Good Quotes 2022

“ There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
–Albert Einstein


“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
–James Baldwin

We can no longer afford to take that which was good in the past and simply call it our heritage, to discard the bad and simply think of it as a dead load which by itself time will bury in oblivion. The subterranean stream of Western history has finally come to the surface and usurped the dignity of our tradition. This is the reality in which we live. And this is why all efforts to escape from the grimness of the present into nostalgia for a still intact past, or into the anticipated oblivion of a better future, are vain.”
–Hannah Arendt

Discussing Mistakes for Growth

Need a topic for a brainstorming session or a leadership development session? Talk about mistakes. “What mistake did you make recently, which was a good learning experience?”

I am part of a group of leaders who meet routinely to reflect on the day’s plan and how the small steps fit into the big picture. It could be considered a mastermind group from the approach of Napoleon Hill. Someone started talking about learning from mistakes and the connection to experience. We turned this session into a more extensive discussion on “good” mistakes.

There are numerous kinds of good mistakes. Here are three general categories.

  • What you said, how you said it, or what you did not say. Many people use sarcasm, comedy, cynicism, or other styles in communications. In most cases, these styles hurt communication and connection. Also, we do not always need to say something, but there will be moments when a few simple words will impact.
  • Forgetting to Listen Deeply: We all have situations where we should actively listen. The two big reasons we made those listening mistakes are a.) we were too busy thinking what we wanted to say or b.) we were too distracted by something else.
  • Jumping at the First Solution:  We are busy. We dislike conflict. We want to be seen as decisive. How often have you selected the first solution only to find that time or input from others would have led to several better options. 

Use one or two of these examples to start the discussion. Work with the participants to dig deep on each mistake, possible changes, and learning experiences. Many people have a problem with deep reflection. Try to create a safe, supportive environment where people can openly discuss their mistakes. Be ready to challenge people with follow-up questions. Like handling sales objections, Frank Bettger’s two follow-up questions, “why” and “in addition to that,” also apply to helping someone reflect on learning from mistakes.

Many other examples of good mistakes will emerge. Work with them. You may want to repurpose the cliche “there are no bad questions.” There are no bad mistakes, as long as you learn from them and other people learn from them.

You can keep the discussion’s overview simple with Oscar Wilde’s quote, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”

How George Schultz Nurtured Relationships

“What I remember most from George Schultz’s remarks and responses to questions was his metaphor of “gardening” for the conduct of foreign affairs. His point was that national interactions, like personal one, are relationships that need to be carefully tended. Watering and weeding are particularly important, he noted: ensuring that you pay enough attention to keep them flourishing and to observe and remove any problems that might arise early on.

“I have heard other leaders and entrepreneurs describe leading as gardening, in the sense of growing talent, but the Schultz view was far broader. I can just imagine him sitting in the grandeur of his office and reception room on the seventh floor of the State Department, surveying the world and tending U.S. alliances, friendships, and even rivalries with care.”

Anne-Marie Slaughter, “A Personal Tribute to a Public Man,” Princeton Alumni Weekly, April 2021, p 49.

Good Quotes 2021

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

–Mother Teresa

“We will need to understand that the most power stories get told, not in books and newspapers, but in the everyday world of work. Whether managers know it or not, every decision they make suggests a story to the rest of the enterprise.”
–Robert Reich, Harvard Business Review (2001)

“But the first time I drove through the inner city of West Philadelphia, I was shocked. It was not mere poverty. It was the sense that these were a people who had been forgotten.”
–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“It is an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events of our daily life.”
–Thornton Wilder on Our Town

“It is we who must train ourselves to identify the beautiful, rather than that beauty should conform to our ideals.”
–Donna Ladkin on Immanuel Kant in Rethinking Leadership

“Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others than being ill at ease with yourself.”
— Honoré de Balzac

“You cannot understand a system until you try to change it.”
–Kurt Lewin

A Leader Must Hear People’s Pain

During the George Floyd Protests, we are hearing amazing reflections from around the world about what humanity should strive for. In a speech on 2 June 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti talked about the role of leaders.

I joined organizers on the streets of our city just outside here in City Hall. I know I am the mayor, so I know some people will be happy to see me and others might be upset at this moment and needed to yell at me. And both of those things happened.

That’s part of what you do as a leader. You step forward to hear people’s pain, to try to understand it and never dismiss it. And try to offer more than a voice forward, but steps forward. To understand that Peace is not just built as a request, but it is earned when we embrace the idea of Justice.

Universe versus Journey

“The comparison between Dante [and Milton] may be misleading. Dante is telling the story of a spiritual pilgrimage – how one soul fared in is passage through the universe and how all may fear and hope to fare. Milton is giving us the story of the universe itself.”

C.S. Lewis, A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942), as found in Paradise Lost: Norton Critical Edition, edited by Gordon Teskey (New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2005), p.. 438.

This view of “universe” versus “journey” is an great way to view many stories, fiction or non-fictional. Particularly in Science Fiction and Fantasy, there is discussion of “world building” and how that balances with character development.