Words of Wisdom


Some of the best memories I have are sitting down with those older than me, listening to their words of wisdom and imagining their colorful stories. Whether this would be in the local coffee shop, at the sale barn, on the road, or anything else in between, the time spent listening to those words of wisdom has allowed me to grow myself. However, in today’s society, we are adapted to living on the go, being attached to our technology, and not taking a moment to sit down to listen to these conversations. We are always wanting to talk about our lives or things we have experienced. This mindset that we have grown to have is one that is allowing impactful stories and important life lessons to be lost.

At Chapter Leadership Training, many of the attendees were able to learn the importance of seeking first to understand, then to be understood. This is a key to being an effective leader for any organization, but especially within the FFA. Implementing this thought process is one that allows for others to be heard and for you to be able to communicate effectively. But this thought process is one that should apply to our everyday lives, not just as FFA members. There is a plethora of knowledge out there waiting for us. We just need to understand the importance of entering a conversation not with the intention to respond, but the intention to soak up the knowledge being passed down. 

After getting to facilitate that information at Chapter Leadership Training, it made me think to all of the times that I sat down with those older and wiser than me. The conversations that I remember the best and still have the most impact on me are those where I said very little. Those conversations were the ones that I just listened to. Many of these conversations occur though when I am with one individual more than any. That individual is my great grandfather, Corky. He has always been one to share wisdom with me, giving me great opportunities to quote different things that he says. He has given me advice on how to be an agriculturalist and a good cattleman. He also helped me learn how to network and taught me the value of a hard day’s work. I could sit here for hours and discuss all the words of wisdom that have been passed down to me, but that wouldn’t be fun. Instead, I will give you one of my favorite pieces of advice he has ever given me. Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe. 

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new” – Dalai Lama

Next time you have a chance to sit down and listen to that story, take it. Talk to your grandparents, great grandparents, family friend, farmer, advisor, or random person sitting next to you. Take a chance to learn from others. Take a chance to better yourself through these conversations. There is a good lesson to be learned and story to tell with each word of wisdom you hear.