SBR One Minute Wisdoms, Collection of Quotes & Stories for Business Owners

One Minute “Wisdoms”

Over the years I have collected many quotes, stories and parables from “wise” people from Socrates to my own coach Sean Kirk. Here they are, maybe you see one that really speaks to you, maybe you don’t, but I like them.

This is the one to remember at all times:
  • For every human problem we can find an easy solution – neat, simple, plausible and wrong. H. L. Mencken
And this is one of my own… unless I read it somewhere and forgot… I’ll claim it in the mean time:
  • If you want something you’ve never had… You’ve got to be someone you’ve never been”
Ricardo Semler, Semco:
  • “The key to management is to get rid of the managers.
  • The key to getting work done on time is to stop wearing a watch.
  • The best way to invest corporate profits is to give them to the employees.
  • The purpose of work is not to make money. The purpose of work is to make the workers, whether working stiffs or top executives, feel good about life.”

Ricardo Semler

A Chinese story

A fish heard some men talking on a pier about a miraculous substance called water. The fish was so intrigued that he called together his fish friends and profoundly announced that he would going in quest of this wonderful stuff. The gave him a fitting ceremony and sent him on his way. Many years passed and long after his friends had given him up for lost on his perilous journey, the fish swam home, old and tired and worn. All his friends hastened to greet him and asked urgently, “Did you find it? Did you find it?” “Yes”, replied the old fish, “I did, but you wouldn’t believe what I found” and he swam away slowly

A Cherokee Legend

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued:
“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

