“If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.”

George S. Patton, General U. S. Army

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Mark Twain

"The ancestor of every action is thought."


"All that we are is the result of what we have thought."


"When you are not told what to do you begin to think what to do."

Roger Cohen, Op-Ed Columnist New York Times

"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking."


"Never be afraid to sit awhile and think."

Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

"You and I are not what we eat; we are what we think."

Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course

"Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?"

Winnie the Pooh

"Time to think matters ─ at least if we’re interested in getting the answers right."

Stephen L. Carter

"Thinking is always out of order, interrupts all ordinary activities and is interrupted by them."

Hannah Arendt, Life of the Mind

"Too often we…enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

John F. Kennedy

"The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds."

Will Durant

"Thinking is like living and dying. Each of us must do it for himself."

Josiah Royce

"Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory."

G. Behn

"The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking."

Albert Einstein

"Pursuing our thoughts in silent contemplation takes an investment in time that few can spare."

Stephen L. Carter

"A moment’s thinking is an hour in words."

Thomas Hood

"Sometimes I think and other times I am."

Paul, Variete: Cantiques spirituels 192

"To think is to differ."


"To think is to live."


"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

William Jones

"What we think, we become."


"Our job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to open minds and to make the agony of the decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking."


"The person who thinks before he speaks is silent most of the time."


"Think ─ and you will be very lonely."


"Thought is action in rehearsal."


"We live in a world that leaves very little time to contemplate."


"Don’t worry too much about what people think because they seldom do."


"Invest a few moments in thinking. It will pay good interest."


"One cannot think crooked and walk straight."


"Think Differently + Do Things Differently = Better Results"


March 14, 2017

What Bonsai Trees Can Teach Us About Endurance

Tags: Business, General,

If well cared for, a bonsai tree will live 50 to 100 years longer than its creator’s lifespan. Yet the average lifespan of a Fortune 500 company dropped from 67 years in the 1920s to 15 years today, according to Richard Foster, a lecturer at the Yale School of Management. Just imagine what a Bonsai Master in the C-Suite could do to change that dynamic.

Ivan Watters, curator of the Chicago Botanic Garden bonsai collection, remarked that this ancient Asian art of creating miniature trees “requires a high degree of commitment, time-wise. Bonsai are like pets or small children and require a lot of attention and care. They also teach the development of patience, because you have to think in the long term, how will they look in 10, 15, 20 years?”

(Translation: Think and act strategically.)

John Yoshio Naka, an American horticulturist, teacher, author and master bonsai cultivator once advised, “Listen to the tree...it tells you where it wants to go!”

(Translation: Be open to another way.)

And then there’s this pithy wisdom from an old Japanese proverb:

When a bonsai stops growing, you know it’s dead.

(Translation: You’re no longer in business.)

Every year my husband and I would take our son to The Philadelphia Flower Show and he always made a beeline to the bonsai exhibit. We visited there again this week where I took this photo of a 59 year old bonsai next to its fledgling counterpart on the left.

But I knew better than to walk out with another (pricey) bonsai tree.

The name “bonsai” literally means “plant in a tray.” We’ve got plenty of empty, beautiful ceramic trays at home but the trees planted in them didn’t survive (we affectionately referred to our son’s collection as “everbrowns”).

So why do these symbols of harmony, peace, order of thoughts, balance, and all that is good in nature, so often atrophy long before their time?

For the same reasons that once-vibrant businesses, careers and dreams do.

Insufficient training.

Lack of patience, commitment and careful observation.

Loss of appetite for risk or adventure.

Waning creativity and passion.

Limited resources.

A non-nurturing environment.

Which brings us back full-circle to the Richard Foster Yale study. On average, a Standard & Poor’s (S&P) company is now being replaced every two weeks, and Foster estimates that 75 percent of the S&P 500 firms will be replaced by new firms by 2027. Just 10 short years away.

Might be time to onboard Mr. Miyagi of Karate Kid fame. He taught his bonsai-tending protégé Daniel san a-thing-or-two about mastering the vision thing:

"Close your eyes, concentrate. Think only tree..."

Anita Alvare (bio)/Alvare Associates/610-520-6140
Bonsai Tree   The Philadelphia Flower Show  Ivan Watters Chicago Botanic Garden  John Yoshio Naka   Richard Foster    Yale School of Management  Karate Kid   Mr. Miyagi

Since establishing Alvaré in 1981, Anita has guided the agency through 37 years of steady growth and success. A marketing communications entrepreneur who has done it all, she remains deeply involved in strategic planning and creative direction, bringing extensive knowledge and insight to each client project.


Blog Post Archive

RSS Feed

Sign up for RSS feeds from Alvaré to stay up to date with the latest from our agency and what we have been thinking about.

Leave a Comment (All Fields Required)

Your comments will be submitted and posted upon approval. We reserve the right not to post any comments or content that we do not feel contributes to the positive discourse of our site.

Comments (3)


As usual..very creative and interesting
Those S&P turnover numbers really get your attention!
Thanks Anita - keep ‘em coming!

Karen Thomson

Hi there, I loved this!  Karen

S. Joan Rychalsky

Another powerful, thought-provoking blog.  Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful thoughts.  Your writing is like a meditation on life.  I am grateful.  Joan