This is not a religious article, but it begins with a spiritual dimension because I believe spirituality is the foundation of a healthy life. You can share this article with anyone and it should not offend. If it does, they have a problem, not you. This is a piece about LIFE and what I’ve learned along the way. So lets get started.
Lesson One: God is everything. Follow God’s leading in your life and you’ll never be disappointed. Don’t let anyone distract you from what you sense is God’s direction for your life. Build a solid foundation based on belief in a loving God and you will be better for it.
Lesson Two: Relationships are essential to a fulfilled life. Set aside regular time to spend with family and friends, and don’t let anything take that time away from you. Life will go by, and you will regret not paying enough attention to your loved ones.
Lesson Three: Start saving as soon as you get your first paycheck. Saving is more important than a college education. If you save $1 a day, or $365 a year, and invest it for long-term growth that averages 10 percent, from the day you’re born until you are 65, you will wind up with a retirement nest egg of more than $2 million on your 65th birthday. Get a compound rate of return of 11 percent, and you have $3.2 million; 12 percent gives you $5.4 million. And even if you only make 7 percent in long-term bonds, you’ll have $450,000. Of course the only way this works is if your parents started putting one dollar a day away the day you were born. But you get my drift. Save. Save. Save, and the earlier the better.
Lesson Four: Go to the doctor annually if you’re over 40. I know this is a nuisance and takes time, but it is your life. Taking care of your health when you are young results in a longer life and a more productive old age. Who knows, you may do some of your best stuff in your golden years.
Lesson Five: All work and no play makes Jack or Jill a dull person. Everyone should have some kind of hobby and distraction from work. And they should participate in it regularly.
Lesson Six: Have two glasses of wine or two mixed drinks a day. Every study has shown that people live longer and have a better old age if they drink moderately. Of course, the opposite is true if you overindulge.
Lesson Seven: Never, ever, smoke anything, not even the new vapor cigarettes. The only thing that should go into your lungs is air. Nothing more.
Lesson Eight: Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one is as important as they think they are. Instead, lighten up and don’t fret about what lies ahead. Enjoy the moment because you may not have another moment.
Lesson Nine: Have a coach or mentor who you can look up to and learn from. Everyone needs someone who has gone where they are trying to go. It doesn’t make sense to forge a trail when someone else has already walked that way. I’m indebted to two larger-than-life individuals, without whom I would not be where I am today.
Lesson Ten: Always be a learner no matter how old you are. Once a person stops learning, life stops happening. I expect to learn something new every day. When that doesn’t happen, and it has, I am disappointed. So keep your eyes open to the possibilities that surround you.
Lesson Eleven: Nail down any fixed debt you may have at the moment. I know, a floating loan is more attractive for now than a fixed loan, but in the long run it will ruin your budget. Interest rates are the lowest they have been in a very long time and will not stay the way they are. The minute the Fed relaxes its grip on them, they will go through the roof. So move all debts into fixed debts. You will pay a bit more for them now, but over time you will bless me for suggesting that you do this.
Lesson Twelve: Take lots of pictures of your loved ones. When my wife passed away I went looking for some pictures to remember her by. What I found was I only had one frontal picture and the rest were of her feeding her beloved pelicans. Neither one of us was a shutterbug. We seldom took pictures. So now I wish I had some pictures and some movies. Don’t make the mistake we made. Take lots of pictures of your loved ones. You’ll be glad you did.
Failure to do any of the above will make you a less productive person.
Question: Which lesson resonates the most deeply with you and why? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.