Today's find is in an odd little book entitled Maxims and Hints on Angling, Chess, Shooting, and Other Matters also, Miseries of Fishing by Richard Penn (1784-1863), and published in 1842.
I came across the four maxims below, and thought they applied to quite a lot, but especially to the world of dog training where there are thousands of years of experience, thousands of very excellent trainers alive today, and hundreds of different training techniques, and yet we still have some folks who have yet to bury their first dog, who are quite sure they have all the answers, that there is only one way to do it, and that maybe they themselves invented it all too.
- You must not insist upon its being admitted without dispute, that the man who made your gun is the best maker in London. This town is a very large place, and it contains a great many gunmakers. You must also remember that it "stands within the prospect of belief" that there may be other persons who think themselves as competent to select a good gun, and to shoot well with it afterwards as you are.
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- In like manner, although you may prefer using one kind of wadding to another, or may perhaps like to wear shoes and gaiters rather than trousers and laced boots, you must not suppose that every man who takes the liberty of forming a different opinion from yours on these subjects is a mere bungler.
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- If you are thought to excel in any particular game or sport, do not too often lead to it as a subject of conversation: your superiority, if real, will be duly felt by all your acquaintance, and acknowledged by some of them; and you may be sure that "a word" in your favour from another person will add more to your reputation than "a whole history" from yourself.
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- The foundation of good breeding is the absence of selfishness. By acting always on this principle — by showing forbearance and moderation in argument when you feel sure that you are right, and a becoming diffidence when you are in doubt, you will avoid many of the errors which other men are apt to fall into.