Good Quotes 2024

“You only need ten songs, ten beautiful and breath-taking accidents to make up a record. You have to be patient and alert to the little miracles nestled in the ordinary.”
–Nick Cave, as discussed on “On Being” podcast

“They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heartt that is clear, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never nelect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.”
–Douglas MacArthur, 1962

“He who know others is wise;
He who knows himself is enlightened.”

“Some men rejoice in skill of hand

And some in cultivating land,

But ther are others who maintain

The right to cultivate the brain.”

–Dudley Randall

“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.”
–Potter Stewart

Push for 20 ideas

Quite often, when we are brainstorming, we stop too early. The novel ideas, the innovative ideas, and the crazy ideas are usually the ones near the end of the list of 20. In our mind, we often skip the unlikely ideas during the first round, but when we force the process to keep going past 11 and 14, we find ourselves writing down those ideas we consciously or subconsciously passed over. In an interview with Tim Ferriss, James Altucher discusses how “perfection is the enemy of the idea muscle.” Altucher recommends making a brainstorming list every day to become more innovative.

The brainstorming or mindstorming process is an excellent thing to do when you unplug and have “thinking time.” Take a notepad and a pen and go off to think, reflect, plan, and dream. George Schultz said that setting aside time to think was very important to success. Also, switching between individual and group brainstorming, Paulus and Kenworthy discussed how both formats produce good results.

When you finally finish your list of 20, take a small action. Share one or two of the ideas with someone. Start working on one of the ideas. Brian Tracy writes about an example where someone struggled to get to twenty items. The last idea on the list was “buy a book about this.” The person left the session, purchased a book, and found the critical breakthrough.

Tim Ferriss (2017), Tools of Titans (Mariner Books).

Paul Paulus and Jared Kenworthy (2019), “Effective Brainstorming,” The Oxford Handbook of Group Creativity and Innovation edited by Paul Paulus and Bernard Nijstad (Oxford University Press).

Brian Tracy (2004), The Psychology of Selling (Harper Collins Leadership).

Good Quotes 2023

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” Proverbs

“The person who can best judge the consequences of their actions will be the most successful.” Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman because it often results in physical death.” ​Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The person who has ideas but can’t teach them might as well not have any at all.” Thucycides

“We often miss the truths about ourselves because are blindedd by our our internalized biases.” Stacey Abrams, Lead From the Outside

“As in most crises, the events surrounding the Andromeda Strain were a compound of foresight and foolishness, innocence and ingorance. Nearly everyone involved had moments of great brilliance, and moments of unaccountable stupidity. It is therefore impossible to write about the events without offending some of the participants.” Michael Crichton

“Whatever our passion, we encouter detours, roadblocks, collateral difficulties. The challenge is to get beyond these inevitable barriers.” Derrick Bell, Living a Life of Meaing and Worth

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

“The only person I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”
— George Bernard Shaw

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

Good Quotes, 2020

“All of us feel the consequences of bad leadership.”
–Amanda Sinclair, Leadership for the Disillusioned

“The greatest good you can do for another, is not to share your own riches, but to reveal to her, her own.”
–Benjamin Disraeli

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.

90/10 Rule for Leaders

From Kenneth Klopp, The North Face

“I assumed in business that things would be 50/50: I do mine and you do yours. What I learned is that 90% of the responsibility is mine and 10% is theirs. If you think it’s 50/50, you will be let down more often than not. “

from “Build a Winning Business,” Stanford University Graduate School of Business