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From Axioms to Aphorisms: How to Break Free from Conventional Wisdom

I'm all about embracing the absurdity in ideas and taking a fresh approach in life and business. Forget about universal truths and axioms, let's dive into aphorisms born from experience instead. Well, I've got one for you: You can actually make more money by not focusing solely on it.



Quality Relationships and Delighted Customers Hold the Key

“If at first, an idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it.” Albert Einstein

Another dandy from A.E.

Albert’s genius extended far beyond the scientific field; he also understood the human condition better than anyone.

And, best of all, he was as unruly as it gets.

Absurd ideas change paradigms and advance change.

But too many of us don’t like the risk and feel it’s better to stay in the “axiom zone.”

Axioms – a statement or proposition which is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true, are a bit absurd too.

We’re always being sold on the “Universal Truths” out there – but when you dig deeper and “question the questions,” you start to see things you have not seen before.

Axioms are seen as “self-evident truths and therefore require no additional proof.”

Hmm…universal truths that require no further questions or proof.

For an unruly lad like me, I think not!

I like to take a counterintuitive approach myself.

Flip everything on his head – start backwards.

Learn by doing.  Blaze new trails.  And get “schooled” along the way.

It’s a slower, harder, but more rewarding path for those that choose to take it.

When you dig into the “truth establishment,” you’ll find some interesting things.

Like aphorisms.

Aphorisms generally originate from experience and custom – i.e., by “doing.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines aphorism as:

: a concise statement of principle

Maybe we need more aphorisms and fewer axioms.

But wait, there’s more…

…we can’t forget about dogma, -isms, and pseudo-axioms!

Are you starting to see the “dumb” in the “clever” here?

Language that suits the suitor.

Let’s flip this on its head and have some fun, shall we?

I’m going to add some new jargon to the mix here so we can keep all the scholars out there on their heels.

Enter the URT, code for “Universally Resisted Truth.”

Here is a “Universally Resisted Truth” (URT) that I’ve found in my personal and professional journey through life.


You make more money by not focusing on making money.

Come again?

Yes, that’s right.

Making money is a result of what came before it – creating and then exchanging value.

It’s all about the value first, not the money.

When I was a big cheese CEO years ago, I read an interesting little book, (I forget the name) that created a formula for how to create wealth…

…V X L = W…
Value x Leverage = Wealth

Pretty hard to argue with the math there wouldn’t you say.

So, a better goal than “making piles of cash” might be…

…mining “value gold” for your customers.

And if you go one step further and find a way to delight your customers – they’ll keep coming back and be a great source of referrals.

Do this consistently and you’ll discover the holy grail of business leverage – relationships.

Relationships are the “moat” around your castle – they protect you and make it difficult for your competitors to invade and crush you in the market.

In fact, the quality of the customer relationship is how you attain a competitive advantage in the market.

Quality relationships are hard to beat.

Peter Drucker had this axiom – “there is only one valid purpose of a firm: to create a customer.

My version of this would be more like:

“There is only one valid purpose of a firm: to create value for a customer in a way that delights them and leads to the formation of a long-term relationship.

Therein lies your competitive advantage and market differentiation.

Wealth = Delighted Customers x Relationships

A formula for wealth, however, you define wealth.


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