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quotes - chinese wisdom
"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."
"There is no greater happiness than freedom from worry, and there is no greater wealth than contentment."
"People's tendency towards good is as water's tendency is to flow downhill."
"Eat less, taste more”
"Failure lies not in falling down. Failure lies in not getting up."
"The higher my rank, the more humbly I behave. The greater my power, the less I exercise it. The richer my wealth, the more I give away. Thus I avoid, respectively, envy and spite and misery."
"Success under a good leader is the people's success."
"Do not worry if others do not understand you. Instead worry if you do not understand others."
"Softness overcomes hardness."
"The greatest capability of superior people is that of helping other people to be virtuous."
"A great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others."
"Failure is the mother of success."
"It is not wise for a blind man, riding a blind horse, to approach the edge of a deep pond."
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask is a fool for ever."
"With a strong heart and a ready mind what have I to fear?"
"Half and orange tastes as sweet as a whole one."
"The wise man puts himself last and finds himself first."
"He knows most who says he knows least."

The words to the song 'Smile' are one of the great anthems for personal inspiration and belief. The music for Smile was written by Charlie Chaplin for his landmark film, Modern Times, released in 1936, although Smile's lyrics were actually added by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons in 1954, in which year Nat King Cole had the commercial success with the Smile song. Perhaps understandably the owners of the copyright for the words and music of the Smile song, Bourne Company of New York, refused me permission to publish the full lyrics and the music, although plenty of other websites seem to have the whole thing for free if you care to look for it (strangely it seems easier to get it for free than to buy it). There is actually a second verse which talks about lighting up your face with gladness, the need to keep on trying, and that life is still worthwhile. And for the musicians among you, you could try playing around with A, Amaj7, F#m, D/F#bass, Bm, F#, Bm, Dm, A, F#m, Bm, Esus4, E, and A, which is based on an interpretation by Eric Clapton (another story of triumph over adversity..).
Smile tho' your heart is aching,
Smile even tho' it's breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by.
If you smile thro' your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shining through; for you.
Although Charlie Chaplin didn't write the lyrics to Smile, the words resonate strongly with Chaplin's inspirational life of challenge, tragedy, success, and ultimately global appreciation, which owed much to his difficult early character-forming years. The Smile lyrics, and Chaplin's life story, each provide in their own way a lesson for anyone seeking inspiration and personal fulfilment.
Chaplin was born in Walworth, South London on 16 April, 1889. His mother and father were stage performers, but were also tragic people, divorcing when Charlie was young. As a child Chaplin descended to the workhouse orphanage because his parents were unable to look after him. Throughout his life Charlie Chaplin struggled with challenges, some of his own making, while he strived and became one of the most successful achievers - in creative and financial terms - of the 20th century. At one time exiled and rejected by the USA for his political views, Chaplin was awarded the World Peace Prize in 1954, eventually welcomed back to America to receive an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972, and was knighted in 1975. Charlie Chaplin died on Christmas Day, 1977.
The words and music of Smile and Chaplin's wonderful films help to demonstrate that the power of personal belief, and a positive approach to life, can enable people to overcome all kinds of disadvantage, challenge and adversity.
the five stages of innovation
1. People deny that the innovation is required.
2. People deny that the innovation is effective.
3. People deny that the innovation is important.
4. People deny that the innovation will justify the effort required to adopt it.
5. People accept and adopt the innovation, enjoy its benefits, attribute it to people other than the innovator, and deny the existence of stages 1 to 4.

Not applicable of course to courageous early adopters of innovation everywhere.
Early adoption of innovation might not be natural to everyone - but it is an option worth considering, especially if you have a feeling that the present situation can be improved.

