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Author Archives: R. Michael Wells

To see what really matters in people, develop double vision (access required)

If you had to identify some of life’s greatest gifts, other than your faith, what would they be? Two different stories, with two different people, and two very different circumstances, give us a big clue. One of the organizations in our area which deals with the aging population does so with kindness and special insight. It deals with seniors suffering through the ravages of dementia in all of its forms. But it sees past the loss of a mind that once was to what remains in the core of us all. It’s a sort of double vision which sees the character of every life.

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It’s not how you start, but how you finish (access required)

His career started out poorly, to put it mildly. He studied law in upstate New York, at a law school no one I know ever heard of. He worked a few years at a small law firm in Albany, N.Y., and when that did not go particularly well, he moved to a small town in Wisconsin to practice. He practiced there for two years when his office building, containing his entire practice, burned down. He moved to California to work in a retail store with some of his brothers, but returned to Albany when that did not work out. He went back to California a couple of years after that.

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Call it touch, call it tact – whatever the case, it’s your best weapon (access required)

“The Touch” is what my father called it. Dad was in the furniture business back home, and in the old days he would come to the Southern Furniture Market a number of times of year. The best salesmen possessed that easy Southern way about them. When one of them got to the crux of the issue, the real point of sale, the salesman would put his hand on my dad’s arm. The Touch, literally and figuratively, was the salesman’s signal as to which of my father’s conditions of the sale could be met, and which ones could not be met. Hard facts about what the deal required were softened by the charm of it all.

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Learning to play to your strengths and away from your weaknesses (access required)

It seemed doable to me. My wife and I were adding a small deck on the back of our house. Our builder was a client with that easy country grace that is not as valued as it should be. But he also employed country frankness that sometimes stung when it hit the mark. Before I left for the office early one morning during the construction, I had outlined my idea of what the deck could look like, and what I hoped was possible. But my knowledge of what was possible was limited because I had virtually no skill at building anything with my hands.

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A fool’s comment made in haste

If you asked many people who know a lawyer how they would describe the personality type of that lawyer, it would not take them very long until the got to the "A" word. Lawyers are known far and wide as "A" type personalities. That's generally not a bad thing, of course. No one gets much of any place worth going without some focus and intensity.

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Perseverance – Why hanging in there in a challenging economy matters

One of the greatest blessings in my life is that my parents were card-carrying members of the Greatest Generation. Growing up in the Great Depression, my father started out as a truck driver, delivering furniture to the coal company stores of southern West Virginia. The company stores of which Tennessee Ernie Ford sang years ago were real. They were very real. My mother would often tell me stories as a boy about those journeys my father would make into the coalfields, and especially about the most arduous journey of them all: the trip to the Eiland Creek Coal Company Store, which began before dawn and ended after dark, even in the long days of summer.

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