Forty-Four Timeless Business Sayings You Should Know

by Brett Nelson

Whether you’re looking to impress your boss, enchant a few clients, inspire your team, or just put the job in healthy perspective, a few thoughtful quotations can come in handy.
This collection is inspired by Forbes’ second-annual Jargon Madness tournament, featuring 32 of corporate America’s most annoying buzzwords, clichés and euphemisms. Click here to vote in today’s daily matchup.

Our advice: Ditch the jargon and try these timeless turns of phrase instead.
Annoying jargon to avoid: Thought leadership (n.) Grossly indulgent slang for plain ol’ “expertise.”

Relevant quotations on wisdom:

I know several thousand things that won’t work. – Thomas Edison

Men are wise in proportion not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience. – George Bernard Shaw

Annoying cliché: Rock star (n.) Abused term of endearment for talented employees who may or may not use lots of cocaine.

On praise:

Flattery is alright—if you don’t inhale. – Adlai Stevenson

I can live for two months on a good compliment. – Mark Twain

Read much more here:

Personal Inspiration Every Morning

Are you stuck?  Stuck in a bad habit?  Stuck in a routine?  Not motivated?  Your inspiration is as flat as yesterday’s coffee?  Is your mind filled with the blahs?

Want a simple tool that can help focus your mind and day?  Something that is inexpensive?  Something that takes very little time to prepare?  Read on and then go to your local office supply store and buy spiral index cards.

Many us enjoy reading inspirational and motivational quotes from people we admire (or don’t even know!).  Many of us find great lines in current books we’re reading that we don’t want to forget.  Here’s a way to use those to help “program” your thoughts for your upcoming day.


Take some time and begin jotting down on your favorite quotes on individual index cards in the spiral pack.  Choose quotes that will help you begin your day with a specific focus.  Quotes that inspire you to become more effect.  Quotes that are positive and action packed.


As you read a book, you find yourself highlighting a sentence or two.  You make notes in the margin.  Later, you want to find that section, but you might have forgotten which book it’s in.  Take the time to record that sentence or passage on one of the index cards.  Or write down your note that contained an action step.


I love listening to music.  A good composer can say a lot in around 3 minutes.  Some songs still with us for life.  Write down a line or two from a song that inspires you.  Or, depending on your world perspective, you may want to write down a passage of Scripture that moves you.


We are all blessed to have individuals around us that have helped us (directly or indirectly) become better people/leaders.  Many of these people have told us things that have been life-changing.  Write some of those reflections on a card.  One thought per card.


You have passed on wisdom and insight to others.  Write those thoughts down.

Do this next:

  • If you take around 30 minutes, you can record quite a lot on the cards.  Just one saying/line/reflection/quote per card.  Mix it up.  Jot a quote on one card.  Then a song lyric on the next.  Follow it with a saying, etc.  You get the picture.
  • Keep the index card pack at a place you’ll see it every day.  I keep mine in my car.  It may be on your bathroom counter top or next to the coffee pot.  You choose.
  • Every morning before you head into your office, take time to read 3  cards in a row.  If one of the cards really “speaks” to you, read that one again – out loud.  Maybe read it a couple of times.  You don’t need to memorize it.  But you are filling your mind with something very positive that can pop up during your day to remind you to take a positive course of action, to say something uplifting to someone else, to  believe in yourself.
  • Next day, read the next 3 cards in a row and do the same thing.  Repeat.

What I have found is this:  If left to my own behavior, I can become pretty negative, worrisome, or down if I’m not careful.  This little exercise has developed into a good habit for me.  It fills my thoughts with positive things that benefit me (and those around me!).  I am reprogramming my mind.  You can, too!

If you don’t like where you are at as a manager/leader/person, change it.  This simple tool can help.  You’re not talking yourself into anything.  You are filling your thoughts with positive motivation to develop and change for the better.  It works if you work it!

If you want to know your past –

look into your present conditions.

If you want to know your future –

look into your present actions.

(Chinese proverb)