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May 14, 2008



A fine primer for steering yourself in the direction you most want to go, on many levels. Some of your Seven Cs remind me of parts of Buddhism's eightfold path. Which I respond to because of their emphasis on integrity, ethical conduct, and personal responsibility.

I enjoy your use of quotations from different eras. I do not enjoy your brief use of the buzzword "excellence" which makes me immediately think of fly-by-night business bestsellers. But, hey, it's only one word, and only my personal bias.

When I first started my own business, I made a little sign and put it somewhere I could easily read it: "If at first you don't succeed, redefine success." I've lived by that motto, among others, and it's helped me remain optimistic and flexible.

Alan Kent

Tom (and Steve):

A wonderful message for turbulent times. I also had the opportunity to hear you several years ago at a hospital association meeting (and acquire "If Aristotle...) I've shared it with many and seeing this tonight inspires me to dust it off and re-read it, and motivates me undoubtedly to share it again! Thanks for your writing.

Mary Sloan

Thank you for this. It provides wonderful insight. I am printing it out to keep and plan to share it with others too. So many times we just hear and see shallow views of life from those who have not studied history, read much or reflected. It is good to know that there are those who are not of that school of thought and who do use history, philosophy and reason to grasp some understanding of the things that count. It is so easy to let the urgent push out the important in the rush of events. Again, thanks.

Janet A. Fink

I have sectioned and posted your comments all around my office cubicle to remind me of the ways that I and my co-workers can better our lives and improve our outlooks.
We who serve in the public interest need to be acquainted with ways to expand our thought pardigms to improve ourselves and to improve the way we can serve others. Thank you for sharing this bit of your and the ancients philosophy.

Al Simon

Thank you for the wakeup call. There is so much truth in Mastering the Art of Change as you outlined it. My father, who never attended college, practiced these principles throughout his life especially the art of self control. He was my model as a youngster growing up and taught me to handle my self accordingly. It is funny how over the years, one tends to forget the lessons from the early years. I will share this as well as post it around my office.
Thank you Tom, Thank you Dad!

Chip Dietrich

You mention Levenger's "creative" people. Two books that I have just read pertain to this 20 % of the population: Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class and The Recline of the Creative Class. Along with these Jared Diamond'S Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is remarkedly candid on the need for adaptation to change.

Susanna Ruiz

Thank you! This is what I will use to guide me during this time of uncertainty. I truly believe that you must adapt to the world around you if you are to survive. I am going to save this as a constant reminder and share it with my friends and family.

Tom Morris

I want to thank all of you who are already posting comments here, and encourage any new readers that we are coming back regularly to look at your responses and ponder your comments with appreciation for anything you write.

One commentator remarks on my brief use of the term 'excellence' which, as he rightly indicates, has become a nearly empty buzzword in some business writing these days, but which has a history of - dare I say it? - excellence predating current management mavens and motivators by some centuries. And some contemporary pundits use it well. Yet we still need to work to reclaim for it its proper Aristotelian heritage!

I'm really glad to see that readers are already printing out this little essay, posting it where they can review it, and sharing it with friends. Let me encourage you to pass it around as broadly as you'd like. As the first century Roman lawyer and wise stoic philosopher Seneca once said, "The best ideas belong to us all!"

Oh, and please let me invite you to visit my website for other free access short essays on things of interest to us as we live our daily lives:


In the coming weeks, we'll adding new essays and posting short videos and audio clips as well.

Now, I need to go use one of my beautiful Levenger fountain pens and write Steve a note to thank him for posting my essay with such a nice introduction!

Tom Morris


Thank you so much for your wisdom, it really made my day. My favorite has always been that "motivational" poster that says "change is just a bend in the road, unless you fail to make the curve" (or something like that). It showed a fancy sport car about to go flying straight off the road where the road makes a hard turn to the left. I try to remember to stay on the road, change, and survive. :-]

K A Nafees


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