The other day I watched a wild dog dart across the road in front of my vehicle. I wasn’t moving too fast and was able to easily avoid it. But I wondered what fate would have befallen the poor dog if it had been another driver moving at a much faster pace. I thought to myself that many of us live lives that way; oblivious to danger and peril.
That experience sparked off a chain of thoughts. I began to think of the many lessons life teaches us. If we would but listen and observe, there are many principles to be imbibed on a daily basis.
Over the years, I’ve learned some incredible lessons. Some have evolved into personal philosophy. I’ve codified some; been taught some; overheard some and read some. I’d like to share a selection of my favourite life lessons with you:
1. Never live your life like a careless dog crossing the road – oblivious of danger. Don’t be like the man King Solomon once described – toying with fire then as he carelessly sets fire to the house and it burns down, he says “I didn’t mean it”.
2. Never take Panadol for another man’s headache – It’s not your problem. He/she is grown. They’ll deal with it.
3. When hunters learn to shoot without missing, birds will learn to fly without perching – Adapt and survive.
4. Never use your own values to judge another man’s capacity for good or evil. You will live life in perpetual surprise.
5. As your money increases, so will those who want to spend it with you. Avoid devourers. Learn the art of saying NO and being unavailable.
6. Don’t expose your friends, spouse or other people to being used and abused. Protect them.
7. You don’t have to answer every call.
8. You don’t have to attend every event.
9. You don’t have to grant every favour. Care less about what others think of you. After they’ve gotten what they want from you, they’ll move on to the next source. The day you push back and say no, they’ll resent and abuse you.
10. You don’t have to be there for everyone all the time. If your tank becomes empty, you’ll have nothing left to give.
11. You have siblings and colleagues Let them carry some of the load. You are not Superman/woman.
12. As you prosper, give commensurately. It enlarges you heart and keeps you grounded.
13. Never spiritualize another man’s pain. Don’t dismiss people’s troubles with religious platitudes.
14. Never use the speed with which you bounced back to measure another man’s pace of recovery.
15. To know your true friends, watch how they respond to the things that are important to you, especially when you’ve been there for them in the past.
16. Some friends will cause you to consider a philosophy of hardness. Don’t give in to the temptation to change who you are. Simply cut them off and focus on those who are worthy of you.
17. Never get to the point where you begin to think of “friends” in terms of waste – waste of time, waste of resources, waste of life, waste of self. You should leave long before that.
18. Never let the people who care about you regret the sacrifices they made and time spent with you. Do not be ungrateful and insensitive.
19. You cannot lead or project manage the unwilling.
20. Don’t put your future on hold because you want to avoid offending people. People will always choose what is in their interest. If people don’t put you into consideration when making routine decisions, should you consider them when making critical life decisions?
© Subomi Plumptre 2013. All Rights Reserved