Eleven Hints for Life – 11 of 11

March 20, 2014

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying. – Unknown

babyWow, this little hint certainly covers a lot of ground – from birth to death – and in between has time to witness the beginning and end of a relationship.

Interestingly, it harkens back to tip # 6 about smiles and smiling. I think it also borrows from tip # 7, since you get to the end of life with a smile, not by holding back; but, rather by doing. The smile on your face is because you don’t have a bucket list, you have a list of things accomplished in life.

I suspect that the Irish have the right idea about funerals in their concept of a wake – a celebration of the life of the funeraldeceased. After all, that person is now in the only place where he/she will live forever – in our memories.  So, why not celebrate those memories and have a good laugh about those times, rather than a tear.

I would add to the advice of our hint some of these quotes –

“There isn’t so much to be afraid of, out there. I can remember thinking it was funny to find that out, on the last night of my life; I’d spent the rest of it being afraid of everything.”

― Nick Hornby

“When the time comes for you to leave this earth, if it doesn’t become a lesser place with your absence, then you have wasted your life.”

― Shaun Hick

So, this hint is really more about advice to the living than end-game advice to the dying.  Don’t waste your life and don’t be afraid of everything. Remember that a life given in service to others is one that will never be forgotten. Having said that, it is important to note that a life given in service does not always mean that you have to drop everything, sell everything and abandon everything and run off to some foreign land to serve soup to the poor. Sometimes we get hung caringup on what how we can serve others or how much. We get worried that our little daily acts of service don’t each have much impact. I would offer this quote –

“The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts.” ― Gorden B Hinckley

Do what you can, where you can and when you can to serve the needs of others. Some days that might involve doing big things and on others it might just mean making a kind gesture to someone who just needs encouragement. The idea is to get out of your self-centered mode of living and recognize and act upon the needs of those around you.

Finally, here’s my own personal Bonus Hint – Hint # 12

For a long and happy life, exercise three things daily – your body, your mind and your faith. Have a great life!

Eleven Hints for Life – 10 of 11

March 19, 2014

10. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. – Unknown

Some of these hints are easier than others to find a positive message to take away. This one is easy to agree with but perhaps a little harder to put into practice. The world around us is so focused upon trying to define happiness in terms of the possessions that we have – how many and how good they are – that it is easy to get swept up in those thoughts.

The key in this little hint is to be found in the words “…they just make the most of everything…” Whether it is the things that they have or the things that come their way, the happiest of people not only accept what they have or get, but they find joy in having those things and do not waste time  being jealous or envious of things that they don’t have.

“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.” – Jack Londoncards

In the song The Gambler there is the line “every hands a winner and every hands a loser, it how you play the game.” Happy people take the cards that they are dealt and find joy in just being in the game. They don’t waste time and energy coveting what someone else has; instead they enjoy want they have to the fullest. Most of the time, you find these people to be the types that value family and relationships above all else, except their faith. They are happy because they don’t let the pursuit of possessions get in the way of what is really important.

And what of those who are not living according to todays’ hint? A saying from the blog Jack’s Winning Words sums it up fairly well –

“You’d be surprised at how many unhappy people there are.  They focus too much on their wants, not their needs.”  (Cayman Islander)

Somehow I have to believe that this Cayman Islander and many of the people who live the Caribbean island lifestyle actually do live by the words of today’s hint.

chasing brass ringSo, rather than spending time worrying and being unhappy about what you don’t have; spend time making the most out of what you do have and out of the relationships that you have with the people that you love who are sharing it with you. Happiness is not to be found in possessions, but rather in sharing love with other people and enjoying each other.

After all, could that new car that you’ve been focusing so much attention upon getting ever give you a hug and say, “I still love you”, at the end of a bad day?  Can that big flat screen TV that you covet so much ever hold your hand and tell you that everything will be alright when you’ve just been laid off? And try having a meaningful conversation with that new pair of shoes that you want so much or sitting on the porch swing with that new appliance that you’ve been wanting for so long. Now, re-imagine those same scenarios with the ones in your life that you love and you will start to understand that the real joy in life comes not from having things but from sharing your life with other people.porch swing

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” – Charles Spurgeon

Go back and re-read Hint # 3 and then find that someone in your life to sit on the porch swing with.


