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presentations for business, sales, and training - oral and multimedia
Presentations skills and public speaking skills are very useful in many aspects of work and life. Effective presentations and public speaking skills are important in business, sales and selling, training, teaching, lecturing and generally entertaining an audience. Developing the confidence and capability to give good presentations, and to stand up in front of an audience and speak well, are also extremely helpful competencies for selfdevelopment too. Presentations and public speaking skills are not limited to certain special people - anyone can give a good presentation, or perform public speaking to a professional and impressive standard. Like most things, it simply takes a little preparation and practice. The formats and purposes of presentations can be very different, for example: oral (spoken), multimedia (using various media - visuals, audio, etc), powerpoint presentations, short impromptu presentations, long planned presentations, educational or training sessions, lectures, and simply giving a talk on a subject to a group on a voluntary basis for pleasure. Even speeches at weddings and eulogies at funerals are types of presentations. They are certainly a type of public speaking, and are no less stressful to some people for being out of a work situation. Yet every successful presentation uses broadly the essential techniques and structures explained here. Aside from presentations techniques, confidence, experience - and preparation - are big factors. You are not alone if the thought of speaking in public scares you. Giving a presentation is worrying for many people. Presenting or speaking to an audience regularly tops the list in surveys of people's top fears - more than heights, flying or dying. Put another way, to quote the popularly used saying (which features in many presentations about giving presentations and public speaking), "Most people would prefer to be lying in the casket rather than giving the eulogy." (I first heard a speaker called Michelle Ray use this in the early 1990s. It is often credited to Jerry Seinfeld. If you know who originated the expression please contact me.) A common physical reaction to having to speak in public is a release of adrenaline and cortisol into our system, which I have heard likened to drinking several cups of coffee. Even experienced speakers feel their heart thumping very excitedly indeed. This sensational reaction to speaking in public is certainly not only felt by novices, and even some of the great professional actors and entertainers suffer with real physical sickness before taking the stage or podium.
You are not alone. Speaking in public is genuinely scary for most people, including many whom outwardly seem very calm. Our primitive brain shuts down normal functions as the 'fight or flight' impulse takes over. (See FEAR under the acronyms section - warning - there is some adult content among the acronyms for training and presentations.) But don't worry - your audience wants you to succeed. They're on your side. They're glad it's you up there and not them. All you need to do is follow the guidelines contained on this page, and everything will be fine. As the saying goes, don't try to get rid of the butterflies - just get them flying in formation. (Incidentally if you know the origins the wonderful butterfly metaphor - typically given as "There is nothing wrong with stomach butterflies! You just have to get them to fly in formation!" - please tell me. First see the attribution information for the butterflies metaphor on the inspirational quotes page.) So, how do you settle the butterflies and get them flying in formation? Good preparation is the key to confidence, which is the key to you being relaxed, and this settles the butterflies. Good preparation and rehearsal will reduce your nerves by 75%, increase the likelihood of avoiding errors to 95%. (Source: Fred Pryor Organisation, a significant provider of seminars and open presentation events.) And so this is the most important rule for effective presentations and public speaking: Prepare, which means plan it, and practise it. Then you'll be in control, and confident. Your audience will see this and respond accordingly, which in turn will help build your confidence, and dare we imagine, you might even start to enjoy yourself too.
tips for effective presentations
Preparation and knowledge are the pre-requisites for a successful presentation, but confidence and control are just as important. Remember and apply Eleanor Roosevelt's maxim that I was sent this excellent and simple idea for a presentation - actually used
"no-one can intimidate me without my permission". Remember also that "Depth of conviction counts more than height of logic, and enthusiasm is worth more than knowledge", (which in my notes from a while back was attributed to David Peebles, and I'm sorry not to be able to provide any more details than that). Good presenting is about entertaining as well as conveying information. As well, people retain more if they are enjoying themselves and feeling relaxed. So whatever your subject and audience, try to find ways to make the content and delivery enjoyable - even the most serious of occasions, and the driest of subjects, can be lifted to an enjoyable or even an amusing level one way or another with a little research, imagination, and humour. Enjoyment and humour are mostly in the preparation. You don't need to be a natural stand-up comedian to inject enjoyment and humour into a presentation or talk. It's the content that enables it, which is very definitely within your control. You have 4 - 7 seconds in which to make a positive impact and good opening impression, so make sure you have a good, strong, solid introduction, and rehearse it to death. Try to build your own credibility in your introduction, and create a safe comfortable environment for your audience, which you will do quite naturally if you appear to be comfortable yourself. Smiling helps. So does taking a few deep breaths - low down from the pit of your stomach - before you take to the stage.
in a job interview - which will perhaps prompt similar ideas and adaptations for your own situations. At the start of the presentation the letters T, E, A, and M - fridge magnets were given to members of the audience. At the end of the presentation the speaker made the point that individually the letters meant little, but together they made a team. This powerful use of simple props created a wonderful connection between start and finish, and supported a concept in a memorable and impactful way. (Thanks P Hodgson, Jun 2008)
Don't start with a joke unless you are supremely confident - jokes are high risk things at the best of times, let lone at the start of a presentation. N.B. There is a big difference between telling a joke and injecting enjoyment and humour into your talk. Jokes are risky. Enjoyment and humour are safe. A joke requires quite a special skill in its delivery. Joke-telling is something of an art form. Only a few people
can do it without specific training. A joke creates pressure on the audience to laugh at a critical moment. A joke creates tension - that's why it's funny (when it works). A joke also has the potential to offend, and jokes are culturally very sensitive - different people like different jokes. Even experienced comedians can 'die' on stage if their jokes and delivery are at odds with the audience type or mood. On the other hand, enjoyment and humour are much more general, they not dependent on creating a tension or the expectation of a punchline. Enjoyment and humour can be injected in very many different ways - for example a few funny quotes or examples; a bit of audience participation; an amusing prop; an amusing picture or cartoon; an amusing story (not a joke). Another way to realise the difference between jokes and enjoyment is consider that you are merely seeking to make people smile and be mildly amused - not to have them belly laughing in the aisles. Enough about jokes.. To continue: Don't start with an apology unless you've really made a serious error, or it's part of your plans and an intentional humorous device. The audience will forgive you far more than you will forgive yourself. Your apologising will make people feel uncomfortable. If you do have to apologise for something don't make a meal of it and try to make light of it (unless it's really serious of course). Try to start on time even if some of the audience is late. Waiting too long undermines your confidence, and the audience's respect for you. The average attention span of an average listener is apparently (according to various sources I've seen over the years) between five and ten minutes for any single unbroken subject. The playstation and texter generations will have less tolerance than this, so plan your content accordingly. Break up the content so that no single item takes longer than a few minutes, and between each item try to inject something amusing, amazing, remarkable or spicy - a picture, a quote, a bit of audience interaction - anything to break it up and keep people attentive. Staying too long on the same subject in the same mode of delivery will send people into the MEGO state (My Eyes Glaze Over). So break it up, and inject diversions and variety - in terms of content and media. Using a variety of media and movement will maintain maximum interest.
Think of it like this - the audience can be stimulated via several senses - not just audio and visual (listening and watching) - consider including content and activity which addresses the other senses too - touch certainly - taste maybe, smell maybe - anything's possible if you use your imagination. The more senses you can stimulate the more your audience will remain attentive and engaged. You can stimulate other things in your audience besides the usual 'senses'. You can use content and activities to stimulate feelings, emotions, memories, and even physical movement. Simply asking the audience to stand up, or snap their fingers, or blink their eyes (assuming you give them a good reason for doing so) immediately stimulates physical awareness and involvement. Passing several props or samples around is also a great way to stimulate physical activity and involvement. Quotes are a wonderful and easy way to stimulate emotions and feelings, and of course quotes can be used to illustrate and emphasise just about any point or concept you can imagine. Research and collect good quotations and include then in your notes. Memorise one or two if you can because this makes the delivery seem more powerful. See the funny quotations and inspirational quotes webpages for ideas and examples. Always credit the source of quotes you use. Interestingly, Bobby Kennedy once famously failed to credit George Bernard Shaw when he said that "Some men see things as they are and ask 'why?'; I dare to dream of things that never were and ask 'why not?'." Failing to attribute a quote undermines a speaker's integrity and professionalism. Conversely, giving credit to someone else is rightly seen as a positive and dignified behaviour. Having quotes and other devices is important to give your presentation depth and texture, as well as keeping your audience interested. "If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer you'll treat everything as a nail." (Abraham Maslow) So don't just speak at people. Give them a variety of content, and different methods of delivery - and activities too if possible.
Be daring and bold and have fun. Use props and pass them around if you can. The more senses you can stimulate the more fun your audience will have and the more they'll remember. Some trainers of public speaking warn that passing props around can cause a loss of control or chaos. This is true, and I argue that it's good. It's far better to keep people active and engaged, even if it all needs a little additional control. Better to have an audience slightly chaotic than bored to death. Planned chaos is actually a wonderful way to keep people involved and enjoying themselves. Clap your hands a couple of times and say calmly "Okay now - let's crack on," or something similarly confident and un-phased, and you will be back in control, with the audience refreshed for another 5-10 minutes. Create analogies and themes, and use props to illustrate and reinforce them. For example a bag of fresh lemons works well: they look great, they smell great, they feel great, and they're cheap, so you can give out loads and not ask for them back - all you have to do is think of an excuse to use them! Here are examples of fun, humour, interest, participation and diversion that you can use to bring your presentation to life, and keep your audience attentive and enjoying themselves:
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Stories Questions and hands-up feedback Pictures, cartoons and video-clips Diagrams Sound-clips Straw polls (a series of hands-up votes/reactions which you record and then announce results) Inviting a volunteer to take the stage with you (for a carefully planned reason) Audience participation exercises Asking the audience to do something physical (clapping, deep breathing, blinking, finger-snapping, shouting, and other more inventive ideas) Asking the audience to engage with each other (for example introductions to person in next chair) Funny quotations (be careful not to offend anyone) Inspirational quotations Acronyms Props (see the visual aids ideas page) Examples and case-study references Analogies and fables Prizes, awards and recognising people/achievements Book recommendations Fascinating facts (research is easy these days about virtually any subject)
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Statistics (which dramatically improve audience 'buy-in' if you're trying to persuade) Games and exercises (beware of things which take too much time - adapt ideas to be very very quick and easy to manage) Quirky ideas - (use your imagination - have everyone demonstrate their ringtones at the same time, or see who has the fastest/slowest watch time, or the most pens in their pocket/bag - depending on the occasion linked or not to the subject) and your body language, and the changing tone and pitch of your voice.
For longer presentations, if you're not an experienced speaker, aim to have a break every 45-60 minutes for people to get up and stretch their legs, otherwise you'll be losing them regardless of the amount of variety and diversion you include. Take the pressure off yourself by not speaking all the time. Get the audience doing things, and make use of all the communications senses available. Interestingly the use of visual aids generally heightens retention of the spoken word - it is said by some up to 70%. Tony Buzan's figures on the subject of information retention are: Read 10% - Heard 20% - Seen 30% - Heard and Seen 50% - Said 70% - Said and Done 90%.
visual aids tips
For printed visual aids with several paragraphs of text, use serif fonts (a font is a typeface) for quicker readability. For computer and LCD projectors use sans serif fonts , especially if the point size (letter size) is too small. Arial is a sans serif font. Times is a serif font. (A serif font has the extra little cross-lines which finish off the strokes of the letters. Interestingly, serif fonts originated in the days of engraving, before printing, when the engraver needed an exit point from each letter. Extensive sections of text can be read more quickly in serif font because the words have a horizontal flow, but serif fonts have a more old-fashioned traditional appearance than sans serif. If you need to comply with a company type-style you'll maybe have no choice anyway. Whatever - try to select fonts and point sizes that are fit for the medium and purpose. Use no more than two different fonts and no more than two size/bold/italic variants or the whole thing becomes confused. If in doubt simply pick a good readable serif font and use it big and bold for headings, and 14 - 16 point size for the body text.
Absolutely avoid upper case (capital letters) in body text, because people need to be able to read word-shapes as well as the letters, and of course upper case makes every word a rectangle, so it takes ages to read. Upper case is just about okay for headings if you really have to. See 'tricks of the trade' in the marketing and advertising section for lots of tips and secrets about presenting the written word. Create your own prompts and notes - whatever suits you best. Cue cards are fine but make sure to number them and tie then together in order. A single sheet at-a-glance timetable is a great safety-net for anything longer than half and hour. You can use this to monitor your timing and pace.
preparation - creating your presentation
Think about your audience, your aims, their expectations, the surroundings, the facilities available, and what type of presentation you are going to give (lecture style, informative, participative, etc). What are your aims? To inform, inspire and entertain, maybe to demonstrate and prove, and maybe to persuade. How do you want the audience to react? Thinking about these things will help you ensure that your presentation is going to achieve its purpose. Clearly identify your subject and your purpose to yourself, and then let the creative process take over for a while to gather all the possible ideas for subject matter and how you could present it. Use brainstorming and mind-mapping. Both processes involve freely putting random ideas and connections down on a piece of paper - the bigger the better - using different coloured big felt pens will help too. Don't write lists and don't try to write the presentation until you have picked the content and created a rough structure from your random collected ideas and material. See the section on brainstorming. When you have all your ideas on paper, organise them into subject matter categories, three is best. Does it flow? Is there a logical sequence that people will follow and you'll be comfortable with? Use the rule of three to structure the presentation; it has a natural balance and flow. A simple approach is to have three main sections. Each section has three sub-sections. Each of these can have three sub-sections, and so on. A 30 minute presentation is unlikely to
need more than three sections, with three sub-sections each. A three day training course presentation need have no more than four levels of three, giving 81 sub-sections in all. Simple! Presentations almost always take longer to deliver than you think the material will last. You must create a strong introduction and a strong close. You must tell people what you're going to speak about and what your purpose is. And while you might end on a stirring quotation or a stunning statistic, you must before this have summarised what you have spoken about and if appropriate, demanded an action from your audience, even if it is to go away and think about what you have said. Essentially the structure of all good presentations is to: "Tell'em what you're gonna tell'em. Tell'em. Then tell'em what you told'em." (George Bernard Shaw - thanks Neville Toptani) When you have structured your presentation, it will have an opening, a middle with headed sections of subject matter, and a close, with opportunity for questions if relevant. This is still a flat '2D' script. Practice it in its rough form. Next you give it a 3rd Dimension by blending in your presentation method. This entails the equipment and materials you use, case studies, examples, quotations, analogies, questions and answers, individual and syndicate exercises, interesting statistics, and any kind of presentation aid you think will work. Practice it in rough 3D form. Get a feel for the timing. Amend and refine it. This practice is essential to build your competence and confidence, and also to practice the pace and timing. You'll be amazed at how much longer the presentation takes than you think it will. Ask an honest and tactful friend to listen and watch you practice. Ask for their comments about how you can improve, especially your body position and movement, your pace and voice, and whether they understood everything. If they can't make at least a half a dozen constructive suggestions ask someone else. Produce the presentation materials and organise the equipment, and ensure you are comfortable with your method of cribbing from notes, cards etc. Practice it in its refined 3D form. Amend and refine if necessary, and if possible have a final run-through in the real setting if it's strange to you.
Take nothing for granted. Check and double-check, and plan contingencies for anything that might go wrong. Plan and control the layout of the room as much as you are able. If you are a speaker at someone else's event you'll not have much of a say in this, but if it's your event then take care to position yourself, your equipment and your audience and the seating plan so that it suits you and the situation. For instance, don't lay out a room theatre-style if you want people to participate in teams. Use a boardroom layout if you want a cooperative debating approach. Make sure everyone can see the visuals displays. Make sure you understand and if appropriate control and convey the domestic arrangements (fire drill, catering, smoking, messages, breaks etc.)
delivering your presentation
Relax, have a rock-solid practiced opening, and smile. Be firm, be confident and be in control; the floor is yours, and the audience is on your side. Introduce yourself and tell them what your going to tell them. Tell them why your telling them it; why it's important, and why it's you that's telling them. Tell them how long your going to take, and tell them when they can ask questions (if you're nervous about being thrown off-track then it's okay to ask them save their questions until the end). By the time you've done this introduction you've established your authority, created respect and credibility, and overcome the worst of your nerves. You might even be enjoying it; it happens. If you're just giving a short presentation then by the time you've done all this you've completed a quarter of it! Remember, if you are truly scared, a good way to overcome your fear is just to do it. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." (Friedrich Nietzsche) Remember also, initial impact is made and audience mood towards you is established in the first 4-7 seconds. Be aware of your own body language and remember what advice you got from your friend on your practice run. You are the most powerful visual aid of all, so use your body movement and position well. Don't stand in front of the screen when the projector is on. If people talk amongst themselves just stop and look at them. Say nothing, just look. You will be amazed at the effect, and how quickly your authority increases. This silent tactic usually works with a chaotic audience too.
