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First a quote: “It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult.” – Queen Elizabeth II (the Queen’s 1957 Christmas message)

Hello and happy fall!

Queen Elizabeth II’s passing this last week is now already old news. She is reported to have died peacefully on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96.

She made history this summer when she became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee and she was the longest-reigning monarch in British history. The previous record was set by her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who held the throne for almost 64 years.

Queen Elizabeth II lived a life of service dedicated to the British Commonwealth, and the wider world, for 70 years. I honor her life today by sharing several of her quotes and the wisdom contained within.

Following are five of my personal favorites. (Please note I have also included many others in the Bonus Quotes section below.)

I often categorize quotes by topic. I consider the first two quotes under the heading of positive leadership.

“It has always been easy to hate and destroy.
To build and to cherish is much more difficult.”

When the twin towers opened in 1973, they were the tallest buildings in the world. It took 14 years to plan and build the twin towers in New York City.

After being struck, by hijacked commercial airliners, WTC 1 (the north tower) collapsed in 102 minutes. WTC 2 (the south tower) collapsed in 56 minutes. Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of that horrific day. It took workers eight months to clear the site working 24 hours a day.

It then took another five years of planning and eight years of construction to rebuild the new One World Trade Center. Almost fourteen years in total.

We could also look at the current war in Ukraine for similar examples of destructive leadership.

Likewise, marriages, significant relationships, teams, organizations, cultures, and countries, all of which can take years or even decades to create, can be destroyed in an instant with careless words or actions. I challenge all of us to use Queen Elizabeth’s words of wisdom as a reminder to not let brief moments of strong emotions destroy the good that has been created in our world.

The second “leadership-themed” quote I picked in honor of Queen Elizabeth II is:

“I know of no single formula for success, but over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration, to work together.”

It is quite easy to point out problems, (just listen to any political talk show host of any flavor), it is far more difficult to unite disparate people around a common cause for good. As the Queen pointed out above, positive leadership is about building teams of people who work together to overcome difficult challenges and accomplish meaningful results.

The third quote acknowledges the challenges we face can seem to be both overwhelming and impossible to resolve.

“But even with the inspiration of others,
it’s understandable that we sometimes think the world’s problems are so big that we can do little to help.”

While the challenges we face can sometimes feel daunting, I suggest each of us can make a positive difference in the world. The following quotes from Queen Elizabeth II provide her suggestions on how:

“On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.”

And in closing, my fifth and final selection:

“In times of doubt and anxiety, the attitudes people show in their daily lives, in their homes, and in their work, are of supreme importance.”

What will your attitude be this coming week? What small acts of goodness will you do today, tomorrow, and in the week ahead? What each of us do and say matters to the lives of those around us. Choose wisely! Live intentionally!

Related MMM articles:

All the best this week!


Bryan Yager

“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”

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Bonus Quotes: (all by Queen Elizabeth II)

  1. “Religion and culture are much in the news these days, usually as sources of difference and conflict, rather than for bringing people together. But the irony is that every religion has something to say about tolerance and respecting others.”
  2. “We may hold different points of view, but it is in times of stress and difficulty that we most need to remember that we have much more in common than there is dividing us.”
  3. “It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.”
  4. “Giant leaps often start with small steps.”
  5. “You’ve all seen pictures of the earth taken from space. Unlike all the other planets in the solar system, earth shimmers green and blue in the sunlight and looks a very pleasant place to live.”
  6. “Everyone is our neighbour, no matter what race, creed or colour.”
  7. “When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”
  8. “Over the years, those who have seemed to me to be the most happy, contented and fulfilled have always been the people who have lived the most outgoing and unselfish lives.”
  9. “It is through this lens of history that we should view the conflicts of today, and so give us hope for tomorrow.”
  10. “Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves–from our recklessness or our greed.”
  11. “Perhaps we make too much of what is wrong and too little of what is right. The trouble with gloom is that it feeds upon itself, and depression causes more depression.”
  12. “Each day is a new beginning, I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.”
  13. “No age group has a monopoly of wisdom, and indeed I think the young can sometimes be wiser than us. But the older I get, the more conscious I become of the difficulties young people have to face as they learn to live in the modern world.”
  14. “Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly of wisdom and we must always be ready to listen and respect other points of view.”