After more than 50 years of living, loving and laughing I finally found a better way to pen my thoughts. WordPress has made blogging very easy and fun, even for those of us who are used to the more traditional printed word. This will be my 50th blog post since I began sharing my thoughts last August. I think now would be a good time to contemplate some of the most important things I have learned in my lifetime.
You can’t take it with you. I chased the almighty dollar for more than 20 years before I made this realization. Money and possessions aren’t worth nearly as much as we lead ourselves to believe. I’m not advocating living in a hovel but do any of us need 10,000 sq. ft. houses or $100,000 cars? In my case, finding out I had cancer caused me to reevaluate my priorities. My wife still thinks it was all the stress from my business that caused the cancer in the first place. All I know is that if I had died at 39, I would have missed out on some of the best years of my life and almost all of my kid’s lives. How much money is that worth?
You cannot please everyone. If there was ever an exercise in utter futility this is it. Luckily, I never had this problem to any great extent. I was always a contrarian and did my own thing regardless of what others thought of me.
It is better to be well respected than well liked. The only real goal I ever had was to be respected. I tried my best to do the right thing at all times even when it meant someone else’s feelings might be hurt. I can’t say I was perfect at this but my intentions were always focused on the greater good. The odd thing is, the more respect I gained the more people liked me. It’s funny how that only works one way.
Honesty, integrity and commitment matter the most. I was lucky to have my Dad as my mentor, teacher, business partner and friend for so many years. He is the epitome of these attributes and he accomplished all these things with a smile and a sense of humor. He never made promises he couldn’t keep and he always kept the promises that he did make. Maybe that’s why we managed to get 50 years out of a small family business.
Always try to learn something new every day. This was another of my Dad’s principles for success in life. The graphic arts business demanded this so I guess I had plenty of opportunities. Technical questions are pretty easy to figure out but the real challenges are learning to deal with people.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Nobody is perfect and we all fail from time to time. It’s not the end of the world so don’t let failures drag you down. I learned to laugh at myself and look for the humor in every situation as a defense mechanism for the insanity of everyday life.
Love one another. I know it sounds trite but it really is true. All we really have is each other. Your friends, families and acquaintances are way more important than the car you drive or the house you live in. If we all invested as much effort in others as we do in our careers the world would be a much better place.
Leave the world better than you found it. This is critical if we are ever going to solve the main problems facing the planet. We only have this one planet to live on and how we take care of it will determine how long we have it. We have to be stewards of the land, air and water because our very lives depend on them. All the money in the world won’t buy you one more minute of life if the air and water on this planet are polluted or non-existent.
Accept responsibility for the things you can change. Everybody has the opportunity every day to make a difference in their own corner of the world. If you can physically do something to make a difference then do it. You will be amazed how many ways there are to help others and it’s the smallest stuff that needs the most help. It’s the old, Random Acts of Kindness philosophy. It really does work and it makes you feel better too.
I will gladly admit that I find life to be even more of a mystery now than in my youth. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I ever feel like there isn’t anything left to learn or experience I will be very unhappy. I look forward to each new day with a sense of wonder that gives me the strength necessary to carry on, no matter what. I know I will never have all the answers and that’s okay. I just hope I never run out of questions.
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.