If you want a respite or some thinking time, asking the audience a question or involving them in an exercise takes the pressure off you, and gives you a bit of breathing space. Pausing is fine. It always seems like an age when you're up there, but the audience won't notice unless you start umming-and-aahing. Knowing that a pause now and then is perfectly fine will help you to concentrate on what you're saying next, rather than the pause. Keep control, no-one will to question your authority when you have the floor, so don't give it up. If you don't know the answer to a question say so and deal with it later. You have the right to defer questions until the end (on the grounds that you may well be covering it in the presentation later anyway, or just simply because you say so). Close positively and firmly, and accept plaudits graciously.
creating and giving presentations - step by step summary
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. define purpose gather content and presentation ideas structure the subject matter develop how to present it prepare presentation practice plan, experience, control the environment 'dress rehearsal' if warranted
prepare the presentation
Points to remember: why are you presenting? what's the purpose? to whom? how? when and where?, audience, venue, aims, equipment, media, subject, outcome aim, audience reaction aim, type of presentation, brainstorm, mind-map, random subject-matter collection, be innovative and daring, what's the WIIFM for your audience (the 'what's in it for me' factor - see acronyms), materials, media, exercises, gather spice, case-studies, statistics, props, quotations, analogies, participation, syndicates, anticipate questions, know your knowledge-base and reference points, decide your prompt system - cue cards, notes, whatever suits you best.
create and design the presentation
Points to remember: plan the structure, tell'em what you're gonna tell'em, tell'em, tell'em what you told'em, rule of three, intro, close and middle, create your headings and subheadings, assemble and slot in your subject-matter, spice and activities, plan early impact and to create a credible impression, consider attention spans and audience profile to get the language and tone right, add spice every 5-10 minutes, build the presentation, prepare equipment, prepare materials and props, create your prompts or notes, dry-run practice, timings, create fall-back contingencies, practice, get feed-back, refine, practice and practice.
deliver the presentation
Relax, you have practiced and prepared so nothing will go wrong, enjoy it, the audience is on your side. Points to remember: smile, solid well-rehearsed opening, impact, tell'em what you're gonna tell'em, tell'em, tell'em what you told'em, entertainment, interest, body-language, humour, control, firmness, confidence, avoid jokes/sexism/racism, speak your audience's language, accentuate the positive, use prompts, participation, and have fun!
Here are some materials you might find useful for injecting humour, enjoyment, amazement, interest and activities into your presentations:
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amusing and fascinating origins of words, expressions and cliches visual aids ideas money slang and money history (UK) cockney rhyming slang word-play puzzles and games for quizzes and exercises acronyms for speaking and presenting and training funny quotes allegedly from letters to Islington Council's Housing Department real funny insurance claims real funny Weakest Link answers real funny Family Fortunes Answers aesop's fables teambuilding exercises amusing and inspirational stories and analogies for training, public-speaking and writing stress management cosmology tools, tests and diagrams
funny quotes, sayings, useful maxims
funny quotes, motivational maxims, principles and rules, for training, writing, speeches, love and work - inspirational quotes are now here
Quotes for training, personal development, and inspiration. Quotes provide helpful references and inspirational examples for business and life. These quotes below here are mainly funny as well as inspirational and motivational. Now moved to its own page, see the more serious collection of inspirational and motivational quotes for leadership, training, personal visualization, etc. Below remain some other famous quotes, funny maxims and sayings, also love quotes for writing and speeches, fun and amusement. Here are training cliches, maxims and sayings. Many of the quotations here are good training aids. Quotes help convey complex issues, and can be very memorable and attitude-changing. Some quotes are deep and meaningful; others deeply amusing, like the alleged quotes from letters to the council. While sources are checked and clarified wherever possible, authenticity for all quotes cannot be guaranteed - these quotes are not meant to be a historical archive, they're here because they are motivational, inspirational, amusing or otherwise helpful for teachers, learners, leaders and communicators. If you know the source of any of the unattributed quotes or sayings here please let me know so that acknowledgement can be given. Inspirational quotes for leadership and personal development are now here. See also the amusing real funny insurance claims, real funny Weakest Link answers, real funny Family Fortunes answers, and stories and metaphors for training and learning. Included in this quotes page are several principles and 'laws' which are helpful in business, management, teaching and training, for example:
The Peter Principle Parkinson's Law
The Pareto Principle (Pareto's Law, or the 80/20 Rule) The 1st Law of Cybernetics (the Law of Requisite Variety)
See the (now moved) collection of more serious inspirational and motivational quotes. Please note that where quotations refer to 'man' or 'men' this is not intended to be discriminatory. Send your favourite quote, funny saying, funny sign, funny graffiti, training maxims, or inspirational metaphors.
funny paternity explanations - (allegedly) from Child Support Agency (CSA) forms
These comments (allegedly) were provided by mothers on CSA forms in response to the CSA request for details of children's fathers. Aside from being variously amusing and sad their own right some of these quotes illustrate the admirable spirit and humour that people can exhibit in the face of personal challenge, institutional bureaucracy and what some clearly regard as an invasion of privacy. "..I don't know the identity of the father of my daughter. He drives a BMW that now has a hole made by my stiletto in one of the door panels. Perhaps you can contact the BMW dealers in the area to see if he's had it replaced.." "..I have never had sex with a man. I am waiting for a letter from the Pope confirming that my son's conception was immaculate, and that he is Christ risen again.." "..[XXX] is the father of child A. If you catch up with him can you ask him what he did with my AC/DC CD's?.." "..I don't know the name of my child's father as all squaddies look the same to me, although I can confirm he was a Royal Green Jacket.." "..I thought it was [XXX] because we definitely had sex at a time which fits with the birth of child A, but since discovering he is gay I am not so sure.." "..Regarding the identity of the father of my twins, child A was fathered by [XXX]. I am unsure about child B but I believe he was conceived on the same night.." "..It's difficult to remember because I was drunk on holiday in Tenerife, which was months before I got properly pregnant.." "..I do not know the name of my daughter's father. She was conceived at a party on [date] at [venue] where I had unprotected sex with a man I met that night. I do remember that
the sex was so good I fainted. If you manage to trace the father can you send me his phone number? Thanks.." "..I remember buying the sperm at a boot market last spring but I never kept the documentation I'm afraid.." "..I cannot tell you the name of child A's father as he informs me that to do so would blow his cover, and that this would have cataclysmic implications for the British economy. I am torn between doing right by you and right by my country. Please advise.." "..From the dates it seems my daughter was conceived at EuroDisney. Maybe it really is the Magic Kingdom.." "..Regarding the identity of child A's father, putting two and two together and considering the time of year, it must have been when Father Christmas came down the chimney.." "..I do not know the identity of my baby's father. After all, when you eat a tin of beans you can't be sure which one made you fart.." "..That night is a blur. The only thing I remember was watching a Delia Smith programme about eggs in the evening. If I had stayed in and watched more TV rather than going to the party, mine might have stayed unfertilised.." "..He gave me a phone number which turned out to be one of his mates who said he'd been killed in a cement mixer accident. He was a builder and a bit stupid so I thought yes that sounds about right.." (From various sources. If you have other quotes like these please send them.)
quotes - chinese wisdom
(Translations have been adapted for the modern age where appropriate.) "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." (attributed to Lao Tsu, aka Lao Zi, legendary Chinese Taoist philosopher, supposed to have lived between 600-400BC) "There is no greater happiness than freedom from worry, and there is no greater wealth than contentment." (attributed to Lao Tsu, aka Lao Zi, legendary Chinese Taoist philosopher, supposed to have lived between 600-400BC) "People's tendency towards good is as water's tendency is to flow downhill." (Mencius, Chinese philosopher, c.300BC) "Eat less, taste more." (traditional Chinese proverb)
"Failure lies not in falling down. Failure lies in not getting up." (traditional Chinese proverb) "The higher my rank, the more humbly I behave. The greater my power, the less I exercise it. The richer my wealth, the more I give away. Thus I avoid, respectively, envy and spite and misery." (Sun Shu Ao, Chinese minister from the Chu Kingdom, Zhou Dynasty, c.600BC) "Success under a good leader is the people's success." (attributed to Lao Tsu, aka Lao Zi, legendary Chinese Taoist philosopher, supposed to have lived between 600-400BC) "Do not worry if others do not understand you. Instead worry if you do not understand others." (Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC) "Softness overcomes hardness." (Zuo Qiuming, court writer of the State of Lu, and contemporary of Confucius, c.500BC) "The greatest capability of superior people is that of helping other people to be virtuous." (Mencius, Chinese philosopher, c.300BC) "A great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others." (Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC) "Failure is the mother of success." (traditional Chinese proverb) "It is not wise for a blind man, riding a blind horse, to approach the edge of a deep pond." (traditional Chinese proverb) "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." (attributed to Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC, however the origins of this quote are arguably from the writing of the Chinese scholar Xunzi, 340-245 BC, for which clearer evidence seems to exist. The origin of the quote attributed to Confucius is not certain. The Xunzi quote - which is more subtle and complex, and literally translates as: "Not hearing is not as good as hearing, hearing is not as good as seeing, seeing is not as good as mentally knowing, mentally knowing is not as good as acting; true learning continues up to the point that action comes forth [or, only when a thing produces action can it be said to have been truly learned]" - can be traced to an original work, but it seems the Confucius version cannot. It is possible that the Western world simplified and attributed the quote to Confucius, being a popularly quoted source of Chinese wisdom. Thanks K Bennett.) "He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask is a fool for ever." (traditional Chinese proverb) "With a strong heart and a ready mind what have I to fear?" (Chu Yuan, aka Qu Yuan, Chinese politician-turned-poet, c.300BC - China's first great poet and considered the
father of Chinese poetry, his death by drowning in 278BC is celebrated every year on the Day of Dragon Boat Festival) "Half an orange tastes as sweet as a whole one." (traditional Chinese proverb) "The wise man puts himself last and finds himself first." (attributed to Lao Tsu, aka Lao Zi, legendary Chinese Taoist philosopher, supposed to have lived between 600-400BC) "He knows most who says he knows least." (Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC)
funny newspaper headlines
Couple slain; police suspect homicide Kids make nutritious snacks County to pay $250,000 to advertise lack of funds Utah Poison Center reminds everyone not to take poison Federal agents raid gun shop, find weapons Crack found in man's buttocks President wins budget; more lies ahead Local high school dropouts cut in half Typhoon rips through cemetery - hundreds dead Man struck by lightning faces battery charge New study of obesity looks for larger test group Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25 Tiger Woods plays with own balls, Nike Says One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers Fish need water, Fed says Astronaut takes blame for gas in space
Alton attorney accidentally sues himself Plane too close to ground, crash probe told Miners refuse to work after death Juvenile court to try shooting defendant Stolen painting found by tree Two sisters reunited after 18 years in checkout War dims hope for peace If strike isn't settled quickly, it may last a while Man in diaper directs traffic 17 remain dead in morgue shooting spree Coach fire - passengers safely alight Grandmother of eight makes a hole in one Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say Police begin campaign to run down Jaywalkers Drunks get nine months in violin case Eastern head seeks arms Prostitutes appeal to religious Leader Failed panda mating - veterinarian takes over British left waffles on Falkland Islands Teacher strikes idle kids (Thanks S Rolph, T Martinek, B Heyn for contributions)
cleverest funny headline that never was?..
Was this ever a real newspaper headline or seasonal tip for birdwatchers?
"Get your lard out for the tits." (Thanks R Ward)
rock the tandoor
There is no point at all to this collection other than it's funny. Well I think it is.. New suggestions welcome, especially some names from more recent times.
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Gobi West Madrasness Bindi Lauper Papadam and the Ants Siouxsie and the Bhajees Stiff Little Ladies Fingers Raita Coolidge Raita Said Fred Tikka That Jalfraizee goes to Bollywood Emerson Lake and Pilau Pat Bhunatar Chapati Labelle Sisters of Methi Aloo Rolls (Comperes: Okra Winfrey, Steve Raita and Bhuna Brooks)
With acknowledgements to the Secret Curry Society.
smile (charlie chaplin story)
The words to the song 'Smile' are one of the great anthems for personal inspiration and belief. The music for Smile was written by Charlie Chaplin for his landmark film, Modern Times, released in 1936, although Smile's lyrics were actually added by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons in 1954, in which year Nat King Cole had the commercial success with the Smile song. Perhaps understandably the owners of the copyright for the words and music of the Smile song, Bourne Company of New York, refused me permission to publish the full lyrics and the music, although plenty of other websites seem to have the whole thing for free if you care to look for it (strangely it seems easier to get it for free than to buy it). There is actually a second verse which talks about lighting up your face with gladness, the need to keep on trying, and that life is still worthwhile. And for the musicians among you, you could try playing around with A,
Amaj7, F#m, D/F#bass, Bm, F#, Bm, Dm, A, F#m, Bm, Esus4, E, and A, which is based on an interpretation by Eric Clapton (another story of triumph over adversity..). Smile tho' your heart is aching, Smile even tho' it's breaking, When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by. If you smile thro' your fear and sorrow, Smile and maybe tomorrow, You'll see the sun come shining through; for you. Although Charlie Chaplin didn't write the lyrics to Smile, the words resonate strongly with Chaplin's inspirational life of challenge, tragedy, success, and ultimately global appreciation, which owed much to his difficult early character-forming years. The Smile lyrics, and Chaplin's life story, each provide in their own way a lesson for anyone seeking inspiration and personal fulfilment. Chaplin was born in Walworth, South London on 16 April, 1889. His mother and father were stage performers, but were also tragic people, divorcing when Charlie was young. As a child Chaplin descended to the workhouse orphanage because his parents were unable to look after him. Throughout his life Charlie Chaplin struggled with challenges, some of his own making, while he strived and became one of the most successful achievers - in creative and financial terms - of the 20th century. At one time exiled and rejected by the USA for his political views, Chaplin was awarded the World Peace Prize in 1954, eventually welcomed back to America to receive an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972, and was knighted in 1975. Charlie Chaplin died on Christmas Day, 1977. The words and music of Smile and Chaplin's wonderful films help to demonstrate that the power of personal belief, and a positive approach to life, can enable people to overcome all kinds of disadvantage, challenge and adversity.
the five stages of innovation
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
People deny that the innovation is required. People deny that the innovation is effective. People deny that the innovation is important. People deny that the innovation will justify the effort required to adopt it. People accept and adopt the innovation, enjoy its benefits, attribute it to people other than the innovator, and deny the existence of stages 1 to 4.
2005. Inspired by Alexander von Humboldt's 'Three Stages Of Scientific Discovery', as referenced by Bill Bryson in his book, 'A Short History Of Nearly Everything'. Not applicable of course to courageous early adopters of innovation everywhere.
Early adoption of innovation might not be natural to everyone - but it is an option worth considering, especially if you have a feeling that the present situation can be improved.
funny signs, funny quotes, and graffiti from bars, public toilets, washrooms and restrooms, etc (allegedly)
(Brits tend to say washroom or WC, which is an old abbreviation (of water closet) whereas Americans tend to say restroom or bathroom. That's not a funny quote, it's purely for information and interest..) Advert in a newsagents window: Massage in the Oval Area. (The Oval is an area in Kennington, SE London, boasting a tube station and the Oval Cricket Ground, around which runs the oval-shaped street called Kennington Oval. Kennington is not particularly noted for massage parlours, and the sign is perhaps an invention of comedian Paul Merton who has quipped about it.) Sign on a desk: Incontinence Hotline - Can you hold please. (Thanks BC) Shop window sign : CLOTHING ALTERATIONS DONE HERE. Smaller sign underneath: WASHING ALSO TAKEN IN. This was next-door to a small house displaying a poster which read : HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY GRANDMA. (Thanks B Lindsay) We aim to please, you aim too please. (Sign above a urinal.) Antidisestablishmentarianism - easier done than said. There are 10 types of people in this world - those who understand binary, and those who don't. There are three sorts of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't. Man who stands on toilet, is high on pot. RockShitFuckDie (Graffiti on the wall of a male washroom in a pub, and someone's idea of the meaning of life.) Five out of four people can't do fractions. I am neither for nor against apathy. (On the wall above a urinal in a men's WC at a university at the height of US social unrest in the 1960's.) Beware of a man with a gleam in his eyes - it may just be the sun shining through the hole in his head. (Women's washroom graffiti.)
The best way to a man's heart is to saw his breastplate open. (Graffiti in a women's washroom.) To do is to be - Descartes, To be is to do - Voltaire, Do be do be do - Sinatra. "God is dead" - Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" - God. Express Lane: Five beers or less. (Sign above a urinal.) You're too good for him. (Sign above a women's washroom mirror.) No wonder you always go home alone. (Sign above a men's washroom mirror.) A woman's rule of thumb: If it has tyres or testicles, you're going to have trouble with it. (Sign in a women's washroom. In the US tyres would be tires.) Beauty is only a light switch away. At the feast of ego everyone leaves hungry. If voting could really change things it would be illegal. Temporary notice on a public bar - "Our public bar is presently not open because it is closed." And the old favourite found in Gents' toilets the world over, commonly added to any sign instructing visitors: Please do not throw cigarettes in the urinal... "....Because it makes them difficult to light...". (Thanks for contributions J Kincaid, P Lewis, Tim Ryan, TC, CJ, MK, S Mafikeng, Pat, J Burland.)
sign in a gift shop window
Unattended Children will be given an Expresso and a Free Puppy. (Thanks CB)
training and quotes and cliches, motivational maxims and funny sayings
Used by trainers and speakers, here are some maxims and sayings, with one or two new ideas and twists. Many of these are mnemonics. A mnemonic (pronounced 'nemonic') is a memory aid. The optimist says the glass is half full. The pessimist says the glass is half empty. The project manager/engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be. (There's more..) The realist says the glass contains half the required amount of liquid for it to overflow. And the cynic..... wonders who drank the other half. (Thanks Phil Deer, a UK-based L&D professional, who devised the two points beyond the commonly quoted two/three-liner. I welcome further additions. Please send them.) "Five bums and a rugby post." (Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? - a memory aid for open questioning.) "The only place where Success comes before Work is in the dictionary." (Attributed variously to Donald M Kendall, US businessman and first leader of merged Pepsi-Co corporation; Vidal Sassoon, the British hairdresser and businessman; and Vincent Thomas 'Vince' Lombardi, US football coach. If you know more about the origins of this quote please tell me - Thanks JC Blachere) "If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean." (A specific maxim for the retail industry, but the principle of using spare time for productive purposes is transferable to all situations - thanks JCB) "Success comes in cans." "You are a time millionaire - for a rich life invest wisely." (Richard Andrews, KYT Stage and Screen Academy) "It's difficult to clear the swamp when you are up to your armpits in alligators.." or "When you are up to your armpits in alligators it is hard to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp!" or "When you are up to your arse in alligators it is sometimes difficult to remember that the original objective was to drain the moat!" (Unknown original authorship - many variations - thanks for these W Cooper and Y Rundle.)
