“There is a difference between knowing the path & walking the path”*

Wisdom is all around us.  “The Obvious”, as Euan Semple named his blog. The challenge is hearing wise words and then following them. They come in many forms — from friends, family, speakers, films, books, articles, blogs, etc. They can also come from the most unexpected places. Last week I went to see the kids movie ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and I found myself being inspired by three pearls of wisdom: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” ;”There are no accidents – One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it” and “To make something special you just have to believe it’s special”. 

Peach Tree of Wisdom from the movie Kung Fu Panda

The following quotes are words of wisdom from the late Sam Walton (Walmart founder) c/o The Young Entrepreneur blog. Like everything quotations can be broken down into the simplest of words. Sam’s words bring through the importance in business of Passion; Vision; Enjoyment; Appreciation and Understanding customers. However the true meaning can be lost in summarising, so here is the full quote:

“If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you – like a fever. I think I overcame every single one of my personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to my work. I don’t know if you’re born with this kind of passion, or if you can learn it. But I do know you need it.

Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction. Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else. Capital isn’t scarce. Vision is.

Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up, and everybody around you will loosen up. Have fun. My feeling is that just because we work so hard, we don’t have to go around with long faces all the time. While we’re doing all of this work, we like to have a good time. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing a silly song. Then make everybody else sing with you.

Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up, and everybody around you will loosen up. Have fun. Show enthusiasm – always. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing a silly song. Then make everybody else sing with you. Don’t do a hula on Wall Street. It’s been done. Think up your own stunt. All of this is more important, and more fun, than you think, and it really fools the competition. “Why should we take those cornballs at Wal-Mart seriously?

Money and ownership alone aren’t enough. Set high goals, encourage competition, and then keep score. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free – and worth a fortune. We’re all working together; that’s the secret.

The folks on the front lines – the ones who actually talk to the customer – are the only ones who really know what’s going on out there. The two most important words I ever wrote were on that first Wal-Mart sign, ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’. They’re still up there, and they have made all the difference. Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.“

Clearly Sam was a very wise man to follow these simple but powerful truths.

* 1999 Matrix movie, Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski


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