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Gifts of Ideas from Great Leaders
By Rich Meiss • Thursday, May 29, 2008

I have been inspired by the wisdom of many great leaders, and have kept a collection of their quotes and words. As you read each quote, take some time to reflect on it and make note of your thoughts and possible actions that you may take. 
Muhammed Ali (1942-    )                   
“You could be the world’s best garbage man, the world’s best model; it doesn’t matter what you do if you’re the best.”
Muhammed Ali was born as Cassius Clay and later changed his name; Ali is the only person to have won three world heavyweight boxing titles.
Rich’s thoughts: Every job has value. Every person has value. It is true that some jobs are valued more highly – there is more pay for putting in the same amount of time. But each job has a dignity of its own if done well. Be the best at what you do!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes from Ali: 
“Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.”
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)                                
“Well begun is half done.”
Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher, scientist and writer who invented the study of formal logic.
Rich’s thoughts: Someone once said that the way to do a job is to get started and don’t quit. The hard part is the starting. What jobs are you putting off that need to be done now? Make a list, prioritize the list, and get started now.
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes from Aristotle
 “Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.”
“Education is the best provision for old age.”
Marcus Aurelius (121-180)
“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly….”
Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emporer and a Stoic philosopher.
Rich’s thoughts: Abraham Lincoln once said that “most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”. His statement along with Aurelius’s reminds us that we all have the power to choose our thoughts – one author called it our greatest power as human beings. Choose your thoughts carefully today.
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Marcus Aurelius:
“Execute every act of thy life as though it were thy last.”
“A [person’s] worth is no greater than the worth of his ambition.”
Paul “Bear” Bryant (1913-1983)
“My attitude has always been … if it’s worth playing, it is worth paying the price to win.”
Bear Bryant was the legendary Alabama college football coach who compiled an amazing 323 wins over his lifetime of coaching.
Rich’s thoughts: As long as you are involved in the game of life – whether that is a job you currently have, a school that you are attending, a family that you are caring for – play the game to win. Pay the price to do the very best job you know how to do. Enjoy paying the price to win!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Bear Bryant:
“Most coaches study the films when they lose. I study them when we win – to see if I can figure out what I did right.”
“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: 1. Admit it. 2. Learn from it. 3. Don’t repeat it.”
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
“Concentration is my motto – first honesty, then industry, then concentration.”
An industrialist who became wealthy through his investments in oil and steel, Andrew Carnegie devoted his later years to philanthropy and created thousands of public libraries across America.
Rich’s thoughts: A magnifying glass takes a beam of light from the sun, concentrates it, and turns it into the power of fire. A thought focused on the outcomes you want has the same potential – to create power and energy. Focus on what you want today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Andrew Carnegie:
“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what [people] say. I just watch what they do.”
“There is no use whatever trying to help people who do not help themselves. You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he is willing to climb himself.”
Dale Carnegie (1888-1955)
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Author of the best-seller How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie influenced millions around the world through his courses on public speaking and personal development.
Rich’s thoughts: Good leaders know that to get things done it is important to have the help and collaboration of others. And one of the best ways to get others to collaborate with you is to befriend them – find out about their lives, interests, concerns, challenges.
Become interested in those around you today – ask them about their lives, and then listen to them!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Dale Carnegie:
“You never achieve real success unless you like what you are doing.”
“We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.”
Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.”
Best known for leading Great Britain to victory through the dark days of WW II, Winston Churchill was also a great orator and author who won a Nobel Prize for Literature.
Rich’s thoughts: While it is important to plan our lives, it is also important to live today! What tasks need to be done - today? Who needs a kind word - today? What step can I take to improve my life – today? Take action – today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Winston Churchill:
“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
“Never, never, never give up.”
Confucius (551-479 B.C.)
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Confucius was China’s most popular philosopher and teacher, influencing the cultures of most of eastern Asia.
Rich’s thoughts: Many people find themselves in jobs they don’t really like (up to 50% according to a recent survey in America). And yet since most of us will spend up to 40 years of our lives “on the job”, why not find something to do that we really love to do?
