I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a “wisdom channel” in my head. It’s filled with little sayings that remind me of important things. This isn’t a complete list. I’m sure that as soon as I hit “publish,” I’ll think of a couple more. All these help me. I hope you’ll find one or more that will help you.
You can’t unring a bell
If you’re a parent or a boss, everything you do sets a precedent, so think before you ring that bell.
If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging
Common sense, sure, but I often need a reminder.
If you can’t take the time to do it right, how will you find time to do it over
One of my mother’s favorites whenever I tried to rush through something, like a homework assignment. My mother died more than thirty years ago, but, fortunately for me, her voice is right there in my ear whenever I’m tempted to rush.
Fast, cheap, good — pick two
I saw this one for the first time as a sign in a print shop. It’s a good reminder that life is full of trade-offs of all kinds.
They can’t say “yes” if you don’t ask them
I picked this one up when I was carrying the kit for one my company’s salespeople early in my career. Chuck said most newbies like me didn’t ask for the order, they just hoped it would happen. He made me repeat his mantra three times before every call. I have no idea where he is today, but I owe him boatloads of thanks for all the sales this reminder helped me make.
You can’t use it if you don’t have it
This one is handy for all those situations when you ask yourself, “Should I take …” Whether it’s your laptop or your umbrella, if there’s even a small chance you will want/need to use it, take it.
Life is the art of new and better mistakes
My father, formally “the Reverend Doctor Walter E. Bock,” referred to this as “the practical corollary to the doctrine of Original Sin.” He figured that human beings would never be perfect so the best course was to use our imperfection to help us learn. Try something. It probably won’t work perfectly. Try again, but better this time.
Things that can’t go on forever don’t
That means most things. Good times are followed by bad times and then by good times again. Things that go up come down. The seasons follow each other in order. This little saying helps keep me realistic when things are going well and hopeful when they’re not.
Now it’s your turn. What sayings are on your “wisdom channel?”