sign in a gift shop window
Unattended Children will be given and Expresso and a Free Puppy.
(Thanks CB)
training cliches, maxims and funny sayings
Used by trainers and speakers, here are some maxims and sayings, with one or two new ideas and twists.
Dress code working-style indicators: jacket on = directing; jacket off = participating; trousers off = performing.
If you can't ride two horses at the same time you shouldn't be in the circus.
To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the project manager, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
If a=1%, b=2%, c= 3%, etc., what does 'attitude' add up to? ........ (work it out - the answer is 100%).
Tell'em what you're gonna tell'em, tell'em, tell'em what you told'em. (Training and presentations mnemonic for effective presentation or speaking structure, in other words: introduction, content points, summary.)
When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and Me.
There is no I in TEAM. (But if you look carefully there is a ME...)
No gain without pain. (Or better still, as Nietzsche might have said instead: 'No pain without gain' - see the Nietzsche quote below.)
Don't sell the, sell the sizzle.
ambrose bierce quotes - the devil's dictionary
The Devil's Dictionary was written by American Ambrose Bierce around a hundred years ago, and was first published as 'The Cynic's Word Book' in 1906. It was reissued as 'The Devil's Dictionary' in 1911, and continues to be published today. Its humour and irony still shine. In fact many of its observations perhaps resonate more strongly now than when Bierce first made them. Here are some choice examples of Bierce's wit, and interestingly for a writer considered to be such a 'cynic', these quotes are also examples of a touching sensitivity. These quotes still serve, as when they were created, to remind us that whether a thing is a force for good or bad is largely decided by the human factor. This is an encouraging thought, since the implication of this is that we have it in our power to change bad into good. I think Bierce would have agreed.
Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. (If you work for one of these be assured that there are more ethical and caring employers out there who would be more deserving of your efforts and loyalty.)
Duty: That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.
Experience: The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.
Famous: Conspicuously miserable.
Land: A part of the Earth's surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society...... Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living...... It follows that if the whole area of terra firma (Earth) is owned by A, B and C, then there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist. (How true, and how applicable today.)
Lecturer: One with his hand in your pocket, his tongue in your ear, and his faith in your patience.
Marriage: The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.
Pain: An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune of another.
Peace: In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
amusing puns and double-meanings
The pun (a humourous device exploiting two words or expressions sounding the same with two different meanings, usually with two different spellings) is one of the great wonders of the English language. For anyone who seeks to demonstrate the confusing nature of English words and phrases, these examples of funny and clever puns will likely serve your needs.
Sports people can avoid the pain of defeat by wearing comfortable shoes.
Nut screws washers and bolts.
Poetry written upside-down is inverse; poetry of very few lines is universal.
A girl who screamed and shouted for a pony got a little hoarse.
The carpenter's heavy tools were uncomfortable so he got a little sore.
Nuns generally wear plain colours because old habits never dye.
The days of the pocket diary are numbered.
Lions eat their prey fresh and roar.
Old bikes should be retired.
Geometry holds clues for the meaning of life; look and you will see the sines.
You can't beat a pickled egg.
If a leopard could cook would he ever change his pots?
See one melée of unruly people and you've seen a maul.
Do hungry time-travellers ever go back four seconds?
tribal wisdom
Tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians (so legend has it), passed on from generation to generation, says that, "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."
However, in government, education and the corporate world, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:
1. Buying a stronger whip.
2. Changing riders.
3. Giving horse and rider a good bollocking.
4. Re-structuring the dead horse's reward scale to contain a performance-related element.
5. Suspending the horse's access to the executive grassy meadow until performance targets are met.
6. Making the horse work late shifts and weekends.
7. Scrutising and clawing back a percentage of the horse's past 12 months expenses payments.
8. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
9. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride horses.
10. Convening a dead horse productivity improvement workshop.
11. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
12. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.
13. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
14. Outsourcing the management of the dead horse.
15. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
16. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse's performance.
17. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
18. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
19. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses. And the highly effective...
20. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

if - rudyard kipling's inspirational poem

quotes on thinking and the power of thought
On pain and stress and approach to life: "Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is... The only problem in your life is your mind's resistance to life as it unfolds." (Dan Millman, 21st century philosopher from The Way of the Peaceful Warrior - ack CB)
On Knowledge - "If you stood on the bottom rail of a bridge, and leant over, and watched the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you would suddenly know everything that there is to be known..." (Winnie the Pooh - allegedly - Thanks CM)
"He trudged along unknowing what he sought, And whistled as he went, for want of thought." (John Dryden, English poet and playwright 1631-1700, from Cymon and Iphigenia written in 1700)
"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth - more than ruin - more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man." (Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, 1872-1970)
"Great men are they who see that spiritual thought is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world." (Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher and poet, 1803-82, from Progress of Culture)
"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." (The Holy Bible, Proverbs 23:7)
"What is life but the angle of vision? A man is measured by the angle at which he looks at objects. What is life but what a man is thinking of all day? This is his fate and his employer. Knowing is the measure of the man. By how much we know, so we are." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
"The mind is the man, and knowledge mind; a man is but what he knoweth." (Francis Bacon, English lawyer and philosopher, 1561-1626)

