Opinion: Life lessons to learn from those who have passed

Oct 26, 2021, 6:32 PM

Life lessons...

The Salt Lake City Cemetery (Salt Lake City Public Lands)

(Salt Lake City Public Lands)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

Are we listening to those wise ones who have gone before? Are we learning what they taught? Are we learning the lessons of history?

There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, one of those voices from the past:

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

I think we can apply that quote to a lot of things going on now in our nation’s capital. 

Favorites from Churchill

Sometimes we seem so determined to “do it new,” to do it differently, to shun the lessons of history so we can show that we’re smarter and better and more enlightened than those who lived way back when — only to discover the principles are principle, and the principles work. Which brings me to this quote from Winston Churchill:

You can always count on the American people to do the right thing after they’ve exhausted every other option.

As a politician, Churchill seemed to know politicians very well. Can we apply this quote from Churchill to what is happening today in Washington, D.C.?

Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.

That is the state of politics in our country: Trying to foretell the gloom and doom, to create this anger, fear and frustration, to put people in a place with so many false choices, so many fake fights, so many things that just don’t add up in the end.

Then, when everything doesn’t go as horribly as you claim in your fundraising email to your donor base, you move on to the next thing. And there’s always a next thing. Until we start realizing that we have to make this thing the thing, we’re going to keep having political battles that never lead to policy solutions that ultimately deliver the outcomes that the American people need.

On living your true self

Apple CEO Steve Jobs spoke to the graduates at Stanford on June 12, 2005, about living your life authentically and not imitating the insincere social-media veneer of others:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

The irony of that, of course, is so much of the digital world that we have access to because of his brilliance has led so many of us to waste so much of our limited time living someone else’s life or just watching someone else’s life. Endlessly, mindlessly scrolling through social media, comparing ourselves to someone else’s life that they portray so perfectly on social media.



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Opinion: Life lessons to learn from those who have passed