Lost Quotations in the History of Careers

Every one of our plucky heroes or heroines heard discouraging words.

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“I’m sorry, Mr. Churchill, but you are 65 years old and overweight. You smoke several cigars a day and are a maverick. Those facts, coupled with your involvement in that Gallipoli disaster, really scared the selection committee.”

[See how ambitious people get tripped up.]

“None of us is as smart as all of us, Mr. Edison. I think you should set aside your ego and listen to the other committee members’ objections to your rather unorthodox ideas.”

“Your boldness is refreshing, Custer. There’s no pussyfooting around with you.”

“Unfortunately, there is no way that people will accept a woman in that job, Mrs. Thatcher. If you try for the top spot, you’ll simply be embarrassed.”

“You know, Gandhi, your message would go a lot further if you wore a business suit.”

[See how to design a system to frustrate job seekers.]

“Let me get this straight, Mick. You are studying at the London School of Economics. That seems very fast-track. And now you’re saying you want to join a rock and roll band? Are you out of your mind?”

“If 12 publishing houses have declined to accept that Harry Potter story, Joanne, perhaps the time has come to avoid some heartache. Keep on writing, but put your manuscript in a binder and read it to your daughter. It will become a family heirloom.”

“Bill, how can you even consider dropping out of Harvard? And for what? To form a computer business! Do you realize how many people will be doing that? Stay where you are. Believe me, the computers will still be there after you’ve graduated and they’ll never be able to take that degree away from you.”

Michael Wade writes Execupundit.com, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.

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