But I say unto you

There are many phrases and "sayings" that I have disagreed with, some strongly, some mildly. Here are some of my observations and, dare I say, improvements...

The saying Better Explanation
A lack of planning on your part is not an emergency on mine. A lack of planning on your part may well constitute an emergency on mine. We all of us make mistakes.  What if firemen or paramedics took this same attitude? So... how can I help you through this crisis and how can I help so that it doesn't happen again. If you don't care to do it because you are benevolent - how about doing it for good business reasons? Find a need and fill it - a great way to make money.
Now, this doesn't apply to situations where a co-worker has done something that is going to cause them to suffer and, if you help them it will cause the company a bigger problem (because you aren't doing your job.) And in a few causes, it doesn't apply to situations where a customer is going to suffer because they didn't plan ahead properly. But in this case you almost always need to be very careful about how you handle it, you need to handle it with sympathy and try to assist in a way to minimize their problem.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. Different people want different things. If you want a hot spicy pizza, giving someone else a hot spicy pizza might not be a nice thing to do for them. In this saying - the original statement is in fact properly worded, but many people misinterpret it. You see, at a deeper level - doing unto others what you would have them do unto you IS doing what they would have you do. Because - don't you want people to do for you what you need and want? So, the original saying is correct, it is just applied incorrectly. There are books like "The 5 love Languages" that talk about how different people want different things. Find out what others want and give that to them and you will truly be doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The customer is always right. Treat the customer with respect. You need to consider at all times that the customer might be correct. It could be your mistake. Also, even when the customer is wrong, there are many times when it is better for the long term if you treat the customer as if they were correct. Consider how serious the issue is and whenever possible, treat the customer as if they are correct. But there are times that it is appropriate, and quite likely necessary to understand the customer is wrong and deal with the fact. For example, if you are trying to fix something and they insist the problem is A when you know it is B, if you treat the customer as being always right, you will fix A and then they will come back for you to fix B - or more likely, they'll go to someone else and never return to you. In any event, the point is: treat the customer with respect.
There are no dumb questions. Yes there are. Don't ask, figure it out because...you'll regret it if you ask!
Politically Correct Speak the truth in love In evaluating the phrase 'Politically Correct' over the last few decades, I have concluded that speaking politically correct means " Lying in a way that hurts the people you are pretending to be nice to while making yourself look better through the lie. " When you ignore the reality and speak a preferred lie, in the short term you make the person feel better who presumably would have been offended. But because it is a lie, you, the person you are talking to and the person you are trying to make feel better end up taking the wrong course of action and the person that you are pretending to be nice to is ultimately injured more. But at least you feel good and you come across to other politically correct people as a very good person. Interesting - you are seen as good because you hurt someone.
As a society we reward the politicians who lie and ultimately hurt people (speak politically correct) and punish those that try to really help and tell the truth - because we hate the truth.
What we need in this society is more truth and less convenient lies. But the key I see is that we need to speak the truth in Love. Speak the truth in a way that has the potential to help instead of speaking a politically correct lie in a way that ultimately always injures. This also means you don't go to the opposite extreme of blaming a whole group of people just because there is a significant minority or even a majority that have a specific problem or issue. In some cases, but not many, the best choice is to say nothing. But in far too many cases, saying nothing is just as bad as speaking politically correct. As it has been said, more or less: Bad things happen when good men do not stand up and speak the truth.
Bureaucracy. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Note that the word BureauCRACY ends very close to "crazy". People in Bureaucracy will tell you that the system exists to HELP YOU. But notice, they tell you this, usually at times when it ISN'T HELPING YOU: You HAVE to have 'this' peice of paper - and we only require you to provide 'this' peice of paper because we are trying to help you'. While the original attempt in some cases was genuinely to help the people the bureauCRAZY was created for. In most cases, very quickly, bureaucracy becomes a tool to serve the bureaucractizers (yes I know that probably isn't a word.) I have helped create bureaucracies, because at times they were necessary, but I try very very hard to make them so that they are flexible as possible and that they are created with the ability to adapt and change, created with a requirement to re-evaluate and change. But still, once created, a bureaucracy, if it happens to start out useful, almost immediately stops serving its clients and starts bowing down to the idol of serving those that manage the bureaucracy.
