By Pepper de Callier “The roads that lead man to knowledge are as wondrous as that knowledge itself.” Johannes Kepler Kepler was German scientist who ignited the scientific revolution of the 17th century, on the value of mistakes and unanticipated outcomes in the process of discovery. He felt that mistakes and setbacks can be viewed as the ‘midwives’ of insights and accomplishments. Think about it. A perspective like this—enjoying the journey of discovery—would have such a dramatic impact one’s enjoyment of life. I don’t think it would be easy at times, but when you did connect with it, it could be a life-changer. What do you think? Is it worth a try with a problem you are trying to solve,
By Pepper de Callier “Ph.D. in leadership. Short course: Make a short list of all things done to you that you abhorred. Don’t do them to others. Ever. Make another list of things done to you that you loved. Do them to others. Always.” Dee Hock, Founder of VISA I have had so much fun with this quote over the years. I have used it in presentations to all levels of people, from students to senior executives and Boards of Directors. For me the magic is in its simplicity and how it stresses the importance of reflection. When we can personalize the things we liked and didn’t like that were done to us, it helps put it all in perspective.
By Pepper de Callier “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” Ralph W. Sockman What a wonderful reminder of what it takes to live in, and be part of, civil society. You have more power than you may realize when you stop partaking in a discussion or activity that you know in your heart is wrong. Your action of disengagement could be just the spark to create the momentum needed to turn things around. After all, it’s when good people do nothing that destructive elements enter into, and take control of, a group, a town, or a country. Many years ago, when I was an
By Pepper de Callier “Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.” Sir Isaac Newton I’m sure that without much effort, you can think of a situation in which you witnessed the opposite outcome than the one described by Sir Isaac in this quote. For me, there is so much more to this quote for us in our daily lives. As things become more and more interconnected in business and in our personal lives, we become more dependent on the help of others. That is why, it is of paramount importance, to hone your influencing skills, because without the ability to influence others, who you don’t have authority over, you will quickly find out how lonely
By Pepper de Callier “The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.” Sir William Bragg Sir William gives us much cause for enthusiasm in this quote. I’ll explain. In my work with leaders, I have found that many take it upon themselves to sort through many of the weighty decisions with a minimum of help from others. While commendable for its sense of responsibility, their perspective alone doesn’t always deliver the best outcome. A CEO I was working with once, was wrestling with some major changes in the economy and marketplace. It was clear that there would have to be some significant changes made in the
By Pepper de Callier The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer In the age of populist polarization of politics, this is a quote worth remembering. Dyer is asking us not to abandon the tenets of critical thinking, of asking questions, and doing the research, especially in important matters, such as whom to support in an election. This quote is obviously relevant in all other areas of life as well. No matter what your political affiliation, or how much you want something to be true, don’t you owe it to yourself to get the facts before you jump through a hoop for someone else? Good luck on your journey!
By Pepper de Callier “The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.” Francois de La Rochefoucauld I find this quote especially relevant today because of the seeming instant fame wealth can bring. Rochefoucauld asks us to step back a moment, before we jump on the bandwagon of support for some people. Instead of suspending our critical thinking, we should rigorously employ it, especially if we are offering our support or association with some “great” person. Too soon the cracks can form in the foundation of a great person because of past behavior, and now, more than ever it pays to do your own research before being blindsided by someone else’s.
By Pepper de Callier “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” Anais Nin What an eloquent reminder of our humanness. Nin is describing the most basic truth that one needs to grasp in order to embrace critical thinking. This quote applies to such a broad range of topics, but especially prejudices. In my work I often encounter issues dealing with the assimilation of two, or more different business cultures after a merger or acquisition. This often represents a time of stress and tension for a variety of reasons. One culture may be viewed as lazy, while that “lazy” culture looks at the other as being arrogant and not as competent. When I work with
By Pepper de Callier Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.” Arthur Schopenhauer Known to many in 19th century Germany as a “philosophical pessimist”, Schopenhauer’s work did not have much of an impact. That is, until after his death, and then his writing gained a large and influential following, including Nietzsche, Einstein, Freud, and Tolstoy. Schopenhauer’s insight into human nature is put on full display with this quote, which speaks to the limited frame of reference many have. Limited not by resources, necessarily, but by the willingness to seek input and view it with impartiality. It’s not easy to question yourself, especially, coming back to something you may have decided
By Pepper de Callier “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” Mark Twain What would a book about common sense be without a quote from the master himself, Mark Twain ne Samuel Clemens? Many remember him fondly for his ability to make seemingly absurd statements, which trigger deeper thoughts. To me, this quote is talking to those of us who take things too literally, without thinking about the source or context. As an example, misinformation on the Internet would be a good place to start. Speaking of contextual thought, I am reminded of a very funny thing that happened to me when I was speaking to someone from Eastern Europe and she had mentioned a