Shakespeare’s business advice may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you hear his name but it’s some of the best out there. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death, Office Genie has compiled a list of the most inspirational quotes to apply to your everyday working life.
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” - The Merry Wives of Windsor
The message here is simple: don’t be late! Waiting around before a meeting might be dull but it gives you a chance to prepare and prevents the stress that can set in when you’re behind schedule.
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” - Hamlet
The next time something happens at work that you think is bad, try to approach it with a positive outlook and it might not seem so awful. A negative attitude won’t help you find a solution.
“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.” - All's Well That Ends Well
Your home and working life won’t always go to plan. The sooner you can learn to accept this, the easier it is to get back up when you’ve been knocked down.
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” - As You Like It
Shakespeare is basically reminding everyone not to get too big for their boots. You might be knowledgeable about your sector but there will always be more to learn.
“Strong reasons make strong actions.” - King John
Don’t be scared to seize an opportunity but make sure to think opportunities through before you commit to them. Try to use reason and logic in all your business decisions to help ensure they’re the correct ones.
“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?” - The Merchant of Venice
Shakespeare is making a much wider point about racism in society here and consequently it applies to business too: treat everyone as an equal and with respect (competitors included).
“Never shame to hear what you have nobly done.” - Coriolanus
Praise is very important in working life: both giving and receiving it. Be proud of your achievements and when someone highlights them, take it as a compliment.
“Thought is free.” - The Tempest
When business revolves around profit and loss, it can be easy to concentrate on financial factors instead of more intangible elements - innovation for example. The creative process is an important one and doesn’t cost a penny.
“Have more than thou showest, Speak less than thou knowest, Lend less than thou owest, Ride more than thou goest, Learn more than thou trowest, Set less than thou throwest.” - King Lear
This one is particularly good because it rhymes. Modesty, thriftiness, and a sense of adventure are among the qualities Shakespeare is championing here - all of which are vital for good business.
“I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety.” - Henry V
Finally, it’s important to realise there are more important things in life than fame and success, such as safety and good alcoholic beverages.