Even the unworthy are worth learning from...

Today I had a chance to quietly ponder Howard Zinn's wise words and how they apply to my life:
"You read a book, you meet a person, you have a single experience, and your life is changed in some way. No act, therefore, however small, should be dismissed or ignored."
My life has been packed with amazing mentors and people that have inspired me in ways that will stay with me throughout my existence. My teachers have engaged my intellect. My family has supported me in every endeavor and celebrated every success. My friends are an extension of my family. My employers keep me on my toes and guide me as I continue to grow as a leader. My employees continue to remind me how lucky I am to have such a great group to work with. The saying, "You're only as good as the people you surround yourself with" holds very true in my case. Without all of these people, I am nothing.

However, it's not only all of those brilliant, good-hearted, loving, caring, scholarly, funny, passionate people that have had an influence on me. Every person I've ever met is important to how my life has unfolded - even all the complete a**holes.

People that lack in character, knowledge, discipline, work ethic, positivity, manners, class and the like might seem like piles of crap to be ignored, but they are not. Recently I reflected on the people that I did not, under any circumstance, want to turn into. Whether they were just complete fools or just lonely jerks that put on the "I'm too cool for school" front, they have all been very important to me.

The reason is that I have seen parts of myself within these people. I listened to their words and watched their actions and realized how familiar they were. In my head I would think about how lame they were, but then about how I was exhibiting the very same behavior. I allowed myself to succumb to peer pressure and follow the lemmings that whined and complained about how this sucked and that sucked and Detroit sucks and Michigan sucks and work sucks and so do those people over there and those people over there...and...


I do not want to covet what others have. I want to appreciate what I have. I did not want to judge every single person for their personal decisions. My actions haven't always been sound in the past, so why judge others that are working through their own lives the best they know how? No longer am I interested in doing it myself because I can do it better than everyone else. I want to teach and share every skill I have. Knowledge is not only cool, but better when shared in large quantities.

My point is this: every experience is worthwhile, even if it's shared with people you might think are unworthy. One can learn from every set. And I have. A lot.

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