Okay, so I’m not going to claim that I have this life/grief thing figured out. Not by a long shot. But I have learned a thing or two along the way, and I thought that I’d share with you ten of the things that I’ve managed to figure out.
I’m not going to claim that these ten things will make you happy. I’m not going to say that I even follow these ten things very well. I will say, though, that they are, on the aggregate, some pretty good advice.
Always Be Grateful
If I could pass on one single thing to you fine people, it would be this. There are a lot of things I don’t want to be, but ungrateful is at or close to the top of the list. Being grateful is a key to happiness in this life. If you aren’t grateful, then you are, well, ungrateful. Being ungrateful is no way to live. Gratefulness leads to humility and thankfulness. Those are good things.
Everybody is different.
Everybody. Not one person on this planet is like another. People aren’t defined by their race, their gender, or their class. Everyone is a unique individual that deserves respect. Not everyone will think or act the way that you want them to. Accepting this, and accepting everyone where they stand, is the way to go.
A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations
Ahhh, the immortal words of Dirty Harry(one of my husbands favs). I think it’s important to remember that you can’t do and be everything to everyone all the time. Knowing your limitations makes sure that you don’t overreach and don’t try to do more than you should. Many tales of woe have started from not knowing what your limits were. Maybe you shouldn’t drink alcohol. Maybe you shouldn’t take that new job. Maybe you shouldn’t take on that burden. You need to know what you can and cannot do.
Never Refuse a Breath Mint
If someone offers you a breath mint, always take it. They may be trying to tell you something, right? Similarly, if someone gives you good advice, take it. A good definition of maturity might be “Takes good advice”. Only a fool turns down good advice.
When in Doubt, Attack
Another way to put it would be “Better to commit an error of commission than an error of omission”. If you aren’t sure what to do in a given situation, err on the side of taking bold action.
I picked this one up from Gabby Reece by way of Tim Ferriss’s book “Tools of Titans”. The idea here is to be the first one to speak up when seeing someone. Say “Hi” first. Be the first one to ask how the other person is. Be the first to ask after their kids. People will love this about you.
Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice
Another really important, really big one — don’t give advice to anyone about anything unless you are specifically asked, or if it’s a matter of life and death. Just don’t do it. Ever notice how annoying people are when they tell you what you “should” do? Yeah, me too.
Things Don’t Matter. People Do.
I confess I came to this dreadfully important realization only recently. I mean, I always knew it, but it never really made a difference in how I acted, I’m sorry to say. Basically, too many people chase after the better job, the bigger house, and the nicer car. They have to have gadgets and furniture and tons of stuff. Well, I’m here to tell you that that crap just doesn’t matter. What is really important is the people in your life that you love and who love you. Invest your time and your energy in them and not in stuff. I guarantee you’ll be happier in the end.
Don’t Borrow Money
Holy cow — if I could get in a time machine, find myself, and beat one thing into my thick skull, it would be to not borrow money. Debt is insidious, debilitating, depressing, and heavy. Don’t do it — save up for everything you want except for maybe a house. If you want a nice car, save for it. Don’t open any credit cards. Unless you are amazingly disciplined, and face it, you probably aren’t, credit cards are nothing but a path to misery. Believe me, I know.
Respect Anyone Who Shows Up for Work
There is no such thing as “scut-work”. There is no such thing as a “lowly laborer”. Anyone who works deserves our utmost respect, from the janitor to the fast food worker to the corporate CEO. Everyone. Showing up for work everyday is really hard, and people that do it are to be admired and respected. I don’t care what they are doing to earn a day’s wage.
That’s it for Now
Okay — ten rules to live by. They aren’t all-encompassing by any stretch of the imagination, but still all-around good advice I’d say. I’d love to hear some of your rules in the comments, and I’d be most grateful if you’d clap for this article.