The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson

Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).


Pearls of Wisdom

A collection of the Pearls of Wisdom
I have learned throughout my life.

I have very little wisdom of my own, but I have learned much wisdom from my readings, listening to’s, and viewings. As we pass through life, we often encounter pearls of wisdom. Whether it be from something we have read, heard, or watched we are often struck by this wisdom. We often make a vow to ourselves to remember and apply these pearls of wisdom, and we often many times forget or not apply these pearls of wisdom. But pearls of wisdom should not only be remembered but consciously incorporated into our lives in our words and deeds.

I, myself, have tried to consciously incorporate the pearls of wisdom I have encountered in my words and deeds. Sprinkled throughout my Observations and Articles I have written about a few pearls of wisdom that I have learned. Given the importance of these pearls of wisdom, I have decided to collect these pearls, and add additional pearls, that I have encountered in my life. Most of these Pearls are short, but some require more extensive clarification. Please forgive the lengthier Pearls, and hopefully, you will understand my reasons for doing so.

Many of these Pearls of Wisdom are “stating the obvious” or just “common sense”. Unfortunately, in today's society, the obvious has become obscured and common sense is not so common. When I speak of common sense I do so as stated in my “Common Sense” observation which I would encourage you to read. The obvious is often (deliberately) obscured in order to achieve a goal through the means of “Obfuscation, Smoke, and Mirrors” as I stated in another observation which I would also encourage you to read.

If you try to consciously keep these Pearls of Wisdom in your words and deeds you can live a better life, sleep well at night, and not agonize over your words and deeds.

The best pearl of wisdom I would impart to you is:

“Do unto others as you would have  them do unto you”

All of these Pearls of Wisdom are of equal importance, so, therefore, I have placed them in alphabetical order, except for the first one which is more of an essay than a pearl.

Please Note – for more pearls of wisdom in my life I would direct you to the “Principles, Truisms, Locutions, and Rules” section in my “Life” Observation.

 

* * * * *

A Wise Person

In my Observations “Knowledge, Experience, and Wisdom”, “Knowing vs. Understanding”, and “Reasoning” I outline what these items are. Generally, knowledge is the gathering of facts, while experience allows you to connect the facts. To properly reason you need to understand Formal and Informal Logic, Logical FallaciesCognitive Biases, and apply Common Sense. All of these items are required to obtain wisdom. But wisdom is more than the combination of these items.

Wisdom is the ability to apply your knowledge, your experience, your reasoning, and your common sense into your words and deeds. And wisdom is also the ability to listen to others who are intelligent and wise and incorporate their intelligence and wisdom into your own. But you should remember that obtaining advice from a person who is neither intelligent nor wise, in that particular subject, is obtaining worthless advice (i.e. don't ask an opinion of someone who does not know what they're talking about). Wisdom can also be obtained by other means as:

“True Wisdom Most Often Comes from Bitter Experience... Considered!”
 - Mark Dawson

And the more bitter experiences that you consider the wiser you can become. But do not let your bitter experience turn into bitterness but utilize it to become a wiser person. Doing so will alleviate the bitterness and lead to a more contented life.

Not all intelligent persons are wise. An intelligent person knows what to say, a wise person knows whether or not, and how to say it. You should try to be a wise person. You should always mean what you say and say what you mean. This requires that you use the proper word in their proper context. Many people use words expansively rather than narrowly. If you use a word expansively it can lead to misunderstandings and obfuscations. If your goal is to communicate knowledge or wisdom than you must utilize words narrowly to avoid these problems. You should also try to obtain the truth, as the truth will help you obtain wisdom.

When attempting to discover the truth, you should also make sure that you have all the facts of the situation, for without all the facts it is most unlikely that you can uncover the truth. In this it is best to remember one of my observations:

“There are three sides to every story; one side, the other side, and the truth. It is best to discover the truth before making up your mind.”

It is not always possible to discover all the facts, but you should try to gather as many of the facts as possible when you are adding to your repository of knowledge. You should also keep in mind another of my “Truisms”:

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions,
but they are not entitled to their own facts.”
 - New York Senator Danial Patrick Moynihan

Therefore, be careful to distinguish between the facts and the opinions, and make sure the facts are correct before utilizing them.

A wise person is also not afraid to change their mind based on new, corrected, or better information, or upon further reasoning, as Benjamin Franking so wisely pointed out:

“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”
 - Benjamin Franklin

And a wise person realizes that they could be wrong. A wise person, after reasoning on a subject, will consider the positive and negative consequences of their conclusion and then incorporate these consequences back into their reasoning to reach a better conclusion. A wise person will also pay attention to other reasoning. They do so by first carefully reading or listening to another's reasoning, then afterward critique the reasoning, before they respond to another's reasoning. Very rarely will a wise person interrupt someone during an intellectual discussion or debate as they realize that the reasoning of the others needs to be fully stated, then critiqued, to respond appropriately and intelligently. This non-interruption of others may be a good indicator, but not always, that you are observing a wise person. Only when the other is making an outrageous claim or is patently disseminating false information, will a wise person interrupt them.

A wise person always keeps in mind that they may be wrong. Therefore, a wise person always incorporates into their words and deeds the following “Truism”:

“Doubt a little of your own infallibility”
 - Benjamin Franklin

If you apply all of the above to your own life you may discover that wisdom can be a burden. A burden because you will recognize your own, others, and society's shortcomings. You will no longer accept excuses for yourself and others but will recognize the reasons for what is happening in your life and society. This wisdom will help you to better understand how to improve your own life and society if you should decide to apply this wisdom. And applying this wisdom will help set you free to experience life to its fullest and assist you in discovering the truth.

You should also remember the following quote as you obtain wisdom:

“Man is always prey to his truths. Once he has admitted them, he cannot free himself from them.”
 - Albert Camus

Therefore, be warned, once you read these Pearls you cannot be free of them.

Always Be Polite and Respectful

I have often commented on the importance of being polite and respectful. The reason that I think it is important is not only for a "A Civil Society" but it is important for your own sake. If you can be polite and respectful you can feel good about yourself and have more self-confidence, If you also expended the effort to “Be the Better Person” you will feel even better about yourself. If you utilize “With Facts, Intelligence, And Reasoning” while being polite and respectful so much the better. If you have done all these things in your interactions with others you can walk away, despite what may occur, knowing that you have done the right thing. Remorse, shame, and guilt cannot burden you if you have been polite and respectful.

