John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, glaciologist, environmental philosopher, author, and advocate for the preservation of the United States wilderness. He was born in East Lothian, Scotland, in 1838, and he moved with his family to the United States when he was 11. Muir is known for writing about his adventures in nature, and he was often referred to as ‘Father of the National Parks’ or ‘John of the Mountains’. The things he wrote and said have influenced many people before his death in 1914, and his quotes are still used posthumously to inspire people or make them look at things from a different perspective. Here are 20 John Muir quotes that apply to business.
20. On Taking Responsibility for Your Own Destiny
“One can make a day of any size and regulate the rising and setting of his own sun and the brightness of its shining.”
Every person in business is responsible for their own destiny. They can choose how they should best spend their time, set their own goals, decide on the best strategies to achieve their own success, and take steps to go wherever they want in life. If you want to become successful, then do something about it.
19. On Highs Following the Lows
“Fortunately, wrong cannot last. Soon or late it must fall back home to Hades, while some compensating good must surely follow.”
According to Everyday Power, this is one of the best John Muir quotes that apply to business. Everyone will experience low points in business. Some of these will pass quickly while others can last for a while and are more difficult to overcome. This quote suggests that there are rewards when you come out on the other side.
18. On Using Powerful People for Support
“Society speaks and all men listen, mountains speak and wise men listen.”
The ideas and rules of society are sometimes useful in making decisions about what you should do in society. However, there are some people who may have more to offer than others. Look at powerful people who have already achieved the success you desire, and use them for inspiration to take your business forwards.
17. On Choosing Your Own Path
“Between every two pine trees, there is a door leading to a new way of life.”
Nobody’s path in life is set in stone, and the decisions you make will determine which path you take. You will hit many points in your life when your decisions will make a big difference to either the short-term development of your business or to the long-term journey and where you will get to in the end. It is your choice which path you choose to take.
16. On Facing Your Fear of the Unknown
“It seems supernatural, but only because it is not understood.”
When you do not know what lies ahead, it is sometimes difficult to predict outcomes. It is this fear of the unknown that can sometimes prevent people from taking the leap into business. However, nothing is ever certain in life and you will not find out what lies ahead until you have taken that first courageous step.
15. On Reaping the Rewards of Hard Work
“One must labor for beauty as for bread.”
One of the biggest motivations for people in business is money. They work hard simply because they want to improve their financial wealth. However, this is not the only thing that will make you happy in life. In fact, many people who become rich say that it has added very little pleasure to their life. Instead, you must work hard so that you can take the time to enjoy your life with the people that matter to you and doing the things that make you happy.
14. On Making the Most of Your Opportunities
“Most people live on the world, not in it.”
This John Muir quote relates to people existing rather than fully living their life. You only have one life, so make sure you live it to the best of your ability. This applies to both your business life and your personal life.
13. On Getting a Team to Work Well Together
“There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.”
Although your team consists of individuals, it is essential that they can work together in harmony as one unit. Strangely, part of getting them to work as one requires recognizing them as individuals. You must acknowledge their contributions and the skills, talents, or knowledge they bring to the table. By doing so, they will feel valued in the workplace and are more likely to work well alongside others in the team.
12. On the Work-Life Balance
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread. Places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
People often believe that if they devote every waking hour to work, they are more likely to become successful. Although hard work is important, it is just as important that you can take a step back from work and enjoy your personal life. Giving yourself a break away from the office and enjoying yourself will help you to focus your mind better and work more efficiently when you are in the office. Likewise, getting plenty of rest is vital to your cognitive abilities and to both your physical and emotional health.
11. On Working as a Team Towards the Same Goal
“The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day.”
Although you may set individuals in your team their own goals to work towards, it is vital they understand that these are contributions towards a wider goal. You need all your team onboard to work as one to look at the bigger picture and to support you in reaching the long-term goals. Making it clear what these goals are through good communication is essential.
10. On Working Hard to Enjoy Success
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.”
Getting to where you want in life is sometimes a hard slog, similar to climbing a mountain. However, if you are willing to put in the hard work and effort, you will be rewarded for everything you worked for in the end.
9. On Not Always Relying on Technology
“I bade adieu to mechanical inventions, determined to devote the rest of my life to the study of the inventions of God.”
More than ever, technology is becoming an essential element of most businesses. Even those that are not technology-based will usually use computers and email. While some technological advancements can help you to progress and to streamline or simplify processes, it is important not to overlook the skills that people can bring to your business. Good verbal communication and meetings where people are physically present in the same room are often more beneficial than electronic communications in business.
8. On Embracing Change
“Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.”
Change is constantly happening. Sometimes big changes will happen that completely shake up your business. Other times, changes can happen so gradually that you hardly even notice. It is essential that you can embrace change as this is often what is needed to take a business forward. Change can bring many good things, as long as you are making changes for the right reasons and not simply making changes for the sake of change.
7. On Using the Skills of Your Team
“The dispersal of juniper seeds is affected by the plum and cherry plan of hiring birds at the cost of their board, and thus obtaining the use of a pair of extra good wings.”
This John Muir quote listed on Brainy Quote highlights the importance of having a team with varied skills that you can use to your own advantage. In nature, every plant and animal has a role to play that contribute to the environment. Likewise, each team member has something to offer that can benefit you and your business. This is why it is so important to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your team and use this information to your advantage.
6. On Rising from the Low Points
“The redwood is one of the few conifers that sprout from the stump and toots, and it declares itself willing to begin immediately to repair the damage of the lumberman and also that of the forest-burner.”
This John Muir quote talks about the ability of redwood to regrow even after it has been chopped down. You can use this as an analogy for facing difficult times in your business but rising from the low points and becoming strong once again. When you face a challenge, it is vital that you pick yourself up, use what you have learned from the experience, and become stronger.
5. On Using Your Imagination
“The power of imagination makes us infinite.”
Using your imagination can create so many more opportunities for you. Following the same line of thinking as everyone else will only allow you to achieve the same level of success. If you can use your imagination to look at things from a different perspective and to think of new ideas, then you have a greater chance of achieving things in life.
4. On the Importance of Taking a Break
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
This John Muir quote listed on OARS stresses the importance of taking a break from your work occasionally. Taking a break can help you to refresh both your mind and your body. You can then return to work with greater focus, more energy, and newfound determination and motivation.
3. On Seeing the Bigger Picture
“Most people who travel only look at what they are directed to look at. Great is the power of the guidebook make, however ignorant.”
It is easy to develop tunnel vision when you are running a business. You are so focused on one thing and progressing that one aspect of the business that you are not taking notice of anything else that is going on. Don’t forget to look at the bigger picture and take care of all aspects of your business. This will help you to avoid making mistakes along the way.
2. On Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
“The world is big, and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”
Staying within your comfort zone and not exploring anything new is the easiest route to take in life. However, it is also the least rewarding route. If you want to progress and become successful, you will need to step outside your comfort zone and explore new ideas or ways of doing things. There are lots of opportunities out there for you if you are willing to step outside your comfort zone and explore.
1. On Taking Opportunities to Learn
“One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.”
According to Adventure Journal, this is one of the best John Muir quotes that apply to business. It describes how books are a good way of learning, but they are other ways that you can learn. Getting hands-on experience is often more beneficial than academic studies in many aspects of a business. While learning from books can give you a good foundation, it is not until you get stuck in and start doing things for yourself that you will truly gain the experience you need to become successful in business.
Written by Dana Hanson
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