We really should have as many, "Life is like this" conversations with people older and more successful than we are as we can. So many of these folks will describe vital, deeper truths about life in simple, concise and poignant ways.
A friend of mine graduated from McMaster University last week. Her and her husband were telling me about the "Life is like this" talk that outgoing University president Peter George gave to the eager group of world-changers. It was simple and really quite wonderful advice (paraphrased from memory).
1. Have a nice suit
2. Don't chew gum at a job interview
3. Find someone you can always talk to
4. Get enough sleep
5. Keep a smile on your face and encourage others with kind words.
It's a small reminder that the complexities of life should not be our masters. Simple, honest principles like mutual respect, friendship, stewardship and kindness win out in life over the long-run. Some find that simplicities are idealistic and unpractical. Too easy for the "real world". But there must be a reason older, wiser, people than me can more successfully adopt a "Don't worry be happy" attitude to life... and have it work both for their own peace of mind, and also lead down the road to practical success in this world.
I believe that part of it is that life is like this...
You choose solid, base absolutes. An onslaught life-variables are thrown at you. You react with integrity according to your absolutes. What happens... happens. You learn to go to bed with a smile and enjoy the ride.
On March 3rd, Peter George gave his last lecture at McMaster titled, "The Last Lecture: Lessons from 45 years at McMaster". Here's a few lines from "The Sil", the Mac Student newspaper.
“I never dreamed of being president of a university, especially this one that I love so much,” admitted George. “I have given my life to education because I believe it to be the most worthy endeavor.
Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.
George did not hesitate to admit that there have been criticisms and complaints directed at him, but that one must be able to handle both praise and criticism. “I have learned that you can’t avoid mistakes…it’s what you learn from them that counts…In the true McMaster style, make new and innovate mistakes”
Wonderful thoughts that will help us grow today.