Topic 3: Your favorite quote(s) (For the sake of this blog, I’ll make them about business and/or storytelling).
I’ll be honest; I’m not a big quote guy. There are some people who love quotes. They have their favorite quotes memorized and written down somewhere to inspire them throughout the day. They can spout them at a moments notice to help them get through a rough time.
That’s not me. (The irony is I can quote a massive list of pointless lines from television and movies that I’ve seen over my life.* Some of which I don’t even remember the source.) I’m more of an idea man. And yes, I realized how pretentious that seemed after I wrote it. But I don’t mean it in that sense. I mean in the sense that I like the basic ideas that quotes give, and I hold on to those. So with that in mind, I had to go online and look up quotes that encompassed my favorite concepts. I’m completely certain they are one hundred percent accurate because it’s the Internet. Right?
Here are my three favorite quotes I found after doing an exhaustive five-minute search online:
“Surviving a failure gives you more self–confidence. Failures are great learning tools… but they must be kept to a minimum.” – Jeffery Immelt
“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” – Theodore Isaac Rubin
“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers
The concepts behind these quotes that I admire are perseverance, growth, and action, respectively. Learning from your failures and getting back up after falling, no matter how many times we may fall is an admirable trait because it takes a lot to pick yourself up after failing. Everyone knows this. There is not one person living today that has not failed at something. And those that fail and keep going are the most admirable in my eyes. It’s also because of their persistence and willingness to learn from their mistakes that they ultimately succeed.
Theodore Rubin’s quote speaks to growth, which is something else I respect. Sure, it’s easy to do simple work, overcome small obstacles, to keep the status quo. I’ve done that. But really, what does that lead to? Complacency. Stagnation. Without struggle, there can be no growth. And without growth, your business (and in my opinion, you personally) will soon suffer. If you put in the work, you can overcome those tough obstacles and problems that you thought were too difficult to handle. And because you stuck with it and grew through the struggle, you and your business will be better off for it.
And finally, taking action. Will Roger’s quote reminds me that there is urgency, especially in business. Another way to phrase this would be “It’s not the big that eat the small… it’s the fast that eat the slow,” which is the title of a book by Jason Jennings. And that’s true in business. The best product doesn’t always win. Timeliness is very important and can make a massive difference.
So don’t be afraid to fail, and if you do fail, learn from it, get back up and keep going. Be willing to take on big problems and even be thankful for them, because conquering them means you’ve grown and are more prepared for what comes next. And take action, because if you stand still you might get overtaken.
As a side note, these aren’t just good traits to have in a business setting, these are just good traits to have in general. They are the traits of our heroes, real and fictional. We look up to people who have an indomitable spirit, those who are willing to take on huge, seemingly impossible tasks and overcome them; those who are willing to act swiftly and decisively. I mean, who has a hero that when faced with a big problem has to be pushed to try to overcome it, complains about it the whole time, then when they fail the first time, gives up and goes back to watching Gossip Girl on Netflix?
Certainly not me. It’s Futurama or nothing if you want to be my hero.
*Since this was supposed to be about my favorite quotes in general, I figured I’d give one. It’s from one of my favorite shows, (the first five seasons anyway) Futurama, and it’s about business, so bonus! “There are two types of people in this world, sheep and sharks. Sharks are winners, and they don’t look back because they don’t have necks. Necks are for sheep… I’m proud to be the shepherd of this herd of sharks.” – That Guy