I get angry, I rail against these bureaucracies, but of course, it is normally a waste of breath. Those in charge will usually defend the bureaucracy and try to keep it operating (note the word 'operating' is not the same as the word 'working'). They tend to get MORE rigid, not more flexible. They tend to get worse not better. And sooner or later, the clients, if they have any choice, will move away and the bureaucracy starts to crumble. In most cases, it crumbles FAR too late. In politics, the bureaucracies often succumb to civil war - and from my study of wars (not very extensive at all) it seems that many civil wars are warranted, and most are railing against bureaucracies gone off the deep end.
Is it easy to make a bureaucracy flexible? No. Is it worthwhile? If you can make it more flexible - in almost every case - yes.
You can never go wrong with land. It always goes up in value. Land is one o the best investments - if you are wise about it. I am absolutely amazed at how many people have told me "you can never go wrong with land" "land is a guaranteed investment" "land always goes up in value". I've heard this from people who don't invest (and probably shouldn't until they understand what they are doing better), I've heard this from people who have lost their shirts in the stock market and figure they now know what they should do. I've heard it from land bankers, from business men. I even heard it in Calgary in mid 2008, after some housing prices had collapsed 35% - from a business man. When I confronted him with the facts he dismissed it as a short-term aberration, that if you wait LONG ENOUGH it will always go up in value. If you believe this, I recommend you buy a whole bunch of land in upper Michigan - eventually it will go back up according to this, and the land currently (2009) is really cheap!
Fail safe A Fail safe should never fail to fail safe It is amazing how many fail safe's fail when the failure they were supposed to protect against occurs. The common reason is fairly easy to understand, first it is often hard to test fail safe's (because the situation only occurs when something you did NOT plan for happens), second, since they are rarely used, they are rarely tested. The key for designing fail safe's in my opinion, is to design them to be as simple as possible, at least for the core of their purpose. One of the safest ways to build a fail safe is to have it occur if anything goes wrong rather than only when a specific event DOES occur. So for example, Grundfos (a pump manufacturer) has an OPTIONAL fail safe, a float, that will turn the pump off when the water level becomes too high (dangerous). The problem is that since it is optional, the float turns the pump off when the float completes a circuit. The result is that, if the wires between the control  and the float have a break in them, or are disconnected, or are corroded, the float may close the circuit, but the control never knows it was closed, so it keeps pumping water and floods. A far better design would have been to have it only work when the contacts are closed, that way those that don't want the fail safe can put a shunt (a short peice of wire) between the two contacts. An even better choice for the failsafe, would be to have TWO switches, one that closes when the water is high, the other that opens when the water is high. Then, the pump would only pump when both are in the 'correct' position and it would not pump if either was is the wrong position. This of course would require a 4 wire control, but would not be a problem because, someone where flooding is a minor issue, could just use one of the wire pairs and shunt the other one, and someone where flooding is a major issue would not in the least mind the extra few dollars to run a 2 pair wire. So the design would not increase the cost to anyone other than those that want the fail safe to fail safe.

On the lighter side... I've been know to say ... "As you know, there are only 25 hours in a day...And I don't know why I always seem to a little short of time every day..."

Not sure where to put these on my web site, so here goes!

I recently heard that, of 1000 people surveyed*, the clear winner for the scariest sentence in the English language is: "Hi, I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you."

While it is obvious why this is such a scary sentence, some people are likely to ask, why did the distance runner up: "Stick em up and hand over all your money" not win or even come close?

Simple, with a robber:

But when the government "helps" you - you know you are going to lose.

*'Heard' is a very loose term - it doesn't mean that the person doing the telling should be taken seriously! Indeed, someone could say 'tell me <sentence> so I can say "I recently heard..."'


Of 1000 teens asked recently: 'Do you think that teens these days are more apathetic than in days gone by?'