Last week, I had the literary equivalent of a teenager meeting his favorite rock star. At the Southern Festival of Books, I heard Louise Penny speak. She is the author of the Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries. And her detective is one of the most humane, caring, decent people in mystery fiction. If you haven’t read one of her novels, please do so. I promise that you’ll be hooked.
Learned from his mentor, Gamache passes these four sentences on to each of his detectives. They are the four sentences that lead to wisdom:
- I’m sorry.
- I was wrong.
- I need help.
- I don’t know.
Sure, they sound simplistic. But like many simple things, they are extremely hard to put into practice. Many of us like to put up a front of extreme competence and refuse to admit when we don’t know or need help until projects or relationships are hopelessly ruined. And how many fights have gone on and on because no one would just say “I was wrong” or “I’m sorry”?
I think if each new employee took these four sentences to heart, the workplace would become more efficient and more humane. And I think if we all incorporated these four sentences into every aspect of our lives, we’d make our little part of the world just a little more pleasant, kind of like Penny’s fictional town of Three Pines.