What I’ve Learned

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Sloan Wilson, the author of “The Man In The Grey Flannel Suit,” wrote a magazine article a couple decades ago about “What I’ve learned in 50 years,” and I promised myself the same reflection at some point.

Sitting amidst the boxes that represent the trappings of our professional life for the past 15 years, the mood has struck me.

In my 57 years, I can’t offer anything as profound as the lead item on Wilson’s list (“Liquid shoe polish doesn’t work.”), and little if anything here is original (I’ll attribute what I can), but here goes:

  1. Don’t trust self reporting. People don’t know themselves and aren’t motivated to tell you the truth anyway. When people say, “I’ll be honest with you,” I say “don’t bother.”
  2. You never know who’s doing you a favor. For instance, the person you’re maddest at could be the one who is teaching you your most valuable lesson.
  3. I never wanted to be so important that someone would ask you “who’s calling?” when you tried to reach me.
  4. There are enough people monitoring the price of things like milk and eggs that I don’t have to worry about it. Apparently, it doesn’t matter who’s watching the price of gas.
  5. Lane Wick once suggested that man’s greatest creative accomplishments were the frisbee and the seedless grape, and I can’t really argue with that.
  6. Ron Molitor put it this way: “You’re never happier than your most miserable child.”
  7. It’s all about people, but I don’t care. At least I don’t think I do. See Item #1.
  8. I admire, respect and like my liberal friends because they’re dedicated to taking care of others, but I’ll always be a conservative because I believe people should take care of themselves.
  9. The common characteristic of nice people is that they treat everyone the same.
  10. Song lyrics suck. Good music is all about, well, the music. Country music is the exception that proves the rule.
  11. For a good waste of time, it’s hard to beat an argument.
  12. When you can muster the courage, think like Harold Hill at his best. Believe there’s a band.
  13. Superstition is pointless.

And, finally, it’s still the little things that bring life’s greatest joys.