COMMENTARY 768.5: If You’re in a Hole, Stop Digging.

Most of us have lied to get out of trouble. From childhood denials (“It wasn’t me!”) to adult fabrications (“The check is in the mail…”), what seem like harmless falsehoods easily fall from our tongues. And then we make up more excuses or tell more lies to protect the first one. Soon the “cover-up” is more serious and credibility-damaging than …

COMMENTARY 768.2: Rebuilding Your Life and Your Reputation

Larry wrote me the following letter: “I’ve been a small businessman for almost 23 years in a business where people lie, cheat, and steal. I’m sorry to say I became one of them. In the short term it may have helped, but long term it came back to haunt me. There’s no amount of success that’s worth it. I am …

COMMENTARY 766.1: The Paradoxical Commandments

In 1968, when Kent M. Keith* was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard University, he wrote “The Paradoxical Commandments” as part of a booklet for student leaders. He describes the Commandments as guidelines for finding personal meaning in the face of adversity: 1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. 2. If you do good, people will accuse you …

COMMENTARY 764.2: Everyone Needs a “Me File”

During a dinner with friends I mentioned an e-mail I’d received from a 13-year-old thanking me for the way my commentaries had influenced his life. I was clearly proud of the note, and Sally Kinnamon said I should save this and other affirming mementos and put them in a “Me File.” At first I thought she was being sarcastic, but …

OBSERVATION: Talent is, of course, important, but the two qualities that make the critical difference between talented people who succeed and those who don’t are persistence and positivity. Successful people don’t give up or lose confidence; they learn from every experience and get better.

Two of America’s greatest inventors, Charles Kettering  and Thomas Edison, embraced the same philosophy, which allowed them to take in stride what others called failure, and build upon it. Kettering said: “I failed forward to  success.  An inventor fails