Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to put together a special session and extend our signature Journey program to a new location: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Back in the spring, we were approached by a past client who was organizing a meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia, and asked if we could offer his group a session with leadership insights from Thomas Jefferson. It is always fun to try something new, so we agreed. We enjoyed a beautiful fall day at Monticello, and have to admit the views from Mr. Jefferson’s “little mountain” might even beat those we regularly marvel at from Little Round Top in Gettysburg. In putting together the program, we came across some advice that Jefferson offered a young man in 1825. He called it “a decalogue of canons for observation in practical life.” They are:
- Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
- Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
- Never spend your money before you have it.
- Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
- Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
- We never repent of having eaten too little.
- Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
- How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!
- Take things always by their smooth handle.
- When angry, count to 10 before you speak; if very angry, 100.
For advice that is nearly 200 years old, this list holds up pretty well!