Some things I learned in my youth –

Lesson: Always walk on the outside of the sidewalk when walking with a lady.
Teacher: Aunt Cathy. I have no idea why, but we were walking in front of church. It wasn’t a Sunday because we were the only ones there.
Outcome: Indirectly or directly responsible for the success of every relationship I’ve had.

Lesson: Your shoulders shouldn’t raise when you breath in.
Teacher: My grandma. She went on and on about it when I was in choir. Something about how the diaphragm is supposed to work.

Outcome: I have no idea, but my grandma is cool and I like to write about her. My shoulder’s don’t raise when I breath in, either.

Lesson: Use fewer words.
Teacher: Mr. Davidson, Creative Writing, 10th grade. We had an assigment to write a 500 word story. When it came time to hand it in, he said “Write the same story in 300 words.” When it came time to hand it in again, he said, “Do it again in 150 words.” I stared at him and said, “I can’t possibly.” “Use fewer words”, he said.
Outcome: There’s barely a day that goes by that I don’t think of this lesson. It’s made my writing far more concise and direct. Not this kind of writing so much, but my email and professional correspondence. The winnowing down process is a little fuzzy after all this time, but I can still see his grey bearded face saying “Use fewer words”.