Showing posts with label advice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advice. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

To be happier, don't judge others

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to be with you each day, Kieran, so I am unable to listen to and talk with you about your concerns and problems. Because of that, I will on occasion offer advice about moral codes to live by. Here is another such entry.

One of the most common bad habits people have is judging others. We form opinions about them based on their accent, we pick friends based on their clothing, we make fun of people because of their political and religious beliefs.

Yet, each of us is imperfect ourselves. So in judging others, we place ourselves upon a false, higher plane and demonstrate our vanity. To someone else, though, our accent is odd, our clothes not as good, and our political and religious beliefs laughable. We probably don’t appreciate their opinion about us, so just as no one else has the right to judge us, so we shouldn’t judge others.

Judging others really only creates negativity in the world. By inferring that we are better, we arrange the landscape so that others are inferior. This only leads to others feeling hurt and ultimately to conflict as they lash back in disagreement or to reassert their equality. It causes others who consider themselves superior to assert that belief over others through oppression.

When we judge others, we ultimately judge ourselves. Through our judgment, we objectify them and in doing so objectify ourselves. The judge always is the opposite of the judged. Each of us must ask ourselves: If you do not want others to objectify you, why would you objectify yourself?

This doesn’t mean that we don’t set standards to live by. But we set them for ourselves not for others. We judge our decisions and actions – not the decisions and actions of others – against the bar of those standards. So, give yourself this challenge today: Can you live up to the standard of not judging others?

If you can, you may find yourself happier.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Honor Your Ancestors

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to be with you each day, Kieran, so I am unable to listen to and talk with you about your concerns and problems. Because of that, I will on occasion offer advice about moral codes to live by. Here is another such entry.

There’s an old saying from the East to “Honor your ancestors.” It’s good advice, and one that few people follow today. After all, our heritage – who our ancestors our and where they come from –tells us much about who we are today.

Quite literally, if not for our ancestors, we would not be here today. Biologically speaking, we owe them our lives. Further, where they settled and worked determined where we grew up and in what economic class and with what religious beliefs. Think deeply about the kind of person you are and the values you hold dear…they most likely match those of your ancestors.

Of course, if you’re angry about your current condition, you might very well blame our ancestors for it. Maybe it is because of them that you grew up in poverty or suffered great tragedies. But perhaps they were victims themselves. That does not excuse them from their actions, but it may explain why they made the choices they did. In any case, we are captains of our own fate. Each of us can decide how we will navigate the landscape we find ourselves in.

And where our ancestors are concerned, we are more alike than different. Our drives and interests, whether inherited genetically or taught to us in the culture of family, probably are very similar to your parents, aunts and uncles, great-grandparents and even great-great-great grandparents. Like our country, we may not always agree with everyone in it or every decision that our government makes, but we still are proud of our nation and its achievements through history. So it should be with family.

How can we go about honoring our ancestors? One way is to learn about their lives through genealogy. Many of them faced incredible hardships yet persevered to achieve what they did. Another way is to think about who you are and how you became that person through your ancestors. Often we’re not “just like dad” but also “just like grandma” and “just like “great-grandpa” and even “just like “great-great-grandma.” Finally, honor your ancestors by always doing the best you can, by making your family name one that is recognized, whether it be for its altruism, its discoveries, or its building of a community. Make your descendants proud of who their ancestors are!
You can learn about many of your ancestors at a special website I have built for you, Kieran's Family Tree.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Always be transparent with others

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to be with you each day, Kieran, so I am unable to listen to and talk with you about your concerns and problems. Because of that, I will on occasion offer advice about moral codes to live by. Here is another such entry.

Being human, all of us make mistakes; all of us are morally imperfect. Still, we don’t like to admit our errors and faults to others, preferring to present a picture of ourselves as a good person. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to present ourselves that way, of course – that is, until we use deceit to convince others that we’re indeed a perfect person.

Rather, we always should practice transparency by being open and accountable about our past and our decisions. That doesn’t mean we have to tell everyone up front about our mistakes and poor choices. But it does require us to be honest with ourselves and with others when confronted about that past.

We can practice transparency by explaining why we made the decision we did and admitting that it was the wrong decision. This approach means we’re not defending our errors but accepting responsibility for them.

Another way to practice transparency is to not blame others for our mistakes. Each of us make our own choices, and another person’s poor decision doesn’t justify our own bad call.

