A very influential friend of mine, Curtis Jackson Wall, died this week on July 6th, 2019. I was first introduced to him many years ago by his son, also Curtis, who is like a brother to me. I told Mr. Wall I was about to open my own business drawing house plans. I’ll never forget what he said.
His expression was flat, somber, serious, as he said in the same type of voice, “Let me boil it down for you. You’re going to draw straight lines for a living. So every day draw the very best straight lines you can; and every new day draw better lines. While you’re doing that, stay aware of how well your competitors draw their straight lines, …then draw circles around ’em.” He paused to let the words sink in, then with the tiniest lift of lip corners he added, “The straight-lines part is kind of a joke, but the part about being better everyday than the day before is serious. Do you understand?”
If you knew Mr. Wall, you would also know that the correct answer to such a question was yes sir; and that’s what I said, “Yes Sir! Thank you, sir.”
“Very good,” he said. “Now go open your business.”
That was in 1976. Since then, I’ve drawn straight lines for more than 43,000 homes in 56 countries. Four decades after his challenge Mr. Wall’s words still cross my thoughts as I keep in mind that the most important straight line I will ever draw is the next one, …so it better be good.
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