funny sunday school children's answers
(Apparently from Sunday school quizzes by children between 5th and 6th grade ages in Ohio, collected over three years by two teachers. If you know more about the source please let us know.)
Ancient Egypt was old. It was inhabited by gypsies and mummies who all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.
Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandos. He died before he ever reached Canada but the commandos made it.
Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines. He was a actual hysterical figure as well as being in the bible. It sounds like he was sort of busy too.
The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a young female moth.
Socrates was a famous old Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. He later died from an overdose of wedlock, which is apparently poisonous. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.
In the first Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the java. The games were messier then, than they show on TV now.
Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out "Same to you, Brutus."
Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by Bernard Shaw for reasons I don't really understand. The English and French still have problems.
Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen", as a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops they all shouted "hurrah!" and that was the end of the fighting for a long while.
It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood.
Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking.
Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100 foot clipper, which was very dangerous to all his men.
The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter.
Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He Wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Since then no one ever found it.
Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backward and also declared, "A horse divided against itself cannot stand." He was a naturalist for sure. Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.
Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's Mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation.
On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. They believe the assassinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.
Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was very large.
Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf that he wrote loud music and became the father of rock and roll. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.
The nineteenth century was a time of a great many thoughts and inventions. People stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up.
Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbits, but I don't know why.
Charles Darwin was a naturalist. He wrote the Organ of the Species. It was very long, people got upset about it, and had trials to see if it was really true. He sort of said God's days were not just 24 hours, but without watches who knew anyhow? I don't get it.
Madman Curie discovered radio. She was the first woman to do what she did. Other women have become scientists since her but they didn't get to find radios because they were already taken.
Karl Marx was one of the Marx Brothers. The other three were in the movies. Karl made speeches and started revolutions. Someone in the family had to have a job, I guess.
(Precise source unknown. Thanks CB)
funny quotes school-children's science answers
H2O is hot water and C02 is cold water.
Blood flows down one leg and up the other.
Artificial insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull.
Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas.
A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is.
For a nosebleed, put the nose much lower than the body until the heart stops.
For drowning, climb on top of the person to make artificial perspiration.
For a dog bite, put the dog away for several days. If he has not recovered, then kill it.
For a head cold, use an agoniser to spray the nose until it drops into your throat.
(Thanks to the lady who sent these - sorry I lost your name when my system went down. If you know the origins please contact us.)
rules for a happy life
Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.
Life is simpler when you plough around the stumps.
The trouble with a milk cow is she won't stay milked.
Forgive your enemies. It messes with their heads. (This is a modern adaptation of the original quote by Oscar Wilde: "Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more." - Ack I Mac.)
Don't corner something meaner than you.
Don't wrestle with pigs: you'll get all muddy and the pigs will love it. (Based on a quote attributed to Cyrus S Ching, 1876-1967, US industrialist and labour-relations pioneer, "I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.")
Most of the stuff people worry about never happens. (Probably based on an original quote attributed to Leo Buscaglia: Ninety per-cent of what we worry about never happens, yet we worry and worry. What a horrible way to go through life! What a horrible thing to do to your colon!" - Thanks Wayne)
(Thanks CB. All anon unless otherwise stated - if you know any of the authors please tell us.)
See Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements, and Cherie Carter Scott's If Life Is A Game These Are The Rules.
oneliner quick quotes
A Boss: Someone who's early when you're late and late when you're early. (Unknown)
It's the kind or organisation where the lunatic fringe extends right to the centre. (unknown - for disorganized organizations everywhere - ack TW)
Lead me not into temptation - I can find the way myself. (Ack J C)
Chinese proverb No1: Man who run in front of car get tired; man who run behind car get exhausted.
Chinese proverb No2: Man who walk through airport turnstile sideways going to Bangkok.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beer holder.
Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with the software.
Bacon and Eggs: a day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.
HECK is where people go who don't believe in GOSH.
A picture is worth 1,000 words, but it uses up 1,000 times the memory.
Remember that half the people you know are below average.
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand.
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
Strange that psychics have to ask you for your name.
He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead.
(All anon., if you know origins please tell us. Some might be attributable to US comedian Steven Wright, in which case, my acknowledgements to him.)


funny quotes predictions (alleged)
"Computers in the future will weigh no more than 1.5 tons." (Popular Mechanics, forecasting advance of science, 1949.)

"I think there's a world market for maybe five computers." (Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.)

"I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." (Editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.)

"But what is it good for?" (Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, commenting on the micro chip, 1968)

"There is no reason why anyone would want to have a computer in their home." (Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp, 1977.)

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." (Western Union memo, 1876.)

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" (David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920's.)

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" (HM Warner, Warner Bros, 1927.)

"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say that America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." (Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting the Mrs Fields Cookies business.)

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." (Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles, 1962.)

"Heavier than air flying machines are impossible." (Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.)

"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." (Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3M PostIt Notepads.)
"So we went to Atari and said, 'We've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' They said 'No'. Then we went to Hewlett-Packard; they said, 'We don't need you. You haven't got through college yet'." (Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.)

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." (Drillers whom Edwin L Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil, 1859.)

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." (Irving Fisher, Economics professor, Yale University, 1929.)

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value". (Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.)

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." (Charles H Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.)

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." (Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.)

"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." (Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873.)

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." (Bill Gates of Microsoft, 1981.)
"Fred Astaire Can't act, can't sing, balding... Can dance a little." (MGM telent scout, 1928.)
"What can you do with a guy with ears like that?" (Jack Warner, movie mogul, rejecting Clark Gable, 1930.)
"You ain't goin' nowhere son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck." (Jim Denny of the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, firing Elvis Presley after his first performance.)
"I'm sorry Mr Kipling, but you don't know how to use the English language." (Editor of the San Francisco Examiner, rejecting a short story from author and poet Rudyard Kipling.)
(With thanks to Tony Wills for his contributions.)
the peter principle
"In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence" (Dr Laurence Peter, 1919-90, Canadian academic, from the 1969 book, The Peter Principle, written by Dr Peter and Raymond Hull - Peter was the academic; Hull the writer)
Far from being an indictment of people, Laurence Peter's ideas were mostly focused on the weaknesses of typical organisations, and the threat that they present to the well-being of their people.
Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull's 1969 book The Peter Principle is a study of hierarchies (Peter coined the scientific term 'hierarchiology') and how people behave within them in relation to promotion and competence. Laurence Peter also asserted that, "Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence", although he places the blame on organisations, not employees, and urges people to prioritise their health and happiness rather than struggle to meet the unhealthy demands of a promotion-too-far, in an uncaring hierarchy.
Although written in 1969, The Peter Principle contains perspectives that resonate even more strongly today.
Notably Laurence Peter observed that bosses who are competent in their roles tend to assess employees according to their output and results, whereas incompetent bosses tend to assess employees according to their input and adherence to rules and policies, etc. This remains a feature of poorly managed organisations and hierarchies.
Peter also suggested that 'super-competence' in an employee is more likely to result in dismissal than promotion, which again is a feature of poor organisations, which cannot handle the disruption. A super-competent employee "...violates the first commandment of hierarchical life: [namely that] the hierarchy must be preserved.." which again is symptomatic of poorly run modern organisations, just as it was back in the 1960's.
Peter also says of leadership in poor organisations: "Most heirarchies are nowadays so cumbered with rules and traditions....... that even high employees do not have to lead anyone anywhere, in the sense of pointing out the direction and setting the pace. They simply follow precedents, obey regulations, and move at the head of the crowd. Such employees lead only in the sense that the carved wooden figurehead leads the ship.."
Also included in Laurence Peter's study was his analysis of a survey of general practice doctors who were asked to list the most commonly encountered medical complaints among 'successful' patients. The survey results could easily be found in a modern survey, and included ulcers, colitis, high blood pressure, alcoholism, obesity, hypertension, insomnia, cardiovascular problems and impotence. Peter interpreted such complaints as evidence of 'constitutional incompetence' associated with what he termed 'final placement syndrome'. At the time, Peter bemoaned the fact that the medical profession failed to see the connection between over-demanding work responsibility and people's well-being. Today of course we understand that there is a connection, although the challenge remains for most organisations, and society as a whole, to focus seriously on dealing with the situation. As Peter himself says, "...Truth will out! Time and the increasingly tumultuous social order inevitably will being enlightenment.."
Laurence Peter's ideas of 1969 were keenly perceptive then, and regrettably remain so today.
parkinson's law
"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." (Cyril Northcote Parkinson, 1909-1993, English political scientist, historian and writer, from his book, Parkinson's Law - The Pursuit of Progress, written in 1957.)
The fuller vesion of the quote known as 'Parkinson's Law' is:
"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion, and subordinates multiply at a fixed rate, regardless of the amount of work produced.." (Cyril Northcote Parkinson, 1909-1993, English political scientist, historian and writer, from his book, Parkinson's Law - The Pursuit of Progress, written in 1957.)
Parkinson also coined other notable phrases of enduring relevance:
"Expenditure rises to meet income." (C Northcote Parkinson, 1909-1993, from The Law and the Profits, 1960.)
"The man who is denied the opportunity of taking decisions of importance begins to regard as important the decisions he is allowed to take." (C Northcote Parkinson, 1909-1993, from Parkinson's Law - The Pursuit of Progress, 1957.)
the pareto principle (pareto's law)
Known by various names, including The Pareto Principle, The Pareto Law, Pareto's Law, The 80/20 Rule, The 80:20 Rule, Pareto Theory, The Principle of Least Effort (a term coined by George Zipf in 1949 based on Pareto's theory), The Principle of Imbalance, The 80-20 Principle, The Rule of the Vital Few (an interpretation developed by Joseph Juran) and other combinations of these expressions.
The Pareto Principle (at a simple level) suggests that where two related data sets or groups exist (typically cause and effect, or input and output):
"80 percent of output is produced by 20 percent of input."
or alternatively
"80 percent of outcomes are from 20 percent of causes"
or alternatively
"80 percent of contribution comes from 20 percent of the potential contribution available"
There is no definitive Pareto 'quote' as such - the above are my own simplified interpretations of Pareto's 80-20 Rule. The Pareto Principle is a model or theory, and an extremely useful model at that. It has endless applications - in management, social study and demographics, all types of distribution analysis, and business and financial planning and evaluation.
In actual fact the Pareto Principle does not say that the 80:20 ratio applies to every situation, and neither is the model based on a ratio in which the two figures must add to make 100.
And even where a situation does contain a 80:20 correlation other ratios might be more significant, for example:
• 99:22 (illustrating that even greater concentration than 80:20 and therefore significance at the 'top-end') or
• 5:50 (ie, just 5% results or benefit coming from 50% of the input or causes or contributors, obviously indicating an enormous amount of ineffectual activity or content).
The reasons why 80:20 has become the 'standard' are:
• the 80-20 correlation was the first to be discovered
• 80-20 remains the most striking and commonly occurring ratio
• and since its discovery, the 80:20 ratio has always been used as the name and basic illustration of the Pareto theory.
Here are some examples of Pareto's Law as it applies to various situations. According to the Pareto Principle, it will generally the case (broadly - remember it's a guide not a scientific certainty), that within any given scenario or system or organisation:
• 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts
• 80 percent of activity will require 20 percent of resources
• 80 percent of usage is by 20 percent of users
• 80 percent of the difficulty in achieving something lies in 20 percent of the challenge
• 80 percent of revenue comes from 20 percent of customers
• 80 percent of problems come from 20 percent of causes
• 80 percent of profit comes from 20 percent of the product range
• 80 percent of complaints come from 20 percent of customers
• 80 percent of sales will come from 20 percent of sales people
• 80 percent of corporate pollution comes from 20 percent of corporations
• 80 percent of work absence is due to 20 percent of staff
• 80 percent of road traffic accidents are cause by 20 percent of drivers
• 80 percent of a restaurant's turnover comes from 20 percent of its menu
• 80 percent of your time spent on this website will be spent on 20 percent of this website
• and so on..
Remember for any particular situation the precise ratio can and probably will be different to 80:20, but the principle will apply nevertheless, and in many cases the actual ratio will not be far away from the 80:20 general rule.
Such a principle is extremely useful in planning, analysis, trouble-shooting, problem-solving and decision-making, and change management, especially when broad initial judgements have to be made, and especially when propositions need checking. Many complex business disasters could easily have been averted if the instigators had thought to refer to the Pareto Principle as a 'sanity check' early on. Pareto's Law is a tremendously powerful model, all the more effective because it's so simple and easy.
For example, consider an organisation which persists in directing its activities equally across its entire product range when perhaps 95% of its profits derive from just 10% of the products, and/or perhaps a mere 2% of its profits come from 60% of its product range. Imagine the wasted effort... Instead, by carrying out a quick simple 'Pareto analysis' and discovering these statistics, the decision-makers could see at a glance clearly where to direct their efforts, and probably too could see a whole lot of products that could be discontinued. The same effect can be seen in markets, services, product content, resources, etc; indeed any situation where an 'output:input' or 'effect:cause' relationship exists.
Pareto's Principle is named after the man who first discovered and described the '80:20' phenomenon, Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923), an Italian economist and sociologist. Pareto was born in Paris, and became Professor of Political Economy at Lausanne in 1893. An academic, Pareto was fascinated by social and political statistics and trends, and the mathematical interpretation of socio-economic systems.
Vilfredo Pareto first observed the 80/20 principle when researching and analysing wealth and income distribution trends in nineteenth-century England, in which he noted that 20 percent of the people owned 80 percent of the wealth. Beyond this he also noted that this 'predictable imbalance' could be extrapolated (extended) to illustrate that, for example, 10 per cent would have 65 percent of the wealth, and 5 percent of people would own 50 percent of the wealth. Again these other ratios are what Pareto found in this particular study - they are not scientific absolutes that can be transferred reliably to other situations.
Pareto then tested his 80-20 principle (including related numerical correlations) on other countries, and all sorts of other distribution scenarios, by which he was able to confirm that the 80:20 Principle, and similarly imbalanced numerical correlations, could be used reliably as a model to predict and measure and manage all kinds of effects and situations.
Thus while the very first application of the Pareto Principle, or 80-20 Rule, was originally in Pareto's suggestion that "Eighty percent of the wealth is held by twenty percent of the people," the principle was and can be extended to apply to almost all other distribution scenarios as well.
As a mathematical political and sociological innovator, Pareto developed other theories, for instance his 1916 book The Mind and Society predicted the growth of Fascism in Europe, but his most famous discovery was the '80/20' statistical rule that bears his name. Regrettably Pareto didn't live to see the general appreciation and wide adoption of his principle; he seems to not have been particularly effective at explaining and promoting the theory beyond academic circles, and it was left to other experts such as George Zipf and Joseph Juran to develop and refine Pareto's theories to make them usable and popular in business and management later towards the middle of the 20th century.
motivational inspirational quotes for self-development, personal fulfillment, management, leadership, ethical business, organisational development and life
See the section on motivation for explanation of why quotes and sayings inspire people, including yourself, and how these inspirational quotes stimulate motivation and self-belief, and promote self-development, personal growth and fulfilment.
"Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism."
"Get involved in an issue that you're passionate about. It almost doesn't matter what it is ... We give too much of our power away, to the professional politicians, to the lobbyists, to cynicism. And our democracy suffers as a result."
"When you focus on solving problems instead of scoring political points, and emphasize common sense over ideology, you'd be surprised what can be accomplished."
"How doth the little busy bee improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day from every opening flower."
"Don't hurry, don't worry. You're only here for a short visit. So be sure to stop and smell the flowers”.
"Everything is data." (This expression, whose origin is unclear and is probably untraceable, most typically occurs in the field of information management, but its meaning comes to life when used in the context of human relationships and behaviour. To explain: in the information management context the operative word is 'everything', meaning that every piece of information is relevant and is worthy of recording and analysing. This of course is perfectly fine, and is true for many situations. However in the human relationships context, 'data' is the operative word, meaning that everything (whatever it is) should be regarded objectively and non-judgementally. Data isn't necessarily good or bad. Data just 'is'. As such, "Everything is data," reminds us of the importance of seeing things for what they are, and not how we feel about them. The expression helps us to be objective and fair, and to put our feelings and emotions to one side when reacting and making decisions, especially when our reactions and decisions affect others. Thanks B Heyn for inspiring this.)
"No cord nor cable can so forcibly draw, or hold so fast, as love can do with a twined thread."
"I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended." (Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born 1918, South African lawyer, statesman and 1993 Nobel Peace Prizewinner. This quote is from Mandela's inspirational 1994 book, Long Walk to Freedom.)
"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth - and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." (Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 1926-2004, psychiatrist, humanitarian, teacher, author, and pioneer of bereavement and hospice care. Used with permission, with thanks to and
"It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied. Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger." (Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931, Syrian writer, poet and artist, from his inspirational book The Prophet)
"In one of my classes I ask my students to write on the subject, 'If I were to die tomorrow, how would I live tonight?' Answering this question always brings great insight." (Professor Leo F Buscaglia, 1924-1998, teacher, writer and humanitarian, from his remarkable book, Love, 1972.)
"Carpe Diem" ('Seize the day', Horace, 65-8BC, Roman poet, from 'Odes' Book 1.)
"Aut Viam Invenium Aut Facium" ('Where there's a will there's a way', literally, 'I'll either find a way or make one'.)
"Cogito Ergo Sum" ('I think, therefore I exist', popularised by René Descartes, 1596-1650, French philosopher, from Discourse on Method, 1637.)
"Facta Non Verba" ('Actions speak louder than words', literally, 'Deeds not words'.)
"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." (Attributed to Anais Nin, French-born American writer, 1903-1977.)
"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." (Martha Washington, 1731-1802, wife of US President George Washington and the first US First Lady, 1789-1797. Ack Douglas Miller, writer, who features this quote in his excellent book 'Positive Thinking, Positive Action'.)
"While you teach, you learn."
("Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours."
"If you don't know what port you are sailing to, no wind is favourable."
"It is the weak who are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong."

