What Would You Scribble on the Back of an Envelope?

Who hasn’t grabbed a napkin to jot down a note when nothing else was available?

B ut did you capture memorable lines like these?

On The Back of an Envelope

It’s exciting, isn’t it, when we stumble across crumpled notes that have been lodged in our wallet for years … to discover timeless gems that we may have forgotten?

John Wooden, the famed UCLA basketball coach, always carried a crumpled note which bore the words written by his father on Wooden’s high school graduation:

“Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day. Pray for guidance, count and give thanks for your blessings every day.”

Simple. Clear. Unequivocal.

More Life Lessons … Scribbled

Harvey Mackay, author of Swim with the Sharks, recounts the story about Gordon Dean, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission under Harry Truman.

When Dean died in a plane crash in 1958, it’s been said that among his personal effects was an envelope with nine life lessons scribbled on the back, none of which had anything to do with atomic energy or science.


Gordon Dean’s Life Lessons

  • Never lose your capacity for enthusiasm.
  • Never lose your capacity for indignation.
  • Never judge people – don’t type them too quickly. But in a pinch never first assume that a man is bad; first assume that he is good and that, at worst, he is in the gray area between bad and good.
  • Never be impressed by wealth alone or thrown by poverty.
  • If you can’t be generous when it’s hard to be, you won’t be when it’s easy.
  • The greatest builder of confidence is the ability to do something – almost anything – well.
  • When confidence comes, then strive for humility; you aren’t as good as all that.
  • The way to become truly useful is to seek the best that other brains have to offer. Use them to supplement your own, and be prepared to give credit to them when they have helped.
  • The greatest tragedies in the world and personal events stem from misunderstandings. So communicate!

The simplest things in life are free … and sometimes, it’s the simple things that make so much sense.

Question: Is there a particular creed you live by each day?

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