Staring out my office window, watching a leisurely snowfall in an environment usually devoid of snow, I am wondering what defines great thoughts and where they are deemed as such. In all my years of pursuing career positions, I have never seen a job title of “Great Thought Provider” or “Director in Charge of Memorable Thoughts.” While some of this reflection is in jest, I continue to wonder where extraordinary thoughts originate.
If you reference a book of quotes (I have one that is a trusted resource, easily available in my library), you can predict the identities of quotation purveyors. Some of them are Greek philosophers, some are politicians, some are educators and the balance are those who have elevated themselves in a field of distinction.
Although I am privileged to receive numerous examples of word wisdom, I am at a loss as to how they can become widely dispersed. Can it be that profession or location determine eligibility for a quotation treasury? If we’re not Bill Gates, Aristotle or Benjamin Franklin, do any of us have the potential for recognition or being determined a creator of quotable observations?
Following that path, I can conclude that only two answers are reasonable. One is somewhat gloomy – if we’re not famous or infamous, no-one will ever remember what we’ve said. The second path makes more sense. Being an observer of the world, like many other job descriptions, is reward into and of itself.
If you were to ask those closest to me for my two most common expressions, you would hear the following: Trust your gut. You never have to apologize for doing the right thing. While the first expression is relatively common and the second has variations all over everywhere, I’ve never heard anyone else use it as is. Ultimately, my conclusion is that it doesn’t matter at all.
My most fervent hope is that when I am gone from this earth, those whom I have left behind will associate some form of learning with my words. But to me, fame is irrelevant and superfluous. We all have the capacity to create powerful words, regardless of the number of ears or screens on which they will materialize. Shalom.