to learn about fear from people who experienced it on a far larger scale than mine. The more I spoke with these successful leaders, the deeper I got into their life stories. A constant theme in all their stories was overcoming something—a setback, a failure, a stutter, lack of education—you name it, they experienced it. In
“Yesterday, I was clever and wanted to change the world. Today, I am wiser and want to change myself.” Rumi, Sufi poet Stop for a moment and think about Rumi’s words. To me, he is talking about the maturation process of critical thinking. It begins with a very broad horizon, and through self-reflection gets narrowed to the real core of wisdom. Many of us would really, truly like to change the world, but for most of us, that scale is not realistic. What is realistic? What makes common-sense? It all begins with the core—you. We have known for many years that we become what we think about. So, staying with this quote, where do you begin? You begin with yourself.