My Quotes

Over the years I’ve spun out a few quotations that, IMHO of course, I think are noteworthy.  Here they are, with a little background.

The best place to find an ‘out of the box’ thinker is… outside the box!

I came up with this during my job search 2004-2005.  I was focusing on medical devices as a target industry, and kept hearing how companies wanted innovation, “out of the box” breakthroughs… and then kept hiring people from inside the industry, often from similar product lines.  This was an attempt to point out that this approach of looking for disruptive innovation from an small, insular group of similar-thinking people should be rethought.


We couldn’t have done it without each other.

I was helping my father in the garden one day; it was a lot of work for two people, and would have been impossible for one.  When we finished, he said “I couldn’t have done it without you.”  I answered with this.


It is foretold that the lion shall lay down with the lamb.  When that happens, I want to be the lion.  Just in case.

Self-explanatory, I think.


You cannot argue rationally with a conclusion arrived at emotionally.

Like many people, I have strong beliefs on things.   And in my “intemperate youth” tended to debate hot-button topics.  And I learned that no matter how many facts, how much evidence, etc., I presented to people who were emotionally invested in an issue, it never worked.  I’ve given up.  It spares others getting riled up, and it saves me time.  In similar vein:


We humans are not rational beings with emotions, but emotional beings with the capacity to reason.

Even just looking at our evolutionary history, biologically, the hippocampus is the central core of our brains; it is the seat of both memory and emotions.  Our cerebellum is layered on top of that foundation.


In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice.  In practice, there is.

I’ve said this for years.  A theoretical understanding of things is critical, and necessary, to make more than flailing-in-the-dark progress.  But ultimately the “rubber must meet the road” – and practical knowledge and experience are also needed to implement even the best of theories.


Hiring managers and human resources people search the internet for indications about a candidate’s personality, character, opinions, and human failings – and then are shocked and horrified to discover candidates have personalities, characters, opinions, and human failings.

The use of social media is, IMHO, a legitimate thing; people put aspects of their experiences, personalities, etc., out voluntarily.  At the same time, given that people do post so much, there needs to be some tolerance given to such posts.  This is not the Victorian era.  And my personal belief is that someone who has nothing – nothing – out there that is anything but G-rated material is either hiding something serious, or has never lived a life and, therefore, never made mistakes or learned from them.


In life we are faced with many choices.  In my experience, surprisingly often, the harder & more difficult one is usually the wiser one with the better long-term result.

Countless times I’ve been faced with decisions where one path seems easier, more seductive, and certainly less fraught with emotional peril.  Sometimes I’ve gone down that road only to find that it led nowhere, and I would be faced with the same choice again.  Choose the hard path, the one requiring thought and work.  This is no guarantee, of course, but it’ll be the right path more often than not, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time.


You never know whose co-worker’s neighbor’s poker buddy is the one person you need to meet.

Networking is a random walk, and fruitful connections can come from the most surprising of people.  Nothing frustrates me more in my own networking than to have someone say “Well, I’m in ‘X’ discipline, I can’t help you.”  Well, maybe not you, but someone you know might know someone who is the perfect person for me to contact.


Life is about helping people; if you aren’t elevating others, you’re diminishing yourself.

Helping other people is what makes this world bearable.  Are you doing your part?


A few minutes of confirmation beats several hours of rework.

People at work sometimes seem a little put-off at my meticulously making sure I’ve got it right.  It saves me a lot of time in the grand scheme.


7 thoughts on “My Quotes

  1. My favourites include:

    “There’s nothing so simple it can’t be done wrong”

    “Making mistakes is fine, just don’t make the same one twice”

    “Everything will be OK if everybody just does their job”

    “No lies. No surprises. Say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You'”

  2. I like the out of the box one. I recently had a conversation with a leader of a group of folks discussing an accident and ways to mitigate. The accident that happened was a black swan event but an accident was bound to happen sooner or later as the operating environment was dangerous. When I pointed that out the leader was adamant we need to ‘re-evaluate our processes, get an expert there. I replied no get someone who has no clue to ask the questions the rest of can see as we are too blinded by the existing processes. The leader didn’t like my response but I still it’s the best way next to LEAN.

  3. David, you’ve developed an excellent blog. Here are my two quotes:

    – Security comes from less, not more.

    – The love of a woman converts a man from a creature driven by instincts to a creature driven by goals.

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