As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I started tagging posts where I used quotes with the tag “Quotes,” so it’s easier for you to find other posts with quotes in them. I also decided (a couple of weeks ago), to every once and awhile, do a post with just quotes. The first post of quotes contained famous words in passion, produce, and production. Today’s post of quotes covers the topics of pensiveness, presaging, and perception. (I don’t have some sort of preoccupation or propensity for the letter ‘P,’ it just happened this way.) The first, from Mark Twain:
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”
I first saw/heard this quote on an episode of The West Wing (or so I thought — in trying to find the episode it was in, I’m at a loss). I could see President Barlet saying something like this given his character (no pun intended). This seems to be a poignant quote, especially for politics, with regard to debating ideas and bills. I’ve seen a number of articles explaining the value of dissent and I think it’s true. Dissent is a way of preventing groupthink from taking hold. More than this, dissent allows for a diversity of opinion and thus, a diversity of ideas. When there is more than one opinion bandied about, it would seem (and is) more likely that new ideas can emerge.
An important piece that comes to mind is dialectics or what I was explained to me as dialectics. I’ve been reading the wiki article, so that I could more accurately describe the concept that was explained to me and I now see that maybe what I was told was dialectics is not actually dialectics (or maybe is a form of dialectics). Anyway, the exercise that was explained to me was for when two people have differing opinions (and want to settle an argument or come to a resolution of ideas). They begin to have a discussion, but instead of arguing for their own points of view, they argue against their point of view. So, in effect, they find support for their compatriot’s point of view. It can be a very different experience. The next quote we have is from Wayne Gretzky:
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. – Wayne Gretzky
Personally, I haven’t been a very big “fan” of Wayne Gretzky, but that’s more because I grew up watching the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1990s and Wayne Gretzky played for the rival Los Angeles Kings. Nonetheless, it’s hard to debate the ‘greatest hockey player ever‘ without including Gretzky in the argument. This quote above is one I’ve found in some of the unlikeliest of places (business, for one). It’s a different way of re-focusing one’s attention on what’s to come rather than what is. It seems especially important when talking about emerging markets. I wouldn’t advocate living “in the future,” but in most instances, it’s important to have foresight. And the last quote we have is from Antonio Porchia:
I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received. – Antonio Porchia
This is a great “wisdom” quote that can almost come across as arrogant or condescending, depending upon how you receive it (ha!) It kind of lends credence to the idea that “we only hear what we want to hear.” It’s probably not reasonable for everyone to engage in “active listening” all the time, but I bet there’d be a whole let less misunderstandings in the world. Words really are just a sophisticated set of symbols that help us communicate with one another. It is but a means to an end. It’s like telephones. It’s not that we like/need/want telephones, but we want the ability to communicate with people who are not nearby. The next time you’re talking with someone, think about how much of what you’re saying is actually being received. Better yet, the next time you’re listening to someone, think about how much of what they’re saying to you is actually being received.