Eleven Hints for Life – 9 of 11

March 18, 2014

9. “A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.” –  Unknown

That is a nice little poem to live by and a reminder of the power of words. Words have begun and ended wars, made friends and enemies, ended relationships and led to marriages. Words have the power to sting or to cut; but they also have the power to sooth or to heal.

angry wordsWe live in a world were words have taken on new power, as much as anything because of their new reach. Cruel words posted on Facebook or Tweeted for all to see have a greater ability to cause hurt and harm than ever before. Harsh or callous words posted on Yelp or Angie’s List can ruin a business’s reputation in an instant. Words thrown out in anger can linger forever in the Internet cloud and come back to haunt us when it is least desirable.

“of all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible-and the most powerful-was the word. Daggers and spears left traces of blood; arrows could be seen at a distance. Poisons were detected in the end and avoided. But the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.”  ― Paulo Coelho

Many companies now do Internet searches for the writings and postings of job candidates, to see if they are as consistently honest and pleasant as they might have appeared during an interview. Perhaps this caution by George Bernard Shaw is more applicable today that ever.

“Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men’s imperfections, and conceal your own.”

So, slow down a bit and chose your words more carefully. Engage your brain before startingtalking down your mouth. The words you use say as much about you and who you really are as what it is you’re trying to say. They also send a message to the listener about your attitude and your ability to listen to and understand their words. So be cautious as you use words in your life: remember this little saying –

“Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.”  ― Jodi PicoultSalem Falls

Perhaps we should all focus more attention on using the words that sooth and heal, the words that encourage and cheer, and the words that embrace and express love. For, if we spit out angry words like crashes of thunder or screams of pain; then, when we express words of warmth and love, they will flow from our lips like music and delight the ears upon which they fall.

Use the power of your words wisely and hopefully for good. have a nice day


Eleven Hints for Life – 8 of 11

March 17, 2014

8. Always put yourself in the other’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too. – Unknown

Well, this hint seems to be close to a no-brainer, or is it? While this sounds like a simple interpretation of the so-called Golden Rule; another quote from George Bernard Shaw may cause you to pause and think a bit on this one.

colorful shoes “Do not do unto others as you expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.”

What Shaw is saying to us is important to us because we are all want to put ourselves in those others shoes by interpreting the situation for them through our on perspective. I suspect that hurtful things are hurtful no matter what perspective you view them from and because of that our hint for the day is valid; however, in many other cases of trying to put ourselves in the other persons shoes we simply are not operating from the same frame of reference as they are and we may be way off base.

Shaw’s advice is particularly true when you try to cross cultural boundaries. If you did not grew up African-American or Asian or Indian or whatever the culture of the other person may be, then you cannot easily slip into their shoes and make any kind of a value judgment of the situation or how that person would react. Shaw was not talking just about tastes, it’s about your frame of reference to the world and how that may vary greatly from someone else’s.

I found a good read on this topic by a PhD who happened to write for the Hubpages.com site. He identified 8 factors that impact communications when you start crossing cultures. They are:

Cultural Identity

Racial Identity

Ethnic Identity

Gender Role Identity

Individual Personality

Social Class Identity

Age Identity

Roles Identity

You can click here to read the whole article. He identifies himself as ecoggins at the site and in his bio. What ecoggins is saying is that you might have to slip into 8 pairs of shoes to truly understand where that other person is coming from, which is really to say that it is impossible.

I guess it is best to leave today’s hint alone at its most simple level – if you feel it would hurt you if someone said it or did it to you, then there is a good chance that it angry womanwould hurt someone else, too; so, don’t do it.

Maybe the thing to focus upon in today’s hint is to ask what is motivating the thing that you were about to do or say about (or to) someone else that might hurt them. What kind of behavior on their part is driving you to do or say anything that you would feel hurt about if someone did or said it to you?

If you stop and ask that question; maybe you can then refocus upon what you really need to be expending your energy upon; which is to find a way to forgive them for whatever has driven you to this point, so that you can move on with your life. Start by admitting that you don’t understand their point of view (their frame of reference on things) well enough to understand what made them do whatever it is that you are thnk about itreacting to. Perhaps they did not stop and think about how it might hurt you. But causing a hurt back is not the answer.

One of the least understood but most liberating of human reactions to bad things that others do to us is our ability to forgive. You can see it in news stories of the loved ones of a victim of a heinous crime forgiving the person who committed the crime. The initial reaction is to ask, how could they do that? Once you understand the power of forgiveness; the real question is, “how could they not do that?” Forgiveness is so important to our well-being that the staff at the Mayo Clinic posted an article about it. To read what they have to say, click here.