"Cerca Trova" ('Seek and you shall find', or 'He who searches shall find' an old Italian saying, pronounced 'cherka-trohva'. The saying originally appears - although not in Italian of course - in the Bible, Matthew VII;vii as "Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." The later Italian 'Cerca Trova' version partly owes its popularity to the artist Giorgio Vasari who used it in a fresco he painted on a wall of The Hall of Five Hundred in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence around 1563. The words Cerca Trova appear on a soldier's banner, and are believed by some to be a reference to the great 'lost' mural by Leonardo da Vinci, The Battle of Anghiari, painted around 1500, depicting the Florentine victory over Milan, which previously adorned the wall and which Vasari was commissioned to cover in celebration of the ruling Medici family. Efforts are ongoing in Florence to solve the mystery of whether Leonardo's painting is indeed hidden and recoverable beneath Vasari's work.)
"If you don't create your reality, your reality will create you." (Lizzie West, American singer-songwriter. Incidentally Lizzie West, aside from her wonderful talent, humanitarian philosophy and social justice activities, also wrote and performed a beautiful interpretation of the Mary Frye poem, 'Do not stand at my grave and weep', which appears on her CD 'Holy Road: Freedom Songs', track title 'Prayer'. Lizzie West's second album is an exceptional work too.)
"In the factory we make cosmetics. In the store we sell hope." (Charles Revson, 1906-75, founder of the Revlon corporation, as quoted by his biographer Andrew Tobias in the 1976 book Fire and Ice. While Revson is not a great model for responsible and compassionate leadership, this quote illustrates well an essential aspect of business and selling and communications, ie., that people need to know what something means to them, beyond what something merely is.)
"The salary of the chief executive of the large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself." (John Kenneth Galbraith, 1908-2006, American economist and social responsibility advocate - the quote is from Annals of an Abiding Liberal, 1980, and sadly it remains widely applicable today.)
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." (Patrick White, 1912-90, Australian novelist and 1973 Nobel Prizewinner for Literature, from The Solid Mandala, 1966)
"The best careers advice to give to the young is 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it'." (Katherine Whitehorn, English journalist and writer, from The Observer in 1975 - the principle applies today still, and to grown-up careers too..)
"How can I take an interest in my work when I don't like it?" (Francis Bacon, 1909-93, English philosopher and statesman, attributed.)
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." (John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, aka Lord Acton of Aldenham, 1834-1902, English historian and founding editor of the Cambridge Modern History, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887. We've all heard the quote, but not many know its origins.)
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." (Anne Frank, 1929-45, German Jewish diarist and holocaust victim, from The Diary of Anne Frank, first published in 1947.)
"In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." (Anne Frank, 1929-45, German Jewish diarist and holocaust victim, from The Diary of Anne Frank, entry dated 15 July 1944.)
"Compassion is not a sloppy sentimental feeling for people who are underprivileged or sick... it is an absolutely practical belief that regardless of a person's background, ability or ability to pay, he should be provided with the best that society has to offer." (Neil Kinnock, Welsh Labour politician, from his maiden speech in 1970.)
"Once the last tree is cut and the last river poisoned, you will find you cannot eat your money." (Traditional saying, referenced by Joyce McLean in the Globe and Mail, 1989.)
"My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon." (Traditional Japanese haiku verse teaching us to see the good in all things, referenced by Leo Buscaglia in his 1972 book called Love.)
"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again." (Variously attributed to quakers Stephen Grellet, 1773-1855, and William Penn, 1644-1718, and to Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian spiritual leader, humanitarian and constitutional independence reformer. This quote is also shown as a slightly different version, as below.)
"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again." (Variously attributed to quakers Stephen Grellet, 1773-1855, and William Penn, 1644-1718, and to Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian spiritual leader, humanitarian and constitutional independence reformer. This quote is also shown as a slightly different version, as above.)
"If you don't know where you are going you will probably end up somewhere else." (Laurence Peter, 1919-90, Canadian academic and expert on organised hierarchies, from his 1969 book The Peter Principle.)
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man can't make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." (John Ruskin, 1819-1900, English art critic and social commentator, thanks R Parker)
And some more lovely Ruskin quotes:
"There is no wealth but life."
"Better the rudest work that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest without meaning."
"To know anything well involves a profound sensation of ignorance."
"Let us reform our schools and we shall find little reform needed in our prisons."
"The essence of lying is in deception, not in words." "Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness."
the mandela inaugural speech myth
The following quote is not Nelson Mandela's and he's never used it. It's commonly believed that Mandela used these words in his 1994 inauguration speech. He didn't. It comes from the book A Return To Love, 1992, by Marianne Williamson.
" 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?... Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do... It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (Marianne Williamson, author, from A Return To Love, 1992. Ack C Wilson and J Cooke. The version below includes references to God, which will suit some people, but not others - use whichever is appropriate.)
" 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (Marianne Williamson, author, from A Return To Love, 1992. Ack C Wilson and J Cooke. The version above excludes the references to God, which some people will prefer, but not others - use whichever is appropriate.)

