Live the lessons: It matters how you live your life!
How you live your life matters! It matters to you and the ones you love.
Philosophers throughout history have provided guidance and theories about the importance of living worthwhile lives. But philosophers talk in vast generalities instead of providing helpful lessons that can be modeled.
After hearing yet another speaker philosophically expound about the importance of living a good life without providing any lessons, we were inspired to write this article about the “Ten Lessons of Life and Love.” Always remember—inspiration often comes from those you disagree with.
We are pleased to share our “Ten Lessons About Life and Love” with you today. Here they are:
- Each day you wake up, remind yourself of your dreams and the dreams of the one you love. It is highly important to have dreams. Dreams remind you of what is important to you, what you value, and what you are motivated to strive for each and every day. A day without a dream is, for most people, a bad day.Charley’s life experience of growing up poor in a small rural farming community of central Missouri without, as his Mother used to say, “A pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of,” reminds us of the power of a dream! Frankly, we cannot imagine where our lives would be if we didn’t have dreams of achieving something far beyond what might have been imaginable to most kids growing up in small towns and in big cities.
- Seek happiness in your life. Make your happiness and the happiness of the one you love, a major life goal.As love and marriage researchers, we have interviewed thousands of successfully married couples in all 50 USA states, 50 countries, 9 Canadian Provinces, and on all Seven Continents of the world over these past 33+ years. All these marvelous couples want nothing more than to secure happiness.
Happiness is, in fact, a goal for most people, as it should be. Being happy in life is the goal of rational people. Never forget that!
- Success in life and love has almost nothing to do with luck. Our love and marriage work together over these past three-plus decades suggests that there is no such thing as luck! Is education luck? Is the development of good moral character luck? Is working three jobs to provide for your family luck? Is marrying the right person luck? Is having a steady job that pays a livable wage luck?Our answer to these questions is a resounding, NO! To suggest that life is all about luck is to minimize all of the hard work done by folks day in and day out to secure a better future. We have a lot of faith in human beings to work hard to achieve the success they desire. Success has little to do with luck.
- Who you love and want to spend your life with defines who you are as a person. Making decisions about whom you want to love, marry, and spend your life with, speaks volumes about your personhood. Do not make these decisions lightly. People are always defined by what they love. Love well. Love the right person.Analyze very carefully your decision before you make it, but understand this—loving and marrying the right person might very well be the most important decision you will make in your life. Do not make this decision lightly.
- Good health is, for most people, the secret to a happy life. Let’s be clear, doing the things that are required for a healthy mind and body are prerequisites to healthy life and love.As we have written in several books, articles, and blogs over the years, one of the Seven Secrets of a Successful Marriage is this, “long-time successfully married couples care about each other’s health and do their best to promote good health in each other. They know that the way you emote, your level of anxiety, your productivity, and your ability to engage in a loving relationship, are all affected by what you put into your mouth (or do not!) and how you maintain the health of your body—both mentally and physically. Successfully married couples long ago recognized that you must manage your mind and mood through food, exercise, and healthy living.”
- Every day of your life engage in an act of kindness! Be nice to those you meet. Give a compliment or two. Over-tip the waitress or waiter. Wave a person at the supermarket through the cross walk in front of you. Let someone with a smaller cart of groceries go ahead of you in line. Return ugliness from someone with a smile and a “Have a nice day!”The simple truth is this—people are measured by how they react to adversity, how they react to those who are unkind. It is easy to engage in “road rage.” It is far harder to control yourself when offended, chastised, belittled, and treated unfairly. As the British might say, “Stiffen that upper-lip!” Or as our mother’s used to say, “It’s okay to turn the other cheek.”
Life is full of confrontations between nice people and ugly people. Make it your goal to be a good person—a decent person—a nice person. Your life and the lives of those you love will be happier because of it.
- Always be open to diverse points of view. Always be willing to listen to and consider a point of view different from your own. Let’s face it, it’s easy to get angry when someone doesn’t agree with us. In modern America, it is increasingly difficult to have civil conversations. Too many people’s mantra is, “My way or the highway.” Compromise is seemingly a thing of the past.As Charley’s mother used to say, “Life is too short!” What she meant should be clear—if you spend your life arguing about everything—if you spend your life rejecting outright the points of views of others—you will be a miserable human being. Try your best to talk less and listen more to others. It is impossible to hear the messages of others if you do all the talking.
- Don’t be a bully! The intimidation of others is a bad thing. Respecting those who have less power than you is a good thing. Don’t ever be guilty of shouting down another human being. It should be clear—life and love is a lot more fun when you treat others with respect.Here’s the truth—if you don’t respect the opinions of the one you purport to love—if you shout down the opinions of others—if you try to bully others into submission—you will ultimately lose in the game of life. Trust us—nobody likes a bully!!
- Live your life as an inspiration to others. Be a positive role model—be a teacher. Great teachers inspire, they offer insights, they make us laugh and cry, they change our lives in meaningful and measurable ways, and they make us better people. We have spent over four decades each in our respective lives, being teachers.At the start of each day of your life dedicate yourself to being a person who wants to inspire others, who offers insights into life, who wants to help others, and who wants to share the knowledge they possess with others. Teachers care. You should care! Share your love, share your knowledge, share “things that matter” in life.
- Life is a journey—be engaged. Charley’s mother used to say, “If you woke up this morning you knew it was the start of a good day!” In many ways, life is like a baseball game. There is no clock. The game of life for the most part has no seasons.One inning of life leads to another and sometimes you win the game, sometimes you lose, sometimes you go into “extra innings.” No matter what the outcome, you play the game—for better or worse. In life and love it is important that you play the game—get involved—take advantage of each day of your life. Be engaged in life. Be engaged in love. There is nothing like it.
These are the lessons of life and love. Get engaged today. You won’t regret it.
By Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz
America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts
On the verge of having been married for 50 years, the Doctors give advice that you know you can trust.
Discover what happily married women know about what makes a man marriage material and learn other revealing truths in How to Marry the Right Guy—the latest multiple award winning book by the Doctors.