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90 in 90: Mike Quaranta, Delaware State Chamber of Commerce

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Over the course of my career, I’ve discovered several famous quotes or passages that have guided me and my thinking.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”


This is the first sentence of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.  If you repeat this out loud to yourself every morning before you start your day, you’ll be amazed how clearly you can see things that others try to make cloudy.

When you extend your hand, do it out of humility and for humanity. When you speak, say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Be kind, but be very, very clear with others. Being vague or duplicitous is not an asset.

“When the world is storm driven and the bad that happens and the worst that threatens are so urgent as to shut out everything else from view, then we need to know all the strong fortresses of the spirit which men have built through the ages.”

In 1942, when German U-Boats were destroying our oil tankers off the coast of Massachusetts and New Jersey, and half of our Navy was destroyed at Pearl Harbor, and it was unclear if the Nazi war machine could be stopped, Edith Hamilton wrote this quote in the preface to her book, “The Greek Way.” There will be difficult times at work or in our personal lives when you’ll need to summon up all your experience and training, and lean upon every lesson learned throughout your life, to be at your very best.

“We’re all entitled to our own opinions; however, we’re not entitled to our own set of facts.”

Former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said this in a debate on the floor of the U.S. Senate. I will never forget it. We live on a very large planet, and there is a lot of noise out there. You need to be a very discerning consumer of information to make wise decisions.

Thomas Paine is quoted as saying, “A real man smiles in times of trouble, gathers strength from distress and grows brave by reflection.”

Listen, learn, take it all in and grow wise.

Every one of us needs to give serious thought to running for elective office.

I raised my hand twice and took an oath as a city councilman and then as a mayor. You don’t have to make a career out of elective office, in fact, I’d strongly recommend against doing that. But if all of us never raise our hand, step up and try, then we get what we get. 

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

Sometimes people do things so absurd, that by reacting, you legitimize or elevate their words or actions. Be disciplined and say nothing.

Step back, gather yourself and whatever facts you can, and keep perspective.

I think the greatest of all leadership characteristics one can possess is perspective.

“Tomorrow,” I say, “I will call on Jim, Just to show that I’m thinking of him.” But tomorrow comes–and tomorrow goes, And the distance between us grows and grows. Around the corner! –yet miles away . . . “Here’s a telegram, sir . . . Jim died today.” And that’s what we get, and deserve in the end: Around the corner, a vanished friend.”

Take a couple of moments to reach out to a family member or friend you have not checked in on for quite some time. The poem Around the Corner, by Charles Hanson Towne reminds us, sadly, what happens when we don’t. I highly encourage you to take the time to read the entirety of this short poem.  

“Go in peace.”

My wish for all.

Mike Quaranta is the president of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. 

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