"There is only one IF in LIFE - between the L and the E." (For next time you say "If only..." Thanks R Andrews) "Jacket on = directing. Jacket off = participating. Trousers off = performing." (A humorous dress code indicator of management working-style.) "If you can't ride two horses at the same time you shouldn't be in the circus." "If a=1%, b=2%, c= 3%, etc., what does 'attitude' add up to? ........" (Work it out - the answer is 100%.) "Mushroom Management - The practice of keeping people in the dark, and every now and then dumping a load of dirt on them." (See McGregor's X-Y Theory - Douglas McGregor did not devise the 'mushroom management' expression, but it is distinctly Theory X.) "Wheelbarrow Management or Wheelbarrow Culture - people only work when pushed, and are easily upset." (As described by certain managers, who probably have only themselves to blame... again see McGregor's X-Y Theory). "Tell'em what you're gonna tell'em, tell'em, tell'em what you told'em." (Training and presentations mnemonic for effective presentation or speaking structure, in other words: introduction, content points, summary.) "When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and Me." "There is no I in TEAM." (But if you look carefully there is a ME...) "No gain without pain." (Or better still, as Nietzsche might have said instead: "No pain without gain" - see the Nietzsche quote below.) "Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle." (Or more fashionably today:) "Sell the crunch not the apple." (Or, a maxim for selling and sales training:) "The buyer buys the seller not the salt." (Alternatively: "The buyer buys the cellar not the salt.")
"Everyone gets butterflies - the trick is getting them to fly in formation." (See the presentations and public speaking training materials.)
ambrose bierce quotes - the devil's dictionary
The Devil's Dictionary was written by American Ambrose Bierce around a hundred years ago, and was first published as 'The Cynic's Word Book' in 1906. It was reissued as 'The Devil's Dictionary' in 1911, and continues to be published today. Its humour and irony still shine. In fact many of its observations perhaps resonate more strongly now than when Bierce first made them. Here are some choice examples of Bierce's wit, and interestingly for a writer considered to be such a 'cynic', these quotes are also examples of a touching sensitivity. These quotes still serve, as when they were created, to remind us that whether a thing is a force for good or bad is largely decided by the human factor. This is an encouraging thought, since the implication of this is that we have it in our power to change bad into good. I think Bierce would have agreed. Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. (If you work for one of these be assured that there are more ethical and caring employers out there who would be more deserving of your efforts and loyalty.) Duty: That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire. Experience: The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced. Famous: Conspicuously miserable. Land: A part of the Earth's surface, considered as property.The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society...... Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living...... It follows that if the whole aea of terra firma (Earth) is owned by A, B and C, then there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist. (How true, and how applicable today.) Lecturer: One with his hand in your pocket, his tongue in your ear, and his faith in your patience. Marriage: The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two. Overeat: To dine. Pain: An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune of another.
Peace: In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
amusing puns and double-meanings
The pun (a humourous device exploiting two words or expressions sounding the same with two different meanings, usually with two different spellings) is one of the great wonders of the English language. For anyone who seeks to demonstrate the confusing nature of English words and phrases, these examples of funny and clever puns will likely serve your needs. 100% reliable contraception is inconceivable. Serious campers are intense. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. Sports people can avoid the pain of defeat by wearing comfortable shoes. Nut screws washers and bolts. (Headline following a laundrerette sex crime) Poetry written upside-down is inverse; poetry of very few lines is universal. A girl who screamed and shouted for a pony got a little hoarse. The carpenter's heavy tools were uncomfortable so he got a little sore. Nuns generally wear plain colours because old habits never dye. The days of the pocket diary are numbered. Lions eat their prey fresh and roar. Old bikes should be retired. Geometry holds clues for the meaning of life; look and you will see the sines. You can't beat a pickled egg. If a leopard could cook would he ever change his pots? See one melée of unruly people and you've seen a maul. Do hungry time-travellers ever go back four seconds?
tribal wisdom ('dead horse strategies' - updated for the 21st century)
There seem to be various versions of this. This is a newer angle. According to legend and the customary presentation of this item, the tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, presumably passed on from generation to generation (bear with me please..), says that, "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount." However, in government, education and the corporate world, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as (and updated here for the 21st century): 1. Giving dead horse and rider a good bollocking (a favourite in previous centuries too). 2. Re-structuring the dead horse's reward scale to contain a performance-related element (obviously..) 3. Suspending the horse's access to the executive grassy meadow until it improves its attitude and makes good all productivity shortfalls. 4. Finding a mentor or buddy for the dead horse. 5. Examining the cost-savings accruing from de-skilling the dead horse function. 6. Denying the existence of the dead horse, until the story appears in the Drudge Report, upon which release ready-made PR featuring the dead horse 'in action', thus totally fooling everyone who thought the horse was dead (but it still is of course). 7. Re-aligning the organizational aims to better fit the needs of the dead horse. 8. Outsourcing the management and/or the riding of the dead horse to a specialist dead horse management company (another firm favourite that won't go away). 9. Bringing in a team of expensive external consultants to focus on dead horse optimisation. 10. Re-branding the dead horse a 'Fair Trade Horse', and affixing prominent Fair Trade insignia to its hind-quarters. 11. Scrutinsing and challenging the dead horse's expenses claims, and leaking baseless related accusations to the media and the dead horse transparency unit. 12. Asking Richard Branson if he'd be interested in running a Virgin Dead Horse joint venture. 13. Setting up a free-phone customer service hotline to handle complaints relating to the dead horse fiasco. 14. Re-designing the dead horse's shoes so that they can be made of bamboo and recycled. 15. Setting up an inquiry into the dead horse, preferably headed by a dead horse and answerable to other dead horses. 16. Forming a task force to investigate the dead horse's positive benefits on social enterprise.
17. Blaming the dead horse on the sub-prime credit crunch, thereby absolving (and enabling the obscenely generous rewarding of) those responsible for the decision to recruit an emaciated horse, starve it, and keep it in a frozen field (because the stables were sold to property developers years ago). 18. Unmasking the dead horse to be in illegal immigrant, therefore author of its own misfortune, and to blame for a lot more than simply being dead on the job. 19. Appointing a top advertising agency to promote the benefits of the reduced carbon hoofprint of a dead horse compared to the ridiculously out-dated and unsustainable notion of a living horse. 20. Off-shoring the stabling and veterinary support of the dead horse to somewhere in the Indian sub-continent. 21. Sending the dead horse on an outward bound or log-carrying weekend with other dead horses. 22. Lobbying ministers and pressure groups for the extension of European standards to encompass the special qualities of dead horses. 23. Nationalising the dead horse. 24. Making the dead horse redundant, giving it a hefty golden hoof-shake, and then retaining it as consultant at five times its previous annual cost. Adapted from various versions. Other suggested strategies are very welcome and will be added to the list if they are suitably original. I'm sure you have much better ideas than these. Since first publishing this item (initially in a more traditional format) I have been pointed towards (thanks J Towers and G Caswell) a version which appears in H William (Bill) Dettmer's book Strategic Navigation - A Systems Approach to Business Strategy (ASQ Press 2003) Appendix F, Strategic Wisdom (actually Strategic "Wisdom"). Bill Dettmer's introduction to the 'Dead Horse Strategies' indicates that he did not devise the concept, and that it had existed for 'a period of years' (prior to 2003). If you know where the 'Dead Horse Strategies' or 'Dakota Tribal Wisdom' came from, or you know of its earlier usage (1990s or sooner perhaps) please tell me. Even better, if you have an old photocopy from an office wall please send me a scan of it.
if - rudyard kipling's inspirational poem
quotes on thinking and the power of thought
"Wisdom does not always come with age - sometimes age comes alone." (Origin unknown - if you know please tell me - thanks C Hopper. A helpful prespective for this
quote and the challenges of ageing positively and productively is Erikson's Life-Stage Theory. ) On pain and stress and approach to life: "Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is... The only problem in your life is your mind's resistance to life as it unfolds." (Dan Millman, 21st century philosopher from The Way of the Peaceful Warrior - ack CB) On Knowledge - "If you stood on the bottom rail of a bridge, and leant over, and watched the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you would suddenly know everything that there is to be known..." (Winnie the Pooh - allegedly - Thanks CM) "He trudged along unknowing what he sought, And whistled as he went, for want of thought." (John Dryden, English poet and playwright 1631-1700, from Cymon and Iphigenia written in 1700) "Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth - more than ruin - more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man." (Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, 1872-1970) "Great men are they who see that spiritual thought is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world." (Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher and poet, 1803-82, from Progress of Culture) "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." (The Holy Bible, Proverbs 23:7) "What is life but the angle of vision? A man is measured by the angle at which he looks at objects. What is life but what a man is thinking of all day? This is his fate and his employer. Knowing is the measure of the man. By how much we know, so we are." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) "The mind is the man, and knowledge mind; a man is but what he knoweth." (Francis Bacon, English lawyer and philosopher, 1561-1626)
karen walker quotes
Irony is a powerful way to emphasise a point, and these quotes cover a wide range of subjects, aside from which they are all useful in illustrating extremes of attitude, bigotry and insecurity.
An ironic representation of heartlessness, the comedy character Karen Walker was played by Megan Mullally in TV's Will & Grace. The award-winning series was created by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, and 29 writers were involved in the 186 episodes running from 1998-2006, which makes it a little difficult to attribute precisely these wonderful ironic quotes. "It's not something you can just run away from like a hotel bill or a crying baby..." "It's a victimless crime, like tax evasion or public indecency..." (To a waiter) "Hey apron - who told you you could make eye contact?..." "Husbands come and go but the Chanel slingback is forever..." "It's Christmas, for goodness sake. Think about the baby Jesus... up in that tower, letting his hair down... so that the three wise men can climb up and spin the dradel and see if there are six more weeks of winter..." "Oh honey, that's just a saying, like 'Ooh. That sounds like fun.' or 'I love you'..." "It's a cult, like the Moonies, or the homeless..." "I know what guilt is. It's one of those touchy-feely words that people throw around that don't really mean anything... You know, like 'maternal' or 'addiction' ..." "You know what else is sad? Poor people who have dreams..." "Oh yeah, honey, we're all lesbians when the right man isn't around..." Other suggestions welcome. Perhaps for the Maryann character in Cybill too..
rules for a happy life
Do not try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. (Thanks A Menvell) Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce. Life is simpler when you plough around the stumps. The trouble with a milk cow is she won't stay milked. Forgive your enemies. It messes with their heads. (This is a modern adaptation of the original quote by Oscar Wilde: "Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more." - Ack I Mac.)
Don't corner something meaner than you. Don't wrestle with pigs: you'll get all muddy and the pigs will love it. (Based on a quote attributed to Cyrus S Ching, 1876-1967, US industrialist and labour-relations pioneer, "I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.") Most of the stuff people worry about never happens. (Probably based on an original quote attributed to Leo Buscaglia: Ninety per-cent of what we worry about never happens, yet we worry and worry. What a horrible way to go through life! What a horrible thing to do to your colon!" - Thanks Wayne) (Thanks CB. All anon unless otherwise stated - if you know any of the authors please tell us.) See Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements, and Cherie Carter Scott's If Life Is A Game These Are The Rules.
oneliner quick quotes
A Boss: Someone who's early when you're late and late when you're early. (Unknown) It's the kind or organisation where the lunatic fringe extends right to the centre. (unknown - for disorganized organizations everywhere - ack TW) Lead me not into temptation - I can find the way myself. (Ack J C) Chinese proverb No1: Man who run in front of car get tired; man who run behind car get exhausted. Chinese proverb No2: Man who walk through airport turnstile sideways going to Bangkok. I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. Beauty is in the eyes of the beer holder. Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with the software. Bacon and Eggs: a day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig. HECK is where people go who don't believe in GOSH. A picture is worth 1,000 words, but it uses up 1,000 times the memory.
Remember that half the people you know are below average. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory. How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines. Strange that psychics have to ask you for your name. He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead. (All anon., if you know origins please tell us. Some might be attributable to US comedian Steven Wright, in which case, my acknowledgements to him.)
funny quotes predictions (alleged)
"Computers in the future will weigh no more than 1.5 tons." (Popular Mechanics, forecasting advance of science, 1949.) "I think there's a world market for maybe five computers." (Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.) "I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." (Editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.) "But what is it good for?" (Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, commenting on the micro chip, 1968) "There is no reason why anyone would want to have a computer in their home." (Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp, 1977.) "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." (Western Union memo, 1876.) "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" (David Sarnoff's associates in response to his
urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920's.) "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" (HM Warner, Warner Bros, 1927.) "A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say that America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." (Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting the Mrs Fields Cookies business.) "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." (Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles, 1962.) "Heavier than air flying machines are impossible." (Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.) "If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." (Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3M PostIt Notepads.) "So we went to Atari and said, 'We've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' They said 'No'. Then we went to Hewlett-Packard; they said, 'We don't need you. You haven't got through college yet'." (Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.) "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." (Drillers whom Edwin L Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil, 1859.) "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." (Irving Fisher, Economics professor, Yale University, 1929.) "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value". (Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.) "Everything that can be invented has been invented." (Charles H Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.) "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." (Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.) "The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." (Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873.) "640K ought to be enough for anybody." (Bill Gates of Microsoft, 1981.)
"Fred Astaire Can't act, can't sing, balding... Can dance a little." (MGM telent scout, 1928.) "What can you do with a guy with ears like that?" (Jack Warner, movie mogul, rejecting Clark Gable, 1930.) "You ain't goin' nowhere son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck." (Jim Denny of the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, firing Elvis Presley after his first performance.) "I'm sorry Mr Kipling, but you don't know how to use the English language." (Editor of the San Francisco Examiner, rejecting a short story from author and poet Rudyard Kipling.) And finally there is the story, seemingly based mostly on truth, that Fred Smith, the founder of the multi-billion-dollar FedEx carrier corporation, originally proposed the FedEx concept in a college examination paper - for which we was awarded a C grade. Smith has broadly confirmed this story in later interviews, albeit with a little uncertainty as to how specifically he presented the FedEx model, and precisely how the examiner expressed his indifference. It's a good story nevertheless, and helps confirm not only that great oaks grow from tiny acorns, but also how difficult it is to recognize a particularly good acorn before it's grown. (With thanks to Tony Wills for his contributions, and also to Jim S for suggesting the Fed-Ex item.)
this be the verse (1974) by philip larkin, english poet (1922-85)
Larkin's words are a bitterly incisive comment on the negative effect that parents can have on their children. The words are especially relevant to understanding the potency of parental conditioning upon young children, notably in the context of Transational Analysis. "They fuck you up, your Mum and Dad, They may not mean to but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra just for you." (For a wonderful antidote to the desperation of this sentiment, see the Thich Nhat Hanh quote about parents on the inspirational quotes page.)
hell hath no fury..
This is commonly misquoted, typically as "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned," or more traditionally, "Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned," and other variations around this theme. Ask people if they know the quote. Very many will do, but not many will know the correct version. As is often the case, the distortion largely fails to convey the meaning of the original writing. 'Hell hath no fury.." is one of the most widely misquoted famous quotations, and provides a fine illustration of the need to use appropriately robust reference sources when researching material that is prone to misunderstanding. The internet might be free and easy, but it is still not generally as reliable as a decent book of quotations and biographical dictionary, which can be found in most libraries. Libraries and proper books can also be a lot more interesting and enjoyable than sitting at a PC getting eye-strain and a stiff neck. The full actual quotation is: Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned. These wonderful lines were written by William Congreve, 1670-1729, an English dramatist and poet, and appear in his 1697 play The Mourning Bride, Act III, Scene viii. The quotation is also useful in discussions about revenge and retaliation, tit-for-tat, negotiation and business styles, game-playing, war and diplomacy, and the fine line between positive and negative relationships. Congreve's words focus on the female view, but the principle - especially the first line - is central to the behaviour of many people. Sources: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, and Chambers Biographical Dictionary. Incidentally (thanks M Beddingfield and A Beddingfield, Nov 2008), the word fury is derived from Greek mythology. The furies were Alecto, Megaera and Tisiphone, daughters of Nyx or Hades and Persephone, typically described as 'snakey haired women' with dogs' heads and bats' wings. According to myth the furies descended on wrongdoers (especially anyone disrepectful to the gods) to deliver various mental harrassment and appalling physical punishment. Chaucer is the earliest recorded user of the words furious and furie (rage) in English, in the late 1300s, referring to the Greek story of the furies, and in more general reference to rage, in which his usage stems from the Latin word furia (violent rage). The word fury itself therefore has very old connections with the notions of hell and female revenge, and this word history helps explain how the expression evolved, and was associated with ancient story-telling and beliefs.
the peter principle
"In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence" (Dr Laurence Peter, 1919-90, Canadian academic, from the 1969 book, The Peter Principle, written by Dr Peter and Raymond Hull - Peter was the academic; Hull the writer) Far from being an indictment of people, Laurence Peter's ideas were mostly focused on the weaknesses of typical organisations, and the threat that they present to the well-being of their people. Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull's 1969 book The Peter Principle is a study of hierarchies (Peter coined the scientific term 'hierarchiology') and how people behave within them in relation to promotion and competence. Laurence Peter also asserted that, "Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence", although he places the blame on organisations, not employees, and urges people to prioritise their health and happiness rather than struggle to meet the unhealthy demands of a promotion-too-far, in an uncaring hierarchy. Although written in 1969, The Peter Principle contains perspectives that resonate even more strongly today. Notably Laurence Peter observed that bosses who are competent in their roles tend to assess employees according to their output and results, whereas incompetent bosses tend to assess employees according to their input and adherence to rules and policies, etc. This remains a feature of poorly managed organisations and hierarchies. Peter also suggested that 'super-competence' in an employee is more likely to result in dismissal than promotion, which again is a feature of poor organisations, which cannot handle the disruption. A super-competent employee "...violates the first commandment of hierarchical life: [namely that] the hierarchy must be preserved.." which again is symptomatic of poorly run modern organisations, just as it was back in the 1960's. Peter also says of leadership in poor organisations: "Most heirarchies are nowadays so cumbered with rules and traditions....... that even high employees do not have to lead anyone anywhere, in the sense of pointing out the direction and setting the pace. They simply follow precedents, obey regulations, and move at the head of the crowd. Such employees lead only in the sense that the carved wooden figurehead leads the ship.." Also included in Laurence Peter's study was his analysis of a survey of general practice doctors who were asked to list the most commonly encountered medical complaints among 'successful' patients. The survey results could easily be found in a modern survey, and included ulcers, colitis, high blood pressure, alcoholism, obesity, hypertension, insomnia, cardiovascular problems and impotence. Peter interpreted such complaints as evidence of 'constitutional incompetence' associated with what he termed 'final placement syndrome'. At the time, Peter bemoaned the fact that the medical profession failed to see the connection between over-demanding work responsibility and people's well-being. Today of course we understand that there is a connection, although the challenge remains for most organisations, and society as a whole, to focus seriously on dealing with the
situation. As Peter himself says, "...Truth will out! Time and the increasingly tumultuous social order inevitably will being enlightenment.." Laurence Peter's ideas of 1969 were keenly perceptive then, and remain so today.