Polite and respectful doesn’t mean that you should not hurt someone else’s feelings. After all, someone, somewhere will have their feelings hurt by what anyone says. That others feelings will be hurt is not a valid reason for not saying something as I have explained in my “04/01/19 I don’t care if your feelings are hurt” Chirp.

You should remember that being Polite and Respectful, with Facts, Intelligent, and Reasoning is a reflection on your character and intelligence and not a statement of approval or disapproval of the other person's character or intelligence.

Be in Control of Yourself

Unfortunate situations take place, unexpected things occur, and “Shit Happens” - it’s called “Life”. If you can keep your head when all about you when others are losing theirs you are not only controlling yourself, but you will probably be in control of what is happening. Therefore, it is important to remember the following advice:

  • You cannot control what others think, say, or do. 
    You can only control what you think, say, or do.
  • Try to let the situation be a positive reflection on yourself by controlling yourself.

The first piece of advice is to remind yourself that you can only control yourself and not others. Therefore, control yourself! Control what you think and feel about the situation. Control what you think and feel about the other person. And most importantly control how you deal with the person(s) in the present and the future, as well as control how you discuss the other person(s) and situation with others.

A positive reflection is first obtained by “Always Be Polite and Respectful” of the other person(s) while dealing with the situation, and when discussing the situation with the other person(s). This will not only put you in a good light, but others will see you in a good light. If it is difficult or impossible to deal with the other person(s) in the future then don’t deal with them. Politely ignore them or refuse to discuss anything about them. Remember your mother’s advice – “If you have nothing good to say about someone then say nothing”.

If you can accomplish the first piece of advice the second piece of advice will come naturally. If you were in control of yourself during the situation and afterward you will have a positive reflection of yourself.  Other people will also notice this, and it will garner you more respect from others.

Be Prepared to Change Your Mind

As a young man, I was reading a biography of Benjamin Franklin when I encountered his speech on the final day of the Constitutional Convention. A speech that was needed to rally the conventioneers to approve the Constitution. While reading this speech I encountered the following two pearls of wisdom:

“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”

and

“Doubt a little of your own infallibility.”

I read, and reread, this speech as I was so impressed by it, and I vowed to consciously incorporate the above pearls of wisdom into my life. Since that time, I have done so and it has served me well. I have not been afraid to change my mind by better information, or fuller consideration, and I have also doubted my own infallibility whenever I do, say or write anything, or whenever I make up my mind. I also encountered another pearl of wisdom, from my review of the “Law of Unintended Consequences and its outcomes of unexpected benefits, unexpected drawbacks, and perverse results, to think about the consequences if you should be wrong, or right, in all you do, say, or write. I, therefore, filter my words, deeds, and writings (including this website) through these pearls of wisdom before I act. I would recommend that you also remember and incorporate these pearls of wisdom into your life, as it will serve you well.

Adopting this Pearl of Wisdom in your life not only makes you a better person but will also assist you in your dealings with others. For if you can change your mind then you can be accepting of another person changing their mind. If you accept that you are fallible, then you can accept the fallibility of others. If the change of mind and fallibility of the other person is reasonable then it will be understandable by you. This understandability will also make for a more harmonious relationship between you and the other person. It will also help you to understand when a public person or politician changes their mind or has a failure. If their change of mind or failure is reasonable or understandable, and not for advantageous purposes nor a turpitude failing, then it may become more acceptable to you.

Be the Better Person

My Article “Be the Better Person” has a lengthier discourse on this subject which I would suggest you review. For this Pearl, I wish to recap my article. We all carry emotional baggage from our present or past interactions with others. Whether it be your parents, siblings, relatives, friends, neighbors, or co-workers’ things happen – both good and bad. It is not important that they happen, as in life they will happen, but it is important how we deal with them. And this dealing with it is as important at the time they happen, but also how we deal with it afterward. We can choose to act negatively, both at the time they happen or afterward, or we can attempt to be the better person.

Become a better person by “Always Be Polite and Respectful” to all persons in all situations. This will demonstrate to those who would disrespect you that you are worthy of respect. It will also imbue you with self-respect, which will instill confidence and self-esteem in yourself that will stead you well throughout life. In addition, people like working with and associating with other people who are polite and respectful, which may advance you in your work or personal life goals, and lead to greater success and happiness in life.

We often make decisions based on the positive and negative baggage we carry. And often the negative baggage we carry results in poor decisions. Decisions that will decrease our happiness in life. If you become the better person you will often make a better decision that will increase your happiness.

One of the important steps in becoming a better person is to take to heart my Pearl on “To Err is Human, To Forgive is Devine Being able to apologize, and accept an apology, helps you become a better person. Forgiveness of others and forgiveness of yourself is also necessary to become a better person.

So, always try to be and become a better person.

Discover the Truth

When trying to discover the truth of something you should make sure that you have all the facts of the situation, for without all the facts it is most likely that you will make a poor judgment. In this it is best to remember one of my “Principles”:

 “There are three sides to every story; one side, the other side, and the truth. 
 It is best to discover the truth before making up your mind.”

To discover the truth you need to keep in mind the above approach to reveal the truth. You should do this before making up your mind, for to do otherwise will not reveal the truth. Carefully listen to all sides of the story, glean the facts from the story, and apply the facts to discover the truth. To not do so puts you on one side or the other, and not with the truth. Not being in the truth means that you will be wrong, and make wrong decisions, or say something that you will later regret. And remember to “Be Prepared to Change Your Mind”.

Do Good Before You Feel Good

Most Americans have good intentions when they think about how to help their fellow Americans. Most Americans, however, often judge their results on the basis of how they feel good about what they're doing, and rarely look at all the results of what they are doing. The difference between feeling good and doing good is often profound.

Doing good is often helping someone to make a change for the betterment of their life, and not just giving someone something, as expressed in the following quote:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
- Maimonides

After you help someone make a change for the better in their life, then giving them something to assist with the change is doing good. Afterall, if you teach a man to fish, it would good to give the man a fishing pole or netting to catch the fish. When providing counseling in helping someone to change their life, it is important to impart wisdom rather than directions. For wisdom will assist the person in voluntarily changing their life rather than directions, which will often be resisted or fail to achieve their goals.

