10 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Shakespeare Quotes
While William Shakespeare may be renowned as one of the world’s most successful and inspirational playwrights, his name is rarely associated with the world of business. This is primarily because there is a world of difference between cut-throat commercialism and artistic expression, as while the former demands instinct and ruthlessness the latter relies on creative talent and inherent ability.
These two worlds often collide, however, especially when artists strive to translate their creative talent into a profitable commercially viable entity. Given that William Shakespeare’s work transcended literature and enabled him to make a living from his craft, he therefore stands as a shining example to any creative entrepreneur in the modern age.
On a more fundamental level, it is also worth remembering that the words of William Shakespeare are his unique legacy to the contemporary world. Their enduring popularity persists due to an inspirational and emotive nature, which continues to draw various interpretations and trigger intense discussion. So although they may have been applied during an alternative point in history, they remain relevant to modern citizens on multiple levels. With this in mind, it is worth considering the most impactful Shakespeare quotes and the lessons that we can learn from them in 2014.
1. “It is not in the Stars to hold our Destiny but in ourselves” – Julius Caesar in Julius Caesar
Recently, the Guardian newspaper celebrated Shakespeare’s 450th birthday by asking readers to nominate their favourite quotes from the great Bard. This line from Julius Caesar was one of the most popular, while it also remains a source of timeless and insightful wisdom. It encourages people to maximise their own talents and skills in the pursuit of success, rather than believing that their destiny lies in an unknown and predetermined fate. It empowers you to take control of your destiny and plot the course that you want your life to take.
2. “Go wisely and go slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.” – Romeo in Romeo and Juliet
The pace of technological advancement has accelerated considerably in the last decade, with the result that modern life can be enjoyed at a breakneck speed. This often leads to injudicious decision making, however, as we rarely take the time to appraise our options or consider the consequences of individual actions. We should therefore remember these simple but immortal words from Romeo and Juliet, which encourage us to act with haste and make sensible decisions.
3. “Strong reasons make strong actions.”- Lewis in King John
On a similar note, it is also important to take actions that are based on solid reasoning and purposeful rationalisation. As the Bard pointed out in his historic play King John, strong reasons make strong actions and this is something we should carry with us in both our personal and professional lives. Whenever you present an idea or concept, take the time to support it with carefully acquired data and testimonials. This will provide a strong foundation from which an individual concept can flourish.
4. “How poor are they that do not have Patience?” – Iago in the Tragedy of Othello
The Tragedy of Othello was written as long ago as 1603, but these words are arguably more relevant today than they have been at any other point in history. The speed of technological advancement has certainly created an increasingly impatient generation of citizens, and this characteristic can be extremely counter-productive in everyday life. Whether you are a business leader or a parent, patience enables you to offer informed direction to others and create an environment where individuals can flourish. It is an empathetic quality, and one that lends itself to nurturing others.
5. “We know what we are but know not what we may be.”– Ophelia in Hamlet
Hamlet is arguably Shakespeare’s most quoted play, and it may even stand as this distinguished playwright’s finest output. This introspective quote offers an insight into our ambition and potential for future growth, as we strive to understand our strengths and weaknesses and subsequently learn how we can embark on a journey of self-improvement. Such comprehension is crucial if you are to implement manageable development goals, while it also provides a foundation of self-belief that can be developed over time.
6. “Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.”– Cressida in Troilus and Cressida
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you will understand this quotation better than anyone. After all, while the goal of any commercial venture must ultimately be to generate some form of financial or social return, it is often the process of creating a business that teaches the most important and viable lessons. This is why so many entrepreneurs establish multiple ventures in their life time, as they are constantly seeking improvement and the satisfaction that ids delivered by tackling and overcoming challenges.
7. “It is a tale; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” – Macbeth in Macbeth
This classic line of dialogue from Macbeth will probably resonate with most people, especially those of you who have ever encountered someone who talks endlessly without ever providing any substance or action to support their words. From the fast-tracked business managers who deal exclusively in jargon to the rogues who promise a change that never materialises, these individuals communicate confidently and are usually able to persuade others through word alone. Be wary of these people, however, and try to ensure that those around you make good on any promises that they make.
8. “How far that little candle throws his beams.”– Portia in The Merchant of Venice
The art of successful leadership requires a clearly defined vision, whether you are looking to drive a company forward or achieve personal goals. This can be hard to develop and maintain during the monotony of everyday life, where small and seemingly insignificant details often derail your plans and consume your valuable time. It is crucial that you remain as focused as possible on your long-term goals, however, and try to ensure that every individual action or decision helps to edge closer towards accomplishment.
9. “And often times excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.” – from Pembroke in King John
This quote reflects an ancient and longstanding wisdom, and one that encourages every individual to own and take accountability for their mistakes. Whether these impact on our personal relationships or the performance of a business, it is important to respect that our mistakes can be damaging and cause distress to innocent parties. They are also an inescapable and universal part of life, however, so you should have no shame in accepting blame, showcasing remorse and working hard to rectify your transgression. When you make weak and feeble excuses, you simply exacerbate the problem and damage your own integrity as an individual.
10. “I have more flesh than another man and therefore more frailty.” – King Henry IV in Henry IV, Part One
A strangely underused and unheralded Shakespeare quotation; this has genuine relevance in an age where Britain continues to combat both adult and childhood obesity. This quote reflects the ancient belief that mortality and frailty lay within the human form, while the spirit was strong and capable of developing throughout eternity. In today’s more informed society, this could easily be translated as a warning against the perils of ob
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