"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." (Cyril Northcote Parkinson, 1909-1993, English political scientist, historian and writer, from his book, Parkinson's Law - The Pursuit of Progress, written in 1957.) The fuller vesion of the quote known as 'Parkinson's Law' is: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion, and subordinates multiply at a fixed rate, regardless of the amount of work produced.." (Cyril Northcote Parkinson, 1909-1993, English political scientist, historian and writer, from his book, Parkinson's Law - The Pursuit of Progress, written in 1957.) Parkinson also coined other notable phrases of enduring relevance: "Expenditure rises to meet income." (C Northcote Parkinson, 1909-1993, from The Law and the Profits, 1960.) "The man who is denied the opportunity of taking decisions of importance begins to regard as important the decisions he is allowed to take." (C Northcote Parkinson, 19091993, from Parkinson's Law - The Pursuit of Progress, 1957.)
the pareto principle (pareto's law)
Known by various names, including The Pareto Principle, The Pareto Law, Pareto's Law, The 80/20 Rule, The 80:20 Rule, Pareto Theory, The Principle of Least Effort (a term coined by George Zipf in 1949 based on Pareto's theory), The Principle of Imbalance, The 80-20 Principle, The Rule of the Vital Few (an interpretation developed by Joseph Juran in the field of quality management) and other combinations of these expressions. The Pareto 80/20 Rule is commonly used (and ignored at considerable cost) in many aspects of organizational and business management. It is helpful in specialised quality management such as six sigma, planning, decision-making, and general performance management. The principle is extremely helpful in bringing swift and easy clarity to complex situations and problems, especially when deciding where to focus effort and resources.
The Pareto Principle (at a simple level) suggests that where two related data sets or groups exist (typically cause and effect, or input and output): "80 percent of output is produced by 20 percent of input." or alternatively "80 percent of outcomes are from 20 percent of causes" or alternatively "80 percent of contribution comes from 20 percent of the potential contribution available" There is no definitive Pareto 'quote' as such - the above are my own simplified interpretations of Pareto's 80-20 Rule. The Pareto Principle is a model or theory, and an extremely useful model at that. It has endless applications - in management, social study and demographics, all types of distribution analysis, and business and financial planning and evaluation. In actual fact the Pareto Principle does not say that the 80:20 ratio applies to every situation, and neither is the model based on a ratio in which the two figures must add to make 100. And even where a situation does contain a 80:20 correlation other ratios might be more significant, for example:
99:22 (illustrating that even greater concentration than 80:20 and therefore significance at the 'top-end') or 5:50 (ie, just 5% results or benefit coming from 50% of the input or causes or contributors, obviously indicating an enormous amount of ineffectual activity or content).
The reasons why 80:20 has become the 'standard' are:
• • •
the 80-20 correlation was the first to be discovered 80-20 remains the most striking and commonly occurring ratio and since its discovery, the 80:20 ratio has always been used as the name and basic illustration of the Pareto theory.
Here are some examples of Pareto's Law as it applies to various situations. According to the Pareto Principle, it will generally the case (broadly - remember it's a guide not a scientific certainty), that within any given scenario or system or organisation:
• • •
80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts 80 percent of activity will require 20 percent of resources 80 percent of usage is by 20 percent of users
• • • • • • • • • • • •
80 percent of the difficulty in achieving something lies in 20 percent of the challenge 80 percent of revenue comes from 20 percent of customers 80 percent of problems come from 20 percent of causes 80 percent of profit comes from 20 percent of the product range 80 percent of complaints come from 20 percent of customers 80 percent of sales will come from 20 percent of sales people 80 percent of corporate pollution comes from 20 percent of corporations 80 percent of work absence is due to 20 percent of staff 80 percent of road traffic accidents are cause by 20 percent of drivers 80 percent of a restaurant's turnover comes from 20 percent of its menu 80 percent of your time spent on this website will be spent on 20 percent of this website and so on..
Remember for any particular situation the precise ratio can and probably will be different to 80:20, but the principle will apply nevertheless, and in many cases the actual ratio will not be far away from the 80:20 general rule. Such a principle is extremely useful in planning, analysis, trouble-shooting, problemsolving and decision-making, and change management, especially when broad initial judgements have to be made, and especially when propositions need checking. Many complex business disasters could easily have been averted if the instigators had thought to refer to the Pareto Principle as a 'sanity check' early on. Pareto's Law is a tremendously powerful model, all the more effective because it's so simple and easy. For example, consider an organisation which persists in directing its activities equally across its entire product range when perhaps 95% of its profits derive from just 10% of the products, and/or perhaps a mere 2% of its profits come from 60% of its product range. Imagine the wasted effort... Instead, by carrying out a quick simple 'Pareto analysis' and discovering these statistics, the decision-makers could see at a glance clearly where to direct their efforts, and probably too could see a whole lot of products that could be discontinued. The same effect can be seen in markets, services, product content, resources, etc; indeed any situation where an 'output:input' or 'effect:cause' relationship exists. Pareto's Principle is named after the man who first discovered and described the '80:20' phenomenon, Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923), an Italian economist and sociologist. Pareto was born in Paris, and became Professor of Political Economy at Lausanne, Switzerland in 1893. An academic, Pareto was fascinated by social and political statistics and trends, and the mathematical interpretation of socio-economic systems. Vilfredo Pareto first observed the 80/20 principle when researching and analysing wealth and income distribution trends in nineteenth-century England (some people suggest this was Italy; I say England, or Britain), in which, broadly he noted that 20 percent of the people owned 80 percent of the wealth. Beyond this he also noted that this 'predictable
imbalance' could be extrapolated (extended) to illustrate that, for example, 10 per cent would have 65 percent of the wealth, and 5 percent of people would own 50 percent of the wealth. Again these other ratios are what Pareto found in this particular study - they are not scientific absolutes that can be transferred reliably to other situations. Pareto then tested his 80-20 principle (including related numerical correlations) on other countries, and all sorts of other distribution scenarios, by which he was able to confirm that the 80:20 Principle, and similarly imbalanced numerical correlations, could be used reliably as a model to predict and measure and manage all kinds of effects and situations. Thus while the very first application of the Pareto Principle, or 80-20 Rule, was originally in Pareto's suggestion that "Eighty percent of the wealth is held by twenty percent of the people," the principle was and can be extended to apply to almost all other distribution scenarios as well. As a mathematical political and sociological innovator, Pareto developed other theories, for instance his 1916 book The Mind and Society predicted the growth of Fascism in Europe, but his most famous discovery was the '80/20' statistical rule that bears his name. Regrettably Pareto didn't live to see the general appreciation and wide adoption of his principle; he seems to not have been particularly effective at explaining and promoting the theory beyond academic circles, and it was left to other experts such as George Zipf and Joseph Juran to develop and refine Pareto's theories to make them usable and popular in business and management later towards the middle of the 20th century. Italy or Britain?... Some people say Pareto's initial discovery of predictably unbalanced wealth distribution was based on Italy's data. I say it was England. My chief source for stating England rather than Italy is an excellent book called The 80/20 Principle, by Richard Koch, 1997, 1998. Published by Nicholas Brealey. (A good book is generally more reliable than several websites, which are prone to copying content). Koch states (page 6 in the explanation of Pareto's first discovery of wealth distribution imbalance) that Pareto was "...looking at patterns of wealth and income on nineteenth-century England..." Koch continues, (also on page 6 in the explanation of Pareto's discovery) that Pareto also found that, "...this pattern of imbalance (the predictably unbalanced distribution of wealth across the population) was repeated consistently whenever he looked at data referring to different time periods or different countries. Whether he looked at England in earlier times, or whatever data were available from other countries in his own time or earlier, he (Pareto) found the same pattern repeating itself..." I also found these supporting texts on the web: "...The second is Pareto's law of income distribution. This law, which Pareto derived from British data on income, showed a linear relationship between each income level and the number of people who received more than that income. Pareto found similar results for Prussia, Saxony, Paris, and some Italian cities...." (Source: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Pareto.html) And the Wikipedia entry also seems to support the case for England/Britain rather than Italy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_index
The original Pareto source book is Cours d'Économie Politique (1896, 1897) - see http://cepa.newschool.edu/het/profiles/pareto.htm On balance I think the websites and sources which state England/Britain as the first Pareto income distribution study are more likely to be correct than those which state Italy. Assuming this is the case I would guess that some people have inferred it to be Italy given Pareto's Italian parentage and early life in Italy, although his study leading to the 80/20 principle was carried out after he left Italy and moved to the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. He was actully born in France and only lived in Italy in the middle years of his life. Pareto's study was apparently carried out on income tax data. Perhaps British data was easiest to find. I expect his book would explain the reasons. If you know any more, or have a copy and can translate the original Cours d'Économie Politique, please tell me.
generation x, y, add and baby-boomers...
This broad model for defining people appeared towards the end of the 20th century. References to it - normally for interest in a wider discussion - arise often in the western world among writers and social commentators, and also marketing people, notably in North America and the UK. It's a very loose theory, open to wide interpretation and debate, and is not a reliable scientific tool for demographics and profiling. The model most commonly features three generational types: Baby Boomers, and the Generations X and Y (which are completely unrelated to McGregor's X-Y Theory). Generational groups have been retrospectively suggested for pre-war times. Increasingly commentators devise new groups and names, and we can expect the model to grow and become more complex as a result. When considering the model, significantly, the teenage years and years of young adulthood are the biggest influence on people's attitudes, not when they were born. Music and fashion are often regarded as reflecting and helping to form the character of the group. generation name The Lost Generation born (range, characterizing features typically described (loosely) loosely) 1880-1900 The term reflects the unthinkable loss of human life in the First World War- approaching 16 million killed and over 20 million wounded. This happened in just four and five months (1914-1918). We cannot imagine this today.
The Interbellum 1900-1913 Generation The Greatest 1914-1930 Generation (The Veterans)
Interbellum means 'between wars', referring to the fact that these people were too young to fight in the First World War and too old to fight in the Second. These people are revered for having grown up during the Great Depression and then fought or stood alongside those who fought in the Second World War (1939-45). As for other generations of the early 1900s, life was truly hard compared to later times. Characterized as fatalistic, accepting, having modest career and family aspirations, focused on security and safety. These people experienced the 1930s Great Depression and/or the 2nd World War in early life, and post-war austerity in young adulthood. They parented and provided a foundation for the easier lives of the Baby Boomers. Equality, freedom, civil rights, environmental concern, peace, optimism, challenge to authority, protest. Baby Boomers mostly lived safe from war and serious hardship; grew up mostly in families, and enjoyed economic prosperity more often than not. Teenage/young adulthood years 1960-1980 - fashion and music: fun, happy, cheery, sexy, colourful, lively. Acquisitive, ambitious, achievement-oriented, cynical, materialistic (a reference to the expression 'keeping up with the Joneses'). Generation Jones is predominantly a US concept, overlapping and representing a sub-group within the Baby Boomer and Gen-X generations. Apathy, anarchy, reactionism, detachment, technophile, resentful, nomadic, struggling. Teenage/young adulthood years 1973-2000 - fashion and music: anarchic, bold, anti-establishment. MTV Generation is a lesser-used term for a group overlapping X and Y. Like Generation Jones is to Baby Boomers and Gen-X, so MTV Generation is a bridge between Gen-X and Y. Views vary as to when this range ends, basically because no-one knows. Generational categories tend to become established some years after the birth range has ended. Teenage/young adulthood years 1990s and the noughties - fashion and music: mainstream rather than
The Silent Generation
Generation X (Gen-X)
Generation Y (Gen-Y or Millennials)
1980-2000 and beyond (?)
niche, swarmingly popular effects, fuelled by social networking and referral technology. Generation Z (Gen-Z or perhaps Generation ADD) after Gen-Y Too soon to say much about this group. A name has yet to become established, let alone characterizing features. Generation Z is a logical name in the X-Ysequence. Generation ADD is less likely to establish itself as a name for this cohort - it refers ironically to Attention Deficit Disorder and the supposed inability of young people in the late noughties (say 2005-2009) to be able to concentrate for longer than a few seconds on anything. Gen-Z is difficult to differentiate from Gen-Y, mainly because (as at 2009) it's a little too soon to be seeing how people born after Gen-Y are actually behaving, unless the end of the Gen-Y range is deemed to be a few years earlier than the year 2000. Time will tell.
The model is here mainly for interest and basic explanation, not to suggest it be applied seriously. The framework is very loose, not scientific at all, and has no single point of origin or founding theorist, although claims of origination are made for some of the generation names within the model. The theory attempts to categorise different generations of people into obvious different demographic groups or 'cohorts' according to the period in which they were born, referring typically also to lifestyles and attitudes. The notion of characterizing an entire generation, tens of millions of people, in such a sweeping way is of course daft, nevertheless there are fundamental correlations between society and the culture, on which premise the model is essentially based. It is tempting to over-estimate the significance of when people were born and the societal influences of their formative years, and to under-estimate the life-stage changes which all people, regardless of when they were born, inevitably pass through. Arguably Life-Stage theory is much more meaningful and useful than attempting to ascribe character on the basis of when a person was born. See Erikson's Life-Stage Theory - it is refreshingly sensible compared to the vagueness of the generational model above. Erikson's theory also provides excellent guidance for anyone seeking to analyse the effects of social conditions and experiences on people's lives, which would be relevant if attempting to substantiate or develop the reliability of the generational model above.
I welcome suggestions, improvements and corrections for the generational model above.
the 1st law of cybernetics
"The unit within the system with the most behavioural responses available to it controls the system." This is also known as the law of requisite variety, and is nowadays central to the concepts of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), as well as being one of the most powerful principles for achieving a happy, fulfilled and successful life. See the Cybernetics history and overview
"When the rain is blowing in your face, And the whole world is on your case, I could offer you a warm embrace, To make you feel my love. When the evening shatters and the stars appear, And there is no one there to dry your tears, I could hold you for a million years, To make you feel my love." (Bob Dylan - the opening verses from Make You Feel My Love, on the album Time out of Mind, 1997.) "Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love, But - why did you kick me downstairs?..." (Isaac Bickerstaffe, c.1733-1808, from An Expostulation, 1789. Dissemble means hide or conceal.) "Come live with me, and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove." (Christopher Marlowe, 1564-93, English poet and dramatist, from The Passionate Shepherd to his Love. In this sense, the word prove means try, test, evaluate - I'm sure you get the idea..) " 'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all." (Samuel Butler, 18351902, from from The Way of All Flesh, published 1903.) "I am the Love that dare not speak its name." (Lord Alfred Douglas, 1870-1945, from Two Loves, 1896)
"Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness." (Bertrand Russell) "Come, let us make love deathless." (Herbert Trench, 1901) "And so to bed..." (Samuel Pepys not exactly written originally in a love context, but it works...) "All's fair in love and war." (Francis Smedley, from his novel 'Frank Farleigh', 1850) "Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, 'Tis woman's whole existence." (Lord Byron, from Don Juan, 1824.) "Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure." (Lord Byron, from Don Juan, 1824.) "Of all pains, the greatest pain, Is to love, and to love in vain." (George Granville, 1666 1735.) "Heaven has no rage, like love to hatred turned, Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorned." (William Congreve, from 'The Mourning Bride', 1697.) "The nakedness of woman is the work of God." (William Blake) "Wherefore there are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:6) "The female of the species is more deadly than the male." (Rudyard Kipling, 1919) "C'mon, baby, light my fire." (Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger, from the Doors' 'Light My Fire', 1967.)
latin love quotes
"Amor vincit omnia." (Love conquers all - this timeless quote is first recorded in the introduction (first meeting with the pilgrims) of "The Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), the satire about religion and human hypocrisy. The story has it that the quote was written on the back of a (particularly valuable looking) medallion worn, ironically, by a nun, referred to as 'The Prioress'. (Ack CLB) "Ad infinitum." (Endlessly) "Aeternus." (Everlasting) "Meminerunt omnia amantes." (Lovers remember everything - Ovid)
"Odi et amo: quare id faciam, fortasse requiris. Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior." ("I hate and I love: why I do so you may well ask, but I feel it happen and am in agony." (Catullus, Roman poet, 8454BC, from 'Carmina'.)
funny love quotes
"It's so long since I had sex I've forgotten who ties up whom." (Joan Rivers) "Sexual intercourse is a grossly overrated pastime; the postion is undignified, the pleasure momentary and the consequences damnable." ( Lord Chesterfield) "When a man steals your wife there is no better revenge than to let him keep her." (Sasha Guitry) "Splendid couple - slept with both of them." (Maurice Bowra) "My wife is a sex object every time I ask for sex, she objects." (Les Dawson) "She was stark naked expect for a PVC raincoat, dress, net stockings, undergarments, shoes, rain hat and gloves." (Keith Waterhouse) "Bisexuality doubles your chances of a date on a Saturday night." (Woody Allen) "It's impossible to obtain a conviction for sodomy from an English jury. Half of them don't believe that it can physically be done, and the other half are doing it." (Winston Churchill) "I'll come to your room at five o'clock. If I'm late, start without me." (Tallulah Bankhead) "I've been in love with the same woman for forty years - if my wife finds out she'll kill me." (Henry 'Henny' Youngman)
(allegedly real) quotes from letters to islington council's housing department
"I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt my knob off." "I wish to complain that my father hurt his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage." "Their 18 year old son is continuously banging his balls against my fence."