When donating time, efforts, or monies to charities, it is best to do so for those charities that do good, as outlined above, rather than charities that simply give something to somebody. Charities that supply needs in a time of crisis or emergencies provide temporary assistance in a time of need, which is doing good. Charities that provide continuing assistance often allow the circumstances of the need to continue or exacerbate the problems that caused the need. They also make the recipients dependent upon the donors, and such dependency is not good for the recipients. Charities should be addressing the underlying problems and correcting the problems to do lasting good for the recipients.

Therefore, it is much more important that you do good rather than feel good. We would all become better persons, and our society would benefit if we were all careful to do good and then feel good after we have done good.

Do It Well

How often have we been given a task by our employer, or started something in our personal lives, that would take a considerable amount of effort to accomplish. Most people would grit their teeth, dig in, and start doing the task. I have learned, however, that this is not the best way to get the task done. I have learned to stop, think about, and plan what was necessary to accomplish the task. I would often discover in this process of thinking a more efficient and effective way to do the job, which was also less laborious. I have also discovered that while I'm doing something, I may find a more efficient and effective way of doing it. When I discover this more efficient and effective way, I stop what I'm doing, and try to determine if the effort to do it the new way is less than the effort to do it the old way. If it is less effort, I abandon the old way and start the new way. I also discover that the new way usually results in better quality and fewer errors, and therefore results in a higher quality job. And, as a supervisor, I have also stopped work for all the people on the job when I discovered this and had them start over. Although this can be risky if it is carefully done it will be rewarding. Sometimes my employer has not been very convinced that this is the correct approach, but it has always worked for me. I have done this a number of times in my employment (or personal life), and my employers (or my wife) have been much more satisfied with the results of the task. I would, therefore, recommend that you always stop and think before beginning a task, and not be afraid to stop in the middle of the task and start over.

A more historical parallel to this rule is in the painting of the Sistine Chapel, as depicted in the movie “The Agony and the Ecstasy”, the biographical story of Michelangelo's troubles while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II. Although not a great movie, it is a good and entertaining movie, with an important moral point. Michelangelo was hired by Pope Julius to paint the portraits of the Apostles on the archway panels of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo objected to this commission as he was a sculptor and not a painter. But the Pope being the Pope, the Pope got what he wanted, and Michelangelo started working on these portraits. He did not like what he was doing, and he did not feel that what was being produced was worthy of him or Pope Julius. One night while leaving the Sistine Chapel after a full day at work he stopped at a tavern to get a glass of wine and some food. Upon being served the wine he drank it and discovered that the wine had turned and was bad. Upon complaining to the tavern owner the tavern owner agreed and started shouting out if the wine is bad throw it away, and the owner started using an ax on the wine casket to empty it of its contents. Michelangelo took this advice to heart and went back to the Sistine Chapel and destroyed the paintings he had been working on, and then fled from the wrath of Pope Julius. He fled to a stone quarry and finally to the Italian Alps, to think about what he would like to do with the Sistine Chapel, and what would be worthy of himself and Pope Julius. He finally approached Pope Julius with his plan for the Sistine Chapel, and Pope Julius agreed with him it was a much worthier endeavor. So, Michelangelo started a five-year effort to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It was an effort that took much longer than expected, as it was originally expected to be one to two years of effort. Pope Julius was very anxious and somewhat impatient for the Sistine Chapel ceiling to be completed. He would often yell up to Michelangelo when walking through the Sistine Chapel and say, “When will you put an end?” to which Michelangelo replied, “When it is finished!”. And when it was finished he had created one of the greatest works of art in human history.

It was a job is worth doing, and it was worth doing well. And if you do something well it may not be a great work, but it will be something that you are proud of, and reflect back upon, and have the emotional satisfaction of knowing that you did your best and did it well.

Do Not Accept Excuses but be Acceptable of Reasons

Many people conflate excuses and reasons, but they are not the same. Excuses are usually justifications for words or deeds, while reasons are usually explanations for words or deeds. Excuses are generally emotionally based, while reasons are generally intellectually based. Excuses are easy to come by, but reasoning requires the effort of intelligent thinking.

Excuses are generally utilized to explain bad behavior or poor decisions. People can usually determine when you are making a poor excuse, or when you have a good reason. Usually, excuses are not accepted by others for your bad behavior or poor decisions, but usually good reasons are accepted. Reasons also make it easier for people to understand your words and deeds and perhaps forgive your words and deeds if they have had negative repercussions.

You should apply this pearl to not only to another's words and deeds but to your own words and deeds. Think about what you are contemplating doing or saying, or what you have already done or said, and separate the excuses from the reasons. If you do this you will have a better understanding of yourself, and it will probably lead to your making better decisions in the future.

Do Not Lie, Misinform, nor Conceal

In my Article  “Lies and Beliefs” I examine the different types of lies and the differences between beliefs and truths. Benjamin Disraeli once famously said, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." However, there are actually four kinds of lies: mistakes, lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  1. Mistakes are when you have said something that you believe to be true, but later discover it was untrue. After the discovery of your mistake, you have a moral responsibility to correct the record with those who you had misinformed.
  2. Lies make the world go around. They are told to protect the feeling of others or to prevent embarrassment to ourselves. They should only be told if no harm comes from them. Otherwise, they will become Dammed Lies.
  3. Damned Lies are told to gain an advantage for ourselves, or to demonize, denigrate, or disparage another. They are despicable, and when they are discovered the Damned Liar should be roundly condemned.
  4. Statistics are covered in my Article "Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave" and the article “Statistics and Polling”, and I will direct you to these articles for further thoughts on this subject.

“Mistakes”, “Lies”, and “Statistics” are part of life, and as such, are an acceptable part of life. However, telling “Damned Lies”, or to “Misinform” someone, or to “Conceal” the truth is not acceptable. For if you do these things then you will have damaged someone, and in the end, the truth will come out, and there will be a price to pay. And that price will be paid by the person who has told the “Damned Lies”, or “Misinformed” someone, or “Concealed” the truth.

You should also remember one of my “Truisms”:

“You'll never get confused if you simply tell the truth. Then you don't have to remember what you have said, and you never forget what you have said. And you won't get in trouble for telling a lie if you have told the truth.”
  - Mark Dawson

Do Not Miscommunicate

Communication leads to understanding. Miscommunication leads to misunderstanding. And misunderstanding often leads to many unfortunate circumstances. It is therefore very important that you communicate properly. The best way to communicate properly is to be clear, concise, complete, confident, correct, and understandable. But this requires that you think and plan what you are going to say. In normal conversational circumstances, this is not usually the case as there is a free-flowing conversation, but you should still be careful what you communicate. But if it is not a normal conversational free-flowing discussion it is very important to think and plan what you are going to say. This always holds true if you are having a meeting or presentation in both your personal and business life.