So, this hint for life can serve a couple of purposes. It can hopefully prevent you new shoesfrom doing or saying something hurtful; and, it can help you deal better with someone who has done or said something hurtful to you. Either way, you get to try on a new pair of shoes, and who doesn’t like to do that.

Eleven Hints for Life – 7 of 11

March 16, 2014

7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do. – Unknown

This is the “don’t hold back” hint. This is the hint that says when you get to the end of it, don’t look back with a long list of coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. As the Nike commercial says so eloquently – Just do it!

The key here is to realize that the only thing holding you back some times is you. That is not to say that all things are possible for you. Maybe your dream is to be an reach for starsNFL football player but you are 5’6’’ and weigh 147 pounds. Ain’t gonna happen bro’; unless you are a spectacular kicker. You do have to have somewhat realistic dreams. All of us have some dreams that are better left as dreams or fantasies.

Most things in life are not precluded to you at the start and it is important that you not preclude them for yourself. I saw a saying that I’ll try to find the attribution for later that went something like this – “Don’t ask can I do this; rather ask how can I do this.” In other words don’t stop yourself; challenge yourself to figure it out.

A popular movie a few years back was The Bucket List, which focused upon the doings of some older gentlemen who were trying to live out their dreams before they kicked the bucket. It was funny and poignant at the same time; but it actually drives home the point that you shouldn’t wait until you are in the end-game of your life to pursue your dreams – the things that you’ve always wanted to do.

Sometimes we allow others to hold us back. We take what they say to heart, whetherfemale climber it be about us and our abilities to accomplish our dreams or about our dreams themselves. In answer to that I offer these two quotes that just seem to fit –

“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” – George Bernard Shaw


“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” –  Christopher Reeve

Certainly, if you can summon up the belief in yourself and the will to try, you should not let the opinions of others stand in your way.

So, when you get to your own personal end game, don’t be the one making a bucket list; instead, be the one with the smile on their face and the “been there and done that” list in their hand.

Eleven Hints for Life – 6 of 11

March 15, 2014

6. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. – Unknown

There are just tons of quotes and sayings with similar messages and advice. Almost all focus upon getting beyond the superficial and finding true happiness is something deeper than looks and possessions or wealth.

Someday that good looking wealthy person will find that it’s not enough to be given yet another bauble to cover over a transgression or disappointment. Another new car or another trip to the islands won’t heal the wounds this time. It’s not because they aren’t nice; it’s just that those things don’t make them smile or laugh.

In my post of March 12, about best friends I reused the oft used line from poems, novels, movies and weddings, “you make me complete.” Perhaps some of what that line means is “you make me happy”, or put another way, “you make me smile.” The perfect person in your life will also be the one that makes you laugh.

LOLA smile is like a rainbow turned upside down and it does brighten up the day. Laughter is what a smile sounds like when it gets too big for you to hold on your face and bursts out into the world. A smile can cut through the darkness of gloom and laughter can pierce through even the silent depths of despair. A person who is able to smile and laugh is well armored against anything that life can throw at them.

One curious side benefit of having a smile on your face is that it makes you mysterious and interesting. It drives other people nuts, because they want to know why you are smiling; so, you’ll get to meet more people because they’ll want to talk to you to find out why you are always smiling. Maybe you can put a smile of their faces, too.

Oft times in life you need a good laugh more than you need another possession and life is so much easier to get through with a smile on your face. Remember that there are no ugly smiles and even the very poor can find things to laugh about. So search for that soul mate that can make you smile and laugh and you’ll live life in a better place together forever.

Poet W. H. Auden put it well when he said – “Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator; but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.”

And as for a smile; I love this quote by Mother Teresa – “Let us always meet each other with smiles, for a smile is the beginning of love.”

Put on your happy face and smile!

happy face

Eleven Hints for life – 5 of 11

March 14, 2014

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it takes a lifetime to forget someone. – Unknown

We could probably argue the timeline in this quote forever; however, the underlying points would stay the same. The whole “love at first sight” thing is probably the crush part. We oftencrush initially mistake a crush for love. A crush is defined as in the Urban Dictionary as “a burning desire to be with someone who you find very attractive and extremely special.” Most times the heat in that burning desire is based mainly upon a sexual attraction and it is somewhat telling that crushes are most often associated with the young, who have yet to learn how to control those desires.

friendsYou can probably establish whether you like someone in any hour; however they might also be able to fake it for an hour. The kind of shallow relationship that you can establish in an hour is probably fairly fragile. Sure I can say that I like you after an hour, but maybe what I’m really saying is I don’t not-like you – you haven’t done anything to turn me off yet.  At least I’ve moved off neutral in that hour and hopefully the next few hours will reinforce that feeling. For some the subsequent hours may uncover things about that person that they kept hidden initially and you’ll reconsider whether you like them or not. Time will turn that “like” into friendship (or more) or reveal a bad initial decision that is best put behind you.

