Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Today I received a call from a business student at Penn St. This student, who heard me speak last month, was calling to thank me for some advice I gave during the Q&A portion of one of my speeches.

“What was the topic,” I asked.

“It was your advice on the importance of being able to dissent, and also having the courage to say no to people, especially your friends. It has really helped me,” he told me.

Well since it helped this student, I have decided to recreate what I think I said on that chilly night in State College, PA. Here it goes:

“To dissent is ok, it’s healthy; it’s how people will respect you. No one admires passiveness or a yes person. People may knock you, criticize you if you speak up–if you say no–but secretly they will admire you for standing up for yourself. And if you get fired for doing the right thing, for not following the pack, take it as a blessing: It just proves you were working for the wrong company. Never forget the toughness of your challenge. Why? If everyone agrees how does one dare dissent? Individualism and self-reliance are virtues, not vices. Never be afraid to follow your own path. Before you follow that path, however, consider the pros and cons, reason it through, prepare for the worst case scenario, then work as hard as you can to improve it.”

This call today was the one bright spot in a very long day. I like, no I love knowing, that I am helping shape the minds of our future leaders.

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