Here are five pieces of advice that I’ve received in my life. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Tie Goes to the Umpire
When I played high school baseball I was once called out on a very close play at first base. When I got back to the dugout I complained to my coach that the tie is supposed to go to the runner.My coach walked me out to the umpire whose name was Wolfe, and said “ Hey Wolfie, Lesandrini here thinks that the tie goes to the runner. What do you think?” The umpire slowly peeled off his mask and looked me straight in the eye and said “Son, the tie goes to the umpire.”
Bring Me Solutions, Not Problems
One of my favorite bosses early in my career gave me this bit of advice. He said that if I brought him a solution he would do his best to help me implement it, but if I brought him a problem then he would fix it, and I would have to implement his solution whether I agreed with it or not.
It’s Easier to Defend Facts than Emotion in an Argument
This comes from another of my favorite mentors in the midst of an emotionally charged battle between product management and marketing. “Have your facts in order,” he told me, “and stick to them. Don’t let your emotions take over the argument or you will have already lost.” What is great about this bit of advice is that it helps me temper myself, and know when I am arguing from emotion rather than fact, and act accordingly.
You’re Not Nick Flynn
While working on my thesis for my MFA degree, I turned in a series of vignettes loosely stitched together as what I was calling a memoir. When my advisor said that she didn’t understand the structure, I told her that I was trying to do something like Nick Flynn did with Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. Her response to me: “You’re not Nick Flynn.” Although it stung a bit to hear those words, she wasn’t trying to be hurtful. She was telling me that I needed to find my own voice, my own way in the writing world. And she was right.
Learn How to Think and You Can Do Anything
I remember sitting in the kitchen talking to my foster father on the day that I left for college, and he said to me “get a good education and learn how think. If you can think, you can do anything.” That is probably the single most influential piece of advice that I ever received.