Take a first step to finding work that you might really enjoy – today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes from Confucius:
“When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.”
“To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.”
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
Leonardo da Vinci was a brilliant Italian inventor, writer and artist, perhaps best known for his creation of the Mona Lisa.
Rich’s thoughts: Although it takes effort and concentration, we can often master a subject, a job, or a sport in a few months or years of time. But to master ourselves takes a lifetime! What disciplines do you need to work on today to master yourself? Setting goals? Taking action? Being more patient? Controlling your anger? Discipline yourself to do one thing today to help master yourself!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Leonardo da Vinci:
“It is better to die than to lose one’s freedom.”
“Iron rusts from disuse; … even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.”
Walt Disney (1901-1966)
“Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done, and done right”
Walt Disney was the pioneer of animated cartoons, and has captivated the world through his films and theme parks.
Rich’s thoughts: Many good ideas never see the light of day because we give up too easily on their accomplishment. Persistence can make the difference in seeing the idea through. Stick with your idea and make it happen!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Walt Disney:
“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
“The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.”
German physicist and mathematician, Albert Einstein is best known for creating the theory of relativity. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922.
Rich’s thoughts: Jesus said that he came to serve rather than to be served. Great leaders through the ages have also lived that philosophy – their role was to serve rather than to be served. Write down the name of someone you can serve today – a client, family member, or friend!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Albert Einstein:
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
“Try not to become a [person] of success but rather try to become a [person] of value.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he [or she] wants to do it.”
Dwight Eisenhower was a successful World War II general and 34th President of the United States.
Rich’s thoughts: Successful leaders help people discover what they were naturally gifted to do, and then allow them to use those talents in their work. They create the overall vision of what needs to be done, and how the talents of their people will contribute to that accomplishment. Help people discover their talents and then use them in their work!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Dwight D. Eisenhower:
“Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.”
“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead [people] to the dawn of eternal peace.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a philosopher, writer, speaker and poet, best known for his Essays.
Rich’s thoughts: When a group of people who had lived to 100 years old were asked what they would do differently if they could live their lives over again, many said they would reflect more. They would think more about what they really wanted from their lives and the choices they made. What about you? Have you taken the time lately to really think about your life? Take some time to examine your life today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Henry Ford (1863-1947)
“Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.”
Founder of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford was the driving force in the establishment of the automotive industry. He also became a great philanthropist.
Rich’s thoughts: It is easy to find fault. The harder job is finding a solution. Someone once said you should never offer criticism unless you have an idea of how to make things better. Be a solution generator – not a fault-finder!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Henry Ford:
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.”
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
Anne Frank (1929-1945)
“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are basically good.”
 Anne Frank was a young Jewish German girl who hid during the Nazi occupation and kept a diary of her experiences, eventually losing her life at age 16.
Rich’s thoughts: Most people wake up in the morning wanting to be decent human beings. But sometimes the situations in life cause us to be not so great – the dog bites, the traffic is slow, something or somebody didn’t show up on time, etc. If Anne Frank could still see the good in others after all that happened to her, surely you and I can as well. Look for the good in someone with whom you interact today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Anne Frank:
“Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.”
“Parents can only give good advice, or put [children] on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
“Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content.”
Benjamin Franklin was a great American statesman who helped frame the Declaration of Independence. He was also an author, scientist, inventor and diplomat.
Rich’s thoughts: Be humble enough to realize that you can learn something from everyone you meet. Be powerful enough to control your passions and emotions. Be rich enough to enjoy that which you have rather than that which you don’t have. Be humble, powerful and contented today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Ben Franklin:
“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.”
“Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.”
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
“Insanity is when you keep doing the same thing and expect to get different results.”
Sigmund Freud was a Viennese psychiatrist and author best known as the father of analytic psychology (he coined the term psychoanalysis).
Rich’s thoughts: Freud realized the folly of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We need to change our behaviors or our methods if we expect to get different results. This works in our personal lives as well as our professional lives.
Do something different today to get a different or better result!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Sigmund Freud:
“When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it.”
“ Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
“Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.”
Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of the Indian resistance movement against Great Britain, and succeeded in establishing an independent Indian state in 1947 before being assassinated.
Rich’s thoughts: Someone once said that when two or more people in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary. It is healthy to have an honest debate about different ways of doing things. Each side brings ideas to the table to be examined, and then the end result can be even better. Encourage a healthy debate of ideas!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Gandhi:
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese-American writer best known for his book, The Prophet.
Rich’s thoughts: The best gift is a gift or your time, your talent, your listening ear. The next time you are about to give money or a gift, ask if there is a way to give a gift of yourself. Give a little bit of yourself away today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Kahlil Gibran:
“Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness.”
“Desire is half of life; indifference is half of death.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
“…Treat [people] as though they are what they should be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German poet and philosopher.
Rich’s thoughts: Often people do not even know that of which they are capable. A good leader helps people see things in themselves that they may not even see. This principle is today called the Pygmalion Principle, named after the play written by George Bernard Shaw where professor Harry Higgins turned a plain flower girl into a stunning lady. Help someone see themselves as they can be today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Goethe:
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
“Love does not dominate, it cultivates.”
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)
“One [person] with courage makes a majority.”
Andrew Jackson was a military hero in the War of 1812 as well as a lawyer, judge, congressman, Senator, and the 7th President of the United States.
Rich’s thoughts: The right way of doing something is not always the popular way of doing it, but history is full of examples of those who stood for the right way even though it was unpopular. Two examples would be Abraham Lincoln rejecting slavery by promoting the Emancipation Proclamation and Susan B. Anthony fighting for a woman’s right to vote. What can you stand for today that is right even though it may not be popular? Stand firm for that which is right today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Andrew Jackson:
“You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessings.”
“Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense ….”
William James (1842-1910)
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can change their lives by changing their attitudes of mind.”
William James was an American psychologist and writer who has been called the father of American psychology.
Rich’s thoughts: This profound thought from William James is one of the most exciting discoveries that any human being can make. Each of us has the power to change our lives by changing the way we think. That is our greatest power – the power to choose our thoughts. Choose a positive attitude today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by William James:
“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”
“There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
“He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second time.”
Principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson went on to become the 3rd President of the United States. In his retirement, he established the University of Virginia.
Rich’s thoughts: It is so easy to get trapped into telling a little white lie because it is convenient. But resisting that temptation will help us to stand for the truth when it is really important. It is the little things that make a difference in developing our character.
Be a truth-teller today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Thomas Jefferson:
“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
“When angry, count to 10 before you speak; if very angry, count to 100.”
Pope John Paul II (1920- 2005)
“To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.”
The first Polish Pope in the history of the Catholic Church (from 1978 to 2005), John Paul enthusiastically took the doctrine of the church to the world.
Rich’s thoughts: A key to any team of people relating positively and getting things done is that each is sensitive to the needs of others. This is especially true in the family. By seeing a need and taking action, relationships are strengthened and lives are changed. Be a servant to someone close to you today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Pope John Paul II:
“If you wish to be brothers, drop your weapons.”
“War should … find no place on humanity’s agenda for the future.”
Helen Keller (1880-1969)
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.”
Severely handicapped in sight, hearing and speaking through an infant illness, Helen Keller became an international inspiration through her writings, lectures, and humanitarian projects.
Rich’s thoughts: Wise people through the centuries have indicated the power of the human mind to transform life’s circumstances. Helen Keller proved that power perhaps as much as any individual in life. Choose positive thoughts and you get positive results – choose negative thoughts and you get negative results. Choose positive thoughts today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Helen Keller:
“I thank God for my handicaps, for through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
“Security is mostly a superstition… Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
World War II hero, Congressman and Senator, John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th President of the United States at age 43, and assassinated just three years later.
