How to Handle Employees who Moonlight

How to Handle Employees who Moonlight Moonlighting—working a part-time job or having a business “on the side”—can pose a challenge for employers. Moonlighting can lead to divided allegiance, conflicts of interest, and poor job performance.

Employers expect employees to be present and prompt at their jobs. If employees are hustling to attend to multiple commitments, fatigue, lack of sleep, poor attentiveness, tardiness, and absenteeism can become problems. When an employees’ moonlighting hurts their on-the-job performance, employers are within their rights to discipline and terminate employees. For these reasons, some employers limit or prohibit moonlighting.

The proactive approach to moonlighting

One way to head off moonlighting problems is to have a policy about part-time jobs and running side businesses. Institute a policy that sets performance expectations, protects proprietary information, avoids conflicts of interest, and averts divided allegiance. Your moonlighting policy cannot regulate employees’ off-duty activities or prohibit employees from having other jobs. But it may expect employees to disclose and get approval for supplementary employment. A moonlighting policy may also require senior managers and leaders to disclose directorships and financial interests in other companies.

Tell employees they can’t mix their business with your company’s business

If you find an employee doing side work for pay from your office, tell him that this is a clear violation of office expectations; he should conduct no business other than your company’s during work hours. Tell your employee, “You can’t mix your other business with our business. Your time at this job should be exclusively for this job. Our company resources are for our company’s purposes only.”

If your employee gets occasional calls that he needs to attend to, reiterate the above expectation and encourage him to answer the calls during break time and away from his desk. Encourage him to respond to those calls with “I’m at my other job right now. Let me call you back later.”

Discourage employees from selling stuff to other employees

Problems from employees moonlighting in part-time jobs and running side businesses If you find an employee selling stuff to other employees or soliciting outside business during paid working time, discourage it as soon as you discover it. Explain how this interferes with your office’s work.

Discourage your employees from turning your office into a showroom and making customers of other employees. Selling merchandise could impair work relationships when a buyer is unhappy with a product or service. Worse yet, side-businesses can easily grow unmanageable in case of network marketing programs (e.g. Amway, Herbalife) that encourage upselling or getting others involved as salespeople.

Employees can involve their colleagues in side-businesses outside your office, as long as such activities don’t harm at-work relationships.

Idea for Impact: Managers can forestall many employee problems by being proactive and setting expectations

In general, moonlighting is neither unethical nor illegal. It may become an issue when the employer specifically prohibits it and/or where the other job is with a competitor, supplier, or customer and is therefore a potential conflict of interest. The only time you really need to challenge an employee’s moonlighting is when it can affect your business in terms of conflicts of interest and deficient work performance.

Bear in mind: don’t overlook or disregard such concerns until they become major problems.

Inspirational Quotations by William Faulkner (#651)

Inspirational Quotations by William Faulkner

Today marks the birthday of William Faulkner (1897–1962,) the American author of novels, short stories, poetry, essays, and screenplays. He won not only the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature, but also the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award twice.

Faulkner dropped out of high school and took a few courses at the University of Mississippi where he got a ‘D’ grade in English. He worked odd jobs as a house painter, dishwasher, and bootlegger. While working as an overnight supervisor at University of Mississippi’s Old Power Plant, he wrote The Sound and The Fury (1929) and As I Lay Dying (1930.)

Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying in just six weeks between midnight and 4:00 AM while working at the power plant and sent it to his publisher without changing a word. Regarded his most famous novel, As I Lay Dying portrays a poor white family that accompanies a mother’s body across the state of Mississippi for burial.

Faulkner also worked as a Hollywood screenwriter for more than 50 films including To Have and Have Not (1944) and The Big Sleep (1946.)

