You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist

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I love quotations. When you come upon the perfect quote, the one that summarizers your thoughts in the right way, it’s wonderful. You can’t wait for the opportunity to pull it out and give it a try.

I believe that the practice of “quoting” has devolved to simply repeating inane and silly utterances made by celebrities who are celebrities only due to inherited wealth, physical prowess or beauty, or a total lack of inhibition when it comes to recording their sexual exploits and sharing them with the world. It’s so sad, because it overlooks the wealth of beautiful, meaningful statements that have been left behind.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are many famous people (athletes, actors, and some public figures) who actual have intellect and use it for good. (You may have noticed I didn’t include politicians in this list – I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.)

However, I may be getting a bit off the point.

Some people are thinkers. Some are clever. Some are quick witted. Some have lived

through, survived, or witnessed extraordinary times and circumstances that have provided perspective that other seldom have. They have observed the highs and lows, the challenges and sorrows of the human condition and bequeathed their hard-earned insights to us. This is a legacy of observation and perspective that we ignore at our peril. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana

It is said that when you quote someone, you are, for that moment, “borrowing” his or her credibility. When trying to convince or explain, or to get someone to accept your point of view, credibility is vital. It’s the bridge that you use to draw the other person over to your side.

The right quotation, at the right time can expand someone’s perspective and understanding. It can make them think. Something we probably don’t do as often as we should. I often find that as I search for the right quotation, I discover a new perception that I other-wise would have missed.

George Bernard Shaw once said “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred”. I teach and coach public speaking and messaging, so for me, its’ perfect. Throw in a little pause at the end so the listener gets to absorb it, get’s to roll it around in their head, and say to themselves “oh wow, that’s so true”. Give them another few seconds and they begin to apply it to their lives, or their businesses, or their relationships. Tack on a few more seconds, and I’ve got them just where I want them.

One final thought; the title quotation? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

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