And here are a whole heap of one-liners… in no particular order…  I love them:
  • “Life is full of pain… and perhaps the only pain we can avoid is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain”
  • “Pain is inevitable….. Misery is Optional”
  • “The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is opened”
  • There are 3 kinds of people: Those who make things happen… Those who watch things happen… and Those who wonder what happened
  • “If you don’t know where you are going… you’ll get there…”
  • “Quality in a product is not what a supplier puts into the product or service, it is what a customer gets out of it and is prepared to pay for. A product is not “quality” because it costs a lot to make and is very complicated and takes a lot of skill, that is incompetence. Customers only pay for what is of use to them and gives them value, nothing else constitutes Quality” Peter F Drucker.
  • “Profits are not made by differential cleverness, but by differential stupidity” David Ricardo
  • “If you don’t know where you are going, any path will do” (the Chesire Cat in Alice in Wonderland)
  • I can not teach anybody anything. I can only make them think (Socrates)
  • “Never, ever, ever give up, except in cases of common sense or ethics” (Winston Churchill)
  • “The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value” (Stephen Covey)
  • “The key to valuing the differences between people is to realise that all people do not see the world as it is, but as They are” (Stephen Covey)
  • “It is not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that determines the quality of our lives” (Various)
  • “Was that Life? Well then, once again!” (Nietzsche)
Albert Einstein deserves a special mention:
  • Problems can not be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.
  • The only really valuable thing is intuition
  • Logic can take you from A to B, but imagination can take you everywhere
  • Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts
  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results
Some more one liners:
  • “The flower replied: You fool! do you imagine I blossom in order to be seen? I blossom for my own sake, because it pleases me, and not for the sake of others. My joy consists in my being and my blossoming.” (Arthur Schopenhauer)
  • Organisations learn only through individuals who learn (Peter Senge)
  • “If you always agree with your boss, one of you is not necessary” (Ken Blanchard)
  • “If you keep doing what you usually do, you will keep getting what you usually get” (unknown)
  • People want to work with you now, rather than for you. Those are tiny words but a big distinction. I think the days of the command and control model of management are over (David Bell, director people, Pearson)
  • Our goal is to have people working for us who could always leave but decide not to, because the opposite of that is a nightmare (David Bell, director of people, Pearson)
Nothing like a good sporting analogy:
  • The harder I practice, the luckier I seem to get (Arnold Palmer, golfer)
  • “The Carrot and stick are powerful Motivators at work and anywhere else, but if you treat people like Donkeys, they will perform like Donkeys” (Sir John Whitmore)
  • “If we do not change direction, we are liable to end up where we are headed” (unknown)
  • I would advise them to aim high (young people). To set their sights at pretty tough targets and don’t be too worried if you are not successful at first. Just keep persisting and keep improving your standards and ultimately you’ve got a pretty fair chance at achieving your desired goal (Sir Edmund Hillary)
  • No one keeps his enthusiasm automatically. Enthusiasm must me nourished with new actions, new aspirations, new efforts, new vision, to thrive (Papyrus)
  • Change is one thing, progress is another (Bertrand Russell)
  • “The only way you can save a marriage is being able (and willing) to leave it” (Unknown)
  • Don’t scoff at the anxiety attached to change. The prominent existential psychologist James Bugental called the fear of changing “a fate worse than death” Change threatens our very identity and asks us to relinquish our way of being. However healthy change may be it threatens our security, and sometimes even self-defeating security feels better than none (Prochaska et al)
  • A prudent question is one half of wisdom (Francis Bacon)
A list such as this would be incomplete without Spike:
  • A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree (Spike Milligan)
  • In all likelihood the culture of coaching instead of managing will becomes so natural here that we won’t even use the word “coaching” anymore, it will just become “the way we do things around here” (Keith Steele, Freehills litigation Group)
  • May you live all the days of your life (Jonathan Swift)
  • It only takes one person to change your life – You (Ruth Casey)
  • True Life is lived when tiny changes occur (Leo Tolstoy)
  • The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time (Abraham Lincoln)
  • Mans mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to it’s original shape (Oliver Wendell Holmes)
  • And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom (Anais Nin)
  • Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in this life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross)
  • Change your thoughts and change your world (Norman Vincent Peale)
  • Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams, who looks inside, awakens (Carl Jung)
  • Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. (Jeremy Kitson)
  • The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our life (Louise Hay)
  • The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high, rather it
    is that we aim too low and reach it. (Unknown)
My old coach Sean Kirk gave me this one:
  • If you want to learn to fly, would you hang out with the penguins? (Sean Kirk)
  • Invent your world. Surround yourself with the people, colour, sounds that nourish you (Sark)
  • Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things or more money in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it works is actually the reverse. You must first BE who you really are, then DO what you need to do in order to HAVE what you want. (Margaret Young)
  • Saying YES and NO clearly and powerfully builds confidence and rids us of the misconception that we are powerless (Marsha Sintar)
  • Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you (Jean Paul Sartre)
  • When one door closes another door open; but we often look so longingly and regretfully upon the closed door that we don’t notice the ones that have opened for us (Alexander Graham Bell)
  • All Change involves some degree of loss even change that is for the better (Anthony Grant)
  • Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go (T.S. Elliot)
  • Freedom lies in being Bold (Robert Frost)
  • He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened (Lao Tzu)
  • Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is impossible (Richard Bach)
  • When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would that I would not have a single talent left and could say, “well I used everything you gave me” (Erma Brombeck)
  • Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent (Eleanor Roosevelt)
  • The most profound relationship we will ever have is the one with ourselves (Shirley Maclaine)
  • The minute you begin to do what you want to do, it’s a different kind of life
    (Buckminster Fuller)
  • The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes (Marcel Proust)
  • Without continuous personal development you are now all that you will ever be, and hell starts when you meet the person you could have been (Eli Cohen)
  • The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little (Thomas Merton)
  • A dream is just a dream. A Goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline (Harvey Mackay)
  • Let money work for you and you have the most devoted servant in the world… It works night and day and in dry and wet weather (PT Barnum)
  • There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life (Frederico Fellini)
  • The next message you need is always right where you are (Ram Dax)
    Courage is very important. Like a muscle is strengthens with use (Ruth Gordon)
  • In each of us are places where we have never gone. Only by pressing the limits do you ever find them (Joyce Brothers)
And this is one I modified myself:
  • Remember, you can eat an elephant…. in small portions, of course you do need a big fridge (unknown)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *