Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Worthy And The Wise

Two pieces of advice changed my life. One from a working colleague, the other from an intellectual hero of mine. Several years back I worked with a charmingly affable Scot by the name of Stan. He was a Business Manager and he handled many of our Blue Chip accounts. He was a true gent and had an easy way about him. If ever you got the chance to go out on the road with him you took it. You'd do this because you'd learn. About business, about people, about listening; heck about everything. One day whilst discussing something he encouraged me to "Learn from good people". Sounds innocuous, doesn't it? But what he was saying was that when you're around capable people, bright people, do yourself the service of learning from them. In fact, if they let you be positively parasitic. Listen, watch, and annex their finest qualities if you're able. For a young twenty something it was good advice, and I've never forgotten it. The 2nd piece of wisdom came during a period in my life when I was questioning everything. The author and scientist Sam Harris, in one of his books wrote simply, "If you really want to know how the world is you must be open to new information." Again, simple enough advice, but just you try applying it consistently. Advice like that must wage war with our inbuilt biases, and all the things we hold sacred that might, in fact, be wrong. Still, that's another nugget that has proven foundational for my life. Today, I'm passing these two pieces of wisdom onto you. They've served me well. They've never let me down. And if you apply them you'll discover things about the world and about yourself that will illuminate, unsettle, and inspire you.  Treat them wisely, treat them well. True wisdom is a sacred thing.

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