the everybody somebody anybody nobody story (or poem)
The 'everybody somebody...' story (also referred to as a poem) appears in a wide variety of forms - often with the title - 'That's Not My Job' or 'Who's To Blame?' The sequence of the words (everybody, somebody, anybody, nobody) also varies in the headings of different versions. The order shown here seems most popular and logical, although I'm open to better suggestions. Most common first lines are either: 'This is a story about four people..' or 'There were four people named.. (everybody somebody anybody nobody...)'
The story, or poem, is probably a shortened simplified version of the longer 'A Poem About Responsibility' (below), which is apparently by Charles Osgood (the American CBS News anchorman and writer?). Perhaps it's the other way around and the Osgood poem is an extended version of the shorter one, although this seems less likely. If anyone can provide any further details about the Osgood poem, or the origins of the shorter version (for instance is Osgood the US news presenter or a different Osgood?, and when was the poem published?, etc), then please let me know.
I reckon this is closest to a definitive sensible short version. Adapt it to suit your situation. (Most versions seem to include the words in parentheses (brackets to some folk) although personally I think the verse is improved by taking these words out.)
That's Not My Job (aka Who's To Blame? Whose Responsibility? and The Everybody Somebody Anybody Nobody Story - take your pick...)
This is a story about four people: Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it.
Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did.
Somebody got angry (about that) because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody knew that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Somebody wouldn't do it.
And (/It ended up that) Everybody blamed Somebody because (/when) Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
or the alternative last line:
And (/It ended up that) Everybody blamed Somebody because Nobody actually asked Anybody.
(The alternative last line is more appropriate for illustrating principles of responsibility and delegation, whereas the one above it is more appropriate for principles of individuals taking personal responsibility, irrespective of delegation):
Please bear in mind that the Osgood poem below is likely to be subject to copyright and so care should be taken when using it. Further details of copyright will be shown here when I discover them. Of course the shorter 'everybody somebody... story' might also be subject to copyright, who knows? If you do please tell me. I am featuring both here to show that the 'Somebody Anybody Everybody Nobody' poem has a big brother, which might well pre-date it and as such deserves some credit, along with Charles Osgood, assuming he wrote it.
a poem about responsibility
There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who'll carry out the task?

