Beston Jack Abrams: Recognize and Act On The Truth

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

In “Abramisms: Lines of the Ancient Aphorist Volume 1” Beston Jack Abrams offers several aphorisms about recognizing the truth in a situation and acting on it. Here are 8 I have selected with some additional commentary for entrepreneurs.

Recognizing and Acting On The Truth

Several of Abrams’ aphorisms point to the importance of recognizing the truth, regardless of its source, and acting on it. He takes pains to point out that truth comes from a variety of sources, some of them overlooked through familiarity or distaste.

“Truth, like a bitter tonic, is distasteful, but without it we cannot purge ourself of toxic notions.”
Beston Jack Abrams

“Surrounded by prickly truths, we protect ourselves with soft fictions.”
Beston Jack Abrams

“Because truth may be close at hand should not diminish its value.”
Beston Jack Abrams

I see entrepreneurs reject insights from partners, employees, customers, and prospects in favor of famous experts they have never met; it’s almost as if they are quoting scripture: “In the Lean Startup, Eric Ries says…” No business book is a table of tides or sunrise/sunset, able to predict the future for specific phenomena with high accuracy.

“The truth, like money, is often possessed by distasteful people.”
Beston Jack Abrams

“To say that the truth comes only from moral sources cheats us of delicious ironies.”
Beston Jack Abrams

Robert Cialdini, author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” studied con men to learn how to build influence ethically. Edward Tufte, author of “Visual Explanations,” studied magicians to learn how they misdirect and obscure so that his presentations could be come more informative.

“To the extent is requires a review of the status quo, adversity is not all bad.”
Beston Jack Abrams

This reminds me of Gerald Weinberg’s insight, “It may look like a crisis, but it is only the end of an illusion.” I find conversations get much more real when the glint from the sharp edge of disaster is clearly visible on the road ahead.

“To change is difficult; to admit its necessity is more so.”
Beston Jack Abrams

In some situations the decision takes much more energy than the action, it represents a painful acknowledgement that the path we are on is not going to take us where we want to go.

“We are reluctant to admit the power we have since then we would have to assume the responsibility to use it.”
Beston Jack Abrams

This reminds me of Robert Brault‘s suggestion, “Do not hesitate to take the blame, for it puts the blame where you can do something about it.” Sometimes it’s easier to feel powerless than admit the responsibility;  entrepreneurship offers a clearer view of the need to take responsibility in business settings. Put another way, successful entrepreneurs take responsibility for a bad situation because it gives them the power to change it.

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