A body has no true ideals

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

A famous quote by Maya Angelou, American author and civil rights activist.  This is great material to use in blogs and training material on presentation skills… but it is actually a true statement too. Let me to give an example from my personal experience.

Long time ago, I was studying Computer Science at the university. One of the courses I took was titled “Higher Algebra”, and to be honest –though I am not very proud of it– there aren’t a lot of professor Cnop’s words or deeds I remember after all those years. Actually, the only thing that’s left in my mind from almost 30 hours of Algebra class is the feeling of amazement I got when the man in front boldly stated that “a body has no true ideals.”

Note that the above is a literal translation from Dutch (“een lichaam heeft geen echte idealen”) and in real math-English it would rather sound like “a field has no ideals except {0} and itself” –which would ruthlessly spoil the pitch of my story… Digging further into the topic on Wikipedia, I learned that “a body” (a.k.a. “a field”) is a “commutative ring where every non-zero element is invertible” and that “an ideal” is a special subset of such a ring. Unfortunately this also did not ring a bell…

Q.E.D.  People remember how you made them feel. It pays off to add emotion, humor and anecdotes to even the most serious (business) presentation. Do you know a more serious topic than algebra?

And, for me today, it’s still good to know that a body has no true ideals, and that I should not worry too much about developing wrinkles or losing my hair.