Inspirational Quotations #724

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.
Jawaharlal Nehru

Whoever said, “It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,” probably lost.
Martina Navratilova

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity … and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.
William Blake

The first duty to children is to make them happy.—If you have not made them so, you have wronged them.—No other good they may get can make up for that.
Charles Buxton

The intensity of your desire governs the power with which the force is directed.
John D. MacDonald

Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified. He that labors in any great or laudable undertaking has his fatigues first supported by hope and afterward rewarded by joy.
Samuel Johnson

We are more sociable, and get on better with people by the heart than the intellect.
Jean de La Bruyere

The horse fed too freely with oats oft becomes unruly.
The Talmud

A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true, for if the things be false, the apprehension of them is not understanding.
Isaac Newton

I have the greatest of all riches: that of not desiring them.
Eleonora Duse

We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly.
Mark Twain

When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.
Thomas Paine

If you do not wish a thing heard, do not say it.
John M. Ford

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
G. K. Chesterton

Instruction does much, but encouragement does everything.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Writing Clearly and Concisely

In my judgment, most books should be booklets, most booklets essays, most essays articles, most articles paragraphs, and most paragraphs should be statements.

It is far more important to write well than most folks realize. Writing not only communicates ideas, it also generates them—in the minds of both the author and the reader.

Effective Writing is a Lifelong Pursuit

One of my 2018 goals is to peruse two classic texts on writing clearly and concisely: William Strunk and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style (1918) and William Zinsser’s On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction (1980.)

'The Elements of Style' by Strunk & White (ISBN 1940177480) Strunk and White affirm that brevity is the essence of good writing in these three sentences:

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

Succinctness, simplicity, and humanity are also dominant objectives in William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.

Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Re-examine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work? Can any thought be expressed with more economy? Is anything pompous or pretentious or faddish? Are you hanging on to something useless just because you think it’s beautiful? Simplify, simplify.

'On Writing Well' by William Zinsser (ISBN 0060891548) On Writing Well is a celebrated guide to concise, unmistakable, and well-crafted writing. The book has sold several million copies worldwide, and is a required reading at many a university course.

Good writing doesn’t come naturally, though most people seem to think it does … Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.

Zinsser’s central premise is that good writing is the result of hard work, not inborn talent. The book’s particular strength is in Zinsser’s selection of paragraphs by great writers, and his instruction on how to learn from those writers: “Writing is learned by imitation. If anyone asked me how I learned to write, I’d say I learned by reading the men and women who were doing the kind of writing I wanted to do and trying to figure out how they did it.”

On Writing Well is a must-read for anyone who writes and desires to his or her prose. Read Derek Sivers’ helpful synopsis of the book.

Inspirational Quotations #723

The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
Wilhelm Stekel

There’re two people in the world that are not likeable: a master and a slave.
Nikki Giovanni

He who never sacrificed a present to a future good, or a personal to a general one, can speak of happiness only as the blind speak of color.
Horace Mann

Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.
Albert Einstein

When a subject is highly controversial… one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one’s audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.
Virginia Woolf

Youth, abundant wealth, high birth, and inexperience, are, each of them a source of ruin. What then must be the fate of those in whom all four are combined.
Hitopadesha

It is more easy to get a favor from fortune than to keep it.
Publilius Syrus

Considering the unforeseen events of this world, we should be taught that no human condition should inspire men with absolute despair.
Henry Fielding

Altogether too often, people substitute opinions for facts and emotions for analysis.
Andrew Grove

He is the wisest and happiest man, who, by constant attention of thought discovers the greatest opportunity of doing good, and breaks through every opposition that he may improve these opportunities.
Philip Doddridge

Our conscious motivations, ideas, and beliefs are a blend of false information, biases, irrational passions, rationalizations, prejudices, in which morsels of truth swim around and give the reassurance albeit false, that the whole mixture is real and true. The thinking processes attempt to organize this whole cesspool of illusions according to the laws of plausibility. This level of consciousness is supposed to reflect reality; it is the map we use for organizing our life.
Erich Fromm

Inspirational Quotations #722

It’s too easy to criticize a man when he’s out of favor, and to make him shoulder the blame for everybody else’s mistakes.
Leo Tolstoy

I read my own books sometimes to cheer me when it is hard to write and then I remember that it was always difficult and how nearly impossible it was sometimes.
Ernest Hemingway

