Commentary: A few rules of life

By John Guy

With a few years under the belt, the urge to organize, to conclude, to hypothesize, is irresistible:  

  • Organizations with one-year terms of leadership are ineffective and unable to keep up.  Service clubs and trade groups are examples. These organizations do fine work, but they do not steadily improve to meet modern demands and circumstances. Though many disagree, or do not want to agree, the decline in membership of service clubs is a direct result of their inability to change rapidly, to accommodate a new world. They operate in 2018 just as they did in 1950.

John Guy is a wealth manager and the author of “Middle Man, a Broker’s Tale.”

  • Introducing a new idea to an established organization, such as a service club, is like convincing a spouse to reorganize the closet. I was so happy about a walk-in closet. So much room. Today, not so much, less than a quarter of the space is mine. No point attempting to change the situation, just as no good comes from an effort to convince an organization to suspend a traditional program to make room for a new one.
  • Lawn mowers work fine for years. Annual service, maybe $100. Life of a mower maybe 10 years?  Probably more. Cost of a new mower:  $500, or less. Just change the oil.
  • Discussions ending in “I quit,” end friendships, and, most important, mutual understanding. Time out. That is incorrect. “I quit” ends an acquaintanceship. Friends stick it out.
  • In any group— workers, athletes, judges, journalists, any group—two are honest and effective, six are hardworking and straight forward, two are scurrilous, unreliable, and deceiving. Every once in a while, a person in the lower group becomes a leader.
  • Some will do anything to win. Some just want to live. Others want to criticize. Generally, critics know less than the objects of their criticism.
  • Writing criticism sure feels good. Makes me great again. (MMGA?)
  • I always do my share. I wash the dishes.
  • Personal confidence is assured by using the same tooth paste every day. Any new routine or substance in the morning throws off the entire day.
  • I support my teams, unless I move to another town, in which case I support my new teams.
  • Partisans believe their people do no wrong; the other side does nothing right. Meanwhile, partisans believe that have balanced, well-considered opinions. Lots of people support the Affordable Care Act, but a fair share want to repeal Obama Care. Hard to make comparisons now because Trump Care does not exist. If it did, the name alone would garner some support.
  • “I am too busy” means “No.”
  • The most important part of a sentence follows the word “but.”
  • The world may be changed by anyone, provided you give them enough award plaques.
  • However, the recognizor experiences more satisfaction than the recognize, and some studies appear to demonstrate that people perform with less energy, dedication and enthusiasm after receiving an award. What about those left out? In Indiana’s “Teacher of the Year” program, one is recognized, but tens of thousands are ignored.
  • Here is gratitude, cheaply expressed: “Will all committee chairs please stand to be recognized.”
  • The last suggestion.  In a few decades, do you want to leave an additional $10,000 to your heirs?  If so, borrow that book.  Do not buy it.

John Guy is an investment advisor and author of Middle Man, A Broker’s Tale. His podcast with Morton Marcus, indexed under “Who Gets What,” has subjects such as “These Strings Mean Business.”

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