"I want to complain about the farmer across the road; every morning at 6am his cock wakes me up and it's getting too much." "This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broken and we can't get BBC2." More of these funny quotes now appear on their own page, which makes it easier to find them and link to them. See the letters to the council page.
inspirational motivational quotes
These quotes are now on the inspirational motivational quotes page. The inspirational quotes page includes wonderful inspiring quotations for learning and teaching, with helpful notes, such as: Anthony Seldon's wonderful quote about what education should actually be and do for people. "Cerca Trova" - meaning Seek And You Shall Find - see the fascinating origins of the Cerca Trova saying. The Mandela Speech myth quote - "...We are all meant to shine, as children do... It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone..." This is part of an earth-moving quotation commonly wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela, but who actually wrote it? The 'Everybody Somebody...' famous poem about responsibility - see the various versions and a probable origin. The Guy in the Glass poem - also known wrongly as The Man in the Mirror - see the proper version and origins. The Serenity Prayer - "...Give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed..." - versions and origins. Come to the Edge - another immensely powerful yet commonly unattributed misquoted verse - original version and origins. The Success poem - "... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived..." - an inspiring and moving description of what success in life actually means alternative versions and history. "Thich Nhat Han's wonderful quote about responsibility and being a grown-up irrespective of our up-bringing.
"If you're not part of the solution..." - Probably you know the complete maxim, but what is its origins? Booker T Washington's fine quote for defining personal success. "Standing on the shoulders of giants..." Wonderful quote, much used, rarely attributed versions and origins. "The Captain of My Soul..." Stirring verse by Henley, for inner resolve, courage and determination, etc. "What does not kill us makes us stronger..." Nietzsche's quote is actually an extremely meaningful and powerful concept.
The above quotes and lots more similarly inspiring sayings are on the inspirational motivational quotes page. See the motivation webpage for explanation of why quotes and sayings inspire people, including yourself, and how inspirational quotes stimulate motivation and self-belief, and promote self-development, personal growth and fulfilment.
(alleged) quotes from sales interviews
"I only came to the interview to confirm my feeling that I should never have been called for the interview.." "I was handling a market research project on accident prevention, but I couldn't interview any of the target respondents because they were all dead.." "I am not married to either a man or a woman.." "Pressurising people is all part of giving customer satisfaction.." "At my present company they are all bastards including my boyfriend who I met there.." "The water in your washrooms is exceptionally wet today.."
funny quotes reasons for transport requests to the clinic
(apparently from the Chiropodists Association Journal)
I'm under the doctor and can't breathe. I can't walk to the bus stop and my wife is bent. I can't breathe and haven't done so for years. I live five miles from the clinic and the postman says I should have it. I have got athritis and heart failure in both feet and knees. I am unable to walk now as my dog has died. I cannot drive a car because I haven't got one. My husband's dead and won't bring me. I need transport as I have funny feet. If my mum goes out alone she gets into trouble. I must have your man as I cannot go out or even do up my suspenders. When your man brings me back could you ask him to drop me off at the White Swan. I hope you will send your driver as my husband is quite useless. My wife must have transport as she is over 80 and drives me mad. I cannot walk up a hill unless it is down and the hill to your clinic is up. I want transport as bus drivers do funny things to me and make me feel queer.
funny prince phillip quotes and gaffes (allegedly)
Also known as the 'consort's clangers'.. Some are more reliable than others. "You look like you are ready for bed.." (On meeting an African leader wearing robes, date uncertain - reported to be in Nigeria 1956.) "Are you sure you want to go ahead with this, old chap?.." (To the future President Kenyatta at Kenya's official independence ceremony, 1963.) "The bastards murdered half my family.." (When asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union, 1967.)
"We shall all be old one day - provided of course we can avoid being slaughtered on the roads or beaten up by some hooligan in a peace demonstration.." (Quoted in the press, 1970.) "Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.." (A comment during the UK's recession, 1981.) "You must be out of your minds.." (To Solomon Islanders, on being told that their population growth was 5% a year, 1982.) "You are a woman aren't you?.." (On receiving a gift from a Kenyan native woman, 1984.) "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed.." (To a group of British students in China, 1986.) "Aren't most of you descended from pirates?.." (To a Cayman Islander, date uncertain.) "You can't have been here that long, you haven't got a potbelly yet.." (To a British expat in Hungary, c.1990.) "I am self-employed.." (When replying to a question as to what type of work he did, c.1990.) "You're not wearing mink knickers are you?.." (To a fashion writer at a World Wildlife Fund event., 1993.) "How do you keep the natives off the booze for long enough to pass their test?.." (To a Scottish driving instructor in Oban, 1995.) "You managed not to get eaten then?.." (To a student who'd trekked in Papua New Guinea, 1998.) "I don't think a prostitute is more moral than wife, but they are doing the same thing.." (Quoted in The Observer newspaper, 1988.) "It looks as though it was put in by an Indian.." (On seeing a fuse box while being shown around an Edinburgh factory, 1999.) "You were playing your instruments weren't you?, or do you have tape recorders under your seats?.." (To a school band in Cairns, Australia, 2002.)
"Do you still throw spears at each other..? (To an Aboriginal man on Australia's Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, 2002.) "Do you know they have 'eating-dogs' for the anorexics now?.." (To a blind woman with a guide-dog, 2002.) "If you travel as much as we do you appreciate how much more comfortable aircraft have become. Unless you travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.." (Commenting during the Jubilee tour, 2002.) "The problem with London is the tourists. They cause the congestion. If we could just stop tourism we could stop the congestion.." (Commenting on the London traffic debate, after mayor Ken Livingstone forced through his plan to charge motorists £5 to enter the city, 2002.) "French cooking's all very well, but they can't do a decent English breakfast.." (Aboard the floating restaurant 'Il Punto' on the river Orwell in Ipswich, after thoroughly enjoying an excellent full English breakfast, Summer 2002 - Il Punto is owned by Frenchman Regis Crepy.) "You'll have to lose a bit of weight first.." (Visiting a school, asking a tubby little boy what he wanted to be when he grows up, and being told, 'an astronaut', 2003.) "Who are you burying today?" (Arriving to open a Brighton Youth Centre, 2007.) Prince Philip: "What did you do in the war? Woman: I wasn't born until 1954.." (Visiting a D-Day museum in Portsmouth, to a woman - this was how the quote was reported by certain press, 2009. In truth Prince Philip apparently asked "Where's your [Land Army] badge?", which might have been a joke, but was interpreted as a gaffe. The Land Army were women who worked on farms during the 2nd World War, 1939-45, some survivors of which were at the museum for the visit by the Queen and Prince Philip. The lady in question was there with her 83-year-old mother, who was wearing a Land Army badge, hence the question arising.) "Can you tell the difference between them?.." (To US President Obama referring to meeting Gordon Brown, David Cameron and representatives of China and Russia, 2009.)
funny quotes (alleged) appraisals putdowns
Needless to say, these amusing comments are not recommended for use in real appraisals.
"A well balanced person, has a chip on both shoulders.." "Takes him two hours to watch sixty minutes.." "Gargled from the fountain of knowledge.." "If you stand close enough to him you can hear the oceans.." "If you gave him a penny for his thoughts you'd get change.." "If he were any more stupid he'd have to be watered twice a week.." "Has two brains: one is lost and the other is out looking for it.." "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.." "Donated his brain to science before he was done using it.." "A prime candidate for natural deselection.." "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on.." "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one.." "When his IQ reaches 50 he should sell.." "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room.." "He has a knack for making strangers immediately.." "He would argue with a signpost.." "He's been working with glue too much.." "I would like to go hunting with him sometime.." "He doesn't have ulcers but he's a carrier.." "Got a full sixpack but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together.." "When she opens his mouth it seems that it is only to change feet.." "Not so much of a 'hasbeen', more of a definite 'won'tbe'.." "I would not allow this employee to breed.."
"His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.." "He would be out of his depth in a car park puddle.." "This person has delusions of adequacy.." "Since my last report has reached rockbottom, and has started to dig.." "Sets low standards and consistently fails to achieve them.." "Has the wisdom of youth and the energy of old age.." "Works well under constant supervision and when cornered like a rat in a trap.." "You are on the crest of a slump." "The lights are on but nobody's at home.." "The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.." (Thanks for contributions, E Welburn, P Houghton.)
inspirational and motivational quotes
inspirational and motivational quotes for leadership, self-development, training, teaching, writing, speeches, and simply to help you feel good funny sayings and useful maxims are here
Here are some of the best inspirational quotes for training and teaching, personal fulfilment, self-development, visualisation, and general motivational purposes. Quotes - especially positive suggestions - are very strong medicine. Simply reading a few wonderful quotes can often help make you feel good about yourself and life in general. Quotes help especially through visualization. The brain responds almost magically. Funny quotes which are humorous and also clever and meaningful, are particularly effective, because we all love to be entertained and amused while we are learning.
These quotes can also be helpful for presentations, public speaking, management, leadership and coaching - especially for ethical development of people, teams, and organizations. A great quote can convey a complex concept in just a few words, and in an age of information-overload, this is extremely useful obviously - to cut through the crap - to get your point across - to help people sit up and take real notice. And to remember a point or lesson of course. Good relevant quotes are memorable. Some people carry their favourite quotations with them for all of their lives. These powerful quotes have been moved here from the original quotes collection which includes less serious sayings, maxims, and examples of amusing language of various sorts. You will have seen some of famous quotes below before but perhaps not known the origins and authors. Other quotations in this collection are less well-known, but are inspirational just the same. Some of these quotes are commonly misunderstood, mis-quoted, and falsely attributed, which this collection seeks to clarify, for example:
• • • • • •
The Mandela Inaugural Speech Myth (actually written by Marianne Williamson and never used by Mandela) The Everybody Somebody Anybody Nobody poem (and likely origins) The Guy In The Glass (wrongly known as 'The Man in the Mirror') The Serenity Prayer Come to the Edge The 'Success Poem'
Please note that where quotes on this page refer to 'man' or 'men' this is not intended to be discriminatory, and where appropriate you should use a similar explanation when using quotes which could give such an impression. See the section on motivation for explanation of why quotes and sayings inspire people, including yourself, and how these inspirational quotes stimulate motivation and selfbelief, and promote self-development, personal growth and fulfilment. Send your favourite quote.
inspirational and motivational quotations
This section moved here (April 2008) from the general quotes and sayings webpage which contains other various funny quotes, maxims, rules and principles.
This collection attempts to offer and where relevant explain some of the (IMHO) best quotes for leadership, education, personal fulfillment, development and achievement. The left column contains established and commonly used quotes and extracts. The right column contains some self-penned quotes, contributed to this webpage by readers. "I cannot be that I am not, I want to be that I am." (Charlotte Sebego, South African Public Servant, born 1969, wrote these beautiful words on 22 May 2008, and kindly submitted them for publication on the Businessballs website in October 2009.) "Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day." (Zen Proverb. Thanks CB) "The minute you start thinking that you've done it all, that's when you're in the rear view mirror." (Chris DeWolfe, co-founder of MySpace.com, talking about market leading and innovation, quoted in the Guardian newspaper, 10 Nov 2008.) "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." (Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American author and commentator, aka Samuel L Clemens - thanks J Greenwood .) "It is tempting to call for better leadership, but we probably expect too much from the leaders of the nations. Those nations are too big, the connections not strong enough, the commitment to the future not long enough. It is better to look smaller, to our now-smaller organisations, to local communities and cities, to families and clusters of friends, to small networks of portfolio people with time to give to something bigger than themselves. We have to fashion our own directions in our own places." (Charles Handy, b.1932, Irish author and philosopher on work and society. The quote is from his 1994 book The Empty Raincoat. The term 'portfolio people' is Handy's term for modern independent people who determine their own work patterns and interests. The quote reminds us all that we can lead and change things for ourselves, rather than
newly authored self-penned quotes and maxims
Send your own quote. Occasionally I am sent quotes and maxims which people have created themselves, which in future I will show here below. If you send a quote please tell me your name as you'd like it to appear with the quote, plus your occupation or how you'd like to be described, where in the world you are, and when you created the saying. "If you have a dream.. Living it is already in progress, because, you can't fulfil dreams you don't have.. so, enjoy them and move forward and live your dreams fully!" (Patricia M Trexler - Pennsylvania US - 6 Nov 2009) "When you miss someone who is gone, Hold your heart, She/he is there, And doesn't want you to hurt." (Patricia M Trexler Pennsylvania US - 6 Nov 2009) "I am a person who thinks it does not matter if my glass is half empty or full - just lead me to the water to keep it full.."
wait for traditional top-down leadership, which might not be able, even if willing.) "People and things do not upset us. Rather, we upset ourselves by believing that they can upset us." (Albert Ellis, 1913-2007, American psychologist, philosopher and teacher, and developer of REBT, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, from from Ellis' 1961 book, A Guide to Rational Living.) "Bottom line: It's not our life events (Actions) that themselves directly disturb us, (produce unpleasant emotional Consequences). It's our irrational demandingness, our shoulds, oughts, and musts (Beliefs) that largely do the job." (Robert H Moore's succinct outline of the ABC model: Action-BeliefConsequences, which features in Albert Ellis' REBT theory and the 1975 second edition of his book, A Guide to Rational Living.) "Any fact facing us, however difficult, even seemingly hopeless, is not so important as our attitude towards that fact. How you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You may permit a fact to overwhelm you mentally before you deal with it actually. On the other hand, a confident and optimistic thought pattern can overcome or modify the fact altogether." (Norman Vincent Peale, 1898-1993, author and protestant minister, from his 1953 book, The Power of Positive Thinking.) "An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind." (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian statesman and spiritual leader, humanitarian and constitutional independence reformer, thanks T Kirkland.) "If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room." (Dame Anita Roddick, 1942-2007, British businesswoman, humanitarian, founder of The Body Shop, thanks TK.) "It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to." (attributed to W C Fields - William Claude Dukenfeld, 1880-1946, American actor and wit, thanks N Ward.)
(Margaret Jewell - Jun 2009) "When the Leader gets up and starts walking, the people will get up and start walking with him/her." (Bob Mischler, Engineering Manager, Ottowa 29 May 2009) "Your success or happiness does not depend on how the environment adapts to you, but how you adapt to the environment." (Jacoub Nel, Lecturer, Bahrain - 12 Jan 2009) "(Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today), if you enjoy it today you can do it again tomorrow." (John Burgess, Healthcare Management Specialist, Devon - 9 Dec 2008.) "A problem is something you may find goes along with an opportunity long before you can find a way to exploit it." (Drew Byrne, aphorist, London inspired by Drucker et al - 9 Dec 2008) "Discipline is not the cage, discipline is the key." (Denver M Lane, Co-Founder and CEO, Instant Impact Training Inc Dec 2008.) "When you wake up in the morning and your feet hit the floor, be thankful you have a floor." (Denver M Lane, CoFounder and CEO, Instant Impact Training Inc - Dec
"Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't." (Richard Bach, b.1936, American writer and pilot, thanks R Malan. The quote is often erroneously shown as "Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete: if you're alive, it isn't." Or similar variations. The correct version appears on the back cover of Bach's 1977 book Illusions, being also the last lines of chapter 15.) "You will not be punished for your anger. You'll be punished by your anger." (Traditional Buddhist quote of unknown origins, thanks R M) "When you do a good turn you feel rich, even if you are broke." (Lionel Blue, b.1930, British rabbi, journalist, broadcaster, from a BBC Radio 4 'Thought for the Day' broadcast, 17 September 2008.)
