“As Scarce as the truth is, supply has always been in excess of demand.”
– Josh Billings.
I came across this gem a few years ago. I might have been a lot more successful, and certainly more popular, had I read and understood this bit of wisdom much earlier in life. For all the years I have worked with Corvairs, I have told people “I am not going to tell you what you want the hear, I am just here to teach what you need to know.” On paper that has a lot of fans, in reality it has a selective audience.
For those seeking to have old wives takes, incorrect assumptions and mechanical prejudices affirmed, I am the wrong guy. If you are interested in learning the things I have discovered about building and flying planes, good, I can help. If your plans of building and flying demand facts and proven information, I have a pretty good supply.
Josh Billings 1818-1885.
Henry Wheeler Shaw went by the stage and pen name “Josh Billings.” He was an American humorist and lecturer, a contemporary of Mark Twain. In his day he was immensely popular, but is largely forgotten today, perhaps because his humor was based on telling people witty observations they didn’t want to hear.
4 Replies to “Thought for the day: Demand for the Truth.”
Josh Billings had a keen eye for life as it really is, and that is probably why he is not as well known now. His views were pretty square on, and people don’t like that. Two of my favorite quotes from Josh Billings are below-
“Most people when they come to you for advice, come to have their own opinions strengthened, not corrected.”
“The trouble with people is not that they don’t know but that they know so much that ain’t so.”
Sounds like Josh may have been an inspiration for George Carlin
A new author for my reading list. With so many useless publications, it helps to get a solid lead. Along the same lines, I have told many clients over the years, “You certainly know a lot, unfortunately none of it is true.” Or “You don’t get to believe anything you want, you only get to believe what you know is true.” Or, “Contrary to popular wisdom, everybody is not entitled to their own opinion. Only those that have taken the time to educate themselves on the topic are entitled to an opinion. The rest of you should be quiet and follow until you do know more.”
It goes without saying, my client base could have been larger. Telling people what they want to hear is good for business but intellectually dishonest and of great consequence if you happen to be in an industry where bad decisions can result in death. After more than 35 years I have come to the conclusion, many will hear but only 1 out of 5 can learn. It is not possible to offer any help for the rest. Instead of becoming defensive, It makes me happy if somebody can show me that I am wrong as I know something that I did not the day before and It is always refreshing to know that somebody else is thinking.
I think Billings fell out of favor more to the vernacular spelling – at least I found it far more off-putting than his tart views on human nature.