Clive Staples Lewis, better known as C.S. Lewis, was born in Belfast in 1898. He was a writer, a lay theologian, and an academic. He is best known for his written work, and he wrote both fiction and non-fiction. Possibly his most famous works included The Space Trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Screwtape Letters. Lewis worked in an academic position in English Literature at Oxford University between 1925 and 1954, and then at Cambridge University until 1963 when he died. C.S. Lewis was a very influential man, and his quotes are often used to inspire or motivate people. Here are 20 C.S. Lewis quotes that apply to business.
20. On Aiming High
“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
According to Brainy Quote, CS Lewis says that you should always aim high. If you set yourself a low bar in life, then you will achieve very little. Setting the bar high for yourself means that you have something to aim towards that will keep you motivated and striving for more.
19. Experiencing Failures on the Road to Success
“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward to success.”
It is almost impossible to achieve success without experiencing failures along the way. Each failure is a learning curve that will give you experience and knowledge about what not to do next time, and also what you need to do to move forward. This is the reason it is so important that you do not give up just because you have failed the first time around. See the failure as a positive experience that can help you in the future.
18. On Taking a Straightforward Approach
“Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises but keep them.”
Try to adopt a straightforward approach to everything you do in business. Trying to sound clever or picking a strategy because it is the most complicated and you think it makes you look good is a bad approach. Use language that is straightforward to make sure everyone understands. Similarly, choose the most straightforward strategies to save time and confusion. Likewise, do not make promises if you have no intention of keeping them.
17. On Taking Risks
“The safest road to hell is the gradual one- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
Taking the comfortable route in your business means that you are unlikely to make a lot of progress. You need to take some risks if you want to reach milestones and make achievements in your business.
16. Reaching Your Potential
“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
Everyone has potential, but this is often unleashed and unreached. People sometimes take the easy route in life and this means they will never reach their full potential. If you want to make sure you reach your full potential, then you must be willing to take some risks, work hard, and not settle. You can then get to where you need to be in life.
15. On Taking the First Step
“With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere.”
For those who have a business idea, taking the first steps towards launching their business is often the hardest part. Usually, it is a fear of the unknown and a fear of failure that holds people back. However, unless you take the first steps and try, you will never get anywhere in life. You could then spend your life wondering what you could have achieved if you had been brave enough to take a chance.
14. On Clarity
“Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.”
When mistakes are made by your team, two of the possible causes are poor communication and a lack of clarity in what was expected of them. To avoid such mistakes from happening, you should also make sure that your instructions are clear and that the lines of communication remain open throughout every project.
13. On Accepting Your Flaws
“I’m tall, fat, rather bald, red-faced, double-chinned, black-haired, have a deep voice, and wear glasses for reading.”
Everyone has flaws, and it is vital that you accept this fact. Identifying your flaws and areas of weakness is a big step in both self-improvement and in helping your business to move forward. By identifying your flaws and weaknesses, you know which areas of yourself you need to work on. If there are some weaknesses that you know you can never resolve, then you need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team to make sure you have people who have strengths in your area of weakness.
12. On Using Your Imagination
“I think all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.”
Even in the most serious businesses, using creativity and imagination can enhance your business in some way. Thinking outside the box and doing something different is what will make your business stand out from the competition.
11. On Self-Belief
“We are what we believe we are.”
Listed by Quote Ambition, this C.S. Lewis quote demonstrates the importance of self-belief. If you don’t believe in yourself, then others will also have no belief in you. Likewise, you are unlikely to achieve anything if you have self-doubt. Believing that you can achieve something is the first step towards doing something with your life.
10. On Learning from Negative experiences
“God allows us to experience the low points in life in order to teach us lessons we could learn in no other way.”
When things aren’t going right, it is easy to believe it is a failure and to give up. However, there are often positives that you can draw from negative experiences. For example, it can give you more strength to achieve your dreams, and failure is a learning experience that you can use to help you in the future.
9. On Looking to the Future
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
You should always remember what you are working towards in your business. Sometimes, it can feel like a hard slog and as though you are making very little progress. Try to remember that every step you take and the effort you put in is taking you towards better things in life, even if it seems hard.
8. On Facing Challenges
“God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.”
Not everything in business runs smoothly and things can often seem difficult. You might find yourself facing multiple challenges along the way. Remember, these will all make you stronger in the long run and help you to face anything that comes your way. Even when it seems hard, remember that you have the strength to carry on.
7. On Achieving Your Goals
“The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”
Strictly speaking, this C.S. Lewis quote is religious, and it refers to knocking on heaven’s door. However, you can also relate it to business and achieving your goals. If you set yourself goals and take every step necessary to reach them, then you will eventually get to where you want to be in life. You just need to keep working towards achieving your goals.
6. On Looking at Things from Different Perspectives
“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing, It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
When you face a problem, you might struggle to find the solution. It is possible that you are looking at it from the wrong perspective or that you have not fully considered all aspects of the situation. It is easy to get stuck in one train of thought and to not look at the bigger picture. Try to think about things differently. Alternatively, ask a member of your team for their thoughts as it is possible that they can offer a different perspective.
5. On Learning from Experience
“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”
Having knowledge in your field of business is important, but there are many things that you can only learn from experience. You will continue to gain experience in different aspects of running a business throughout your business journey. You can then apply this experience to your business in the future.
4. On Getting Over Failures
“Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
When something that you have worked hard towards fails, it is alright to spend some time feeling upset about the situation. However, you need to pick yourself back up, reassess the situation, work out what you can do differently next time, and then carry on. Try not to see one failure as the end of the journey, it is just the start of a new beginning. Think about it as creating a new opportunity for you.
3. On Trying to Achieve Your Goals, Regardless of Your Age
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
According to Goalcast, this is one of the best C.S. Lewis quotes that apply to business. Don’t let age stand in the way of starting up your own business or working towards your dreams. Many people think that when they reach a certain age, they have missed the opportunity to do the things that they have always dreamed of achieving. However, it is never too late. Plus, mature people have more life experience, and this is often beneficial when trying to launch a business. It is likely that you have already overcome setbacks in life, so these will not phase you. Likewise, you will have experience in a variety of different situations, and you can apply this experience to your business endeavors.
2. On Training Others
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.”
As a leader in business, training members of the team may fall within your responsibilities. Even if you are not involved in formal training, there are elements of informal training that you may undertake during your normal working day. This C.S. Lewis quote talks about the right way to educate people. If you have skilled people in your team, then down cut them down by trying to train them in a way that is below their abilities. If people are struggling, then find different ways to teach them to allow them to blossom in the workplace.
1. On Embracing Change
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…”
Listed on Addicted 2 Success, this C.S. Lewis quote is all about change. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like anything is any different unless you look back. Then you can see how far you have come. However, you do not need to simply wait for change to occur naturally as part of your business development. You can embrace and implement changes to accelerate the speed of your business’ progression. Make sure that any changes you consider will benefit your business, so you should weigh up the pros and cons first.