Quotes to Work By

Business Quotes

A small collection of quotes that I’ve found relevant and useful in my work recently

“Action is the real measure of intelligence” – Napolean Hill

There is certainly no shortage of talkers out here in Shenzhen – I’ve endured my fair share. I’ve also watched as those I care about and work with have learned the hard way through tough experiences that there is a big difference between one’s ability to string together words into coherent thoughts and actually deliver the results promised in those words. In some cases it’s experience, in others the individuals knowledge of self, and still others an unrealistic understanding of the world held by the individual impedes these folks ability to convert word and thought into action and results.

More striking and relevant to this quote is the idea that intelligence should be evaluated in terms of action – and I happen to strongly agree. Three years ago I would not have – learning the way of the entrepreneur has restructured my evaluation algorithms :-) . I have actually grown less fond of words and ones ability to manipulate them in order to instill a like understanding in another’s mind, much to my former self’s dismay, and favor seeing people in action. Subsequently and just as importantly I evaluate their intelligence by the results they are able to deliver.

That’s not to say I believe in undervaluing the ability to communicate clearly and convincingly – in the land of miscommunication I certainly could not rightly so! – I have just learned to assign a more appropriate value to action and results. In the world of business trying doesn’t pay the bill – results delivered moves a company forward – and results require smart, deliberate, and focused action.

“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Seuss

Most recently one of my partners, well intended, inadvertantly upset a member of our network who in turn mentioned it to his friend who went about spreading a stinky bit of bad jue jue about our brand. All my partner was trying to do was good, somewhere along the lines due to a miscommunication here and a misinterpretation there someone (who didn’t matter) started a stink. I responded to his plight with this quote for comfort.

I’ve believed in this for some time and sought out this quote on many an occassion to remind myself of its significance. There are those that for one reason or another will always find some reason to be bothered by what you do well intended or not. They will make your life difficult, they will make your goals difficult to attain, they will try your patience and your capacity for accomodation.

Life, I believe, has a sort of karmatic justice for those of us that suffer through the naysaying nobodies. The fact is that those that are succesful and are useful to your success know what matters and what doesn’t – by virtue of the success they themselves have attained. Understanding this allows you to stomach the annoyances and aggrevations of those that get in your way with opinions and complaints and focus on doing what you know to be right – because those that matter will recognize it as so. You can’t do anything about the minding of those that don’t matter, not because your unable, but because there simply is not enough time in the day. Even if you did take the time to reconcile the differences in opinion what is there to gain in attaining the approval of those that don’t matter? The juice is not worth the squeeze.

“Knowledge becomes power only when you put it to use” – Anonymous

Ever read a book full of great ideas for how to grow your business or solve some meaningful problems in your life? Then perhaps you got really excited about how this can help bring you or your business to the next level and all the colorful possibilites that this newfound wisdom can bring you? Maybe you even went so far as to lightly plan out how you could make this lesson part of your life. I can’t count the times I have. Then, more often than not, several months later down the road – nothing has changed – why? We don’t bring the knowledge full circle, we don’t force it into our world of action – in effect the knoweldge we gained was little more than a waste of time – we ended up doing nothing different and as a result nothing changed.

I’m quite harsh, if there is a lesson that someone or something proposes me to learn I ask myself immediately if this knowledge can be constructed into relevant action to help me attain my goals. If it offers no relevant benefit I won’t waste my time studying it. On the other side of the spectrum any lesson that I’ve taken the time to learn I immediately look for a way to convert it into action – now, and if not now at a specific time in the future. I can’t stress enough my belief in this idea – if you learn something but do nothing with that knowledge you’ve gained little, a mere fraction of the power that knowledge was supposed to afford you. Take the time to realize the value that new knowledge brings you by putting it into action.

“If you want to make an omlette your going to have to crack some eggs”

You can’t make everyone happy, you don’t have the time or the energy – and honestly it’s not worth it. I think any steamrolling entrepreneur, even the most diplomatically adept, has to get comfortable with the idea that there will always be people you cannot appeal to – people you end up pissing off. There will always be someone that was not properly attended to, a relationship that was undervalued, a consideration that was disregarded in the process of getting from where you (and your company) are to where you (and your company) want to be. The best you can do is light damage control with whatever limited energy and resources you have remaining at the end of your long work days.

When facing this hard fact I take solice in understanding we’re all in the same boat, nobody gets ahead by making everyone and everything they touch happy and well accomodated. Expecting the entire world and everyone in it to be reasonable and accomodating is far more than you’ll ever get. You will have to fight, you will have to break and crack, stretch and scratch along the way to move forward – I challange anyone to find a successful person that hasn’t had to choose the lesser of two evils somewhere along the way to get what was necessary done. I believe we just have to suck it up and moderate our feelings of self-doubt with a steadfast belief in what we’re doing. Unless of course you don’t like omlettes :) .