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Nelson Mandela

It’s not the increasing competition; it’s going back to real work that most of us complain about.
William Feather

Health is a precious thing, and the only one, in truth, meriting that a man should lay out not only his time, sweat, labor and goods, but also life itself to obtain it.
Michel de Montaigne

Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire; the other is to get it.
Socrates

So often we dwell on the things that seem impossible rather than on the things that are possible. So often we are depressed by what remains to be done and forget to be thankful for all that has been done.
Marian Wright Edelman

What makes old age hard to bear is not the failing of one’s faculties, mental and physical, but the burden of one’s memories.
W. Somerset Maugham

Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.
E. W. Howe

The first condition of education is being able to put someone to wholesome and meaningful work.
John Ruskin

Whenever a man’s friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.
Washington Irving

Only that thing is free which exists by the necessities of its own nature, and is determined in its actions by itself alone.
Baruch Spinoza

Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.
Neal A. Maxwell

The height of human wisdom is to bring our tempers down to our circumstances, and to make a calm within, under the weight of the greatest storm without.
Daniel Defoe

Wisdom is to the mind what health is to the body.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

He who gives way to his wrath makes desolate his house.
The Talmud

We may convince others by our arguments, but we can only persuade them by their own.
Joseph Joubert

In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Inspirational Quotations #721

The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good, in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.
John Stuart Mill

Choose your customers. Fire the ones that hurt your ability to deliver the right story to the others.
Seth Godin

A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.
Desiderius Erasmus

One of the commonest mistakes and one of the costliest is thinking that success is due to some genius, some magic – something or other which we do not possess. Success is generally due to holding on, and failure to letting go. You decide to learn a language, study music, take a course of reading, train yourself physically. Will it be success or failure? It depends upon how much pluck and perseverance that word “decide” contains. The decision that nothing can overrule, the grip that nothing can detach will bring success. Remember the Chinese proverb, “With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes satin.
Maltbie Davenport Babcock

The reason that adulation is not displeasing is that, though untrue, it shows one to be of consequence enough, in one way or other, to induce people to lie.
Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron)

Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.
Swami Sivananda

Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.
Niccolo Machiavelli

The golden rule is of no use whatsoever unless you realize that it is your move.
Frank Hall Crane

An eager pursuit of fortune is inconsistent with a severe devotion to truth. The heart must grow tranquil before the thought can become searching.
Christian Nestell Bovee

Familiarity breeds contempt.
Aesop

Mental violence has no potency and injures only the person whose thoughts are violent. It is otherwise with mental non-violence. It has potency which the world does not yet know.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Few men survey themselves with so much severity as not to admit prejudices in their own favor.
Samuel Johnson

The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool.
George Santayana

Ideas to Use When Delegating

Ideas to Use When Delegating The American industrialist Alfred P. Sloan once declared, “The most important thing I ever learned about management is that the work must be done by other men.”

A manager’s principal task is to get things done through other people. Therefore, delegation is one of the most important skills a manager can master.

In addition, being effective at delegation has benefits in many areas of life—enlisting a friend to repair a computer, or getting your kids to rearrange a bookshelf, for example.

Here are a few ideas for effective delegation.

  • Delegate every task that can be performed just as well by someone who is paid less than you are.
  • Pick people who can accept responsibility.
  • Match the person to the task.
  • Remember that the person performing the task may not do it as well as you do it.
  • Build employees’ confidence by assigning low-risk projects at first. By giving employees tasks that are right at the limit of their existing capability, or even just beyond, you can motivate them to develop their skills and knowledge.
  • Let employees put their own spin on the assignment. Learn to have faith in the ingenuity of your employees, and give much latitude in how they do things.
  • Delegate outcomes, not just tasks. Identify the precise problem and define exactly what you want your employee to do.
  • Confirm understanding. Don’t assume that your employee understands what we mean. Have the employee restate the outcome you’ve delegated in his own words.
  • Give a due date for the assignment.
  • Monitor what you delegate. Don’t meddle—an overly-engaged boss can create self-induced commotion. Effective managers delegate results when they can and interfere only when they must.
  • Learn to be patient. Expect employees to make wrong decisions. Spend time with them to learn why a decision was wrong and how to avoid it the next time, rather than reproach or assign blame.
  • Set the standards, but tell your employees what you’re willing to accept as tradeoffs of delegation. Offer to lend a hand wherever necessary. As Peter Drucker wrote in The Leader of the Future, “Effective leaders delegate, but they do not delegate the one thing that will set the standards. They do it.

