Don’t Believe Everything You Read!

I’ve always been fascinated with the many benefits of being a “people-watcher.” I don’t know exactly when or why I first became enamored with the concept, but I certainly have learned a great deal as a result.

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so many years frequenting airports all over North America. As a result of constantly changing flight schedules, you tend to have a great deal of time on your hands and very few choices available to fill that time. Thus … people-watching … which, by the way, soon becomes addicting.

Maybe it’s because, as a professional speaker, I’ve had the opportunity to attend thousands of large conferences over the decades. I always laugh at the fact that no one in my audience seems to realize that I’m looking at them at the same time they’re looking at me! And I have far more choices to look at than they do!

One of the numerous things I’ve learned by people-watching over the years is the fact that the majority of people today will believe anything simply because they read it in a newspaper, magazine or tabloid, see it on TV, hear it on the radio, or find it on the Internet! For some unexplainable reason, they feel that these sources are reliable and simply cannot be challenged. Why is that when most every day a news story, claim, photo, or rumor is proven to be false?

For instance, over the past week, I have received several e-mails from clients and readers sharing a very interesting story that they felt I might want to pass on … and for good reason. I’ve also seen this same article appear numerous times on Facebook and several blogs. For several reasons I found it interesting, informative, and entertaining. For those reasons, I’m going to share it with you today.

However, I feel obligated to point out that while the content of this story may contain a much-needed dose of realism for today’s youth and something that many of us have learned the hard way over the years … the background story is totally FALSE!

The following content was supposedly recently written and delivered to a high school graduation class by former Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Here are the facts:

  • Bill Gates did not write or deliver these words of wisdom.
  • They did not originate as a high school speech.
  • They are not at all recent.

In fact, the very entertaining piece you are about to read is a somewhat abridged version of an original piece that was penned by author Charles J. Sykes. The full version was originally printed in the San Diego Union Tribune on September 19, 1996, and has appeared world wide in many publications since that time. Sykes is the author of Dumbing Down Our Kids, 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School, and several other books.

This article, like so many others was drastically edited by person(s) unknown and began making the e-mail rounds under Bill Gates’ name in February of 2000 and is still, to this day, making those rounds—thanks to you!

The piece has been falsely attributed to others as well as Bill Gates, including the late science fiction writer, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

However, one cannot argue with the actual wisdom of the content. It strikes a familiar chord with most everyone who reads it. So enjoy …  And be certain to pass it on!

11 Rules Your Kids Did Not and Will Not Learn In School

Rule 1: Life is not fair—get used to it!

Rule 2: The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades, and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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