Today we are releasing a new book titled, College With No Regrets. The subtitle is Wisdom for the Journey. We have found more and more parents are ill-equipped in preparing their children for college. This is an easy-to-read book that targets students from 17 to 25 years old.
The book is divided into six chapters and each chapter contains three to six short essays. At the end of each essay there are questions that parents can use to stimulate discussions with their student. We believe this is a creative way to deepen your relationship with your child. The six chapters of the book are:
- Wisdom for the Journey
- Living an Exceptional Life
- What Is True Freedom?
- Principles to Follow
- Human Sexuality
- Care of the Soul
The book closes with three essays under the heading, “Our Ultimate Good.”
We have gotten great reviews of the book and would like to share in this blog one of the essays from College With No Regrets.
A Prescription for Misery
Have you heard of a man named Charlie Munger? He’s a 97-year-old billionaire who is the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the world’s most successful holding companies. Warren Buffet, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, considers Munger to be one of the wisest, most knowledgeable people he’s ever known.
In 1986, Munger gave a commencement address at Harvard that was quite humorous and full of sound wisdom. His theme was “Prescription for Misery.” He explained that the surest path to a miserable life is to be unreliable. Unreliability is the best way to sabotage your life and your relationships.
Munger said if you master this one habit—being unreliable—it will override all your other virtues, however great they may be. He said it’s the best way to be distrusted and excluded. He said if you can become expertly unreliable, even mediocre people will outperform you.
To master this habit, never be on time. Don’t meet deadlines. Fail to honor your commitments. Above all, don’t do what you say you will.
On the flipside, Munger said it’s hard to be miserable if you’re responsible, even if you have certain disadvantages in your life. His college roommate was severely dyslexic, and even though he had to navigate a learning disability, Munger said, “He is perhaps the most reliable person I have ever known. He has a wonderful life so far: outstanding wife and children, [and he’s the] chief executive of a multibillion-dollar corporation.”
A great example of Munger’s call to reliability hit the news two years ago. It took place in the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama, where I live.
Twenty-year-old Walter Carr, who attended Lawson State started having car trouble. The next day was supposed to be the first day of his new job with Bellhops Movers. He was scheduled to be at work at 8:00 a.m. to help move a family to their new home. He called some friends to see if he could find a ride, but no one was available. It was getting close to midnight, and it looked like he wouldn’t make it to the job site the next morning.
However, this new job was important to him. He didn’t want to let down his new employer. He had assured them he would be there at 8:00 a.m. sharp, and he intended to keep that promise. He checked Google Maps to see how long it would take him to walk: 7 hours. He left his home at midnight and started walking to his job site over 20 miles away.
As he followed U.S. Highway 280, he was questioned by several police officers who wanted to know why he was walking alone in the middle of the night. After hearing his story, one policeman took him first to breakfast, then drove Walter the rest of the way to the home of Jenny and Chris Lamey, who were packing up to move to a new home. Jenny Lamey was impressed with Carr and his story, and they quickly developed a bond. In an article in the Pelham Reporter, Lamey said:
I just can’t tell you how touched I was by Walter and his journey. He is humble and kind and cheerful, and he has big dreams! He is hardworking and tough. I can’t imagine how many times on that lonely walk down 280 in the middle of the night did he want to turn back. How many times did he wonder if this was the best idea? How many times did he want to find a place to sit or lie down and wait till morning when he could maybe get someone to come pick him up and bring him back home. But he walked until he got here! I am in total awe of this young man!
The next day she posted about the experience on Facebook. Luke Marklin, CEO of Bellhops Movers, was so blown away by Carr’s efforts, he drove his own Ford Escort down from Tennessee to personally give it to Walter. Carr wasn’t prepared for the outpouring of support and media attention and was moved to tears.
Since then, he’s been featured on CNN, Fox News, NBC’s Today Show, the BBC and more. He’s received multiple job offers and scholarships. Before he even had a Twitter account, he was the subject of tweets from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, as well as US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.
Jenny Lamey even set up a GoFundMe for Walter. Out of a desire to bless others, Walter pledged that when the account reached over $65,000, any additional monies received would go to the Birmingham Ed Foundation (a non-profit dedicated to increasing the number of students in Birmingham City Schools that are on the path to college, career, and life readiness). The GoFundMe account raised close to $92,000.
Walter Carr embodies Charlie Munger’s advice about being reliable. He just wanted to show up on time and honor the commitment he made. He was humble, yet his story has now touched the hearts of thousands. He never set out to make a lot of money, but his reliability resulted in a financial windfall. So, if you want to succeed in life, be like Walter. Be reliable.
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.