I really don’t agree that you can love someone in a day, but you can make a good start at it. I think you can get beyond crush and maybe get to “like’ in that day, but love takes a few more experiences than you can get in within a day. Just like the comments about liking someone, it is possible that you’ve only seen what they carefully wanted you to see in that day. To truly young couplelove someone you have to go through more things, more emotions, more ups and downs and you can’t do that in a day. Love carries with it some unspoken extra criteria – trust being one of the most important. Love means opening up yourself to that person and that requires trust. You don’t usually build that level of trust in a day.

For some there will be a trip through all three levels. They can move from an initial crush to discovering that they really like the person too. When the passion that may have fueled the crush is tempered by time and circumstances and you have a like for that person, there is the opportunity to move on to the next level and truly love them. For most the relationships either die when the crush fades or they settle in at the friendship level and let it go at that. That’s not a bad thing; you need friends – people that you like. Maybe you can even trust them to a certain degree, just not enough to open your sole to them.

Finally, I agree with the thought that it takes a lifetime to forget someone, even if they never made it further than the crush level. Once we take time to focus upon anyone and single them out  beyond being just a face in the crowd they are stamped into our minds forever. They may not be someone that you think about every day; but, I guarantee you that there will be triggers embedded somewhere in your brain that will bring their faces back into view and maybe you will even remember their name. For sure you will remember whatever the circumstances were of your relationship with them. I don’t believe that you will ever really forget them. Hopefully those memories will be pleasant and not negative.

Find someone to like today and start making memories.

Eleven Hints for Life – 4 of 11

March 13, 2014

4. it’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives. – Unknown

There’s also a saying that ignorance is bliss. I don’t think that’s really true. In the case of today’s saying ignorance (in this case, not knowing what you’ve been missing) might just be the absence of dissatisfaction, which is really not the same as bliss.

We all have many “Oh, crap” moments in life when we ask ourselves, “Why did I let him/her go? What was thinking when I gave that away? How could I not have wanted to do that?  So whether it is a blown relationship, the loss of a possession of maybe just missing an opportunity that we had; sometimes we don’t stop and think about things until it’s too late and they are gone. You don’t get do-overs in life. If you’re lucky, you may be given a second chance.

loving coupleSo the message is not so much just hold on to what you’ve got; but, rather to appreciate what you’ve got enough that you’ll want to hold in to it or him or her. All too often we lose something or someone because we haven’t taken time to realize its/their value in our lives. Especially in the case of people, sometimes it’s not that we don’t love them; it’s that we don’t show them that love and they just wander off thinking that we don’t love them.

Things sometimes wither and die or rust away if they are not cared for regularly. The same happens with relationships. Left alone on a dark corner or ignored and left un-nurtured even the best relationships will eventually wither and die. Take stock of what and who you have and be thankful and attentive to the needs of both.

As for the joy of discovering something new when it arrives; many times the excitement is new babyincreased if that something new that has arrived opens up new vistas in your life. You hear that said a lot from new parents about their babies. Until they have their own baby in the family the concept was there intellectually, but the reality was someone else’s – a friend or other family member, maybe. Most of the time new parents will admit later that they had no real idea what an impact having a baby would have on their lives and how much joy that puppycould bring. As you get older, and your babies are gone, a new puppy can sometimes serve the same purpose. There’s nothing like a little puppy breath to re-kindle those dormant parenting emotions. In cases of both babies and puppies, you may find yourself asking, “Why did I wait so long to do this?”

Prior to those experiences, perhaps it was the arrival of your soul mate into your life that you didn’t know that you were missing. You will often hear in wedding vows some variation of the phrase, “you make me complete.” It wasn’t that you weren’t happy before; but, for many there may have been a nagging feeling of incompleteness, the sense that somehow things weren’t quite right in your life, or maybe a gnawing emptiness that could not be filled by possessions or friends or pastimes.

Then along comes your soul mate and all is right with the world. You didn’t know what you were missing; you just knew it was something or someone. Now, you don’t know how you’d live without him/her.  Just work hard at it so that don’t go back to the start of today’s  little quote and lose what you’ve just found.

