Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Do's of Life

The other day I started working on a Do's & Don't's of Life post as a way of keeping track of some of the more basic things I've learned in my fifty plus years of thinking about it.

Alas, so far I haven't got past the Do's.  I don't want this post to languish in draft, so even though this list seems truncated, treat it as a work-in-progress, Dear Reader:

Work - Every day everyone has some work to do.  Even if it's no more than getting up, getting dressed and making your bed.  You don't have to have a job to do your work.

Be Humble - You may be good but you are not the best.  If you think you are the best, that is proof of the contrary.  Everyone can improve.

Act - If it needs doing, do it.  Act on what you know needs doing, not on what you've been told to do.

Show Restraint - Not everything needs to be done or said.  Sometimes the best action is the absence of action.  Know when to be restrained.

Volunteer - Some things we do just because we know it's the right thing to do.  Volunteering is more than helping an old lady across the street, it's an attitude.  There's profit in helping others, but it's not monetary.

Allow - No one will do it your way but you.  If you don't want to do everything, you have to allow others to do things their way.  Allowing others to have opinions counter to yours will allow them to remain your friend and ally.

Forgive - Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone forgives.  If we don't forgive, we can't get past our own mistakes.  Small slights and grave injustices must all be forgiven in time.

Look - Keep your eyes off the ground and on the horizon.  Look at people.  Establish a sense of self awareness that includes others.

Listen - Words take time to process, so it may take a moment to understand what someone is saying.  Listening means doing more than planning what you will say next.

Read - Words are just one small set of signs and symbols we must decode daily in order to cope.  Reading facial expressions and body language is as important as listening to words.

Wait - Some things you must go get; most things you must wait to come to you.  Impatience destroys inspiration and deflects action by preventing it from unfolding in due time.

Be Quiet - Silence is not the same as quiet.  You need not suppress your voice to keep it down.  Important things may still be said while speaking in turn and without raising your voice.

Empathize - You don't have to agree with others to understand that they feel differently about life than you do.  Knowing this, try to feel what others do as a way of measuring and moderating your actions.

Improvise - There is no script to life.  Constant improvisation is required just to keep up.  Making plans is good for the mind, but be prepared to throw them away the very instant action is required.

Smile -  It never hurts to smile.  Sometimes we feel that way, as though smiling is a betrayal of our inner angst and anger, but that is just the angst talking.  In fact, smiling drives the anger from your face and consequently, from your mind.  Others will appreciate it and so will you.

1 comment:

Dennis Kelly said...

Thank you, I needed that so much!