For my grandchildren
My life has been a series of challenges. How I responded to those challenges has to a great degree given me my life. That together with my choices. In my life it was never the circumstances that made the difference. Everyone has circumstances. You will have yours. It was how I responded to my circumstances that ultimately made the difference.
I hope you have an easy life, but on the off chance that it’s anything like mine, I want to share with you, who I love immensely and yet I know our time together in this world, in this life is limited. No one knows how much time they have. This list of tips for a happy life isa few things I’ve learned in my life. May they prove of value to you.
So here they are, in no particular order:
- Never ever get even. No matter how badly you want to. Revenge is a trap. Italian proverb Says revenge is when you take the poison and hope the other person gets sick. It really is extremely self-destructive to put energy into such things. Too high a price.
- Give to beggars and charities. What they do with it isn’t your concern unless you are going to do something proactive about it. Proactive includes dialing 911, but usually not. It might include giving generously, perhaps even giving your time. Which brings me to
- Help other people every chance you get. Few things are more fulfilling , and there’s the added benefit that it’s not about you. Nothing clears the mind like a break from our own concerns.
- Vote every time. If you don’t vote you have no ground for complaining. Participate or be quiet. Don’t stay in the stands when you have skin in the game. If you don’t fight for your rights, damn sure nobody else will either.
- Forgive everyone for everything. Forgiveness heals the person who does the forgiving. Grudges weigh you down. Let them go. This is about being happy, not just right.
- Tell the truth, especially when it’s hard. Do it kindly, and that’s the hardest part.
- Play fair. Give an honest value for the rewards you receive. Scamming the system is cowardly and unethical. Stealing is out of the question. You always pay it back with interest. And nothing is harder to win back than a good reputation. Be an honorable person. Just not breaking the law is not sufficient. Be a role model.
- Don’t give away your power. We need other people and their opinions matter to us. But don’t stop being your own best friend. No matter what happens. If you’re not in your corner, nobody else will be either.
- There are exceptions to every rule. If you’re following the rules as you ought to be, you will notice when occasionally it is desirable or necessary to break one. An ethical dilemma can support a decision to break a rule. Ethical considerations have more force than rules. It’s more important to do the right thing than to follow the rules. Don’t follow the letter of the law, but violate the spirit of the law.
- It is more important to be kind than to be right. Best of all be kind when you’re right.
- Gratitude is magical. It really is a trick and it works. Find something to be grateful for and your life will immediately improve. It’s a rule.
- Endeavor to the best of your ability to have integrity. Keep your promises. Tell the truth. Pay your taxes. Pay your bills. When possible give more than you have to.
- Resistance is futile. What you resist persists.
- Always do more than’s expected of you.
- Make yourself honest. This will require a lifelong commitment and it will test you. You will be disappointed in yourself and others. This is a sure sign that you are in the game, which means you are learning. Fight the good fight.
Enjoy your life. Strive above all to be happy. Find people to love and give all you can as often as you can because life really is short, and relationships really are all that matters.