I’ve had this little gem tucked away for many years, and I refer to it from time to time to remind myself of what’s really important. I’ve searched for the source, which I haven’t been able to find, because I’d like to thank the author for these wonderful lessons.
Here are the original thoughts, followed by my impressions.
The most destructive habit: Worry.
The greatest joy: Giving.
The greatest loss: Loss of self-respect.
The most satisfying work: Helping others.
The ugliest personality trait: Selfishness.
The most endangered species: Dedicated leaders.
Our greatest natural resource: Our youth.
The greatest “shot in the arm”: Encouragement.
The greatest problem to overcome: Fear.
The most effective sleeping pill: Peace of mind.
The most crippling disease: Excuses.
The most powerful force in life: Love.
The most incredible computer: The brain.
The worst thing to be without: Hope.
The deadliest weapon: The tongue.
The two most power-filled words: I can.
The greatest asset: Faith.
The most worthless emotion: Self-pity.
The most beautiful attire: A smile.
The most prized possession: Integrity.
The most contagious spirit: Enthusiasm.
First, let’s talk about worry. Did you know this word is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word that means to strangle or to choke? People do literally worry themselves to death . . . or heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, nervous disorders and all sorts of other nasty conditions. Worry can destroy your peace of mind. The best remedy? Remember that tomorrow is a new day, full of promise.
Giving/Helping others – These two go hand in hand. You are always in a position to give, just as you can always help someone. Never pass up an opportunity to share what you have. Dedicated leaders understand that they have tremendous power to help those they lead by setting a solid example and demonstrating the highest standards.
Selfishness – President Harry Truman summed it up so well: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” An offshoot of selfishness is self-pity, which no one should waste time on anyway. Perhaps the worst effect is loss of self-respect. Self-respect is what motivates you to be the best you can be. And in turn, you can motivate others to be their best.
Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. People appreciate recognition, encouragement and praise. Offering encouragement based on a person’s character or actions inspires them to perform in such a manner that invites additional praise. Be careful not to let the tongue undo the positive effects of encouragement. Use it for good.
Fear – Every crisis we face is multiplied when we act out of fear. When we fear something, we empower it. If we refuse to concede to our fear, there is nothing to fear.
Excuses – We all make excuses from time to time. However, the day you stop making them is the day you will move up in the world.
Hope is what gets many of us through our worst days. Hope is believing that every cloud has a silver lining, and when that cloud rains, it makes things grow. A perfect partner is faith, for without faith, hope is meaningless. Love completes this trio. Real power comes through when you love someone or something, whether it’s a career or a cause.
A smile improves your looks. I learned years ago that one of the most powerful things you can do to have influence over others is to smile at them. It should be standard equipment for all people.
Integrity: either you have it or you don’t. If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters. Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing to do.
Enthusiasm is the spark that ignites our lives. It’s one of the most important attributes to success. It also leads to an attitude of I can, which provides the confidence required for achievement.
Pass as much encouragement as possible to our youth, the people who will inherit this world. I am constantly encouraged by the dreams and aspirations of the young people I mentor, and I want them to pass their experiences to future generations.
Finally, the brain. What a gift we have with our brain. Unlike your computer, it may not perform rapid-fire complex calculations. But attached to the heart, it can make better decisions and produce infinitely better results.
Mackay’s Moral: If you want life’s best, see to it that life gets your best.
Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.
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