John R. "Rusty" McLen, LMFT


Often, people will ask me if I have things written down. Actually, I am in the process of trying to write a book, a daunting process for a guy from the country. So in the meantime, I'll write down some pieces of wisdom that have come to me over the years. I like sayings that are easy to recall quickly that will help me in the moment. I wouldn't say any of it is original with me, but I can't remember where most of it comes from. I have been influenced by the Bible and people like Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and Will Rogers. So here goes. I'll add to the list from time to time as inspiration makes a quick trip from ear to ear.

You can't have a rational conversation with an irrational person. It can't be done.

Crazy is contagious. You can get a worse case than the person that infects you.

Kids aren't people, they are wads of nerve endings on feet. Hopefully with training and consequences, they will be people some day. Some never make it.

Doing things that don't work is like spinning your wheels while you are stuck in the mud. It won't get you out, but it will get you more stuck.

The test of communication is what your listener heard, not what you think you said.

​Hope is the essence of life. It provides motivation for today and optimism for tomorrow. Common sense protects hope.

​You can't measure a person by what they are capable of doing. You have to look at what they actually do. The sad fact is that people with great potential and opportunity throw it away every day.

The word no is a great test of character. Watch how they behave when you say no because that is what you will live with.

The laziest and quickest thing to do is the right thing right away.

There is never time to do it right but there is always time to do it over.

Words are like bullets. You can shoot them, but you can't unshod them.

You don't have to say everything you think.

You don't have to do everything you think.

If it is really important to say, it will still be important tomorrow after you have had time to think about the consequences of saying it.

With every yes, there is a no. Best to wait to say yes until you know what you are about to say no to. It's like agreeing to buy something without having any idea what it costs.

Regardless of how bad things are at the moment, there is still a lot of room between here and the bottom.

People do what people do.

I heard a man named O'Brien reviewed Murphy's law. He concluded Murphy was an optimist.

As bright and talented as you are, you aren't good enough to screw this world up by yourself.

A friend's mother told her one day during her high and mighty teen years to stick her thumb in a bucket of water. Then Mom told her to jerk her thumb out of the water and watch how long the hole stayed there. That's how important we are.

​Being overwhelmed creates emotional paralysis where we stare at the problem and do nothing. Focus on just one piece of the problem, sometimes it will give you a sense of accomplishment and get you going.

​It's not crazy people that talk to themselves. They just do what they do. Rational people talk to themselves to avoid doing or saying the wrong thing in the heat of the moment.

The emotions of painful events in the past aren't biodegradable, you have to face them. Time won't make the pain go away.

Talking and doing nothing isn't the same as doing something.

Worrying and doing nothing isn't the same as doing something.

As bad as being alone is, it isn't as bad as being trapped in a bad relationship.

Wisdom isn't knowledge, it is knowledge applied to life.

Not knowing is ignorance. Not doing what you know is stupid.

Ignorance is an empty bucket. Stupid is a bucket with no bottom in it.

Fear is a barrier to wisdom.

Wisdom crashes through foolishness like a wrecking ball through an old building.

You can't tell by the teeth marks whether the dog that bit you was scared or mean. They bite the same.