Whenever you are going to have a conversation with someone, take the time to think about, and organize, what you wish to say. The content of what you say should be intelligent and reasoned. You should always say what you mean and mean what you say. This requires that you use the proper word in their proper context. Many people use words expansively rather than narrowly. If you use a word expansively it can lead to misunderstandings and obfuscations. If your goal is to be understood than you must utilize words narrowly to avoid these problems.

You should also consider the other person(s) reactions to what you say. Think about how much you have consciously or unconsciously put into the communication, and how much may be put into or read into what you say by those with whom you are communicating. Think about the emotional reactions to what you are communicating and try to minimize the emotions while maximizing the intelligent and reasoned content.

If you keep this Pearl in mind when you are planning to communicate then you have a better chance of communicating what you really mean, and not miscommunicating what you mean.

Do Not Obsess or Agonize Over Decisions

We all have to make decisions in our life. Some decisions are of minor consequences, or intermediate consequences, or major consequences. Obsessing or agonizing over these decisions most often makes you conflicted or anguished, not to mention it wastes a lot of your time. Choose which decisions are important or unimportant. For the unimportant decisions do not expend much time or mental resources in deciding, as the consequences of these bad decisions are most often trivial. For an important decision expend the time and mental resources to make a good decision. But do not obsess or agonize over the decision, but instead, utilize the facts and intellectual reasoning in determining the decision. Emotional reasoning can be a factor in these decisions, but emotional reason should only be utilized as a supplement to intellectual reasoning. To utilize emotional reasoning to make the decision will often lead to a bad decision.

Your decision may be wrong but if you made it utilizing the facts and intellectual reasoning available to you at the time of the decision you will have the comfort of knowing that you made the best decision possible at the time. To not utilize the facts and intellectual reasoning in making an important decision will haunt you if the decision turns out to be a bad decision. And remember to always learn from your decisions in order to make better decisions in the future.

Do Not Presume of Another’s Words or Deeds

Do not presume the most negative connotation of another’s words or deeds until it is proven to be negative. This is especially true for your friends and should be applied carefully to your foes. For those that are neither friend nor foe, it is the polite and respectful thing to do. For your friends it allows you to sleep better at night as you will not worry over what they may have possibly said or done that is detrimental to you. For your foes, you do not have to worry or obsess about the consequence of their possible words or deeds until their machinations become apparent. For all others, the benefit of the doubt makes for a more harmonious society. To do otherwise leads to an uncivil society and the damaging of the reputation of another.

Do the Right Thing for All

When faced with a dilemma or predicament, 
choose to do the right thing for all, 
not the right thing for yourself.
For, although it may not work out well in the short term,
it will work out well in the long term.
- Mark Dawson

We have all faced a dilemma or predicament for which there are no easy answers. But an answer is required, and we are often left in choosing the lesser of two evils. But how to determine the lesser evil is in itself a difficult choice. The choice is made easier, however, if you remember the above “Truisms”. Of course, it is not possible to satisfy all nor to get it right for all. You must weigh the impacts on each and yourself in making the decision.

In weighing your decision, you should remember the aphorism from medicine “First do no harm” followed by “then try to prevent it”. It is not possible to eliminate all harm nor prevent all harm, but you should make the effort to minimize and prevent any harm. If you keep this in mind your decision should be easier and you will Do the Right Thing for All.

Do the Right Thing for Yourself

Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.
 - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Oh well, no one is paying attention. What difference does it make? I deserve a break. I’m not feeling well right now. These and a dozen and more excuses are utilized by most to justify cutting corners or not expending the effort to do something right, especially one no one is looking. But there is someone looking – you are looking at yourself. The question is then “Do you like what you see?”. And usually, the answer is “No”, and you lose some respect for yourself.

Not doing the right thing has many negative repercussions. You may have to re-do it to fix it, which usually requires more effort than if you had done it right. You can damage your relationships with your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. You may have to make excuses when you are discovered, you may not tell the truth when it is discovered, and you will lose the respect of others when you are found out.

Doing something right often means doing something difficult. Whether it be physical, intellectual, or emotional, doing the right thing is probably doing the hard thing. Don’t get lazy and don’t make excuses for not doing something right. Doing the hard thing makes us a better person and more capable of doing other hard things. It also gives us a self-satisfaction of accomplishment and increases or confidence that we can accomplish the difficult.

Therefore, you should always do the right thing, and do it even if nobody is looking.

Don’t Assume

Many of us make assumptions throughout the day. Most of these assumptions are necessary for us to function in our everyday life. Some assumptions, however, can cause problems in our everyday life. Most of these assumptions relate to decisions we need to make in order to advance a goal. But if you assume improperly you will make an improper decision.

If you assume that the information you have is correct and it is not, or you assume the truth of a statement and it is untrue, or you assume the statistics are correctly and properly interpreted (see my article "Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave") and they are not, you will reach a false conclusion. To assume that information that someone else has given you is correct is one of the most common assumption problems. To assume the above is to reach a false conclusion that can have negative repercussions in your life and on society.

Therefore, always look at your assumptions before making a decision. And always remember the acronym “ASSUME” when you make these types of decisions. For to ASSUME is to make an ASS out of U and ME.

Don't Worry About the Future

You should always, of course, plan for the future but you should not worry about the future. Plan for your personal growth, your family interests, your career choices, your financial security, and your retirement amongst other things. But don't worry about possible future things you cannot control, both on the job and in your personal life. Deal with them when they happen. This does not mean you shouldn't be prepared, but do not worry as this often makes you miserable. When a potentially harmful situation may occur you should plan for, but not worry about, your possible responses. Use reasoned rather than emotional responses in your planning. And remember another article of mine “Que Sera, Sera”.

If You Don’t Have Anything to Say, Say Nothing

Many feel the need to join or start a conversation to be sociable. Often, however, we tend to comment on the topic without much thought, knowledge, or experience on the topic. Usually this results in revealing our ignorance of the topic. When we are ignorant of the topic an inquiry of those who are not ignorant of the topic is the best approach in joining or starting a conversation. Sometimes, however, it is best to say nothing but to listen attentively. This does not make you unsociable but wise. It will also increase your scope of knowledge if you pay attention to those that are knowledgeable of the topic. The trick, however, is determining who in the conversation is or is not ignorant of the topic, then paying no heed to those that are ignorant of the topic. In any conversation you join or start you should always remember my other Pearl of Wisdom “Always Be Polite and Respectful”, especially when you are ignorant of the topic.