Inspirational Quotations by William Faulkner

The salvation of the world is in man’s suffering.
William Faulkner

The past is never dead, it is not even past.
William Faulkner

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.
William Faulkner

Man performs and engenders so much more than he can or should have to bear. That’s how he finds that he can bear anything.
William Faulkner

Maybe the only thing worse than having to give gratitude constantly is having to accept it.
William Faulkner

I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of kindness and compassion.
William Faulkner

A writer needs three things: experience, observation, and imagination—any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
William Faulkner

Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.
William Faulkner

A man’s moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.
William Faulkner

We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.
William Faulkner

People need trouble—a little frustration to sharpen the spirit on, toughen it. Artists do; I don’t mean you need to live in a rat hole or gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance. Only vegetables are happy.
William Faulkner

All of us have failed to reach our dream of perfection, so I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.
William Faulkner

Fear is the most damnable, damaging thing to human personality in the whole world.
William Faulkner

A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once.
William Faulkner

The end of wisdom is to dream high enough not to lose the dream in the seeking of it.
William Faulkner

Being Underestimated Can Be a Great Thing

This spring, I attended the 2016 annual meeting of shareholders of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited in Toronto. Fairfax’s chief executive Prem Watsa opened his remarks with the following joke:

A young boy enters a barbershop.

The barber whispers to a customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.”

The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other. He then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?”

The boy takes the quarters and leaves.

“What did I tell you?” says the barber to the customer. “That kid never learns!”

Later, when the customer leaves the barbershop, he sees the same young boy coming out of an ice cream store licking a wafer-style ice cream cone.

He summons the boy and asks, “Hey, son! May I ask you a question? … Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?”

The boy licks his cone and replies, “Sir, because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!”

Being Underestimated Can Be a Great Thing Although the barber sought to characterize the young boy foolish, the joke was really on the barber.

The barber never suspected the boy’s recurring motivation to seem stupid. Additionally, the barber never learned his lesson or questioned his own assumptions.

Idea for Impact: As the above joke attests, being underestimated, underrated, or misjudged can often have its benefits. Don’t sweat when others think less than you actually are. Don’t let them make you feel small. Embrace their misjudgments with equanimity. Believe in yourself with humble confidence. Then outthink, outsmart, and outperform. Surprise them.

Stop Trying to Change People Who Don’t Want to Change

Stop Trying to Change People

Change is seldom as easy as we think it will be

Consider how many people engage in smoking, obesity, problem drinking, procrastination, rage, and other self-defeating behavioral patterns. Despite being fully aware of the negative consequences of their behaviors, these people tend not to change.

Many people are unsuccessful when they try to change their own behavior. People are creatures of habit, and habits evolve over time. They become so deep-seated and instinctive that people are often oblivious to the behaviors and consequences that their habits drive.

It is therefore very hard to change old habits even when they’re bad. Consequently, people find themselves incapable or reluctant to make essential changes in their lives. They discover that habits are persistent and necessitate many consistent repetitions to change. Even when they are motivated enough to change, long-lasting change entails much commitment, consistency, and discipline.

When do people change?

The American self-help author Tony Robbins once wrote, “Most people are unhappy with some area of their life, but are not unhappy enough to actually do something about it. Unfortunately, 90% of people fall is this category.”

People typically don’t change because someone tells them that they need to. Many people change from their own accord as the result of physiological vicissitudes in their lives or from psychological impositions of external circumstances: transition to adolescence, retirement, becoming a parent, a job loss, or the death of a spouse, for example. Nevertheless, very few people change from within—deliberately, willingly, and on-purpose.

People don’t change until they think they need to

The Italian astronomer and philosopher Galileo Galilei once said, “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” Helping people change involves helping them want to change, instead of trying to persuade them through guidance, counsel, urging, social pressure, or other forms of inducement.

People don't change until they think they need to Therapists (and mentors, coaches, and managers) are most successful in bringing about long-lasting change only in people who are intrinsically motivated to make the change. Therapists have little success with people who have no interest in changing.

Effective therapists explore, understand, and tweak their clients’intrinsic motivations toward change. They understand their client’s motivations, listen to any reluctance about change, and sensitively try to fortify those elements of their clients’ intrinsic motivations that may favor and hence facilitate the intended change.

Idea for Impact: When people do not want to change, don’t try to change them

As children, spouses, parents, friends, managers, and colleagues we are continuously attempting to point out others’ errors and expecting them to change. Even when our concerns are genuine and our attempts to change others are sincere, we often fail to bring about real behavioral change because people don’t change until they think they need to. So, don’t try to change people when they do not want to change.

They may change in a short time, but unless there is a compelling reason or a significant emotional event that astonishes them to change, people go back to their natural state.