Anybody could have told you that everybody knew
That this was something somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; anybody had the ability.
But nobody believed that it was their responsibility.

It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done,
If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since everybody recognised that anybody could,
Everybody took for granted that somebody would.

But nobody told anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what everybody thought that somebody would do.

When what everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And everybody looked around for somebody to blame.

Somebody should have done the job
And Everybody should have,
But in the end Nobody did
What Anybody could have.
Charles Osgood
If you can confirm the authorship of this poem or the short versions please let me know.
With thanks to the many people who've enquired about this or sent different versions of the short version suggesting it be included on the site.
"Don't be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small steps." (David Lloyd George, 1863-1945, Welsh Liberal Statesman - with acknowledgements to Barbara Heyn.)
"We must become the change we want to see." (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian statesman and spiritual leader, humanitarian and constitutional independence reformer - ack B Heyn.)
"It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed." (Harvey Samuel Firestone, 1868-1938, US industrialist, and founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, who pioneered the pneumatic car tyre for the Model-T Ford - ack B Heyn.)
"The workplace should primarily be an incubator for the human spirit." (Anita Roddick, born 1942, British businesswoman, founder of the Body Shop organisation, writer and humanitarian.)
"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all." (Peter Drucker, 1909-2005, Austrian born US management guru, writer and seminal business thinker.)
"The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it." (William James, 1842-1910, US psychologist and philosopher)
"Lives based on having are less free than lives based either on doing or being." (William James, 1842-1910, US psychologist and philosopher.)
"Be willing to have it so; acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune." (William James, 1842-1910, US psychologist and philosopher.)
"Cocaine is God's way of saying you are making too much money." (attributed to Robin Williams, US comedian and actor, and also to rock musician and occasional actor Sting, each coincidentally born in 1951)
"A war regarded as inevitable or even probable, and therefore much prepared for, has a very good chance of eventually being fought." (Anais Nin, 1903-1977, French-born American writer and psychoanalyst - see also the Murphy's Plough story)
A lesson from a great man:
"My great mistake, the fault for which I can't forgive myself, is that one day I ceased my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality." (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, Irish playwright, poet and humorist)
"Along this tree
From root to crown
Ideas flow up
And vetoes down."
(Peter F Drucker, 1909-2005, Austrian born US management guru, writer and seminal business thinker. If this quote applies to your organisation then do what you can to change things.)
the guy in the glass poem
The Guy In The Glass poem has been subject of much confusion and some distortion, and is rarely properly attributed. Duncan Fletcher, the England Cricket coach is not alone in failing to attribute it when recited the poem in a BBC Radio interview (Radio 5 Live, 23 October 2005). Fletcher explained that all the England players had been issued a copy of the poem, and he believed it to have been helpful in contributing to the team's development, culminating in their Ashes victory that year. Ex-captain Michael Atherton (some years before the Ashes winning team) has also in a separate interview referred to the poem as being of particular personal significance to him, and something he keeps with him at all times. It's a remarkable and powerful piece of writing. The Guy In The Glass poem was in fact written in 1934 by American writer Peter 'Dale' Wimbrow (1895-1954), and was first published in The American Magazine in May that year. Wimbrow submitted the poem in response to the magazine's request for its readers to submit answers to an 18 year-old man's question as to , "...why an ambitious young man should be honest...". Thereafter the published poem seemingly went 'wild', so to speak, as great literary works sometimes do. Subsequent distorted versions commonly change the title to 'The Man In the Glass', or 'The Man In The Mirror', and many versions alter the word 'pelf' in the first line to 'self' believing the word 'pelf' to be a misprint. Pelf in fact means money or wealth, usually ill-gotten, derived from Old French pelfe and pelfre, meaning reward gained from plunder or contest or achievements, probably related to the same roots as the word pilfer. If you refer to the Guy In The Glass poem please use the correct words, and attribute it properly, to Dale Wimbrow, 1934. This is the correct version. It's about honesty of course, and more than this, the poem provides a philosophy for living a life of integrity and value.
The Guy In The Glass
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn't your Father or Mother or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.
©Dale Wimbrow, 1934.
Re-printed here with permission of Peter Wimbrow, Dale Wimbrow's son. More information and history about The Guy In The Glass poem is at

"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." (Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931, US inventor of the light bulb, gramophone, electric valve, a megaphone, a storage battery, a system of electricity generation and distribution, and first person to produce talking motion pictures. Edison said this in 1903 apparently. See also the Leclerc alternative version below.)
"Genius is only a greater aptitude for patience." (George-Louis Leclerc, aka Compte de Buffon, 1707-88, French naturalist, written in 1803, a little ahead - 100 years actually - of Edison's version.)
"If 'A' is a success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x; y is play, and z is keeping your mouth shut." ( Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, Bavarian-Jewish-born Swiss-American Physicist and seminal thinker about the universe, in one of his lighter moments.)
"I don't drop players. I make changes." (Bill Shankly, 1913-81, Scottish manager of Liverpool Football Club, demonstrating the art of accentuating the positive. Shankly is also credited with one of the most famous of all football quotes, below.)
"Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that." (Bill Shankly, 1913-81, Scottish manager of Liverpool Football Club, on the importance of passion in your chosen field.)
"Age is deformed, youth unkind,
We scorn their bodies, they our mind."
(An Elizabethan comment about different people's perceptions that holds true today, written by Thomas Bastard - seriously, that's his real name - 1566-1618, English poet, epigram-writer and clergyman)
"Give me a smart idiot before a stupid genius any day." (Samuel Goldwyn, 1882-1974, Polish-Jewish-born US film producer.)
"A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent."
(William Blake, 1757-1827, English poet, painter and mystic.)
"When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong." (Richard Buckminster Fuller, 1895-1983, US engineer and architect.)
"Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel." (attributed to Bill Clinton, US 42nd President, referring to the dangers of falling out with press and media folk; the quote was originally written by Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American author and commentator, aka Samuel L Clemens - thanks J Pollak-Kahn for the Mark Twain origin.)
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), the great Indian statesman and spiritual leader, was once asked what he thought of Western Civilisation. Gandhi replied: "I think that it would be a very good idea." (see also the Gandhi shoe story)
"If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves." (Carl Jung, 1875-1961, Swiss psychiatrist and humanist, written in 1932 - the principle applies to seeking to change anyone, or anything, not just children...)
"We call ours a utilitarian age, and we do not know the uses of any single thing. We have forgotten that water can cleanse, that fire can purify, and that the Earth is mother to us all." (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, playwright, author and poet. Prophetic words.)
the 'serenity prayer'
The 'Serenity Prayer' is powerful statement of personal philosophy for our times.
"God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be chan
19th February 2007 From India, Kochi


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