It’s been a while since I’ve offered up a compilation of my favorite column-ending morals – arguably among my readers’ most requested articles.  Besides reviewing all the topics we’ve covered, these morals remind me that a few words can have a big impact.

I will admit right now that no matter how hard I work on the two pages that precede it, I take extra pains to get the morals just right.  If a reader remembers nothing else, the moral will serve as a quick lesson that usually applies to much more than business.

Here are some of the nuggets mined from the last three and a half years.

  • Change your thinking, change your life.
  • It’s not enough to know how to do things – you must know why you do them.
  • The best way to sound like you know what you’re talking about is to know what you’re talking about.
  • If you hit enough singles, sooner or later you are going to win big.
  • Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can.
  • Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing to do.
  • An attitude of gratitude should have wide latitude.
  • When a person’s temper gets the best of him, it brings out the worst in him.
  • It’s never too late to become what you could have been.
  • If you’re looking for a big opportunity, look for a big challenge.
  • If you want to be heard, you must know how to listen.
  • If you want to be successful, you must practice reciprocity without keeping score.
  • We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do.
  • If you live in the past, you won’t have much of a future.
  • What could you accomplish if no one told you it was impossible?
  • You don’t have to know everything as long as you know the people who do.
  • It’s okay to ruffle a few feathers from time to time.  Show some pluck!
  • The team you build will determine the business you build.
  • To get what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.
  • Be prepared, or be prepared to fail.
  • Even the turtle knows you have to stick your neck out to get ahead.
  • Don’t be afraid to take the plunge – just test the water before you dive in!
  • Finding a reason to celebrate isn’t hard work – hard work is a reason to celebrate!
  • Giving someone a piece of your mind rarely gives you peace of mind.
  • The person who asks may feel like a fool for five minutes, but the person who does not ask remains a fool forever.
  • If you want to outsmart the competition, you have to out-think the competition.
  • Good luck usually depends on good judgment.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a decision.  Be afraid not to make a decision.
  • When you can’t afford to make a mistake, good advice is priceless.
  • What you learn on your first job will last through your last job.
  • Don’t let hard times turn into end times.  Let them lead to your best times.
  • Thank U is a college from which we should never graduate.
  • Minds are like parachutes – not much good unless they are open.
  • My goal is to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am.
  • If you can’t be an expert, hire an expert.
  • Some people dream about success, and others wake up and do something about it.
  • People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be.
  • A person without knowledge is like a house without a foundation.
  • The world’s work is done every day by people who could have stayed in bed, but didn’t.
  • It only takes a little spark to ignite a great fire.
  • Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.


Mackay’s Moral:  As Ben Franklin said, “A word to the wise is sufficient.”

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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