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Words of Wisdom

Certain truths seem self-evident to the mature mind, and it’s easy to forget the éclat that accompanies learning them for the first time. Here are some that really made a difference to me, and have stuck in my mind.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

My mom was the first to quote this to me. The older I got, the more I realized that this applies to any emotion, and that people who push our buttons are only doing it because we give them the power to do so.

“If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.”


“Nobody leaves a hole when they get out of the water.”
– My mom and dad (who might have been quoting others, uncredited)

Both of these related to being in the working world, and disabused me of the idea that being indispensable was both possible and positive.

When I got my first office job, my mom encouraged me to create a job manual, outlining what I did and how, so that “if your dream job comes up tomorrow, you’ll be able to train your replacement quickly and move on”.  I created a job manual for pretty much every job I held for six months or more, after that.

When I was about twenty, I applied for, and got, got a better job than the one I had. And I felt terrible about having to tell my employer I was leaving in two weeks. There would be no time to hire and train my replacement before I left. I’d be leaving my employer in the lurch! How would they cope without me? My dad pointed out that I wasn’t the only person in the world who could do my current job, and “God forbid you got hit by a bus tomorrow”, my employer wouldn’t crumble to dust; they’d find a way to cope without me. (And they do; I’ve been laid off twice in my life, and the employers are still out there!)

What great life advice made a difference to you? Where did you hear it, and how did you apply it?

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