I am one of those people who carries around a moleskine notebook, those black ones with a piece of elastic around them to hold them together. Even though I spend all of my working life with technology, my preferred method of taking notes is still with a pencil and paper.
In the back of my current moleskine there are a couple of pages that are titled “Lessons – 2013/2014”. As I learn things throughout the lifetime of a notebook I add them to these pages to the rear.
A proverb is a short, well-known pithy saying, stating a general truth or piece of advice; these lessons are my personal proverbs. These words contain sayings that I’ve heard, or read, that have stuck with me and some that I have been inspired enough to create, but rarely. A saying has to really stick to become a personal proverb, it’s not good enough for it to sound like a wise saying, it has to teach me something significant and be worthy of revisiting.
The current notebook includes a period of time when I was off work with stress related issues, so many of the current proverbs reflect the lessons that I’m still trying to learn from that time.
The best proverbs reside in a time and a place, I can tell you where I heard or read many of the current sayings.
I regularly turn to this set of proverbs to remind myself of the wisdom that they contain. This is particularly true on frustrating or stressful days.
You’ll see a picture of my current notebook at the top of this post, but I’ll replay some of the personal proverbs here for those of you who struggle with my left-handed scrawl:
Focus on faithfulness not greatness.
Stop, be alone, meditate.
Bring the weight of who you are.
No point in focussing on not doing things.
Do what you love.
Routine is more important than you think.
Failure is a day, not a destiny; an iteration not an identity.
Happiness is found in results and relationships.
The book of proverbs in the Bible begins like this:
These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king –
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
still a thing or two for the experienced to learn –
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.
I’m not seeking to write a manual for living but I am recognising that there is still a thing or two for the experienced to learn because I want to live well and right. The book of Proverbs contains some wonderful wisdom and deserves repeated visits.