Harboring expectations of being able to change can only lead to frustration and futility. Therefore, as the Buddha taught, lower your expectations of people, appreciate people as they are, and thus raise your own joys. Alternatively, find the people who have the behaviors you want and teach them the skills they need to be productive.

Inspirational Quotations by Samuel Johnson (#650)

Inspirational Quotations by Samuel Johnson

Today marks the birthday of Samuel Johnson (1709–84,) the British writer who made lasting contributions to English literature. Often referred to as Dr. Johnson and regarded as the greatest intellectual in British history, he wrote many famous essays, sermons, poetry, biographies, literary criticisms, plays, and novels.

Johnson started writing in his mid-20s, publishing essays, poems, and prose. During his 30s, he contributed more than 200 essays to magazines and launched his colossal undertaking: an authoritative Dictionary of the English Language (1755.) With the help of six mechanical assistants, Johnson completed the lexicon in nine years. Published in two volumes, it contained more than 42,000 entries. This dictionary made Johnson famous, and it remains his most enduring accomplishment.

'The Life of Samuel Johnson' by James Boswell (ISBN 0140436626) Despite his prodigious literary output, Johnson is most remembered not for anything he wrote, but for the biography that James Boswell (1740–95) wrote of Johnson. Boswell idolized Johnson and kept scrupulously detailed diaries of his mannerisms, characteristics, routines, decisions, opinions, and everything else about his life. Boswell used these notes to write a comprehensive biography, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791). Owing to its thorough portrayal of its subject as a complete person and not just as a catalog of events and achievements in his life, The Life of Samuel Johnson is regarded the definitive precursor to modern biographies. Boswell’s records of Johnson’s numerous aphorisms also made him one of the most-quoted writers in the English language.

Inspirational Quotations by Samuel Johnson

Knowledge always desires increase, it is like fire, which must first be kindled by some external agent, but which will afterwards propagate itself.
Samuel Johnson

Whatever enlarges hope will also exalt courage.
Samuel Johnson

He that would be superior to external influences must first become superior to his own passions.
Samuel Johnson

Hope is necessary in every condition. The miseries of poverty, of sickness, or captivity, would, without this comfort, be insupportable; nor does it appear that the happiest lot of terrestrial existence can set us above the want of this general blessing; or that life, when the gifts of nature and of fortune are accumulated upon it, would not still be wretched, were it not elevated and delighted by the expectation of some new possession, of some enjoyment yet behind, by which the wish shall at last be satisfied, and the heart filled up to its utmost extent.
Samuel Johnson

Try and forget our cares and sickness, and contribute, as we can to the happiness of each other.
Samuel Johnson

The best of conversations occur when there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm quiet interchange of sentiments.
Samuel Johnson

All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance.
Samuel Johnson

If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle.
Samuel Johnson

Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions.
Samuel Johnson

It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying, that there is so much falsehood in the world.
Samuel Johnson

The joy of life is variety; the tenderest love requires to be renewed by intervals of absence.
Samuel Johnson

Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.
Samuel Johnson

Hell is paved with good intentions.
Samuel Johnson

To convince any man against his will is hard, but to please him against his will is justly pronounced by Dryden to be above the reach of human abilities.
Samuel Johnson

Many things difficult in design prove easy in performance.
Samuel Johnson

A generous and elevated mind is distinguished by nothing more certainly than an eminent degree of curiosity.
Samuel Johnson

Life cannot subsist in society but by reciprocal concessions.
Samuel Johnson

The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.
Samuel Johnson

Where there is no difficulty there is no praise.
Samuel Johnson

A man may be so much of every thing, that he is nothing of any thing.
Samuel Johnson

A desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being whose mind is not debauched will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge.
Samuel Johnson

Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.
Samuel Johnson

Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought. Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks. The flowers which scatter their odours from time to time in the paths of life, grow up without culture from seeds scattered by chance. Nothing is more hopeless than a scheme of merriment.
Samuel Johnson

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
Samuel Johnson

He who praises everybody praises nobody.
Samuel Johnson

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
Samuel Johnson

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.
Samuel Johnson

Marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
Samuel Johnson

Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to everything.
Samuel Johnson

