You too can become great

22. 01. 18 John Chapman

Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel L Clemens. According to, he was ‘An adventurer and wily intellectual, … wrote the classic American novels 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' and 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn… [and] adopted the pen name Mark Twain—steamboat slang for 12 feet of water.’

He is quoted as saying

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

In developing an idea, looking at options for the business case, seeing the need for change, suggesting improvements to existing processes, we will look for the opinions of our work colleagues, professional acquaintances and friends.

There will be a range of replies and responses. Some may be polite, others observant and measured in their answer. A few may reflect and deliberate before giving you their considered opinion.

However you may come across some who seek to belittle your ideas, your suggestions, your proposed project. Best advice is to ignore them. It is not worth wasting your breath trying to change their mind.

Instead look for those who are really great. They will provide sound practical advice, encourage you to develop your thinking, and make constructive suggestions. It is also likely that during the project they will be your supporters, advocates and devotees of the outcomes defined in the business case. Remember the words of Mark Twain

‘the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great’

PS: Some may argue that “Mark Twain” isn’t slang. Twain is an old word for two . A fathom is six foot, so mark “two” is two fathoms hence twelve foot. It is rather an archaic term

View this blog in video format Why Touchstone? Contact TouchstoneFMS
  • Share on:
John Chapman

Written by:

John Chapman

Programme Director