When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
All men and women are born, live suffer and die; what distinguishes us one from another is our dreams, whether they be dreams about worldly or unworldly things, and what we do to make them come about… We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live.
One may long, as I do, for a gentler flame, a respite, a pause for musing. But perhaps there is no other peace for the artist than what he finds in the heat of combat. “Every wall is a door.” Emerson correctly said. Let us not look for the door, and the way out, anywhere but in the wall against which we are living. Instead, let us seek the respite where it is – in the very thick of battle. For in my opinion, and this is where I shall close, it is there. Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps, then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope. Some will say that this hope lies in a nation, others, in a man. I believe rather that it is awakened, revived, nourished by millions of solitary individuals whose deeds and works every day negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history. As a result, there shines forth fleetingly the ever-threatened truth that each and every man, on the foundations of his own sufferings and joys, builds for them all.
The principal purpose of a company is not to make a profit, full stop. It is to make a profit in order to continue to do things or make things, and to do so ever better and more abundantly. To say that profit is a means to other ends and not an end in itself is not a semantic quibble, it is a serious moral point. A requirement is not a purpose. We have to eat to live, but if we live to eat we become distorted in more senses than one.
Where there is no vision, there you find short-termism, for then there is no reason to compromise today for an unknown tomorrow.
Management is setting quantitative goals and monitoring the progress towards their achievement. Leadership is of a different character. The core of leadership is vision. Vision is seeing the potential purpose hidden in the chaos of the moment, but which could bring to birth new possibilities for a person, a company, or a nation. Vision is seeing what life could be like while dealing with life as it is. Vision deals with those deeper human intangibles that alone give ultimate purpose to life. In the end, vision must always deal with life’s qualities, not its quantities.
We cannot departmentalize our thinkingâ€¦We cannot think of economic principles and ethical principles. Underneath all our thinking, there are certain fundamental principles to be applied to all our problems. I do wish that when a principle has been worked out in ethics, it did not have to be discovered all over again in psychology, in economics, in government, in business, in biology, and in sociology. It is such a waste of time.
Having said all of this, I recognize the problem of so much of business not serving well. But the core of the problem, as I see it, is not in business institutions; rather it is in the attitudes, concepts, and expectations regarding business held by the rest of society. People in churches, universities, government, and social agencies do not love business institutions. As a consequence, many inside business do not love them either. Businesses, despite their crassness, occasional corruption, and unloveliness, must be loved if they are to serve us better. They are much too large a presence in the lives of all of us to have them in our midst and not serve us better”.
Keep your vision high without being lost in the clouds. Keep your feet on the ground without getting stuck in the mud
He who has a “why” to live for can bear with almost any “how”
No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.
In communities where men build ships for their own sons to fish or fight from, quality is never a problem
I don’t think she ever understood why her genuinly good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is baffling. My own, and only, explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite side of the moral spectrum.
Mats’s Personal Vision
inpsired by Ralph Waldo Emerson
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived; this is to have succeeded.
Have you ever seen a statue of a committe?
Let us become the change we seek in the world
Our hopes are invested in governments, from which we demand more and in our more sombre moments anticipate less. At the core of our culture is an echoing discrepancy between what we believe and what we know. We believe that we are faced with unprecedented choices. We know that too much of what happens to us is beyond our control, the result of economic choices or political decisions taken far away by people we will never meet nor be able to identify. Beyond the narrowing circle of the self lies a world in which we are not the makers but the made. This is the genesis of despair.
We all sit in circles and suppose, while the secret sits in the middle and knows
There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love. The only survival and the only meaning.
You cannot give to anybody in this world what you do not have. And therefore you must concentrate on getting. You must become the most beautiful, sensitive, wondrous, magical, unique, fantastic person in the world to be able to have all of these things in order to give them away and share them. Think about it. If I don’t have wisdom I can only teach you my ignorance. If I don’t have joy. I can only teach you despair. If I don’t have freedom I can only put you in cages. But everything that I have I can give away. That is the only reason for having it. So I dedicate myself to to becoming the best Leo the world has ever known.
I am survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness. Gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot and killed by high school and college graduates. So I’m suspicious of education. My request is: help your students to be human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, or educated Eichmanns. Reading and writing and spelling and history and arithmetic are only important if they serve to make our students human
Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself
The essence of quantum physics is that it describes an unfixed, both-and level of reality that thrives on ambiguity and uncertainty at something very like “the edge of chaos.
In this book I am going to argue that we need to invert Maslow’s pyramid. The need for meaning is primary. There are countless documented instances of people sacrificing comfort, companionship, food, even life itself in pursuit of meaning, higher morality, or higher ideals. In the corporate world, there are countless examples of employees agreeing to longer hours and less pay if they can see that this is for the greater good of all, or in the pursuit of some goal that escites them. The people who survived prisoner of war and concentration camps in World War II were the people most motivated by deeply held beliefs and values. Productivity levels in automobile plants have been increased by putting people on small teams that build whole cars, so that each employee has a vision of the purpose of the work and the satisfaction of seeing it completed. It is also true that the need for meaning cannot be separated from what might be called lessser needs for security, material well-being, companionship, and self-esteem. Each level of the self suffuses every other level. The self is a dynamic system and our needs support each other in a dynamic way. The same is true in organizations. We cannot split off an organization’s need for profit from its need to give employees self-esteem nor from its need for deep vision. So many things go wrong in organizations because we don’t understand this basic holistic, systemic aspect of their structure.
Since the seventeenth century, our dominant Western paradigm has been shaped by Newtonian science. This is true in management as well as in politics, economics, psychology, and education. Newtonian, or mechanistic, science is determinist, reductionist, and atomistic. Things happen because the have to happen; iron laws assure certainty and predictability. Any whole is best understood by reducing it to its constituent parts and looking at those parts in isolation. Reality consists of discrete, impenetrable particels relating to each other through forces of action and reaction. Newtonian truth is a simplistic either-or truth. There is one best, god’s-eye view of the universe. Nature is structured hierarchiacally, and there is an absolute split between the scientific observer and the world observed. Hence the stress on scientific objectivity, and the cult of the expert. The Newtonian organization has evolved within this paradigm”
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