The other day I found myself sat in a park that I used to loved to visit when I was a boy. As I pondered those teenage years, I was reminded of some of the many things I have learned since I secured my very first job, as a paper-boy.
1. The end isn’t always the end – even when it may look like something you truly loved has come to an end, it doesn’t have to mean it is the end full-stop. It may simply be a comma or semi-colon only. Doors close and doors open and often we have no control over it.
2. Never burn bridges – no matter how badly you may been treated, or how much you vow to never return, my Dad taught me to never burn my bridges, because you simply never know who may appear from nowhere, or which way you may need to travel back.
3. Don’t use a stool if you can stand – another lesson from my Dad was that even if they supply you with a stool to stack the lower end of the shelves, don’t use it unless you absolutely have to. Why? Because even if you’re not a sloucher, using a stool gives the impression that you may be. Like it or not, appearances do matter – especially when you’re fairly low down the food chain.
4. Even if others don’t always do what you say – we have all experienced people who say loads of stuff and do next to none of it. The best riposte of course, is to never be guilty of this yourself. It’s the classic “under promise, over deliver”. It may take a bit of extra work but it builds a solid reputation that is priceless.
5. Believe the best, prepare for less – optimism is infinitely more attractive both to others and your own state of mind. So believe the best in others, the situation at hand, and yet be prepared for less than the best. It’s the fine line between trust and naïveté.
6. Always do your best – if you maintain this mantra, you will always know peace within yourself. It may well be on occasion that your best simply wasn’t good enough but that’s okay. It’s when you know you have not done your best that you live with even a tiny bit of regret.
7. Never, ever give up – we all know the famous quotes and they are all true. Perseverance, persistence, patience and that’s just the P words!
8. Be confident not arrogant – confidence is a massive asset when it comes alongside competence and humility. Arrogance however, is an equally large negative that builds nothing but ego and a self-serving vision of the world.
9. Be generous and experience growth – one of my all-time favourite Proverbs goes like this: “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.” Be liberated to give away your time, your expertise, your money at every opportunity. If you don’t have the money, focus on time, If you don’t have expertise, focus on money. it is an attitude of the heart and we can all do with the occasional reminder.
10. Be grateful for what you have, never jealous of what you don’t – grateful people are happy people – fact. Jealousy merely eats away at everything you do have until the value has all but evaporated and then you want more, even though you know it won’t satisfy.