Monday, April 24, 2017

Universal Truths ~ my column from Sunday's paper

One of the most profound things I’ve discovered stumbling through life is that there are Universal Truths. These truths are things that any unbiased witness would affirm. What follows is my short list of Universal Truths that I’ve observed.

Education does not make you smart, and the lack of education does not make you stupid.

I’ve met highly educated people who could recite verses from ancient texts. They could argue about virtue, ethics, politics and religious theology. But they found simple life skills baffling. I’ve also known people who never finished grammar school analyze a complex problem and come up with an easy solution.

Attitude is everything.

My work at the college has me working with local employers. In my discussions with the people making hiring decisions, they often say when given a choice between two people, they would hire the one with a good attitude even if their skills aren’t quite as good as the other candidate. I’ve worked with talented people with rotten attitudes. Poor attitudes are toxic on groups that work (or play) together.

Silence is sometimes the best path but not always.

Abraham Lincoln said something profound on this topic: It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. But there are times when silence is not an option. Realizing which path to take requires wisdom.

Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.

Henry Ford contributed this universal truth. In my opinion, that thought is more valuable and important than his contribution to the manufacturing process at Ford Motor Company.

Each day I hear people say, “I could never do that.” It’s their first line of defense against almost any idea. When asked why they do not feel up to the task, they come up with a litany of lame excuses why something would not work. Sometimes rather than challenging them, I’ll say, “Then it must be true that you can’t.”

The road is long.

One of my favorite Aesop’s Fables is the Tortoise and the Hare. That childhood story is a profound truth. Life is not a hundred-yard dash. There will always be people faster, smarter, have more money, and better looking. History is filled with stories of people who came from nothing and over time became giants. Of course, the opposite is also true. The grandchildren of Cornelius Vanderbilt squandered an estimated $200 billion on big homes, fine cars and expensive wine. I guess they were all educated, but as I mentioned in my first universal truth above, education does not make you smart.

Procrastination is a thief.

I’ve learned this truth the hard way. Life is full of unpleasant tasks. These things can be ignored, but neglect will not make them go away. They hang around like lint on a black sweater. You can put these tasks on the back burner for a while, but they remain there festering like a splinter in your finger.

My wife Jilda had a ding in her windshield. For months I kept saying, I need to call and have that repaired. Had I not procrastinated, the insurance company would have sent a repairman and fixed the ding at no cost. But last week, a crack began spreading, and it didn’t stop until it reached the rubber seal. I called the insurance company and scheduled the repair. It took a half day of my life. Procrastination stole money from my wallet and time from my life. And that’s the truth.


  1. When it has been said, or writ, and it is the truth; ain't much to add. Well 'cept you done good!'

    Great read! Thanks!

  2. Yes. I would like to add two more.
    Common sense is far from common., and kindness never goes astray.

  3. I love this post. Ouch on the wager of procrastination. We all procrastinate to some degree.
    Have a great day.
    Hugs, Julia

  4. All so true but my favorites ...Attitude is everything and slow but sure will get the job done...Turle and the hare..Good one for sure !

  5. You're right about attitude being everything. In my working career I never landed a job I was qualified to do. I got all of my jobs because of my attitude.

  6. All good, though I slightly disagree with the procrastination thing. If you don't procrastinate some times, you never get to the good stuff.

  7. Wisdom is not taught. You give some important points.

  8. Anonymous2:27 PM


  9. Gosh, this resonates. "Education does not make you smart; (and) the lack of education does not make you stupid." Amen!

    Just last week, Michele (my GM) passed on more qualified individuals for a middle-management position because she's a huge believer in identifying the 'right fit.'

  10. Good stuff here. Im a big believer on "attitude is everything".

  11. Procrastination certainly is a thief and the road is long, for sure.



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