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Tue, Dec. 10

Columns: Granddaddyisms

Here is the 17th installment of Granddaddyisms I shared with our grandson when he was a teenager.

• Self-knowledge leads to self-improvement which leads to self-fulfillment. I don't know any shortcuts.

• Dylan, in your life you will face many challenges. Here are two of the most important ones: To make a living and to make a life. The latter is far more important than the former. If you choose to have a family, then you must confront the enormous challenge of striking a balance in your life between job, self-development including service to others, and family. It's hard for me to imagine anything more difficult and challenging than obtaining harmony between these three priorities. And what you will discover is that the challenge is ongoing. If you continually strive to achieve an equilibrium with these three critical aspects of your life, you will likely experience success and happiness. If you neglect to pay attention to any one of these three, you will likely experience problems and unhappiness.

• Think of time as a possession. You can lose everything except it. Learn to use it as an invaluable tool and an invaluable ally.

• I believe moral courage should be far more admired than physical courage. Moral cowardice reveals more about the depths of a person's spirit and personality than physical cowardice.

• I have no doubt that a major goal of yours is to lead a good life. My experience persuades me that a good life is the result of wise choices based on generous portions of good taste, judicious insights into your self-knowledge and experience, along with a burning desire to be a good person who tries to live honorably. A pinch of luck doesn't hurt either.

• Dylan, be wary of individuals who speak in superlatives because they show questionable judgment. Since exaggeration is a form of dishonesty, you must be cautious in accepting their communications.

• One of the most important lessons I learned when I was a young tournament tennis player was that great ability wasn't enough. I competed against a number of players who possessed more ability than me, yet I would often beat them. Why? Because they lacked dedication. They didn't practice with a commitment to excellence. They didn't use their gift. So, the lesson is that great ability without dedicated application equals a wasted talent. A commitment to hard work (practice) greatly enhances even a mediocre talent. Work hard and the benefits will surely follow.

• If you truly wish to enjoy people and have them appreciate you, then look for the good in them and pay minimal attention to their flaws. Your best friends will likely be those individuals who treat you similarly.

• Laughter, irony and paradox. Where would we humans be, Dylan, if we didn't have the capacity to deal with these?

Dr. Ron Barnes is a retired educator and businessman.

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