Lessons from the Greats

I have always believed that there is something to be learned, however small and seemingly insignificant, from every single person we meet as we go through this journey on earth. The people we learn from do not HAVE to be older than us…, neither do they have to be more educated or more experienced or more anything. I have learned lots of interesting points of view from many who are in fact younger than me. My point remains….there is a lesson hidden within each encounter..Some teach us how to be, and some how not to be.

I have met many who have repeatedly taught me how to constantly improve and try and reach my full potential. And while “reaching one’s potential” is an endless journey, it is nice to remember these lessons picked up along the way whenever we face road blocks.

Irrespective of the ages of these life gurus, i call them ‘the Greats’, because before i met them, and before i learned what they had to share, i did not possess the knowledge or the perspective that i did after meeting them. So, let me share what i learned….

~ Never be afraid to hold out the olive branch. Your dignity or pride is not diminished by being the first to say “Let’s forget the past, and be friends again”.

~ Try and reduce the number of times you say to your child : “Later”. Ever sat down to think how many times us parents use that word “later” when dealing with our kids? They ask us “Mum, come and play with me”, we reply “later”; they say “mum can i sing for you”, we say “later”…and the list goes on. I learned that the dishes can wait a little bit, the beds can be made a bit later, the  clothes won’t dry any slower if hung out half an hour later than planned….cherish that moment when your child asks you to share a slice of his or her childhood. It is gone in the blink of an eye. The dishes/laundry/untidy beds will always be there waiting for you.

~ Worries about tomorrow rob today of it’s unique joy. It is a classic case of ‘double trouble’. Tomorrow will bring its share of worries whether you worry about it today or not. So why double up the worry, when you need worry only once? ( I love this one..worrier that i am 😉 )

~ Sometimes it is not worth waiting for permission. Do what you believe in. If it turns out to be wrong, apologise. It is much easier than asking permission and having the door closed in your face.

~ A marriage is seldom equal. There is a bit of lop-sidedness, however subtle. In any argument, both cannot win, which means one must apologise and the other must forgive. A healthy marriage is one in which each partner learns to  say his/her  fair share of “I am sorry” or “It was my fault”. If you find yourself always being the one saying “I am sorry” it is easy to get into a rut. Remember, the world comes to expect of you what you have trained it to receive.

~ Many a golden opportunity has been lost for want of trying. If it is worth doing, DO IT. If you don’t succeed, you can look back and say “well at least i tried”. There is nothing worse than going down memory lane years later and thinking “If only….”

~ There will be many to tell you why “this will not work”. If there are a thousand people out there who think it won’t work and only you who thinks it will, DO IT ANYWAY. Just because a thousand people think something, doesn’t make it automatically correct.

~ You will make a million great acquaintances, but only a handful of true friends. Friendship, like a plant, needs to be nurtured and cherished. Recognise who your true friends are and then nurture that friendship into a lifelong bond. They are the only ones who will be standing on your door step in the middle of the night should you call them and say you need their support.

~ Do not be afraid to argue in front of your children. Learn instead to also resolve the fight in front of them. Children who grow up watching their parents both arguing AND making up, learn that fighting and arguing does not mean the end of the world. They learn that it is a normal part of life.

Although in the daily hustle and bustle of simply living, i often forget what all these wonderful people have taught me, i try and remember as much as i can. Of course there are days when not a single lesson will be retrieved by my memory…I am either too annoyed or too worried or too busy….But when night falls, and i look out at the stars, i promise myself , “Next time, i will try and remember”. As they say, you can remember some of the stuff all of the time, or all of the stuff some of the time. But seldom can we remember all of the stuff all of the time.

The trick is to keep trying 😉

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