We all have them, those life lessons that, among all the noise of life, have somehow managed to stay with us. Having the embarrassingly bad memory that I do only make these nuggets of wisdom even more impressive.
Some are serious and other not so much, but all have added value to my life over the years.
(1) Don’t listen to who is talking; listen to what they’re saying.
Heavy, huh? This gem is brought to you courtesy of a darling old woman who taught Sunday school at my church growing up. In high school, we were getting ready to go on a trip with our choir, and amid a lesson that I don’t remember at all, those words hung on my heart.
Picture yourself at work or school. Isn’t there always that one person who just gets under your skin? Once the initial damage is done, no matter what they do or say, you find it aggravating – those same words or actions completely harmless from anyone else.
Well, stop it!
That person might be annoying as anything, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t hear what they have to say, and – wait for it – maybe even learn something.
It’s been close to twenty years (gasp!) since I heard this lesson, and I’m still working on it. Just remember, it’s usually the message and not always the messenger that matters.
(2) Calling in hung over is NOT the same as calling in sick.
On my very first College Program at Walt Disney World, I was 19. Program participants have always been notorious for their partying ways (come on, a group of reasonably attractive, outgoing college students?). So, it’s no surprise that they addressed this topic on one of our first days in town.
But seriously, it’s a valid statement.
Being sick is (for the most part) something that’s out of your control. And you definitely don’t want to risk getting other people sick. Being hung over, on the other hand is completely your own fault. I’m guessing you knew you had an early morning shift or meeting or whatever before you thought it would be fun to polish off that bottle.
(3) Always buy the bigger paperclips.
Hey, I said they weren’t all that serious, but hear me out.
At one point, I worked two steps removed from the president of Disney Theatrical Productions. Although we had pretty minimal interaction, my desk was a few feet from his office. So, I could often hear much of his interaction with others. Oh, the stories…
One day, he was handed some papers by his then-assistant, held together with a paperclip. No big deal, right? Wrong.
I guess the assistant had used a small paperclip, and that was not okay. The logic?
You can hold all the things with a large paperclip that you can hold with a small one…but the reverse isn’t true. And, well, by that logic, you should really only ever buy large paperclips. Don’t ask me why that stuck with me, but it did. I’m pretty positive there has to be some kind of metaphor for life, but eight years later it’s still just about paperclips for me.
Any random (but very useful) lessons like that in your life? Random words of wisdom that managed to stay with you over the years? Maybe yours will become one of mine…