Sharing wisdom

Normita Fenn
Normita Fenn

My very first manager at General Electric, my employer where I spent many years and where I retired, gave me a copy of a poster of “Desiderata”, a compelling poem written in 1927 by American writer Max Ehrmann. This poster was a treasured gift. I gently placed the poster in a folder at the very front of my desk cabinet and glanced at it from time to time. Through the years every word of the poem was set in every fiber of my heart. The poster is nowhere to be found now as the file cabinet got reshuffled as my career in the company changed, but the many embedded lessons remained and conjoined with homegrown wisdom of humility, generosity, pride and compassion. Here is the text:

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” – Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”.

I come from a poor family who left the bosom of my parents at a young age, with the determination to better myself in order to be better for my big family and for others. The pride of having met many generous people like my host family In the U.S., Jaime and Dativa Millare, loving parents of Lynn and Mattie, my first GE manager and those who walked with me every day, encouraged and taught me, are my treasured gifts along with those I walk today – they are the fruit of the wisdom shared by the poem, “Desiderata”.

Most sincerely,


About normitafenn

Normita Fenn studied journalism at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She earned her MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University-San Francisco. She resides in San Ramon, California. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter: @NormitaFenn
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2 Responses to Sharing wisdom

  1. normitafenn says:

    This poem stands out to me. Ageless, Endearing, Real, Human.

  2. marypuma says:

    Nice one Normita. ? M

    Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

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