And another thing ...

I think everyone has some words of wisdom that guide them. The basic ones which apply to everyone -- or should anyway
Kathy Lilje
May 24, 2010

I think everyone has some words of wisdom that guide them.

The basic ones which apply to everyone -- or should anyway -- are contained in the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about dealing with life.

While others may tap into great thinkers, philosophers and religious figures for their pearls of wisdom, I got my guidelines from an athletic shoe slogan, a deodorant commercial and a country and western song.

The Nike slogan "Just Do It!" helps me conquer indecision and stops my much-practiced procrastination in its tracks. The advice is practical, decisive and versatile. It applies equally well at work or at home. Take, for instance, my desire to add some color to my otherwise neutral decor.

After agonizing for weeks about what color to paint a focal wall in one of my rooms, I selected a beautiful scarlet -- a color that brought to mind flowers, cardinals, the American flag and The Ohio State Buckeyes. How could I go wrong?

Just do it.

So I spend $43 for a gallon of paint and a beautiful Saturday morning painting the wall.

Which brings me to the deodorant commercial, "Never let them see you sweat."

As my husband and a couple of friends stopped by to view my progress, I assured them it was going to be great -- just the spark of brilliance the room needed. The color would pop after a second coat. When the desired effect wasn't apparent after the second coat, I optimistically forged on. Maybe a third coat would do the trick.

Not so much.

Which brings me to Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" and "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

When no amount of positive attitude or squinting could make the Red Death look any better, I finally admitted defeat. A quick run to Sandusky Paint, a plea for help from their brilliant colorists and a few more hours of yielding the paint roller fixed it. The wall is now a rich deep shade of khaki -- more in tune with my natural color preferences.

The day when my language was even more colorful than my paint choices had a happy ending.

Those three sayings have served me well in other areas -- asking for a pay raise, arguing a point with my husband or speaking before groups.

OK, so maybe I'm not a deep thinker, but who says only the likes of Shakespeare, Nietzsche or St. Thomas have exclusive rights to sagacity?

Good advice can come from varied and sundry sources. The trick is to pick them out from the tons of babble we hear each day.

My dad always brought any crisis du jour into perspective by asking "Did any little children get hurt? Will anyone even remember this in 50 years?"

My friend Ruby cuts short lamentations of "what might have been" with her lesson on futility "Don't plant boiled potatoes."

My high school Latin teacher advised "Don't carry impedimenta (excess baggage), either physical or emotional, with you through life. It will only slow you down." I remember those words more than the Latin she taught.

My husband was never one for big lectures when our kids were teenagers. He simply told them whenever they left the house for a night out, "Don't let your name beat you home." Pretty much summed it up and, for all but a few notable exceptions, it worked.

Dr. Phil (whose show I've never seen but whose famous words pop into my head often) counters tales of self-destructive behavior with "How's that working for you?"

My favorite author Tom Robbins says "Always remember you are unique -- just like everybody else."

Marla "Flylady" Cilley, my homemaking guru tackles tough jobs with "You can do anything for 15 minutes."

Bob Dylan discourages remorse about past failures with "Don't look back" and encourages a bright future with "May you stay forever young."

The U.S. Army wants you to "Be all that you can be."

Bumper stickers give so much advice in 12-inch strips we might not even need any other. Some clear thoughts from the back of cars:

"Getting on your feet requires getting off your butt."

"Why is there never time to do it right, but always time to do it over?"

"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

And the admonition that just keeps being relevant: "Give Peace a Chance."

My friend Deedra's mother, Marchand Chaney, starts each day by reminding herself "Today is another day in which to excel." Good advice for anyone. It now starts my day and those of my children and grandchildren.

Pick your guidelines carefully and make them part of your everyday thinking. Remember "Life comes at you fast."

See you next week.

Kathy