Apr 282015

Are you up for a challenge in longevity?  Why not author a few great quotes? One of the puzzles that I find truly interesting is what makes a quotation survive the test of time, thriving long after the person who authored it has passed away. Not many people out of the billions of people before you and I have had a quote survive at all.

It is a challenge in striking a cord with the reader or listener, capturing an essential truth, keeping it short and sweet, and having it go viral. Books and books try to solve “how a business idea goes viral” but no strategy or formula seems to be reliable as yet.

It stands to reason, then, that long-standing quotes must have something special, the right stuff that transcends generations, cultures, and languages. All this tends to fit in less than ten words that resonate. Its quite like the fact that all music stems from only a few available notes.

Who is on the all time all-star list of quotation authors? Top of the list must be Kong Fuzi, or as we know him, Confucius, the “latinized” version of his name that given to his legacy by Jesuit missionaries around 2,000 years after he lived.

Here are twenty-one quotes from Confucius. Twenty-one quotes that thrive today, more than 2,500 years later. Are there lessons to learn in twenty-one quotes that have survived 2,500 years and 125 generations of people? You betcha!


It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.

If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of a year, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.


Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

Respect yourself and others will respect you.

When anger rises, think of the consequences.

He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.

The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.

What the superior man seeks is in himself. What the mean man seeks is in others.

What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.

Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.


They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

Have no friends not equal to yourself.

To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.

When you complain about something unpleasant you double it, when you laugh at it, you destroy it.

Forget injuries, never forget kindness.

Learn! Change yourself. Be wiser and live wiser today than yesterday.

I.M. OptimismMan


Apr 192015

When is the last time you jumped in and tried a new sport?

Last week, I started playing squash. The effect on my mind has been phenomenal. I’m fired up about going to the gym and getting better — squash is challenging and a lot of fun.

Check out this video:



I did realize that this was my first new sport in about two+ years.  Actually, two years ago, I really didn’t start something brand spanking new, but rather started to play racquetball after staying away since the mid-80’s. That said, racquetball after such a long layoff did have the same effect that squash has had on me this month.

All this happy-neurons-effect has helped me think about the bigger picture — how much more excited would I be about life in general, if I planned and tried a new sport at least once per year?

Variety is the spice of life, yet why do we seem to gravitate to and stay in ruts for so long?

I highly recommend taking a little initiative. Be honest with yourself: when is the last time you started a new sport?  Why not dive into something new this month?

I.M. OptimismMan 

Apr 122015

A lot of people believe leadership comes from position in an organization. Because so many believe it, position does matter, but only to a certain point.

I believe true leadership comes from a state-of-mind that looks for innovative solutions to problems, combined with credibility that is earned through competence, integrity, vision, decisiveness, and the ability to communicate effectively.

While a lot of things must come together to create the magic of “earned” leadership, two of the most important are initiative and clarity. Consider these two quotes:


Initiative is a great differentiator between a leader and a follower. Keep a log of new things that you initiate. Log initiative that you see taken by others in your network. Pale ink will open your eyes and help you see how rare initiative is, and highlight the opportunity you have to lead.

— Bob Sakalas

Colin Powell

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.

— Colin Powell

Do you want to lead and grow as a leader?

Don’t wait until someone “appoints you” as a leader. Start today by taking some initiative and communicate your vision clearly and concisely. Then, evaluate your effectiveness. Does your initiative cause change? Keep a log and study what happens. Everything takes practice yet so few actually practice, especially in the workplace. Writing it down will keep you honest with yourself, keep your momentum, and help you learn and improve.

I.M. OptimismMan

Apr 022015

I posted a large bundle of Warren Buffett quotes last year, but I find this one worth repeating:

Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.


Where are you patching a boat right now?  Is it chronic?  Are you willing to do something about it?  Why not?

I.M. Optimism Man