How to succeed in life. All it takes are two simple things…

I’ve tried to simplify how to get along in life as best I can recently because, quite simply put, I needed to. One of my girls had been naughty and I felt like I really wanted to try and get through to her. But it’s difficult explaining things to a 4 year old sometimes so keeping it simple tends works best. No matter how deep you feel you want to go at times that approach just won’t work with children. Similarly shouting the odds also doesn’t seem to be a very successful approach.

So after a bit of thought I told my middle daughter that she and her sisters all had things that they needed to do and so did mummy and me. All three of them have the same two things to do, that is that they need to be good and to be happy. Where as mummy and I need to look after them but also to be happy. I told her that the more she and her sisters were good the happier mummy and I will be. Then the happier we are the better we will be able to look after them all* and so the happier they will be. It does seem fairly simple on the surface and hopefully she will understand it**. But for everyone else it goes much deeper than that, though I think the same two main rules apply.

*I hope this makes sense. It’s very simplified but essentially the less angry, disappointed or upset someone is the better a person they are. At least that is my belief
**It goes without saying that we all love one another and care deeply for each other but I couldn’t assign that to some ‘thing’ that needed to be done. It is something that just is, or at least should be and so we’ll skirt over that for now.

Be good…
‘Good’ seems a bit of a weak word, but in reality it’s not weak at all. There are so many ways in which a person can and should be good. When I told my daughter she needed to be good I meant a lot of things, but to explain them all to her in one go would be far too much for her to take in. It will be over the years as she grows she will learn all of what my wife and I believe it is to be good through the values that we hold as good ones (or at least I hope so, and that our collective values are in fact good).
It is my view that the core values that make a person good are respect, kindness, honesty, compassion and politeness. The first three are the key values here with the latter two falling beneath those, however I deem them to be important enough to deserve a mention.

Respect — this is a lot of things and it means different things depending on who you talk to. For me the core of respect comes down to a few very simple things. Having respect for peoples feelings, their thoughts, wishes and property. It also means having respect for the planet, as in the environment and all of the creatures that live within it. Respect together with Kindness is also a big umbrella that both compassion and politeness fall beneath, and to some extent so does honesty too.

Kindness — this one is easy to achieve but is probably the most important value to have. If you are kind you will probably be respectful without trying and you will have compassion and be honest too. Kindness is thinking and caring about others, it’s being there for those who need you and doing the right thing at times when it might be easier to turn a blind eye. For me kindness is one of the things that is fundamental to being a good person. It is the key to so many other great qualities and anyone who is kind will generally find that life is kinder to them.

Honesty — it’s hard at times to be completely honest in life. When you see as you grow up that the people who are seemingly the least honest seem to get the furthest in their careers and earn the most, it’s hard to justify staying true. But it’s a must! Without honesty you wont have respect for yourself or the ones you have been dishonest to. No matter how hard things get as long as you keep being honest you can hold your head high and you’ll come out the other side the better for it.

Compassion & Politeness — these are both very important and although they fall under the umbrella of the others they do stand apart in some ways. Compassion is a very important level of kindness and respect. It’s something I struggle with a lot but those who manage to be truly compassionate are usually incredible people. They are the sort of people who become great nurses, doctors & carers. They make the world feel safe and a place we want to live in. Politeness is something a little different but still falls beneath respect and kindness. It costs nothing, yet so many people seem to think it’s not important enough to worry about. Good manners can get you a long way in life and if nothing else you can feel good in yourself that you aren’t rude to people, even if they might be rude to you.

Be happy…
This is the easy part really, as long as you can manage to uphold the ‘be good’ part that is. It is my fundamental belief that if you are a good person you will always be happy. Because if you are all of the things that makes a person good you will find your calling in life and enjoy whatever it is you do. You will find someone you love who loves you for who you are, you might even have children with them. You will meet amazing people and have great friendships. When times are bad or something goes wrong along the path of life not only will your values pull you back up again, but all of the people in your life who you have been good to will be good to you in return. If you are good, when (if) you have children they will learn from you how to be good and make you proud for the people they have become. You will influence people throughout your life and see them do brilliant things. Wake up every day and smile. You are alive and you are good!

So you see it’s simple***. Just be good and be happy and you cannot fail to succeed in life.

***I’m not saying I’ve nailed this. I’m by no means the perfect follower of my own rules but as long as I keep striving to reach them I know I’m getting better as a person all the time. I just hope that my children can learn a little faster than I can.

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