Eleven hints for Life – 3 of 11

March 12, 2014

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had. – Unknown

This is one of those areas in which I think there is a big difference between men and women. It has been my observation that once men get out of childhood, where it seems like they could still have best friends; as adults, they tend to have buddies instead, maybe even best buddies; but I’m not sure that they have best friends, at least not other men as best friends. Men may have golfing buddies or hunting buddies or even buddies on sports teams that they belong to. They may have some buddies at work and in other social settings, but no one that they would feel comfortable sitting next to on a porch swing.  After all, we are taught that’s just not manly.

Women, on the other hand, seem to retain the ability to have best friends even in their adult lives. Sure, women have lots of other friends or acquaintances (they don’t tend to use the term “buddy”, but “girl friend” seems popular), too; usually in social group settings. Women tend to allow for bonding better than men.  Women tend to be less competitive with each other in day-to-day social settings.  That’s not to say that they aren’t competitive in sports and business and other areas of life; they are; however, they also seem to be more supportive of each other than men. They don’t have that mental block that would prevent them from sitting next to their female best friend on the swing and maybe even giving her a hug.

So what is the difference between buddies and best friends? My gut feeling is that in order to be a best friend (the kind talked about in the saying for today) you have to open up and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Men tend to hate to do that, so they get to the buddy level of friendship and are satisfied with that, precisely because they don’t have to open up further.

Women, on the other hand, seem more receptive to the idea of opening up to other women, sharing more of their feelings and leaving themselves more vulnerable.They are not embarrassed to cry in front of each other. Men will only cry together with other men while watching the Brian Piccolo story movie and then will turn away from each other so the others don’t see the tears.

It’s really kind of sad that boys are trained as they mature into the role of self-reliant, emotionally hardened manhood and end up unable to get back in touch with the openness that allowed them to have best friends with other boys as a child. The one exception that I see the most in men is that, over time, most men break though that emotional barrier with their wives. The men who can’t even get to that level of best friend with the one that they are spending their life with often end up in divorce.

The men who do find their way back to that childhood experience of total openness and vulnerability with their loved one; find out again how pleasant and satisfying it can be to welcome another soul into share their personal space. It’s a beautiful thing and can lead to that ability to sit on the porch swing hand-in-hand or with arms around and have the best conversation without saying a word. So, reach back and recapture that ability and reach out at least to your spouse and make a new BFF.

“11 Hints for Life” – 2 of 11

March 11, 2014

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who

means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was
never meant to be and you just have to let go.
– Unknown

This is a relatively easy hint for life to look back on from the vantage point of old age and say, “So? What’s the hint?” The last six words in that hint work not only for when things don’t work out with people that you initially think you really like; but, also for almost any disappointment that you will face in life.  YOU JUST HAVE TO LET GO!

dissapointed ladyI have written more than one post with the topic line, “So what?” You have to develop the ability to say, So What To disappointments in life. So what if that girl or guy that you really like turned you down for the prom. So what if that co-worker at the office said no to your invitation for a date. So what if you didn’t make the cheer squad or the football team. Did the world come to an end? Did your heart that just got broken stop beating? Did losing that big deal that you were counting on mean that you are fired, out of work and now homeless and hopeless. NO! Sure it’s disappointing, maybe it even hurts for a while;but,  life goes on and you must too.  YOU JUST HAVE TO LET IT GO.

The older you get the more of these let it go moments you’ll have to reflect back on and the less trouble you’ll have saying, so what. But for youth, with unblemished hopes and aspirations to match their young smooth skin (we won’t go there with the acne thing); the bruises that come with disappointments have nowhere to hide, so they just show there, on the skin or on the shoulder, for all the world to see. Most youth have no frame of reference to count on for things getting better; the first time is always the worst time that something happens. YOU JUST HAVE TO LET IT GO.

So whether it’s in middle school or high school or maybe even college, when you meet thatbroken heart first someone that you really like (I mean really , really like – the keeps you awake at night thinking about it like) and it just doesn’t work out. It is a sad thing; but,  YOU JUST HAVE TO LET IT GO.

I know that I haven’t earned your trust yet, but trust me on this. It turns out that it isn’t the end of the world, just the end of the world as you knew it. It’s sad, yes; it hurts, yes, but it turns out that with a world population of a little over 7 billion people, there is as high probability of finding another person that you really, really like and who likes you back. Soooooo. YOU JUST HAVE TO LET IT GO – AND GET ON WITH LIFE.