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  • Writer's pictureJohn Selzer

I Don't Mind If You Forget Me

It’s about impact, not being remembered.

On our refrigerator at home, we have a magnet with the quotation, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Good stuff, for sure. Really makes you think. It is an omnipresent, but gentle, reminder for us and our young son.

But the fact that it is attributed to Ghandi should not be why we hang onto those words. Sure, the only reason it is on a magnet in the first place is because someone important once uttered them. But does that make it matter more?

Of course not.

We have an inherent tendency to imbue additional meaning to things done or said by great people – and to quickly discount that from those that are perceived as, well… not. As such, we unconsciously strive for our own quotation compendium-worthy greatness. We want our words to feel the warm, enduring embrace of quotation marks. We want to be attributed, too.

Early in my career, I found myself in a meeting with our CEO and a few of the key executive leaders. During the discussion of how exactly we would tackle a particularly daunting issue facing our company, I threw out a suggestion – only to be met with crickets. Dead silence; not a sound. No reaction at all.

As the speech bubble over my head began to fade like in a cartoon, my boss restated the same idea. It was received warmly and with enthusiasm, as if a switch had been secretly thrown and everyone in the room suddenly sprung to life.

Really? Come on

That incident taught me several things. First, that the CEO and his minions were elitist a-holes with serious age-bias issues. More importantly, though, it became clear that the outcome mattered most, not who was assigned the credit. (Admittedly, it took time for that last one to become the enduring learning from that day.)

Let the impact speak for itself. And if the credit never comes but the result hits the center of the target, celebrate the accomplishment and know that you have won. Even without the bright and shining medal around your neck to prove it.

Keep those inspirational quotations. Put them on a poster, t-shirt or un-ironically tattoo them on your arm. That’s fine. But pay more attention to the words and their meaning and less to whose lips they might have crossed.

It’s the outcome and its lasting impact that truly matters, not the attribution.


This is one of the greatest songs put out by Morrissey as a solo artist. It carries the same kind of angst-filled lyrics wrapped in a catchy pop tune that made him a legend with The Smiths. I mean, who else could have you cheerily tapping your toes while simultaneously thinking, “Man, that is pretty dark.”

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