The Wisdom Chronicle

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The Wisdom Chronicle is designed to bring nuggets of wisdom from the dozens of books I read every year. I endeavor to share the best of what I have gleaned. The determination of relevance lies with you. Blessings, J. Whiddon

  1. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT “When parents proudly describe the musical talent and potential of their beloved offspring, they are, without realizing it, actually talking about how well the child has already progressed on the instrument in question. They don’t point at little Henry before he’s laid his sticky fingers on a violin and say, “He looks like he would be a marvelous violinist.” They actually wait until the child has acquired some skills and then declare his genius for playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Smoke on the Water.” They seem to have forgotten the weeks of squeaks and all the hard work involved.

The key to acquiring high-level musical skills is something called deliberate practice. The more deliberate practice you do, the better you get—and this applies to any skillful activity. But deliberate practice is not the same thing as ordinary practice. Ordinary practice often involves simply repeating something you can already do pretty well. Deliberate practice, by contrast, means that you are taking a step forward. You are doing something you find difficult—and once you have mastered it, you will be a step nearer to perfecting your skill. One of the defining characteristics of deliberate practice is that generally it isn’t fun—which is why excellence is rare.”

Excerpt From: Powell, John. “Why You Love Music.”

  1. KENNEDY INAUGURAL ADDRESS “And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God…

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed…

So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate…

Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”

Excerpt From: Jackie Gingrich Cushman. “The Essential American.”

  1. ALL ABOUT TIMING “It seems that Arnold Palmer was invited to come to a convention of blind golfers. The golfers told how they were able to know what direction to hit the ball. One blind golfer explained that the caddy went out ahead of him with a little bell, which he would ring as he stood near the hole. The blind golfer would then hit the ball toward the sound of the bell. Arnold asked how well it worked, and the blind golfer said that it worked so well he was willing to take on Arnold Palmer for a round of golf; and just to make it interesting, was willing to bet Palmer $10,000 he could beat him. Palmer said, “OK. What time do we tee off?” And the blind man said, “10:30 tonight!”

Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”

  1. PARTIAL REPENTANCE “A man with a nagging secret was unable to keep it any longer. He went to confessional and admitted that for years he had been stealing building supplies from the lumberyard where he worked.

“How much lumber did you take?” the priest asked.

“I took enough to build my home and enough for my son’s house. Then I took enough to build houses for my two daughters. Oh, and our cottage at the lake.”

“This is a very serious offense,” the priest said. “ I’ll have to think of a far-reaching penance. Have you ever considered doing a retreat?”

“No, Father, I never have,” the man replied. “But if you can get the plans, I can get the lumber.”  -M. Hodgin

  1. EQUIP OR DEVELOP? “When you equip people, you teach them how to do a job. Development is different. When you develop people, you are helping them improve as individuals. You are helping them acquire personal qualities that will benefit them in many areas of life, not just their jobs. When you help someone to cultivate discipline or a positive attitude, that’s development. When you teach someone to manage his time more effectively or improve his people skills, that’s development. When you teach leadership, that’s development. What I’ve found is that many leaders don’t have a developmental mind-set. They expect their employees to take care of their developmental needs on their own. What they fail to realize, however, is that development always pays higher dividends than equipping because it helps the whole person and lifts him to a higher level.”

Excerpt From: John C. Maxwell. “The Complete 101 Collection.”

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