Sunday, December 30, 2007

Solid pudding is better than empty praise

Words are cheap -- you can easily tell people how wonderful they are and how much you appreciate them, but showing that worth in a meaningful way might be more appropriate. Say it with flowers might have been an advertising slogan originally but it does have a point. A person who is given a bunch of beautiful, sweet-scented flowers has visual evidence that they are appreciated -- something that all the senses can be aware of.

Tradesmen are no doubt not immune to flattery but a cup of coffee or tea shows tangible gratitude. A retiring worker will appreciate the recounting of his many achievements and worthy contributions to the business' success but a good pension and a retirement present helps to make the words more meaningful.

Presenting the lady in your life with a solid pudding might not have quite the result you intended today, but in years gone by when people were much nearer daily starvation than is the modern reality it would have meant a great deal.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

How Proverbs Help

Proverbs have practical applications -- they can help you cope with everyday problems.

Let us assume you have been given a task to do, for example: stage a school play. You consider all the snags and problems: need for venue, props; unruly children, unhelpful parents, over helpful parents; the list is endless, you want to give up.

But wait, the proverb: Where there's a will there's a way pops into mind. Countless others have faced similar and worse difficulties and they have come to see that Faith can move mountains so it must be possible. Heartened, you move on and start.

You want it to be good... There could be a promotion if you impress the Head. So can proverbs help again? Of course: Well begun is half done. Here is some wisdom: start off with the right attitude, get the basics right and all will follow.

You are tired and want to wait, but: Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today. So, crying: Make hay while the sun shines and Time and tide wait for no man, you leap into action.
After a time you see some achievement but, really, there is a mountain of work to be done, perhaps it's too much. No, remember: Rome wasn't built in a day, just keep going, Lost time is never found again. Keep calm, Slow and steady wins the race.

You progress, but inevitably there are some mistakes: Trial and error waste time, try thinking first, and keep in mind: From little acorns great oaks grow, and for goodness sake Look before you leap. You keep repeating the affirmation: I can and I will.

The kids are coming along fine, enthusiastic parents are making the props, the air is thick with: If at first you don't succeed try, try and try again.

Everything is looking great, but: If something seems too good to be true... The confident young guy who assured you he was a whizz on guitar turns out to know only two chords and that's his limit. Panic! Send him for lessons? No, No good flogging a dead horse, seek a replacement. Every cloud has a silver lining. It turns out the shy boy in the corner has been Hiding his light under a bushel and is a guitar maestro. He's very nervous, you tell him to keep repeating: It will be all right on the night.

Your leading lady has just fallen out with the hero. You cajole her to Let bygones be bygones. You tell him: Faint heart never won fair lady.

The Head drops by and sees all the panic, he smiles benignly and says: To err is human, to forgive divine. You quietly mutter: The devil looks after his own.

A stir heralds the arrival of a new lad. He modestly admits to being the son of an actor and very experienced on stage. You nearly hug him and cry: Cometh the hour cometh the man. He looks embarrassed, the girls all giggle.

The show is a great success but you remember Pride comes before a fall and act modestly and graciously thanking all for their assistance without which your contribution would be nothing. The Head is beaming at you: All is well that ends well.

Seasons greetings to all my readers.

William Clark

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Some Evils are Cured by Contempt

Have you ever tried to stop someone doing something that is wrong and realised they just become more obdurate and entrenched in their wrongdoing? Like a limpet that simply grips tighter the more you try to shift it.

By taking a contemptuous attitude and ignoring a problem person you might get the message across that what they are doing is not winning friends and influencing people. When they come to this understanding by themselves it will have greater impact.

Set an example of what is right and if you are looking good, confident and successful others will observe this and wish to emulate it. They will enjoy the idea that they too can then look with contempt at those still mired in evil ways.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Soft Words Win Hard Hearts

This is a truth long known by ladies who in days of warfare and conflict had to ease the mood of men inured to suffering and battle.

But diplomats who wish to bring about peace and reconciliation also have need of such skills. The natural instinct of a battle hardened warrior might be to threaten and bluster but this often just gets the backs of opponents up and guarantees constant conflict.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick", is oft quoted advice for those involved in negotiations. In other words don't try to rub your power advantage into your opposite numbers face but a gentle hint of potential accompanied with conciliatory words can lead to meaningful negotiations.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It costs more to revenge injuries than to bear them

It costs more to revenge injuries than to bear them.

A restaurant mixes up your booking and refuses to return your deposit. You get angry, see a solicitor, he threatens to sue, they pay up then he sends you a bill for more than the original amount. Neighbours in boundary disputes often find themselves in costly litigation for little or no gain. Not worth the candle.

This saying is telling us to at least consider putting up with a slight or small damage or "grin and bear it" if the cost of dealing with it outweighs the gain. However, there is a problem with this attitude because your aggressor, if they decides that your lack of retaliation is a sign of weakens, will simply torment you further. This is the classic behaviour of the bully.

So it all boils down to a judgement call - you can save yourself a lot of bother by putting up with an injury, but if you decide the perpetrator needs a lesson be very careful how you go about it.