Author H. Jackson Brown, Jr. penned several volumes in his series of books, Live and Learn and Pass It On. The books record ‘words of wisdom’ from people ages 5 to 95. He shows that wisdom knows no age and that truth is truth at any age.
We all have our own ‘what I’ve learned…’ moments. They are lessons we’ve been taught by our parents, spouses, children, teachers, friends, enemies, and even our chamber/association members. We’ve all learned lessons from winning and losing, from trial and error, and from the ‘school of hard knocks.’
Some of my favorite excerpts from the books include:
“I’ve learned that when I eat fish sticks, they help me swim faster because they’re fish. – Age 9”
“I’ve learned that if you laugh and drink soda pop at the same time, it will come out your nose. – Age 8”
“I’ve learned that trying to smile while saying ‘soy sauce’ will always make you laugh. – Age 20” (I know you just tried this.)
“I’ve learned that the worst thing in life to be without is love, but toilet paper comes in a close second. – Age 59”
“I’ve learned that my worst decisions were made when I was angry. – Age 62”
“I’ve learned that while you hated nap time in pre-school, you would love for your manager to hand you a blanket, a pillow, and glass of Kool-Aid at work. – Age 24”
“I’ve learned that money talks, but all mine ever says is, “Good-bye.” – Age 13”
“I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. – Age 92”
I could add many more volumes of material to Mr. Brown’s work from my almost 20 years in chamber of commerce and association positions.
A few would include:
“I’ve learned that a Board Chair really can ask a stupid question. – Me at Age 31”
“I’ve learned to never underestimate the attachment people have to a Christmas parade. – Me at Age 27”
“I’ve learned I can’t always control the situation, but I can control my reaction to it. – Me at Age 30”
“I’ve learned that I live in a fishbowl and my chamber work is never done. – Me at Age 29”
“I’ve learned there are 27 different ways to prepare ‘chamber chicken.’ – Me at Age 25”
“I’ve learned that a 5-minute trip to the grocery store can end up in an hour-long conversation. – Me at Age 31”
“I’ve learned that people still don’t know what I do at the chamber. – Me at Age 39”
“I’ve learned that everyone isn’t a fit for chamber membership. – Me at Age 33”
“I’ve learned that this profession has afforded me life-long friendships. – Me at Age 40”
So, every day I continue to learn and grow. Regardless of how much we know, it is never enough. Every day is a new experience and we are offered new opportunities for discovery and growth. Nowhere is this more true than in chamber of commerce and association management. I hope we can all take some time to live, always find time to learn, and make it our mission to pass it on.