Great Quotes, the Conscious Capitalism Edition: Words From an Unlimited Astronaut

For this Rule Breaker Investing podcast, host David Gardner once again climbs up onto the shoulders of giants with a "Great Quotes" episode. These five memorable aphorisms offer him excellent entries into topics that Foolish investors ought to be considering. Specifically, because May is Conscious Capitalism Month, he focused on wise words that can apply to that evolving holistic business philosophy.

In this segment, he quotes Mae Jemison, a history-making name you nonetheless may not recognize, on the topic of not letting the wrong people decide what you can or can't do.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on May 16, 2018.

David Gardner: Great Quote No. 4: All right, quote No. 4 and our final two quotes each involve the word "limits." A good word. Different views of limits. Quote No. 4. Now, this one comes from Mae Jemison. Now, I didn't, right off the top, recognize the name Mae Jemison. I bet a bunch of you will, but I'll make it clear very quickly who this is after I give her quote.

Mae said, "Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations. Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations."

Now, who's Mae Jemison you might be wondering? Well, she's an American engineer, a physician, and a NASA astronaut. In fact, on September 12th of 1992, she became the first African-American woman to travel in space aboard the space shuttle Endeavour.

Since then, having resigned from NASA in 1993, she's appeared on television several times. She was on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, for example. She's a dancer. She holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. Dr. Mae Jemison, today 61 years old, from Decatur, Alabama. "Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations."

Well, most of all, I think here, I'm not speaking to investors. I mean, I think it can be helpful for us as investors. It can be helpful to try to picture what things can become. For example, Intuitive Surgical, a wonderful company behind the da Vinci Surgical robot. When we first recommended that stock and got invested in it more than a decade ago, we [questioned whether] robotic surgery would catch on. The good news is it has. We were rewarded, there, but forget about the past. Let's look forward.

How about a company like 2U? A company that's bringing distance learning into the classrooms of some of the best universities today. Partnering with universities to reach more students than they would have otherwise. What might that become in time? Or what about MercadoLibre? How much higher could Latin American commerce go in the next 25 years? MercadoLibre, the leader. Or what about Twitter? What might Twitter become? I'm not quite sure 10 years from now. It will be fascinating to watch.

So, yes, it can be helpful not to limit your own imagination when you're thinking as an investor but here, I also think about how we talk to our kids. One of the things I always tried not to do was to limit my children, especially when talking to others. Do you have any friends who do this? They'll say something like this. "Yes, Anne is my smart child," and they'll say that right in front of Anne.

And, I mean, Anne [I'm looking at Anne Henry, one of our producers right now], is very smart. I'm not actually talking about Anne, but I'm thinking about Anne. It's awesome to have a child who's really talented or gifted. Or maybe tardy. "David is our tardy child." When parents talk about that in front of their kids, especially to other people with their kids, there, I think you start to limit them. It might not even be a bad thing. Maybe you're limiting them into being a great kid -- or the brilliant child is getting it -- but I think we're better off praising effort in our children rather than roping them into a cookie-cutter view of how they fit in within a family, or within their class, or within their generation.

So, never be limited by other people's limited imaginations, Dr. Mae Jemison said, and that's especially true [when you] think about you as a kid. When you were a kid was that true of you and how you were spoken to? It can be positive or negative, but it can be helpful to be conscious of this, both in how you were raised and how it may have affected you, but also, more importantly, how you talk going forward to people around you, especially younger members of new generations. So, never be limited by other people's limited imaginations.

David Gardner owns shares of Intuitive Surgical and MercadoLibre. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Intuitive Surgical, MercadoLibre, and Twitter. The Motley Fool recommends 2U. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.