This is a Pearl of Wisdom that I utilize in writing my Chirps, Articles, and Observations. If I don’t have anything to say I will say nothing. Consequently, there are many topics that I do not write about, as I believe that I have nothing to contribute to the topic through my ignorance of the topic. I am also aware of my limitations, and only write what I know, as I have commented upon in another Pearl of Wisdom “Know Your Limitations”.

Keep You Appointments and Keep Them On-time

How often have we heard the expression that time is money? But is time money? No – time is not money, but time is valuable, which can, under some circumstance, mean money. When I was self-employed, I hated to be late for a client meeting under any circumstances. I always tried to arrive a few minutes early, and when planning for my travel I allowed extra time to reach my destination in the event of unforeseen circumstances. If I was delayed by unforeseen circumstances I would call ahead and inform my client of why I was late and when I expected I would arrive. This was usually no problem, and my clients were understanding.

I hated to be late as I believed that my clients' time was as valuable as my time. They had things to do and they had made adjustments to their schedule to accommodate me. My being late could interfere with their activities and could potentially impact their schedule for the rest of the day, and I did not want to waste any of their valuable time. I, therefore, thought it would be inconsiderate of me to not arrive on time. And if I would not arrive on time I would inform them of my being late. To do otherwise I believed was being inconsiderate or behaving rudely to them by not considering their valuable time.

Therefore, when you make an appointment, keep the appointment, and arrive on-time for the appointment, or call to inform them of your tardiness. And this should not only apply to your business appointments but your personal and family appointments, for inconsideration’s and rudeness knows no boundaries.

Know the Difference between Criticism and Critique

The only acceptable method of civil discourse is disagreement - to be of different opinions. If you are in disagreement with someone you should be cognizant that people of good character can and often disagree with each other. The method of their disagreement is very important to achieve civil discourse. There are two ways you can disagree with someone; by criticizing them or critiquing them.

  • Criticism - Disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings.
  • Critique - A serious examination and judgment of something.

Most people and most commentators have forgotten the difference between Criticism and Critique. This has led to civil discourse and the hyper-partisanship in today's society. In a civil society critiquing a viewpoint or policy position should be encouraged. This will often allow for a fuller consideration of the issues, and perhaps a better viewpoint or policy position without invoking hyper-partisanship. We can expect that partisanship will often occur, as people of good character can and often disagree with each other. Criticizing a viewpoint or policy position will often lead to hostility, rancor, and enmity, which results in the breakdown of civil discourse and hyper-partisanship. It is fine to criticize someone for their bad or destructive behavior, but it is best to critique them for their opinions or words. We would all do better if we remember to critique someone, rather than criticize someone.

Know Your Limitations

As Dirty Harry said in the movie of the same name “A man’s got to know his limitations”. We must all know our limitations and work within them and ask for assistance when we reach them. Know your skills and abilities, your knowledge, experience, and intelligence, and know what you don’t know and what skills and abilities that you do not have. When you don’t have the skills and abilities, or the knowledge, experience, and intelligence, do not be afraid to ask someone who is capable for their assistance. It is not a sign of weakness to do so, and indeed, it is a sign of strength to do so.

Strength to admit to your limitations, strength to ask for assistance, and strength to utilize another’s capabilities to achieve your goal is not a weakness. You will also gain skills and abilities and increase your knowledge, experience, and intelligence in doing so. If you don’t know your limitations and attempt to do something beyond your limitations, you will often fail to reach your goal. Achieving the goal should be the most important objective. Just be careful that the person you ask for assistance has the proper skills and abilities, or the knowledge, experience, and intelligence to assist you.

You should also be prepared to acknowledge and credit the person(s) who assisted you. To do so will gain you the respect of those around you, and perhaps a good friendship of those who assisted you.

Let Go of the Past and Take Control of the Present and Future

We are all haunted by the bad things that have happened in our past as I have stated in another Peral of Wisdom “Shit Happens”. When shit happens, we need to remember another of Pearl of Wisdom, “To Err is Human, To Forgive is Devine”. Not only must you forgive others, but you must forgive yourself for any shit you made happen. You should atone, if possible, for any shit you caused, but you must forgive yourself or you will live with guilt for the rest of your life. Atoning for the guilt will alleviate the guilt. A guilt that will make you unhappy and perhaps miserable if you cannot forgive yourself.

You must also let go of the hurtful past that cannot be changed or improved. Try to forgive or ignore, as you won’t or shouldn’t forget. Try to remember the past in a way that will help you make better decisions in the present or future. Therefore, do not let the past control your present or future. Only learn from the past so that you make better decisions to benefit your present and future. And remember one of my “Truisms”:

Just because you have committed an unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise act, and upon reflection determine that it is an unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise act, does not preclude you from speaking out against others committing that unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise act. It does not make you a hypocrite, it makes you repentant.
  - Mark Dawson

Life is a Double-Entry Bookkeeping System

Life is like an accountant’s double-entry bookkeeping system. For every positive there is a negative, for every gain there is a loss, and there are always positive and negative consequences for your decisions. To not accept this or not to prepare or plan for this is foolish. It will happen, and it will impact our lives. This is true not only for individuals, but for all groups of individuals, and society as a whole. A wise person understands this and prepares for it to happen. A wise person is also always cognizant of “The Law of Unintended Consequences”, and realizes that it is not possible to foresee all the positive or negative impacts. A wise person will also try to ascertain the balance between the two to determine which is the best decision to make. Only after they have done their bookkeeping will a wise person make a decision.

Pay Attention to the Better Angels of Your Nature

We all carry emotional baggage around with us due to things that have happened in our past or are currently happening. This emotional baggage is often leading us to pay attention to the worst devils of our nature. This often leads us to do or say things that we will regret. Regrets that may last us over our lifetime. The best way to counter this is to “Be the Better Person”.

There is no shame in listening to the worst devils of our nature, as it is human nature to think these things. The shame comes from doing or saying something based on the worst devils of our nature. Bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination are the best examples of the worst devils of our nature. Whenever we think of bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination we need to immediately cast out these devils and replace them with angels.