2008.) "Getting everything done is not always a sign of good time management; it can also be a sign of not having enough to do." (Susan Billbess, writer Nov 2008.) "At the end of the day; it just gets dark." (Bill Lindsay - 26 Nov 2008) "The right thing does not always mean you are right, but it means you have approached it in the right way." (Terry Prescod, Matron at Forensic Unit, London - 27 Oct 2008) "I cannot be that I am not, I want to be that I am." (Charlotte Sebego, South African Public Servant - 22 May 2008)
the butterflies metaphor
"There is nothing wrong with stomach butterflies! You just have to get them to fly in formation!" The butterflies metaphor is famously used in various 'quote' versions within training for presentations or public-speaking. The quote is helpful also for actors and other entertainers and stage performers. The quote perfectly suggests that feeling nervous is not a bad thing - in fact it's normal and can be very stimulating and exciting - the point is to manage the feelings and get them working for you rather than against you. This is usually a matter of experience and practice, from which comes confidence. See the presentations page. The origins of the butterflies quote are unknown to me. If you know please tell me. Thanks A Higgs, 15 Aug 2008, for informing me that the above version of the quote is attributed to Bert Decker in the book What's Your Point by Bob Boylan, Adams Media Corporation Holbrook, Massachusetts 2001, page 109. Bert Decker is an author and trainer in communications, and while he has used the quote since the late 1970s, he kindly confirmed to me that he didn't originate it and doesn't know who did. As I say, please contact me if you know. I am separately informed (thanks H Kemp, 15 Jan 2009) that the Painter's Keys website attributes the
N.B. By sending your own quote or maxim you effectively agree that: 1. It can be published on this website, and that others can use it within the terms of this website. 2. It's yours, as far as you know, and that you have at least checked on the web that it does not already exist in the same or very similar form. 3. It will be attributed to your name, with your occupation or description and location if you tell me, and the date you created it, or the date that I
quote to Dr Rob Gilbert. The Painter's Keys website is however not able to connect this attribution with a reliable reference source. If you know anything more about the origins of the butterflies quote please tell me. "I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them." (Benedict Spinoza, also known as Baruch, 1632-77, Jewish born Dutch philosopher and theologian. This beautiful yet simple quote is a modern translation extracted from the Introduction to Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, first published around 1670 opinions vary as to precise publication date. The quote illustrates a fundamental aspect of wisdom - namely objectivity - found in modern behavioural concepts such as emotional intelligence and ethical leadership and decision-making. A longer more literal and arguably more beautiful translation of the passage is: "...I have laboured carefully, not to mock, lament, or execrate, but to understand human actions; and to this end I have looked upon passions, such as love, hatred, anger, envy, ambition, pity, and the other perturbations of the mind, not in the light of vices of human nature, but as properties, just as pertinent to it, as are heat, cold, storm, thunder, and the like to the nature of the atmosphere, which phenomena, though inconvenient, are yet necessary, and have fixed causes, by means of which we endeavour to understand their nature..." Spinoza was indeed a very clever fellow. Here is the fully translated Tractatus Theologico-Politicus.) "If we are not trusted, we have no business." (Larry Page, co-founder of Google, interviewed at Google's Zeitgeist conference, May 2008.) "If you don't have fun, you don't have a show." (Attributed to Bertolt Brecht, 1898-1956, German dramatist and playwright - who incidentally wrote the lyrics to the song Mack the Knife.)
publish it on this page.
"What we have got is whole generations of people helping children to pass exams. But to really fire children's imaginations you need teachers who don't give them answers, but give them questions. There's a dictum in primary education: when a child asks a really good question, don't answer it. Give them the information to work it out, so they can think: 'By God, I've got it!' That's how the brain works." (John Abbott, educationalist,
writer and president of the 21st Century Learning Initiative. While this quote was first aimed at children's education, the principle applies to learning and development for grown-ups just the same.) "Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is a shadow of the other." (Carl Gustav Jung, 1875-1961, Swiss psychiatrist and humanist. This quote is translated from German, and the English translation is perhaps not as subtle in meaning as the original German, notably the phrase 'will to power', which might more simply be translated (thanks U Howson) to mean "...motive to dominate...", or "...need to have power..." The German is: "Wo die Liebe herrscht, da gibt es keinen Machtwillen, und wo die Macht den Vorrang hat, da fehlt die Liebe. Das eine ist der Schatten des andern." Whatever, the quote is immensely significant and meaningful - it captures the idea that feelings of love and compassion are directly opposite the need or urge to dominate, or to impose personal power. Many believe that the two positions (love and domination) are somehow an effective combination, as in 'benevolent autocracy', but they are not, which Jung's quote very elegantly emphasises. For an introduction to Jung's ideas, especially the notion of the conscious and unconscious opposites within us all, see the Jung section on the personality styles page.) "Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear." (Benedict Spinoza, also known as Baruch, 1632-77, Jewish born Dutch philosopher and theologian. This wonderful quote, from Ethics, 1677, helps reassure us that in fear there is always hope, and that when we hope, we also fear, and so we can embrace and welcome both feelings.) "Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another." (Gilbert Keith G K Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 1874-1936, English writer, reported in The Observer newspaper, 1924.) "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, physicist and genius, Swiss-American, of Bavarian-Jewish birth, from Notes on Pacifism. This quote applies to personal relationships and organizational management, as well as to leadership on a much bigger scale.) "When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty." (George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, 1856-1950 - this quote might alternatively be interpreted to emphasize the need to question instructions which we are ashamed to follow.) "The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved." (Attributed to Victor Hugo, 1802-85. Whatever, it is completely true or certainly very close to it, which we should all bear in mind when we deal with others. It is helpful to remember that through life in whatever we do and wherever we go, usually people just need a little love, and all is well.)
"Someone has somewhere commented on the fact that millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon." (Susan Ertz, British-American novelist, 1894-1985.) "No man is an island, entirely of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved with Mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." (John Donne, 1572-1631, from Devitions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII, written in 1624.) "When politics become religionised, bad things happen." (Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, said in a BBC radio broadcast 1st Feb 2008, about the dangers of confusing religion with leadership.) "It is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come nearest the soul of another." (George MacDonald, 1824-1905, Scottish poet and minister, much admired by other writers.) "That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet." (Emily Dickinson, 1830-86, American poet.) "It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." (Generally attributed to Alfred Adler, 1870-1937, Austrian-born psychiatrist, colleague of Freud and Jung, founder of 'individual psychology' and first to define the inferiority complex.) "I've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it." (Andy Rooney, b. 1919, American journalist, author and TV correspondent - the quote is featured here because it's a good one, and also because it is so often quoted without attribution. The quote seems to be from series of short quotes by Rooney entitled Enlightened Perspective, each beginning with "I've learned.." If anyone can shed more light on which of Rooney's books or essays is the precise source please let me know.) Anthony Seldon is a pioneering educationist. His ideas about developing young people apply just the same to developing grown-ups. Here is a quote which captures very well his philosophy for what a school should be, and as I say, the principles transfer naturally to the workplace: "This is about helping children become themselves. What is a school if it isn't helping people find what they want to do? I don't just mean careers. I mean teaching how to sing, dance, paint, act, write poetry, play tennis, play the guitar. We'd be a better, more harmonious society if people had these interests developed when they were young. But they don't. That's a cause of depression. And the things I'm talking about: children need them here [in school], but the more deprived the background, the less the infrastructure at home, the greater the need. If schools aren't going to do these things, who is?" (Anthony
Seldon, writer, educationist, school head, and advocate of developing young people's personal potential, as opposed to merely giving instruction to fit the university-to-career sausage machine. From an interview with Peter Wilby in May 2007, in which Seldon also references Gardner's Multiple Intelligence theory and its crucial relevance to developing young people. See also Erik Erikson's theory on life stages - notably school years, and the working years too - to understand why so many people grow up with no sense of value, purpose, or belief in their ability to make a contribution to life. Just as schools must improve the way they develop young people, so business and employers must improve the way they develop adults.) "If rulers learn to undervalue the lives of their own subjects by the custom of war, how much more do they undervalue the lives of their enemies! As they learn to hear of the loss of five hundred or a thousand of their own men, with perhaps less feeling than they would hear of the death of a favorite horse or dog, so they learn to hear of the death of thousands after thousands on the side of the enemy with joy and exultation." (Noah Worcester, aka Philo Pacificus, 1758-1837, American writer, pacifist and minister, from A Solemn Review of the Custom of War, 1814, transcribed by Tom Lock.) "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their life". (generally attributed to Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910, Russian novelist and philosopher - if you know the actual source please tell me.) "The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him." (Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910, Russian novelist and philosopher, from The Kingdom of God is within You, chapter 3, 1894, translated by Constance Garnett and transcribed by Tom Lock.) "There are no conditions of life to which a man cannot get accustomed, especially if he sees them accepted by everyone about him." (Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910, Russian novelist and philosopher, from Anna Karenina, part 7 chapter 13, 1875-7, translated by Rosemary Edmonds.) "Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on it unhindered and let it defend itself, it will do more than if you paralyse it by encumbering it with remedies." (Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910, Russian novelist and philosopher, from War and Peace, 1865-9, book 10 chapter 29, translated by A & L Maude.) "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." (Hubert H Humphrey, 1911-78, American Democratic politician.)
"Get involved in an issue that you're passionate about. It almost doesn't matter what it is ... We give too much of our power away, to the professional politicians, to the lobbyists, to cynicism. And our democracy suffers as a result." (Barack Obama, b.1961, US senator for Illinois and US presidential alternative, from a publicity interview about his 2006 book, Audacity of Hope.) "When you focus on solving problems instead of scoring political points, and emphasize common sense over ideology, you'd be surprised what can be accomplished." (Barack Obama, b.1961, US senator for Illinois and US presidential alternative, from a publicity interview about his 2006 book, Audacity of Hope.) "How doth the little busy bee improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day from every opening flower." (Isaac Watts, 1674-1748, English independent minister and hymn writer, from 'Against Idleness and Mischief' in which also appears the famous expression: "For Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.") "Don't hurry, don't worry. You're only here for a short visit. So be sure to stop and smell the flowers." (Walter C Hagen, 1892-1969, American world champion golfer, from the New York Times, 22 May 1977.) "Everything is data." (This expression, whose origin is unclear and is probably untraceable, most typically occurs in the field of information management, but its meaning comes to life when used in the context of human relationships and behaviour. To explain: in the information management context the operative word is 'everything', meaning that every piece of information is relevant and is worthy of recording and analysing. This of course is perfectly fine, and is true for many situations. However in the human relationships context, 'data' is the operative word, meaning that everything (whatever it is) should be regarded objectively and non-judgementally. Data isn't necessarily good or bad. Data just 'is'. As such, "Everything is data," reminds us of the importance of seeing things for what they are, and not how we feel about them. The expression helps us to be objective and fair, and to put our feelings and emotions to one side when reacting and making decisions, especially when our reactions and decisions affect others. Thanks B Heyn for inspiring this.) "No cord nor cable can so forcibly draw, or hold so fast, as love can do with a twined thread." (Robert Burton, 1577-1640, English writer and clergyman, from The Anatomy of Melancholy, written 1621-51.) "I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended." (Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born 1918, South
African lawyer, statesman and 1993 Nobel Peace Prizewinner. This quote is from Mandela's inspirational 1994 book, Long Walk to Freedom.) "It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth - and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." (Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 1926-2004, psychiatrist, humanitarian, teacher, author, and pioneer of bereavement and hospice care. Used with permission, with thanks to www.ekrfoundation.org and www.elisabethkublerross.com.) "It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied. Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger." (Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931, Syrian writer, poet and artist, from his inspirational book The Prophet) "In one of my classes I ask my students to write on the subject, 'If I were to die tomorrow, how would I live tonight?' Answering this question always brings great insight." (Professor Leo F Buscaglia, 1924-1998, teacher, writer and humanitarian, from his remarkable book, Love, 1972.) "Carpe Diem" ('Seize the day', Horace, 65-8BC, Roman poet, from 'Odes' Book 1.) "Aut Viam Invenium Aut Facium" ('Where there's a will there's a way', literally, 'I'll either find a way or make one'.) "Cogito Ergo Sum" ('I think, therefore I exist', popularised by René Descartes, 15961650, French philosopher, from Discourse on Method, 1637.) "Facta Non Verba" ('Actions speak louder than words', literally, 'Deeds not words'.) "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." (Attributed to Anais Nin, French-born American writer, 1903-1977.) "The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." (Martha Washington, 1731-1802, wife of US President George Washington and the first US First Lady, 1789-1797. Ack Douglas Miller, writer, who features this quote in his excellent book 'Positive Thinking, Positive Action'.) "While you teach, you learn." (Based on the words of Seneca The Younger, 4BC-AD65, Roman philosopher and poet: "Even while men teach, men learn", from Epistulae Morales 7:viii.) "Getting everything done is not always a sign of good time management, it can also be a sign of not having enough to do." (S Billbess)
"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours." (Richard Bach, b.1936, American writer and pilot, from his 1977 book, Illusions.) "If you don't know what port you are sailing to, no wind is favourable." (Seneca 'The Younger', 4BC-AD65, Roman philosopher and poet, translated loosely from the original Latin: "Ignoranti, quem portum petat, nullus suus ventus est", from Epistulae Morales 73:iii.) "It is the weak who are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong." (Leo Rosten, 1908-1997, US academic, teacher and writer, as referenced by Leo Buscaglia in his 1972 book called Love.) "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." (Variously attributed, including almost certainly wrongly to Theodore Roosevelt. Most likely origin seems to be Don Swartz, a US broadcaster and entertainer. A different Don Swartz, an American change management consultant and writer has confirmed he is not the author of this quote. If you know for sure please tell me. Ack L Harris.) "Cerca Trova" ('Seek and you shall find', or 'He who searches shall find' an old Italian saying, pronounced 'cherka-trohva'. The saying originally appears - although not in Italian of course - in the Bible, Matthew VII;vii as "Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." The later Italian 'Cerca Trova' version partly owes its popularity to the artist Giorgio Vasari who used it in a fresco he painted on a wall of The Hall of Five Hundred in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence around 1563. The words Cerca Trova appear on a soldier's banner, and are believed by some to be a reference to the great 'lost' mural by Leonardo da Vinci, The Battle of Anghiari, painted around 1500, depicting the Florentine victory over Milan, which previously adorned the wall and which Vasari was commissioned to cover in celebration of the ruling Medici family. Efforts are ongoing in Florence to solve the mystery of whether Leonardo's painting is indeed hidden and recoverable beneath Vasari's work.) "If you don't create your reality, your reality will create you." (Lizzie West, b.1973, American singer-songwriter. Incidentally Lizzie West, aside from her wonderful talent, humanitarian philosophy and social justice activities, also wrote and performed a beautiful interpretation of the Mary Frye poem, 'Do not stand at my grave and weep', which appears on her CD 'Holy Road: Freedom Songs', track title 'Prayer'. Lizzie West's second album is an exceptional work too.) "In the factory we make cosmetics. In the store we sell hope." (Charles Revson, 1906-75, founder of the Revlon corporation, as quoted by his biographer Andrew Tobias in the 1976 book Fire and Ice. While Revson is not a great model for responsible and compassionate leadership, this quote illustrates well an essential aspect of business and selling and communications, ie., that people need to know what something means to them, beyond what something merely is.)
"The salary of the chief executive of the large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself." (John Kenneth Galbraith, 1908-2006, American economist and social responsibility advocate - the quote is from Annals of an Abiding Liberal, 1980, and sadly it remains widely applicable today.) "I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." (Patrick White, 1912-90, Australian novelist and 1973 Nobel Prizewinner for Literature, from The Solid Mandala, 1966) "The best careers advice to give to the young is 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it'." (Katherine Whitehorn, b.1926, English journalist and writer, from The Observer in 1975 - the principle applies today still, and to grown-up careers too..) "How can I take an interest in my work when I don't like it?" (Francis Bacon, 1909-93, English philosopher and statesman, attributed.) "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, aka Lord Acton of Aldenham, 1834-1902, English historian and founding editor of the Cambridge Modern History, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887. We've all heard the quote, but not many know its origins.) "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." (Anne Frank, 1929-45, German Jewish, or stateless or Dutch, depending on your interpretation of her nationality, diarist and holocaust victim, from The Diary of Anne Frank, first published in 1947. In terms of nationality, Anne Frank was born in Germany to a German father and Dutch-German mother. She moved with her family to Holland in 1933 until capture in 1944. Technically her nationality has not been absolutely resolved.) "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." (Anne Frank, 1929-45, German Jewish diarist and holocaust victim, from The Diary of Anne Frank, entry dated 15 July 1944.) "Compassion is not a sloppy sentimental feeling for people who are underprivileged or sick... it is an absolutely practical belief that regardless of a person's background, ability or ability to pay, he should be provided with the best that society has to offer." (Neil Kinnock, b.1942, Welsh Labour politician, from his maiden speech in 1970.) "Once the last tree is cut and the last river poisoned, you will find you cannot eat your money." (Traditional saying, referenced by Joyce McLean in the Globe and Mail, 1989.) "My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon." (Traditional Japanese haiku verse teaching us to see the good in all things, referenced by Leo Buscaglia in his 1972 book called Love.)
