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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 January 15, 2019

    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

    When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

    Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

    It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

    While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

    Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

    What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

    How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

    It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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    People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

    “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

    In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

    Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

    As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

    When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

    It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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    What are Interpersonal Skills?

    Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

    In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

    From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

    For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

    Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

    How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

    There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

    There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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    Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

    I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

    Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

    “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

    Don’t overlook introspection.

    While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

    Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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    When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

    Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

    “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

    The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

    The Bottom Line

    You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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