Wisdom in Years — As Fast As I Could Write

I met with a near 80 year old business leader recently. I’m not sharing his name. He’s not famous, but he is well-known in the region where I live. But, he’s been exceptionally successful. He’s made lots of money. And, as a result, he has tremendous influence and a very comfortable lifestyle. He’s a straight, candid talker. In spite of his success, he was exceptionally approachable and genuinely seemed to be a kind-hearted man. His benevolent activities in the community indicate that is true.

(As a side note, I’ve learned people such as this man are willing to share their wisdom if asked. They are often honored to do so.)

This man is still working hard today — hasn’t slowed down a bit — in fact, the day we met he was exploring a new business deal that will take an enormous amount of his time, but has huge potential for returns.

Knowing that I connect with community leaders — I feel that’s a large part of growing a church these days — several people suggested I meet with him. He’s very active in the region and therefore I knew he would have insight into how our church can be more involved locally. He is a believer, but does not attend my church.

I quickly knew I was in for a overload of wisdom. I couldn’t capture it quick enough. (Which is another reminder to always take a way to record notes when you have such a meeting. I’m glad I did.)

He was particularly interested in the next generation. He used the term “entitlement” several times. He feels we’ve perhaps spoiled our children too much and it is impacting who we are as a society. You’ll see those thoughts in our talk. We were surrounded by pictures of his family. I suspect he’s concerned for his children and grandchildren’s future.

I share some of his statements in our conversation without commentary — just as he shared them with me. My purpose in sharing is just to give you the opportunity I had — gleaning from a successful, self-made, community leader.

Here are some of the random notes I took away from our conversation:

A huge problem with leaders at times is the zeal axis and the wisdom axis aren’t aligned. By the time you develop your character enough (wisdom axis) you lose your zeal.

The older I get the easier I can see a bigger picture. I’ve learned a few things I wish some of our younger employees would hear.

I always try a team approach to an issue. I don’t like surprises. Worst thing in leading is a surprise. With a team approach there are fewer.

Don’t burn bridges. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them bad people. Don’t treat them that way. You may need their connection down the road.

I carve out the piece of someone I don’t like and love the rest of them. You can love them without loving that piece of them (that they may not even like themselves).

As a businessperson, I’ve had some of my best success dealing well with the least of these. Don’t consider others better than yourself and you’ll be rewarded eventually (for your humility).

There are no substitutes for hard work.

I quit hiring people who have “lifeguard” or “golf caddy” on their resume. I hire people who have worked at Wal Mart or Dairy Queen — places like that. I want to know you know how to actually work for a paycheck.

Many of the young people we hire today want all the quality of life benefits now, but they don’t want to earn it.

At what point did we become entitled to Spring Break? Or to better shoes than the mom has?

I believe every business leader owes it to their community to participate in making the community better. It makes you feel better. It helps the community, and the bonus is you actually get business out of it.

Every good thing that ever happened to me (apart from God’s grace) I earned. Every bad thing that ever happened to me (apart from God’s mercy) I earned.

You reap what you sow, generally speaking. As the old saying goes, “The harder I work the luckier I get.”

You may or may not agree with everything he said, but what stands out to you most? 


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5 thoughts on “Wisdom in Years — As Fast As I Could Write

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  3. I just wanted to comment and say thankyou for your rebuttle article about how Christians are so rude, mean, phony, and misunderstanding of others situations when treating others in such a negative fashion as they “yell at the barista who messed up a Christian’s drink order while in a public bible study” displaying the irony of being Christian & acting the part. I know I have failed to be like Christ myself on an epic level but when trying to fight my way back into His gracious gift of mercy and light to associate those negative actions on others while proclaiming Christianity has by my own judgmental sin led me away from wanting to continue down the path of Christ & being Christian if that is what repeatedly occurs on so many levels and demonstrated actions in my own personal life. I have failed in many aspects and want to improve to become more like Christ Himself, but when it is associated with such violence, anger, cruelty, hate and misunderstanding I sinfully project that as what being Christian is and by no means want to be associated with those who can consciously cause harm, unforgiving hate or negative actions against others. It is of my own fault & sin I am in the darkness but what a gift if we or you as I feel excluded could demonstrate the great mercy, grace & Love through Christ from God the Father above. Once again I understand its my own sinful judgments & projections of thinking that that is what being Christian is, but let me tell you when someone offers me a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear or simply a hug of encouragement in the name of Jesus it indefinitely assists me on my own horrific path back to being an exemplar Christian even though I know I have many faults & burdening sins I have committed and sadly will most likely continue to commit until my faith is stronger.

    Who wants to associate themselves among the lower caste and act better or more loved than the society’s viewpoint of higher moral ground when it is only for God to see into a person’s heart & understand why they are committing the sins they have, are and will continue to fall into temptation in when such discouraging negative condensing actions are cast against those who are living in the darkness of sin.

    I by no means expect perfection or complete understanding of why people do the things we do that hurt others, but please can we all learn to love one another as He abundantly lobes each and every one of us? Maybe that would direct more people who are suffering in darkness to Jesus’s great deliverance of the pure light & path to God’s unconditional love & mercy he patiently displays for us even when we are committing sins against him and have & will never do anything to justify our right to be in His awesome love, grace and mercy.

    For it is written that the commandment that sums up all of the old testament commandments is to love yourself as your neighbors. To treat those who cause pain as God delvers through his Son kindness & mercy even during times when they are knowingly or unknowingly doing wrong & hurting others.

    To see the demonstration of Christ’s Light & Holy Spirit living in each and everyone of us on a consistent basis would indefinitely be very beneficial & helpful for myself to regain my true hope and faith in Christ…even though I shouldn’t rely on mortal men & women to guide me to Christ’s lighted pathway it sure does remind me of the kindness displayed in the bible wanting to further continue investigating & reading Gods Word.

    God’s Peace Grace Mercy & Love be with you all. Evenmoreso to those who hate, judge and mock me in great public displays. For if I can show them that Jesus’s love for me overfills my heart & soul to love my enemies then hopefully it will demonstrate I have no enemies but fellow brothers & sisters in Christ & to hurt one another is in all hurting ourselves.

    One tree many leaves – one Love given not taken from above to model after Christ’s deliverance. If someone is stealing. Educate them by giving them more than they could ever need. If someone is causing others harm demonstrate forgiveness & love evermoreso to break their chains of misunderstanding. If someone is gay love them for who they at that time think they are and maybe they will then recover from a painful past that altered their view of what love is and should be between a man and woman.

    I am far from perfect & probably one of the most sinful beings on this earth but please try to show love and guidance by demonstrating what being Christian really is to help others and myself….once again…even though I know I should only need Faith in Christ to find the light it sure does help when those surrounding me in this world confirm a used path of Christs examples in lieu of my poor decisions of wavering in the fields and woods becoming lost & confused by my own doing.

    This life is a mere two seconds in Gods view from my little understanding of His Awesome Greatness lets all please try to make these two seconds good ones for ourselves and the Glory of God where all bounty & good are created.