5 Old-School Values Worth Preserving

There are negative connotations to being called “old school.” Don’t allow those to sway your work.

Author Shelby Foote was considered an old-school writer. His three-volume narrative of the Civil War accounted for 1.5 million words masterfully crafted with detailed storytelling. 

His descriptive words jumped off the page, allowing the reader to feel as though he/she were involved in each battle and intimately knew the men from both sides. 

Foote was asked to write a book about the Civil War by his publisher. After completing the outline, Foote realized he wasn’t interested in a short version of the most deadly war ever fought by the United States. So, he told his publisher to either take three volumes or take nothing.

Foote only wrote 500 words per day, using a dip pen that required an ink blotter. He was meticulous in his approach, starting each day at 8 a.m. (mostly in his pajamas) and working until lunch, then returning for another afternoon session. 

He took 20 years to finish his masterpiece, which didn’t become a huge seller until Foote appeared on The PBS Series “Ken Burns Civil War.” Foote never changed his writing approach, regardless of the advancements in technology. He wasn’t looking for something easier — he was only searching for being his best. He didn’t care being called “old school” because his old-school methods worked.

Foote wasn’t trying to copy someone else’s style of writing or workmanship. He had his way, and even though technology would allow him to work faster, perhaps even better, he didn’t conform because for him, the work he produced had to be acceptable to his standard. If someone called Foote old school, he didn’t care.

Not everything about being “old school” is bad. Old-school values that are worth preserving include:

Respect: Showing respect for elders, authority figures, and others is an important value that fosters a sense of community and social cohesion. Respect promotes harmony and prevents conflicts.

Courtesy: Being polite, considerate and having good manners creates a more pleasant environment for everyone. Courteous behavior makes people feel valued and appreciated.

Responsibility: Taking responsibility for one's actions and not blaming others is a mature value that allows for personal growth and accountability.

Kindness: Performing acts of kindness and being caring towards others promotes empathy, altruism, and a stronger sense of connection between people.

Hard Work: As Foote teaches us, being committed to the work, being committed to working hard, will never go out of style.

There are negative connotations to being called “old school.”

Don’t allow those to sway your work.

Being committed to a way, to a process is how we improve. We all need to adapt to the ever-changing world within our core principles.

What Foote proves is never adapt a short cut or cheat the work. Always use these five never outdated core principles to guide you through this volatile world we inhabit.

 Learn faster. Get smarter.

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