How Shakespeare Helps Keep Me Motivated

Attention all dreamers and Summer entrepreneurs:

Every few months I like to dig into my motivation file to read books, essays and quotes that help reset my focus and determination. Here are eight quotes that struck a chord with me recently:

“There is a tide in the affairs of men.

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.”

~ Brutus

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar Act 4, Scene 3

The most influential people in the world are not necessarily the smartest, but the most opportunistic. Fate and free will are intertwined; when a person stumbles upon a “big break,” it is up to them to seize upon it decisively. High tide came for SkyBridge Capital when we were presented the chance to purchase Citi’s alternative investments unit in 2009 due to post-crisis restructuring. Realizing our good fortune, we aggressively seized the opportunity, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~ Abraham Lincoln 

Not only must entrepreneurs have a keen vision for the future, they must have the energy and enthusiasm to forge the change they desire. You see this mentality manifest itself in the investment world through activism, where managers don’t just “buy and watch,” they buy and help drive positive change.

“A leader is a dealer in hope.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte 

When anxiety overcomes a group of people, leaders cannot panic or become pessimistic. During the financial crisis of 2008 my business was literally days away from failure, but we were able to pull ourselves up by maintaining a positive mentality. Genuine optimism is a valuable skill.

“Because if you are prepared and you know what it takes, it’s not a risk. You have to just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.” ~ Mark Cuban

When we announced the decision to re-launch Wall Street Week, the iconic financial TV show that lay dormant for more than a decade, many wondered if it was a worthwhile investment of time and resources. But we hired great people, created a comprehensive plan and so far have delivered a value-added show with top-notch guests. I don’t want to just run a successful investment firm, I want to help make a positive impact on the world through causes like financial literacy – and we are finding a way to get there.

“I can’t stand cruel people. If I see people doing something mean to somebody else just to make themselves feel important, it really gets me mad.” ~ Roger Ailes

The way you treat people reflects directly on your character. When I see someone mistreating another person, to me it is a sign of deep insecurity – the need the knock someone else down a peg in order to feel better about yourself. I don’t tolerate cruelty and the projection of insecurity within my businesses.

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” ~ Andrew Carnegie

The best organizations are those whose collective output is greater than the sum of their parts. If you foster an environment where individuals are unwilling to collaborate and cede credit to colleagues, the pie shrinks for everyone. In a business, just like an economy, the size of the pie means as much as the size of the individual’s slice.

“I would rather hire a man with enthusiasm than one who knows everything.” ~ John D. Rockefeller 

On Wall Street Week, we asked The Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone what he regards as the most overrated virtue in people. His answer: intelligence. A smart person with no drive is like a Ferrari that sits in the driveway and collects dust. When I’m hiring people, I place much more emphasis on personality fit, character and work ethic than I do on raw intelligence.

“If everyone is thinking alike then someone isn’t thinking.” ~ George S. Patton

The pitfalls of groupthink prevent many organizations from moving forward from the status quo. Famed economist John Maynard Keynes once said, “it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally,” which causes people to avoid risks as a means of self-preservation. I look to hire people who reject the establishment and pursue bold new ideas even when those around them consider such pursuits foolhardy.

After reading and reflecting on these quotes, I’m reinvigorated to take on the challenges ahead.

How do you stay motivated?

Anthony Scaramucci
About the author: 

In 2017, Anthony Scaramucci held a number of positions in the U.S. Federal government, including Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and Director – Communications for The White House. Previously, he was Managing Director at SkyBridge Capital, a global alternative investment firm with $12.5 billion in assets under management.  Prior to SkyBridge, Mr. Scaramucci was a Vice President with Goldman Sachs.  He is a LinkedIn “Influencer” and was host of “Wall Street Week” on Fox Business Network.  Anthony has a JD from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor’s Degree from Tufts University.  Follow him on Twitter.