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10 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Shakespeare Quotes

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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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