If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth. . . a Guest Mini-memoir

DK Matai, a blogger and business executive I met in Geneva several years ago, sent out a message to his incredible world-wide network of friends that seemed like a pure gem of experience to me.  My father’s favorite saying was, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”  DK’s story is a more elegant, eloquent English equivalent.  DK’s response when I asked for his permission to reblog his post with him as guest was this:

Dear Shirley

Whilst there is nothing worthy within the autobiographical story, you are welcome to use it as you deem fit.  As far as describing me is concerned, there is nothing really worthwhile to describe… 🙂

All the best

DK

Not only is he a good writer with a good story, but he is humble too!  Here’s the URL for his post. I’ve also pasted it into this post below.

Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble!

A personal story…

London, UK – 30th March 2009, 08:11 GMT

As a young graduate engineer, nearly two decades ago, I met a charming man who had been the Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce. I had the pleasure of working with him on some global aviation projects with British, European, Canadian and American aerospace companies.

This distinguished Englishman was extremely bright, very knowledgeable and highly eccentric! Very English qualities those! He would do things carefully and methodically without making mistakes, especially where it mattered. Otherwise, if one were to watch him pour tea followed by a teaspoon of sugar, most of it was out of the cup, on the table and then on the floor!

If he would spot a mistake in his personal communication, he would always revert back and clean it off, and then proceed further. He would apologise profusely for any small mistake in handling human relationships and feelings especially in his written communication, which was always immaculate.

When we would write a message either to our own team of engineers or to any of the major aerospace groups at CEO level or in-between, he would always, always sit down, take out a fountain pen, and hand-write his message before entering it on to the computer screen. He would always begin, “Dear …., start off on a personal note, move on to the subject matter and end the message with a heartfelt comment and a personal touch.”

I once said to him, your emails and letters are like Monet paintings. We ought to frame them and hang them up on walls at the National Gallery! The letters were exquisite not only for their language but also for their personal touch and layout.

I asked him, “What is the genesis of this marvellous quality?” He said: “Quidvis Recte Factum Quamvis Humile Praeclarum!” in Latin.

Then, nonchalantly, he said, “Translate it!”

O God! Me and my big mouth. It was not possible to come out of this one easily. So mimicking his quality, I sat down slowly. I said, “Give me a minute!” I took out a pen and paper and wrote the Latin words on the left and English words on the right. I thought “Praeclarum” is “very clear” and “Humile” is Humble. “Factum” is “act” and “Recte” is “rightly”. So, I said: “Very clear humility comes from right action!”

He replied, one of the two founders of Rolls-Royce, had this Latin inscription engraved on his fireplace. It means:

“Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble!”

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About Shirley Hershey Showalter

Author of memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. Blogging about Magical Memoir Moments and Jubilación -- vocation in the second half of life.
This entry was posted in Personal Reflections and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth. . . a Guest Mini-memoir

  1. Gutsy Writer says:

    What a great story. I really enjoyed it. You know, when I'm visiting my Father in Paris, or friends in England, their letters seem so much more formal than Americans, even today. It's like going back to the olden days, in a way. When I first moved to the US in 1983, and I started a sales job, I was told that my letters sounded too formal, and to “lighten up.”

  2. Gutsywriter says:

    What a great story. I really enjoyed it. You know, when I'm visiting my Father in Paris, or friends in England, their letters seem so much more formal than Americans, even today. It's like going back to the olden days, in a way. When I first moved to the US in 1983, and I started a sales job, I was told that my letters sounded too formal, and to “lighten up.”

  3. Gutsywriter says:

    Great post. Thanks to your guest blogger.

  4. Gutsywriter says:

    Great post. Thanks to your guest blogger.

  5. Gutsywriter says:

    Great post. Thanks to your guest blogger.

  6. Shirley says:

    Comment came through right away, Sonia. Not quite sure what happened yesterday, but I'm glad the comments section works today! Thanks.

  7. Shirley says:

    Comment came through right away, Sonia. Not quite sure what happened yesterday, but I'm glad the comments section works today! Thanks.

  8. Shirley says:

    Comment came through right away, Sonia. Not quite sure what happened yesterday, but I'm glad the comments section works today! Thanks.

  9. Hope Wester says:

    This was excellent. Exactly the kind of thing my father would have related to me. Brought back memories.

  10. Hope Wester says:

    This was excellent. Exactly the kind of thing my father would have related to me. Brought back memories.

  11. Hope Wester says:

    This was excellent. Exactly the kind of thing my father would have related to me. Brought back memories.

  12. shirleyhs says:

    Thanks, Hope. Our fathers must have been cut from the same cloth.

  13. shirleyhs says:

    Thanks, Hope. Our fathers must have been cut from the same cloth.

  14. shirleyhs says:

    Thanks, Hope. Our fathers must have been cut from the same cloth.

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