Whenever we encounter the worst devils of our nature we need to cast them out and replace them with the better angels of our nature. Then do or say things based on the better angels of our nature. This will often lead us to say or do the “Right Thing for All” and “The Right Thing for Yourself”.  Doing the right thing is something of which we can be proud of for the rest of our life.

Pick Your Fights

It is easy to get involved in a fight or to join a fight. But you should learn to pick your fights. The more fights you engage in the more you lose. Picking the proper fights often means you win more fights. Always consider “When, or When Not, to Get Involved?” before you get involved in a fight. And remember to fight by The Marquess of Queensberry Rules rather than a Barroom Brawl. “Always Be Polite and Respectful” when fighting, as this will renown to your own benefit in the fight and afterward. Also, remember one of my "Locutions" “I never lose nor fail ... Either I win, I succeed, or I learn” after the fight ends.

Prioritize Your Life

The way we priorities our activities is one of the means in which we can judge a person’s character. The more you prioritize something the more important it is to you. Yet, often we do not prioritize our activities but place them into categories of necessities or convenience and then give them no order of precedence. Necessities are important and often need to be done as quickly as possible. Conveniences, however, are what defines what is important to us and it is a reflection on our character. Self, family, friends, work, and leisure is often the categories that we utilize to prioritize.

What you do, and the order in which you do it, is a determinative factor in your character. For you will be judged by what you do, not by what you say. This requires that you think about and decide what is important in your life, and then prioritize what you do. Sometimes you may be too tired to act upon a priority. However, being too tired to do something is often a poor excuse, but not a good reason, for not doing something that is a priority. If you are indeed too tired, then you need to act upon your priority after you have rested. To not do so is a reflection of your character. Other excuses are also utilized to not do something. The question you need to ask yourself is ‘Is this just a poor excuse or a good reason to not do something?’. A good reason for not doing something is acceptable, but a poor excuse is never acceptable.

Therefore, prioritize your life to reflect what is important in your life. Then act upon your priorities in the order of importance. This prioritization and action are a true reflection of your character.

Promises Made and Promises Kept

We often casually make promises to others to please them or make us appear to be a good person. But not keeping your promises has the opposite effect. Once a promise is made it requires that you “Do the Right Thing” and keep your promise.

Not keeping a promise can have negative repercussions on the person you promised something. They often plan on you keeping your promise and adjust their life accordingly. The promise not kept, therefore, can make life difficult, more time consuming, and perhaps more expensive for the person you promised something. Not keeping your promise also negatively affects you. People will lose respect for you for not keeping your promise, and other people who learn of your not keeping a promise will also disrespect you.

Therefore, you should only make promises that you intend to keep and then keep them.

Shame and Hypocrisy

So little shame, and so much hypocrisy in American society today.

We as a people have forgotten that shame is a modulating factor in a civil society. When you behave in an unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise manner you should be ashamed of your behavior. This shame helps you right your course and become a better person. But today we have an "If It Feels Good Do It" attitude about our behavior. Very few seem to be ashamed of their behavior, and they, therefore, make no effort to correct their behavior or make no apologies for their behavior. Indeed, some revel in their behavior as if were a badge of individuality, freedom, or courage. It is neither of these things, but it is a badge of self-centeredness, egoism, or narcissism.

We seem to have replaced shame with hypocrisy in importance in our society. It is alright to not be ashamed, but it is not alright to be hypocritical. It is fine in what you say or do as long as you admit that is the person who you are. No matter if you are a person of immoral or unethical proclivity, if you admit it - you can continue it. In many cases, you are celebrated for not being hypocritical, even if it is a behavior that you should be ashamed of. To not be a hypocrite in today’s society is more important than to be ashamed of your behavior.

And this is a very sad state of affairs in our society. We as a society need to be both ashamed when we behave in an unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise manner, as well as be non-hypocritical in our words and deeds. This will help both ourselves and society to improve.

Many would retort that if you personally engaged in shameful or hypercritical behavior in the past that you should not comment on another's shameful or hypocritical behavior. After all, if you did it why cannot others do it? To this I respond with one of my “Truisms”:

“Just because you have committed an unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise act, and upon reflection determine that it is an unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise act, does not preclude you from speaking out against others committing that unlawful, immoral, unethical, or unwise act. It does not make you a hypocrite, it makes you repentant.”
 - Mark Dawson

Shit Happens

Sometimes you shit on yourself,
Sometimes others shit on you,
And other times shit just happens.
It doesn’t matter how shit happens.
It only matters how you deal with the shit.
You can either clean yourself up and smell the roses,
Or you can wallow in the shit and everything stinks.
And remember; It’s just as important to learn from the shit,
as it is to clean yourself up from the shit!
– Mark Dawson

 Enough said.

Should You Be Right or Not Be Wrong

To be, or not to be, that is the question” as William Shakespeare has written in Hamlet, or as Benjamin Franklin has written:

“Most men indeed as well as most sects in Religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far error. Steele a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only difference between our Churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines is, the Church of Rome is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong.”

A friend of mine recently commented that I was trying too hard to be right. However, I realize that you can never be right as you can never have complete knowledge on any subject that would allow for you to be right. I have always thought of myself as trying to never be in the wrong. Wrong as in conflict with the known facts. Never in the wrong as I will also not discuss or write on any issue that I believe that I do not have enough knowledge upon. When I do discuss or write on an issue, I try to never be in the wrong, but I realize that I may not be right. I, therefore, remember the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin whenever I discuss or write anything:

“Doubt a little of your own infallibility.”

and

"of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise."

Swearing

I personally am not in favor of swearing, by a woman or by men. When I was very young and had my first full-time job, I swore up a storm. One day a man at the place I worked pulled me aside. He explained to me that he had noticed that I was extensively swearing. He also explained that this was because of my youth. As this was the first time I was on my own, without parental supervision, I swore much too often so that I would appear to be an adult. However, he explained, swearing did not make you look like an adult but instead, extensive swearing made you appear childish. He further explained that swearing should be done in an appropriate manner, to draw attention to what you were saying or to emphasize the passion of what you were saying. To do so otherwise was disrespectful and impolite to those around you. He suggested that I limit my swearing to those situations where it was appropriate. I took his words to heart, and I vowed to only swear to myself, and ever since I only swear on rare occasions where it is appropriate. I would suggest that both men and women followed this advice.

