I recently lost my grandfather. He was 85, and although he put up a heck of a fight against brain cancer, he eventually lost the battle. I know that's not a typical way to start a piece that's supposed to be about happiness, but read on.
My grandfather wasn't an ordinary man. He was pretty extraordinary. A child of the depression he realized early on that he wanted to be in control of his own destiny. He was an entrepreneur and ran a successful business for many years. And he was a writer.
I always remember him talking about the latest play he was working on. Getting published was a lot more difficult without the digital age to aid him, but he did manage to get a play published in the "Best Short Plays of 1959-60."
A few days ago we found something when we were going through some paperwork, which I am going to share with you. It shouldn't come as a surprise to me that he wrote it -- I always knew he was brilliant. But what was surprising was just how relevant it was to me, and to everyone I've shared it with since finding it. So I wanted to publish it; to share it with you, and to give the most fitting tribute I know how to give to a great man -- getting published one last time. At the end of the day we are all just visiting here, but it's what we leave behind, our wisdom, that is the best legacy of a full life. My grandfather had wisdom in no short supply.
The 5 Keys To Living A Happy and Successful Life
By: Paul Goldman
1. Since part of life is struggle, the key resource in struggle is not to give up. Whether that struggle is with life threatening health problems or professional or personal problems, if one doesn't give up there is every chance of prevailing, and if one can't prevail then one can co-exist with the problem and still manage to have a good life.
2. Bring to everything you do your best. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Bring a sense of importance and caring to what you do. Be proud of being thought of as a person who cared.
3. Avoid harsh judgments of others. The world and human beings are too complex to permit sweeping judgments. To deeply resent or hate another person is to partake of a certainty that doesn't exist. There are no certainties.
4. Take prudent risks. Without the capacity to run calculated risks there is no chance for enhancement. Avoid rash acts or risks. These can bring trouble, and if one can avoid trouble there will be plenty of room for a decent life.
5. Bring your best energies to contributing to helping others. It is among the few things that is truly fulfilling. I always think of what Rabbi Menachem Schneerson the revered leader of the Lubavitcher often said, "A single act of kindness changes the world forever."