I was an English major in college and one of my first assignments was a paper on the Nineteeth Century poet, Lord Byron. I didn’t have a clue what to say about Byron so I used a bunch of scholarly books from the library—and received a grade of C+.
I was stunned. I’d never received such a poor grade in English before. This was my major, my specialty, my love! So I went to see my professor to find out what I’d done wrong.
“You used somebody else’s ideas,” he said. “I already know what the critics think. I want to know what you think.”
What I think? I didn’t think I had any thoughts about Lord Byron that could possibly be original or valuable. My professor insisted otherwise.
Still, years later when I was writing a weekly column in my local newspaper, I began each column with a quote from a famous person. Finally a professional writer told me to get rid of the quotes. “Your ideas can stand on their own,” he said.
Guess I had to learn that lesson more than once. Some lessons are like that, especially the big ones like “Trust yourself.”