Gordon Dean was a distinguished American lawyer and prosecutor. One of a original members of the Atomic Energy Commission, he became its chairman from 1950 to 1953. It’s said that when Dean died in a plane crash in 1958, among his personal effect was an envelope with nine life lessons scribbled on the back. These lessons aren’t about the law or about atomic energy. They’re wisdom about his philosophy of life:
1. Never lose your capacity of enthusiasm.
2. Never lose your capacity of indignation.
3. Never judge people – don’t type them too quickly. But in a pinch never first assume that a man is bad; first assume that he is good and that, at worst, he is in the gray area between bad and good.
4. Never be impressed by wealth alone or thrown by poverty.
5. If you can’t be generous when it’s hard to be, you won’t be when it’s easy.
6. The greatest builder of confidence is the ability to do something – almost anything – well.
7. When confidence comes, then strive for humility; you aren’t as good as all that.
8. The way to become truly useful is to seek the best that other brains have to offer. Use them to supplement your own, and be prepared to give credit to them when they have helped.
9. The greatest tragedies in the word and personal events stem from misunderstandings. So communicate!
We are all students of life. Want to get to the head of the class? Pay attention and take notes.
By Harvey Mackay