What are your rules for successful living?

Several years ago I was asked to present a speech on the topic of “Successful Living.” Certainly, I’m no stranger to speech-making and a single speech like this shouldn’t have been a big deal. So why did I obsess about it for weeks in advance?
Sometimes, it seems I could define my life by speech-making. In the beginning, there was a four-year-old girl rocking her dolly at a school Christmas program. She began her greeting with “I’m just a little girlie, as tiny as can be.”
Then there was the high school student speaking extemporaneously in speech class and preparing essays and topics for Sunday night young people’s meeting.
But nothing in all my previous speech-making experience had even remotely prepared me for that raised platform in the huge Virginia auditorium during my first year of college.
It was just a literary society program. But when I looked over the sea of faces, I experienced panic. The words escaped me, my hands trembled and my knees literally knocked.
All I could think of was escape. I glanced quickly from side to side and discovered a stage door to my right. Armed with that exit route, I trembled through the next 15 minutes. No doubt about it, my grade that night should have been A+ for courage.
But that was many years and many speeches ago and wouldn’t explain my fear of the speech on “Successful Living.” Pure and simple, it was the topic that frightened me this time.
It seemed so presumptuous somehow to dare to articulate a set of rules that would guarantee successful living. But then I remembered the reading of a lifetime and the observations. The people I’ve known and the places I’ve been. The things I’ve experienced. The wisdom I’ve gathered.
And I set about with confidence to put on paper a few of the rules I’ve learned.
(1) TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY. Your body has to last so you’d better take care of it. Take long walks and do yoga. Eat lots of vegetables. Breathe deeply. Use health professionals when you need them, but always remember that your health and well-being are your personal responsibility.
(2) STAY CLOSE TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Friends and family make you feel good inside, but that’s not all. According to researchers, people with close social ties have fewer colds, recover more quickly from surgery and are generally healthier.
(3) DARE TO DREAM THE BIG DREAMS. We give in too easily to the lock-step of life and give up our dreams at the first obstacle. But it’s a mistake. Marsha Sinetar has written a best-selling book “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.” And she’s right. Following your dream is usually the quickest road to success.
But above all (4) HAVE FUN. Play games, have picnics and watch funny movies. Laugh until it hurts. And when you can’t find a reason to laugh, at least smile. Life was meant to be enjoyed.
Those are some of my gleanings from decades of living. Now what about you? What is the wisdom you’ve gathered?
Write out your key rules for successful living and put them where you can read them every day. You might be surprised what a difference living by them would make.
Copyright 2005 Marie Snider
Marie Snider is an award-winning healthcare writer and syndicated columnist. Write Marie Snider at thisside60@aol.com or visit her website at www.visit-snider.com

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