Prudence is an attitude that keeps life safe, but does not often make it happy.
Samuel Johnson

I have found men to be more kind than I expected, and less just.
Samuel Johnson

The longer we live the more we think and the higher the value we put on friendship and tenderness towards parents and friends.
Samuel Johnson

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
Samuel Johnson

The first years of man must make provision for the last.
Samuel Johnson

It is worth a thousand pounds a year to have the habit of looking on the bright side of things.
Samuel Johnson

I am inclined to believe that few attacks either of ridicule or invective make much noise, but by the help of those they provoke.
Samuel Johnson

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
Samuel Johnson

Liberty is, to the lowest rank of every nation, little more than the choice of working or starving.
Samuel Johnson

Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment.
Samuel Johnson

The habit of looking on the best side of every event is worth more than a thousand pounds a year.
Samuel Johnson

A man of genius has been seldom ruined but by himself.
Samuel Johnson

Melancholy, indeed, should be diverted by every means but drinking.
Samuel Johnson

The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.
Samuel Johnson

It is always observable that silence propagates itself, and that the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find any thing to say.
Samuel Johnson

No man is much pleased with a companion, who does not increase, in some respect, his fondness for himself.
Samuel Johnson

One of the aged greatest miseries is that they cannot easily find a companion able to share the memories of the past.
Samuel Johnson

Life admits not of delays; when pleasure can be had, it is fit to catch it. Every hour takes away part of the things that please us, and perhaps part of our disposition to be pleased.
Samuel Johnson

A man guilty of poverty easily believes himself suspected.
Samuel Johnson

Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.
Samuel Johnson

A wicked fellow is the most pious when he takes to it. He’ll beat you all at piety.
Samuel Johnson

A man ought to read just as his inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.
Samuel Johnson

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
Samuel Johnson

Every man is rich or poor according to the proportion between his desires and his enjoyments; any enlargement of wishes is therefore equally destructive to happiness with the diminution of possession, and he that teaches another to long for what he never shall obtain is no less an enemy to his quiet than if he had robbed him of part of his patrimony.
Samuel Johnson

Men are seldom more innocently employed than when they are honestly making money.
Samuel Johnson

Books to judicious compilers, are useful; to particular arts and professions, they are absolutely necessary; to men of real science, they are tools: but more are tools to them.
Samuel Johnson

In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.
Samuel Johnson

No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.
Samuel Johnson

A fly may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.
Samuel Johnson

Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.
Samuel Johnson

It is strange that there should be so little reading in the world, and so much writing. People in general do not willingly read, if they can have any thing else to amuse them.
Samuel Johnson

Bias and impartiality is in the eye of the beholder.
Samuel Johnson

Sorrow is a kind of rust of the soul, which every new idea contributes in its passage to scour way.
Samuel Johnson

Resolve not to be poor: whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult.
Samuel Johnson

Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.
Samuel Johnson

A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments.
Samuel Johnson

Every man naturally persuades himself that he can keep his resolutions, nor is he convinced of his imbecility but by length of time and frequency of experiment.
Samuel Johnson

I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.
Samuel Johnson

To let friendship die away by negligence and silence, is certainly not wise. It is voluntarily to throw away one of the greatest comforts of this weary pilgrimage.
Samuel Johnson

There is no people, rude or learned, among whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed.
Samuel Johnson

Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.
Samuel Johnson

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.
Samuel Johnson

There is no wisdom in useless and hopeless sorrow; but there is something in it so like virtue, that he who is wholly without it cannot be loved.
Samuel Johnson

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
Samuel Johnson

It is better to live rich, than to die rich.
Samuel Johnson

Getting money is not all a man’s business; to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.
Samuel Johnson

It is wonderful to think how men of very large estates not only spend their yearly income, but are often actually in want of money. It is clear, they have not value for what they spend.
Samuel Johnson

The vicious count their years; virtuous, their acts.
Samuel Johnson

The future is purchased by the present.
Samuel Johnson

I look upon it, that he who does not mind his belly will hardly mind anything else.
Samuel Johnson

A jest breaks no bones.
Samuel Johnson

Temper Your Expectations: Avoid Disappointments in Life

Temper Your Expectations: Avoid Disappointments in Life

The Buddha’s vision of existence is expressed in the truth of pain and suffering. He taught that redemption comes solely from knowledge, the root of which lies in awareness of the reasons for suffering.