I also realized that swearing to oneself was a better recourse to relieve your displeasure, as well as to not offend anyone that you may wish to have further dealings with. Most of the time when I swear, I am swearing at myself. Swearing at myself occurs when I do or say something unintelligent or stupid, or when I violate one of my “Principles” (as outlined in another observation by the same name). This is helpful in reminding me to not do or say anything in the future that is unintelligent or stupid, or in violation of one of my “Principles”.

Many in today’s society have said that swearing does not mean that much anymore. To which I retort that if it doesn’t mean that much then why bother to swear. Swearing also is often used as a bullying tactic when it is done in an attempt to silence another. Swearing sometimes provokes a visceral emotional or physical reaction from a person that is being sworn at, which only makes the situation much worse. I have chosen to have only a meaningful conversation, not to be a bully, and to not provoke another. So should you make this same choice, and "Be the Better Person" by doing the right thing and not swearing.

Swearing in public by public figures coarsens our society. Whether it be politicians, entertainers, business people, sports figures, or anyone else who has a public profile. Swearing cheapens the dialog and makes it more difficult for harmonious interactions between all parties. And when a public figure swears, they are revealing their lack of character, their inability to communicate intelligently, and their witlessness. It is also a form of the Three D’s (Demonize, Denigrate, and Disparage) as discussed in my “Dialog & Debate” observation. As such swearing in public by public figures should be condemned by all people of decency and goodwill.

So, if you must swear you should do it under your breath or privately. Even swearing amongst friends can lead to negative consequences and be harmful to your reputation.

Think About Things

Do you ever think about things that you do think about? Or do you just feel about the things you think about?

This question is a paraphrase from the movie “Inherit the Wind” which I have written about in other Observations and Articles. In the movie, the lawyer Drummond is questioning the witness Brady, and the following snippet occurs:

Drummond: What do you think?
Brady: I do not think about things that I do not think about.
Drummond: Do you ever think about things that you do think about?

Sometimes we substitute our feelings for thoughts, but thoughts and feelings are two different things, and we should characterize each as such. Most times it is much easier to feel about something rather than think about something and to make up our minds based on feelings rather than thought. But we should always think about things before we make up our minds. And we should always utilize our “Knowledge, Experience And Wisdom” and “With Facts, Intelligence, And Reasoning” as I have stated on these topics within other observations. And when we think about something, we should utilize our feelings only as a guideline, never as reasoning. It is also important that we occasionally re-examine our thinking, as new knowledge, experience, or wisdom in our life could lead us to a different conclusion.

So, I would suggest that you think about things that you think about and occasionally rethink things you have thought about. Or in the words of Benjamin Franklin:

“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”

Think Before You Act

How often have we been given a task by our employer, or started something in our personal lives, that would take a considerable amount of effort to accomplish. Most people would grit their teeth, dig in, and start doing the task. I have learned, however, that this is not the best way to get the task done.

I have learned to stop, think about, and plan what was necessary to accomplish the task. I would often discover in this process of thinking a more efficient and effective way to do the job, which was also less laborious. I have also discovered that while I'm doing the task I may find a more efficient and effective way of doing a task. When I discover this more efficient and effective way I stop what I'm doing, and try to determine if the effort to do it the new way is less than the effort to do it the old way. If it is less effort I abandon the old way and start the new way. I also discover that the new way usually results in better quality and fewer errors, and therefore results in a higher quality job. And as a supervisor, I have also stopped work for all the people on the job when I discovered this and had them start over.

Although this can be risky if it is carefully done it will be rewarding. Sometimes my employer has not been very convinced that this is the correct approach, but it has always worked for me. I have done this a number of times in my employment (or personal life), and my employers (or my wife) have been much more satisfied with the results of the task. I would, therefore, recommend that you always stop and think before beginning a task, and not be afraid to stop in the middle of the task and start over.

Think Before You Respond

In our dealings with anyone we occasionally become irked, upset, or angry with them. It may be because of what they said is factually incorrect or not reasoned, or that it provokes a visceral emotional response. The worst thing that we can do is to start an argument or lash out at them. This only engenders the ill-will of all parties. This is especially true when it occurs with your friends and family members. Knowing how and when to respond is very important, especially with friends and family members (see my Observation on “How to Argue”). You should always bite your tongue, think about what they have said, then think about what you should say and how to say it. Responding intellectually, reasonably, and dispassionate is always the best course of action.

Sometimes it is best to remove yourself from the situation, calm down, then write a letter to yourself or the other party that examines the situation. Doing this will help you focus on the reasons for your anger, and possibly provide insights into the other person's reasoning or feelings. You may even discover some truths about yourself and the other person. It also is very cathartic to do so. Whether you should give the letter to the other person is problematic. Doing so can only lead to three results; it may improve the situation, it may make the situation worse, or it may not change the situation. Two out of these three results are not helpful. Therefore, you should only give the letter to the other person if you think it may improve the situation. In any case, writing the letter will be helpful to you, as it may assist you in better understanding yourself and the other person, and help in responding in the future to similar situations.

To Ask and To Answer

You can say or ask me anything, if you do it politely, respectfully, honestly, and truthfully. But of course, you can’t say or ask anything as we all have personal boundaries. When those personal boundaries are breached you should politely and respectfully decline to answer on personal grounds. For anything else, however, you should consider responding. But you must respond politely, respectfully, honestly, and truthfully. For if the other person has been polite, respectful, honest, and truthful with you it is a sign of respect for them if you are polite, respectful, honest, and truthful with them. Mutual respect will lead to a more harmonious relationship with all those involved in the discussion.

You should also remember that it is perfectly acceptable to say that you have insufficient knowledge to answer, or that you have not thought about the topic. This is a good reflection of your honesty and character.

To Err is Human, To Forgive is Devine

As we are not divine but human, we all make mistakes. Mistakes that we may regret and wish we could have a mulligan. But mulligans do not happen in life. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and try to not repeat them. We hope that others will forgive us for our mistakes, but forgiveness is a two-way street. To be forgiven you must be willing to forgive others. You must also be willing to sincerely apologize for your mistakes, and if necessary, make redress for our mistake. Most sincere apologies will lead to forgiveness by those we have erred against. Most of the time, but not all the time, will we be given forgiveness. When we are not forgiven after a sincere apology, we can at least be comforted by the knowledge that we have tried to rectify our mistake. And you should be ready to forgive others who have made a sincere apology to you. This also helps make you to “Be the Better Person”.