By learning to delegate effectively, you can create a work environment that is more time- and skills-efficient, foster creativity and opportunities for professional growth, and focus on the importance of managerial communication.

Inspirational Quotations #720

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Nelson Mandela

Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do. Because then they will act.
Jack Welch

Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.
Indira Gandhi

My own experience and development deepen everyday my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.
George Elliot (Mary Anne Evans)

There is a kind of courtesy in skepticism. It would be an offense against polite conventions to press our doubts too far.
George Santayana

Action makes more fortune than caution.
Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues

Our safety is not in blindness, but in facing our danger.
Friedrich Schiller

There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.
Swami Sivananda

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.
George Herbert

Most of one’s life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking.
Aldous Huxley

Virtually nothing comes out right the first time. Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. The only time you don’t want to fail is the last time you try something … One fails forward toward success.
Charles F. Kettering

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
Thomas Merton

In all the affairs of life, social as well as political, courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest to the grateful and appreciating heart.
Henry Clay

There are no rules for friendship. It must be left to itself. We cannot force it any more than love.
William Hazlitt

The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.
Jim Rohn

Suspicion is most often useless pain.
Samuel Johnson

Sin is whatever obscures the soul.
Andre Gide

Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.
Khalil Gibran

How to Organize Your Inbox & Reduce Email Stress

The recipe for staying on top of your email is to be ruthless about what you send and receive, and to focus on how you process your inbox. Here are thirteen practices that may help you be in command of your inbox.

  1. How to Organize Your Inbox & Reduce Email Stress Turn off all new email notifications.
  2. Limit the number of times you access your email.
  3. Avoid checking your email during the first hour of the day. Work on something that requires your energy and focus.
  4. Don’t have your email software opened … keep it closed until it’s time to “do” email.
  5. When you “do” email, follow the “Process to Zero” technique. Merlin Mann, the productivity guru who popularized this technique, emphasized, “Never check your email without processing to zero.” Handle every email just once, and take one of these actions: delete or archive, delegate, respond, or defer.
  6. If you can process an incoming email in a minute or two, act on that email immediately, using the Two-Minute “Do-it-now” Rule.
  7. For any email that requires inputs or deliberation, start a reply email, and file it in the “Drafts” folder of your email software. Set aside a block of time to crank though all such draft emails.
  8. Tell people with whom you communicate the most that you intend to check your email intermittently. Encourage them to telephone or drop by if they need a quick response.
  9. If you’ve been dreading a large backlog of email, consider deleting everything that’s over three weeks old. If the contents of any of those emails were of any consequence, somebody would have appraised you of their substance.
  10. Reduce the number of emails you send. Decrease the number of people you carbon-copy on emails. Consider meetings or telephone calls for more effective interaction.
  11. Curb the number of email messages you receive. Ask to be removed from irrelevant newsgroups, and unsubscribe from marketing emails. Learn how to use the “filter” feature on your email software.
  12. Don’t get sucked into replying to every email. Reply only to those that are of relevant to your priorities. Let other communicators follow up with you if they need a reply.
  13. Empty your inbox by the end of the day and process every message.

Idea for Impact: Don’t let an overflowing inbox be a big distraction (read my article on the Zeigarnik Effect.)

No Boss Likes a Surprise—Good or Bad

Never surprise the boss, particularly on potentially volatile issues that could affect your project’s timeline, budget, or performance.

Even good surprises can backfire. Many an example exists of employees bringing the boss what they believe were good news, only to realize later that that the surprises weren’t so good after all.

Consider the following example of a Boeing test pilot pulling off a shocking stunt on a prototype aircraft, much to the exasperation of his company’s leadership.

A Reckless Stunt That Created a Buzz

Boeing 707 Dash 80 prototype The Boeing 707 was America’s first passenger jet aircraft. Prior to the 707, which entered service in 1958, air travel was mostly limited to the affluent—and even they were hesitant about air travel’s safety. The 707’s in-service safety record and its economic characteristics quickly made travel more accessible and dependable. The 707 ushered in the Jet Age.

But for Boeing, today’s leading aircraft manufacturer, developing the 707 was a big gamble. The 707 had no orders, and Boeing embarked on its development entirely on the wager of its prospective commercial success. When the aircraft’s design commenced in 1951, Boeing’s estimated development costs were $16 million. That was roughly 20% of the company’s value, and more than twice its yearly profits—nearly all of which originated from military contracts.