'Wisdom of the Buddha' by Max Muller (ISBN 0486411206) According to the first of the Buddha’s Four Nobel Truths, worldly existence is fundamentally unsatisfactory: “This is the truth of pain: birth is painful, old age is painful, sickness is painful. Contact with unpleasant things is painful, not getting what one wishes is painful.”

Core to the Buddhist approach to life is to lower our expectations, thereby raising our joys. If pain and suffering constitute the gap between what we want and what we have, surely we have the power to change what we want.

Verse 94 in The Dhammapada (ref. Max Muller‘s Wisdom of the Buddha) declares, “The gods even envy him whose senses, like horses well broken in by the driver, have been subdued, who is free from pride, and free from appetites.”

'The Discourses of Epictetus' by Arrian, George Long (ISBN 1934255319) Mirroring the Buddha’s teaching, the great Stoic philosopher Epictetus (55–135 CE) taught the following (ref. the Enchiridion or the Manual of Epictetus compiled by his disciple Arrian):

But, for the present, totally suppress desire: for, if you desire any of the things which are not in your own control, you must necessarily be disappointed; … If, for example, you are fond of a specific ceramic cup, remind yourself that it is only ceramic cups in general of which you are fond. Then, if it breaks, you will not be disturbed. If you kiss your child, or your wife, say that you only kiss things which are human, and thus you will not be disturbed if either of them dies. … Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. … Don’t demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well. … Whoever, then, would be free, let him wish nothing … wish things to be only just as they are, and him only to conquer who is the conqueror, for thus you will meet with no hindrance.”

Idea for Impact: Trying to change people will result in frustration and futility. They may change in a short time, but unless there is a compelling reason for change (e.g., a significant emotional event that shocks them,) people go back to their natural state. Find the people who have the behaviors you want and teach them the skills they need to be productive.

Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken

Heroes are very useful—they embody a higher plateau of truth, knowledge, and accomplishment that you can aspire to.

While admiring and drawing inspiration from heroes can be productive, blatantly imitating them is simply foolish.

Lei Jun, the Steve Jobs-mimicking chief of Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi

The black turtleneck syndrome

Consider Lei Jun, the Steve Jobs-mimicking chief of Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi. Jun has not only made Xiaomi the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker by copying Apple’s products but also cultivated a blatant Jobsian likeness—right down to wearing dark shirts and jeans in the vein of Steve Jobs and mimicking his presentation style.

Lei Jun is not alone in taking this admiration of Steve Jobs beyond inspiration to blatant imitation. After reading Walter Isaacson’s bestselling biography of Steve Jobs, many people started to actually think and act like Steve Jobs. Some have even embraced catchphrases like “one more thing,” the expression Jobs used in his presentations prior to introducing new Apple products.

You aren’t Steve Jobs, your company isn’t Apple, so why try to be Steve Jobs?

Steve Jobs-mimicking Lei Jun of Xiaomi Undoubtedly, Steve Jobs was a determined and ambitious leader who created renowned products that transformed many industries. He intuitively understood what makes a compelling product, in both concept and design. He was a visionary and brilliant innovator who integrated insights from diverse disciplines and paid great attention to the design-details of Apple’s products and services. He was intensely focused, committed, confident enough to take risky leaps, and charismatic enough to enlist legions of employees and customers in the inexorable pursuit of his aspirations.

Those are all fine traits in the right context, but simply lifting them from Steve Jobs’s biography and imposing them on your employees will not necessarily yield Jobs-like results. You could sink your business if you blindly use Jobs’s or any other celebrity manager’s leadership style and behaviors in the wrong context, product, strategy, or market.

Imitation will not conjure success

'Winning' by Jack Welch, Suzy Welch (ISBN 0060753943) Long before Steve Jobs was Jack Welch, whom Fortune magazine dubbed “Manager of the Century” in 1999. Between 1981 and 2001, as General Electric’s CEO, Welch became a cult figure among American managers and leaders. By means of intellect, energy, and straight talk, Welch transformed the sleepy giant of General Electric (GE) into an international business powerhouse.

