Things I've Learned: Words from George and Walt

A 140Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Recently I was confined to my house for a month. I decided to clean out 60 years of records. Letters, clients forgotten. Problems taht never were solved because the clients ran out of money. Books half read. But I found no lost checks. One of the documents I found was "Words to Live By: By George Washington." I read them again. That started me thinking that perhaps someone out there would like to hear what I have accumulated in my nearly 66 years in this profession and nearly 84 years on this earth. Of course I am not president, nor is my face on Mt. Rushmore, but here goes my comments on traits that have helped me cope with life.

In reading what George wrote over 200 years ago some "Words to Live by" some of his salient points were identified, my research indicates he penned these words when he was 17 years old.

George said:
Every action in the presence of company ought to be with some sign of respect for those present.
Labor to keep alive in your breast that littler spark of celestial fire called conscience.
Never attempt to palliate your own foibles by exposing the error of an other person.
A good moral character is the first essential in a man. It is, therefore, highly important to endeavor not only to be learned but to be virtuous.

I believe that man was not designed by the All-wise Creator to live for himself alone.

Some of the beliefs that have directed my life are relatively simple. Let me share them with you:
1. Keep a sense of humor.
2. Give young members of the profession an opportunity to prove themselves.
3. Never stop learning.
4. Keep an inquisitive mind.
5. Do give proper credit when it is due.
6. Believe in yourself.
7. Never consider yourself an expert. Strive to be the expert.
8. Choose a profession and strive to be the best in your area.
9. Keep a sense of humor.
10. Tackle the difficult problems other people are afraid of.
11. If you are wrong, admit it.
12. Try hard not to make the same mistake twice.
13. Make friends and not acquaintances
14. Keep a sense of humor.
15. If you take a problem to bed, solve it before you get up.
16. Read-read-read, anything and everything, from all points of view.
17. Keep a daily diary of your life, to remember in old age.
18. Give your employer your full attention.
19. Approach you chosen profession for the personal enjoyment it will give you and not the financial rewards.
20. Give something back to your profession.
21. Keep a sense of humor.

Walt Robillard, principal of World Boundaries, is a specialist in local and international land boundary disputes. He has taught at major universities, co-authored college textbooks, and is a popular presenter at seminars and continuing education courses for attorneys, surveyors, engineers and foresters.

A 140Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE