51 Practical Lessons for a Lifetime

Practical Lessons for a Lifetime

One of my coaching clients recently turned 51 and, upon my encouragement, prepared a list of lessons he’d learned in the “school of hard knocks.” With his permission, I present below a distillation of his wisdom.

  1. Measure twice, cut once
  2. Learn to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.
  3. Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.
  4. The best vengeance is living life well.
  5. Don’t smoke. Don’t abuse alcohol. Don’t do drugs.
  6. Love your country and fellowman.
  7. Don’t let misfortune steal your dreams.
  8. Things could always be worse.
  9. Don’t be afraid to fail. Keep in mind that mistakes are stepping stones to triumph.
  10. Don’t worry. Everything eventually works out.
  11. Don’t be resentful. Don’t take anything personally.
  12. You can always get more money, but you can’t get more time.
  13. Ask not for an easy life. Ask for the vigor to endure a difficult one and persevere.
  14. If you risk nothing, you risk even more.
  15. Never underestimate yourself or take your abilities too lightly.
  16. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  17. Never say die. Never say never.
  18. Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it very often.
  19. Live within your means.
  20. Give people the benefit of doubt.
  21. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth
  22. Clean up your own mess.
  23. Develop a healthy cynicism.
  24. If everyone says you’re out of your mind, you just might be onto something.
  25. If you have extra, give.
  26. With sorrow comes the opportunity for growth.
  27. Don’t let time pass. Grab hold of it and make your mark.
  28. Don’t overestimate or overstate your ability to influence.
  29. There’s nothing wrong with being mediocre in something as long as you become an expert at something else.
  30. If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say it at all.
  31. You are not that good, they are not that bad.
  32. Hold your head high and look the world straight in the eye.
  33. Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are of your own.
  34. Believe in yourself
  35. Have a good time. All of the time.
  36. Believe that everybody has the power to change the world.
  37. Do something that they don’t expect you to do.
  38. Friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on.
  39. Don’t be reckless with other people’s emotions.
  40. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults.
  41. Speak the truth in love.
  42. Learn something new every day.
  43. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. Find it.
  44. Never underrate the power of accessibility.
  45. Acknowledge those who have helped you.
  46. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.
  47. Pardon your enemies, don’t forget their names.
  48. Just start. Just take that first step and get started.
  49. Don’t expect of others what you don’t demand of yourself
  50. Don’t expect anyone else to support you.
  51. Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.

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