The other day I was in BoJangles with a yellow pad and a pen and for no reason at all I started making a list of the smartest things I have ever done in my life and the another list of the stupidest things I’ve done. On the wisest things list I noticed that following up with new acquaintances came up again and again. Becoming active in an Association ranked high too. Listening to taped messages by people I respected ranked high. In fact, I still have a cassette tape player on my desk so I can pull out the tapes of some speakers who have long passed but their humor and their words of wisdom endure forever. One thing I wrote on the list was “Studied creativity.” Another was “Studied humor.” Another was “Phoned John Burdakin, then the new Vice President of Operations at Grand Trunk Western Railroad and invited him to go with me to a hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan where our locomotive fireman laid in a bed with two legs and one arm cut off. Mr. Burdakin said “Yes,” and it changed my life. I was scared to death making that phone call but somehow I overcame that fear and plunged on ahead.
I keep adding things to my two lists and you know, this process really leads you to make some unusual admissions, perhaps some you have never made before. It is fun but it can be painful too, because I would guess that we have all done stupid things in our lifetimes. I won’t tell you about my stupid list. Maybe if we will just admit some of these and learn from them we might make a lot wiser decisions as we move ahead.