Growing up poor in a family that lived barely paycheck to paycheck, I had little direction when I graduated high school. My mother’s primary goal for me and my four siblings was for all of us to graduate high school. I assumed this was because she had done so, only to find out later in life that she quit school after the 8th grade and went to work full time during the depression to help her family.
When I graduated, I decided that I was NOT going to live paycheck to paycheck. College was not mentioned and not an option, so I joined the Air Force to learn a skill. I clearly recall telling myself that anything that I did going forward was going to be for me and my family, and therefore I challenged myself to deliver. After returning from Vietnam, I married and went to computer school, obtaining an associate’s degree. My wife and I have done well and were blessed that our three children all graduated from college.
Some of the “maxims” that I learned and have lived by are:
– This is MY life to live—I must do my best, and, most importantly, “do the right thing.”
– Today is the first day of the rest of my life—make the most of it.
– Ask yourself, “Is this the right thing?” If not, what can I do if it isn’t?
– Laugh at yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously.
– Don’t be a victim, take responsibility and action—OWN IT!
When a youngster is given the chance to sell—anytime, door to door or at a bazaar—they need to go for it. The Little League team selling discount cards is perfect. Next, open a savings account and always save at least 25 percent of any earnings (until you marry). Now you’re set for life: You can make the sale, and save for the future. Never make a decision that burns your conscience. Your freedom to make your own way in life is much better than any government handout. Find your faith spiritually, and you will be blessed with a long life.
My mom always told me: “If everyone is doing it, you probably shouldn’t,” and, “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t like to see on the front page of the newspaper.” That’s from back in the day when most everyone still knew right from wrong.
I have practiced law in a small town in Iowa for 47 years and have accumulated traits that I believe will lead to success. Some of these traits are my own and some have been offered by others. I have categorized them as the 10 character traits that will lead to true success.
– BE HONEST. Tell the truth; be sincere; don’t mislead or withhold key information in relationships of trust. No legacy is as rich as honesty—it’s still the best policy. Don’t steal. If you lose your honesty, there is nothing else to lose. Word travels fast as to who can be trusted. Lying brings great shame.
– DEMONSTRATE INTEGRITY. Always take the high road; without integrity, all is lost. There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity. Leave your good name in case you return. Stand up for your beliefs about right and wrong, even if you stand alone; resist social pressure to do wrong.
– BE KIND AND CARING. Always be friendly. Never forget “Please” and “Thank You,” and never pass up a chance to say a kind word. Be kind to all, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. A smile costs nothing and wins friends. Show you care through generosity and compassion; don’t be selfish or mean. Control your anger. Do someone a favor.
– TREAT ALL PEOPLE WITH RESPECT. Be courteous, polite, and respectful; judge all people on their merits; be tolerant, appreciative, and accepting of individual differences. Keep company with people that uplift you. Steer clear of negative people. Your attitude is a choice—the most important one you will ever make.
– BE RESPONSIBLE. If you find an excuse, don’t use it. Never explain. THINK before you act; consider the consequences of your choices; hold yourself accountable and “take your medicine.” Do the right thing. It’s OK to fail. Seek good mentors and learn from them. Keep your spending below your earnings.
– PURSUE EXCELLENCE. Do your best with what you have always; don’t quit easily. Energy and persistence conquer all things. There is no off season. People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. Take the time to celebrate your successes. Never give up. Make yourself proud. Do something every day that you love to do.
– KEEP PROMISES. Keep your word and honor your commitments; yes means yes and no means no; pay your debts and don’t expect anyone else to support you. Return what you borrow. If you break it, replace it. Don’t compromise yourself; you’re all you’ve got.
– BE LOYAL. Stand by family, friends, employers, community, and country; don’t talk about people behind their backs. Neglect not your family and loved ones. Treat other people exactly as you would like to be treated by them … a great person is always willing to be little.
– BE FAIR. Always treat people fairly. Be open-minded; listen to big people and little people and try to understand what they are saying and feeling. Everyone wants to be heard. Be comfortable with silence. No cutting in line.
– BE A GOOD CITIZEN. Obey the law and respect authority; vote; volunteer your talents. It is in the giving that we receive. Live a life of service. Remember freedom is not free. Your body needs good nutrition and exercise. Make today worth remembering. Look for the positive things in life, and you will find them. You are a special person, and there is no one like you! Be grateful for your many blessings.
Thomas J. Whorley
What advice would you like to give to the younger generations?
We call on all of our readers to share the timeless values that define right and wrong, and pass the torch, if you will, through your wisdom and hard-earned experience. We feel that the passing down of this wisdom has diminished over time, and that only with a strong moral foundation can future generations thrive.
Send your advice, along with your full name, state, and contact information to NextGeneration@epochtimes.com or mail it to: Next Generation, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001