Campo Grande and Baltasar Gracián teachings for consultants

Campo Grande y Baltasar Gracián

Upon reading again the poem “The Righteous” by Jorge Luis Borges, I have stopped at the line “El que descubre con placer una etimología” (He who discovers with pleasure an etymology), and my memory, like Proust’s madeleine, has taken me to the bench in Campo Grande, a refuge for my adolescent readings, amidst the thick foliage and the declaimed song of peacocks.

On my bench, I always chose the same one, and I read “Oráculo manual y arte de la prudencia” (Manual Oracle and Art of Prudence) by Baltasar Gracián. It was for a class assignment on the meaning of some aphorisms and words pointed out by the professor.

Reviewing it again has surprised me with its full relevance to the present times. It was published in 1647 in Huesca. I invite you to share some aphorisms that are pertinent to behavior and ethical values applied to our consulting profession.

2. Genius and Ingenuity: Genius and Ingenuity. The two exes for the display of qualities. One without the other, happiness in moderation.

11. Deal with those from whom you can learn: Let friendly interaction be a school of erudition, and conversation, cultured teaching; a way of making friends.

14. Reality and manner: Substance alone is not enough; circumstance is also required.

16. Know with a right intention: Ensures the fertility of successes.

19. Do not enter with excessive expectation: An ordinary disappointment of everything highly praised before is not reaching the excess of what was conceived. Truth could never match imagination because feigning perfections is easy, and achieving them is very difficult.

24. Temper the imagination: Sometimes correcting it; other times aiding it, which is everything for happiness and even adjusts sanity.

25. Good understanding: The art was to know how to reason: now it is not enough; it is necessary to guess, especially in disillusionments.

26. Find each one’s persuader: It is the art of moving wills; it depends more on skill than resolution: knowing where to approach each person.

27. Value intentions more than extensions: Perfection does not lie in quantity but in quality. Some value what matters little and little of what matters much, always evaluating in reverse.

41. Never exaggerate: A great matter of attention, not speaking in superlatives, either to avoid offending the truth or to avoid tarnishing one’s sanity.

53. Diligent and Intelligent: Diligence quickly executes what intelligence thinks thoroughly.

57. The well-thought-out are more secure: Too quickly, though. What is done quickly is quickly undone, but what is to last an eternity must take another to be done.

60. Good judgments: Some are born prudent: they enter with the advantage of innate wisdom, and thus have half the way to success.

61. Eminence in the best: A great singularity among a plurality of perfections.

68. Give understanding: Giving understanding is more delicate than giving memory. Sometimes one must remember, and other times notice.

72. Man of resolution: Bad execution is less harmful than irresolution.

74. Not to be untreatable: True beasts are found in the most populated places. Inaccessibility is the vice of those unfamiliar with themselves, who change moods with honors.

80. Attention when getting informed: Much of life is information. What we see is the least; we live on others’ faith.

87. Culture and seasoning: Man is born barbarian, redeemed from the beast by cultivation. Culture makes people.

99. Reality and appearance: Things do not pass for what they are but for what they seem.

105. Do not tire: The man of a business is often heavy, and the man of a word.

119. Do not make oneself hated: Do not provoke aversion, as even unintentionally, it precedes itself.

121. Do not make a business out of a non-business: Just as some make everything a story, others make everything a business.

122. Lordship in speech and action: It gains a place everywhere and earns respect in advance.

130. Do and make it seem: Things do not pass for what they are but for what they seem.

132. Use counsel: Appealing to review is security, especially where satisfaction is not evident; take time, either to concede or to improve: new reasons are offered to confirm and corroborate the judgment.

136. Get well-versed in matters: Take the pulse of business right away. Many go either through the branches of useless reasoning or the leaves of tiresome verbosity, without reaching the substance of the matter.

141. Do not listen to oneself: It benefits little to please oneself if it does not satisfy others, and common disdain usually punishes personal satisfaction.

142. Never follow the worst course as a theme: Never follow the worst course as a theme because the opposite has advanced and chosen the best.

147. Do not be inaccessible: No one is so perfect that they never need advice.

148. Have the art of conversation: It shows that one is a person.

150. Know how to sell your things: Intrinsic goodness is not enough; not everyone bites the substance or looks inside. Most go where the crowd is, just because others are going.

151. Anticipate thinking: Today for tomorrow, and even for many days.

152. Never associate with someone who can tarnish you: Both for more and for less.

155. Art in becoming passionate: If possible, prudent reflection should prevent the vulgarity of impetuosity. It will not be difficult for the prudent one.

164. Throw some things into the air: To examine acceptance, see how they are received, especially those suspected of correctness and appeal.

166. Differentiate the man of words from the man of deeds: Unique precision, just as with a friend, a person, or a job, which are very different.

169. Pay attention not to make one mistake more than to achieve a hundred successes: No one looks at the shining sun, and everyone at the eclipsed one.

176. Know or listen to those who know: Without understanding, one cannot live, either by oneself or borrowed; but there are many who do not know that they do not know, and others who think they know, not knowing.

181. Without lying, do not tell all the truths: Nothing requires more tact than the truth, which is a bleeding from the heart. It takes as much to know how to say it as to know how to keep silent.

213. Know how to contradict: It is a great ploy to test, not to commit, but to commit others. It is the only twister that makes affections jump.

225. Recognize your reigning defect: No one lives without it, counterweight to the outstanding quality, and if inclination favors it, it becomes tyrannical.

230. Open your eyes in time: Not everyone who sees has opened their eyes, nor does everyone who looks see.

238. Know the missing piece: Many would be very accomplished if they did not lack something, without which they never reach the pinnacle of perfect being.

Let each one draw the appropriate lessons.