Jack Welch was widely regarded as the transformative manager’s archetype. Managers read his leadership playbook religiously and tried to imitate everything he did at GE—from his 20-70-10 “rank and yank” process to adopting six-sigma methods. These imitators often failed to realize that a number of factors contributed to the success of Welch’s techniques, not the least of which was the strong organizational culture and leadership philosophy he had established at GE. Managers simply will not successfully imitate Welch’s techniques without first establishing the organizational context that allowed for his initiatives’ success.

Idea for Impact: You can learn a lot from your heroes, but don’t emulate it all

Most intellectual, cognitive, and people skills are situational. That is to say that there is a time for Jack Welch’s techniques, another time for Steve Jobs’s techniques, and still other times for others’ techniques. The real skill lies in accumulating many ideas in your “brain attic” and then diagnosing your situations to apply the appropriate technique at the appropriate time.

You can learn a lot from your heroes, but don’t pattern your lives after them. See if some of the things they did will work for you. Develop your own style by focusing on what matters to you in your context. Don’t become second-rate versions of people you admire; instead be first-rate version of yourself.

Inspirational Quotations by D. H. Lawrence (#649)

Inspirational Quotations by D. H. Lawrence

Today marks the birthday of D. H. Lawrence (1885–30,) an English author of provocative novels. Lawrence was also a successful poet, playwright, and short-story writer.

Lawrence is best known for inciting strong reactions in his readers for his radical narrative of familial and marital lives and for his brazen celebration of sexual relations. For these reasons, he waged an incessant battle with the censors.

Lawrence’s most famous novels are Sons and Lovers (1913), The Rainbow (1915), Women in Love (1920), and Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928). The Rainbow was accused of obscenity and Scotland Yard seized a thousand copies of the book upon its publication. Women in Love chronicles the quest of multiple women to forge new types of liberated personal relationships.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the most influential and notorious of Lawrence’s novels. It features a young aristocrat whose husband is paralyzed from the waist down and impotent. He encourages her to find a lover but disapproves her choice of his gamekeeper. Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned from publication for more than 30 years because of its obscene themes and language. In 1960, a famous court case cleared the book of obscenity after 35 prominent writers and literary critics testified in its favor. When Penguin Books published 200,000 copies of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the book sold out within a day and most bookstores that carried the book ran out of copies within 15 minutes.

Inspirational Quotations by D. H. Lawrence

I shall always be a priest of love.
D. H. Lawrence

The living moment is everything.
D. H. Lawrence

We don’t exist unless we are deeply and sensually in touch with that which can be touched but not known.
D. H. Lawrence

The cruelest thing a man can do to a woman is to portray her as perfection.
D. H. Lawrence

Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.
D. H. Lawrence

Tragedy is like strong acid—it dissolves away all but the very gold of truth.
D. H. Lawrence

The world is wonderful and beautiful and good beyond one’s wildest imagination. Never, never, never could one conceive what love is, beforehand, never. Life can be great—quite god-like. It can be so. God be thanked I have proved it.
D. H. Lawrence

Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.
D. H. Lawrence

Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.
D. H. Lawrence

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.
D. H. Lawrence

One sheds one’s sicknesses in books—repeats and presents again one’s emotions, to be master of them.
D. H. Lawrence

One doesn’t know, till one is a bit at odds with the world, how much one’s friends who believe in one rather generously, mean to one.
D. H. Lawrence

Lessons from Charlie Munger: Destroy Your Previous Ideas & Reexamine Your Convictions

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger at Berkshire Hathaway's 2016 Annual Meeting (Screenshot from Yahoo! Finance webcast)

Reexamine your deep-rooted ideas

Here is one of the many nuggets of wisdom from the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. At the 4:39:39 mark in the meeting’s webcast by Yahoo! Finance, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger discuss an effective strategy for persuasion and argumentation:

Charlie Munger: We try and avoid the worst anchoring effect which is always your previous conclusion. We really try and destroy our previous ideas.

Warren Buffett: Charlie says that if you disagree with somebody, you want to be able to state their case better than they can.

Charlie Munger: Absolutely.

