Wednesday 26 January 2011

21 tips for life

I recently met with a family friend who very kindly offered me some advice.  We spoke for an hour and he has since introduced me to several very interesting people and new opportunities.  He is 77 and has lived an impressively varied life, most recently becoming a film extra.  As we parted he passed me an A4 sheet with a list of aphorisms which he had collected together to offer at the 21st birthday of a friend of his.

Here they are:

  1. This above all - to thine own self be true. (Hamlet Act I Sc 3)
  2. Half the battle in life is to decide what is important and what is not.  Have a sense of priorities.
  3. Reflect a lot and then take action absolutely secure. (Pope John Paul II)
  4. Ambition should be to make the most of oneself, not only for one's own sake but for one's family, friends and the world in general.
  5. Never be too proud to listen to advice, remember, you need not take it.
  6. Try not to indulge in self pity; others will have even bigger crosses to bear.
  7. Always carry a little slate with you and wipe it regularly clean of all grudges. (Sir Winston Churchill)
  8. Regardless of how much or little money you may have, it is a subject best talked about only selectively.
  9. Be a good listener; it will help you develop an enquiring mind.
  10. I think one has to be ready to start all over again any number of times. (Abbot Herbert Byrne)
  11. Try to be an independent thinker.  It is necessary if you are to keep your personal integrity.
  12. Make the best rather than the worst of people; it is both right and rewarding to do so.
  13. Live as if you are to die tomorrow, learn as if you are to live for ever. (Erasmus of Rotterdam)
  14. Imagination and patience solve many problems.
  15. Always try to turn adversity to advantage; it usually can be, sometimes dramatically.
  16. Why use a five dollar word, when a ten cent one will do. (Ernest Hemmingway)
  17. There is a right and a wrong way of doing most things in life be they personal or practical.
  18. Life is made up of opportunities few of which recur.  Remain alert.
  19. What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others. (Confucius)
  20. A sense of humour enhances life as also does a smile.  They cost nothing.
  21. Use your mind as well as your emotions in all important decisions, especially in matters of the heart.
  22. One extra - In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. (St Paul I Corinthians Ch 13)
What advice would you give - or wish you had received?