Rich’s thoughts: Planning for future needs is very important to success in any endeavor, whether it is our families, our work, or our social involvements. And the time to plan is when things are going well, not when the problems have come. Take some time to do some future planning and goal setting today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by John F. Kennedy:
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
“Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Trained as a minister, King became a civil rights leader in the 50’s and 60’s and influenced Congress to pass a Civil Rights Act.  He won the Nobel Peace Prize shortly before being assassinated in 1968.
Rich’s thoughts: A friend and colleague used to say that you can’t go into a dark room and shove out the darkness. Instead, you turn on the light. Kindness and love can take the place of darkness and hate. True leaders know how to act in a tough situation rather than simply react. Drive out darkness with kindness, and drive out hate with love.
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of this creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
Ray Kroc (1902-1984)
“You’re only as good as the people you hire.”
Ray Kroc revolutionized the fast food industry with the founding of McDonald’s in 1955. He also set up several charities and educational foundations which he funded with his wealth.
Rich’s thoughts: If you surround yourself with good people you are likely to get good results. Someone once said you should not hang around with turkeys if you want to soar with the eagles. With whom do you want to affiliate today? Choose your friends and colleagues carefully!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Ray Kroc:
“The quality of an individual is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”
“When you’re green you’re growing, and when you’re ripe, you start to rot.”
Ann Landers (1918-2002)
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”
Ann Landers (a pseudonym for Eppie Lederer) became the most widely read newspaper advice columnist in the United States.
Rich’s thoughts: Within almost every job are many opportunities waiting to be exploited. Henry Kaiser said that “opportunity is often disguised in work clothes.” Successful people are those who can see those opportunities and then take advantage of them. Look for the opportunities in your current job and then exploit them!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Ann Landers:
“Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself the most comforting words of all: This, too, shall pass."
“Character has been defined as what you are willing to do when the spotlight has been turned off ….”
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”
Credited for preserving the union during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation to set slaves free.
Rich’s thoughts: Although there are lots of roadblocks to success, our desire is the strongest power to remove the roadblocks and move forward. As someone once said, “ya gotta wanna”! Resolve to succeed today – do whatever it takes!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Abraham Lincoln:
“Tact: the ability to describe others as they see themselves.”
“I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”
Vince Lombardi (1913-1970)
“Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence upon one another and of strength to be derived by unity.”
Vince Lombardi was the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers who led them to five NFL championships and two Super Bowl victories.
Rich’s thoughts: Lombardi knew the power of synergy – a group of people working together for a common outcome. The word synergy literally refers to the muscles of the body all working together to create a well-functioning individual. A team is composed of just such a group of individuals – all working together to achieve the goal. Be a team player today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Vince Lombardi:
“Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
“Winning is not everything – but making the effort to win is.”
Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)
“Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals.”
A zealous man dedicated to duty, honor and commitment, MacArthur was a West Point graduate who became a full general and army chief of staff. He served in World Wars I and II and the Korean War.
Rich’s thoughts: Someone has said that you only grow old when you spend more time thinking about the past than you do thinking about the future. MacArthur was saying basically the same thing. Age is a state of mind. Stay young by focusing on your goals – your ideals!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Douglas MacArthur:
“Only those are fit to live who are not afraid to die.”
“There is no security in this life, only opportunity.”
Nelson Mandela (1918-    )
“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!”
Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa and created racial healing after spending over 28 years in prison only because of his race and his beliefs.
Rich’s thoughts: Sometimes we need to stop and ask ourselves why we don’t go for those “impossible dreams” in our lives. Are we afraid of failure, or afraid of success? Mandela’s quote would have us believe that maybe we are more afraid of success. Have the courage to go for success!
Your thoughts and actions:
Golda Meir (1898-1978)
“I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.
Golda Meir was raised in Milwaukee and became instrumental in the founding of the State of Israel. She later served as its 4th Prime Minister from 1969-1974.
Rich’s thoughts: When you are faced with a decision, ask yourself what is the right thing to do. Do not be worried about the outcome of the decision as long as it is the right decision. Thomas Jefferson said much the same thing when he suggested that “… in matters of principle, stand like a rock”. Do the right thing today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes from Golda Meir:
“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”
“Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.”
George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945)
“Always do more than is required of you”
Outspoken, colorful and controversial, George S. Patton, Jr. became one of the most celebrated generals in American military history, leading the troops in World War II.
Rich’s thoughts: A colleague of mine once suggested that you should put the words “and then some” in between your first and last name to motivate you to give a little more than is required. To illustrate that concept, my name would be Rich “and then some” Meiss.
Apply the “and then some” concept to your life today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by George S. Patton, Jr.:
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
“You must be single-minded. Drive for the one thing on which you have decided.”
Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993)
“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.”
Norman Vincent Peale was a popular Protestant minister in America who was best known for his best-selling book, The Power of Positive Thinking.
Rich’s thoughts: Many people have written about the power of our attitudes – those habits of thought – in shaping our lives. American Psychologist William James said that human beings can change their lives by changing their attitudes of mind. And author J. Martin Kohe said that our greatest power is the power to choose our thoughts, which eventually become habits of thought, or attitudes. Choose a positive attitude today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Norman Vincent Peale:
“When you affirm big, believe big, and pray big, big things happen.”
“Think enthusiastically about everything, but especially about your job. If you do so, you’ll put a touch of glory in your life.”
Knute Rockne (1888-1931)
“One [person] practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.”
Knute Rockne was the legendary football coach of the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish”. He coached his teams to five undefeated seasons and three national championships and compiled a winning percentage of .881.
Rich’s thoughts: It is difficult to “walk our talk” sometimes. Yet the power of modeling something far exceeds the power of talking about it. Emerson said that “what you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say”. Work hard to be the example that you tell others to be. Be the role model of the principles you teach to others!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Knute Rockne:
“One loss is good for the soul. Too many losses are not good for the coach.”
“Show me a good and gracious loser and I’ll show you a failure.”
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)
“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”
Eleanor Roosevelt was a humanitarian, United Nations diplomat, and First Lady of the United States for 12 years. Although controversial in her day, she is one of the most widely admired women in the world.
Rich’s thoughts: Good leaders are willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the doing of a project. They know the value of saying “let’s go” rather than “you go”. Be the role model of good leadership by being a part of the solution. Be willing to get involved in the doing and not just in the saying.
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt:
“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)
“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
Roosevelt was a New York Senator and Governor before being elected the 32nd President of the United States. He led the country through a severe depression and World War II, serving in office over 12 years.
Rich’s thoughts: Much has been written about the power of persistence. Roosevelt was a good example of this principle, modeling the “hang on” principle through the great American Depression and World War II. Sometimes the success of an idea or an action is just around the corner if you can just hang on a little longer. Keep on keeping on!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Franklin D. Roosevelt:
“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good [people] to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
Theodore Roosevelt was a soldier, statesman, writer and explorer, who became the 26th President of the United States. He was well known for his devotion to environmental causes.
Rich’s thoughts: The best way to get results is to set a vision, set some standards around that vision, choose good people to help carry out that vision, and then stay out of their way in accomplishing that vision. Good leaders choose responsible people who will make things happen. Pick the best people for the project!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Theodore Roosevelt:
“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
“Do something for somebody every day for which you do not get paid.”
Albert Schweitzer was a German philosopher, musician, physician and theologian who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his humanitarian work as a medical missionary. He was devoted to what he called a “reverence for life”.
Rich’s thoughts: Going the extra mile and doing things for others even when we don’t get paid helps to develop our “volunteer” muscle. It also helps us count our blessings rather than focus on our troubles. One of the best ways to get ourselves out of a depressing time is to do something for others less fortunate. Give yourself away today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Albert Schweitzer:
“Example is not the main thing influencing others. It is the only thing.”
“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.”
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”
William Shakespeare was an English poet, dramatist and actor.
Rich’s thoughts: Trying to complete a project or achieve a goal with a lot of doubts in our minds is like driving a car with the brakes on. We may be making forward progress, but it is much slower than it could be. How do we remove doubt? By affirming the positive outcome we want. I can do it – I will do it!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by William Shakespeare:
“Love all, trust a few; do wrong to none.”