Warren Buffett: And at that point you’ve earned the right to disagree with them.

Charlie Munger: Otherwise you should keep quiet. It would do wonders for our politics if everybody followed my system.

Actively seek counterarguments to consolidate your arguments

Munger’s advice comports with the following wisdom on using critique for reasoned judgments and critical thinking:

  • 'A Rulebook for Arguments' by Anthony Weston (ISBN 0872209547) Professor Anthony Weston, a contemporary exponent of critical thinking, wrote in his Rulebook for Arguments, “If you can’t imagine how anyone could hold the view you are attacking, you just don’t understand it yet.”
  • The great Roman philosopher and orator Cicero wrote in his influential work De Oratore (55 BCE, Eng. trans. On the Orator,) “The man who can hold forth on every matter under debate in two contradictory ways of pleading, or can argue for and against every proposition that can be laid down—such a man is the true, the complete, and the only orator.” [See my previous article on how to argue like the Wright brothers.]
  • Advocating observable evidence and rational investigation, the great English natural philosopher Francis Bacon wrote in his Novum Organum (1620,) “The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else-by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusion may remain inviolate.”

You cannot effectively argue for your side if you don’t comprehend the arguments of the other

'Poor Charlie's Almanack' by Charlie Munger (ISBN 1578645018) Once a belief is added to your collection of viewpoints, you indulge in “intellectual censorship”—you instinctively and unconsciously protect and defend it. You cling to your beliefs instead of objectively reassessing and questioning them. Moreover, owing to confirmation bias, you seek narratives that convey to you what you want to hear, substantiate your beliefs, and entitle you to continue to feel as you already do.

An important constituent of critical thinking is taking your beliefs and opinions apart methodically, analyzing each part, assessing it for soundness by means of arguments and counterarguments, and then improving it.

When you stop arguing against an opposite perspective and try arguing for it, that is to say when you can switch your point of view briefly, you will witness a profound shift in your thinking. Your own convictions may look different when seen from the opposite perspective. Justifying the counterarguments can help you reinforce your own beliefs and attitudes.

Idea for Impact: Only when your deep-rooted convictions and viewpoints are challenged by contradictory evidence, will your beliefs actually get stronger.

Make Decisions Using Bill Hewlett’s “Hat-Wearing Process”

“Reasons pro and con are not present at the same time”

My previous article about Ben Franklin’s T-Chart method in making difficult decisions quoted him mentioning this as a key challenge of fact-collecting and decision-making:

When difficult cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because while we have them under consideration all the reasons pro and con are not present to the mind at the same time; but sometimes one set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of sight. Hence the various purposes or inclinations that alternately prevail, and the uncertainty that perplexes us.

Bill Hewlett’s “Hat-Wearing Process”

Bill Hewlett's Bill Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard (HP,) developed an effective “hat-wearing process” in his decision-making. When confronted with a challenge, Hewlett used a three-pronged approach to take the time to reflect, collect input from others, and develop a sound judgment about the matter at hand.

  1. Whenever an HP employee approached Hewlett with an innovative idea, he put on his “enthusiasm” hat. He listened, expressed enthusiasm, appreciated the creative process, and asked wide-ranging but not-too-pointed questions about the idea.
  2. A few days later, Hewlett wore his “inquisition” hat and met the inventor. Hewlett asked many pointed questions and meticulously examined the facts and the virtues. He critically examined the idea, but adjourned without a final decision.
  3. A few days later, Hewlett wore his “decision” hat and met with the inventor. Hewlett discussed his opinions and conveyed his decision with logic and sensitivity.

In a discussion about the corporate culture of enthusiasm and creativity that the founders engendered at Hewlett-Packard, cofounder David Packard recalls in The HP Way (see my review / summary) that even if the decision went against the inventor, Bill Hewlett’s “Hat-Wearing Process” provided the inventor with a sense of satisfaction that Hewlett had carefully considered the ideas.

Idea for Impact: Make Considered Decisions

Use the “hat-wearing process” to listen to and mull over facts about a decision to be made, collect input from others, develop perspective that comes only with time, and make sound, thoughtful decisions.

Compliment with Edward de Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ thought process to stimulate creativity.