This I Believe
Closing ThoughtsOpinion

This I Believe

Closing Thoughts: Progress in this world is created by not being a copycat, Allen Lipis believes, but by following your own path.

Allen H. Lipis
Allen H. Lipis

In thinking about my life at 83-years-old, during the year’s end, I could not see the future much beyond a short period of time and I cannot say that I had a long-term plan. I did what I knew, what I was good at, utilizing the luck I had – being in the right place at the right time – and old fashioned instinct.

There were many roads not taken – speculating on what might have been could be fun, but not very useful. I made the best decisions with the information I had, and I have no regrets. I ended up better than I ever thought I could have imagined way back when. I have outlived my father and my mother, and that is more than I ever thought would happen. I believe that every day I live now is a gift.

I believe that doing for others is also doing for yourself. Focusing only on yourself will create an unloving person. Young people can justify being selfish to build their character and their success, but serving others is the real success in life.

Until age 25, focus on getting an outstanding education and building your own character. Education is the secret to survival. Getting good grades in school is the easy part if you are diligent, do your homework and pay attention. Good grades and good schools will get you in the door, but what you know is what gets and keeps the job. Education leads on to experience, and experience leads on to results. Above all, stay productive.

I made poor decisions in life, and I tried hard to learn from them. Good decisions are often the result of having made poor decisions previously. Never be afraid to take risks. Your life will be more exciting. You will be pushed to give it your very best; with some luck, help from others, and support from G-d, you can achieve a great deal more than you ever thought possible.

The best way to improve your character is to emulate the people you most admire, not for what they know, but for how they deal with people. There is much to learn by studying people, and by reading great books about the people that achieved success and failure. Above all, speak kindly about others, and give them the benefit of the doubt. Learn to trust people until you know otherwise. You will be amazed at what they can accomplish, if you tell them what they need to do.

After age 25, focus on helping others. You make a living by what you know, but you make a life by how you help others. Find a way to benefit the world, regardless of how immature the benefit. Finding a more efficient solution is why we are alive. I marvel at the wheel, at chemistry, mathematics, physics, the human body and the drugs that make the body work better. Your job on this earth is to improve it because you are here, to leave this world just a little bit better. It doesn’t matter how big or small the improvement is, as long as you can say at the end of your life that you made a difference.

Most of us generate a small impact on a person, or a small group or even a whole society. It doesn’t matter. Do what you can. If you have children, the test of how well you did raising them is how well your grandchildren turn out.

I believe that fighting creates more fighting, that hate generates more hate, and jealousy creates more jealousy. We are copycats. When we do something good, others will emulate that, and when we do something bad, others emulate that too.

Progress in this world is created by not being a copycat, but by following your own path, by believing in yourself and your own self-worth, and by being willing to risk your money, your honor and even your life, in search of what you believe can contribute to humanity. Those in the minority have made the world better, not the majority, because the minority has not been willing to risk being different and thinking differently.

I believe there is a G-d, and this G-d cares about me. Science cannot explain everything, and faith is part of living a good and decent life. I believe there is a morality that only G-d can provide.

The Bottom Line: Focus on your strengths, but remember your weaknesses, for humility is more important than arrogance.

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