53 Things I’ve Learned

Age is just a number. An increasingly concerning number.

Turning down ice cream is always a mistake.

Give your children love, security, and musical instruments at an early age.

Before you talk about someone, talk with them.

Leadership has little to do with authority and everything to do with responsibility.

Write with a smile.

Be utterly reliable, but slightly impractical.

Life is too short for light beer, lame cars or hard feelings.

If you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you had better be reading to a Kindergarten class.  Be prepared to still be wrong.

I can go for hours without recognizing I’m a knucklehead.

Observe.  Orient.  Decide.  Act. 

The best trick to pull off is marrying well out of your league.

Make a habit of thanking veterans, public employees and community volunteers. Much of what is taken for granted, they’ve provided.

Dad was right about most everything; using the right tool for the job and putting tools back where you found them being high on the list.

The best art is made when skill is just catching up to passion. 

Every challenge is an opportunity.

When you wear a bow tie, wear it slightly askew. Women can’t resist straightening them.

Great cities are our best magic.

Churchill is quotable. So is Yoggi Berra. Don’t go straight to Churchill, when Yoggi will do.

The game looks easier from the stands than it does on the field.

Everything after a boyhood wheelchair and orphanage is easy. And appreciated.

The “Jeep wave” is my second favorite tribal rite.

The national anthem, at full bore, is my first.

If you can arrange your birthday to be New Years Eve, I recommend it.

Beauty is best (and most easily) found in authenticity.

Choose your intoxicants wisely, avoiding those with a cost if at all possible.

Watching your son play in a World Series > watching the Cubs win the World Series.

Never throw the first punch. Block it, throw the next three and step back to allow the basic math to sink in.

Make it - all of it - an adventure.

Always do more than required.  Except while eating.

If there is a more lovely sound than your daughter playing flute, I haven’t yet heard it.

In the battle of Locke versus Hobbes, watch out for those who cheer for Hobbes.

Do what you love, or you have to go to work every day.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident” is the most momentous fulcrum in history.

Good pitching beats good hitting, but hitters can practice more than pitchers. So spend more time in the batting cage, and be a stone cold assassin on the basepaths.

There is an inverse relationship between spelling proficiency and distance to the whiteboard.

The mountain only asks one question.  Will you give up?

The prairie speaks of freedom. Earth and sky meet on the far horizon with nothing to intercept one’s vision from the infinite. Attaboy, Jens Jensen.

Being tall is handy, except on airplanes.

If you ever worry about the state of mankind, visit a neonatal ward and see humans at their best, and most elemental.

Technically, the glass is always full, unless you’re in the vacuum of space.

Personal industry is a difference maker, but we all have social capital debts to repay.

The organization knows you better than you know yourself.

Nature wins.

Give back more than you get, and don’t keep score as you go.

I can pinpoint the day my life turned around. Her name was Marcia.

You stop playing, you start getting old.

Minimize pride, maximize gratitude.  

The team matters more than you.

If it comes in purple, get it in purple.

Nothing good happens after someone says, “here, hold this”.

You can take the boy out of Chicago.  You can't take the Chicago out of the boy.

The e-mail “reply all” button is the devil’s own device.

I have much to learn, but of this I am certain; kindness matters most.