Life’s Lessons: Part One

It is good to be trusting, as long as you first verify the trustworthiness of those in whom you place your trust.

Perseverance yields many rewards, not the least of which is the satisfaction of getting things done, and done well.

Impatience often results in making decisions based on too little information, which is to say that impatience usually leads to mistakes.

Rage can be useful, if it is well controlled and carefully targeted. That rules out spontaneous rage as a useful emotion.

Emotion is more powerful than reason. Emotion is more easily communicated and is often more persuasive than reason. Those who try to rely solely on reason usually overlook the power of emotion, and they fail to see it at work in themselves.

Making a commitment and honoring it is good practice for marriage.

Love changes as one grows older. It becomes less self-centered and more truly reciprocal; that is, it becomes less fragile.

It is good to admit mistakes, if only to oneself. Those who acknowledge their mistakes — inwardly, at least — are able to learn from them.

A deliberate offense against another person is not a “mistake,” and should never be excused as one. The number of such “mistakes” seems to mount as the years pass and Americans grow more self-centered and less aware or caring about the effects of their actions on others.

Caring is a personal virtue, and it is demonstrated by a person’s voluntary behavior toward others, away from the glare of publicity. The advocacy of  “compassionate” schemes that involve coercion by government is a demonstration of self-centeredness, not caring.

Everything that makes government stronger weakens its subjects, even those who are the purported beneficiaries of its largesse. This is a lesson that I did not begin to learn until I was in my 30s. It is, unfortunately, a lesson that most Americans seem unable or unwilling to learn.

A mind that has not been stretched by constant learning and hard thinking becomes flabby and betrays its owner. It becomes a warehouse of unreliable memories instead of a machine that produces rational thoughts and feasible plans.

Sometimes I wish I had known in my 20s what I know in my 70s. Then it occurs to me that one of the joys of growing older is the learning of life’s lessons.

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