“No legacy is so rich as honesty.”
Socrates (470-399 BC)
“Know thyself.”
Socrates was a Greek philosopher known for asking lots of questions. He is considered the founder of moral philosophy.
Rich’s thoughts: Out of all the species in the animal kingdom, only man is born into a state of disorientation. That means that we do not come with a set of instincts that tell us what to do. We have to learn about ourselves – who we are and what we want to do. Learn to know yourself!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Socrates:
“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
“If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart.”
Mother Teresa (1910-2000)
“We can do no great things – only small things with great love.”
Mother Teresa became famous for her lifelong devotion to the poor and downtrodden in India. She was a Catholic Nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity, which operated more than 200 centers worldwide.
Rich’s thoughts: By doing a series of small things with great love, Mother Teresa was able to do great things. Each of us has the power to approach everything we do with the heart of service and contribution. By doing so, we can do great things. Do everything you do with a heart of love!
Your thoughts and actions:
“I do not pray for success. I ask for faithfulness.”
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
Margaret Thatcher (1925-    )
“I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe.”
Margaret Thatcher was known as the Iron Lady because of her dedication to her ideals. She was the first woman in Europe ever elected Prime Minister, serving England in that capacity from 1979 to 1990.
Rich’s thoughts: Many people today are looking for secrets to success or formulas for success. And while there are a number of things that help contribute to success, the greatest factor is usually the willingness to work hard. Work hard!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes from Margaret Thatcher:
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
“What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he had imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Henry David Thoreau was an American philosopher and writer, best known for his work called Walden.
Rich’s thoughts: Success begins by having a dream, imagining the dream coming true, and then taking the necessary steps each day to make the dream come true. The other ingredient is to be confident that the dream will materialize. Imagine what it is that you want, then go to work and get it!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Henry David Thoreau:
“[People] were born to succeed, not to fail.”
“Things do not change, we change.”
Harry Truman (1884-1972)
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
Harry Truman was a captain in World War I and then became a judge and Senator before becoming U.S. Vice President. With Franklin Roosevelt’s death in 1945, Truman became the 33rd President of the United States.
Rich’s thoughts: A leader must be ready to take the responsibility for whatever happens, or else he/she should not be the leader. This is often called “sitting on the hot seat”.  Be a responsible leader today!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Harry Truman:
“The buck stops here.”
“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.”
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)
“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.”
Booker T. Washington was born into poverty and slavery but became the most influential black leader and educator of his time. He founded and headed Tuskegee Institute, a vocational school for African-Americans.
Rich’s thoughts: Life does not always treat everyone the same in terms of what talents and gifts they were born with, what level of economic success they were born into, and so forth. In this regard, the person who started with little in terms of wealth or position has many more obstacles to overcome in building a life of achievement. Booker T. Washington proved that it can be done, however. Compete with yourself – become the very best that you can be!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by Booker T. Washington:
“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”
“You can’t hold a [person] down without staying down with him.”
George Washington (1732-1799)
“Associate yourself with [people] of good quality if you esteem your own reputation, for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.”
George Washington is considered the founder of America. He commanded the Colonial Armies in the American Revolution and became the first President of the United States.
Rich’s thoughts: Washington knew the value of associating with people of good character. He understood the saying that “you can’t soar with the eagles if you hang around with turkeys. Although it is often difficult to be alone, that is a better choice than to be in the company of those who would pull you down to a lower level. Choose your friends and associates carefully!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by George Washington:
“I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
John Wooden (1910-    )
“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
John Wooden is only one of two men to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach. Known as a master motivator of players, Wooden coached his UCLA teams to an unprecedented 10 NCAA Championships.
Rich’s thoughts: Great people of character work on developing themselves to their best ability – mentally, spiritually, socially and physically. They realize that the most important person they will have to face at the end of the day is their own reflection in the mirror. Be a person of character!
Your thoughts and actions:
Other quotes by John Wooden:
“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”
“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”
© Copyright 2008. Meiss Education Institute. All rights reserved.

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