Tips from a former president

Posted by on November 23, 2010

This is a bylined piece written by our intern, Amanda. She shares highlights from a university event she attended last week where George W. Bush was speaking.

For the first time in its history, the University of North Texas hosted a former president of the United States. George W. Bush visited the university on November 17 to not only promote his book, but also offer life lessons and stories from his time in the White House. I was in attendance and here are some tips straight from W himself:

  • If you don’t know something, ask. I can hear the Bush jokes forming now, but what a great piece of advice. Truly successful people want to help people who genuinely want to learn, so swallow your pride and ask the question.
  • Be careful with your criticism. Bush has made it a point to not publicly criticize President Obama, because as he says, “It serves no purpose for a former president to try and stay in the spotlight with his own agenda.” Choose your criticism wisely, and use it to make a situation better rather than for the sake of criticizing.
  • Keep an optimistic outlook. Bush said he never lost his faith in our country or its people, even after 9/11. You can’t choose the hand you’re dealt, but maintaining a positive attitude will help you play the cards better.
  • Don’t compromise your principles. Having an unwavering set of principles and values will help guide your decision making during difficult times. Know what you stand for and stick to it.
  • Stay calm during a crisis. The former president chose to keep his cool after being informed about the 9/11 attacks. Proving that you can stay calm during stressful situations displays leadership gives comfort and confidence to those around you.
  • Take risks. What really matters isn’t what you’ve heard, but what you’ve done. Get your hands dirty. Make mistakes. It’s the only way to gain wisdom and truly learn.

What other lessons have you learned from former presidents?

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  1. Great post…I didn’t get to attend the speech, however, these sound like excellent points from Bush. Better than I expected, actually. I love the point to be careful with your criticisms and he definitely isn’t going out of his way to trash Obama, which I respect. Great points and a great post!

  2. Thanks Lizzie! It was a very cool experience to get to hear a former president speak. Regardless of political views, I think it’s a chance anyone should take if it comes up! He really did offer great advice, and I think the point he made about criticism showed a lot of class.

    Thanks for checking out the post!

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