"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again." (Variously attributed to quakers Stephen Grellet, 1773-1855, and William Penn, 1644-1718, and to Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian spiritual leader, humanitarian and constitutional independence reformer. This quote is also shown as a slightly different version, as below.) "I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again." (Variously attributed to quakers Stephen Grellet, 1773-1855, and William Penn, 1644-1718, and to Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian spiritual leader, humanitarian and constitutional independence reformer. This quote is also shown as a slightly different version, as above.) "If you don't know where you are going you will probably end up somewhere else." (Laurence Peter, 1919-90, Canadian academic and expert on organised hierarchies, from his 1969 book The Peter Principle.) "There is hardly anything in the world that some man can't make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." (John Ruskin, 1819-1900, English art critic and social commentator, thanks R Parker) And some more lovely Ruskin quotes: "There is no wealth but life." "Better the rudest work that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest without meaning." "To know anything well involves a profound sensation of ignorance." "Let us reform our schools and we shall find little reform needed in our prisons." "The essence of lying is in deception, not in words." (See the Mehrabian item for related theory and explanation.) "Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness." (John Ruskin, 1819-1900, English art critic and social commentator)
the mandela inaugural speech myth
The following quote is not Nelson Mandela's and he's never used it. It's commonly believed that Mandela used these words in his 1994 inauguration speech. He didn't. It comes from the book A Return To Love, 1992, by Marianne Williamson. " 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?... Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do... It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (Marianne Williamson, author, from A Return To Love, 1992. Ack C Wilson and J Cooke. The version below includes references to God, which will suit some people, but not others use whichever is appropriate.) " 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (Marianne Williamson, author, from A Return To Love, 1992. Ack C Wilson and J Cooke. The version above excludes the references to God, which some people will prefer, but not others - use whichever is appropriate.)
the everybody somebody anybody nobody story (or poem)
The 'everybody somebody...' story (also referred to as a poem) appears in a wide variety of forms - often with the title - 'That's Not My Job' or 'Who's To Blame?' The sequence of the words (everybody, somebody, anybody, nobody) also varies in the headings of different versions. The order shown here seems most popular and logical, although I'm open to better suggestions. Most common first lines are either: 'This is a story about four people..' or 'There were four people named.. (everybody somebody anybody nobody...)' The story, or poem, is probably a shortened simplified version of the longer 'A Poem About Responsibility' (below), which is apparently by Charles Osgood (the American CBS News anchorman and writer?). Perhaps it's the other way around and the Osgood poem is an extended version of the shorter one, although this seems less likely. If anyone
can provide any further details about the Osgood poem, or the origins of the shorter version (for instance is Osgood the US news presenter or a different Osgood?, and when was the poem published?, etc), then please let me know. I reckon this is closest to a definitive sensible short version. Adapt it to suit your situation. (Most versions seem to include the words in parentheses (brackets to some folk) although personally I think the verse is improved by taking these words out.) That's Not My Job (aka Who's To Blame? Whose Responsibility? and The Everybody Somebody Anybody Nobody Story - take your pick...) This is a story about four people: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. Somebody got angry (about that) because it was Everybody's job. Everybody knew that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Somebody wouldn't do it. And (/It ended up that) Everybody blamed Somebody because (/when) Nobody did what Anybody could have done. or the alternative last line: And (/It ended up that) Everybody blamed Somebody because Nobody actually asked Anybody. (The alternative last line is more appropriate for illustrating principles of responsibility and delegation, whereas the one above it is more appropriate for principles of individuals taking personal responsibility, irrespective of delegation): Please bear in mind that the Osgood poem below is likely to be subject to copyright and so care should be taken when using it. Further details of copyright will be shown here when I discover them. Of course the shorter 'everybody somebody... story' might also be subject to copyright, who knows? If you do please tell me. I am featuring both here to show that the 'Somebody Anybody Everybody Nobody' poem has a big brother, which might well pre-date it and as such deserves some credit, along with Charles Osgood, assuming he wrote it.
a poem about responsibility
There was a most important job that needed to be done, And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none. But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask Is who exactly will it be who'll carry out the task? Anybody could have told you that everybody knew
That this was something somebody would surely have to do. Nobody was unwilling; anybody had the ability. But nobody believed that it was their responsibility. It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done, If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one. But since everybody recognised that anybody could, Everybody took for granted that somebody would. But nobody told anybody that we are aware of, That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of. And nobody took it on himself to follow through, And do what everybody thought that somebody would do. When what everybody needed so did not get done at all, Everybody was complaining that somebody dropped the ball. Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame, And everybody looked around for somebody to blame. Somebody should have done the job And Everybody should have, But in the end Nobody did What Anybody could have. Charles Osgood If you can confirm the authorship of this poem or the short versions please let me know. With thanks to the many people who've enquired about this or sent different versions of the short version suggesting it be included on the site.
"Don't be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small steps." (David Lloyd George, 1863-1945, Welsh Liberal Statesman - with acknowledgements to Barbara Heyn.) "We must become the change we want to see." (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian statesman and spiritual leader, humanitarian and constitutional independence reformer thanks B Heyn.) "It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed." (Harvey Samuel Firestone, 1868-1938, US industrialist, and founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, who pioneered the pneumatic car tyre for the Model-T Ford - ack B Heyn.)
"The workplace should primarily be an incubator for the human spirit." (Anita Roddick, 1942-2007, British businesswoman, founder of the Body Shop organisation, writer and humanitarian.) "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." (Peter Drucker, 1909-2005, Austrian born US management guru, writer and seminal business thinker.) "The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it." (William James, 1842-1910, US psychologist and philosopher.) "Lives based on having are less free than lives based either on doing or being." (William James, 1842-1910, US psychologist and philosopher.) "Be willing to have it so; acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune." (William James, 1842-1910, US psychologist and philosopher.) "Cocaine is God's way of saying you are making too much money." (attributed to Robin Williams, US comedian and actor, and also to rock musician and occasional actor Sting, each coincidentally born in 1951 - I am advised, Sep 2007, that this quote was definitely used by Robin Williams, on his album/special 'Live at the Met' as part of a longer story thanks Dr C Seward) "A war regarded as inevitable or even probable, and therefore much prepared for, has a very good chance of eventually being fought." (Anais Nin, 1903-1977, French-born American writer and psychoanalyst - see also the Murphy's Plough story) A lesson from a great man: "My great mistake, the fault for which I can't forgive myself, is that one day I ceased my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality." (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, Irish playwright, poet and humorist) "Along this tree From root to crown Ideas flow up And vetoes down." (Peter F Drucker, 1909-2005, Austrian born US management guru, writer and seminal business thinker. If this quote applies to your organisation then do what you can to change things.)
the guy in the glass poem
The Guy In The Glass poem has been subject of much confusion and some distortion, and is rarely properly attributed. Duncan Fletcher, the England Cricket coach is not alone in failing to attribute it when recited the poem in a BBC Radio interview (Radio 5 Live, 23 October 2005). Fletcher explained that all the England players had been issued a copy of the poem, and he believed it to have been helpful in contributing to the team's development, culminating in their Ashes victory that year. Ex-captain Michael Atherton (some years before the Ashes winning team) has also in a separate interview referred to the poem as being of particular personal significance to him, and something he keeps with him at all times. It's a remarkable and powerful piece of writing. The Guy In The Glass poem was in fact written in 1934 by American writer Peter 'Dale' Wimbrow (18951954), and was first published in The American Magazine in May that year. Wimbrow submitted the poem in response to the magazine's request for its readers to send answers to an 18 year-old man's question as to , "...why an ambitious young man should be honest...". Thereafter the published poem seemingly went 'wild', so to speak, as great literary works sometimes do. Subsequent distorted versions commonly change the title to 'The Man In the Glass', or 'The Man In The Mirror', and many versions alter the word 'pelf' in the first line to 'self' believing the word 'pelf' to be a misprint. Pelf in fact means money or wealth, usually ill-gotten, derived from Old French pelfe and pelfre, meaning reward gained from plunder or contest or achievements, probably related to the same roots as the word pilfer. If you refer to the Guy In The Glass poem please use the correct words, and attribute it properly, to Dale Wimbrow, 1934. This is the correct version. It's about honesty of course, and more than this, the poem provides a philosophy for living a life of integrity and value. The Guy In The Glass When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf, And the world makes you King for a day, Then go to the mirror and look at yourself, And see what that guy has to say. For it isn't your Father or Mother or Wife, Who judgement upon you must pass. The feller whose verdict counts most in your life Is the guy staring back from the glass. He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest, For he's with you clear up to the end, And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test If the guy in the glass is your friend. You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum, And think you're a wonderful guy, But the man in the glass says you're only a bum If you can't look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years, And get pats on the back as you pass, But your final reward will be heartaches and tears If you've cheated the guy in the glass. ©Dale Wimbrow, 1934. Re-printed here with permission of Peter Wimbrow, Dale Wimbrow's son. More information and history about The Guy In The Glass poem is at www.theguyintheglass.com.
"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." (Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931, US inventor of the light bulb, gramophone, electric valve, a megaphone, a storage battery, a system of electricity generation and distribution, and first person to produce talking motion pictures. Edison said this in 1903 apparently. See also the Leclerc alternative version below.) "Genius is only a greater aptitude for patience." (George-Louis Leclerc, aka Compte de Buffon, 1707-88, French naturalist, written in 1803, a little ahead - 100 years actually - of Edison's version.) "If 'A' is a success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x; y is play, and z is keeping your mouth shut." (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, Bavarian-Jewish-born Swiss-American Physicist and seminal thinker about the universe, in one of his lighter moments.) "I don't drop players. I make changes." (Bill Shankly, 1913-81, Scottish manager of Liverpool Football Club, demonstrating the art of accentuating the positive. Shankly is also credited with one of the most famous of all football quotes, below.) "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that." (Bill Shankly, 1913-81, Scottish manager of Liverpool Football Club, on the importance of passion in your chosen field.) "Age is deformed, youth unkind, We scorn their bodies, they our mind." (An Elizabethan comment about different people's perceptions that holds true today, written by Thomas Bastard - seriously, that's his real name - 1566-1618, English poet, epigram-writer and clergyman) "Give me a smart idiot before a stupid genius any day." (Samuel Goldwyn, 1882-1974, Polish-Jewish-born US film producer.)
"A truth that's told with bad intent Beats all the lies you can invent." (William Blake, 1757-1827, English poet, painter and mystic.) "When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong." (Richard Buckminster Fuller, 1895-1983, US engineer and architect.) "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel." (attributed to Bill Clinton, b.1946, US 42nd President, referring to the dangers of falling out with press and media folk; the quote was originally written by Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American author and commentator, aka Samuel L Clemens - thanks J Pollak-Kahn for the Mark Twain origin.) Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), the great Indian statesman and spiritual leader, was once asked what he thought of Western Civilisation. Gandhi replied: "I think that it would be a very good idea." (see also the Gandhi shoe story) "If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves." (Carl Jung, 1875-1961, Swiss psychiatrist and humanist, written in 1932 - the principle applies to seeking to change anyone, or anything, not just children...) "We call ours a utilitarian age, and we do not know the uses of any single thing. We have forgotten that water can cleanse, that fire can purify, and that the Earth is mother to us all." (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, playwright, author and poet. Prophetic words.)
the 'serenity prayer'
The 'Serenity Prayer' is powerful statement of personal philosophy for our times. "God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other." (Written in 1934 by Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892-1971, US theologian, writer and teacher.) Paraphrased versions have been developed to appeal to a modern audience: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change; the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." (Using "God," at the beginning, and whether to refer to the quote as a prayer I'd say are optional depending on your audience - it's the philosophy that's important, not whether it's attached to a particular religion..)
"To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed." (Theodore Roosevelt, 1858-1919, from his Message to Congress, 3 December 1907) "It is the same when Siddhartha has an aim, a goal. Siddhartha does nothing; he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he goes through the affairs of the world like the stone through water, without doing anything, without bestirring himself; he is drawn and lets himself fall." (Hermann Hesse, 1877-1962, Swiss novelist, poet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, from his book Siddhartha, 1922, based on Gautama Buddha's early life. With acknowledgements to www.thedailyinspiration.com) "There is another more subtle way in which the innocence of childhood is lost: when the child is infected with the desire to become somebody. Contemplate the crowds of people who are striving might and main to become, not what Nature intended them to be musicians, cooks, mechanics, carpenters, gardeners, inventors - but somebody: to become successful, famous, powerful; to become something that will bring, not quiet and selffulfillment, but self-glorification and self-expansion." Tony deMello SJ, 1931-87, Indian spiritual leader and writer, from The Way to Love - with acknowledgements to thedailyinspiration) "Smile tho' your heart is aching, Smile even tho' it's breaking, When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by. If you smile thro' your fear and sorrow, Smile and maybe tomorrow, You'll see the sun come shining through; for you." (John Turner & Geoffrey Parsons, 1954. See the Smile song item above.) "Close your eyes and imagine where you want to be. Imagine the complete journey you need to take in order to get there. Now go pack. Your reservations have been made." Michelle Ustaszeski (b.1969), American writer and photographer for inspirational products.
come to the edge (the inspirational poem and its origins)
I am indebted to Davide Levi for alerting me to popular confusion surrounding one of the great inspirational poems, Come To The Edge. The Come To The Edge poem appears in a variety of forms, and is often wrongly attributed (including by this website a while ago, sorry) to the French poet Guilliame Apollinaire (1880-1918). In fact the British poet Christopher Logue (born 1926) wrote Come To The Edge, apparently in 1961-62. I am also grateful to Bob Janes, who pointed me towards a clearer explanation and the probable cause of the confusion, as explained (apparently) by Christopher Logue in an
interview with Nigel Rees in 1995, which appears (apparently) on page 359 of Rees's book the 'Cassell Companion to Quotations' (Cassell, London, 1997): "...In 1961 or '62, Michael English and I were asked by Michael Kustow to design a poster/poem for an Apollinaire exhibition he was mounting at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts in London). I wrote 'Come to the Edge' and put the words 'Apollinaire said' at the beginning of it; a cross [probably meaning combination, not 'across' as I'd previously suggested thanks Cliff] between a title and a first line. On the poster, the poem, plus 'Apollinaire said' framed an illustration of clouds. Later, when the poem was reprinted, I dropped the trope [a trope is a figurative of metaphorical use of a word, in this case 'said', since Apollinaire never 'said' the words]. Last year, though, the US 'magician' David Copperfield projected a garbled version of the poem on to a screen as part of his show, as well as printing it in his 'tour-book' the show's programme. I believe the poem has been reprinted in at least one US book without my permission. Maybe it had the trope attached to it still..." (Apparently) Exactly why Logue chose to add the attribution 'Apollinaire said' to his original work is not made clear; this is the best explanation I have to date, for which I should also acknowledge other people referenced in Bob Janes's explanatory email, who previously researched this matter, notably publisher Steve Khinoy of SKA SwordPlay Books (who gave details of the above on the publisher's forum website Publish-L.com, and who signed off his comments with the observation that "Indeed, a David Copperfield TV special show in the UK in 1995 concluded with an approximation of the poem ... attributed to Apollinaire"), and Brian Baranoski (who posted the details of the Rees book and Logue interview on Geocities.com on 4 Jan 1998). Here is the correct original Christopher Logue version of Come To The Edge. Come to the edge. We might fall. Come to the edge. It's too high! COME TO THE EDGE! And they came, and he pushed, and they flew.
Some versions of Come To The Edge substitute 'we' for 'he' in the last line, which is incorrect. Other common variations and distortions of the Come To The Edge poem include: Come to the edge, he said. We are afraid, they said. Come to the edge, he said. They came to the edge, He pushed them and they flew. Come to the edge, Life said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, Life said. They came. It pushed them... And they flew.
(With acknowledgements to Christopher Logue, Faber and Faber, publishers of Christopher Logue's poetry, and to Davide Levi.)
"Give me health and a day and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous." (Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-82, American poet, writer, philosopher.) "The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) "To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness." (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, English philosopher, mathematician, writer, peacecampaigner and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950.) "To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead." (Bertrand Russell) "It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly." (Bertrand Russell) "Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning." (Joseph Campbell, 1904-87, American writer, anthropologist and philosopher.) "A very different philosophy of management is arising. We are moving beyond strategy to purpose; beyond structure to process, and beyond systems to people.... Asshole management is not inevitable." (Sumantra Ghoshal, humanist management thinker, writer and academic, 1948-2004, who believed that management should be, above all else, a force for good.) "Keep doing what you've been doing and you will keep getting what you've been getting!" (Jackie B Cooper, American automotive industry trainer and pioneer, 19392001) Alternatively, "If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always got." (used by various speakers, notably Zig Ziglar) "Live with compassion. Work with compassion. Die with compassion. Meditate with compassion. Enjoy with compassion. When problems come, experience them with compassion." (Lama Zopa Rinpoche, born Nepal 1946, Buddhist teacher, spiritual leader of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition.)
the 'success poem' (and its origins..)
"Success - To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded." The origin of this quote has never been reliably established, despite it being commonly and possibly wrongly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, writer, philosopher, 1803-82. There seems clear evidence that a different version of the 'Success' poem was written in 1904 by Bessie A Stanley, an American housewife, in winning a competition organised by the Lincoln Sentinel newspaper, Kansas USA. Bessie Stanley's version apparently appeared in the authoritative Bartlett's Familiar Quotations until the 1960's. See the research by Dirk Kelder, and Robin Olsen which argues strongly that Bessie Stanley's version is the original: "Success - He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction." (Bessie A Stanley, 1904)
"When every situation which life can offer is turned to the profit of spiritual growth, no situation can really be a bad one." (Paul Brunton, 1898-1981, writer and philosopher, thanks G Eardley) "One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in." (Wayne Gretzky, former National Hockey League superstar. (Ack D Christian) "In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." (attributed to Theodore Roosevelt. Ack DC) "People who regard themselves as highly efficacious act, think, and feel differently from those who perceive themselves as inefficacious. They produce their own future, rather than simply foretell it." (Albert Bandura, b.1925, American psychologist, writer, academic and prioneer of social cognitive theory, notably the 'self-regulatory mechanisms through which people exercise some measure of control over their thought processes, motivation, emotional life, and accomplishments' - see the quote below also. Incidentally, 'efficacious' means 'sure to produce desired effect'.) "Humans are producers of their life circumstance not just products of them." (Albert Bandura - see above.)
