Axioms, Part 1: Life Axioms
A few weeks ago I saw a question and answer session with one of my long-time mentors: Erwin McManus. Someone asked him, “what books are you reading these days?” His answer surprised me: “When I turned 50, I cut back quite a bit on my reading. I came to a point of realizing that I am at a season in my life where I need to stop collecting more information and rather spend the time sharing what I have learned.”
I thought that was a beautiful way to see life. So, in the spirit of Erwin, in this season of my life I am going to shift the “reading time” of my life to more “writing time.” I offer to you, my first attempt at “stop collecting and start sharing.”
For the last fifteen years or so, I have been jotting down axioms (short proverbs) that I have either heard from others that have resonated with my experience or have learned the hard way. I’ve kept a collection of them on a file on my laptop. The list has grown to more than 200 entries. So, I broke them down in to three parts: Life, Faith, and Leadership.
For your consideration, here is the first part -- everything I know about life:
- People who feel the need to tell you that they have an excellent sense of humor are telling you that they have no sense of humor. (Dave Berry)
- You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
- If they don’t quickly offer up the information -- you should never ask a person what kind of surgery they are having unless you are prepared to hear about very personal matters.
- One of the most important life skills to develop is how to ask the right questions.
- Survival is sometimes underrated.
- People are never as strong as you think they are or as weak as you think they are.
- No one is eager to be managed. The entire world is hungry to be led.
- Each week one must choose between the pain of discipline or the pain of failure. (Steve Mariucci)
- One of the most powerful forces in the universe is gossip.
- Everybody is normal until you get to know them. (John Ortberg)
- Truth, like love and sleep, resents approaches which are too direct.
- A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.
- I have never regretted being kind to another person.
- No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.
- Good decision making requires courage as much as it does judgment. There is no inherent reason why medicines should taste horrible – but effective ones usually do. The same is true with effective decisions.
- Beware of the sincerity myth that teaches that you will be able to avoid all criticism if only you are sincere.
- Everything worth accomplishing in life is hard. It is not the difficulty or ease of it that makes a job worth doing.
- When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy. (Dave Berry)
- “People whisper sweet nothings to their lover; but they yell 'fire.'…Fear, it turns out, is often louder than love. Sometimes fear is good, and yelling even better, especially when there actually is a fire. But other times fear is toxic, destructive, the opposite of love.” (Rob Bell)
- “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” (Pablo Picasso)
- “Satire works best when it's directed toward the powerful, humor when it's directed toward yourself” (Rachel Held Evans)
- Being creative is like being an archeologist. You get up every morning and dig around in the dirt
- The person who needs the most love will usually ask for it in the most unloving ways.
- Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it into a fruit salad.
- Some people who are crazy are easy to recognize. It is the crazy people that are not easy to recognize that can destroy you.
- “The ship is safest when it is in port. But that’s not what ships were made for.” (Paulo Coelho)
- “One of the most important aspects of character in life, without question, is the ability to confront.” (Henry Cloud)
- “Only someone who finds the courage to be different from others can ultimately exist for ‘others’”. (Jurgen Moltmann)
- “Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.” (Bob Dylan)
- Perceptions, whether they are accurate or not, take on their own reality and when acted upon over time become self-fulfilling prophesies.
- “You find what you look for. If you look for flaws, you will find them; if you look for a person’s best, you find it.” (Dan Reiland)
- “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me … You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” (Walt Disney)
- Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. (Dave Berry)
- “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” (Stephen King)