Thomas Jefferson’s Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life
1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend money before you have earned it.
4. Never buy what you do not want [just] because it is cheap.
5. Pride costs more than hunger, thirst and cold.
6. We seldom repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain the evils cost us that never happened.
9. Take things always by the smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, count a hundred.
Industrialist Dr. Arnold O. Beckman’s Seven Rules for Success
1. Maintain absolute integrity at all times.
2. Always do your best; never do anything half-heartedly. (Either get into it, or get out of it.)
3. Never do anything to harm others.
4. Never do anything for which you’ll be ashamed later.
5. Always strive for excellence – there’s no substitute for it.
6. Practice moderation in all things – including moderation. (There’s nothing wrong with a little excess once in a while.)
7. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Judge Judy’s 10 Laws of Success
1. Be indispensable.
2. Think fearlessly and strategically.
3. Use your assets.
4. Don’t blow the first impression.
5. Lighten up.
6. Practice punctuality.
7. Create an interesting person.
8. Demand your worth.
9. Do the right thing.
10. Leave a footprint.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy. In 1954 Maslow attempted to codify human motivations. He concluded what may seem obvious now: the individual’s first instinct is to satisfy physiological needs, and when these basic needs are met, the individual is free to move on to higher, more spiritual desires. Physiological: water, food, sex
Safety and order: freedom from the elements; freedom from harm
Belonging and love: friendships and intimate relationships
Esteem: achievement and respect; a sense of success
Self-actualization: realizing one’s potential; achieving understanding and insight
Some have simplified our needs into these five building blocks of happiness:
The Pareto Principle, a.k.a. The 80/20 Rule or The Law of the Vital Few. Economist V. Pareto observed in the early 1900s that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population, and others have since observed that this uneven bell curve distribution applies to other socio-economic relationships. For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes:
80% of the world’s income is controlled by 20% of the world’s population
In a typical business …
… 80% of sales come from 20% of the clients
… 80% of sales come from 20% of sales people
… 80% of profits come from 20% of the products (80% of a restaurant’s income comes from 20% of its menu)
… 80% of complaints come from 20% of customers
… 80% of the loss from shoplifting comes from 20% of the items (a few high-cost items are most attractive to thieves)
… 80% of all absences come from 20% of employees
80% of health care resources are used by 20% of patients (a few illness- and accident-prone individuals)
80% of an instructor’s time is taken up by 20% of the students
80% of crimes are committed by 20% of criminals
80% of traffic accidents are caused by 20% of drivers
80% of our personal telephone calls are to 20% of the people in our address book
The first 80% of a project’s steps takes 20% of the time
Glaserbeam’s Best Practices for Business Email
Don’t assume that anyone has read your email unless they have responded. They may be away from their computer, their spam filter may have diverted it, or their email server may be down. If your email is important/urgent, follow up with a phone call.
Avoid using abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) and LOL (laugh out loud). The recipient might not be aware of the meanings of the abbreviations and in business emails these are generally not appropriate. For abbreviations specific to your company, spell them out the first time they’re used.
If you are writing a complaint or using strong language, sleep on it before hitting “SEND.” Sending an email is like sending a postcard. If you don’t want your email to be displayed on a bulletin board, don’t send it. Moreover, never make any libelous, sexist or racially discriminating comments in emails, even if they are meant to be a joke.
Avoid fancy fonts or busy backgrounds. Use Arial, Times New Roman, or other simple font, 10 to 12 point, black, on a white or neutral background. An email should be a model of clear communication, both in the meaning and the appearance, not an “art project.”
Email is great at transmitting information (especially to multiple recipients), confirmation of prior discussions, and attachments, but is not always best for one-on-one conversation. In many cases a face-to-face or phone conversation is more efficient and effective than multiple emails. Know your recipients and what style of communication they prefer.
The first time you communicate with a new business contact, it may be better to call than to email, especially if you’re asking them to do something for you.
Use the “TO” field to identify only those who must act on or respond to the information.
Use the “CC” field to identify only those who must be aware of the information.
Use the “BCC” field to alert those who must be aware you’re involved in the communication, but who don’t need to be revealed to the “TO” or “CC” people.
For large-scale mailings, especially to individuals who may not know each other, consider using the “BCC” field for all recipients, to avoid revealing their email addresses without permission.
Ensure the “SUBJECT” line is brief and descriptive.
Before you “SEND,” check for grammar and spelling errors and make sure you’ve attached whatever you intended to attach. Also confirm that any links you’ve provided are accurate.
Just as in verbal communications, include a specific due date/time for any action requested of the “TO” people. No date, or “ASAP,” means different things to different people.
“REPLY ALL” unless there are good reasons not to.
Include previous email threads unless there are good reasons not to.
Make sure you’ve addressed each question the sender has raised.
If you can’t reply within 48 hours (because you need to conduct research or need to discuss the issue with others), send a simple acknowledgement indicating when you’ll be able to provide a full response.