A Few Things I Have Learned the Hard Way

I am neither a fountain of wisdom nor a paragon of virtue. I am just an old man who has tried to pay attention as he went along. In no particular order these are some things I have learned.

  1. Never start a do it yourself project when the nearest hardware stores are closed.
  2. Always buy the best tools you can afford. They make the job so much easier.
  3. Always live up to your principles but don’t expect others to live up to them too.
  4. Being right doesn’t win arguments.
  5. Never underestimate your opponent.
  6. If someone disagrees with you they are probably basing their opinion on different evidence, information, premises (e.g. beliefs, assumptions, biases), experiences, or logic.
  7. Never decide whether to go to the gym while laying in bed.
  8. Projects always take at least the estimated time multiplied by pi (3.1459).
  9. The hardest part of a project is starting. After that the hardest part is finishing.
  10. Success doesn’t go to the best, smartest, ┬ástrongest, or most skilled. It goes to the most relentless.
  11. Always be kind. It confuses the hell out of them.
  12. Plan and prepare as best you can then “wing it.” The one who can adjust quickest to changes usually wins.
  13. The measure of a life is not the things you have done nor what you have accumulated. It is how many lives you have had a positive effect on.
  14. Procrastination, worry, dread, and swearing do not make the job go away or get done.
  15. Everybody needs help at some time.
  16. Every kindness towards you is a choice someone has made and a gift you have been given. Be grateful and say thank you.

I don’t offer these things as a prescription for living, but as a a footnote for where I am in my life.

1 Comment

  • Burke Long

    Love the mix of wisdom and humor, Randy. You taught me another lesson years ago while you were at Bowdoin: never kick a door down that you can walk through. (I hasten to add this remark came in conversation, not in a situation in which I was viciously kicking down a door! I think it stemmed from your experience as Dean of Students.)

    Have a happy Thanksgiving with your family.

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