The 6 p’s of success – and no, I haven’t had too much water


A few months ago, a dear friend and I were having a glass of wine and a conversation about our school experiences.  It took us a while to remember that far back, but we both agreed that we had some professors and educators who really stuck out on the maps of our scholastic journeys.

I wrote an earlier post about my most memorable teacher.  He led my Grade 6 class with great enthusiasm and really encouraged us to think outside of the box.  Nothing was ever wrong when it came to imagination, hence my love for writing.  (If only he had held that same belief when it came to History class and those red x’s on my tests!)

My friend told me about one of his professor’s who had a deep impact on him in a very short time.  It was early in my friend’s law school days when this teacher introduced the syllabus of the curriculum they would be following by writing six capital P’s across the chalkboard with spaces in between each letter.  A baffled class of students who wanted to be recognized for their genius all muttered amongst themselves, trying to be the first to solve the great riddle on the board.

The teacher assured them that this first lesson would be neither covered in the course outline, nor appear on any final exams.  As the relieved crowd fell silent in anticipation, the professor proceeded to tell the eager group of future litigators what great importance these letters would have on their career as an attorney, or any career for that matter.   The teacher filled in each word as the group watched, not saying a word.  When each word had been completed, this is the phrase that spanned the front of the classroom:

“Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Poor performance”

Blank Chalkboard

That string of words struck a deep chord within many of those students.  Those 6 p’s were vigorously scribbled into notebooks, on the back of ironically unprepared hands unable to find their notebooks and etched permanently in the minds of those students hungry to succeed.  My friend was one of those hungry students, and succeed he did.

All these years later, sitting in a local restaurant having a glass of wine, my friend still remembered that lesson and what an impact it had on him.   I only hope his instructor knew what an impression he had on those students and that he potentially created an entire generation of people who make their p’s a priority.

Those who say goodbyes are easy never really meant them….


Saying that final goodbye closes a chapter.  Sometimes that is a good thing but inevitably goodbye means closing ties to something you felt a bond with.  That something could be inanimate or that something could be flesh and blood.  Regardless, goodbyes are never easy.

I have experienced many of those closures over the last few weeks and each one of them has meant storing a memory – trapping a moment in a vault that holds the value of a time gone by.  I have begun the process of bidding adieu to a job that I have spent many years growing as an employee and as a person, I have sorted through things my mother has saved throughout our lifetime and I will be saying farewell to a house that helped my family shape the people we are today.  Although my mom has moved into a retirement home and seems happy to be moving forward, saying goodbye to the life we lived will be difficult.

Each minute I spend sorting through things from our past is a minute that brings my childhood back to the forefront.  A single item of my mother’s clothing transports me back 30 years and I can see the last moment I remember her wearing that shirt.  Knowing the power of recollection that shirt can elicit makes it that much harder to say goodbye to that relic of fashion, but time marches on and the goodbye must be uttered.

Precious memories recede on the plain of our existence but they impart a lasting impression.  A smell, a piece of fabric or a place in the capsule of time can cement our memory and form a piece of our history that is still accessible in the far reaches of our minds.  Although the farewells may be necessary, the challenge of walking away from something will never be easy.

I hope that these goodbyes don’t mean that going away signifies forgetting.  That is something I am not willing to do.  Although goodbyes are difficult, losing those memories is not an option.  Past experiences carve the path for the future.  Past experiences shape our sense of self. Past experiences make us who we are.


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Goodbyes are never effortless, but they are necessary.  Saying goodbye to the past can only open the door for the future.  My heart may be in the memory, but my hope still lies in what is to come.