Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fine Wine

"If you're too big to follow, you're too small to lead." - Orrin Woodward
Many people are turned off by the very thought of "following" anyone. Even so, we follow people on Twitter, we follow the news, we follow the favorite sports team, etc. To follow does not mean to do so blindly. The question is not whether you follow, you do. The question is, do you follow with eyes open? If you follow blindly, you'll never gain the wisdom needed to lead when your time comes. On the other hand, if you ignore what everyone else is doing, you might as well be blindly following the blind.
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
Education is like a fine wine. Most people think of drinking anything as a one-step process, but in to a wine aficionado, it is at least a three-step process—outside of pouring it! I will admit, I am not personally an expert on wines, thought I understand the concept. Upon receiving a glass of wine, the natural motion is to circle the liquid in the glass and smell its bouquet. That's the first step. Secondly, the taster would draw the wine into his mouth, and purposefully taste its flavor. Then, and only then, does the taster move to the next step of either swallowing it (accepting it) or spitting it out.

In wine, this last step is generally predetermined by the purpose of the tasting. Is the taster experiencing a single glass of wine for personal satisfaction, or sampling a variety of different wines in order to make a selection. A liberally educated person drinks deep of great books and other exceptional media for the benefit of his mind. In doing so, he must be vigilant in his decision to accept or reject what is coming into his mind. Only with time are his mental "tastes" sophisticated enough that he can inspire others to follow him.

So if you never taste the fine wines of life, you can never lead others to their secrets.

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