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Updated 29 Feb 2020


Left-field business wisdom from great minds

You’ve heard the saying ‘no truer words than the ones said in jest,’ and so here’s a compilation of pearls of wisdom that will make you laugh, then think, then change your business.


Tracy-Lee Nicol, 20 September 2015  Share  0 comments  Print


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As business leaders and entrepreneurs, having a laser-like focus on earning profits, coupled with a steadfast will to win, are only as good as the purpose that drives them. And let’s face it driving all the time can get pretty monotonous and boring.

Humour, more specifically having a light-hearted approach to life and not taking yourself so seriously in your role, helps keep things fresh and recharges your entrepreneurial and executive batteries so that you can keep you going when that deal starts getting really tough.

Related: Avoid these three people’s advice

So, without further ado, rather than bolster yourself with lame motivational quotes accompanied by scenic vistas or herds of elephants, or jumping dolphins, here are some entertaining quotes with leadership implications that you as a leader should learn and remember.

I’ll always find a lazy person to do a difficult job… he’ll find an easy way to do it. – Bill Gates

A spin on the saying ‘if you want something done quickly, give it to a busy person,’ Bill Gates brings humour to an important business lesson. Find the right person, even if they’re an unusual choice, to do the right task.

What you’re looking for is latent talent yet to be tapped into that, combined with intellectual clarity and composure, will get a difficult task done quickly. Warning: Don’t take this quote literally… The results of giving an important job to a lazy person will result in a less-than-satisfactory result.

Do not take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive. – Elbert Hubbard

When stress builds and you’re at wit’s end, it can be hard to keep perspective. But just remember one thing: It can always, always be worse. Much, much worse.

Why it pays to have a sense of humour in situations like these are because it shows people that you’re not easily flustered when under pressure – an important leadership quality.

Secondly, when you look for the humour in a stressful situation it helps create emotional anchors. What is that exactly? If you can consistently bring humour and positivity to a stressful situation, your brain will eventually start associating stress with positivity than with trepidation and havoc.

If someone says ‘you’re one in a million,’ they’re telling you that there are 7 038 people just like you’ – Sheldon Cooper

Though not a business leadership legend in any way, Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper reminds us that no matter how high up the corporate ladder you climb, you’re never too good to take out the rubbish.

Related: Top advice from franchisees

Arrogance and an overbearing ego is probably the quickest way to turn people away – when a leader is meant to rally and inspire them. The most effective leaders are those who are authentic, humble, and realise that there are other people out there in the universe who may be way smarter than them, and can be leveraged for the company’s gain.

As a business leader, find ways to spice up fundamentals and motivate your team. Have your team create their own sayings, or if ones already exist, encourage them to get creative – it will help entrench the message.

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Tracy-Lee Nicol


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