Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What was the most important lesson you learned in 2005?

I do not usually ask myself what I've learned recently (and this has probably been a shortcoming), but I saw a post on How to Save the World and it made me pause. Here's a couple things Dave learned this year:
17. People learn more from stories than from even the most brilliant analytical discourse.
15. Look carefully at the data before you jump to conclusions. The main reason for the recent decline in violent crime in America's cities was Roe v. Wade two decades ago and the increased access to abortion that it allowed. Not law & order, not more prisons and stiffer sentences, not gun control.
12. We need to find the things that are at the intersection of what we love doing, what we do well, and what is needed -- and then do them.
11. Always trust your instincts. When your careful rationalizations or your passionate emotions lead you to do something that instinctively seems questionable, you will probably regret it.
10. There's nothing wrong with the education system except for the teachers (we learn best by watching and doing, not by listening), the classrooms (the world is out there, not in here!) and the examinations (they are more likely to tell you what the students already knew than what they learned).
4. Frames matter. You'll never convince anyone of anything until you understand her frame of reference. And you'll never convince anyone of anything until she's ready to be convinced.
2. What most people want, women and men alike, is a little attention and a little appreciation. We need to be much more generous with these things, even more generous than we are with material things, and our knowledge and our love.
I'm not sure what I've learned this year, but here's my first item:

   1. My wife is very generous.

Okay, I knew that one already, but what she made very clear this year is how much she supports me. First, I started a project in Austin that was suppose to last six weeks. It's nine months later and I am typing from a hotel room in Austin because I only go home on weekends. What started as a short-term consulting assignment has turned into a permanent position. While I am both glad and grateful to be working with Seilevel again, I only get to spend three nights a week in my bed with my lovely wife and outside of the coming holiday season, I expect this last another three to six months. And still she supports and loves me.

Second, Tony and I started a retail outlet in the Galleria Mall selling poker chips. While we entered this venture as a means to make money, all entrepreneurial ventures have risk. More than the potential risk, it meant the limited time I spent at home was occupied, very occupied. At first I spent spent 10-12 hours on Saturday and another 7-8 hours on Sunday. After a couple months I cut my schedule back to just one day per weekend. And still she supports and loves me.

I'm a lucky man. I guess that should be #2 on the list.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

I echo your numbers 1 & 2, although the pronoun I and me refer to Glenn instead of Jeffrey.

However, in the list provided by Dave, his point number 15 is dripping with irony.

Point 10 is equally ironic, in that we would assume he remembers writing point number 15 when he wrote point number 10.

Such is the dangers of assumptions.