Saturday, November 24, 2007


Marine ship engine - “I do not fear failure. I only fear the "slowing up" of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, "Keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?"”

A popular T-shirt reads, "Upon the Advice of My Attorney, My Shirt Bears No Message at This Time." Perhaps the counsel of others is occasionally heeded, but I know that advice is not something people crave. Which is why it is sometimes said that free advice is worth about as much as you pay for it. Or put another way: "Plain advice is free. The right answer will cost plenty."

Our penchant for not wanting advice holds true across the generations. President Harry Truman once said, "I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it."

Nor is our aversion to advice just a peculiar sign of the times. As one boy wrote in an essay on the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates: "Socrates was a man who went around town giving his advice and opinions, so...they poisoned him!" What this student lacks in historical accuracy he more than makes up for in his sense about how well most advice is received.

Not all advice should be discarded, however. Nor should we overlook wisdom from unlikely sources. Like the "uneducated." And the aged.

I have a faded letter clipped from a newspaper many years ago. The author published some counsel given him by his grandmother who had died some 60 years prior, and who had never attended school. She offered it printed on a slip of paper, accompanied by the words, "All the advice you'll ever need to have a good life." I find it worth remembering. Here is what she wrote:

"Wash what is dirty. Water what is dry. Heal what is wounded. Warm what is cold. Guide what goes off the road. Love people who are least lovable, because they need it most."

Enough days spent refreshing, healing, warming, guiding and loving will add up to a good life, significant and well lived.

From Lifesupport.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails