At 84 years old, I have learned these pieces of wisdom from my own experience and from others I admire.
1. Life is meant to be a struggle. We all have adversity; life does not go up in a straight line. Failure happens often and the key issue is what you do about it. Do you give up, or do you get up? Are you a quitter or a climber? The struggle is designed to make you a better person if you are up to the task. The harder the struggle, the greater the reward.
2. Believe in yourself. It’s the necessary requirement for success. We grow up often being criticized by parents, teachers or friends. It is easy to feel that you are not good enough, not strong enough, not able to keep up with others. There is only one winner, so it is easy to believe the rest of us are losers. Focus on your strengths, judge yourself according to where you were yesterday. Are you improving? You have to believe you can succeed. Believing in yourself is half the battle for success.
3. Happiness is totally mental. You can create it at will. You are in charge of your happiness and joy. You decide every day, every minute, every second how you feel. You can be happy or sad. It is totally up to you, regardless of what others may say. The facts are the facts and how you interpret them is up to you. You can be positive about your life. It’s all up to you.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and most everything is small stuff. You broke something – mazel tov. Your car needs to be repaired, you lost your cell phone, you are rejected for a job, you lost something and can’t find it, and a hundred other problems. Most things can be fixed or accepted graciously. Just move on. It’s all in your attitude.
5. What you say is not about others but about yourself. Listen to what you say, and it will tell you who you are. Listen to what others say, and they will tell you who they are. In almost all situations, there are multiple ways to see the facts. What you say about it is a reflection of you. If you want to be a better person, just listen to yourself and try to be the person you want to be.
6. Do not get angry or frustrated. Do something about it. I’m overweight, and I have to stop complaining about it. Either do something about it or accept it. If you disagree with a decision, try to change it if you can or accept it. Speeding too fast, pay the ticket; rejected by someone, move on; hurt yourself, focus on what to do. Most of life will occur regardless of what you may think. Being angry is the worst quality. It will make you into the person you don’t want to be.
7. Serving others is serving yourself. Honoring others is honoring yourself. Focus only on yourself and you will be self-absorbed, arrogant and an engine of egotism. You will be inflated with your own self-importance and a belief in your own greatness. We are in this world to help others, to make it a better place. Focus on family, friends and your community. The more you help others, the happier you will be.
8. The best way to beat a cold is: lots of sleep, huge quantities of vitamin C and lots of green tea. That has helped to keep me healthy all my life. You may have your own remedies, but these three work for me.
9. Everything belongs in its own place, and there should be only one place for each and every thing. My clothes have only one location, same for my phone, my keys, my toothbrush and dozens of other things. It just makes my life easier to find what I need when I need it.
10. The greater the wisdom, the lower the risk. Something will look risky to others because they don’t know what you know. Information is the key to success in business and in daily living. Experience sets you apart, and you get that from the struggles you had to overcome. I will end where I started. Adversity can be an advantage.
Use it wisely.