05 Apr 3-16-17 A funny (and good) lesson from Jimmy Carter’s mother
Recently, something reminded me of a story about Lilian Gordy Carter, Jimmy Carter’s mother. I remember watching this on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, so it was quite a few years ago. Johnny was asking Mrs. Carter about her son, Jimmy. She was probably in her 80’s at the time. She walked out onto the stage and the audience gave her a long applause. She and Johnny said the typical pleasantries. He welcomed her to the show and she said it was nice to see him again. Then Johnny did what he was so good at doing, having fun with his guests. It was quite a show. If you remember, one of the things Jimmy Carter would pride himself on was that he always told the truth. So Johnny started asking questions about whether or not Jimmy always told the truth. Mrs. Carter said “Well, not all the time. Sometimes he would tell white lies”. That was the opportunity Johnny was looking for. He said “Aha, so Jimmy does lie”. Mrs. Carter said “No, he doesn’t tell big lies, he would just tell little white lies.” Johnny, still thinking he had the scoop on Jimmy Carter asks Mrs. Carter “Well, a white lie is still a lie. What’s the difference between a white lie and a regular lie?” Mrs. Carter replied in her nice Southern charm, “A white lie is kind of like when I came out here and told you it was nice to see you again.” At this point, Johnny went into his uncontrollable laughter that would happen to him every once in a while. It was a well-made point and he had the confidence to accept it.
This next piece is something I saw the other day. I read it to my son, but I am not sure it made sense to him. I think you have to be a little older to understand it.
The two kinds of people who never get ahead are those who will not do what they are told and those who do only what they are told.
It’s hard to say which would be more discouraging: drifting from job to job because you’re always the first to be laid off, or laboring in monotonous obscurity at the same job. The first results from not doing what you are told to do, the second from doing only what you are told to do. You can “get by” for a time following either approach, but you will never get ahead. Personal initiative is more important in today’s enlightened, high-tech workplace than it was during the Industrial Age, when the ability to follow orders was a critical skill. As technology makes many supervisory functions obsolete, every one of us is expected to do more with less, determine what needs to be done, and do it. Don’t wait to be told. Know your company and your job so well that you can anticipate what needs to be done — then do it! Stop explaining and start doing!