“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold.”
Girl Scout song
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
*Thank you, http://www.brainyquote.com/
# Fists of Fury?
Greetings used to be so simple: open hand? Shake it. Closed fist? Duck.
But social mores have shifted in recent years, and this fortune no longer packs the same punch. Now, fist bumping is an acceptable form of greeting, particularly among metro-macho males and germaphobes.
So, the next time you’re expecting a handshake but faced with a fist. . . bump it! (But watch for a one-two from the left, in case you have to still have to duck.)
I once flew West across the international date line. It was an unsettling, Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole sensation. Landing in Australia, I felt somehow cheated of time; 24 hours of travel brought me nearly 40 hours into the future, with nothing to show for it but a heightened appreciation for the gracious attention of a good flight crew.
While this was a momentous–and somewhat disturbing–experience, I was merely following the path of thousands before me. And so it is with most of life’s experiences. Rarely do any of us have a purely unique challenge to face or crisis to overcome. Keeping this in perspective, and learning from those who preceded us, is what gets us through to whatever tomorrow may bring.
This fortune is a concise formula for education… and unfortunately one that fewer schools and parents embrace than in generations past.
From Baby Einstein to the Core Curriculum, we all too often try to pump our kids full of “knowing”, instead of teaching them how to do “learning”. They are rewarded for imitation, not innovation, for compliance instead of creativity.
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
Albert Einstein *
In other words:
“The World is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.” Ivy Baker Priest
It’s good to embrace change as impetus to improve your life and start something new. Unless, of course, you won’t survive the change…
Don’t let the bastards win.
I’m not a big fan of this type of sunshine-and-lollipops prognostication. Nothing comes easy in this life, despite the vague promise of something-for-nothing at the base of our entitlement-driven culture.
Still. . . this fortune is interesting in its phrasing, which leaves it somewhat open to interpretation. Being successful in business is unusual in itself; the U.S. Small Business Administration has estimated that only a quarter of new businesses manage to stay in business for 15 years or more. Unless the use of “unusually” in this fortune is purely gratuitous, perhaps it alludes to an unusual method of achieving business success. Which led me to examine a few well-regarded success factors and philosophies*:
- Socrates: “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.”
- Lao Tzu: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
- Vince Lombardi: “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”
- Jack Welch: “Number one, cash is king… number two, communicate… number three, buy or bury the competition.”
And if all that fails, one can apparently succeed by conceding defeat:
- George Burns: “It is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”
- W.C. Fields: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”
Which reminds me of a CEO for whom I used to work, who insisted that to “fail fast” and move on was the key to business success. This resulted in an especially creative and chaotic organization in which good ideas were the currency and competition was king. For those willing to define success by leading a green-lit project team, there was a lot of success to go around. . . but it only lasted until the next idea-du-jour trumped yours and a new project leader was crowned.
In today’s fast-changing business world, this type of fleeting achievement is typical: So much popular music is by flash-in-the-pan bands. So many “revolutionary” technologies are obsolete in months. In the constant noise of the digital realm, just getting others to click the “like” button is a measure of success.
I think achieving unusual business success in the modern world might best be defined as creating a business that is sustained and durable — lasting for many years and able to weather rapid and constant change.
Do you agree? How would you define “unusual” success in business, and what examples of unsusual success have you seen?
*with thanks to BrainyQuote for helping me be unusually successful in research
Paraphrasing the early American statesman and philosopher Benjamin Franklin (“If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” Poor Richard’s Almanack), this fortune reminds us that — when it comes to love — we reap what we sow.
If you are hungry for love, this fortune seems to say, you should sow in yourself the qualities that will attract the love of others. If you are simply hungry, you might instead sow seeds of lovage, so that you may enjoy tasty salads and soups come spring.