Alan Watts is a writer and speaker who was born in Chislehurst, England, on January 6, 1915. He is known for interpreting and popularizing Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism for the Western audience. In 1938, he moved to New York where he began Zen training. Watts died in 1973. This intelligent man was known for speaking words of wisdom that motivated people and gave them inspiration. Many of his quotes are applicable to business situations. Here are 20 Alan Watts quotes that apply to business.
20. On Taking Opportunities When They Arise
“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”
To give yourself the future you want, you should take any opportunities that come your way as soon as they arise. Missing out on opportunities and not taking the chance may mean that you fail to reach your full potential. You may look back and wished you had lived your life to the full and taken the opportunities presented to you in the future.
19. On Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses
“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.”
The person who you think you are is not necessarily who you really are or the way you are perceived by other people. Taking an honest look at yourself is potentially very revealing, and it can benefit your business. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. This is important so that you can utilize your strengths to your best advantage in your business. Similarly, identifying your weaknesses means you know what to work on.
18. On Getting Things Done Now
“The future is a concept, it doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as tomorrow. There never will be because time is always now.”
There is an old saying that you shouldn’t put off until tomorrow what you can get done today, and this Alan Watts quote says the same thing. You should live in the present and get things done now rather than waiting for another day. Otherwise, you may keep on putting things off and never getting round to completing tasks that you need to get on with to move your business forward.
17. On Taking Risks
“The most dangerous risk of all: the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”
People are often put off starting their own business due to the fear of the unknown. They are frightened to take the leap and worried that they will fail. In the future, you may seriously regret not taking the leap to achieve your dreams. The feeling of what you might have achieved is far worse than the feeling of trying and not succeeding.
16. On Self-Analysis
“You don’t look out there, you look in you.”
This quote by Alan Watts is listed on Awaken the Greatness Within, and it is about looking within if you want to become successful. You need to fully understand yourself and your strengths and weaknesses if you want to succeed in business. The temptation is to look for external factors to blame if things are going wrong, but everything is your responsibility and it is you that can take steps to improve the situation.
15. On the Importance of Self-Belief
“To have faith is to trust yourself.”
To achieve your full potential, you need to have a little self-belief. If you do not believe that you can become a success, then nobody else will have faith in you. Having self-belief will keep you motivated towards achieving your dreams.
14. On Taking Control of Your Destiny
“The only zen you’ll find on the mountain tops is the zen you bring up there with you.”
If you want good things to happen in your life, then take responsibility for the situation and make it happen yourself. You are the master of your own destiny, and there is only you that can change the course of your life. It is only possible to achieve your full potential if you have put the effort in to get you where you want in life.
13. On Not Stressing About the Little Things
“Don’t hurry anything, Don’t worry about the future. Don’t worry about what progress you’re making. Just me entirely content to be aware of what is.”
Sometimes, business leaders can spend so long stressing about every little thing that they make limited progress. In some situations, you need to learn to worry less and focus on the bigger picture. If you have employees, then delegate some of the smaller tasks to them so you are not stressing over individual aspects of a project. This will free you up to focus on the bigger issues.
12. On Overcoming Hurdles
“Man suffers because he takes it seriously.”
It inevitable in business that you will experience highs and lows. Hitting a low-point is not a failure, and it is essential that you realize this. What matters is how you handle the situation and whether you can pick yourself up and move forward. Reacting to the situation is fine, but it is important that you do not let it hold you back. This will only make things more difficult in the long-run. Just put it down to experience.
11. On Setting Realistic Goals
“…plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present since it is in the present and only in the present that you live.”
On the one hand, setting yourself big goals will give you something to work towards and will keep you motivated. On the other hand, it is vital that you are realistic about what is achievable within set timeframes. To understand what is achievable, you must look at where you are already and what it took to get there. Having a clear understanding of your current situation is an essential element of all aspects of planning for the future.
10. On Accepting Change
“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”
In Eastern philosophies, everything is about change as life is impermanent and simple a process between birth and death. Throughout this journey, changes will occur continuously. You should not fight against change in your business as this is all part of the process of moving forwards towards your goals.
9. On Letting Go of Your Fears
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead, you relax and float.”
Fears are something that can hold you back in life. Fearing the unknown and not being able to let go of your fears will stop you from making any process. It is important to face your fears head-on and then let go of them. Have some faith in yourself and the future.
8. On Applying the Reverse Effort Principle
“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.”
According to Life Hack, this quote refers to the reverse effort principle. It describes how some things are best left alone without forcing things or creating tension. Sometimes, you just need to go with the flow and not worry too much about sorting out the gray areas as they will often resolve themselves.
7. On Using Technology to Your Advantage
“Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.”
If you are not a technologically-minded person, then you may fear using technology. However, technology can make many processes easier and will allow you to do certain tasks that are impossible manually. Therefore, make the effort to learn how to use technology so that you can use it to your advantage in your business. If you have employees, make sure they are fully trained to use the technology, too.
6. On Paying Attention to the Details
“Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.”
When you become too focused on the end goal, it is easy to forget about some of the details along the way. While some details will make little difference, others can make a significant difference to the success of the project. If you do not have time to take care of every detail yourself, then delegate tasks to others so that you do not overlook anything. However, you should remain aware of what everyone is doing by having regular updates on progress.
5. On Trusting Your Instincts
“If you cannot trust yourself, you cannot trust your mistrust of yourself- so that without this underlying trust in the whole system of nature you are simply paralyzed.”
Many of the decisions you make in business will rely on you trusting your own instincts. Sometimes, the right decision is clear after assessing the pros and cons of each of your options. At other times, the right decision is not immediately clear, even after assessing the pros and cons. In these situations, you must rely on your instincts. If you do not trust your instincts, then making decisions will become almost impossible, and this will prevent you from making progress.
4. On Sharing Experiences
“Words can be communicative only between those who share similar experiences.”
Communication within your team will become easier if everyone is involved in projects and is aware of what is getting on. There is a sense of shared experience when people are working towards the same goals together. Keeping the lines of communication open is vital for things to run smoothly. Poor communication within a team will prevent efficiency and also lead to mistakes.
3. On Looking at Things from a Different Perspective
“Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way. “
If you have a problem that seems unresolvable, then it is likely that you are looking at it from the wrong perspective and seeking solutions from the wrong place. Try to look at situations from different perspectives whenever possible, as this will increase your chances of finding a solution. If you are still struggling to find the answers, then ask a member of your team for their thoughts and ideas as they will have a different perspective than you.
2. On Enjoying Your Working Life
“This is the real secret of life- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
Most people spend a large proportion of their life in their working environment. If you are not happy at work, then it will have a significant impact on your overall enjoyment of life. Ideally, you should only work in a field about which you are passionate as this will increase your chances of finding happiness and fulfillment from your business endeavors. Those who start their own business should do something that they enjoy rather than thinking of only monetary gain.
1. On Embracing Change
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
According to Goalcast, this is one of the best Alan Watts quotes that apply to business. It is all about the importance of embracing change. It is inevitable that a business will go through multiple changes, so this is not something that you should shy away from. Instead, you should embrace the changes and see them as opportunities. In many cases, changes are exciting and can revitalize your passion for your business. Every time you make a change, it is the beginning of something new and will open new doors for you.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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