I can remember in 1970 (wow, that was a long time ago) going with a couple of my buddies to the movies to see Patton, which had just come out. I sat there thinking to myself this is a pretty neat movie, and I really liked General Patton, strutting around, giving orders, and directing people in battle. Being as my dad served under his command made it really come home, and the fact that Patton would reflect on history made him even more appealing to me since I really like history. As I have gotten older and looked at his quotes, I realized that they can help motivate and direct you in business, career, and even in a job search. Below are a series of my favorites that have always helped me and may help you.
I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.
This is about overcoming adversity. Anyone can do well when everything is going their way. But how well do you do when life decides to throw a monkey wrench into the cogs of your plans? Many people give up when things stop going right for them, and you can judge a man’s tenacity by how willing he is to do what it takes to overcome and surpass.
If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.
Here’s a real life example. If anyone working with George Lucas had been willing to question his ideas for the Star Wars universe, we might not have ended up with the borderline racist Jar Jar Binks to say the least. Big ideas need to be questioned in order to find their flaws. We’re biased to think that our plans are great. We need other people to question them so we can refine them and iron out the details. This is why writers have editors, and why if no one is questioning you, find someone who will.
People are vain. Everyone thinks their own ideas are perfect and anyone else comes in second.
This ties in nicely to the last one. Now that you know you’re biased, make sure you don’t keep falling into that trap. Your ideas might be great, but they’re not always perfect, as much as you want them to be. Get someone else’s opinion on every major decision. You don’t have to use it, but at least it’ll refine the idea further for you.
If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results.
Sometimes, it’s better to just let people do things their way. While you think your way is the best, maybe they have a way that never even occurred to you. Not to mention, when given freedom to choose their own way, most people will do what they can to impress and surpass your expectations. Besides, as long as they get there on time in the end, does it much matter what route they take to get there?
If a man does his best, what else is there?
Not every task can be completed by everyone. Sometimes things don’t get done right because the person assigned the task just doesn’t have what it takes to finish it. But if he gave it every last effort, then you cannot fault him. You can’t fault the sun for not shining at midnight, don’t fault a person for not being able to do something beyond his abilities.
Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.
Sometimes challenges seem daunting or insurmountable, that the effort might not be worth the reward. But there is no sweeter reward than the knowledge that you can do something. Just as Hillary looked at an unclimbable mountain and said “I can do it”, so too should you be willing to try the impossible so that if you should succeed, you can taste the sweet thrill of victory. Nothing is finer.
Always do everything you ask of those you command.
If you’re not willing to do it, why should they? People are best led by example, so don’t expect them to do something you won’t.
Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.
While everyone should take risks in life, you’ll likely have different outcomes if you think the risk over before you take it, rather than rushing in headfirst. Try to at least consider things enough to cover foreseeable eventualities. No, you can’t always cover every angle, but better to cover some than none.
Untutored courage is useless in the face of educated bullets.
Courage and bravery are fine. Running headfirst into fire from a trained soldier isn’t bravery though, it’s stupidity. Find a way to flank the enemy. Come at the problem in a different angle rather than head on. Moving sideways while everyone else is moving straight ahead might put you into a better firing position anyway.