Advice to Live By

I recently found a website called Raptitude. It’s tag line describes its focus: “Getting better at being human.” The ideas offered for better living run the gamut from practical advice to metaphysical muses. For example, “Eat fewer calories, eat a lot slower than normal and see what changes” and “Notice how much you talk in your head and experiment with listening to your surroundings instead.” Or, “Get rid of stuff you don’t use. Unused and under-appreciated things make us feel bad” and “Watch experts perform their chosen art whenever you get a chance. There’s something really grounding about it.”

You’ll even find some pretty sage financial advice: “Ledger all your income, purchases and expenses, at least for a whole month. You can’t help but discover wasteful spending. It’s like giving yourself a raise.”

Other favorites of mine include “Give classical music another shot every few years” and “Write people letters. Everyone loves getting letters.”

It will be interesting to see how this website with the stated goal of surfacing lessons that school never taught us evolves. And that mission reminds me of another list: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. His top five lessons include:

  1. Share everything.
  2. Play fair.
  3. Don’t hit people.
  4. Put things back where you found them.
  5. Clean up your own mess.

Another list I found interesting was George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. I had forgotten about his  list until I visited Mount Vernon on Saturday with my niece, Katherine.  Here are five of General Washington’s “Rules:”

  1. If others talk at table be attentive, but talk not with meat in your mouth.
  2. In company of your betters be not longer in eating than they are. Lay not your arm but only your hand upon the table.
  3. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secret to your friend, deliver not before others.
  4. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
  5. Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.

Back to Fulghum, he offers some lessons that some will quibble with, “Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.” But I don’t think anyone will dispute this advice, “Remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”

As a trusted advisor, that reminds me of a goal we have for our clients – to help them appreciate what they have and guide them on a path of discovery to realize their dreams, pursue their interests and live the life they want to live.

Mount Vernon

My niece, Katherine, in front of General Washington’s home at Mount Vernon on June 20, 2015.

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