Summertime, and the living is easy . . . if you are over a certain age, you will hear music.
If not, then this is my way of saying that my columns, for the next 6 weeks, are going to be slightly different.
I would like to share with you some of the quotations that I have collected over a number of years (plus my observations and comments on them). You can always skip the comments, of course, and just read the quotes. As I am a firm believer in the old adage “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”, my belief is that one or more of these will hit home for you and put things in perspective. I can’t verify the origin of every single quotation since various sources sometimes list different authors, but I have gone, in cases of some question, to Wikiquotes. I’d invite you to share some of your favorite quotes with me as well. Enjoy.
Ever notice how “What the Hell” is always the right answer? I first saw this attributed to Marilyn Monroe. It appears, however, that a similar quote was made by Terry Johnson, so its authenticity is open to question. Seems to me, though, regardless of who said it first, that this nicely captures the astonishment we should all feel when we discover something new, and relieve us of the pressure to think that we have to know everything.
People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf. Often attributed to Orson Wells, but in reality was an observation of Richard Grenier who wrote: “As George Orwell pointed out, people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” The absence of quotation marks indicates that Grenier was using his own words to convey his interpretation of Orwell’s opinion. ( from Wikiquotes)
This, I think, is well worth remembering when it is ridiculously easy to blame police officers for harsh treatment of offenders who are frequently drunk, aggressive or vicious or some combination of the three. Ever try to have a sensible conversation with a violent drunk?
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ― Dalai Lama XIV. We live in an age of entitlement and expectation that we should always get what we want. It reminds me of a story I once read: There is a Chinese story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?
Everything that seems on the surface to be an evil may be a good in disguise. And everything that seems good on the surface may really be an evil. So we are wise when we leave it to God to decide what is good fortune and what misfortune, and thank him that all things turn out for good with those who love him.
Getting fired is never a pleasant experience, yet for me it was the best piece of luck that could have happened. It was an opportunity to begin a consulting career, but even more important a wake-up call that invited me to examine how I might have contributed to the situation in order to ensure that it didn’t happen again.
And, in keeping with that sentiment, the last quotation for today’s column. “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather the ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” Norman Vincent Peale. The best thing that you can do in the next month, both for your career and for your own personal development is to go into your Manager’s office and ask: “If I could do one thing differently that would make me a better employee, what would it be?” (Just ask for one, though – there’s no point in being reckless!). But don’t ask this question unless you are a) willing to accept the answer without explaining, arguing, or defending, and b) unless you are sincerely ready to do something about it.
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