The Demonstration That Was Far from What the Boss Had Authorized

Boeing built its first and only 707 prototype aircraft in 1955. The company’s leadership decided to show off the aircraft at Seattle’s Seafare Hydroplane races on August 7, 1955.

The display plan was to have Boeing’s Chief Test Pilot, Alvin “Tex” Johnston, do one low pass over the racecourse so that the airline executives, industry pundits, and government officials who attended the high-profile event could witness Boeing’s new undertaking.

Johnston had other plans. In his mind, the audience needed to be sold on the plane’s performance and safety. Seized by the impulse to flaunt the agility of the 707, Johnston had a little more in mind than just an unpretentious flyby.

During the in-air demonstration (see YouTube video,) with the aircraft soaring over Seattle’s Lake Washington, Johnston suddenly pulled back on the controls, and the plane started to climb at a speed of 400 miles per hour. Then, he did a complete 360-degree roll and flew the plane upside down for a moment. As the crowd watched in shock and amazement, Johnston did a second barrel role.

Overconfident Employee, Furious Boss

Alvin Melvin (Tex) Johnston, Boeing Test Pilot In the startled crowd was Boeing’s legendary president William “Bill” Allen. Allen, who had authorized no more than a simple flyby, thought that Johnston’s first barrel role was a mistake. When Allen witnessed the second barrel roll, he feared that either Johnston had lost his mind, or the aircraft was in grave trouble.

According to Robert J. Sterling’s Legend & Legacy: The Story of Boeing and Its People (1991,) Allen summoned Johnston into his office the next day. Allen demanded an explanation and inquired why Johnston had foolishly risked the company’s only prototype.

Pleased with his successful accomplishment, Johnston offered a simple explanation, “I was selling airplanes.” Johnston explained that he had previously tested barrel rolls on the prototype, and it was a safe maneuver. He hadn’t risked the aircraft at all.

Allen reproached Johnston and told him that he appreciated the efforts, but Johnston was never to do anything that had not been approved previously.

Never Let Your Boss Be Surprised by Bad News

If there is only one thing worse than delivering bad news, it’s not delivering bad news as soon as you know that some trouble is brewing.

No boss wants to hear about any looming issue from some third party—especially if it could be worrying—and put her on the spot with her peers and superiors.

When you fail to report any bad news, you are leaving your boss exposed to being blindsided with a potential problem, and the perception that your boss doesn’t have control of her organization.

Idea for Impact: A Good Employee is Predictably Excellent

The surest way to delight your boss is by setting the right expectations, discussing and coordinating on a plan of action, and delivering on her expectations of your performance.

When the status of important any project changes, make it a priority to bring your boss and other affected constituents up to date. If, right from the beginning, you’ve made the true picture clear, your boss may be less surprised with the bad and the good.

Never surprise your boss—just keep her clued-in on a regular basis.

Inspirational Quotations #719

How little man is; yet, in his own mind, how great! He is lord and master of all things, yet scarce can command anything. He is given a freedom of his will; but wherefore? Was it but to torment and perplex him the more? How little avails this freedom, if the objects he is to act upon be not as much disposed to obey as he is to command!
Edmund Burke

The person of analytic or critical intellect finds something ridiculous in everything. The person of synthetic or constructive intellect, in almost nothing.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.
Frank A. Clark

All men by nature desire knowledge.
Aristotle

No man can fight his way to the top and stay at the top without exercising the fullest measure of grit, courage, determination, resolution. Every man who gets anywhere does so because he has first firmly resolved to progress in the world and then has enough stick-to-it-tiveness to transform his resolution into reality. Without resolution, no man can win any worthwhile place among his fellow men.
B. C. Forbes

Learn the value of a man’s words and expressions, and you know him. Each man has a measure of his own for everything; this he offers you inadvertently in his words. He who has a superlative for everything wants a measure for the great or small.
Johann Kaspar Lavater

I have learned, in some degree at least, to disregard the old maxim which says, “Do not get others to do that which you can do yourself”. My motto, on the other hand, is, “Do not do that which others can do as well”.
Booker T. Washington

Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Row out to meet it.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

We should manage our fortune as we do our health—enjoy it when good, be patient when it is bad, and never apply violent remedies except in an extreme necessity.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
Henry Kissinger

An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, than be debarred from talking of his own dear person.
Joseph Addison