An insincere apology usually does not result in forgiveness, as most people are good at determining whether an apology is sincere or insincere. A sincere apology is one in which we confess to the mistakes we have made, try to make redress for our mistake, then ask forgiveness. Just saying “sorry”, or generalizing an apology is insufficient for a sincere apology and will often not lead to forgiveness. Finally, if you have made a sincere apology, you must be willing to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself, but not forget what you have said or done, and vow to not make the same mistake again.

Too Little Learning Leads You Astray

We often see, hear, or read something that provokes our interest or adds to our current knowledge. Usually, however, this is often done in a limited time scope of five to thirty minutes. This limited-time scope is enough to add factoids to our knowledge, but it is no substitute for obtaining comprehensive knowledge and understanding. To know and understand something is to invest the time and resources to obtain knowledge. Limited knowledge can lead you astray as you may, and often, have insufficient knowledge to make an intelligent or wise decision or choice.

To spend just a few minutes obtaining information is somewhat disrespectful to the person communicating the information, and any other persons mentioned in this communication. Disrespectful in that you may misunderstand or misinterpret what they are communicating that would not occur if you had spent more time obtaining information. There is also the possibility that you may then pass on this misunderstanding or misinterpretation to others, which could have repercussions to yourself and the person who was communicating the information. If you wish to know something you should spend the time to gain knowledge of the different viewpoints of an issue. Even if you disagree with the viewpoints of one side or another, you should spend more time and effort learning all sides, so that you may have enough facts to reasonably and intellectually reach a conclusion. When you don’t do this, you are speaking from ignorance. Not ignorance in a pejorative sense, but ignorance from a lack of knowledge, or incomplete knowledge, or just plain incorrect knowledge.

The time required to do this is often a limiting factor. Many do not have enough time to accomplish this given the time constraints of everyday life. Under these circumstances the best approach would be to obtain knowledge as best you can but restrain yourself from communicating your knowledge until you believe have enough knowledge to contribute to a discussion.

Try to Not Have a Big nor Small Mouth

Most people would think that I have a big mouth based on these Observations and Articles. Well, actually, I don’t have a big mouth. Being very introverted in my early years, and somewhat introverted in my later years, I was and am very quiet. However, this has given me the opportunity to observe and hear a lot of big mouths. Based on these observations I think I am qualified to comment on big mouths and what it means to have a small mouth.

Most big mouths are rather boorish, not humorous, and often ignorant of what they are espousing. Not to mention that they are often impolite and disrespectful to those around them. As a result, they are often not very well-liked by those around them. Given the preceding whatever they had hoped to accomplish spouting off is rarely accomplished. Most people simply ignore them and often try not to be in their presence, as well as formulate a negative impression of them. Therefore, big mouths are often disrespected and not paid any attention to on the subject they are big mouthing.

But it is not the “Big” mouths I wish to comment upon but the “Small” mouths. A smallmouth is a person who comments on things that they have not fully considered nor deliberated upon. As a result, their comments often provoke discussions or an argument. Small mouthing, when done politely and respectfully, often generates a good discussion of the topic that can illuminate the topic. While small mouthing that is not polite and respectful often generates a heated argument. Small mouthing, when done properly, is done in an inquisitive and deferential manner to someone who has more knowledge and reasoning on a topic than you yourself may have. When done this way it demonstrates respect for the person or group of persons that you have small mouthed. It will also garner respect for yourself as the other people will recognize that wish to become better informed.

The incandescent light bulb has often been described as a heat source that provides some light, given that a light bulb generates more heat than it does light. In today's society, we often find discussions or arguments that provide a lot of heat and only a little light. I personally prefer illumination (light) and not argumentation (heat). I would hope that all would keep this in mind when small mouthing. I would, therefore, suggest the following as rules of thumb when small mouthing:

  • Rarely resist the opportunity to keep your mouth shut!
  • Observe everything, comment rarely!
  • Comment only on those things you really know something about.
  • Never start a sentence until you know how it ends.
  • Before speaking your mind always consider what is to be gained or lost.
  • When utilizing humor self-deprecating humor is the best form of humor in dealing with others.
  • A smart person knows what to say, a wise person knows whether or not, and how to say it. Try to be a wise person.
  • Never argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference!

And always be prepared to change your mind on what you may have learned.

What is to be Gained, or What is to be Lost

You should always consider what is to be gained, or what is to be lost, before speaking or acting. Most people rarely consider this beforehand and end up harming themselves or others. Not only what is to be gained or lost for yourself but also what is gained or lost for those around you. “Always Be Polite and Respectful” as this will often mitigate what is lost and may gain you additional respect. The impolite or disrespectful speech will always result in your or others' loss. You may also say or do something that could be unnecessarily harmful to others. Consider all that what you may say and do and make a cost/benefit analysis for yourself and others before you say or do something. Swearing during a conversation can also lead to a loss as I have discussed in another Pearl of Wisdom “Swearing”.

When, or When Not, to Get Involved?

There are some questions you should ask yourself before becoming involved in any situation:

  • Would it help?
  • Would it make any difference?
  • Is it worth it?

If the answer is no to any of these questions, then you should be wary of becoming involved. For if you cannot help or make a difference you may cause harm, or at the very least waste your time. If it is not worth it because it is of no or small consequence, or you may potentially lose friends or acquaintances, or you may harm your own or others' good name, then you should be wary of becoming involved.

if you consider getting involved should also ask of yourself “What is to be gained, and What is to be Lost”, as per another Pearl of Wisdom. For if more is to be lost than gained you should reconsider getting involved.

However, if you can be a neutral arbiter of a dispute then perhaps you should get involved. But remember the keyword is neutral. If you cannot remain neutral than perhaps you should not get involved.

* * * * *

I know that there are many Pearls of wisdom, and they may be difficult to practice all of them. So, choose which Pearls of Wisdom are appropriate for your situation and ponder upon them before you speak or act. If you practice these Pearls of Wisdom regularly, they become easier to practice. So, practice, practice, practice these Pearls of Wisdom.

 * * * * *

Words of Wooden

John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) was an American basketball player and head coach at the University of California, Los Angeles. Nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood," he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row. One of the most revered coaches in the history of sports, Wooden was beloved by his former players, among them Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton. Wooden was renowned for his short, simple inspirational messages to his players, including his "Pyramid of Success." These often were directed at how to be a success in life as well as in basketball. Wooden's 29-year coaching career and overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim have created a legacy of great interest in not only sports, but in business, personal success, and organizational leadership as well.

I would like to present to you some of the most important Words of Wisdom of John Wooden, as exemplified in the following posters: