“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself. ”
— Alfred Sheinwold
When you read the message on a sign, or listen to a message from a person, there’s always another message behind it.
“A group of people, hired by the city, with varying levels of experience and talent got together and determined, hopefully based on research, that the best way to prevent accidents, save lives, and facilitate traffic flow in this exact spot in the universe is to have everyone traveling in one direction to stop first, then proceed. We understand that this is not a fool-proof system, but it’s the best we know how to do at this particular moment in time.”
Similarly, the message behind the words a special teacher, mentor, parent, or coach may be,
“I have traveled down a similar path to that which you are embarking upon. I have certain insights from experience that I think can help you. I don’t know everything, and what I am about to tell you is only as good as I know right now. I hope I’m right but only care if I’m right if it helps you because I want my mistakes to propel you to go farther than you ever thought you could.”
Mentors are only human. Therefore, we must decide for ourselves whether to listen to their advice or not. For now though, maybe it’s good enough to remember that when you see a sign, or hear a message, there’s always another message behind it.
And what’s behind it, may be more powerful than the message itself.
Yesterday’s gift of time … Stopped my run and cleaned off some graffiti from the back of a Stop sign.