I’ve had these words to the wise pinned above my desk for awhile. I can’t remember where they were discovered. I’m not even sure who “Schuster” is. I just know he is a very wise human being.
I wanted to share them since I think they have a lot to do with learning. And time. That seems to be my definition of wisdom. Learning about life that lasts more than one lifetime for more than one person. Perhaps that’s why I like cliches so much. They capture wisdom in a few easy-to-remember words. Apple juice made from the Tree of Knowledge.
Hopefully there’s a space above your desk for these words.
May 2011 be an AMAZING year for you, filled with laughter, learning and love.
- Become the world’s supreme expert in something – Schuster advises to “begin at once, at this precise moment to choose some subject, some concept, some great name or idea or event in history on which you can eventually make yourself the world’s supreme expert.”
- He urges us to start a crash program immediately using the three R’s of modern education, reading, research and reflection – with the goal of establishing yourself as “one who has the most knowledge, the deepest insight and the most audacious willingness to break new ground by defining your terms and actually examining all the alternatives and consequences.”
- Master the art and technique not merely of rapid reading, but creative reading and creative research – Schuster says it’s important to “learn how to use a library and how to build a home library of your own.”
- He reflects how “back in 1913, high school graduates were singing the old refrain: “No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s saucy looks.” He points out that they were throwing away their books and saving their diplomas. He urges us to do the opposite, “Forget your diploma, or throw it away, but save your books and use them day and night.”
- Learn the supreme art of getting sixty seconds out of a minute, sixty minutes out of an hour, twenty four out of a day – He reminds us that we have as much time as everyone else our age. He says to “Save it, hoard it, plug up all the leaks. If necessary, stand on the street corner, cap in hand like a mendicant, and beg all the passers-by for the seconds and minutes and hours and days they waste.”
- Master the art of preparation – Do your homework (especially after your formal education). Remember the words of French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) who said “Chance favors the prepared mind.”
- Begin now to learn the art and science of preventative medicine – In other words, take care of yourself. Exercise and eat healthy. He says we should prepare now to out-perform and outlive our doctors. He says Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.”
- Work hard, think big, and always have a dream beginning with a detailed blueprint and plan for your agenda, your priorities, your first things first – Schuster encourages us to put a firm foundation under our “castles in Spain, in the form of these step-by-step, play-by-play specifics and make your dream come true.”
- Remember the following three questions: “If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am not for others, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” These three questions were first asked by renowned Jewish religious leader Hillel the Elder.
- Work hard and opportunities will come – Schuster advises us to remember the words of noted American journalist H.L. Mencken (1880 – 1956) who said, “Most people don’t recognize opportunity when it comes along, because usually it is disguised as hard work.”
- Don’t try to please everyone – Schuster counsels us to always keep in mind the maxim of U.S. editor and journalist (and the first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for reporting), Herbert Bayard Swope (1882-1958) who said, “I can’t give you any formula for success, but I can give you a sure formula for failure – try to please everybody.”
- Always remember, the time to be happy is now – The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.
- Remember what people really want – Schuster’s last point is extremely applicable to writers who promote products and services. He says to “never forget that people never buy things or services … they buy solutions, for their problems. Your job is to help them find solutions.”