"A gossip talks to you about other people. A bore talks about himself. A brilliant conversationalist talks to you about yourself." (attributed to William King, whoever he was - possibly William Rufus King, 1786-1853, the US politician and US Vice President, or more likely judging by similarly witty quotes attributed to him, William Lyon Mackenzie King, 1874-1950, Canadian Prime Minister. See the notes on empathy.) "Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called 'the love of your fate'. Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, 'This is what I need.' It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment - not discouragement - you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You'll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes." (Joseph Campbell 1904-87, American writer, anthropologist and philosopher - see the related Nietzsche quote below) "There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win." (Elie Wiesel, b.1928 in Transylvania, Holocaust survivor, American citizen since 1963, author of several significant humanitarian books, 1976 Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities at Boston University, 1978 appointed Chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, 1980 Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 1986 Nobel Peace Prizewinner and established the The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, which seeks to promote and aid the nurturing and inspiration of young people to build a better, more harmonious and humane world. With thanks to C Byrd and her teacher Da Shi Yin De. This wonderful quote provides an inspirational example of a deeply positive attitude to life and experience far beyond conventional measurement of reward.) "Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must at that moment - become the center of the universe." (Elie Wiesel, writer) "Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question." (Edward Estlin Cummings 1938, poet, 1894-1962. Think about it. Whatever its original context, the quote serves well to illustrate a central idea of coaching and helping people; ie., when someone asks for advice, they don't want someone else's answer, instead, they want help finding their own. A 'more beautiful question' can provide such help. This philosophy is also characterised in Sharon Drew Morgen's Facilitation methodology.) "Seeker of truth, follow no path. All paths lead where truth is. Here." (EE Cummings. Incidentally there is plenty of evidence that Cummings did not expressly wish his name
to be shown in lower case: 'e e cummings', as is the common pratice. Cummins did use lower case in his poetry but the consistent use of lower case for his name has been perpetuated by commentators since his death, erroneously.) "Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is." (Will Rogers, cowboy, actor, philanthropist, 1879-1935. Ack CB) "The average man's opinions are much less foolish than they would be if he thought for himself." (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, English philosopher, mathematician, writer, peace-campaigner and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950.)
sadness from one generation to the next - breaking the cycle
The following quote is powerful and relevant for our times. It's about taking responsibility and forgiveness; and not using our past as an excuse. And striving to be grown-up - especially in our responsibility towards the next generation, irrespective of our own experiences. "I have heard many stories about parents who have hurt their children so much, planting many seeds of suffering in them. But I believe that the parents did not mean to plant those seeds. They did not intend to make their children suffer. Maybe they received the same kind of seeds from their parents. There is a continuation in the transmission of seeds, and their father and mother might have gotten those seeds from their grandfather and grandmother. Most of us are victims of a kind of living that is not mindful, and the practice of mindful living, of meditation, can stop these kinds of suffering and end the transmission of such sorrow to our children and grandchildren. We can break the cycle by not allowing these kinds of seeds of suffering to be transmitted to our children, our friends, or anyone else." (Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist author, from 'Peace is Every Step' - this quote is a wonderful antidote for the desperation of Larkin's 'This Be The Verse' on the same subject of parental effects on children. Both quotes are excellent illustrations for Transactional Analysis, as is the wonderful Person Who Had Feelings story.)
"I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgement. It takes place every day." (Albert Camus, writer and philosopher, 1913-60, from 'La Chute', meaning 'The Fall', 1956.) "Some men see things as they are and ask 'why?'; I dare to dream of things that never were and ask 'why not?'." (commonly attributed to Bobby Kennedy because when he used it he failed to credit the actual originator, George Bernard Shaw.)
"Make your heart like a lake, with calm, still surface, and great depths of kindness." (Lao Tzu, ack JH) "Instead of making others right or wrong, or bottling up right and wrong in ourselves, there's a middle way, a very powerful middle way...... Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right? Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are? It is powerful to practice this way..... true communication can happen only in that open space." (Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun who runs Gammpo Abbey retreat in Nova Scotia - thanks CB) "What is the world full of? It is full of things that arise, persist, and cease. Grasp and cling to them, and they produce suffering. Don't grasp and cling to them, and they do not produce suffering." (Ajahn Buddhadasa - thanks CB) "Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow." (Alice Mackenzie Swaim - thanks CB) "I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." (Jack London, Ack CB) "Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." (Anais Nin, French-born American writer, 19031977, Ack CB) "Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire." (Fred Shero, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers hockey coach - Ack P Ho. This is a metaphor for taking responsibility for motivating yourself, rather than waiting for it to happen, which it won't unless you make it.) "Fantastic things happen - to the way we feel, to the way we make other people feel. All this simply by using positive words." (Professor Leo F Buscaglia, teacher, writer and humanitarian, 1924-1998) "It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely." (Leo F Buscaglia) "Ninety per-cent of what we worry about never happens, yet we worry and worry. What a horrible way to go through life! What a horrible thing to do to your colon!" (Leo F Buscaglia, thanks Wayne)
"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." (Anais Nin, French-born American writer 1903-77. Ack Ray Dodd - the quote appears in his book 'The Power Of Belief') "(You have a choice as to whether) you are either part of the steam roller or part of the road." (unknown - ack TW - aphorism/argument for adopting a new idea, adapting to change, or contributing to performance improvement, rather like Eldridge Cleaver's wonderful quote "If you're not part of the solution..." "The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones." (unknown, ack TW) "If your enemy turns to flee, give him a silver bridge." (Spanish proverb, in Spanish: "A enemigo que huye puente de plata.") "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is within it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again - and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more." (Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American author and commentator, aka Samuel L Clemens) "To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970) "Many highly intelligent people are poor thinkers. Many people of average intelligence are skilled thinkers. The power of a car is separate from the way a car is driven." (Edward de Bono, b.1933, British psychologist, writer and expert on thinking.) "Character building begins in our infancy, and continues until death." (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962, US humanitarian and wife of President Franklin D Roosevelt.) "No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent." (Eleanor Roosevelt, 18841962, US humanitarian) See Transactional Analysis, of which a helpful principle and related maxim is "Suffering is optional." (ack Anita Mountain) "With every willing pair of hands comes a free brain." (Unknown, Ack KN) "Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed." (Mark Twain) "Always do the right thing. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." (Mark Twain) "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." (Mark Twain - Thanks IM for these three Twain quotes) "No-one ever listened themselves out of a job." (Calvin Coolidge, US President. Ack JC)
"There is none so blind as those who will not listen." (William Slater) "In the midst of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." (Albert Camus, 1913-1960, French author & philosopher) "Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity." (Albert Camus) "We seldom confide in those who are better than we are." (Albert Camus, from La Chute, 1956) "You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it." (Albert Camus) "Do not walk behind me, I may not lead. Do not walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend." (attributed to Albert Camus) "People ask the difference between a leader and a boss.... The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads and the boss drives." (Theodore Roosevelt) "The marksman hitteth the target partly by pulling, partly by letting go. The boatsman reacheth the landing partly by pulling, partly by letting go." (Egyptian proverb) "No man is fit to command another that cannot command himself." (William Penn) "Take what you want. And then pay." (Aztec proverb, apparently..) "Difficulty is not an obstacle, it is merely an attribute". (Wal Sakaluk) "If it's hard to do, then you're doing it wrong." (Lynn Doolan) "We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." (Albert Einstein) "The true voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." (Marcel Proust. Thanks Robert Vázquez Pacheco) "Despise violence. Despise national vanity and selflove. Protect the territory of conscience." (Susan Sontag. Thanks RVP) "The future's already here; it just isn't evenly distributed." (William Gibson, science fiction writer) "We are born princes and the civilizing process makes us frogs". (Eric Berne. Thanks CB)
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." (Rudyard Kipling. Thanks CB) "Good management consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people." (John D Rockerfeller, 1839-1937, US oil magnate and philanthropist. The judgemental description of some people being 'average' should not distract from the essential principle that good managers help other people to do great things.) "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." (Harry S Truman, 1884-1972, US President) "I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." (Woodrow Wilson) "Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?" (Shirdi Sai Baba, Indian saint thanks Carole Byrd) "Don't tell my mother I'm in politics: she thinks I play the piano in a whorehouse." (Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American writer and journalist)
if you are not part of the solution...
A saying that appears on countless office walls, and is often used by managers and leaders when trying to encourage someone or a group with a negative view based on blame and the past, to adopt a positive view based on action and the future. "If you're not part of the solution you must be part of the problem." (The commonly used maxim is probably based on the original quote: "What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution, or you're part of the problem..." by Eldridge Cleaver 1935-98, founder member and information minister of the Black Panthers, American political activist group, in a speech in 1968. (Thanks RVP for the Cleaver reference.)
"What should it profit a man if he would gain the whole world yet lose his soul." (The Holy Bible, Mark 8:36) "A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline." (Harvey Mackay, thanks Brad Hanson) "Form follows function." (Louis Henri Sullivan, American architect, 1856-1924)
"I strive to be brief, and I become obscure." (Horace, Roman poet, 65-8 BC. If you are a person who prefers to take time, and to be detailed and careful, don't be forced into hasty superficial ways. The world needs care and detail, especially for critical things, not least saving us all from the reckless actions of knee-jerking 70%-style leaders.)
success should be defined relatively and individually
A helpful quote for understanding and explaining that individual success ultimately should not be measured against other people's situations. Define your own purpose and meaning. Don't let others do it for you, or impose on you ridiculous standards and measures. "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed." (Booker T Washington, 1856-1915, American Educator and African-American spokesman, thanks for quote M Kincaid, and for biography correction M Yates and A Chatterjee.)
"A person who graduated yesterday and stops studying today is uneducated tomorrow." (Origin unknown, thanks BLP) "Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you." (William James, 1842-1910, American Philosopher, thanks Jean Stevens) "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer, 1749-1832, thanks Yvonne Bent) "Respice, adspice, prospice." ("Look to the past the present and the future." Thanks Amy Willis) "Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." (Will Rogers, 1879-1935, cowboy, actor, philanthropist) "Nemo surdior est quam is qui non audiet." ("No man is more deaf than he who will not hear." Origin unknown, thanks AW) "It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious." (Alfred N Whitehead, 1861-1947, thanks Katherine Hull) "Intelligence is quickness to apprehend, as distinct from ability, which is capacity to act wisely on the thing apprehended." (A N Whitehead)
"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to look after them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." (John Steinbeck) "You can't talk your way out of a situation you behave yourself into." (Dr Stephen Covey, thanks Eric Welburn) "Catch a man a fish feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and feed him for life." (Unknown) "There is sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed." (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian statesman and spiritual leader, humanitarian and constitutional independence reformer.) "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you are still a rat." (Lily Tomlin, 1939- , US actress) "Better go home and make a net, rather than dive for fish at random." (Chinese proverb) "I keep six honest serving men, (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When, And How and Where and Who." (Rudyard Kipling, from 'Just So Stories', 1902.)
standing on the shoulders of giants..
"A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than the giant himself." (Attributed variously to Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, aka Lucan, Roman poet, AD39-65, and to Didacus Stella, aka Diego de Estella, Spanish theologian, 1524-78, and others since including Coleridge and Newton. See the Newton quote below.) "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." (Sir Isaac Newton, 1643-1727, English physicist and philosopher, written in 1676 seemingly to fellow scientist Robert Hooke, and, as a matter of interest, abridged on the edge of the English modern £2 coin, apparently in Newton's honour. Rfeer also to the Lucanus/Stella quote on the same subject above.)
"A camel is a horse designed by a committeee." (Sir Alec Issigonis, 1906-88, Turkishborn British car designer - designer of the Morris Minor and original Austin Mini incidentally James Surowiecki's wonderful book The Wisdom of Crowds presents an excellent perspective on the merits and strengths of collective wisdom.) "Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful." (Samuel Johnson 1709- 84)
"The most important thing in life is not to capitalise on your successes; any fool can do that. The really important thing is to profit from your mistakes." (William Bolitho, from 'Twelve against the Gods') "It is with the heart that one sees rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." (Antoine de Saint Exupery from The Little Prince)
the captain of my soul...
"Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be, For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud: Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody but unbowed... It matters not how strait the gait, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul." (William Ernest Henley, 1849-1903, from 'Invictus', more precisely titled: Echoes, No4, In Memoriam RT Hamilton Bruce, written in 1888.)
"Everybody can get angry, that's easy. But getting angry at the right person, with the right intensity, at the right time, for the right reason and in the right way, that's hard." (attributed to Aristotle) "Politics is the art of the possible." (Prince Otto von Bismarck, 1867) "We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down." (Aneurin Bevan, British statesman, 1897-1960 - sometimes quoted as 'run over' instead of 'run down', and apparently reported in The Observer newspaper, 1953.) "Even if you think you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." (Will Rogers, American cowboy, actor and humorist. Ack N Borkowski) "The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." (Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, 3rd President of the USA - not Samuel Jefferson as previously stated in error here, thanks J Schaefer)
"Seek first to understand, and then to be understood." (Dr Stephen Covey) N.B. Stephen Covey's maxim closely resembles a couple of lines from the 'Peace Prayer of St Francis of Assisi' which typically shows the sentiment as "....grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand;...". Interestingly although the prayer is eponymously titled and widely attributed to St Francis no-one actually knows its true origins. The prayer was apparently first published in a small spiritual magazine La Clochette in 1912 by a Catholic association called La League de la SainteMessa, under the auspice of its founder Father Esther Bouquerel. At this time the prayer was not attributed to St Francis; it appeared as an anonymous item. Significantly around 1920 the prayer was printed by a French Franciscan priest on the reverse of an image of St Francis, titled 'Priere pour la Paix' (Prayer for Peace), but again anonymously. This however seems to have led to the subsequent attribution of the prayer to St Francis, initially by a French Protestant movement, 'Les Chevaliers du Prince de la Paix' (the Knights of the Prince of Peace) in 1927; later by Kirby Page, a minister and writer, in his 1936 book 'Living Dangerously'; and also in US Cardinal Spellman's books around the late 1930's and 1940's. (Source: franciscan-archive.org, which refers to the research of Dr Christian Renoux into this prayer, and which is summarised above. I am also grateful to Thomas Ryan for alerting me to the fact that the prayer existed before Covey's quote.) "Management means helping people to get the best out of themselves, not organizing things." (Lauren Appley) "He who wishes to talk well must first think well." (Origin unknown) "When you speak, your speech should be better than your silence would have been." (Origin unknown) "It's not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with the sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause and who, at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." (Theodore Roosevelt, 1858-1919, 26th US President and 1906 Nobel Peace Prize-winner.) "What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian spiritual leader, humanitarian and constitutional independence reformer.) "Experto Credite." ("Trust one who has proved it." Virgil, 2,000 years ago.) "Life is like a very short visit to a toyshop between birth and death." (Desmond Morris, 1991.)
"Whoever in debate quotes authority uses not intellect, but memory." (Leonardo Da Vinci) "If you don't agree with me it means you haven't been listening." (Sam Markewich.) "The world is divided into people who do things, and people who get the credit. Try, if you can, to belong to the first class. There's far less competition." (Dwight Morrow, 1935.) "What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure." (Samuel Johnson.) "This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read." (Sir Winston Churchill.) "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." (attributed to Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BC, however the origins of this quote are arguably from the writing of the Chinese scholar Xunzi, 340-245 BC, for which clearer evidence seems to exist. The origin of the quote attributed to Confucius is not certain. The Xunzi quote - which is more subtle and complex, and literally translates as: "Not hearing is not as good as hearing, hearing is not as good as seeing, seeing is not as good as mentally knowing, mentally knowing is not as good as acting; true learning continues up to the point that action comes forth [or, only when a thing produces action can it be said to have been truly learned]" - can be traced to an original work, but it seems the Confucius version cannot. It is possible that the Western world simplified and attributed the quote to Confucius, being a popularly quoted source of Chinese wisdom. Thanks K Bennett.) "When you are thirsty, it's too late to dig a well." (Japanese Proverb.) "You can't clear the swamp when you're up to your arse in alligators." (Traditional, unknown.) "The future of work consists of learning a living." (Marshall McLuhan, 1911-1980.) "If it ain't broke don't fix it." (Bert Lance, member of Jimmy Carter's US government, 1977.) "The best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining." (John F Kennedy) "He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and dance; one cannot fly into flying." (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900.) "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." (Nietzsche.)
"What does not kill us makes us stronger." (attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, 1844-1900, based on his words: "Out of life's school of war: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." from The Twilight of the Idols, 1899.) "The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas." (Linus Pauling, 1901-1994, Nobel Laureate in chemistry and Nobel peace prize winner for his efforts to have aboveground nuclear testing banned - the only person to ever win two unshared Nobel prizes. Ack Dr K Bennett) "What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do it." (Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1914.) "Behind an able man there are always other able men." (Chinese Proverb.) "Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them." (Adlai Stevenson, 19001965.) "I have always said that if I were a rich man I'd hire a professional praiser." (Sir Osbert Sitwell, 1892-1969.) "A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." (George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950.) "Managers are people who never put off until tomorrow what they can get somebody else to do today." (Unknown.) "Not in doing what you like best, in liking what you do is the secret of happiness." (Sir James Matthew Barrie, aka J M Barrie, 1860-1937, Scottish novelist and playwright creator of Peter Pan, 1904) "I praise loudly. I blame softly." (Catherine the Great, 1729-1796.) "Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardour and attended to with diligence." (Abigail Adams in 1780. Thanks to John Mcgregor) "The cream always rises to the top." (Unknown) The 'Cream rises' quote often prompts a reply when pointing to leaders of low repute, notably politicians and corporate chiefs of dishonest and untrustworthy character: "Yes but garbage floats too..." (Thanks B Taylor) "Nature abhors a vacuum." (generally attributed to Benedict de Spinoza [aka Baruch Hebrew name], 1632-77, Dutch philosopher and theologian, born of Jewish family in Amsterdam, the quote is from 'Ethics' [Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata], published posthumously 1677, Part I, Proposition, [the Everyman edition, translated by Adam Boyle]. During his lifetime Benedict de Spinoza's work was regarded as atheistical
and subversive, and led to his expulsion from the Jewish community for heresy in 1656. His ideas grew in popularity with support after his death notably from Lessing, Goethe, Coleridge, and he is now regarded by professional philosophers as one of the great rationalist thinkers of the 17th century. [Source Bartletts Quotations and Chambers Biographies.] Interestingly however, Brewer in his 1870 dictionary attributes the expression to the Italian astronomer and all-round genuis Galileo, 1564-1642, who apparently used the expression 'nature abhors a vacuum' in describing how a water pump works. If Brewer was correct - and there is no reason to doubt him - then Galileo's use of the expression could well have predated the commonly referenced Benedict de Spinoza origin.) "We do not want churches because they will teach us to quarrel about God..." (Chief Joseph, 1840-1904, of the Nez Percé Native Americans. With thanks to thedailyinspiration.com) "You've got to be before you can do, and you've got to do before you can have." (Zig Ziglar) "What is fame? an empty bubble; Gold? a transient shining trouble." (James Grainger, from 'Solitude', 1755)
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