Has someone ever said something – whether funny, sad, or enlightening – that you remember years later? It could have been a parent, relative, friend, or boss. Even after they were gone, it was fresh in your memory. It may still affect your daily life even though it was said to you 40 years ago.

I have been lucky enough to have had a few people stop me in my tracks and take the time to “give it to me straight.” Their kindness, knowledge, and bluntness have saved me embarrassment over the years. Here are some of those tidbits of knowledge:

“You don’t understand the ramifications of your own inadequacies.”

“When two people tell you that you smell like crap, you’d better check your pants!”

“Let’s stop pointing fingers at each other and let’s get the job done.”

“It is better to say nothing than to have one moment of satisfaction that ruins your career.”

“There is no rest for the weary or the wicked.”

“You alone are responsible for your behavior and feelings.”

“Don’t expect other people to react the way you would react.”

“Let’s make something positive out of these negatives.”

“If it doesn’t feel right to you, just walk away.”

“You need to express yourself in a calmer manner.”

Sometimes the words of wisdom that you are awaiting never come. I was once a J. C. Penney department manager. One night I was working in the stockroom, trying to get Christmas items down to the floor early for the next day. Along came the store manager, who looked and dressed like Lee Iacocca, wearing a blue pinstripe three-piece suit and smoking a cigar. He came right up to me, and I was expecting words of advice.

“Haryn, I don’t want any surprises tomorrow morning on the sales floor. Do you know what the definition of surprise is?” Now I was 24 years old and he was 45 and the store manager, so I stiffened up and said, “No, sir.” He looked me straight in the face and said, “A fart with a lump in it!” Turning quickly around and laughing aloud, he left the stockroom. I stood alone saying to myself, “What just happened here?”

I wish I could claim one of the above phrases. I still follow these words of wisdom and hope at least one of them will help you along your road of life.

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