Acting with transparency builds trust. It demonstrates to others that we are personally accountable and that our intention is to be a moral person. By lying, however, you only reinforce what your past bad decision suggests: That you are an immoral person merely interested in yourself.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

To feel good, always eat healthy

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to be with you each day, Kieran, so I am unable to listen to and talk with you about your concerns and problems. Because of that, I will on occasion offer advice about moral codes to live by. Here is another such entry.

You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” It’s definitely true! To function properly, every cell in our body depends upon nutrients we eat or imbibe. Feed the body the wrong nutrients, and those cells soon don’t function very well.

Poor diet contributes to loss of energy, mood shifts, whether or not you get sick a lot, obesity, organ failure and even disease. Often this takes several months or even years to occur. But it ultimately does.

Unfortunately, we often crave foods that aren’t so good for us. So people go on crash diets and fad exercise programs. A few actually stick with it and lose weight. Studies show, though, that once a dieters reaches their weight goal, they quickly gain back their weight.

The best thing you can do is not to diet but to change what you eat. By eating healthy – which usually means cutting out the junk food, processed foods, and and foods heavy with corn syrup and replacing it with lots of fresh, whole fruits and vegetables – your body begins working like it should. Accompany this with regular exercise, and you have a winning combination!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Advice on goals and adventures

I read a great quotation today from the famous American author Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."

I found this to be so true, Kieran! As I look back upon the places I've been, the accomplishments I've had, and the adventures I've gone on, I don't do so with any disappointment, even if I did not necessarily achieve what I wanted to there and with the people I knew at that time. I learned from such experiences, and given what I knew at the time and the skills I possessed then, I did the best I could.

If I am disappointed at all, it is that I have not yet been to some places, that I have not yet achieved certain goals, that I have yet to experience various adventures. There are many great places yet to see in life, many wonderful dreams yet to be realized, many fantastic explores yet to be undertaken. There perhaps are more places, goals, and adventures than I have years left to fit them all into!

So live life to your fullest, my son. Never sit back and wait. Once you havebeen somewhere, have achieved a goal, and have completed an adventure, move on to the next one and keep striving - in doing so, you will be thriving.

You won't be disappointed that you did!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A bit of advice: Practice Forgiveness

Throughout your life, Kieran, people will give you cause to be angry - some will be dishonest, wome will cheat you, some even will betray you. You can spend years thinking about why they did this. Such years are wasted time, though. It is best to forgive and to move on.

By "forgive" I do not mean to naively trust so you may be taken advantage of again. Instead, I mean to accept that what they have done is because of their own weaknesses - moral, emotional, spiritual, perhaps even physical. Perhaps if their lives had taken a different course years ago, they would not have wronged you or others as just have. And perhaps in the years ahead they will realize their weakness and strengthen their moral, emotional or spiritual fiber.

In the meantime, you must not let your anger and sense of hurt over their actions to rule you. You can empower yourself by forgiving them.

With that, my son, let give you some quotations about "forgiveness" to mull over and hopefully guide you:

"This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well." - Josiah Bailey

“…one who was ‘forgiven little, loves little.’” - W.P. “Ab” Abercrombie

"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." - Les Brown

"Never does the human soul appear so strong as when is foregoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury." - Confucius 

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Father's advice to son: It's ok to disagree

I don't know why, but for some reason I though this weekend was Father's Day, Kieran; it's actually next weekend on June 17. On the plus side, that means there's hope we'll be together for Father's Day 2012.

As I think back to my own father, I must say that my four biggest mistakes in life were decisions I made to contrary to his advice (The fifth biggest mistake I made was contrary to my mother's advice, but that's another holiday.). In my pride, I ignored my father's experiences and breadth of years observing what had occurred to others. To my youthful way of thinking, his advice often didn't make sense, running counter to rationality and to the heart. I suppose every boy at one time or another thinks this of his father; it's part of growing up and establishing your identity as your own man.

But let me tell you a story that I often repeat to others (and stole from Mark Twain): When I was 16, my old man was the dumbest person in the world. But then I went off to college, got married, became a father myself. And every year when I'd come home, I'd noticed that my father had got smarter and smarter, and right now he's damn near as smart as me. I'm really proud of how far he's come.

I'm not saying you always should follow your father's advice; it is a son's prerogative to do what he feels is best. And should you decide to one day not follow my advice, you should know that I will emulate my father's behavior when I did the same to him: I will not hold it against you and still will help and accept you, as my love for you is unconditional.