Regardless of how you choose to make a living, conducting business is part of life, and how you conduct your life is even a larger part of how successful you are in business. Simply put, if you want to have a successful business—start with a successful life.
I am blessed to have 14-year-old twin grandsons, one named after my father and me, and the other named after my son-in-law’s father and grandfather.
As brothers will do, the twins got into a knockdown drag-out fight when they were staying with us over spring break down at the lake. The fight wasn’t physical but was a verbal confrontation, and they said hateful and hurtful things to each other. I broke up the fight and then sat each boy down separately for a long talk about how wrong it was to speak in such a manner to others and most especially family.
The next morning, I asked Patrick, my namesake, if he had learned anything and could he remember any of the points I’d tried to make the evening before. Patrick’s response was, “I wish you had written them down, Pawpaw!” So, I did! I had my points printed on fine paper, matted and framed, and put on display in their bedroom so that they could refer to the life lessons that I was trying to teach. I also had three more printed and framed for my other three grandsons.
My main goal was to teach my grandsons that you don’t become successful in life by mistreating and misleading others—but rather, true success is achieved by living a principle-centered life. You are deceiving yourself if you think otherwise, and personal dishonesty has serious consequences. Unfortunately, the biggest lies are those that we tell ourselves.
Therefore, I am presenting “Life Lessons,” which I prepared only a few years ago.
By Patrick J. Calhoun, Jr. (aka Pawpaw)
• Life is an echo! You get back what you send out! In life, you get what you give. If you are rude and hateful to others, more often than not, other people will be rude and hateful in return.
• Taste your words before you speak! If your words are bitter and hurtful, it is better to swallow them. If you spit them out, they can never be taken back. An apology may soften the blow, but the damage is already done.
• Keep your word! Say what you mean and mean what you say! Honor your word! Your word is the foundation of your reputation and a good reputation is more valuable than money.
• Never yell—ever! Shouting or yelling is rude, offensive, and distasteful behavior. Shouting does not make the point that you are trying to make more valid. Unless you are yelling for your favorite team or shouting a warning that the bridge is out up ahead, don’t yell—ever!
• Always treat others with kindness, courtesy, dignity, and respect! The janitor is to be treated with the same courtesy as the president of the company. We are all equal in our human condition and deserve respect regardless of our station in life.
• Manners are important! Manners are not about you, but are designed to show respect for others. Good manners are the building blocks of a civil society.
• We are not in control—principles control! We control our actions, but the consequences that flow from those actions are controlled by principles.
• We cannot control others! The only thing that we can control is how we react to circumstances and to the actions of others. We are taught in Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
• Change your thoughts and you change your world! Positive thinking will get positive results. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way, you’re right.
• Don’t gossip and talk badly about others—even if it’s true. A person’s character is self-evident and the world doesn’t need you to point out flaws in another person. In fact, saying bad things about people is a poor reflection of your own character.
• Never brag or boast, because it makes you look small. Others will notice if your talents lead to accomplishment. Humble pie tastes much better than humiliation, and pride is the burden that a foolish person carries.
• Do not dwell on your mistakes or misfortune, but rather, learn from them and move forward! A positive attitude will carry you far in life and people will want to be around you.
• Accept personal responsibility! When you fail or make a mistake, take personal responsibility and never make excuses or blame others. Take responsibility for your own life!
• Live the TRUTH and Reject the LIE! Popular culture, Hollywood, some famous entertainers, and sports figures would have us believe that happiness is found through alcohol, drugs, tattoos, and by disregarding moral boundaries. Reject the LIE! True happiness is found in an orderly life of personal discipline, moral standards, and productivity.
• Choose your battles carefully! It is not always wise to debate the merits of your position if it leads to confrontation—even when you may be right. There are some things however that should be defended and are worth the struggle, but choose wisely.
Life is not easy, but if you master these lessons, life will be much easier. When employed correctly, these principles will reduce conflict, promote cooperation, and earn the respect of your peers. Life is too short to be unhappy, and treating others with love and respect leads to happiness!
Patrick James Calhoun, Jr., Arkansas
Every once in a while, my father who was a wise and very kind man used to tell us the following story. When he came to this country as a young man in 1922 from Slovakia, he took with him the bad memories of how sometimes in the middle of the night the police would bang on people’s doors and haul them off to jail and accuse them of crimes they didn’t commit. People had no rights and could not defend themselves.
My father told us that as he was standing at the railing of the ship that brought him across the Atlantic Ocean to America and was now sailing past the Statue of Liberty, he took a deep breath and smelled freedom. All his life he would always say that America is the greatest country in the whole world … and then he would always add: “But if you want justice done, you have to be willing to fight for it. In this country, you could do that.”
I’ve always remembered his words and tried to live by them. I hope, dear next generation, that you will do likewise. Whenever you encounter situations in life where you feel things are wrong, never be afraid to stand up for what is right. Remember Right is Might. Don’t let anyone take away your freedom, especially in these turbulent times when the Marxist socialist movement is strangling the life out of America and taking away your freedoms of speech, of the press, etc. Arlington Cemetery is full of courageous souls who made the ultimate sacrifice for you so you would have the right to fight for justice in any walk of life whenever it was necessary. Don’t let them down. Don’t let yourself down. Remember that wise old saying that it only takes a few good men to do nothing for evil to flourish.
Good luck. You’ll need it.
Catherine J. Knett, Virginia
Dear next generation,
As I now have more time to contemplate and look back at my 30-plus years in medicine, I’ve reserved some simple but meaningful advice for those growing up.
Make every day count. Do something every day with intent, no matter how small.
Think of others often. It’s easy to be self-absorbed and think about oneself. But it’s very soul-enriching to think of others and do for others, no matter how small the act of kindness may be.
Don’t panic if things don’t work out as planned in life. Life has a way of working out the way it should. Don’t resist or rebel too much if things don’t go your way. It may be for the best.
And finally—think things through. Even the act of a vote at a local election is so important. Find out about the candidate. Ask questions. Think down the road. What makes the most sense? If you, follow these simple steps, I think life will be very rewarding.
Laurette M. Ellis, MD, Florida
1. Short-term pain, long-term gain. 2. You never go wrong by bein’ right. 3. Your word is your bond. If you break your bond with a person, you might never regain their trust. 4. If during your life you have developed enough “real friends” to fill the fingers on one hand who will stop what they are doing and come to your side in time of need no matter what, you are a very fortunate person. And if you are a friend to someone else, be that kind of friend.
S. Thomas Tobias, Ohio
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, 5 Penn Plaza, 8th Fl., New York, NY, 10001.